a’-a-lar. See ALTAR.


ar’-un, sometimes pronounced ar’on (’aharon—Septuagint Aaron, meaning uncertain: Gesenius suggests "mountaineer"; Furst, "enlightened"; others give "rich," "fluent." Cheyne mentions Redslob’s "ingenious conjecture" of ha-’aron—"the ark"—with its mythical, priestly significance, Encyclopedia Biblica under the word):

1. Family:

Probably eldest son of Amram (Ex 6:20), and according to the uniform genealogical lists (Ex 6:16-20; 1Ch 6:1-3), the fourth from Levi. This however is not certainly fixed, since there are frequent omissions from the Hebrew lists of names which are not prominent in the line of descent. For the corresponding period from Levi to Aaron the Judah list has six names (Ru 4:18-20; 1Ch 2). Levi and his family were zealous, even to violence (Ge 34:25; Ex 32:26), for the national honor and religion, and Aaron no doubt inherited his full portion of this spirit. His mother’s name was Jochebed, who was also of the Levitical family (Ex 6:20). Miriam, his sister, was several years older, since she was set to watch the novel cradle of the infant brother Moses, at whose birth Aaron was three years old (Ex 7:7).

2. Becomes Moses’ Assistant:

When Moses fled from Egypt, Aaron remained to share the hardships of his people, and possibly to render them some service; for we are told that Moses entreated of God his brother’s cooperation in his mission to Pharaoh and to Israel, and that Aaron went out to meet his returning brother, as the time of deliverance drew near (Ex 4:27). While Moses, whose great gifts lay along other lines, was slow of speech (Ex 4:10), Aaron was a ready spokesman, and became his brother’s representative, being called his "mouth" (Ex 4:16) and his "prophet" (Ex 7:1). After their meeting in the wilderness the two brothers returned together to Egypt on the hazardous mission to which Yahweh had called them (Ex 4:27-31). At first they appealed to their own nation, recalling the ancient promises and declaring the imminent deliverance, Aaron being the spokesman. But the heart of the people, hopeless by reason of the hard bondage and heavy with the care of material things, did not incline to them. The two brothers then forced the issue by appealing directly to Pharaoh himself, Aaron still speaking for his brother (Ex 6:10-13). He also performed, at Moses’ direction, the miracles which confounded Pharaoh and his magicians. With Hur, he held up Moses hands, in order that the ‘rod of God might be lifted up,’ during the fight with Amalek (Ex 17:10,12).

3. An Elder:

Aaron next comes into prominence when at Sinai he is one of the elders and representatives of his tribe to approach nearer to the Mount than the people in general were allowed to do, and to see the manifested glory of God (Ex 24:1,9,10). A few days later, when Moses, attended by his "minister" Joshua, went up into the mountain, Aaron exercised some kind of headship over the people in his absence. Despairing of seeing again their leader, who had disappeared into the mystery of communion with the invisible God, they appealed to Aaron to prepare them more tangible gods, and to lead them back to Egypt (Ex 32). Aaron never appears as the strong, heroic character which his brother was; and here at Sinai he revealed his weaker nature, yielding to the demands of the people and permitting the making of the golden bullock. That he must however have yielded reluctantly, is evident from the ready zeal of his tribesmen, whose leader he was, to stay and to avenge the apostasy by rushing to arms and falling mightily upon the idolaters at the call of Moses (Ex 32:26-28).

4. High Priest:

In connection with the planning and erection of the tabernacle ("the Tent"), Aaron and his sons being chosen for the official priesthood, elaborate and symbolical vestments were prepared for them (Ex 28); and after the erection and dedication of the tabernacle, he and his sons were formally inducted into the sacred office (Le 8). It appears that Aaron alone was anointed with the holy oil (Le 8:12), but his sons were included with him in the duty of caring for sacrificial rites and things. They served in receiving and presenting the various offerings, and could enter and serve in the first chamber of the tabernacle; but Aaron alone, the high priest, the Mediator of the Old Covenant, could enter into the Holy of Holies, and that only once a year, on the great Day of Atonement (Le 16:12-14).

5. Rebels Against Moses:

After the departure of Israel from Sinai, Aaron joined his sister Miriam in a protest against the authority of Moses (Nu 12), which they asserted to be self-assumed. For this rebellion Miriam was smitten with leprosy, but was made whole again, when, at the pleading of Aaron, Moses interceded with God for her. The sacred office of Aaron, requiring physical, moral and ceremonial cleanness of the strictest order, seems to have made him immune from this form of punishment. Somewhat later (Nu 16) he himself, along with Moses, became the object of a revolt of his own tribe in conspiracy with leaders of Da and Reuben. This rebellion was subdued and the authority of Moses and Aaron vindicated by the miraculous overthrow of the rebels. As they were being destroyed by the plague, Aaron, at Moses’ command, rushed into their midst with the lighted censer, and the destruction was stayed. The Divine will in choosing Aaron and his family to the priesthood was then fully attested by the miraculous budding of his rod, when, together with rods representing the other tribes, it was placed and left overnight in the sanctuary (Nu 17). See AARON’S ROD.

6. Further History:

After this event Aaron does not come prominently into view until the time of his death, near the close of the Wilderness period. Because of the impatience, or unbelief, of Moses and Aaron at Meribah (Nu 20:12), the two brothers are prohibited from entering Canaan; and shortly after the last camp at Kadesh was broken, as the people journeyed eastward to the plains of Moab, Aaron died on Mount Hor. In three passages this event is recorded: the more detailed account in Nu 20, a second incidental record in the list of stations of the wanderings in the wilderness (Nu 33:38,39), and a third casual reference (De 10:6) in an address of Moses. These are not in the least contradictory or inharmonious. The dramatic scene is fully presented in Nu 20: Moses, Aaron and Eleazar go up to Mount Hor in the people’s sight; Aaron is divested of his robes of office, which are formally put upon his eldest living son; Aaron dies before the Lord in the Mount at the age of 123, and is given burial by his two mourning relatives, who then return to the camp without the first and great high priest; when the people understand that he is no more, they show both grief and love by thirty days of mourning. The passage in Nu 33 records the event of his death just after the list of stations in the general vicinity of Mount Hor; while Moses in De 10$ states from which of these stations, namely, Moserah, that remarkable funeral procession made its way to Mount Hor. In the records we find, not contradiction and perplexity, but simplicity and unity. It is not within the view of this article to present modern displacements and rearrangements of the Aaronic history; it is concerned with the records as they are, and as they contain the faith of the Old Testament writers in the origin in Aaron of their priestly order.

7. Priestly Succession:

Aaron married Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab, and sister of Nahshon, prince of the tribe of Judah, who bore him four sons: Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. The sacrilegious act and consequent judicial death of Nadab and Abihu are recorded in Le 10. Eleazar and Ithamar were more pious and reverent; and from them descended the long line of priests to whom was committed the ceremonial law of Israel, the succession changing from one branch to the other with certain crises in the nation. At his death Aaron was succeeded by his oldest living son, Eleazar (Nu 20:28; De 10:6).

Edward Mack


(Nu 17$ and He 9:4): Immediately after the incidents connected with the rebellion of Korah, Dathan and Abiram against the leadership of Moses and the priestly primacy of Aaron (Nu 16), it became necessary to indicate and emphasize the Divine appointment of Aaron. Therefore, at the command of Yahweh, Moses directs that twelve almond rods, one for each tribe with the prince’s name engraved thereon, be placed within the Tent of the Testimony. When Moses entered the tent the following day, he found that Aaron’s rod had budded, blossomed and borne fruit, "the three stages of vegetable life being thus simultaneously visible." When the miraculous sign was seen by the people, they accepted it as final; nor was there ever again any question of Aaron’s priestly right. The rod was kept "before the testimony" in the sanctuary ever after as a token of the Divine will (Nu 17:10). The writer of Hebrews, probably following a later Jewish tradition, mentions the rod as kept in the Holy of Holies within the ark (He 9:4; compare 1Ki 8:9). See PRIEST, III.

Edward Mack


ar’-on-its (le-’aharon, literally, "belonging to Aaron"): A word used in the King James Version, but not in the revised versions, to translate the proper name Aaron in two instances where it. denotes a family and not merely a person (1Ch 12:27; 27:17). It is equivalent to the phrases "sons of Aaron," "house of Aaron," frequently used in the Old Testament. According to the books of Jos and Chronicles the "sons of Aaron," were distinguished from the other Levites from the time of Joshua (e.g. Jos 21:4,10,13; 1Ch 6:54).

AB (1)

(’abh, the Hebrew and Aramaic word for "father"): It is a very common word in the Old Testament; this article notes only certain uses of it. It is used both in the singular and in the plural to denote a grandfather or more remote ancestors (e.g. Jer 35:16,15). The father of a people or tribe is its founder, not, as is frequently assumed, its progenitor. In this sense Abraham is father to the Israelites (see, for example, Ge 17:11-14,27), Isaac and Jacob and the heads of families being fathers in the same modified sense. The cases of Ishmael, Moab, etc., are similar. The traditional originator of a craft is the father of those who practice the craft (e.g. Ge 4:20,21,22). Sennacherib uses the term "my fathers" of his predecessors on the throne of Assyria, though these were not his ancestors (2Ki 19:12). The term is used to express worth and affection irrespective of blood relation (e.g. 2Ki 13:14). A ruler or leader is spoken of as a father. God is father. A frequent use of the word is that in the composition of proper names, e.g. Abinadab, "my father is noble." See ABI.

The Aramaic word in its definite form is used three times in the New Testament (Mr 4:6), the phrase being in each case "Abba Father," addressed to God. In this phrase the word "Father" is added, apparently, not as a mere translation, nor to indicate that Abba is thought of as a proper name of Deity, but as a term of pleading and of endearment. See also ABBA.

Willis J. Beecher

AB (2)

(’abh): The name of the fifth month in the Hebrew calendar, the month beginning in our July. The name does not appear in the Bible, but Josephus gives it to the month in which Aaron died (Ant., IV, iv, 6; compare Nu 33:38).


ab’-a-kuk (Latin Abacuc): The form given the name of the prophet Habakkuk in 2 Esdras 1:40.


a-bad’-on (’abhaddon, "ruin," "perdition," "destruction"): Though "destruction" is commonly used in translating ‘abhaddon, the stem idea is intransitive rather than passive—the idea of perishing, going to ruin, being in a ruined state, rather than that of being ruined, being destroyed.

The word occurs six times in the Old Testament, always as a place name in the sense in which Sheol is a place name. It denotes, in certain aspects, the world of the dead as constructed in the Hebrew imagination. It is a common mistake to understand such expressions in a too mechanical way. Like ourselves, the men of the earlier ages had to use picture language when they spoke of the conditions that existed after death, however their picturing of the matter may have differed from ours. In three instances Abaddon is parallel with Sheol (Job 26:6; Pr 15:11; 27:20). In one instance it is parallel with death, in one with the grave and in the remaining instance the parallel phrase is "root out all mine increase" (Job 28:22; Ps 88:11; Job 31:12). In this last passage the place idea comes nearer to vanishing in an abstract conception than in the other passages.

Abaddon belongs to the realm of the mysterious. Only God understands it (Job 26:6; Pr 15:11). It is the world of the dead in its utterly dismal, destructive, dreadful aspect, not in those more cheerful aspects in which activities are conceived of as in progress there. In Abaddon there are no declarations of God’s lovingkindness (Ps 88:11).

In a slight degree the Old Testament presentations personalize Abaddon. It is a synonym for insatiableness (Pr 27:20). It has possibilities of information mediate between those of "all living" and those of God (Job 28:22).

In the New Testament the word occurs once (Re 9:11), the personalization becoming sharp. Abaddon is here not the world of the dead, but the angel who reigns over it. The Greek equivalent of his name is given as Apollyon. Under this name Bunyan presents him in the Pilgrim’s Progress, and Christendom has doubtless been more interested in this presentation of the matter than in any other.

In some treatments Abaddon is connected with the evil spirit Asmodeus of Tobit (e.g. 3:8), and with the destroyer mentioned in The Wisdom of Solomon (18:25; compare 22), and through these with a large body of rabbinical folklore; but these efforts are simply groundless. See APOLLYON . Willis J. Beecher


ab-a-di’-as (Greek Abadias): Mentioned in 1 Esdras 8:35 as the son of Jezelus, of the sons of Joab, returned with Ezra from the captivity; and in Ezr 8:9 called "Obadiah the son of Jehiel."


a-bag’-a-rus. See ABGARUS.


a-bag’-tha (’abhaghetha’, perhaps meaning "fortunate one"): One of the seven eunuchs, or "chamberlains," of Xerxes mentioned in Es 1:10. The name is Persian, and is one of the many Persian marks in the Book of Esther.


ab’-a-na, a-ba’-na (’abhanah (Kethibh, Septuagint, Vulgate)), or AMANA a-ma’-na (’amanah (Qere, Peshitta, Targum); the King James Version Abana (American Standard Revised Version, margin Amana), the Revised Version (British and American) ABANAH (Revised Version, margin Amanah)): Mentioned in 2Ki 5:12, along with the PHARPAR (which see), as one of the principal rivers of Damascus. The reading Amana (meaning possibly the "constant," or perennial stream) is on the whole preferable. Both forms of the name may have been in use, as the interchange of an aspirated b (bh = v) and m is not without parallel (compare Evil-merodach = Amilmarduk).

The Abanah is identified with the Chrysorrhoas ("golden stream") of the Greeks, the modern Nahr Barada (the "cold"), which rises in the Anti-Lebanon, one of its sources, the Ain Barada, being near the village of Zebedani, and flows in a southerly and then southeasterly direction toward Damascus. A few miles southeast of Suk Wady Barada (the ancient Abila; see ABILENE) the volume of the stream is more than doubled by a torrent of clear, cold water from the beautifully situated spring ‘Ain Fijeh (Greek pege, "fountain"), after which it flows through a picturesque gorge till it reaches Damascus, whose many fountains and gardens it supplies liberally with water. In the neighborhood of Damascus a number of streams branch off from the parent river, and spread out like an opening fan on the surrounding plain. The Barada, along with the streams which it feeds, loses itself in the marshes of the Meadow Lakes about 18 miles East of the city.

The water of the Barada, though not perfectly wholesome in the city itself, is for the most part clear and cool; its course is picturesque, and its value to Damascus, as the source alike of fertility and of charm, is inestimable.

C. H. Thomson


ab’-a-rim, a-ba’-rim (‘abharim): The stem idea is that of going across a space or a dividing line, or for example a river. It is the same stem that appears in the familiar phrase "beyond Jordan," used to denote the region East of the Jordan, and Hellenized in the name Peraea. This fact affords the most natural explanation of the phrases ‘the mountains of the Abarim’ (Nu 33:47,48); ‘this mountain-country of the Abarim’ (Nu 27:12; De 32:49); Iye-abarim, which means "Heaps of the Abarim," or "Mounds of the Abarim" (Nu 21:11; 33:44). In Nu 33:45 this station is called simply Iyim, "Mounds." It is to be distinguished from the place of the same name in southern Judah (Jos 15:29). The name Abarim, without the article, occurs in Jer (Jer 22:20 the Revised Version (British and American), where the King James Version translates "the passages"), where it seems to be the name of a region, on the same footing with the names Lebanon and Bashan, doubtless the region referred to in Nu and Deuteronomy. There is no reason for changing the vowels in Eze 39:11, in order to make that another occurrence of the same name.

When the people of Abraham lived in Canaan, before they went to Egypt to sojourn, they spoke of the region east of the Jordan as "beyond Jordan." Looking across the Jordan and the Dead Sea they designated the mountain country they saw there as "the Beyond mountains." They continued to use these geographical terms when they came out of Egypt. We have no means of knowing to how extensive a region they applied the name. The passages speak of the mountain country of Abarim where Moses died, including Nebo, as situated back from the river Jordan in its lowest reaches; and of the Mounds of the Abarim as farther to the southeast, so that the Israelites passed them when making their detour around the agricultural parts of Edom, before they crossed the Arnon. Whether the name Abarim should be applied to the parts of the eastern hill country farther to the north is a question on which we lack evidence.

Willis J. Beecher


a-bas’:The English rendition of shaphel (Job 40:11; Eze 21:26), and of its derivative shephal (Da 4:37) =" bring down," "debase," "humble"; of ‘anah (Isa 31:4) =" abase self," "afflict," "chasten self," "deal harshly with," etc.; and of tapeinoo =" to depress"; figure "to humiliate" (in condition or heart): "abase," "bring low," "humble self" (Php 4:12). The word is always employed to indicate what should be done to or by him who nurtures a spirit and exhibits a demeanor contrary to the laudable humility which is a natural fruit of religion. Such a person is warned that the most extravagant audacity will not daunt Yahweh nor abate His vengeance (Isa 31:4), and good men are exhorted to employ their powers to bring him low (Job 40:11; Eze 21:26). If men are not able to curb the arrogant, God is (Da 4:37); and He has so constituted the world, that sinful arrogance must fall (Mt 23:12 the King James Version; Lu 14:11 the King James Version; Lu 18:14 the King James Version).

Frank E. Hirsch


a-bat’:Used six times in Old Testament for five different Hebrew words, signifying "to diminish," "reduce," "assuage"; of the Flood (Ge 8:8); of strength (De 34:7); of pecuniary value (Le 27:18); of wrath (Jud 8:3); of fire (Nu 11:2).


ab’-a (abba, ‘abba’, Hebraic-Chaldaic, "Father"): In Jewish and old-Christian prayers, a name by which God was addressed, then in oriental churches a title of bishops and patriarchs. So Jesus addresses God in prayer (Mt 11:25,26, 26:39,42, Lu 10:21; 22:42; 23:34, Joh 11:41; 12:27; 17:24,25). In Mr 14:36; Ro 8:15, and Ga 4:6 ho pater, is appended even in direct address, in an emphatic sense. Servants were not permitted to use the appellation in addressing the head of the house. See Delitzsch on Ro 8:15; compare G. Dalman, Gram. des jud.-palast. Aramaisch, etc., section 40, c. 3.

J. E. Harry


ab’-da (‘abhda’, perhaps, by abbreviation, "servant of Yahweh"):

(1) The father of Adoniram, King Solomon’s superintendent of forced labor (1Ki 4:6).

(2) A Levite mentioned in the statistical note in (Ne 11:17). This "Abda the son of Shammua" is in the partly duplicate passage in (1Ch 9:16) called "Obadiah the son of Shemaiah."


ab’-de-el (‘abhdeel, "servant of God"): The father of Shelemiah, one of the officers whom King Jehoiakim commanded to arrest Baruch, the scribe, and Jeremiah the prophet (Jer 36:26).


ab’-di (‘abhdi, probably by abbreviation "servant of Yahweh"):

(1) A Levite, father of Kishi and grandfather of King David’s singer Ethan (1Ch 6:44; compare 1Ch 15:17). This makes Abdi a contemporary of Saul the king.

(2) A Levite, father of the Kish who was in service at the beginning of the reign of Hezekiah (2Ch 29:12). Some mistakenly identify this Abdi with the former.

(3) A man who in Ezra’s time had married a foreign wife (Ezr 10:26). Not a Levite, but "of the sons of Elam."


ab-di’-as (2 Esdras 1:39 = Obadiah): One of the Minor Prophets. Mentioned with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the Minor Prophets who shall be given as leaders to the "nation from the east" which is to overthrow Israel (compare OBADIAH).


ab’-di-el (‘abhdi’el, "servant of God"): A Gadite who lived in Gilead or in Bashan, and whose name was reckoned in genealogies of the time of Jotham, king of Judah, or of Jeroboam II, king of Israel (1Ch 5:15-17).


ab’-don (‘abhdon, perhaps "service"; Abdon):

(1) A judge of Israel for eight years (Jud 12:13-15). The account says that he was the son of Hillel the Pirathonite, and that he was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim. No mention is made of great public services rendered by him, but it is said that he had seventy well-mounted sons and grandsons. So far as we can judge, he was placed in office as a wealthy elderly man, and performed the routine duties acceptably. Very likely his two next predecessors Ibzan and Elon were men of the same type. An effort has been made to identify Abdon with the Bedan mentioned in 1Sa 12:11, but the identification is precarious.

A certain importance attaches to Abdon from the fact that he is the last judge mentioned in the continuous account (Jud 2:6-13:1) in the Book of Jgs. After the account of him follows the statement that Israel was delivered into the hands of the Philistines forty years, and with that statement the continuous account closes and the series of personal stories begins—the stories of Samson, of Micah and his Levite, of the Benjamite civil war, followed in our English Bibles by the stories of Ru and of the childhood of Samuel. With the close of this last story (1Sa 4:18) the narrative of public affairs is resumed, at a point when Israel is making a desperate effort, at the close of the forty years of Eli, to throw off the Philistine yoke. A large part of one’s views of the history of the period of the Judges will depend on the way in which he combines these events. My own view is that the forty years of Jud 13:1 and of 1Sa 4:18 are the same; that at the death of Abdon the Philistines asserted themselves as overlords of Israel; that it was a part of their policy to suppress nationality in Israel; that they abolished the office of judge, and changed the high-priesthood to another family, making Eli high priest; that Eli was sufficiently competent so that many of the functions of national judge drifted into his hands. It should be noted that the regaining of independence was signalized by the reestablishment of the office of judge, with Samuel as incumbent (1Sa 7:6 and context). This view takes into the account that the narrative concerning Samson is detachable, like the narratives that follow, Samson belonging to an earlier period. See SAMSON.

(2) The son of Jeiel and his wife Maacah (1Ch 8:30; 9:36). Jeiel is described as the "father of Gibeon," perhaps the founder of the Israelirish community there. This Abdon is described as brother to Ner, the grandfather of King Saul.

(3) One of the messengers sent by King Josiah to Huldah the prophetess (2Ch 34:20); called Achbor in 2Ki 22:12.

(4) One of many men of Benjamin mentioned as dwelling in Jerusalem (1Ch 8:23), possibly in Nehemiah’s time, though the date is not clear.

Willis J. Beecher


ab’-don (‘abhdon, perhaps "service"): One of the four Levitical cities in the tribe of Asher (Jos 21:30; 1Ch 6:74). Probably the same with Ebron (in the King James Version "Hebron") in Jos 19:28, where some copies have the reading Abdon. Now called Abdeh, a few miles from the Mediterranean and about fifteen miles south of Tyre.


a-bed’-ne-go (Hebrew and Aramaic ‘abhedh neghgo; Da 3:29, ‘abhedh negho’): According to many, the nego is an intentional corruption of Nebo, the name of a Babylonian god, arising from the desire of the Hebrew scribes to avoid the giving of a heathen name to a hero of their faith. The name, according to this view, would mean "servant of Nebo." Inasmuch as ‘abhedh is a translation of the Babylonian ‘arad, it seems ore probable that nego also must be a translation of some Babylonian word. The goddess Ishtar is by the Babylonians called "the morning star" and "the perfect light" (nigittu gitmaltu). The morning star is called by the Arameans nogah, "the shining one," a word derived from the root negah, the equivalent of the Babylonian nagu, "to shine." Abed-nego, according to this interpretation, would be the translation of Arad-Ishtar, a not uncommon name among the Assyrians and Babylonians. Canon Johns gives this as the name of more than thirty Assyrians, who are mentioned on the tablets cited by him in Vol. III of his great work entitled Assyrian Deeds and Documents. It means "servant of Ishtar."

Abed-nego was one of the three companions of Daniel, and was the name imposed upon the Hebrew Azariah by Nebuchadnezzar (Da 1:7). Having refused, along with his friends, to eat the provisions of the king’s table, he was fed and flourished upon pulse and water. Having successfully passed his examinations and escaped the death with which the wise men of Babylon were threatened, he was appointed at the request of Daniel along with his companions over the affairs of the province of Babylon (Da 2). Having refused to bow down to the image which Nebuehadnezzar had set up, he was cast into the burning fiery furnace, and after his triumphant delivery he was caused by the king to prosper in the province of Babylon (Da 3). The three friends are referred to by name in 1 Macc 2:59, and by implication in He 11:33,34.

R. Dick Wilson

ABEL (1)

a’-bel (hebhel; Abel; Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek Habel; etymology uncertain. Some translation "a breath," "vapor," "transitoriness," which are suggestive of his brief existence and tragic end; others take it to be a variant of Jabal, yabhal, "shepherd" or "herdman," Ge 4:20. Compare Assyrian ablu and Babylonian abil, "son"): The second son of Adam and Eve. The absence of the verb harah (Ge 4:2; compare Ge 4:1) has been taken to imply, perhaps truly, that Cain and Abel were twins.

1. A Shepherd:

"Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground," thus representing the two fundamental pursuits of civilized life, the two earliest subdivisions of the human race. On the Hebrew tradition of the superiority of the pastoral over agricultural and city life, see The Expositor T, V, 351 ff. The narrative may possibly bear witness to the primitive idea that pastoral life was more pleasing to Yahweh than husbandry.

2. A Worshipper:

"In process of time," the two brothers came in a solemn manner to sacrifice unto Yahweh, in order to express their gratitude to Him whose tenants they were in the land (Ge 4:3,4. See SACRIFICE).

How Yahweh signified His acceptance of the one offering and rejection of the other, we are not told. That it was due to the difference in the material of the sacrifice or in their manner of offering was probably the belief among the early Israelites, who regarded animal offerings as superior to cereal offerings. Both kinds, however, were fully in accord with Hebrew law and custom. It has been suggested that the Septuagint rendering of Ge 4:7 makes Cain’s offense a ritual one, the offering not being "correctly" made or rightly divided, and hence rejected as irregular. "If thou makest a proper offering, but dost not cut in pieces rightly, art thou not in fault? Be still!" The Septuagint evidently took the rebuke to turn upon Cain’s neglect to prepare his offering according to strict ceremonial requirements. dieles (Septuagint in the place cited.), however, implies nathach (nattach), and would only apply to animal sacrifices. Compare Ex 29:17; Le 8:20; Jud 19:29; 1Ki 18:23; and see COUCH.

3. A Righteous Man:

The true reason for the Divine preference is doubtless to be found in the disposition of the brothers (see CAIN). Well-doing consisted not in the outward offering (Ge 4:7) but in the right state of mind and feeling. The acceptability depends on the inner motives and moral characters of the offerers. "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent (abundant, pleiona) sacrifice than Cain" (Heb 11:4). The "more abundant sacrifice," Westcott thinks, "suggests the deeper gratitude of Abel, and shows a fuller sense of the claims of God" to the best. Cain’s "works (the collective expression of his inner life) were evil, and his brother’s righteous" (1Joh 3:12). "It would be an outrage if the gods looked to gifts and sacrifices and not to the soul" (Alcibiades II.149E.150A). Cain’s heart was no longer pure; it had a criminal propensity, springing from envy and jealousy, which rendered both his offering and person unacceptable. His evil works and hatred of his brother culminated in the act of murder, specifically evoked by the opposite character of Abel’s works and the acceptance of his offering. The evil man cannot endure the sight of goodness in another.

4. A Martyr:

Abel ranks as the first martyr (Mt 23:35), whose blood cried for vengeance (Ge 4:10; compare Re 6:9,10) and brought despair (Ge 4:13), whereas that of Jesus appeals to God for forgiveness and speaks peace (Heb 12:24) and is preferred before Abel’s.

5. A Type:

The first two brothers in history stand as the types and representatives of the two main and enduring divisions of mankind, and bear witness to the absolute antithesis and eternal enmity between good and evil.

M. O. Evans

ABEL (2)

a’-bel (’abhel, "meadow"): A word used in several compound names of places. It appears by itself as the name of a city concerned in the rebellion of Sheba (2Sa 20:14; compare 1Sa 6:18), though it is there probably an abridgment of the name Abel-beth-maacah. In 1Sa 6:18, where the Hebrew has "the great meadow," and the Greek "the great stone," the King James Version translates "the great stone of Abel."


a’-bel-beth-ma’-a-ka (’abhel beth ma‘akhah, "the meadow of the house of Maacah"): The name appears in this form in 1Ki 15:20 and 2Ki 15:29. In 2Sa 20:15 (Hebrew) it is Abel-beth-hammaacah (Maacah with the article). In 20:14 it appears as Beth-maacah, and in 20:14 and 18 as Abel.

In 2Sa it is spoken of as the city, far to the north, where Joab besieged Sheba, the son of Bichri. In 2Ki it is mentioned, along with Ijon and other places, as a city in Naphtali captured by Tiglathpileser, king of Assyria. The capture appears also in the records of Tiglath-pileser. In 1Ki it is mentioned with Ijon and Da and "all the land of Naphtali" as being smitten by Benhadad of Damascus in the time of Baasha. In the account in Chronicles parallel to this last (2Ch 16:4) the cities mentioned are Ijon, Dan, Abel- maim. Abel-maim is either another name for Abel-beth-maacah, or the name of another place in the same vicinity.

The prevailing identification of Abel-beth-maacah is with Abil, a few miles West of Dan, on a height overlooking the Jordan near its sources. The adjacent region is rich agriculturally, and the scenery and the water supply are especially fine. Abel-maim, "meadow of water," is not an inapt designation for it. Willis J. Beecher


a’-bel-ker’-a-mim (’abhel keramim, "meadow of vineyards"): A city mentioned in the Revised Version (British and American) in Jud 11:33, along with Aroer, Minnith, and "twenty cities," in summarizing Jephthah’s campaign against the Ammonites. The King James Version translates "the plain of the vineyards." The site has not been identified, though Eusebius and Jerome speak of it as in their time a village about seven Roman miles from the Ammonite city of Rabbah.


a’-bel-ma’-im (’abhel mayim, "meadow of water"). See ABEL-BETH-MAACAH.


a’-bel-me-ho’-lah (’abhel meholah, "meadow of dancing"): The residence of Elisha the prophet (1Ki 19:16). When Gideon and his 300 broke their pitchers in the camp of Midian, the Midianites in their first panic fled down the valley of Jezreel and the Jordan "toward Zererah" (Jud 7:22). Zererah (Zeredah) is Zarethan (2Ch 4:17; compare 1Ki 7:46), separated from Succoth by the clay ground where Solomon made castings for the temple. The wing of the Midianites whom Gideon pursued crossed the Jordan at Succoth (Jud 8:4 ff). This would indicate that Abel-meholah was thought of as a tract of country with a "border," West of the Jordan, some miles South of Beth-shean, in the territory either of Issachar or West Manasseh.

Abel-meholah is also mentioned in connection with the jurisdiction of Baana, one of Solomon’s twelve commissary officers (1Ki 4:12) as below Jezreel, with Beth-shean and Zarethan in the same list. Jerome and Eusebius speak of Abel-meholah as a tract of country and a town in the Jordan valley, about ten Roman miles South of Beth-shean. At just that point the name seems to be perpetuated in that of the Wady Malib, and Abel-meholah is commonly located near where that Wady, or the neighboring Wady Helweh, comes down into the Jordan valley.

Presumably Adriel the Meholathite (1Sa 18:19; 2Sa 21:8) was a resident of Abel-meholah. Willis J. Beecher


a’-bel-miz’-ra-im (’abhel mitsrayim, "meadow of Egypt"): A name given to "the threshing floor of Atad," East of the Jordan and North of the Dead Sea, because Joseph and his funeral party from Egypt there held their mourning over Jacob (Ge 50:11). The name is a pun. The Canaanite residents saw the ‘ebhel, "the mourning," and therefore that place was called ‘abhel mitsrayim.

It is remarkable that the funeral should have taken this circuitous route, instead of going directly from Egypt to Hebron. Possibly a reason may be found as we obtain additional details in Egyptian history. The explanations which consist in changing the text, or in substituting the North Arabian Mutsri for Mitsrayim, are unsatisfactory. Willis J. Beecher


a’-bel-shit’-tim (’abhel ha-shiTTim, "the meadow of the Acacias"): The name appears only in Nu 33:49; but the name Shittim is used to denote the same locality (Nu 25:1; Jos 2:1; 3:1; Mic 6:5). The name always has the article, and the best expression of it in English would be "the Acacias." ‘The valley of the Acacias’ (Joe 3:18 (4:18)) is, apparently, a different locality.

For many weeks before crossing the Jordan, Israel was encamped in the vicinity of the Jordan valley, North of the Dead Sea, East of the river. The notices in the Bible, supplemented by those in Josephus and Eusebius and Jerome, indicate that the camping region was many miles in extent, the southern limit being Beth-jeshimoth, toward the Dead Sea, while Abel of the Acacias was the northern limit and the headquarters. The headquarters are often spoken of as East of the Jordan at Jericho (e.g. Nu 22:1; 26:3,63). During the stay there occurred the Balaam incident (Nu 22-24), and the harlotry with Moab and Midian (Nu 25) and the war with Midian (Nu 31), in both of which Phinehas distinguished himself. It was from the Acacias that Joshua sent out the spies, and that Israel afterward moved down to the river for the crossing. Micah aptly calls upon Yahweh’s people to remember all that happened to them from the time when they reached the Acacias to the time when Yahweh had brought them safely across the river to Gilgal.

Josephus is correct in saying that Abel of the Acacias is the place from which the Deuteronomic law purports to have been given. In his time the name survived as Abila, a not very important town situated there. He says that it was "sixty furlongs from Abila to the Jordan," that is a little more than seven English miles (Ant., IV, viii, 1 and V, i, 1; BJ, IV, vii, 6). There seems to be a consensus for locating the site at Kefrein, near where the wady of that name comes down into the Jordan valley.

Willis J. Beecher


a’-bez: Used in the King James Version (Jos 19:20) for EBEZ, which see.


ab’-gar, ab-ga’-rus, a-bag’-a-rus (Abgaros): Written also Agbarus and Augarus. A king of Edessa. A name common to several kings (toparchs) of Edessa, Mesopotamia. One of these, Abgar, a son of Uchomo, the seventeenth (14th?) of twenty kings, according to the legend (Historia Ecclesiastica, i.13) sent a letter to Jesus, professing belief in His Messiahship and asking Him to come and heal him from an incurable disease (leprosy?), inviting Him at the same time to take refuge from His enemies in his city, "which is enough for us both." Jesus answering the letter blessed him, because he had believed on Him without having seen Him, and promised to send one of His disciples after He had risen from the dead. The apostle Thomas sent Judas Thaddeus, one of the Seventy, who healed him (Cod. Apocrypha New Testament).

A. L. Breslich


ab-hor’:"To cast away," "reject," "despise," "defy," "contemn," "loathe," etc.

(1) Translated in the Old Testament from the following Hebrew words amongst others: (ba’ash), "to be or to become stinking" (1Sa 27:12; 2Sa 16:21); (ga‘al), "to cast away as unclean," "to loathe"; compare Eze 16:5 the King James Version; (quts), "to loathe," "to fear" (Ex 1:12 m; 1Ki 11:25; Isa 7:16); (shaqats), "to detest" (Ps 22:24); (ta’abh), (ta‘abh), "to contemn" (De 23:7); (dera’on), "an object of contempt," "an abhorring" (Isa 66:24; Da 12:2 margin).

(2) Translated in the New Testament from the following Greek words: bdelussomai, which is derived from bdeo, "to stink" (Ro 2:22); apostugeo, derived from stugeo, "to hate," "to shrink from" (Ro 12:9).

A. L. Breslich

ABI (1)

a’-bi (’abhi): The name of the mother of King Hezekiah, as given in 2Ki 18:2. Most naturally explained as a contraction of Abijah ("Yahweh is a father," or "is my father"), found in the parallel passage in 2Ch 29:1. The spelling in the oldest translations seems to indicate that ‘abhi is not a copyist’s error, but a genuine contracted form. She is spoken of as the daughter of Zechariah, and was of course the wife of Ahaz.

ABI (2)

a’-bi, in the composition of names (’abhi, "father"): The Hebrew words ‘abh, "father," and ‘ach, "brother," are used in the forming of names, both at the beginning and at the end of words, e.g. Abram ("exalted one"), Joah ("Yahweh is brother"), Ahab ("father’s brother"). At the beginning of a word, however, the modified forms ‘abhi and ‘achi are the ones commonly used, e.g. Ahimelech ("king’s brother") and Abimelech (by the same analogy "king’s father").

These forms have characteristics which complicate the question of their use in proper names. Especially since the publication in 1896 of Studies in Hebrew Proper Names, by G. Buchanan Gray, the attention of scholars has been called to this matter, without the reaching of any perfect consensus of opinion.

The word ‘abhi may be a nominative with an archaic ending ("father"), or in the construct state ("father- of"), or the form with the suffix ("my father"). Hence a proper name constructed with it may supposedly be either a clause or a sentence; if it is a sentence, either of the two words may be either subject or predicate. That is to say, the name Abimelech may supposedly mean either "father of a king," or "a king is father," or "a father is king," or "my father is king," or "a king is my father." Further, the clause "father of a king" may have as many variations of meaning as there are varieties of the grammatical genitive. Further still, it is claimed that either the word father or the word king may, in a name, be a designation of a deity. This gives a very large number of supposable meanings from which, in any case, to select the intended meaning.

The older scholarship regarded all these names as construct clauses. For example, Abidan is "father of a judge." It explained different instances as being different varieties of the genitive construction; for instance, Abihail, "father of might," means mighty father. The woman’s name Abigail, "father of exultation," denotes one whose father is exultant. Abishai, "father of Jesse," denotes one to whom Jesse is father, and so with Abihud, "father of Judah," Abiel, "father of God," Abijah, "father of Yahweh." See the cases in detail in Gesenius’ Lexicon.

The more recent scholarship regards most or all of the instances as sentences. In some cases it regards the second element in a name as a verb or adjective instead of a noun; but that is not important, inasmuch as in Hebrew the genitive construction might persist, even with the verb or adjective. But in the five instances last given the explanation, "my father is exultation," "is Jesse," "is Judah," "is God," "is Yahweh," certainly gives the meaning in a more natural way than by explaining these names as construct clauses.

There is sharp conflict over the question whether we ought to regard the suffix pronoun as present in these names—whether the five instances should not rather be translated Yahweh is father, God is father, Judah is father, Jesse is father, exultation is father. The question is raised whether the same rule prevails when the second word is a name or a designation of Deity as prevails in other cases. Should we explain one instance as meaning "my father is Jesse," and another as "God is father"?

A satisfactory discussion of this is possible only under a comprehensive study of Bible names. The argument is more or less complicated by the fact that each scholar looks to see what bearing it may have on the critical theories he holds. In the Hebrew Lexicon of Dr. Francis Brown the explanations exclude the construct theory; in most of the instances they treat a name as a sentence with "my father" as the subject; when the second part of the name is a designation of Deity they commonly make that the subject, and either exclude the pronoun or give it as an alternative. For most persons the safe method is to remember that the final decision is not yet reached, and to consider each name by itself, counting the explanation of it an open question.


The investigations concerning Semitic proper names, both in and out of the Bible, have interesting theological bearings. It has always been recognized that words for father and brother, when combined in proper names with Yah, Yahu, El, Baal, or other proper names of a Deity, indicated some relation of the person named, or of his tribe, with the Deity. It is now held, though with many differences of opinion, that in the forming of proper names many other words, e.g. the words for king, lord, strength, beauty, and others, are also used as designations of Deity or of some particular Deity; and that the words father, brother, and the like may have the same use. To a certain extent the proper names are so many propositions in theology. It is technically possible to go very far in inferring that the people who formed such names thought of Deity or of some particular Deity as the father, the kinsman, the ruler, the champion, the strength, the glory of the tribe or of the individual. In particular one might infer the existence of a widely diffused doctrine of the fatherhood of God. It is doubtless superfluous to add that at present one ought to be very cautious in drawing or accepting inferences in this part of the field of human study.

Willis J. Beecher


ab-i-al’-bon, abi-al’-bon (’abhi ‘alebhon, meaning not known. Gesenius infers from the Arabic a stem which would give the meaning "father of strength," and this is at worst not quite so groundless as the conjectures which explain ‘alebhon as a textual misreading for ‘el or ba‘al): Abi-albon the Arbathite was one of David’s listed heroes (2Sa 23:31), called Abiel the Arbathite in 1Ch 11:32. Presumably he was from Beth- arabah (Jos 15:6,61, 18:22).


a-bi’-a, a-bi’-ah: Variants for ABIJAH; which see.


a-bi’-a-saf, ab-i-a’-saf (’abhi-’acaph, "my father has gathered"): A descendant of Kohath the son of Levi (Ex 6:24; 1Ch 6:23,37 (1Ch 8,22); 1Ch 9:19). In Chronicles the name is ‘ebh-yacaph, which seems to be a mere variant spelling. The Samaritan version has the same form in Exodus. The list in Exodus terminates with Abiasaph, who is to be regarded as the contemporary of Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron. The two lists in 1Ch 6 lead up to the prophet Samuel and the singing companies which David is said to have organized. The list in 1Ch 9$ leads up to the Korahite porters of the time of Nehemiah. Apparently all the lists intentionally omit names, just names enough being given in each to indicate the line. Willis J. Beecher


a-bi’-a-thar, ab-i-a’-thar (’ebhyathar, "father of super-excellence," or, "the super-excellent one is father." With changed phraseology these are the explanations commonly given, though "a father remains" would be more in accord with the ordinary use of the stem yathar. The pious Abiathar was still conscious that he had a Father, even after the butchery of his human relatives):

1. The Biblical Account:

The Scriptures represent that Abiathar was descended from Phinehas the son of Eli, and through him from Ithamar the son of Aaron; that he was the son of Ahimelech the head priest at Nob who, with his associates, was put to death by King Saul for alleged conspiracy with David; that he had two sons, Ahimelech and Jonathan, the former of whom was, in Abiathar’s lifetime, prominent in the priestly service (1Sa 21:1-9; 22:7 ff; 2Sa 8:17; 15:27 ff; 1Ch 18:16; 24:3,6,31).


Abiathar escaped from the massacre of the priests at Nob, and fled to David, carrying the ephod with him. This was a great accession to David’s strength. Public feeling in Israel was outraged by the slaughter of the priests, and turned strongly against Saul. The heir of the priesthood, and in his care the holy ephod, were now with David, and the fact gave to his cause prestige, and a certain character of legitimacy. David also felt bitterly his having been the unwilling cause of the death of Abiathar’s relatives, and this made his heart warm toward his friend. Presumably, also, there was a deep religious sympathy between them.

Abiathar seems to have been at once recognized as David’s priest, the medium of consultation with Yahweh through the ephod (1Sa 22:20-23; 23:6,9; 30:7,8). He was at the head of the priesthood, along with Zadok (1Ch 15:11), when David, after his conquests (1Ch 13:5; compare 2Sa 6$), brought the ark to Jerusalem. The two men are mentioned together as high priests eight times in the narrative of the rebellion of Absalom (2Sa 15:24 ff), and are so mentioned in the last list of David’s heads of departments (2Sa 20:25). Abiathar joined with Adonijah in his attempt to seize the throne (1Ki 1:7-42), and was for this deposed from the priesthood, though he was treated with consideration on account of his early comradeship with David (1Ki 2:26,27). Possibly he remained high priest emeritus, as Zadok and Abiathar still appear as priests in the lists of the heads of departments for Solomon’s reign (1Ki 4:4). Particularly apt is the passage in Ps 55:12-14, if one regards it as referring to the relations of David and Abiathar in the time of Adonijah.

There are two additional facts which, in view of the close relations between David and Abiathar, must be regarded as significant. One is that Zadok, Abiathar’s junior, is uniformly mentioned first, in all the many passages in which the two are mentioned together, and is treated as the one who is especially responsible. Turn to the narrative, and see how marked this is. The other similarly significant fact is that in certain especially responsible matters (1Ch 24; 18:16; 2Sa 8:17) the interests of the line of Ithamar are represented, not by Abiathar, but by his son Ahimelech. There must have been something in the character of Abiathar to account for these facts, as well as for his deserting David for Adonijah. To sketch his character might be a work for the imagination rather than for critical inference; but it seems clear that though he was a man worthy of the friendship of David, he yet had weaknesses or misfortunes that partially incapacitated him.

The characteristic priestly function of Abiathar is thus expressed by Solomon: "Because thou barest the ark of the Lord Yahweh before David my father" (1Ki 2:26). By its tense the verb denotes not a habitual act, but the function of ark-bearing, taken as a whole. Zadok and Abiathar, as high priests, had charge of the bringing of the ark to Jerusalem (1Ch 15:11). We are not told whether it was again moved during the reign of David. Necessarily the priestly superintendence of the ark implies that of the sacrifices and services that were connected with the ark. The details in Kings indicate the existence of much of the ceremonial described in the Pentateuch, while numerous additional Pentateuchal details are mentioned in Ch.

A priestly function much emphasized is that of obtaining answers from God through the ephod (1Sa 23:6,9; 30:7). The word ephod (see 1Sa 2:18; 2Sa 6:14) does not necessarily denote the priestly vestment with the Urim and Thummim (e.g. Le 8:7,8), but if anyone denies that this was the ephod of the priest Abiathar, the burden of proof rests upon him. This is not the place for inquiring as to the method of obtaining divine revelations through the ephod.

Abiathar’s landed estate was at Anathoth in Benjamin (1Ki 2:26), one of the cities assigned to the sons of Aaron (Jos 21:18).

Apart from the men who are expressly said to be descendants of Aaron, this part of the narrative mentions priests three times. David’s sons were priests (2Sa 8:18). This is of a piece with David’s carrying the ark on a new cart (2Sa 6), before he had been taught by the death of Uzza. "And also Ira the Jairite was priest to the king" (2Sa 20:26 the English Revised Version). "And Zabud the son of Nathan was priest, friend of the king" (1Ki 4:5 the English Revised Version). These instances seem to indicate that David and Solomon had each a private chaplain. As to the descent and function of these two "priests" we have not a word of information, and it is illegitimate to imagine details concerning them which bring them into conflict with the rest of the record.

2. Critical Opinions Concerning Abiathar:

No one will dispute that the account thus far given is that of the Bible record as it stands. Critics of certain schools, however, do not accept the facts as thus recorded. If a person is committed to the tradition that the Deuteronomic and the priestly ideas of the Pentateuch first originated some centuries later than Abiathar, and if he makes that tradition the standard by which to test his critical conclusions, he must of course regard the Biblical account of Abiathar as unhistorical. Either the record disproves the tradition or the tradition disproves the record. There is no third alternative. The men who accept the current critical theories understand this, and they have two ways of defending theories against the record. In some instances they use devices for discrediting the record; in other instances they resort to harmonizing hypotheses, changing the record so as to make it agree with theory. Without here discussing these matters, we must barely note some of their bearings in the case of Abiathar.

For example, to get rid of the testimony of Jesus (Mr 2:26) to the effect that Abiathar was high priest and that the sanctuary at Nob was "the house of God," it is affirmed that either Jesus or the evangelist is here mistaken. The proof alleged for this is that Abiathar’s service as priest did not begin till at least a few days later than the incident referred to. This is merely finical, though it is an argument that is sometimes used by some scholars.

Men affirm that the statements of the record as to the descent of the line of Eli from Ithamar are untrue; that on the contrary we must conjecture that Abiathar claimed descent from Eleazar, his line being the alleged senior line of that family; that the senior line became extinct at his death, Zadok being of a junior line, if indeed he inherited any of the blood of Aaron. In making such affirmations as these, men deny the Bible statements as resting on insufficient evidence, and substitute for them other statements which, confessedly, rest on no evidence at all.

All such procedure is incorrect. Many are suspicious of statements found in the Books of Chronicles; that gives them no right to use their suspicions as if they were perceptions of fact. Supposably one may think the record unsatisfactory, and may be within his rights in thinking so, but that does not authorize him to change the record except on the basis of evidence of some kind. If we treat the record of the times of Abiathar as fairness demands that a record be treated in a court of justice, or a scientific investigation, or a business proposition, or a medical case, we will accept the facts substantially as they are found in Samuel and Kings and Chronicles and Mk.

Willis J. Beecher


a’-bib (’abhibh, young ear of barley or other grain, Ex 9:31; Le 2:14): The first month of the Israelite year, called Nisan in Ne 2:1; Es 3:7, is Abib in Ex 13:4; 23:15; 34:18; compare De 16:1. Abib is not properly a name of a month, but part of a descriptive phrase, "the month of young ears of grain." This may indicate the Israelite way of determining the new year (Ex 12:2), the year beginning with the new moon nearest or next preceding this stage of the growth of the barley. The year thus indicated was practically the same with the old Babylonian year, and presumably came in with Abraham. The Pentateuchal laws do not introduce it, though they define it, perhaps to distinguish it from the Egyptian wandering year.


Willis J. Beecher


a-bi’-da (’abhidha‘, "father of knowledge," or "my father knows"): A son of Midian and grandson of Abraham and Keturah (Ge 25:4; 1Ch 1:33). Abidah in the King James Version in Gen.


a-bi’-dah: Used in the King James Version in Ge 25:4 for ABIDA, which see.


a-bi’-dan (’abhidhan, "father is judge"): Abidan, son of Gideoni, was a "prince" of the children of Benjamin (Nu 2:22; 10:24). He was chosen to represent his tribe at the census in the wilderness of Sinai (Nu 1:11). When, on the erection, anointing and sanctification of the Tabernacle, the heads of Israel offered, Abidan offered on the ninth day (Nu 7:60,65).


a-bid’:Old English word signifying progressively to "await," "remain," "lodge," "sojourn," "dwell," "continue," "endure"; represented richly in Old Testament (King James Version) by 12 Hebrew and in New Testament by as many Greek words. In the Revised Version (British and American) displaced often by words meaning "to sojourn," "dwell," "encamp." The Hebrew and Greek originals in most frequent use are yashabh, "to dwell"; meno, "to remain." "Abide (sit or tarry) ye here" (Ge 22:5); "The earth abide (continueth) forever" (Ec 1:4); "Who can abide (bear or endure) the day?" (Mal 3:2); "Afflictions abide (await) me" (Ac 20:23). The past tense abode, in frequent use, has the same meaning. "His bow abide (remained) in strength" (Ge 49:24); "There he abide" (dwelt) (Joh 10:40).

Abode, as a noun (Greek mone) twice in New Testament: "make our abide with him" (Joh 14:23); "mansions," the Revised Version, margin "abiding-places" (Joh 14:2). The soul of the true disciple and heaven are dwelling-places of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Dwight M. Pratt


a’-bi-el, ab’-yel, a-bi’-el (’abhi’el, "my father is God," or "God is father"):

(1) A descendant of Benjamin the son of Jacob. Father of Kish the father of King Saul, and also, apparently, the father of Ner the father of Saul’s general, Abner (1Sa 9:1; 14:51).

(2) One of David’s mighty men (1Ch 11:32), called ABI-ALBON, which see, in 2Sa 23:31.


ab-i-e’-zer, a-bi-e’-zer (’abhi‘ezer, "father of help," or "my father is help." Iezer, Iezerite (in the King James Version Jeezer, Jeezerite), is Abiezer with the letter beth omitted):

(1) A descendant of Joseph the son of Jacob, and head of one of the families of Manasseh that settled West of the Jordan (Nu 26:30; Jos 17:1-6; 1Ch 7:14-19). As he was great uncle to Zelophehad’s daughters, who brought a case before Moses (Nu 36), he must have been an old man at the time of the conquest. He was the son of Gilead the son of Machir, in the sense of being a more remote descendant, for Machir had sons before the death of Joseph (Ge 50:23). The Machir that possessed Gilead and Bashan because he was "a man of war" was the Manassite family of Machir, with Jair as its great general (Jos 17:1; 13:30,31, Nu 32:39-41, De 3:12-15). To Abiezer and other sons of Gilead territory was assigned West of the Jordan.

In later generations the name survived as that of the family to which Gideon belonged, and perhaps also of the region which they occupied (Jud 6:34; 8:2). They are also called Abiezrites (Jud 6:11,24, 8:32). The region was West of Shechem, with Ophrah for its principal city.

(2) One of David’s mighty men, "the Anathothite" (2Sa 23:27; 1Ch 11:28), who was also one of David s month-by-month captains, his month being the ninth (1Ch 27:12).

Willis J. Beecher


ab-i-ez’-rit, a-bi-ez’-rit: The Gentile adjective of ABIEZER, which see.


ab’-i-gal, ab’-i-gal (’abhighayil, or ‘abhighal, three times, or ‘abhughayil, once, or ‘abhighayil, once; "father," or "cause of joy"):

(1) The wife of Nabal, a rich shepherd of southern Judea, whose home was Maon (1Sa 25:2,3); shortly after Nabal’s death she became the wife of David. Nabal grazed his flocks in or along the Southern Wilderness, where David and his men protected them from marauding tribes, so that not a sheep was lost. When Nabal was sheep-shearing and feasting at Carmel (in Judea), David sent messengers requesting provisions for himself and men. But Nabal, who was a churlish fellow, answered the messengers insultingly and sent them away empty-handed. David, angered by such mean ingratitude, gathered his 400 warriors and set out to destroy Nabal and all he had (1Sa 25:22). Meanwhile Abigail, a woman "of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance" (1Sa 25:3), heard of the rebuff given the men of David by her husband; and fearing what vengeance David in his wrath might work, she gathered a considerable present of food (1Sa 25:18), and hastened to meet the approaching soldiers. Her beautiful and prudent words, as also her fair face, so won David that he desisted from his vengeful purpose and accepted her gift (1Sa 25:32-35). When Abigail told Nabal of his narrow escape, he was stricken with fear, and died ten days afterward. Shortly after this David took Abigail to be his wife, although about the same time, probably a little before, he had also taken Ahinoam (1Sa 25:43); and these two were with him in Gath (1Sa 27:3). After David became king in Hebron, Abigail bore him his second son, Chileab (2Sa 3:3) or Daniel, as he is called in 1Ch 3:1.

(2) Sister of David and mother of Amasa, at one time commander of David’s army (1Ch 2:16,17; Abigal 2Sa 17:25). In the first passage she is called David’s sister, along with Zeruiah; while in the second she is called the "daughter of Nahash." Several explanations of this connection with Nahash have been suggested, any one of which would be sufficient to remove contradiction:

(1) That Nahash was another name of Jesse, as in Isa 14:29, mish-shoresh nachash yetse’ (Qimchi);

(2) That Nahash was the wife of Jesse and by him mother of Abigail, which is least probable;

(3) That Nahash, the father of Abigail and Zeruiah, having died, his widow became the wife of Jesse, and bore sons to him;

(4) That the text of 2Sa 17:25 has been corrupted, "daughter of Nahash" having crept into the text. At all events she was the sister of David by the same mother.

Edward Mack


ab’-i-hal (’abhichayil; in some manuscripts ‘abhihayil, when feminine, but best reading is the former: "father, or cause, of strength"): Five persons in the Old Testament are called by this name:

(1) A Levite and the father of Zuriel, who in the Wilderness was head of the house of Merari, Levi’s youngest son (Nu 3:35);

(2) The wife of Abishur, a man of the tribe of Judah, in the line of Hazron and Jerahmeel (1Ch 2:29);

(3) One of the heads of the tribe of Gad, who dwelt in Gilead of Bashan (1Ch 5:14);

(4) Either a wife of Rehoboam, king of Judah, or mother of his wife Mahalath, according to the interpretation of the text (2Ch 11:18); probably the latter view is correct, since there is no conjunction in the text, and since (2Ch 11:19) contemplates only one wife as already mentioned. This being true, she was the wife of Jerimath, a son of David, and daughter of Eliab, David’s eldest brother. It is interesting to note this frequent intermarriage in the Davidic house;

(5) Father of Queen Esther, who became wife of Xerxes (Biblical Ahasuerus) king of Persia, after the removal of the former queen, Vashti, (Es 2:15; 9:29). He was uncle of Mordecai.

Edward Mack


a-bi’-hu (’abhihu’," father he is," or "my father he is"): Second son of Aaron, the high priest (Ex 6:23). With his older brother Nadab he "died before Yahweh," when the two "offered strange fire" (Le 10:1,2).

It may be inferred from the emphatic prohibition of wine or strong drink, laid upon the priests immediately after this tragedy, that the two brothers were going to their priestly functions in an intoxicated condition (Le 10:8-11). Their death is mentioned three times in subsequent records (Nu 3:4; 26:61; 1Ch 24:2).


a-bi’-hud (’abhihudh, "father of majesty," or "my father is majesty," though some regard the second part as the proper name Judah): The son of Bela the oldest son of Benjamin (1Ch 8:3).


a-bi’-ja (’abhiyah or ‘abhiyahu (2Ch 13:20,21), "my father is Yahweh," or "Yahweh is father"): The name of six or more men and two women in the Old Testament.

(1) The seventh son of Becher the son of Benjamin (1Ch 7:8).

(2) The second son of the prophet Samuel (1Sa 8:2; 1Ch 6:28 (6:13)).

(3) The eighth among "the holy captains and captains of God" appointed by lot by David in connection with the priestly courses (1Ch 24:10). Compare "Zacharias of the course of Abijah" (Lu 1:5).

(4) A son of Jeroboam I of Israel (1Ki 14:1-18). The narrative describes his sickness and his mother’s visit to the prophet Ahijah. He is spoken of as the one member of the house of Jeroboam in whom there was "found some good thing toward Yahweh." With his death the hope of the dynasty perished.

(5) The son and successor of Rehoboam king of Judah (1Ch 3:10; 2Ch 11:20-14:1). As to the variant name Abijam (1Ki 14:31; 15:1,7,8) see ABIJAM.

The statements concerning Abijah’s mother afford great opportunity for a person who is interested in finding discrepancies in the Bible narrative. She is said to have been Maacah the daughter of Absalom (1Ki 15:2; 2Ch 11:20,21,22). As more than 50 years elapsed between the adolescence of Absalom and the accession of Rehoboam, the suggestion at once emerges that she may have been Absalom’s daughter in the sense of being his granddaughter. But Maacha the daughter of Absalom was the mother of Asa, Abijam’s son and successor (1Ki 15:10,13; 2Ch 15:16). Further we are explicitly told that Absalom had three sons and one daughter (2Sa 14:27). It is inferred that the three sons died young, inasmuch as Absalom before his death built him a monument because he had no son (2Sa 18:18). The daughter was distinguished for her beauty, but her name was Tamar, not Maacah. Finally, the narrative tells us that the name of Abijah’s mother was "Micaiah the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah" (2Ch 13:2).

It is less difficult to combine all these statements into a consistent account than it would be to combine some pairs of them if taken by themselves. When all put together they make a luminous narrative, needing no help from conjectural theories of discrepant sources or textual errors. It is natural to understand that Tamar the daughter of Absalom married Uriel of Gibeah; that their daughter was Maacah, named for her great-grandmother (2Sa 3:3; 1Ch 3:2); that Micaiah is a variant of Maacah, as Abijah is of Abijam. Maacah married Rehoboam, the parties being second cousins on the father’s side; if they had been first cousins perhaps they would not have married. Very likely Solomon, through the marriage, hoped to conciliate an influential party in Israel which still held the name of Absalom in esteem; perhaps also he hoped to supplement the moderate abilities of Rehoboam by the great abilities of his wife. She was a brilliant woman, and Rehoboam’s favorite (2Ch 11:21). On Abijah’s accession she held at court the influential position of king’s mother; and she was so strong that she continued to hold it, when, after a brief reign, Abijah was succeeded by Asa; though it was a position from which Asa had the authority to depose her (1Ki 15:13; 2Ch 15:16).

The account in Chronicles deals mainly with a decisive victory which, it says, Abijah gained over northern Israel (2Ch 13), he having 400,000 men and Jeroboam 800,000, of whom 500,000 were slain. It is clear that these numbers are artificial, and were so intended, whatever may be the key to their meaning. Abijah’s speech before the battle presents the same view of the religious situation which is presented in Kings and Amos and Hosea, though with fuller priestly details. The orthodoxy of Abijah on this one occasion is not in conflict with the representation in Kings that he followed mainly the evil ways of his father Rehoboam. In Chronicles coarse luxury and the multiplying of wives are attributed to both father and son.

(6) A priest of Nehemiah’s time, who sealed the covenant (Ne 10:7). Conjecturally the same with the one mentioned in Ne 12:4,17.

(7) The wife of Judah’s grandson Hezron, to whom was traced the origin of Tekoa (1Ch 2:24).

(8) The mother of King Hezekiah (2Ch 29:1), called Abi in 2 Ki. See ABI.

Willis J. Beecher


a-bi’-jam (’abhiyam, "father of sea," or, "father of west"). The name given in Kings (1Ki 14:31; 15:1,7,8) to the son of Rehoboam who succeeded him as king of Judah. See ABIJAH.

The name has puzzled scholars. Some have proposed, by adding one letter, to change it into "father of his people." Others have observed that the Greek rendering in Kings is Abeiou. Either the Hebrew copy used by the Greek translator read ‘abhiyahu, Abijah, or else the translator substituted the form of the name which was to him more familiar. A few existing copies of the Hebrew have the reading Abijah, and Mt 1:7 presupposes that as the Old Testament reading. So they infer that Abijam in Ki is an erroneous reading for Abijah. This seems at present to be the prevailing view, and it is plausible. It would be more convincing, however, if the name occurred but once in the passage in Kings, instead of occurring five times. It is improbable that a scribe would repeat the same error five times within a few sentences, while a translator, if he changed the name once, would of course change it the other four times.

Exploration has revealed the fact that the whole region near the eastern end of the Mediterranean was known as "the west." "Father of the west" is not an inapt name for Rehoboam to give to the boy who, he expects, will inherit the kingdom of Solomon and David. The effect of the secession of the ten tribes was to make that name a burlesque, and one does not wonder that it was superseded by Abijah, "My father is Yahweh."

Willis J. Beecher


ab’-i-la. See ABILENE.


a-bi-le’-ne (Abeilene, Codex Alexandrinus and Codex Vaticanus; Abilene, Codex Sinaiticus): Mentioned in Lu 3:1 as the tetrarchy of Lysanias at the time when John the Baptist began his ministry. The district derived its name from Abila, its chief town, which was situated, according to the Itinerarium Antonini, 18 Roman miles from Damascus on the way to Heliopolis (Baalbec). This places it in the neighborhood of the village of Suk Wady Barada (see ABANAH), near which there are considerable ancient remains, with an inscription in Greek stating that a "freedman of Lysanias the tetrarch" made wall and built a temple, and another in Latin recording the repair of the road "at the expense of the Abilenians." The memory of the ancient name probably survives in the Moslem legend which places the tomb of Abel in a neighboring height where there are ruins of a temple. Josephus calls this Abila, he Lusaniou, literally, "the Abilene of Lysanius," thus distinguishing it from other towns of the same name, and as late as the time of Ptolemy (circa 170 AD) the name of Lysanias was associated with it.

The territory of Abilene was part of the Iturean Kingdom, which was broken up when its king, Lysanias, was put to death by M. Antonius, circa 35 BC. The circumstances in which Abilene became distinct tetrarchy are altogether obscure, and nothing further is known of the tetrarch Lysanias (Ant., XIX, v, 1; XX, ii, 1). In 37 AD the tetrarchy, along with other territories, was granted to Agrippa I, after whose death in 44 AD it was administered by procurators until 53 AD, when Claudius conferred it again, along with neighboring territories, upon Agrippa II. On Agrippa’s death, toward the close of the 1st century, his kingdom was incorporated in the province of Syria. See LYSANIAS.

C. H. Thomson


a-bil’-i-ti (dunamis, or ischus): Variously used of resources, material, mental and spiritual; e.g. of wealth, "gave after their ability" (Ezr 2:69); of mental endowment, "ability to stand in the king’s palace" (Da 1:4); of talents and character, "several ability" (Mt 25:15); of spiritual strength, "minister, as of the ability which God giveth" (the King James Version 1Pe 4:11). It thus may signify either possessions, native capacity, or gifts of the Holy Spirit.


a-bim’-a-el, ab-i-ma’-el (’abhima’el, "my father is God," or "God is father"): The ninth of the thirteen sons of Joktan, who was descendant of Shem, and son of Eber, and brother of Peleg in whose days the earth was divided (Ge 10:25-29; 1Ch 1:19-23). Like some of the other names in this list, the name is linguistically south Arabian, and the tribes indicated are south Arabians. On the Arabic elements in Hebrew proper names see Halevy, Melanges d’epigraphie et d’archeologie semitiques; ZDMG, especially early in 1883; D. H. Muller, Epigraphie Denkmaler aus Arabien; Glaser, Skizze der Gesch. und Geog. Arabiens; and by index Hommel, Ancient Hebrew Tradition; and Gray, Hebrew Proper Names; and F. Giesebrecht, Die alttestamentliche Schatzung des Gottesnamens.

Willis J. Beecher


a-bim’-e-lek (’abhimelekh, "father of a king"): A name borne by five Old Testament persons.

(1) The name of two kings of Philistia; the first was a contemporary of Abraham, the second, probably son of the former, was king in the days of Isaac. It is quite possible that Abimelech was the royal title rather than the personal name, since in the title of Ps 34 we find it applied to the king of Gath, elsewhere known by his personal name, Achish (1Sa 27:2,3). Shortly after the destruction of Sodom Abraham journeyed with his herds and flocks into the extreme Southeast country of Palestine (Ge 20). While sojourning at Gerar, the city of Abimelech, king of the Philistine country, he made believe that Sarah was his sister (Ge 20:2), and Abimelech took her, intending to make her one of his wives. But God rebuked him in a dream, besides sending barrenness on the women of his household (Ge 20:3,17). After Abimelech had reproved Abraham most justly for the deception, he dealt generously with him, loading him with presents and granting him the liberty of the land (Ge 20:14,15). When contention had arisen between the servants of the two men over the wells of water the two men made a covenant at a well, which took its name, Beersheba, from this fact of covenantmaking (Ge 21:31,32).

(2) Nearly a century later than the events connected with the first Abimelech, as outlined above, a second Abimelech, king of the Philistines, is mentioned in relations with Isaac (Ge 26), who in time of grievous famine went down from his home, probably at Hebron, to Gerar. Fearing for his life because of his beautiful wife, Rebekah, he called her his sister, just as Abraham had done with reference to Sarah. Neither Abimelech nor any of his people took Rebekah to wife—quite a variation from the Abrahamic incident; but when the falsehood was detected, he upbraided Isaac for what might have happened, continuing nevertheless to treat him most graciously. Isaac continued to dwell in the vicinity of Gerar, until contention between his herdsmen and those of Abimelech became too violent; then he moved away by stages, reopening the wells digged (dug) by his father (Ge 26:18-22). Finally, a covenant was made between Abimelech and Isaac at Beersheba, just , as had been made between Abraham and the first Abimelech (Ge 26:26-33). The two kings of Philistia were probably father and son.

(3) The title of Ps 34 mentions another Abimelech, who in all probability is the same as Achish king of Gath (1Sa 21:10-22:1); with whom David sought refuge when fleeing from Saul, and with whom he was dwelling at the time of the Philistine invasion of Israel, which cost Saul his kingdom and his life (1Sa 27). It appears from this that Abimelech was the royal title, and not the personal name of the Philistine kings.

(4) A son of Gideon (Jud 9) who aspired to be king after the death of his father, and did rule three years (Jud 9:22). He first won the support of the members of his mother’s family and their recommendation of himself to all Israel (Jud 9:3,4). He then murdered all the sons of his father, seventy in number, at Ophrah, the family home in the tribe of Manasseh, Jotham the youngest son alone escaping (Jud 9:5). After this Abimelech was made ruler by an assembly of the people at Shechem. An insurrection led by Gaal the son of Ebed having broken out in Shechem, Abimelech, although he succeeded in capturing that city, was wounded to death by a mill-stone, which a woman dropped from the wall upon his head, while he was storming the citadel of Thebez, into which the defeated rebels had retreated, after that city also had been taken (Jud 9:50-53). Finding that he was mortally wounded and in order to avoid the shame of death at a woman’s hand, he required his armor-bearer to kill him with his sword (Jud 9:54). His cruel treatment of the Shechemites (Jud 9:46-49), when they took refuge from him in their strong tower, was a just judgment for their acquiescence in his crimes (Jud 9:20,57); while his own miserable death was retribution for his bloody deeds (Jud 9:56).

(5) A priest in the days of David; a descendant of Ithamar and Eli, and son of Abiathar (1Ch 18:16). In the Septuagint and in 1Ch 24 he is called Ahimelech; but is not to be confused with Ahimelech, the father of Abiathar, and therefore his grandfather. He shared with Zadok, of the line of Ithamar, the priestly office in the reign of David (1Ch 24:31).

Edward Mack


a-bin’-a-dab (’abhinadhabh, "father of willingness," or, "my father is willing." This is according to the ordinary usage of the second word in the name—"willing" rather than "munificent" or "noble"):

(1) The man in whose house the men of Kiriath-jearim placed the ark, after its return from the land of the Philistines, his house being either in Gibeah of Benjamin or "in the hill" (1Sa 7:1; 2Sa 6:3,4). To account for the ambiguity note that gibh‘ah means hill, and that the place-name Gibeah ordinarily has the definite article. It is natural to think that Abinadab was himself a man of Kiriath-jearim, though the account does not explicitly say so. The record is that the men of Kiriath-jearim were summoned to take charge of the ark at a time when no one else dared to have it (1Sa 6:20,21); and the implication seems to be that they had no option to refuse. Possibly this was due to their being Gibeonites, and hereditary "bondmen" of "the house of my God" (Jos 9:17,23). However this may be, they "sanctified" Abinadab’s son Eleazar to have charge of the ark. According to the Hebrew and some of the Greek copies, the ark was in Gibeah in the middle of the reign of King Saul (1Sa 14:18).

About a century later, according to the Bible numbers, David went with great pomp to Kiriath-jearim, otherwise known as Baalah or Baale-judah, to bring the ark from Kiriath-jearim, out of the house of Abinadab in the hill (or, in Gibeah), and place it in Jerusalem (1Ch 13; 2Sa 6). The new cart was driven by two descendants of Abinadab. There may or may not have been another Abinadab then living, the head of the house.

(2) The second of the eight sons of Jesse, one of the three who were in Saul’s army when Goliath gave his challenge (1Sa 16:8; 17:13; 1Ch 2:13).

(3) One of the sons of King Saul (1Ch 8:33; 9:39; 10:2; 1Sa 31:2). He died in the battle of Gilboa, along with his father and brothers.

(4) In 1Ki 4:11 the King James Version has "the son of Abinadab," where the Revised Version (British and American) has BEN-ABINADAB, which see.

Willis J. Beecher


a-bin’-o-am, ab-i-no’-am (’abhino‘am, "father of pleasantness," or, "my father is pleasantness"): A man of Kedesh-naphtali, the father of Barak who defeated the army of Jabin and Sisera (Jud 4:6,12; 5:1,12).


a-bi’-ram (’abhiram, "exalted father," or, "my father is an exalted one"):

(1) The son of Eliab the son of Pallu the son of Reuben (Nu 26:5 ff; De 11:6). In company with his brother Dathan and Korah the Levite and others, he disputed the authority of Moses and Aaron in the wilderness (Nu 16-17; 26; De 11:6; Ps 106:17). Two hundred and fifty followers of Korah perished by fire at the doorway of the tent of meeting. Dathan and Abiram refused to come to the tent of meeting, at the summons of Moses; and the earth opened where their tents were, and swallowed them and their families and their goods. See KORAH.

(2) The firstborn son of Hiel the Bethelite, who rebuilt Jericho in the time of Ahab (1Ki 16:34; compare Jos 6:26). This incident has recently acquired a new interest owing to discoveries made at Gezer and Megiddo concerning foundation sacrifices as in ancient times offered in Palestine. One should not be too positive in making statements concerning this, but the following is a possible interpretation of the record. The curse pronounced by Joshua on the man who should rebuild Jericho was of a piece with the other details, Jericho being treated exceptionally, as a city placed under the ban. The language of Joshua’s curse is capable of being translated: ‘Cursed be the man before Yahweh who shall .... build .... Jericho; (who) shall lay its foundation in his firstborn, and set up its gates in his youngest.’ According to this interpretation the death of the builder’s eldest and youngest sons is not spoken of as the penalty involved in the curse, but as an existing horrible custom, mentioned in order to give solemnity to the diction of the curse. The writer in Kings cites the language of the curse by Joshua. The context in which he mentions the affair suggests that he regards Hiel’s conduct as exceptionally flagrant in its wickedness. Hiel, in defiance of Yahweh, not only built the city, but in building it revived the horrible old Canaanite custom, making his first-born son a foundation sacrifice, and his youngest son a sacrifice at the completion of the work.

Willis J. Beecher


a-bi’-ron (Abeiron):

(1) The Septuagint form (Ecclesiasticus 45:18 the King James Version) of Abiram, one of the sons of Eliab, who, with his brother Dathan, and with one of the same tribe, joined the conspiracy against Moses and Aaron (Nu 16:1,12,24,25,27; 26:9; De 11:6; Ps 106:17).

(2) The eldest son of Hiel, the Bethelite, who died prematurely, thus fulfilling the doom pronounced on the posterity of him who should undertake to rebuild Jericho (1Ki 16:34). See ABIRAM.


ab-i-se’-i. See ABISSEI.


ab’-i-shag, a-bi’-shag (’abhishagh, apparently, "father of wandering," that is, "cause of wandering," or "my father wanders"): The Shunammite woman who became nurse to King David (1Ki 1-4,15; 2:17,21,22). She was chosen for the service with great care on account of her youth and beauty and physical vigor. She ministered to the king, that is, waited on him as personal attendant and nurse. She also "cherished" him in his feebleness—gave to him through physical contact the advantage of her superabundant vitality. This was a mode of medical treatment recommended by the servants of the king, and it appears to have been not wholly unsuccessful. She had an intimate knowledge of the condition of David, and was present at the interview of Bathsheba with David which resulted in the placing of Solomon on the throne. If that act had been questioned she would have been a most important witness. By reason of this and of her personal charms, she might become a strong helper to any rival of Solomon who should intrigue to supplant him. Adonijah sought Abishag in marriage. On the basis of this and of such other evidence as may supposably have been in his possession, Solomon put Adonijah to death as an intriguer.

Willis J. Beecher


ab’-i-shi, a-bi’-shi (’abhishai, in Ch ‘abhshai; meaning is doubtful, probably "my father is Jesse," BDB): Son of Zeruiah, David’s sister, and one of the three famous brothers, of whom Joab and Asahel were the other two (2Sa 2:18). He was chief of the second group of three among David’s "mighty men" (2Sa 23:18).

He first appears with David, who was in the Wilderness of Ziph, to escape Saul. When David called for a volunteer to go down into Saul’s camp by night, Abishai responded, and counseled the killing of Saul when they came upon the sleeping king (1Sa 26:6-9). In the skirmish between the men of Ishbosheth and the men of David at Gibeon, in which Asahel was killed by Abner, Abishai was present (2Sa 2:18,24). He was with and aided Joab in the cruel and indefensible murder of Abner, in revenge for their brother Asahel (2Sa 3:30).

In David’s campaign against the allied Ammonites and Syrians, Abishai led the attack upon the Ammonites, while Joab met the Syrians; the battle was a great victory for Israel (2Sa 10:10-14). He was always faithful to David, and remained with him, as he fled from Absalom. When Shimei, of the house of Saul, cursed the fleeing king, Abishai characteristically wished to kill him at once (2Sa 16:8,9); and when the king returned victorious Abishai advised the rejection of Shimei’s penitence, and his immediate execution (2Sa 19:21).

In the battle with Absalom’s army at Mahanaim Abishai led one division of David’s army, Joab and Ittai commanding the other two (2Sa 18:2). With Joab he put down the revolt against David of Sheba, a man of Benjamin (2Sa 20:6,10), at which Joab treacherously slew Amasa his cousin and rival, as he had likewise murdered Abner, Abishai no doubt being party to the crime. In a battle with the Philistines late in his life, David was faint, being now an old man, and was in danger of death at the hands of the Philistine giant Ishbihenob when Abishai came to his rescue and killed the giant (2Sa 21:17). In the list of David’s heroes (2Sa 23) Abishai’s right to leadership of the "second three" is based upon his overthrowing three hundred men with his spear (2Sa 23:18). He does not appear in the struggle of Adonijah against Solomon, in which Joab was the leader, and therefore is supposed to have died before that time.

He was an impetuous, courageous man, but less cunning than his more famous brother Joab, although just as cruel and relentless toward rival or foe. David understood and feared their hardness and cruelty. Abishai’s best trait was his unswerving loyalty to his kinsman, David.

Edward Mack


a-bish’-a-lom: Variant of ABSALOM, which see.


a-bish’-u-a, abi-shoo’-a (’abhishua‘, uncertain, perhaps "father of wealth," or "my father is wealth"):

(1) A son of Bela the son of Benjamin (1Ch 8:4).

(2) The son of Phinehas, who was grandson to Aaron (1Ch 6:4,5,50, Ezr 7:5).


a-bi’-shur (’abhishur, "my father is a wall"): Great-grandson of Jerahmeel and Atarah, Jerahmeel being great-grandson of Judah. Abishur was son of Shammai, and was the husband of Abihail, and the father of sons (1Ch 2:28,29).

ABISSEI a-bis’-e-i (King James Version Abisei): An ancestor of Ezra (2 Esdras 1:2) = Abisue (1 Esdras 8:2) and Abishua (1Ch 6:4 ff; Ezr 7:5).


a-bis’-u-e (Codex Vaticanus, Abisai; Codex Alexandrinus, Abisouai; the King James Version Abisum = Abishua (1Ch 6:4 ff; Ezr 7:5) and Abissei (2 Esdras 1:2)): An ancestor of Ezra (1 Esdras 8:2).


ab’-i-sum. See ABISUE (Apocrypha).


ab’-i-tal, a-bi’-tal (’abhiTal, "my father is dew"): One of the wives of King David. In the duplicated list (2Sa 3:4; 1Ch 3:3) in which the sons born to David in Hebron are mentioned and numbered, the fifth is said to be Shephatiah the son of Abital.


ab’-i-tub, a-bi’-tub (’abhiTubh, "father of goodness," or, "my father is goodness"): In the King James Version Ahitub. A descendant of Benjamin and son of Shaharaim and Hushim, born in the field of Moab (1Ch 8:11).


a-bi’-ud (’Abioud, perhaps "my father is majesty"; see ABIHUD): Mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus (Mt 1:13 and not elsewhere) as the son of Zerubbabel. See GENEALOGY.


ab’-jekt: Only as a noun, and but once (Ps 35:15) for nekheh, literally, "smitten ones," i.e. "men of the lowest grade" (Hengstenberg, Delitzsch), "the rabble," defined by the succeeding clause as those of such inferior station that they were unknown.


a’-b’-l: The Greek dunamai, "to have power," may refer either to inherent strength, or to the absence of in external obstacles, or to what may be allowable or permitted. The Greek ischuo, as in Lu 13:24; Joh 21:6, refers always to the first of the above meanings. The use of the word as an adjective the King James Version of 2Co 3:6, is misleading, and has been properly changed in the Revised Version (British and American) into "sufficient as ministers," i.e. "hath fitted us to be ministers."


ab-lu’-shun: The rite of ablution for religious purification seems to have been practiced in some form in all lands and at all times. The priests of Egypt punctiliously practiced it (Herodotus ii.37). The Greeks were warned "never with unwashed hands to pour out the black wine at morn to Zeus" (Hesiod, Opera et Dies v.722; compare Homer, Iliad vi.266; Od. iv.759). The Romans also observed it (Virgil, Aeneid ii.217); as did and do Orientals in general (compare Koran, Sura 5:8, etc.). Ablutions for actual or ritual purification form quite a feature of the Jewish life and ceremonial. No one was allowed to enter a holy place or to approach God by prayer or sacrifice without having first performed the rite of ablution, or "sanctification," as it was sometimes called (Ex 19:10; 1Sa 16:5; 2Ch 29:5; compare Josephus, Ant, XIV, xi, 5).

Three kinds of washing are recognized in Biblical and rabbinical law:

(1) washing of the hands,

(2) washing of the hands and feet, and

(3) immersion of the whole body in water. (1 and 2 = Greek nipto; 3 = Greek louo).

Something more than an echo of a universal practice is found in the Scriptures. The rabbis claimed to find support for ceremonial hand-washing in Le 15:11. David’s words, "I will wash my hands in innocency: so will I compass thine altar, O Yahweh" (Ps 26:6; compare Ps 73:13), are regarded by them as warranting the inference that ablution of the hands was prerequisite to any holy act. This is the form of ablution, accordingly, which is most universally and scrupulously practiced by Jews. Before any meal of which bread forms a part, as before prayer, or any act of worship, the hands must be solemnly washed in pure water; as also after any unclean bodily function, or contact with any unclean thing. Such handwashings probably arose naturally from the fact that the ancients ate with their fingers, and so were first for physical cleansing only; but they came to be ceremonial and singularly binding. The Talmud abundantly shows that eating with unwashed hands came to be reckoned a matter of highest importance—"tantamount to committing an act of unchastity, or other gross crime." Akiba, when in prison, went without water given him to quench his thirst, rather than neglect the rite of ablution (‘Er. 216). Only in extreme cases, according to the Mishna, as on a battlefield, might people dispense with it. Simeon, the Essene, "the Saint" (Toseph. Kelim i.6), on entering the holy place without having washed his hands, claiming that he was holier than the high priest because of his ascetic life, was excommunicated, as undermining the authority of the Elders (compare ‘Eduy. 5 6).

Washing of the hands and feet is prescribed by the Law only for those about to perform priestly functions (compare Koran, Sura 5 8, in contrast: "When ye prepare yourselves for prayer, wash your faces and hands up to the elbows, and wipe your heads and your feet to the ankles"; Hughes, Dict. of Islam). For example, whenever Moses or Aaron or any subordinate priest desired to enter the sanctuary (Tabernacle) or approach the altar, he was required to wash his hands and feet from the layer which stood between the Tabernacle and the altar (Ex 30:19; 40:31). The same rule held in the Temple at Jerusalem. The washing of the whole body, however, is the form of ablution most specifically and exactingly required by the Law. The cases in which the immersion of the whole body is commanded, either for purification or consecration, are very numerous. For example, the Law prescribed that no leper or other unclean person of the seed of Aaron should eat of holy flesh until he had washed his whole body in water (Le 22:4-6); that anyone coming in contact with a person having an unclean issue, or with any article used by such a one, should wash his whole body (Le 15:5-10); that a sufferer from an unclean issue (Le 15:16,18); a menstruous woman (2Sa 11:2,4), and anyone who touched a menstruous woman, or anything used by her, should likewise immerse the whole person in water (Le 15:19-27): that the high priest who ministered on the Day of Atonement (Le 16:24-28), the priest who tended the red heifer (Nu 19:7,8,19), and every priest at his installation (Ex 29:4; 40:12) should wash his whole body in water. Compare ‘divers baptisms’ (immersions) in Heb 9:10, and see Broadus on Mt 15:2-20 with footnote. (For another view on bathing see Kennedy in HDB, I, 257 v.)

Bathing in the modern and non-religious sense is rarely mentioned in the Scriptures (Ex 2:5 Pharaoh’s daughter; 2Sa 11:2 the Revised Version (British and American) Bathsheba, and the interesting case 1Ki 22:38). Public baths are first met with in the Greek period—included in the "place of exercise" (1 Macc 1:14), and remains of such buildings from the Roman period are numerous. Recently a remarkable series of bath-chambers have been discovered at Gezer, in Palestine, in connection with a building which is supposed to be the palace built by Simon Maccabeus (Kennedy (illust. in PEFS, 1905, 294 f)). The rite of ablution was observed among early Christians also. Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica, X, 4.40) tells of Christian churches being supplied with fountains or basins of water, after the Jewish custom of providing the laver for the use of the priests. The Apostolical Constitutions (VIII.32) have the rule: "Let all the faithful .... when they rise from sleep, before they go to work, pray, after having washed themselves" nipsamenoi.

The attitude of Jesus toward the rabbinical law of ablution is significant. Mr (7:3) prepares the way for his record of it by explaining, ‘The Pharisees and all the Jews eat not except they wash their hands to the wrist (pugme). (See LTJM, II, 11). According to Mt 15:1-20 and Mr 7:1-23 Pharisees and Scribes that had come from Jerusalem (i.e. the strictest) had seen some of Jesus’ disciples eat bread with unwashed hands, and they asked Him: "Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread." Jesus’ answer was to the Jews, even to His own disciples, in the highest degree surprising, paradoxical, revolutionary (compare Mt 12:8). They could not but see that it applied not merely to hand-washing, but to the whole matter of clean and unclean food; and this to them was one of the most vital parts of the Law (compare Ac 10:14). Jesus saw that the masses of the Jews, no less than the Pharisees, while scrupulous about ceremonial purity, were careless of inward purity. So here, as in the Sermon on the Mount, and with reference to the Sabbath (Mt 12:1 ff), He would lead them into the deeper and truer significance of the Law, and thus prepare the way for setting aside not only the traditions of the eiders that made void the commandments of God, but even the prescribed ceremonies of the Law themselves, if need be, that the Law in its higher principles and meanings might be "fulfilled." Here He proclaims a principle that goes to the heart of the whole matter of true religion in saying: "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites" (Mr 7:6-13)—you who make great pretense of devotion to God, and insist strenuously on the externals of His service, while at heart you do not love Him, making the word of God of none effect for the sake of your tradition!


For list of older authorities see McClintock and Strong, Cyclopedia; Nowack, Biblische Archaeologie, II, 275-99; and Spitzer, Ueber Baden und Bader bei den alten Hebraern, 1884. George B. Eager


ab’-ner (’abhner; in 1Sa 14:50 the Hebrew has the fuller form, ‘abhiner, Abiner; compare Abiram by the side of Abram; meaning, "my father is a lamp"): Captain of the host under Saul and Ishbosheth (Eshbaal). He was Saul’s cousin; Ner the father of Abner and Kish the father of Saul being brothers, the sons of Abiel (1Sa 14:50 f). In 1Ch 8:33; 9:39 the text appears to be faulty; read: And Ner begat Abner, and Kish begat Saul. According to 1Ch 27:21 Abner had a son by the name of Jaasiel. Abner was to Saul what Joab was to David. Despite the many wars waged by Saul, we hear little of Abner during Saul’s lifetime. Not even in the account’ of the battle of Gilboa is mention made of him. Yet both his high office and his kinship to the king must have brought the two men in close contact. On festive occasions it was the custom of Abner to sit at table by the king’s side (1Sa 20:25). It was Abner who introduced the young David fresh from his triumph over Goliath to the king’s court (so according to the account in 1Sa 17:57). We find Abner accompanying the king in his pursuit of David (1Sa 26:5 ff). Abner is rebuked by David for his negligence in keeping watch over his master (ibid., 15).

Upon the death of Saul, Abner took up the cause of the young heir to the throne, Ishbosheth, whom he forthwith removed from the neighborhood of David to Mahanaim in the East-Jordanic country. There he proclaimed him king over all Israel. By the pool of Gibeon he and his men met Joab and the servants of David. Twelve men on each side engaged in combat which ended disastrously for Abner who fled. He was pursued by Asahel, Joab’s brother, whom Abner slew. Though Joab and his brother Abishai sought to avenge their brother’s death on the spot, a truce was effected; Abner was permitted to go his way after three hundred and threescore of his men had fallen. Joab naturally watched his opportunity. Abner and his master soon had a quarrel over Saul’s concubine, Rizpah, with whom Abner was intimate. It was certainly an act of treason which Ishbosheth was bound to resent. The disgruntled general made overtures to David; he won over the tribe of Benjamin. With twenty men of them he came to Hebron and arranged with the king of Judah that he would bring over to his side all Israel. He was scarcely gone when Joab learned of the affair; without the knowledge of David he recalled him to Hebron where he slew him, "for the blood of Asahel his brother." David mourned sincerely the death of Abner. "Know ye not," he addressed his servants, "that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel?" He followed the bier in person. Of the royal lament over Abner a fragment is quoted:

"Should Abner die as a fool dieth? Thy hands were not bound, nor thy feet put into fetters: As a man falleth before the children of iniquity, so didst thou fall."

(See 2Sa 3:6-38.) The death of Abner, while it thus cannot in any wise be laid at the door of David, nevertheless served his purposes well. The backbone of the opposition to David was broken, and he was soon proclaimed as king by all Israel.

Max L. Margolis


a-bod’. See ABIDE.


a-bol’-ish (chathath, "to be broken down," "made void," "My righteousness shall not be abolished" (Isa 51:6), i.e. as shown in God’s faithfulness to His promises; machah, "to erase," "blot out," "that your works may be abolished" (Eze 6:6) katargeo, "to render inoperative," "bring to nought," "make of no effect," "when he shall have abolished all rule" (1Co 15:24), every power opposed to God’s kingdom; "having abolished in his flesh the enmity" (Eph 2:15)): By His death, Christ did away with the race separation due to historic ordinances and ceremonial laws (as of circumcision and uncircumcision); through the cross He wrought the reconciliation, and secured that common access to the Father by which the union is maintained.

"Our Saviour Christ Jesus .... abolished death" (2Ti 1:10). Men still die, "it is appointed unto men" (Heb 9:27), but the fear of death as having power to terminate or affect our personal existence and our union with God, as a dreadful stepping out into the unknown and unknowable (into Sheol of the impenetrable gloom), and as introducing us to a final and irreversible judgment, has been removed. Christ has taken out of it its sting (1Co 15:55 f) and all its hurtful power (Heb 2:14); has shown it to be under His control (Re 1:18), brought to light the incorruptible life beyond, and declared the ultimate destruction of death (1Co 15:26; compare Re 20:14). The Greek (katargeitai) indicates that the process of destruction was then going on.

M. O. Evans


a-bom-i-na’-shun (piggul, to‘ebhah, sheqets (shiqquts)): Three distinct Hebrew words are rendered in the English Bible by "abomination," or "abominable thing," referring (except in Ge 43:32; 46:34) to things or practices abhorrent to Yahweh, and opposed to the ritual or moral requirements of His religion. It would be well if these words could be distinguished in translation, as they denote different degrees of abhorrence or loathsomeness.

The word most used for this idea by the Hebrews and indicating the highest degree of abomination is to‘ebhah, meaning primarily that which offends the religious sense of a people. When it is said, for example, "The Egyptians might not eat bread with the Hebrews; for that is an abomination unto the Egyptians," this is the word used; the significance being that the Hebrews were repugnant to the Egyptians as foreigners, as of an inferior caste, and especially as shepherds (Ge 46:34). The feeling of the Egyptians for the Greeks was likewise one of repugnance. Herodotus (ii.41) says the Egyptians would not kiss a Greek on the mouth, or use his dish, or taste meat cut with the knife of a Greek.

Among the objects described in the Old Testament as "abominations" in this sense are heathen gods, such as Ashtoreth (Astarte), Chemosh, Milcom, the "abominations" of the Zidonians (Phoenicians), Moabites, and Ammonites, respectively (2Ki 23:13), and everything connected with the worship of such gods. When Pharaoh, remonstrating against the departure of the children of Israel, exhorted them to offer sacrifices to their God in Egypt, Moses said: "Shall we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians (i.e. the animals worshipped by them which were taboo, to‘ebhah, to the Israelites) before their eyes, and will they not stone us?" (Ex 8:26).

It is to be noted that, not only the heathen idol itself, but anything offered to or associated with the idol, all the paraphernalia of the forbidden cult, was called an "abomination," for it "is an abomination to Yahweh thy God" (De 7:25,26). The Deuteronomic writer here adds, in terms quite significant of the point of view and the spirit of the whole law: ‘Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thy house and thus become a thing set apart (cherem = tabooed) like unto it; thou shalt utterly detest it and utterly abhor it, for it is a thing set apart’ (tabooed). To‘ebhah is even used as synonymous with "idol" or heathen deity, as in Isa 44:19; De 32:16; 2Ki 23:13; and especially Ex 8:22 ff.

Everything akin to magic or divination is likewise an abomination to‘ebhah; as are sexual transgressions (De 22:5; 23:18; 24:4), especially incest and other unnatural offenses: "For all these abominations have the men of the land done, that were before you" (Le 18:27; compare Eze 8:15). It is to be noted, however, that the word takes on in the later usage a higher ethical and spiritual meaning: as where "divers measures, a great and a small," are forbidden (De 25:14-16); and in Proverbs where "lying lips" (Pr 12:22), "the proud in heart" (Pr 16:5), "the way of the wicked" (Pr 15:9), "evil devices" (Pr 15:26), and "he that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the righteous" (Pr 17:15), are said to be an abomination in God’s sight. At last prophet and sage are found to unite in declaring that any sacrifice, however free from physical blemish, if offered without purity of motive, is an abomination: ‘Bring no more an oblation of falsehood—an incense of abomination it is to me’ (Isa 1:13; compare Jer 7:10). "The sacrifice of the wicked" and the prayer of him "that turneth away his ear from hearing the law," are equally an abomination (see Pr 15:8; 21:27; 28:9).

Another word rendered "abomination" in the King James Version is sheqets or shiqquts. It expresses generally a somewhat less degree of horror or religious aversion than [to‘ebhah], but sometimes seems to stand about on a level with it in meaning. In De 14:3, for example, we have the command, "Thou shalt not eat any abominable thing," as introductory to the laws prohibiting the use of the unclean animals (see CLEAN; UNCLEANNESS), and the word there used is [to‘ebhah]. But in Le 11:10-13,20,23,41,42, Isa 66:17; and in Eze 8:10 sheqets is the word used and likewise applied to the prohibited animals; as also in Le 11:43 sheqets is used when it is commanded, "Ye shall not make yourselves abominable." Then sheqets is often used parallel to or together with to‘ebhah of that which should be held as detestable, as for instance, of idols and idolatrous practices (see especially De 29:17; Ho 9:10; Jer 4:1; 13:27; 16:18; Eze 11:18-21; 20:7,8). It is used exactly as [to‘ebhah] is used as applied to Milcom, the god of the Ammonites, which is spoken of as the detestable thing sheqets of the Ammonites (1Ki 11:5). Still even in such cases to‘ebhah seems to be the stronger word and to express that which is in the highest degree abhorrent.

The other word used to express a somewhat kindred idea of abhorrence and translated "abomination" in the King James Version is piggul; but it is used in the Hebrew Bible only of sacrificial flesh that has become stale, putrid, tainted (see Le 7:18; 19:7; Eze 4:14; Isa 65:4). Driver maintains that it occurs only as a "technical term for such state sacrificial flesh as has not been eaten within the prescribed time," and, accordingly, he would everywhere render it specifically "refuse meat." Compare lechem megho’al, "the loaths ome bread" (from ga’al, "to loathe") Mal 1:7. A chief interest in the subject for Christians grows out of the use of the term in the expression "abomination of desolation" (Mt 24:15 and Mr 13:14), which see.

See also ABHOR.


Commentators at the place Rabbinical literature in point. Driver; Weiss; Gratz, Gesch. der Juden, IV, note 15.

George B. Eager


des-o-la’-shun: The Hebrew root for abomination is shaqats, "to be filthy," "to loathe," "to abhor," from which is derived shiqquts, "filthy," especially "idolatrous." This word is used to describe specific forms of idolatrous worship that were specially abhorrent, as of the Ammonites (1Ki 11:5,7); of the Moabites (1Ki 11:7; 2Ki 23:13). When Daniel undertook to specify an abomination so surpassingly disgusting to the sense of morality and decency, and so aggressive against everything that was godly as to drive all from its presence and leave its abode desolate, he chose this as the strongest among the several synonyms, adding the qualification "that maketh desolate" (Da 11:31; 12:11), Septuagint bdel-ug-ma er-e-mo-se-os. The same noun, though in the plural, occurs in De 29:17; 2Ki 23:24; Isa 66:3; Jer 4:1; 7:30; 13:27; 32:34; Eze 20:7,8,30; Da 9:27; Ho 9:10; Zec 9:7. The New Testament equivalent of the noun is bdel-ug-ma =" detestable," i.e. (specially) "idolatrous." Alluding to Daniel, Christ spoke of the "abomination of desolation" (Mt 24:15; Mr 13:14).

1. The Historical Background:

Since the invasion of the Assyrians and Chaldeans, the Jewish people, both of the Northern and of the Southern kingdom, had been without political independence. From the Chaldeans the rulership of Judea had been transferred to the Persians, and from the Persians, after an interval of 200 years, to Alexander the Great. From the beginning of the Persian sovereignty, the Jews had been permitted to organize anew their religious and political commonwealth, thus establishing a state under the rulership of priests, for the high priest was not only the highest functionary of the cult, but also the chief magistrate in so far as these prerogatives were not exercised by the king of the conquering nation. Ezra had given a new significance to the Torah by having it read to the whole congregation of Israel and by his vigorous enforcement of the law of separation from the Gentiles. His emphasis of the law introduced the period of legalism and finical interpretation of the letter which called forth some of the bitterest invectives of our Saviour. Specialists of the law known as "scribes" devoted themselves to its study and subtle interpretation, and the pious beheld the highest moral accomplishment in the extremely conscientious observance of every precept. But in opposition to this class, there were those who, influenced by the Hellenistic culture, introduced by the conquests of Alexander the Great, were inclined to a more "liberal" policy. Thus, two opposing parties were developed: the Hellenistic, and the party of the Pious, or the Chasidim, chacidhim (Hasidaeans, 1 Macc 2:42; 7:13), who held fast to the strict ideal of the scribes. The former gradually came into ascendancy. Judea was rapidly becoming Hellenistic in all phases of its political, social and religious life, and the "Pious" were dwindling to a small minority sect. This was the situation when Antiochus Epiphanes set out to suppress the last vestige of the Jewish cult by the application of brute force.

2. Antiochus Epiphanes:

Antiochus IV, son of Antiochus the Great, became the successor of his brother, Seleucus IV, who had been murdered by his minister, Heliodorus, as king of Syria (175-164 BC). He was by nature a despot; eccentric and unreliable; sometimes a spendthrift in his liberality, fraternizing in an affected manner with those of lower station; sometimes cruel and tyrannical, as witness his aggressions against Judea. Polybius (26 10) tells us that his eccentric ideas caused some to speak of him as a man of pure motive and humble character, while others hinted at insanity. The epithet Epiphanes is an abbreviation of theos epiphanes, which is the designation given himself by Antiochus on his coins, and means "the god who appears or reveals himself." Egyptian writers translate the inscription, "God which comes forth," namely, like the burning sun, Horos, on the horizon, thus identifying the king with the triumphal, appearing god.

When Antiochus Epiphanes arose to the throne, Onias III, as high priest, was the leader of the old orthodox party in Judea; the head of the Hellenists was his own brother Jesus, or, as he preferred to designate himself, Jason, this being the Greek form of his name and indicating the trend of his mind. Jason promised the king large sums of money for the transfer of the office of high priest from his brother to himself and the privilege of erecting a gymnasium and a temple to Phallus, and for the granting of the privilege "to enroll the inhabitants of Jerusalem as citizens of Antioch." Antiochus gladly agreed to everything. Onias was removed, Jason became high priest, and henceforth the process of Hellenizing Judea was pushed energetically. The Jewish cult was not attacked, but the "legal institutions were set aside, and illegal practices were introduced" (2 Macc 4:11). A gymnasium was erected outside the castle; the youth of Jerusalem exercised themselves in the gymnastic art of the Greeks, and even priests left their services at the altar to take part in the contest of the palaestra. The disregard of Jewish custom went so far that many artificially removed the traces of circumcision from their bodies, and with characteristic liberality, Jason even sent a contribution to the sacrifices in honor of Heracles on the occasion of the quadrennial festivities in Tyre.

3. The Suppression of the Jewish Cult:

Under these conditions it is not surprising that Antiochus should have had both the inclination and the courage to undertake the total eradication of the Jewish religion and the establishment of Greek polytheism in its stead. The observance of all Jewish laws, especially those relating to the Sabbath and to circumcision, were forbidden under pain of death. The Jewish cult was set aside, and in all cities of Judea, sacrifices must be brought to the pagan deities. Representatives of the crown everywhere enforced the edict. Once a month a search was instituted, and whoever had secreted a copy of the Law or had observed the rite of circumcision was condemned to death. In Jerusalem on the 15th of Chislev of the year 145 aet Sel, i.e. in December 168 BC, a pagan altar was built on the Great Altar of Burnt Sacrifices, and on the 25th of Chislev, sacrifice was brought on this altar for the first time (1 Macc 1:54,59). This evidently was the "abomination of desolation." The sacrifice, according to 2 Macc was brought to the Olympian Zeus, to whom the temple of Jerusalem had been dedicated. At the feast of Dionysus, the Jews were obliged to march in the Bacchanalian procession, crowned with laurel leaves. Christ applies the phrase to what was to take place at the advance of the Romans against Jerusalem. They who would behold the "abomination of desolation" standing in the holy place, He bids flee to the mountains, which probably refers to the advance of the Roman army into the city and temple, carrying standards which bore images of the Roman gods and were the objects of pagan worship.

Frank E. Hirsch


Le 11:13-19: "And these ye shall have in abomination among the birds; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the gier-eagle, and the osprey, and the kite, and the falcon after its kind, every raven after its kind, and the ostrich, and the night-hawk, and the sea-mew, and the hawk after its kind, and the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl, and the horned owl, and the pelican, and the vulture, and the stork, the heron after its kind, and the hoopoe, and the bat." De 14:12-18 gives the glede in addition.

Each of these birds is treated in order in this work. There are two reasons why Moses pronounced them an abomination for food. Either they had rank, offensive, tough flesh, or they were connected with religious superstition. The eagle, gier-eagle, osprey, kite, glede, falcon, raven, night-hawk, sea-mew, hawk, little owl, cormorant, great owl, horned owl, pelican and vulture were offensive because they were birds of prey or ate carrion or fish until their flesh partook of the odor of their food. Young ostriches have sweet, tender flesh and the eggs are edible also. In putting these birds among the abominations Moses must have been thinking of grown specimens. (Ostriches live to a remarkable age and on account of the distances they cover, and their speed in locomotion, their muscles become almost as hard as bone.)

There is a trace of his early Egyptian training when he placed the stork and the heron on this list. These birds, and the crane as well, abounded in all countries known at that time and were used for food according to the superstitions of different nations. These three were closely related to the ibis which was sacred in Egypt and it is probable that they were protected by Moses for this reason, since they were eaten by other nations at that time and cranes are used for food today by natives of our southeastern coast states and are to be found in the markets of our western coast. The veneration for the stork that exists throughout the civilized world today had its origin in Palestine. Noting the devotion of mated pairs and their tender care for the young the Hebrews named the bird chacidhah, which means kindness. Carried down the history of ages with additions by other nations, this undoubtedly accounts for the story now universal, that the stork delivers newly-born children to their homes; so the bird is loved and protected.

One ancient Roman writer, Cornelius Nepos, recorded that in his time both crane and storks were eaten; storks were liked the better. Later, Pliny wrote that no one would touch a stork, but everyone was fond of crane. In Thessaly it was a capital crime to kill a stork. This change from regarding the stork as a delicacy to its protection by a death penalty merely indicates the hold the characteristics of the bird had taken on people as it became better known, and also the spread of the regard in which it was held throughout Palestine. The hoopoe (which see) was offensive to Moses on account of extremely filthy nesting habits, but was considered a great delicacy when captured in migration by residents of southern Europe.


Gene Stratton-Porter


a-bound’, a-bun’-dans, a-bun’-dant, a-bun’-dant-li: These words represent in the English Versions of the Bible a considerable variety of different words in the Hebrew and Greek original. In the Old Testament they most frequently stand for some form of the stem rabh, signifying "to cast together," "to increase." In Pr 8:24 the primary idea is "to be heavy" (root: kabhadh); in De 33:19 and Job 22:11 it is "to overflow" shapha‘; in Job 36:31 it is "to plait together," "to augment," "to multiply" (makhbir from ka- bhar); in Isa 47:9 it is "strength" ‘otsmah; in 1Ki 18:41 it is "tumult," "crowd" hamon; in Ec 5:12 it is "to fill to satiety" (Revised Version (British and American) "fulness"); in Isa 15:7 it is "excellence" yithrah and in Isa 66:11 "a full breast" ziz; in Jer 33:6 it is "copiousness" (‘athereth from ‘athar). In several passages (e.g. Eze 16:49; Ps 105:30; Isa 56:12) the Revised Version (British and American) gives other and better renderings than the King James Version. In the New Testament perissos, perisseuo, perisseia, etc., are the usual words for "abundant," "abound," "abundance," etc. (the adjective signifies "exceeding some number or measure"). A slight formal difference of conception may be noted in pleonazo, which suggests that the abundance has resulted from augmentation. In Ro 5:20 the two words stand in the closest connection: ‘Where sin abounded (by its increase) grace abounded more exceedingly (was rich beyond measure).’ In Mr 12:44; Lu 21:4; 2Co 8:20; 12:7; Re 18:3 the Revised Version (British and American) gives improved renderings instead of "abundance," and in Titus 3:6 and 2Pe 1:11 instead of "abundantly."

J. R. Van Pelt


a-bout’:The use of this word as a preposition, in the sense of "around," is confined to the Old Testament. In the New Testament, generally an adverb, for Greek hos or "hosei." The Revised Version (British and American) adopts it in several idiomatic translations of mello, referring to what is about to be, i.e. on the point of occurring, or immediately impending, amending the King James Version, in Ac 5:35; 27:2; Re 12:4, etc.



I. NAME 1. Various Forms 2. Etymology 3. Association II. KINDRED III. CAREER 1. Period of Wandering 2. Period of Residence at Hebron 3. Period of Residence in the Negeb IV. CONDITIONS OF LIFE 1. Economic Conditions 2. Social Conditions 3. Political Conditions 4. Cultural Conditions V. CHARACTER 1. Religious Beliefs 2. Morality 3. Personal Traits VI. SIGNIFICANCE IN THE HISTORY OF RELIGION 1. In the Old Testament 2. In the New Testament 3. In Jewish Tradition 4. In the Koran VII. INTERPRETATIONS OF THE STORY OTHER THAN HISTORICAL 1. The Allegorical Interpretation 2. The Personification Theory 3. The Mythical Theory 4. The "Saga" Theory

I. Name.

1. Various Forms:

In the Old Testament, when applied, to the patriarch, the name appears as ‘abhram, up to Ge 17:5; thereafter always as ‘abhraham. Two other persons are named ‘abhiram. The identity of this name with ‘abhram cannot be doubted in view of the variation between ‘abhiner and ‘abhner, ‘abhishalom and ‘abhshalom, etc. Abraham also appears in the list at Karnak of places conquered by Sheshonk I: ‘brm (no. 72) represents ‘abram, with which Spiegelberg (Aegypt. Randglossen zum Altes Testament, 14) proposes to connect the preceding name (so that the whole would read "the field of Abram.") Outside of Palestine this name (Abiramu) has come to light just where from the Biblical tradition we should expect to find it, namely, in Babylonia (e.g. in a contract of the reign of Apil-Sin, second predecessor of Hammurabi; also for the aunt (!) of Esarhaddon 680-669 BC). Ungnad has recently found it, among documents from Dilbat dating from the Hammurabi dynasty, in the forms A-ba-am-ra-ma, A-ba-am-ra-am, as well as A-ba-ra-ma.

2. Etymology:

Until this latest discovery of the apparently full, historical form of the Babylonian equivalent, the best that could be done with the etymology was to make the first constituent "father of" (construct -i rather than suffix -i), and the second constituent "Ram," a proper name or an abbreviation of a name. (Yet observe above its use in Assyria for a woman; compare ABISHAG; ABIGAIL). Some were inclined rather to concede that the second element was a mystery, like the second element in the majority of names beginning with ‘abh and ‘ach, "father" and "brother." But the full cuneiform writing of the name, with the case-ending am, indicates that the noun "father" is in the accusative, governed by the verb which furnishes the second component, and that this verb therefore is probably ramu (= Hebrew racham) "to love," etc.; so that the name would mean something like "he loves the (his) father." (So Ungnad, also Ranke in Gressmann’s article "Sage und Geschichte in den Patriarchenerzahlungen," ZATW (1910), 3.) Analogy proves that this is in the Babylonian fashion of the period, and that judging from the various writings of this and similar names, its pronunciation was not far from ‘abh-ram.

3. Association:

While the name is thus not "Hebrew" in origin, it made itself thoroughly at home among the Hebrews, and to their ears conveyed associations quite different from its etymological signification. "Popular etymology" here as so often doubtless led the Hebrew to hear in ‘abh-ram, "exalted father," a designation consonant with the patriarch’s national and religious significance. In the form ‘abh-raham his ear caught the echo of some root (perhaps r-h-m; compare Arabic ruham, "multitude") still more suggestive of the patriarch’s extensive progeny, the reason ("for") that accompanies the change of name Ge 17:5 being intended only as a verbal echo of the sense in the sound. This longer and commoner form is possibly a dialectical variation of the shorter form, a variation for which there are analogies in comparative Semitic grammar. It is, however, possible also that the two forms are different names, and that ‘abh-raham is etymologically, and not merely by association of sound, "father of a multitude" (as above). (Another theory, based on South-Arabic orthography, in Hommel, Altisraelitische Ueberlieferung, 177.)

II. Kindred.

Ge 11:27, which introduces Abraham, contains the heading, "These are the generations of Terah." All the story of Abraham is contained within the section of Genesis so entitled. Through Terah Abraham’s ancestry is traced back to Shem, and he is thus related to Mesopotamian and Arabian families that belonged to the "Semitic" race. He is further connected with this race geographically by his birthplace, which is given as ‘ur-kasdim (see UR), and by the place of his pre-Canaanitish residence, Haran in the Aramean region. The purely Semitic ancestry of his descendants through Isaac is indicated by his marriage with his own half-sister (Ge 20:12), and still further emphasized by the choice for his daughter-in-law of Rebekah, descended from both of his brothers, Nahor and Haran (Ge 11:29; 22:22 f). Both the beginning and the end of the residence in Haran are left chronologically undetermined, for the new beginning of the narrative at Ge 12:1 is not intended by the writer to indicate chronological sequence, though it has been so understood, e.g. by Stephen (Ac 7:4). All that is definite in point of time is that an Aramean period of residence intervened between the Babylonian origin and the Palestinian career of Abraham. It is left to a comparison of the Biblical data with one another and with the data of archaeology, to fix the opening of Abraham’s career in Palestine not far from the middle of the 20th century BC.

III. Career.

Briefiy summed up, that career was as follows.

1. Period of Wandering:

Abraham, endowed with Yahweh’s promise of limitless blessing, leaves Haran with Lot his nephew and all their establishment, and enters Canaan. Successive stages of the slow journey southward are indicated by the mention of Shechem, Bethel and the Negeb (South-country). Driven by famine into Egypt, Abraham finds hospitable reception, though at the price of his wife’s honor, whom the Pharaoh treats in a manner characteristic of an Egyptian monarch. (Gressmann, op. cit., quotes from Meyer, Geschichte des Alterthums, 12, 142, the passage from a magic formula in the pyramid of Unas, a Pharaoh of the Fifth Dynasty: "Then he (namely, the Pharaoh) takes away the wives from their husbands whither he will if desire seize his heart.") Retracing the path to Canaan with an augmented train, at Bethel Abraham and Lot find it necessary to part company. Lot and his dependents choose for residence the great Jordan Depression; Abraham follows the backbone of the land southward to Hebron, where he settles, not in the city, but before its gates "by the great trees" (Septuagint sing., "oak") of Mamre.

2. Period of Residence at Hebron:

Affiliation between Abraham and the local chieftains is strengthened by a brief campaign, in which all unite their available forces for the rescue of Lot from an Elamite king and his confederates from Babylonia. The pursuit leads them as far as the Lebanon region. On the return they are met by Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of ‘el ‘elyon, and blessed by him in his priestly capacity, which Abraham recognizes by presenting him with a tithe of the spoils. Abraham’s anxiety for a son to be the bearer of the divine promises conferred upon a "seed" yet unborn should have been relieved by the solemn renewal thereof in a formal covenant, with precise specifications of God’s gracious purpose. But human desire cannot wait upon divine wisdom, and the Egyptian woman Hagar bears to Abraham a son, Ishmael, whose existence from its inception proves a source of moral evil within the patriarchal household. The sign of circumcision and the change of names are given in confirmation of the covenant still unrealized, together with specification of the time and the person that should begin its realization. The theophany that symbolized outwardly this climax of the Divine favor serves also for an intercessory colloquy, in which Abraham is granted the deliverance of Lot in the impending overthrow of Sodom. Lot and his family, saved thus by human fidelity and Divine clemency, exhibit in the moral traits shown in their escape and subsequent life the degeneration naturally to be expected from their corrupt environment. Moabites and Ammonites are traced in their origin to these cousins of Jacob and Esau.

3. Period of Residence in the Negeb:

Removal to the South-country did not mean permanent residence in a single spot, but rather a succession of more or less temporary resting-places. The first of these was in the district of Gerar, with whose king, Abimelech, Abraham and his wife had an experience similar to the earlier one with the Pharaoh. The birth of Isaac was followed by the expulsion of Ishmael and his mother, and the sealing of peaceful relations with the neighbors by covenant at Beersheba. Even the birth of Isaac, however, did not end the discipline of Abraham’s faith in the promise, for a Divine command to sacrifice the life of this son was accepted bona fide, and only the sudden interposition of a Divine prohibition prevented its obedient execution. The death of Sarah became the occasion for Abraham’s acquisition of the first permanent holding of Palestine soil, the nucleus of his promised inheritance, and at the same time suggested the probable approach of his own death. This thought led to immediate provision for a future seed to inherit through Isaac, a provision realized in Isaac’s marriage with Rebekah, grand-daughter of Abraham’s brother Nahor and of Milcah the sister of Lot. But a numerous progeny not associated with the promise grew up in Abraham’s household, children of Keturah, a woman who appears to have had the rank of wife after Sarah’s death, and of other women unnamed, who were his concubines. Though this last period was passed in the Negeb, Abraham was interred at Hebron in his purchased possession, the spot with which Semitic tradition has continued to associate him to this day.

IV. Conditions of Life.

The life of Abraham in its outward features may be considered under the following topics: economic, social, political and cultural conditions.

1. Economic Conditions:

Abraham’s manner of life may best be described by the adjective "semi-nomadic," and illustrated by the somewhat similar conditions prevailing today in those border-communities of the East that fringe the Syrian and Arabian deserts. Residence is in tents, wealth consists of flocks, herds and slaves, and there is no ownership of ground, only at most a proprietorship in well or tomb. All this in common with the nomad. But there is a relative, or rather, intermittent fixity of habitation, unlike the pure Bedouin, a limited amount of agriculture, and finally a sense of divergence from the Ishmael type—all of which tend to assimilate the seminomadic Abraham to the fixed Canaanitish population about him. As might naturally be expected, such a condition is an unstable equilibrium, which tends, in the family of Abraham as in the history of all border-tribes of the desert, to settle back one way or the other, now into the city- life of Lot, now into the desert-life of Ishmael.

2. Social Conditions:

The head of a family, under these conditions, becomes at the same time the chief of a tribe, that live together under patriarchal rule though they by no means share without exception the tie of kinship. The family relations depicted in Ge conform to and are illuminated by the social features of Code of Hammurabi. (See K. D. Macmillan, article "Marriage among the Early Babylonians and Hebrews," Princeton Theological Review, April, 1908.) There is one legal wife, Sarah, who, because persistently childless, obtains the coveted offspring by giving her own maid to Abraham for that purpose (compare Code of Hammurabi, sections 144, 146). The son thus borne, Ishmael, is Abraham’s legal son and heir. When Isaac is later borne by Sarah, the elder son is disinherited by divine command (Ge 21:10-12) against Abraham’s wish which represented the prevailing law and custom (Code of Hammurabi, sections 168 f). The "maid-servants" mentioned in the inventories of Abraham’s wealth (Ge 12:16; 24:35) doubtless furnished the "concubines" mentioned in Ge 25:6 as having borne sons to him.

Both mothers and children were slaves, but had the right to freedom, though not to inheritance, on the death of the father (Code of Hammurabi, section 171). After Sarah’s death another woman seems to have succeeded to the position of legal wife, though if so the sons she bore were disinherited like Ishmael (Ge 25:5). In addition to the children so begotten by Abraham the "men of his house" (Ge 17:27) consisted of two classes, the "home-born" slaves (Ge 14:14; 17:12 f, 23,27) and the "purchased" slaves (ibid.). The extent of the patriarchal tribe may be surmised from the number (318) of men among them capable of bearing arms, near the beginning of Abraham’s career, yet after his separation from Lot, and recruited seemingly from the "home-born" class exclusively (Ge 14:14). Over this entire establishment Abraham ruled with a power more, rather than less, absolute than that exhibited in detail in the Code of Hammurabi: more absolute, because Abraham was independent of any permanent superior authority, and so combined in his own person the powers of the Babylonian paterfamilias and of the Canaanite city- king. Social relations outside of the family-tribe may best be considered under the next heading.

3. Political Conditions:

It is natural that the chieftain of so considerable an organism should appear an attractive ally and a formidable foe to any of the smaller political units of his environment. That Canaan was at the time composed of just such inconsiderable units, namely, city-states with petty kings, and scattered fragments of older populations, is abundantly clear from the Biblical tradition and verified from other sources. Egypt was the only great power with which Abraham came into political contact after leaving the East. In the section of Genesis which describes this contact with the Pharaoh Abraham is suitably represented as playing no political role, but as profiting by his stay in Egypt only through an incidental social relation: when this terminates he is promptly ejected. The role of conqueror of Chedorlaomer, the Elamite invader, would be quite out of keeping with Abraham’s political status elsewhere, if we were compelled by the narrative in Ge 14 to suppose a pitched battle between the forces of Abraham and those of the united Babylonian armies. What that chapter requires is in fact no more than a midnight surprise, by Abraham’s band (including the forces of confederate chieftains), of a rear-guard or baggage-train of the Babylonians inadequately manned and picketed ("Slaughter" is quite too strong a rendering of the original hakkoth, "smiting," 14:17) Respect shown Abraham by the kings of Salem (14:18), of Sodom (14:21) and of Gerar (Ge 20:14-16) was no more than might be expected from their relative degrees of political importance, although a moral precedence, assumed in the tradition, may well have contributed to this respect.

4. Cultural Conditions:

Recent archaeological research has revolutionized our conception of the degree of culture which Abraham could have possessed and therefore presumably did possess. The high plane which literature had attained in both Babylonia and Egypt by 2000 BC is sufficient witness to the opportunities open to the man of birth and wealth in that day for the interchange of lofty thought. And, without having recourse to Abraham’s youth in Babylonia, we may assert even for the scenes of Abraham’s maturer life the presence of the same culture, on the basis of a variety of facts, the testimony of which converges in this point, that Canaan in the second millennium BC was at the center of the intellectual life of the East and cannot have failed to afford, to such of its inhabitants as chose to avail themselves of it, every opportunity for enjoying the fruits of others’ culture and for recording the substance of their own thoughts, emotions and activities

V. Character.

Abraham’s inward life may be considered under the rubrics of religion, ethics and personal traits.

1. Religious Beliefs:

The religion of Abraham centered in his faith in one God, who, because believed by him to be possessor of heaven and earth (Ge 14:22; 24:3), sovereign judge of the nations (Ge 15:14) of all the earth (Ge 18:25), disposer of the forces of Nature (Ge 18:14; 19:24; 20:17 f), exalted (Ge 14:22) and eternal (Ge 21:33), was for Abraham at least the only God. So far as the Biblical tradition goes, Abraham’s monotheism was not aggressive (otherwise in later Jewish tradition), and it is theoretically possible to attribute to him a merely "monarchical" or "henotheistic" type of monotheism, which would admit the coexistence with his deity, say, of the "gods which (his) fathers served" (Jos 24:14), or the identity with his deity of the supreme god of some Canaanite neighbor (Ge 14:18). Yet this distinction of types of monotheism does not really belong to the sphere of religion as such, but rather to that of speculative philosophical thought. As religion, monotheism is just monotheism, and it asserts itself in corollaries drawn by the intellect only so far as the scope of the monotheist’s intellectual life applies it.

For Abraham Yahweh not only was alone God; He was also his personal God in a closeness of fellowship (Ge 24:40; 48:15) that has made him for three religions the type of the pious man (2Ch 20:7; Isa 41:8, Jas 2:23, note the Arabic name of Hebron El-Khalil, i.e. the friend (viz of God)) To Yahweh Abraham attributed the moral attributes of Justice (Ge 18:25), righteousness (Ge 18:19), faithfulness (Ge 24:27), wisdom (Ge 20:6), goodness (Ge 19:19), mercy (Ge 20:6). These qualities were expected of men, and their contraries in men were punished by Yahweh (Ge 18:19; 20:11). He manifested Himself in dreams (Ge 20:3), visions (Ge 15:1) and theophanies (Ge 18:1), including the voice or apparition of the Divine mal’akh or messenger ("angel") (Ge 16:7; 22:11)

On man’s part, in addition to obedience to Yahweh’s moral requirements and special commands, the expression of his religious nature was expected in sacrifice. This bringing of offerings to the deity was diligently practiced by Abraham, as indicated by the mention of his erection of an altar at each successive residence. Alongside of this act of sacrifice there is sometimes mention of a "calling upon the name" of Yahweh (compare 1Ki 18:24; Ps 116:13 f). This publication of his faith, doubtless in the presence of Canaanites, had its counterpart also in the public regard in which he was held as a "prophet" or spokesman for God (Ge 20:7). His mediation showed itself also in intercessory prayer (Ge 17:20 for Ishmael; Ge 18:23-32; compare Ge 19:29 for Lot; Ge 20:17 for Abimelech), which was but a phase of his general practice of prayer. The usual accompaniment of sacrifice, a professional priesthood, does not occur in Abraham’s family, yet he recognizes priestly prerogative in the person of Melchizedek, priest-king of Salem (Ge 14:20). Religious sanction of course surrounds the taking of oaths (Ge 14:22; 24:3) and the sealing of covenants (Ge 21:23). Other customs associated with religion are circumcision (Ge 17:10-14), given to Abraham as the sign of the perpetual covenant; tithing (Ge 14:20), recognized as the priest’s due; and child-sacrifice (Ge 22:2,12), enjoined upon Abraham only to be expressly forbidden, approved for its spirit but interdicted in its practice.

2. Morality:

As already indicated, the ethical attributes of God were regarded by Abraham as the ethical requirement of man. This in theory. In the sphere of applied ethics and casuistry Abraham’s practice, at least, fell short of this ideal, even in the few incidents of his life preserved to us. It is clear that these lapses from virtue were offensive to the moral sense of Abraham’s biographer, but we are left in the dark as to Abraham’s sense of moral obliquity. (The "dust and ashes" of Ge 18:27 has no moral implication.) The demands of candor and honor are not satisfactorily met, certainly not in the matter of Sarah’s relationship to him (Ge 12:11-13; 20:2; compare Ge 11-13), perhaps not in the matter of Isaac’s intended sacrifice (Ge 22:5,8). To impose our own monogamous standard of marriage upon the patriarch would be unfair, in view of the different standard of his age and land. It is to his credit that no such scandals are recorded in his life and family as blacken the record of Lot (Ge 19:30-38), Reuben (Ge 35:22) and Judah (Ge 38:15-18). Similarly, Abraham’s story shows only regard for life and property, both in respecting the rights of others and in expecting the same from them—the antipodes of Ishmael’s character (Ge 16:12).

3. Personal Traits:

Outside, the bounds of strictly ethical requirement, Abraham’s personality displayed certain characteristics that not only mark him out distinctly among the figures of history, but do him great credit as a singularly symmetrical and attractive character. Of his trust and reverence enough has been said under the head of religion. But this love that is "the fulfilling of the law," manifested in such piety toward God, showed itself toward men in exceptional generosity (Ge 13:9; 14:23; 23:9,13; 24:10; 25:6), fidelity (Ge 14:14,24; 17:18; 18:23-32; 19:27; 21:11; 23:2), hospitality (Ge 18:2-8; 21:8) and compassion (Ge 16:6; 21:14 when rightly understood, Ge 18:23-32). A solid self-respect (Ge 14:23; 16:6; 21:25; 23:9,13,16; 24:4) and real courage (Ge 14:14-16) were, however, marred by the cowardice that sacrificed Sarah to purchase personal safety where he had reason to regard life as insecure (Ge 20:11).

VI. Significance in the History of Religion.

Abraham is a significant figure throughout the Bible, and plays an important role in extra-Biblical Jewish tradition and in the Mohammedan religion.

1. In the Old Testament:

It is naturally as progenitor of the people of Israel, "the seed of Abraham," as they are often termed, that Abraham stands out most prominently in the Old Testament books. Sometimes the contrast between him as an individual and his numerous progeny serves to point a lesson (Isa 51:2; Eze 33:24; perhaps Mal 2:10; compare Mal 2:15). "The God of Abraham" serves as a designation of Yahweh from the time of Isaac to the latest period; it is by this title that Moses identifies the God who has sent him with the ancestral deity of the children of Israel (Ex 3:15). Men remembered in those later times that this God appeared to Abraham in theophany (Ex 6:3), and, when he was still among his people who worshipped other gods (Jos 24:3) chose him (Ne 9:7), led him, redeemed him (Isa 29:22) and made him the recipient of those special blessings (Mic 7:20) which were pledged by covenant and oath (so every larger historical book, also the historical Ps 105:9), notably the inheritance of the land of Canaan (De 6:10) Nor was Abraham’s religious personality forgotten by his posterity: he was remembered by them as God’s friend (2Ch 20:7; Isa 41:8), His servant, the very recollection of whom by God would offset the horror with which the sins of his descendants inspired Yahweh (De 9:27).

2. In the New Testament:

When we pass to the New Testament we are astonished at the wealth and variety of allusion to Abraham. As in the Old Testament, his position of ancestor lends him much of his significance, not only as ancestor of Israel (Ac 13:26), but specifically as ancestor, now of the Levitical priesthood (Heb 7:5), now of the Messiah (Mt 1:1), now, by the peculiarly Christian doctrine of the unity of believers in Christ, of Christian believers (Ga 3:16,29). All that Abraham the ancestor received through Divine election, by the covenant made with him, is inherited by his seed and passes under the collective names of the promise (Ro 4:13), the blessing (Ga 3:14), mercy (Lu 1:54), the oath (Lu 1:73), the covenant (Ac 3:25). The way in which Abraham responded to this peculiar goodness of God makes him the type of the Christian believer. Though so far in the past that he was used as a measure of antiquity (Joh 8:58), he is declared to have "seen" Messiah’s "day" (Joh 8:56).

It is his faith in the Divine promise, which, just because it was for him peculiarly unsupported by any evidence of the senses, becomes the type of the faith that leads to justification (Ro 4:3), and therefore in this sense again he is the "father" of Christians, as believers (Ro 4:11). For that promise to Abraham was, after all, a "preaching beforehand" of the Christian gospel, in that it embraced "all the families of the earth" (Ga 3:8). Of this exalted honor, James reminds us, Abraham proved himself worthy, not by an inoperative faith, but by "works" that evidenced his righteousness (Jas 2:21; compare Joh 8:39). The obedience that faith wrought in him is what is especially praised by the author of Hebrews (Heb 11:8,17). In accordance with this high estimate of the patriarch’s piety, we read of his eternal felicity, not only in the current conceptions of the Jews (parable, Lu 16), but also in the express assertion of our Lord (Mt 8:11; Lu 13:28). Incidental historical allusions to the events of Abraham’s life are frequent in the New Testament, but do not add anything to this estimate of his religious significance.

3. In Jewish Tradition:

Outside the Scriptures we have abundant evidence of the way that Abraham was regarded by his posterity in the Jewish nation. The oldest of these witnesses, Ecclesiasticus, contains none of the accretions of the later Abraham-legends. Its praise of Abraham is confined to the same three great facts that appealed to the canonical writers, namely, his glory as Israel’s ancestor, his election to be recipient of the covenant, and his piety (including perhaps a tinge of "nomism") even under severe testing (Ecclesiasticus 44:19-21). The Improbable and often unworthy and even grotesque features of Abraham’s career and character in the later rabbinical midrashim are of no religious significance, beyond the evidence they afford of the way Abraham’s unique position and piety were cherished by the Jews.

4. In the Koran:

To Mohammed Abraham is of importance in several ways. He is mentioned in no less than 188 verses of the Koran, more than any other character except Moses. He is one of the series of prophets sent by God. He is the common ancestor of the Arab and the Jew. He plays the same role of religious reformer over against his idolatrous kinsmen as Mohammed himself played. He builds the first pure temple for God’s worship (at Mecca!). As in the Bible so in the Koran Abraham is the recipient of the Divine covenant for himself and for his posterity, and exhibits in his character the appropriate virtues of one so highly favored: faith, righteousness, purity of heart, gratitude, fidelity, compassion. He receives marked tokens of the Divine favor in the shape of deliverance, guidance, visions, angelic messengers (no theophanies for Mohammed!), miracles, assurance of resurrection and entrance into paradise. He is called "Imam of the peoples" (2 118) VII. Interpretations of the Story Other than the Historical.

There are writers in both ancient and modern times who have, from various standpoints, interpreted the person and career of Abraham otherwise than as what it purports to be, namely, the real experiences of a human person named Abraham. These various views may be classified according to the motive or impulse which they believe to have led to the creation of this story in the mind of its author or authors.

1. The Allegorical Interpretation:

Philo’s tract on Abraham bears as alternative titles, "On the Life of the Wise Man Made Perfect by Instruction, or, On the Unwritten Law." Abraham’s life is not for him a history that serves to illustrate these things, but an allegory by which these things are embodied. Paul’s use of the Sarah-Hagar episode in Ga 4:21-31 belongs to this type of exposition (compare allegoroumena, 4:24), of which there are also a few other instances in his epistles; yet to infer from this that Paul shared Philo’s general attitude toward the patriarchal narrative would be unwarranted, since his use of this method is incidental, exceptional, and merely corroborative of points already established by sound reason. "Luther compares it to a painting which decorates a house already built" (Schaff, "Galatians," Excursus).

2. The Personification Theory:

As to Philo Abraham is the personification of a certain type of humanity, so to some modern writers he is the personification of the Hebrew nation or of a tribe belonging to the Hebrew group. This view, which is indeed very widely held with respect to the patriarchal figures in general, furnishes so many more difficulties in its specific application to Abraham than to the others, that it has been rejected in Abraham’s case even by some who have adopted it for figures like Isaac, Ishmael and Jacob. Thus Meyer (Die Israeliten und ihre Nachbarstamme, 250; compare also note on p. 251), speaking of his earlier opinion, acknowledges that, at the time when he "regarded the assertion of Stade as proved that Jacob and Isaac were tribes," even then he "still recognized Abraham as a mythical figure and originally a god." A similar differentiation of Abraham from the rest is true of most of the other adherents of the views about to be mentioned. Hence also Wellhausen says (Prolegomena 6, 317): "Only Abraham is certainly no name of a people, like Isaac and Lot; he is rather ambiguous anyway. We dare not of course on that account hold him in this connection as an historical personage; rather than that he might be a free creation of unconscious fiction. He is probably the youngest figure in this company and appears to have been only at a relatively late date put before his son Isaac."

3. The Mythical Theory:

Urged popularly by Noldeke (Im neuen Reich (1871), I, 508 ff) and taken up by other scholars, especially in the case of Abraham, the view gained general currency among those who denied the historicity of Gen, that the patriarchs were old deities. From this relatively high estate, it was held, they had fallen to the plane of mere mortals (though with remnants of the hero or even demigod here and there visible) on which they appear in Gen. A new phase of this mythical theory has been developed in the elaboration by Winckler and others of their astral-theology of the Babylonian world, in which the worship of Abraham as the moon-god by the Semites of Palestine plays a part. Abraham’s traditional origin connects him with Ur and Haran, leading centers of the moon-cult.

Apart from this fact the arguments relied upon to establish this identification of Abraham with Sin may be judged by the following samples: "When further the consort of Abraham bears the name Sarah, and one of the women among his closest relations the name Milcah, this gives food for thought, since these names correspond precisely with the titles of the female deities worshipped at Haran alongside the moongod Sin. Above all, however, the number 318, that appears in Ge 14:14 in connection with the figure of Abraham, is convincing because this number, which surely has no historical value, can only be satisfactorily explained from the circle of ideas of the moon-religion, since in the lunar year of 354 days there are just 318 days on which the moon is visible—deducting 36 days, or three for each of the twelve months, on which the moon is invisible" (Baentsch, Monotheismus, 60 f). In spite of this assurance, however, nothing could exceed the scorn with which these combinations and conjectures of Winckler, A. Jeremias and others of this school are received by those who in fact differ from them with respect to Abraham in little save the answer to the question, what deity was Abraham (see e.g. Meyer, op. cit., 252 f, 256 f).

4. The "Saga" Theory:

Gunkel (Genesis, Introduction), in insisting upon the resemblance of the patriarchal narrative to the "sagas" of other primitive peoples, draws attention both to the human traits of figures like Abraham, and to the very early origin of the material embodied in our present book of Genesis. First as stories orally circulated, then as stories committed to writing, and finally as a number of collections or groups of such stories formed into a cycle, the Abraham-narratives, like the Jacob-narratives and the Joseph-narratives , grew through a long and complex literary history. Gressmann (op. cit, 9-34) amends Gunkel’s results, in applying to them the principles of primitive literary development laid down by Professor Wundt in his Volkerpsychologie. He holds that the kernel of the Abraham-narratives is a series of fairy-stories, of international diffusion and unknown origin, which have been given "a local habitation and a name" by attaching to them the (ex hypothesi) then common name of Abraham (similarly Lot, etc.) and associating them with the country nearest to the wilderness of Judea, the home of their authors, namely, about Hebron and the Dead Sea. A high antiquity (1300-1100 BC) is asserted for these stories, their astonishing accuracy in details wherever they can be tested by extra-Biblical tradition is conceded, as also the probability that, "though many riddles still remain unsolved, yet many other traditions will be cleared up by new discoveries" of archaeology.

J. Oscar Boyd


booz’-um (kolpos Abraam; kolpoi Abraam): Figurative. The expression occurs in Lu 16:22,23, in the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, to denote the place of repose to which Lazarus was carried after his death. The figure is suggested by the practice of the guest at a feast reclining on the breast of his neighbor. Thus, John leaned on the breast of Jesus at supper (Joh 21:20). The rabbis divided the state after death (Sheol) into a place for the righteous and a place for the wicked (see ESCHATOLOGY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT; SHEOL); but it is doubtful whether the figure of Jesus quite corresponds with this idea. "Abraham’s bosom" is not spoken of as in "Hades," but rather as distinguished from it (Lu 16:23)—a place of blessedness by itself. There Abraham receives, as at a feast, the truly faithful, and admits them to closest intimacy. It may be regarded as equivalent to the "Paradise" of Lu 23:43. See HADES; PARADISE.

James Orr




a’-bram. See ABRAHAM.


a’-brek: Transliteration of the Hebrew ‘abhrekh, in Ge 41:43 the Revised Version, margin, of which both the origin and meaning are uncertain. It was the salutation which the Egyptians addressed to Joseph, when he was made second to Pharaoh, and appeared in his official chariot.

(1) The explanations based upon Hebrew derivation are unsatisfactory, whether as the King James Version "bow the knee," from barakh (hiphil imperative) or marginal "tender father," or "father of a king" of the Targum. The form as Hiphil Imperative instead of habhrekh, is indefensible, while the other two derivations are fanciful.

(2) The surmises of Egyptologists are almost without number, and none are conclusive. Skinner in his Commentary on Genesis selects "attention!" after Spiegelberg, as best. Speaker’s Commentary suggests "rejoice thou" from ab-nek. BDB gives preference to the Coptic a-bor-k, "prostrate thyself."

(3) The most satisfying parallel is the Assyrian abarakku, meaning "grand vizier" or "friend of a king," as suggested by Fried. Delitzsch; for Babylonian laws and customs were dominant in western Asia, and the Hyksos, through whom such titles would have been carried into Egypt, were ruling there at that time. Edward Mack


a-brod: An idiomatic rendering of aphiketo (literally, "arrived"), "come abroad" is used in Ro 16:19 to indicate a report that has been most widely diffused (literally, "did reach unto all"). Similar idiomatic translations of the King James Version have been replaced in the Revised Version (British and American) by those more literal, as in Mr 4:22; Lu 8:17; Mr 6:14; 1Th 1:8. Used also in other idiomatic renderings, as "spread abroad" diaphemizo, Mr 1:45; "noised abroad" dialaleo, Lu 1:65; "scattered abroad," Joh 11:52; Ac 8:1, etc.; in all these cases for the pervasive meaning of the Greek preposition in composition. In Ge 15:5, chuts means "outside."

H. E. Jacobs




a-bro’-na, the King James Version Ebronah (‘abhronah): One of the stations of Israel in the wilderness on the march from Sinai to Kadesh—the station next before that at Ezion-geber on the eastern arm of the Red Sea (Nu 33:34,35).


ab’-sa-lom (’abhshalom, "father is peace," written also Abishalom, 1Ki 15:2,10): David’s third son by Maacah, daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur, a small territory between Hermon and Bashan.

1. A General Favorite:

Absalom was born at Hebron (2Sa 3:3), and moved at an early age, with the transfer of the capital, to Jerusalem, where he spent most of his life. He was a great favorite of his father and of the people as well. His charming manners, his personal beauty, his insinuating ways, together with his love of pomp and royal pretensions, captivated the hearts of the people from the beginning. He lived in great style, drove in a magnificent chariot and had fifty men run before him. Such magnificence produced the desired effect upon the hearts of the young aristocrats of the royal city (2Sa 15:1 ff).

2. In Exile:

When Amnon, his half-brother, ravished his sister Tamar, and David shut his eyes to the grave crime and neglected to administer proper punishment, Absalom became justly enraged, and quietly nourished his anger, but after the lapse of two years carried out a successful plan to avenge his sister’s wrongs. He made a great feast for the king’s sons at Baalhazor, to which, among others, Amnon came, only to meet his death at the hands of Absalom’s servants (2Sa 13:1 ff). To avoid punishment he now fled to the court of his maternal grandfather in Geshur, where he remained three years, or until David, his father, had relented and condoned the murderous act of his impetuous, plotting son. At the end of three years (2Sa 13:38) we find Absalom once more in Jerusalem. It was, however, two years later before he was admitted to the royal presence (2Sa 14:28).

3. Rebels against His Father:

Absalom, again reinstated, lost no opportunity to regain lost prestige, and having his mind made up to succeed his father upon the throne, he forgot the son in the politician. Full of insinuations and rich in promises, especially to the disgruntled and to those having grievances, imaginary or real, it was but natural that he should have a following. His purpose was clear, namely, to alienate as many as possible from the king, and thus neutralize his influence in the selection of a successor, for he fully realized that the court party, under the influence of Bathsheba, was intent upon having Solomon as the next ruler. By much flattery Absalom stole the hearts of many men in Israel (2Sa 15:6). How long a period elapsed between his return from Geshur and his open rebellion against his father David is a question which cannot be answered with any degree of certainty. Most authorities regard the forty years of 2Sa 15:7 as an error and following the Syriac and some editions of the Septuagint, suggest four as the correct text. Whether forty or four, he obtained permission from the king to visit Hebron, the ancient capital, on pretense of paying a vow made by him while at Geshur in case of his safe return to Jerusalem. With two hundred men he repairs to Hebron. Previous to the feast spies had been sent throughout all the tribes of Israel to stir up the discontented and to assemble them under Absalom’s flag at Hebron. Very large numbers obeyed the call, among them Ahithophel, one of David’s shrewdest counselors (15:7 ff).

4. David’s Flight:

Reports of the conspiracy at Hebron soon reached the ears of David, who now became thoroughly frightened and lost no time in leaving Jerusalem. Under the protection of his most loyal bodyguard he fled to Gilead beyond Jordan. David was kindly received at Mahanaim, where he remained till after the death of his disloyal son. Zadok and Abiathar, two leading priests, were intent upon sharing the fortunes of David; they went so far as to carry the Ark of the Covenant with them out of Jerusalem (2Sa 15:24). David, however, forced the priests and Levites to take it back to its place in the city and there remain as its guardians. This was a prudent stroke, for these two great priests in Jerusalem acted as intermediaries, and through their sons and some influential women kept up constant communications with David’s army in Gilead (2Sa 15:24 ff). Hushai, too, was sent back to Jerusalem, where he falsely professed allegiance to Absalom, who by thins time had entered the royal city and had assumed control of the government (2Sa 15:32 ff). Hushai, the priests and a few people less conspicuous performed their part well, for the counsel of Ahithophel, who advised immediate action and advance upon the king’s forces, while everything was in a panic, was thwarted (2Sa 17:1 ff); nay more, spies were constantly kept in contact with David’s headquarters to inform the king of Absalom’s plans (2Sa 17:15 ff). This delay was fatal to the rebel son. Had he acted upon the shrewd counsel of Ahithophel, David’s army might have been conquered at the outset.

5. Absalom’s Death and Burial:

When at length Absalom’s forces under the generalship of Amasa (2Sa 17:25) reached Gilead, ample time had been given to David to organize his army, which he divided into three divisions under the efficient command of three veteran generals: Joab, Abishai and Ittai (2Sa 18:1 ff). A great battle was fought in the forests of Ephraim. Here the rebel army was utterly routed. No fewer than 20,000 were killed outright, and a still greater number becoming entangled in the thick forest, perished that day (2Sa 18:7 ff). Among the latter was Absalom himself, for while riding upon his mule, his head was caught in the boughs of a great oak or terebinth, probably in a forked branch. "He was taken up between heaven and earth; and the mule that was under him went on" (2Sa 18:9). In this position he was found by a soldier who at once ran to inform Joab. The latter without a moment’s hesitation, notwithstanding David’s positive orders, thrust three darts into the heart of Absalom. To make his death certain and encouraged by the action of their general, ten of Joab’s young men "compassed about and smote Absalom, and slew him" (2Sa 18:15). He was buried in a great pit, close to the spot where he was killed. A great pile of stones was heaped over his body (2Sa 18:17), in accordance with the custom of dishonoring rebels and great criminals by burying them under great piles of stone (Jos 7:26; 8:29). Thomson reforms us that Syrian people to this day cast stones upon the graves of murderers and outlaws (LB, II, 61).

6. David’s Lament:

The death of Absalom was a source of great grief to the fond and aged father, who forgot the ruler and the king in the tenderhearted parent. His lament at the gate of Mahanaim, though very brief, is a classic, and expresses in tender language the feelings of parents for wayward children in all ages of the world (2Sa 18:33).

Little is known of Absalom’s family life, but we read in 2Sa 14:27 that he had three sons and one daughter. From the language of 18:18, it is inferred that the sons died at an early age.

7. Absalom’s Tomb:

As Absalom had no son to perpetuate his memory "he reared up for himself a pillar" or a monument in the King’s dale, which according to Josephus was two furlongs from Jerusalem (Ant., VII, x, 3). Nothing is known with certainty about this monument. One of the several tombs on the east side of the Kidron passes under the name of Absalom’s tomb. This fine piece of masonry with its graceful cupola and Ionic pillars must be of comparatively recent origin, probably not earlier than the Roman period.

W. W. Davies


(Apocrypha) (Codex Vaticanus, Abessalomos and Abessalom; Codex Alexandrinus, Absalomos, the King James Version Absalon):

(1) Father of Mattathias, a captain of the Jewish army (1 Macc 11:70; Ant, XIII, v, 7).

(2) Father of Jonathan who was sent by Simon Maccabee to take possession of Joppa; perhaps identical with Absalom (1) (1 Macc 13:11; Ant, XIII, vi, 4).

(3) One of two envoys of the Jews, mentioned in a letter sent by Lysias to the Jewish nation (2 Macc 11:17).


ab’-sa-lon. See ABSALOM (in the Apocrypha).


ab-so-lu’-shun (translation of verbs luo, "loose," etc., and aphiemi, "release," "give up," etc.): Not a Biblical, but an ecclesiastical term, used to designate the official act described in Mt 16:19: "Whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven," and Mt 18:18: "What things soever ye shall loose," etc., and interpreted by Joh 20:23: "Whose soever sins ye forgive, they are forgiven unto them" (see KEYS, POWER OF THE). The Roman church regards this as the act of a properly ordained priest, by which, in the sacrament of Penance, he frees from sin one who has confessed and made promise of satisfaction. Protestants regard the promise as given not to any order within the church, but to the congregation of believers, exercising its prerogative through the Christian ministry, as its ordinary executive. They differ as to whether the act be only declarative or collative. Luther regarded it as both declarative and collative, since the Word always brings that which it offers. The absolution differs from the general promise of the gospel by individualizing the promise. What the gospel, as read and preached, declares in general, the absolution applies personally. See also FORGIVENESS.

H. E. Jacobs


abs’-ti-nens: Abstinence as a form of asceticism reaches back into remote antiquity, and is found among most ancient peoples. It may be defined as a self-discipline which consists in the habitual renunciation, in whole or in part, of the enjoyments of the flesh, with a view to the cultivation of the life of the spirit. In its most extreme forms, it bids men to stifle and suppress their physical wants, rather than to subordinate them in the interest of a higher end or purpose, the underlying idea being that the body is the foe of the spirit, and that the progressive extirpation of the natural desires and inclinations by means of fasting, celibacy, voluntary poverty, etc., is "the way of perfection."

This article will be concerned chiefly with abstinence from food, as dealt with in the Bible. (For other aspects of the subject, see TEMPERANCE; CLEAN; UNCLEANNESS; MEAT, etc.). Thus limited, abstinence may be either public or private, partial or entire.

1. Public Fasts:

Only one such fast is spoken of as having been instituted and commanded by the Law of Moses, that of the Day of Atonement. This is called "the Fast" in Ac 27:9 (compare Ant, XIV, iv, 3; Philo, Vit Mos, II, 4; Schurer, HJP, I, i, 322).

Four annual fasts were later observed by the Jews in commemoration of the dark days of Jerusalem—the day of the beginning of Nebuchadrezzar’s siege in the tenth month, the day of the capture of the city in the fourth month, the day of its destruction in the fifth month and the day of Gedaliah’s murder in the seventh month. These are all referred to in Zec 8:19. See FAST.

It might reasonably be thought that such solemn anniversaries, once instituted, would have been kept up with sincerity by the Jews, at least for many years. But Isaiah illustrates how soon even the most outraged feelings of piety or patriotism may grow cold and formal. ‘Wherefore have we fasted and thou seest not?’ the exiled Jews cry in their captivity. ‘We have humbled our souls, and thou takest no notice.’ Yahweh’s swift answer follows: ‘Because your fasting is a mere form! Behold, in the day of your fast ye find your own pleasure and oppress all your laborers’ (compare Isa 58:3; Expositor’s Bible, at the place). That is to say, so formal has your fasting grown that your ordinary selfish, cruel life goes on just the same. Then Yahweh makes inquest: "Is such the fast that I have chosen? the day for a man to afflict his soul? Is not this the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? Then shalt thou call, and Yahweh will answer; thou shalt cry, and he will say, Here I am" (Isa 58:5-9). The passage, as George Adam Smith says, fills the earliest, if not the highest place in the glorious succession of Scriptures exalting practical love, to which belong Isa 61; Mt 25; 1Co 13. The high import is that in God’s view character grows rich and life joyful, not by fasts or formal observances, but by acts of unselfish service inspired by a heart of love. These fasts later fell into utter disuse, but they were revived after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans.

Occasional public fasts were proclaimed in Israel, as among other peoples, in seasons of drought or public calamity. It appears according to Jewish accounts, that it was customary to hold them on the second and fifth days of the week, for the reason that Moses was believed to have gone up to Mt. Sinai on the fifth day of the week (Thursday) and to have come down on the second (Monday) (compare Didache, 8; Apostolical Constitutions, VIII, 23).

2. Private Fasts:

In addition to these public solemnities, individuals were in the habit of imposing extra fasts upon themselves (e.g. Judith 8:6; Lu 2:37); and there were some among the Pharisees who fasted on the second and fifth days of the week all the year round (Lu 18:12; see Lightfoot, at the place). Tacitus alludes to the "frequent fasts" of the Jews (History, V, 4), and Josephus tells of the spread of fasting among the Gentiles (Against Apion, II, 40; compare Tertullian, ad Nat, i.13). There is abundant evidence that many religious teachers laid down rules concerning fasting for their disciples (compare Mr 2:18; Mt 9:14; Lu 5:33).

3. Degrees of Strictness in Abstinence:

Individuals and sects differ greatly in the degrees of strictness with which they observe fasts. In some fasts among the Jews abstinence from food and drink was observed simply from sunrise to sunset, and washing and anointing were permitted. In others of a stricter sort, the fast lasted from one sunset till the stars appeared after the next, and, not only food and drink, but washing, anointing, and every kind of agreeable activity and even salutations, were prohibited (Schurer, II, ii, 119; Edersheim, Life and Times, I, 663). Such fasting was generally practiced in the most austere and ostentatious manner, and, among the Pharisees, formed a part of their most pretentious externalism. On this point the testimony of Mt 6:16 is confirmed by the Mishna.

4. Abstinence among Different Kinds of Ascetics:

There arose among the Jews various kinds of ascetics and they may be roughly divided into three classes.

(1) The Essenes.

These lived together in colonies, shared all things in common and practiced voluntary poverty. The stricter among them also eschewed marriage. They were indifferent, Philo says, alike to money, pleasure, and worldly position. They ate no animal flesh, drank no wine, and used no oil for anointing. The objects of sense were to them "unholy," and to gratify the natural craving was "sin." They do not seem to come distinctly into view in the New Testament. See ESSENES.

(2) The Hermit Ascetics.

These fled away from human society with its temptations and allurements into the wilderness, and lived there a life of rigid self-discipline. Josephus (Vita, 2) gives us a notable example of this class in Banus, who "lived in the desert, clothed himself with the leaves of trees, ate nothing save the natural produce of the soil, and bathed day and night in cold water for purity’s sake." John the Baptist was a hermit of an entirely different type. He also dwelt in the desert, wore a rough garment of camel’s hair and subsisted on "locusts and wild honey." But his asceticism was rather an incident of his environment and vocation than an end in itself (see "Asceticism," DCG). In the fragments of his sermons which are preserved in the Gospels there is no trace of any exhortation to ascetic exercises, though John’s disciples practiced fasting (Mr 2:18). (3) The Moderate Ascetics.

There were many pious Jews, men and women, who practiced asceticism of a less formal kind. The asceticism of the Pharisees was of a kind which naturally resulted from their legal and ceremonial conception of religion. It expressed itself chiefly, as we have seen, in ostentatious fasting and externalism. But there were not a few humble, devout souls in Israel who, like Anna, the prophetess, served God "with fastings and supplications night and day" (Lu 2:37), seeking by a true self-discipline to draw near unto God (of Ac 13:2,3; 14:23; 1Ti 5:5).

5. Abstinence as Viewed in the Talmud:

Some of the rabbis roundly condemned abstinence, or asceticism in any form, as a principle of life. "Why must the Nazirite bring a sin offering at the end of his term?" (Nu 6:13,14) asks Eliezer ha-Kappar (Siphra’, at the place); and gives answer, "Because he sinned against his own person by his vow of abstaining from wine"; and he concludes, "Whoever undergoes fasting or other penances for no special reason commits a wrong." "Man in the life to come will have to account for every enjoyment offered him that was refused without sufficient cause" (Rabh, in Yer. Kid., 4). In Maimonides (Ha-Yadh ha-

Chazaqah, De‘oth 3 1) the monastic principle of abstinence in regard to marriage, eating meat, or drinking wine, or in regard to any other personal enjoyment or comfort, is condemned as "contrary to the spirit of Judaism," and "the golden middle-way of moderation" is advocated.

But, on the other hand, abstinence is often considered by the rabbis meritorious and praiseworthy as a voluntary means of self-discipline. "I partook of a Nazirite meal only once," says Simon the Just, "when I met with a handsome youth from the south who had taken a vow. When I asked the reason he said: ‘I saw the Evil Spirit pursue me as I beheld my face reflected in water, and I swore that these long curls shall be cut off and offered as a sacrifice to Yahweh’; whereupon I kissed him upon his forehead and blessed him, saying, May there be many Nazirites like thee in Israel!" (Nazir, 4b). "Be holy" was accordingly interpreted, "Exercise abstinence in order to arrive at purity and holiness" (‘Ab. Zarah, 20b; Siphra’, Kedhoshim). "Abstain from everything evil and from whatever is like unto it" is a rule found in the Talmud (Chullin, 44b), as also in the Didache (3 1)—a saying evidently based on Job 31:1, "Abstain from the lusts of the flesh and the world." The Mosaic laws concerning diet are all said by Rabh to be "for the purification of Israel" (Le R. 13)—"to train the Jew in self-discipline."

6. The Attitude of Jesus to Fasting:

The question of crowning interest and significance to us is, What attitude did Jesus take toward fasting, or asceticism? The answer is to be sought in the light, first of His practice, and, secondly, of His teaching.

(1) His Practice.

Jesus has even been accounted "the Founder and Example of the ascetic life" (Clem. Alex., Strom, III, 6). By questionable emphasis upon His "forty days’" fast, His abstinence from marriage and His voluntary poverty, some have reached the conclusion that complete renunciation of the things of the present was "the way of perfection according to the Saviour."

A fuller and more appreciative study of Jesus’ life and spirit must bring us to a different conclusion. Certainly His mode of life is sharply differentiated in the Gospels, not only from that of the Pharisees, but also from that of John the Baptist. Indeed, He exhibited nothing of the asceticism of those illustrious Christian saints, Bernard and John of the Cross, or even of Francis, who "of all ascetics approached most nearly to the spirit of the Master." Jesus did not flee from the world, or eschew the amenities of social life. He contributed to the joyousness of a marriage feast, accepted the hospitality of rich and poor, permitted a vase of very precious ointment to be broken and poured upon His feet, welcomed the society of women, showed tender love to children, and clearly enjoyed the domestic life of the home in Bethany. There is no evidence that He imposed upon Himself any unnecessary austerities. The "forty days’ " fast (not mentioned in Mk, the oldest authority) is not an exception to this rule, as it was rather a necessity imposed by His situation in the wilderness than a self-imposed observance of a law of fasting (compare Christ’s words concerning John the Baptist: "John came neither eating nor drinking", see the article on "Asceticism," DCG). At any rate, He is not here an example of the traditional asceticism. He stands forth throughout the Gospels "as the living type and embodiment of self-denial," yet the marks of the ascetic are not found in Him. His mode of life was, indeed, so non-ascetic as to bring upon Him the reproach of being "a gluttonous man and a winebibber" (Mt 11:19; Lu 7:34).

(2) His Teaching.

Beyond question, it was, from first to last, "instinct with the spirit of self-denial" "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself," is an ever-recurring refrain of His teaching "Seek ye first the kingdom of God," is ever His categorical imperative (Mt 6:33 the King James Version; Lu 12:31). This is to Him the summum bonum—all desires and strivings which have not this as their goal must be suppressed or sacrificed (compare Mt 13:44-46, 19:21, Mr 10:21; Lu 9:59,60, 14:26 with Mt 5:29,30, Mr 9:43-47, Mt 16:24 f; Mr 8:34 f; Lu 9:23 f; and Lu 14:33). In short, if any man find that the gratification of any desire of the higher or lower self will impede or distract him in the performance of his duties as a subject of the Kingdom, he must forego such gratification, if he would be a disciple of Christ. "If it cause thee to stumble," is always the condition, implied or expressed, which justifies abstinence from any particular good.

According to the record, Jesus alluded to fasting only twice in His teaching. In Mt 6:16-18, where voluntary fasting is presupposed as a religious exercise of His disciples, He warns them against making it the occasion of a parade of piety: "Thou, when thou fastest, anoint thy head, and wash thy face; that thou be not seen of men to fast, but of thy Father who is in secret." In short, He sanctions fasting only as a genuine expression of a devout and contrite frame of mind.

In Mt 9:14-17 (parallel Mr 2:18-22; Lu 5:33-39) in reply to the question of the disciples of John and of the Pharisees, Jesus refuses to enjoin fasting. He says fasting, as a recognized sign of mourning, would be inconsistent with the joy which "the sons of the bridechamber" naturally feel while "the bridegroom is with them." But, he adds, suggesting the true reason for fasting, that the days of bereavement will come, and then the outward expression of sorrow will be appropriate. Here, as in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus sanctions fasting, without enjoining it, as a form through which emotion may spontaneously seek expression. His teaching on the subject may be summarized in the one word, subordination (DCG).

To the form of fasting He attaches little importance, as is seen in the succeeding parables of the Old Garment and the Old Wine-skins. It will not do, He says, to graft the new liberty of the gospel on the body of old observances, and, yet more, to try to force the new system of life into the ancient molds. The new piety must manifest itself in new forms of its own making (Mt 9:16,17, Mr 2:21,22, Lu 5:36,38). Yet Jesus shows sympathy with the prejudices of the conservatives who cling to the customs of their fathers: "No man having drunk old vane desireth new; for he saith, The old is good." But to the question, Was Jesus an ascetic? we are bound to reply, No.

"Asceticism," as Harnack says, "has no place in the gospel at all; what it asks is that we should struggle against Mammon, against care, against selfishness; what it demands and disengages is love—the love that serves and is self-sacrificing, and whoever encumbers Jesus’ message with any other kind of asceticism fails to understand it" (What is Christianity? 88).

7. The Practice and Teaching of the Apostles:

On the whole, unquestionably, the practice and teachings of the apostles and early Christians were in harmony with the example and teaching of the Master. But a tendency, partly innate, partly transmitted from Jewish legalism, and partly pagan, showed itself among their successors and gave rise to the Vita Religiosa and Dualism which found their fullest expression in Monasticism.

It is worthy of note that the alleged words of Jesus: ‘But this kind goeth not out save by prayer and fasting’ (Mr 9:29; Mt 17:21 the King James Version), are corruptions of the text. (Compare Tobit 12:8; Sirach 34:26; Lu 2:37). The Oxyrhynchus fragment (disc. 1897) contains a logion with the words legei Iesous, ean me nesteuete ton kosmon, ou me heurete ten basileian tou theou: "Jesus saith, Except ye fast to the world, ye shall in no wise find the Kingdom of God," but the "fasting" here is clearly metaphorical.


Bingham, Antiquities, W. Bright, Some Aspects of Primitive Church Life (1898), J. O. Hannay, The Spirit and Origin of Christian Monasticism (1902), and The Wisdom of the Desert (1904); Thomas a Kempis, Imitation of Christ, Migne, Dictionnaire d’ Ascetisme, and Encyclopedia Theol., XLV, XLVI, 45, 46; Jewish Encyclopedia, and Bible Dictionaries at the place.

George B. Eager


a-bu’-bus (Aboubos): The father of Ptolemy, who deceitfully slew Simon Maccabee and his sons at Dok near Jericho (1 Macc 16:11,15).


a-bun’-dans, a-bun’-dant. See ABOUND.


a-buz’:"To dishonor," "to make mock of," "to insult," etc.

(1) Translated in the Old Testament from ‘alal, "to do harm," "to defile" (Jud 19:25), "to make mock of" (1Sa 31:4).

(2) Translated in the New Testament from arsenokoites, literally, "one who lies with a male," "a sodomite" (1Co 6:9; 1Ti 1:10; the King James Version "for them that defile themselves with mankind").

(3) In the King James Version 1Co 7:31 "as not abusing it," from katachraomai, "to abuse," i.e. misuse; the Revised Version (British and American) "using it to the full," also 1Co 9:18.


a-bis’,( he abussos): In classical Greek the word is always an adjective, and is used

(1) literally, "very deep," "bottomless";

(2) figuratively, "unfathomable," "boundless." "Abyss" does not occur in the King James Version but the Revised Version (British and American) so transliterates abussos in each case. The the King James Version renders the Greek by "the deep" in two passages (Lu 8:31; Ro 10:7). In Revelation the King James Version renders by "the bottomless pit" (Re 9:1,2,11; 11:7; 17:8; 20:1,3). In the Septuagint abussos is the rendering of the Hebrew word tehom. According to primitive Semitic cosmogony the earth was supposed to rest on a vast body of water which was the source of all springs of water and rivers (Ge 1:2; De 8:7; Ps 24:2; 136:6). This subterranean ocean is sometimes described as "the water under the earth" (Ex 20:4; De 5:8). According to Job 41:32 tehom is the home of the leviathan in which he plows his hoary path of foam. The Septuagint never uses abussos as a rendering of sheol (= Sheol = Hades) and probably tehom never meant the "abode of the dead" which was the ordinary meaning of Sheol. In Ps 71:20 tehom is used figuratively, and denotes "many and sore troubles" through which the psalmist has passed (compare Jon 2:5). But in the New Testament the word abussos means the "abode of demons." In Lu 8:31 the King James Version renders "into the deep" (Weymouth and The Twentieth Century New Testament =" into the bottomless pit"). The demons do not wish to be sent to their place of punishment before their destined time. Mark simply says "out of the country" (Lu 5:10). In Ro 10:7 the word is equivalent to Hades, the abode of the dead. In Revelation (where the King James Version renders invariably "the bottomless pit") abussos denotes the abode of evil spirits, but not the place of final punishment; it is therefore to be distinguished from the "lake of fire and brimstone" where the beast and the false prophet are, and into which the Devil is to be finally cast (Re 19:20; 20:10).

See also ASTRONOMY, sec. III, 7.

Thomas Lewis


ab-i-sin’-i-a. See ETHIOPIA.


a-ka’-sha (shiTTah, the shittah tree of the King James Version, Isa 41:19, and ‘atse-shiTTah, acacia wood; shittah wood the King James Version, Ex 25:5,10,13; 26:15,26; 27:1,6; De 10:3.): ShiTTah (= shinTah) is equivalent to the Arabic sant which is now the name of the Acacia Nilotica (NO, Leguminosae), but no doubt the name once included other species of desert acacias. If one particular species is indicated in the Old Testament it is probably the Acacia Seyal—the Arabic Seyyal—which yields the well-known gum- arabic This tree, which has finely leaves ular flowers, grows to a height of twenty feet or more, and its stem may sometimes reach two feet in thickness. The tree often assumes a characteristic umbrella-like form. The wood is close-grained and is not readily attacked by insects. It would be well suited for such purposes as described, the construction of the ark of the covenant, the altar and boarding of the tabernacle. Even today these trees survive in considerable numbers around ‘Ain Jidy and in the valleys to the south.

E. W. G. Masterman


ak’-a-tan. See AKATAN (Apocrypha).


ak’-a-ba, ak-a’-ba (B, Akkaba; A, Gaba; the King James Version Agaba) = Hagab (Ezr 2:46); see also HAGABA (Ne 7:48): The descendants of Accaba (temple-servants) returned with Zerubbabel to Jerusalem (1 Esdras 5:30).


ak’-ad, ak-a’-di-ans. See BABYLONIA.


ak’-a-ron (Akkaron): Mentioned in 1 Macc 10:89 the King James Version; a town of the Philistines, known as Ekron (‘eqron) in Old Testament, which King Alexander gave to Jonathan Maccabeus as a reward for successful military service in western Palestine. It is also mentioned in the days of the Crusades. See EKRON.


ak-sept’, ak-sep’-ta-b’-l, ak-sep-ta’-shun: "To receive with favor," "to take pleasure in"; "well-pleasing"; "the act of receiving."

Accept, used

(1) of sacrifice, "accept thy burnt-sacrifice" (dashen, "accept as fat," i.e. receive favorably; Ps 20:3);

(2) of persons, "Yahweh accept Job" (Job 42:9, nasa’," to lift up," "take," "receive");

(3) of works, "a the work of his hands" (De 33:11 ratsah, "to delight in").

In New Testament

(1) of favors, "We accept .... with all thankfulness" (apodechomai, Ac 24:3);

(2) of personal appeal, "He accept our exhortation" (2Co 8:17);

(3) of God’s Impartiality (lambano, "to take," "receive"); "accepteth not man’s person" (Ga 2:6).

Acceptable, used

(1) of justice (bachar, "choose select"), "more accept .... than sacrifice" (Pr 21:3);

(2) of words (chephets, "delight in," "sought .... accept words") (Ec 12:10);

(3) of times (ratson, "delight," "approbation"; dektos, "receivable") "acceptable year of the Lord" (Isa 61:2 (King James Version); Lu 4:19);

(4) of spiritual sacrifice (euprosdektos, "well received"), "acceptable to God" (1Pe 2:5);

(5) of patient endurance (charis, "grace," "favor") "This is acceptable with God" (1Pe 2:20). Acceptation, used twice to indicate the trustworthiness of the gospel of Christ’s saving grace: "worthy of all acceptation." (1Ti 1:15; 4:9).

These words are full of the abundant grace of God and are rich in comfort to believers. That which makes man, in word, work and character, acceptable to God; and renders It possible for God to accept him, his service and sacrifice, is the fullness of the Divine mercy and grace and forgiveness. He "chose us" and made us, as adopted sons, the heirs of His grace "which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved" (Eph 1:6; compare the King James Version).

Dwight M. Pratt


ak-sep’-tans: A rendering of the Hebrew retson, "delight," found only in Isa 60:7. It pictures God’s delight in His redeemed people in the Messianic era, when their gifts, in joyful and profuse abundance, "shall come up with acceptance on mine altar." With "accepted" and other kindred words it implies redeeming grace as the basis of Divine favor. It is the "living, holy sacrifice" that is "acceptable to God" (Ro 12:1; compare Titus 3:4-6).


ak’-ses (prosagoge, "a leading to or toward," "approach"): Thrice used in the New Testament to indicate the acceptable way of approach to God and of admission to His favor. Jesus said, "I am the way" (Joh 14:6). His blood is the "new and living way" (Heb 10:20). Only through Him have we "access by faith into this grace wherein we stand" (Ro 5:2); "Through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father" (Eph 2:18 the King James Version); "in whom we have .... access in confidence, through our faith in him" (Eph 3:12).

The goal of redemption is life in God, "unto the Father." The means of redemption is the cross of Christ, "in whom we have our redemption through his blood" (Eph 1:7). The agent in redemption is the Holy Spirit, "by one Spirit," "sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise" (Eph 1:13). The human instrumentality, faith. The whole process of approach to, and abiding fellowship with, God is summed up in this brief sentence Access to the Father, through Christ, by the Spirit, by faith.

Dwight M. Pratt


ak’-o (‘akko; [‘Akcho]; Ake Ptolemais; Modern Arabic ‘Akka, English Acre; the King James Version Accho): A town on the Syrian coast a few miles north of Carmel, on a small promontory on the north side of a broad bay that lies between it and the modern town of Haifa. This bay furnishes the best anchorage for ships of any on this coast except that of George, at Beirut, and Alexandretta at the extreme north. As the situation commanded the approach from the sea to the rich plateau of Esdraelon and also the coast route from the north, the city was regarded in ancient times of great importance and at various periods of history was the scene of severe struggles for its possession. It fell within the bounds assigned to the Israelites, particularly to the tribe of Asher, but they were never able to take it (Jos 19:24-31; Jud 1:31).

It was, like Tyre and Sidon, too strong for them to attack and it became indeed a fortress of unusual strength, so that it many a siege, often baffling its assailants. In the period of the Crusades it was the most famous stronghold on the coast, and in very early times it was a place of importance and appears in the Tell el-Amarna Letters as a possession of the Egyptian kings. Its governor wrote to his suzerain professing loyalty when the northern towns were falling away (Am Tab 17 BM, 95 B). The Egyptian suzerainty over the coast, which was established by Thothmes III about 1480 BC, was apparently lost in the 14th century, as is indicated in Tell el-Amarna Letters, but was regained under Seti I and his more famous son Rameses II in the 13th, to be again lost in the 12th when the Phoenician towns seem to have established their independence. Sidon however surpassed her sisters in power and exercised a sort of hegemony over the Phoenician towns, at least in the south, and Acco was included in it (Rawl. Phoenica, 407-8).

But when Assyria came upon the scene it had to submit to this power, although it revolted whenever Assyria became weak, as appears from the mention of its subjugation by Sennacherib (ib 449), and by Ashurbanipal (ib 458). The latter "quieted" it by a wholesale massacre and then carried into captivity the remaining inhabitants. Upon the downfall of Assyria it passed, together with other Phoenician towns, under the dominion of Babylon and then of Persia, but we have no records of its annals during that period; but it followed the fortunes of the more important cities, Tyre and Sidon. In the Seleucid period (BC 312-65) the town became of importance in the contests between the Seleucids and the Ptolemies. The latter occupied it during the struggles that succeeded the death of Alexander and made it their stronghold on the coast and changed the name to PTOLEMAIS, by which it was known in the Greek and Roman period as we see in the accounts of the Greek and Roman writers and in Josephus, as well as in New Testament (1 Macc 5:22; 10:39; 12:48; Ac 21:7).

The old name still continued locally and reasserted itself in later times. The Ptolemies held undisputed possession of the place for about 70 years but it was wrested from them by Antiochus III, of Syria, in 219 BC and went into the permanent possession of the Seleucids after the decisive victory of Antiochus over Scopas in that year, the result of which was the expulsion of the Ptolemies from Syria, Palestine and Phoenicia (Ant., XII, iii, 3). In the dynastic struggles of the Seleucids it fell into the hands of Alexander Bala, who there received the hand of Cleopatra, the daughter of Ptolemy Philometor, as a pledge of alliance between them (ib XIII, iv, 1). Tigranes, king of Armenia, besieged it on his invasion of Syria, but was obliged to relinquish it on the approach of the Romans toward his own dominions (BJ, I, v, 3).

Under the Romans Ptolemais became a colony and a metropolis, as is known from coins, and was of importance, as is attested by Strabo. But the events that followed the conquests of the Saracens, leading to the Crusades, brought it into great prominence. It was captured by the Crusaders in 1110 AD, and remained in their hands until 1187, when it was taken from them by Saladin and its fortifications so strengthened as to render it almost impregnable. The importance of this fortress as a key to the Holy Land was considered so great by the Crusaders that they put forth every effort during two years to recapture it, but all in vain until the arrival of Richard Coeur de Lion and Philip Augustus with reinforcements, and it was only after the most strenuous efforts on their part that the place fell into their hands, but it cost them 100,000 men. The fortifications were repaired and it was afterward committed to the charge of the knights of John, by whom it was held for 100 years and received the name of Jean d’Acre. It was finally taken by the Saracens in 1291, being the last place held by the Crusaders in Palestine

It declined after this and fell into the hands of the Ottomans under Selim I in 1516, and remained mostly in ruins until the 18th century, when it came into the possession of Jezzar Pasha, who usurped the authority over it and the neighboring district and became practically independent of the Sultan and defied his authority. In 1799 it was attacked by Napoleon but was bravely and successfully defended by the Turks with the help of the English fleet, and Napoleon had to abandon the siege after he had spent two months before it and gained a victory over the Turkish army at Tabor. It enjoyed a considerable degree of prosperity after this until 1831 when it was besieged by Ibrahim Pasha, of Egypt, and taken, but only after a siege of more than five months in which it suffered the destruction of its walls and many of its buildings. It continued in the hands of the Egyptians until 1840 when it was restored to the Ottomans by the English whose fleet nearly reduced it to ruins in the bombardment. It has recovered somewhat since then and is now a town of some 10,000 inhabitants and the seat of a Mutasarrifiyet, or subdivision of the Vilayet of Beirut. It contains one of the state prisons of the Vilayet, where long-term prisoners are incarcerated. Its former commerce has been almost wholly lost to the town of Haifa, on the south side of the bay, since the latter has a fairly good roadstead, while Acre has none, and the former being the terminus of the railway which connects with the interior and the Damascus-Mecca line, it has naturally supplanted Acre as a center of trade.

H. Porter




1. Three Uses of the Term

2. The Importance of the Subject


1. Interpretation a Science

2. Scientific Accommodation


1. Allegory in Scripture

2. Hidden Truths of Scripture

3. Prophecy and its Fulfillment

4. Conclusion


1. General Principles

2. Accommodation a Feature of Progressive Revelation

3. The Limits of Revelation

4. The Outcome of Revelation

5. The Question as to Christ’s Method


I. Introductory.

1. Three Uses of the Term: The term "accommodation" is used in three senses which demand careful discrimination and are worthy of separate treatment:

(1) the use or application of a Scripture reference in a sense other than the obvious and literal one which lay in the mind and intent of the writer;

(2) theory that a passage, according to its original intent, may have more than one meaning or application;

(3) the general principle of adaptation on the part of God in His self-revelation to man’s mental and spiritual capacity.

2. The Importance of the Subject: Important issues are involved in the discussion of this subject in each of the three divisions thus naturally presented to us in the various uses of the term. These issues culminate in the supremely important principles which underlie the question of God’s adaptation of His revelation to men.

II. Accommodated Application of Scripture Passages.

1. Interpretation a Science: It is obvious that the nature of thought and of language is such as to constitute for all human writings, among which the Bible, as a document to be understood, must be placed, a science of interpretation with a definite body of laws which cannot be violated or set aside without confusion and error. This excludes the indeterminate and arbitrary exegesis of any passage It must be interpreted with precision and in accordance with recognized laws of interpretation. The first and most fundamental of these laws is that a passage is to be interpreted in accordance with the intent of the writer in so far as that can be ascertained. The obvious, literal and original meaning always has the right of way. All arbitrary twisting of a passage in order to obtain from it new and remote meanings not justified by the context is unscientific and misleading.

2. Scientific Accommodation: There is, however, a scientific and legitimate use of the principle of accommodation. For example, it is impossible to determine beforehand that a writer’s specific application of a general principle is the only one of which it is capable. A bald and literal statement of fact may involve a general principle which is capable of broad and effective application in other spheres than that originally contemplated. It is perfectly legitimate to detach a writer’s statement from its context of secondary and incidental detail and give it a harmonious setting of wider application. It will be seen from this that legitimate accommodation involves two things:

(1) the acceptance of the author’s primary and literal meaning;

(2) the extension of that meaning through the establishment of a broader context identical in principle with the original one.

In the article on QUOTATIONS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT (which see) this use of the term accommodation, here treated in the most general terms, is dealt with in detail. See also INTERPRETATION.

III. Double Reference in Scripture.

The second use of the term accommodation now emerges for discussion. Are we to infer the presence of double reference, or secondary meanings in Scripture? Here again we must distinguish between the legitimate and illegitimate application of a principle. While we wisely deprecate the tendency to look upon Scripture passages as cryptic utterances, we must also recognize that many Scripture references may have more than a single application.

1. Allegory in Scripture:

We must recognize in the Scriptures the use of allegory, the peculiar quality of which, as a form of literature, is the double reference which it contains. To interpret the story of the Bramble-King (Jud 9:7-15) or the Parables of our Lord without reference to the double meanings which they involve would be as false and arbitrary as any extreme of allegorizing. The double meaning is of the essence of the literary expression. This does not mean, of course, that the poetry of the Bible, even that of the Prophets and Apocalyptic writers, is to be looked upon as allegorical. On the contrary, only that writing, whether prose or poetry, is to be interpreted in any other than its natural and obvious sense, in connection with which we have definite indications of its allegorical character. Figures of speech and poetical expressions in general, though not intended to be taken literally because they belong to the poetical form, are not to be taken as having occult references and allegorical meanings. Dr. A. B. Davidson thus characterizes the prophetic style (Old Testament Prophecy, 171; see whole chapter): "Prophecy is poetical, but it is not allegorical. The language of prophecy is real as opposed to allegorical, and poetical as opposed to real. When the prophets speak of natural objects or of lower creatures, they do not mean human things by them, or human beings, but these natural objects or creatures themselves. When Joe speaks of locusts, he means those creatures. When he speaks of the sun and moon and stars, he means those bodies." Allegory, therefore, which contains the double reference, in the sense of speaking of one thing while meaning another, is a definite and recognizable literary form with its own proper laws of interpretation. See ALLEGORY.

2. Hidden Truths of Scripture: There is progress in the understanding of Scripture. New reaches of truth are continually being brought to light. By legitimate and natural methods hidden meanings are being continually discovered.

(1) It is a well-attested fact that apart from any supernatural factor a writer sometimes speaks more wisely than he knows. He is the partially unconscious agent for the expression of a great truth, not only for his own age, but for all time. It is not often given to such a really great writer or to his age to recognize all the implications of his thought. Depths of meaning hidden both from the original writer and from earlier interpreters may be disclosed by moving historical sidelights. The element of permanent value in great literature is due to the fact that the writer utters a greater truth than can exhaustively be known in any one era. It belongs to all time.

(2) The supernatural factor which has gone to the making of Scripture insures that no one man or group of men, that not all men together, can know it exhaustively. It partakes of the inexhaustibleness of God. It is certain, therefore, that it will keep pace with the general progress of man, exhibiting new phases of meaning as it moves along the stream of history. Improved exegetical apparatus and methods, enlarged apprehensions into widening vistas of thought and knowledge, increased insight under the tutelage of the Spirit in the growing Kingdom of God, will conspire to draw up new meanings from the depths of Scripture. The thought of God in any given expression of truth can only be progressively and approximately known by human beings who begin in ignorance and must be taught what they know.

(3) The supernatural factor in revelation also implies a twofold thought in every important or fundamental statement of Scripture: the thought of God uttered through His Spirit to a man or his generation, and that same thought with reference to the coming ages and to the whole truth which is to be disclosed. Every separate item belonging to an organism of truth would naturally have a twofold reference: first, its significance alone and of itself; second, its significance with reference to the whole of which it is a part. As all great Scriptural truths are thus organically related, it follows that no one of them can be fully known apart from all the others. From which it follows also that in a process of gradual revelation where truths are given successively as men are able to receive them and where each successive truth prepares the way for others which are to follow, every earlier statement will have two ranges of meaning and application—that which is intrinsic and that which flows from its connection with the entire organism of unfolding truth which finally appears.

3. Prophecy and Its Fulfillment: (1) The principles thus far expressed carry us a certain way toward an answer to the most important question which arises under this division of the general topic: the relation between the Old Testament and the New Testament through prophecy and its fulfillment. Four specific points of connection involving the principles of prophetic anticipation and historical realization in the career of Jesus are alleged by New Testament writers. They are of total importance, inasmuch as these four groups of interpretations involve the most important elements of the Old Testament and practically the entire New Testament interpretation of Jesus.

(2) (a) The promise made to Abraham (Ge 12:1-3; compare Ge 13:14-18, 15:1-6, etc.) and repeated in substance at intervals during the history of Israel (see Ex 6:7; Le 26:12; De 26:17-19; 29:12,13; 2Sa 7$; 1Ch 17, etc.) is interpreted as having reference to the distant future and as fulfilled in Christ (see Ga 3$ for example of this interpretation, especially Ga 3:14; also QUOTATIONS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT).

(b) The Old Testament system of sacrifices is looked upon as typical and symbolic, hence, predictive and realized in the death of Christ interpreted as atonement for sin (He 10$, etc.).

(c) References in the Old Testament to kings or a king of David’s line whose advent and reign are spoken of are interpreted as definite predictions fulfilled in the advent and career of Jesus the Messiah (Ps 2$, 16$, 22$, 110$; compare Lu 1:69, etc.).

(d) The prophetic conception of the servant of Yahweh (Isa 42:1 f; Isa 44:1 f; Isa 52:13-Isa 53:12; compare Ac 8:32-35) is interpreted as being an anticipatory description of the character and work of Jesus centering in His vicarious sin-bearing death.

(3) With the details of interpretation as involved in the specific use of Old Testament statements we are not concerned here (see QUOTATIONS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT, etc.) but only with the general principles which underlie all such uses of the Old Testament. The problem is: Can we thus interpret any passage or group of passages in the Old Testament without being guilty of what has been called "pedantic supernaturalism"; that is, of distorting Scripture by interpreting it without regard to its natural historical connections? Is the interpretation of the Old Testament Messianically legitimate or illegitimate accommodation?

(c) It is a widely accepted canon of modern interpretation that the institutions of Old Testament worship and the various messages of the prophets had an intrinsic contemporary significance.

(b) But this is not to say that its meaning and value are exhausted in that immediate contemporary application. Beyond question the prophet was a man with a message to his own age, but there is nothing incompatible, in that fact, with his having a message, the full significance of which reaches beyond ins own age, even into the far distant future. It would serve to clear the air in this whole region if it were only understood that it is precisely upon its grasp of the future that the leverage of a great message for immediate moral uplift rests. The predictive element is a vital part of the contemporary value.

(c) The material given under the preceding analysis may be dealt with as a whole on the basis of a principle fundamental to the entire Old Testament economy, namely: that each successive age in the history of Israel is dealt with on the basis of truth common to the entire movement of which the history of Israel is but a single phase. It is further to be remembered that relationship between the earlier and later parts of the Bible is one of organic and essential unity, both doctrinal and historical. By virtue of this fact the predictive element is an essential factor in the doctrines and institutions of the earlier dispensation as originally constituted and delivered, hence forming a part of its contemporary significance and value, both pointing to the future and preparing the way for it. In like manner, the element of fulfillment is an essential element of the later dispensation as the completed outcome of the movement begun long ages before. Prediction and fulfillment are essential factors in any unified movement begun, advanced and completed according to a single plan in successive periods of time. We have now but to apply this principle in general to the Old Testament material already in hand to reach definite and satisfactory conclusions.

(4) (a) The promise made to Abraham was a living message addressed directly to him in the immediate circumstances of his life upon which the delivery and acceptance of the promise made a permanent impress; but it was of vaster proportions than could be realized within the compass of a single human life; for it included himself, his posterity, and all mankind in a single circle of promised blessing. So far as the patriarch was concerned the immediate, contemporary value of the promise lay in the fact that it concerned him not alone but in relationship to the future and to mankind. A prediction was thus imbedded in the very heart of the word of God which was the object of his faith—a prediction which served to enclose his life in the plan of God for all mankind and to fasten his ambition to the service of that plan. The promise was predictive in its essence and in its contemporary meaning (see Beecher, Prophets and Promise, 213).

(b) So also it is with the Messianic King. The Kingdom as an institution in Israel is described from the beginning as the perpetual mediatorial reign of God upon earth (see Ex 19:3-6, 2Sa 7:8-16, etc.), and the King in whom the Kingdom centers is God’s Son (2Sa 7:13,15) and earthly representative. In all this there is much that is immediately contemporaneous. The Kingdom and the Kingship are described in terms of the ideal and that ideal is used in every age as the ground of immediate appeal to loyalty and devotion on the part of the King. None the less the predictive element lies at the center of the representation. The very first recorded expression of the Messianic promise to David involves the prediction of unconditioned perpetuity to his house, and thus grasps the entire future.

More than this, the characteristics, the functions, the dignities of the king are so described (Ps 102$, Isa 9:6,7) as to make it clear that the conditions of the Kingship could be met only by an uniquely endowed person coming forth from God and exercising divine functions in a worldwide spiritual empire. Such a King being described and such a Kingdom being promised, the recipients of it, of necessity, were set to judge the present and scrutinize the future for its realization. The conception is, in its original meaning and expression, essentially predictive.

(c) Very closely allied with this conception of the Messianic King is the prophetic ideal of the Servant of Yahweh. Looked at in its original context we at once discover that it is the ideal delineation of a mediatorial service to men in behalf of Yahweh—which has a certain meaning of fulfillment in any person who exhibits the Divine character by teaching the truth and ministering to human need (for application of the term see Isa 49:5,6,7, 50:10; especially Isa 45:1). But the service is described in such exalted terms, the devotion exacted by it is so high, that, in the application of the ideal as a test to the present and to the nation at large, the mind is inevitably thrown into the future and centered upon a supremely endowed individual to come, who is by preeminence the Servant of Yahweh.

(d) The same principle may be applied with equal effectiveness to the matter of Israel’s sacrificial system. In the last two instances this fact emerged: No truth and no institution can exhaustively be known until it has run a course in history. For example, the ideas embodied in the Messianic Kingship and the conception of the Servant of Yahweh could be known only in the light of history. Only in view of the actual struggles and failures of successive kings and successive generations of the people to realize such ideals could their full significance be disclosed. Moreover, only by historic process of preparation could such ideals ultimately be realized. This is preeminently true of the Old Testament sacrifices. It is clear that the New Testament conception of the significance of Old Testament sacrifice in connection with the death of Christ is based upon the belief that the idea embodied in the original institution could be fulfilled only in the voluntary sacrifice of Christ (see He 10:1-14). This view is justified by the facts. Dr. Davidson (op. cit., 239) holds that the predictive element in the Old Testament sacrifices lay in their imperfection. This imperfection, while inherent, could be revealed only in experience. As they gradually deepened a sense of need which they could not satisfy, more and more clearly they pointed away from themselves to that transaction which alone could realize in fact what they express in symbol. A harmony such as obtained between Old Testament sacrifice and the death of Christ could only be the result of design. It is all one movement, one fundamental operation; historically prefigured and prepared for by anticipation, and historically realized. Old Testament sacrifice was instituted both to prefigure and to prepare the way for the sacrifice of Christ in the very process of fulfilling its natural historic function in the economy of Israel.

4. Conclusion: The total outcome of the discussion is this: the interpretation of these representative Old Testament ideas and institutions as referring to Christ and anticipating His advent is no illegitimate use of the principle of accommodation. The future reference which takes in the entire historical process which culminates in Christ lies within the immediate and original application and constitutes an essential element of its contemporary value. The original statement is in its very nature predictive and is one in doctrinal principle and historic continuity with that which forms its fulfillment.

IV. Accommodation in Revelation.

1. General Principles:

(1) It is evident that God’s revelation to men must be conveyed in comprehensible terms and adjusted to the nature of the human understanding. That is clearly not a revelation which does not reveal. A disclosure of God’s character and ways to men revolves the use and control of the human spirit in accordance with its constitution and laws. The doctrine of inspiration inseparable from that of revelation implies such a divine control of human faculties as to enable them, still freely working within their own normal sphere, to apprehend and interpret truth otherwise beyond their reach.

(2) The Bible teaches that in the height and depth of His being God is unsearchable. His mind and the human mind are quantitatively incommensurable. Man cannot by searching find out God. His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts.

(3) But, on the other hand, the Bible affirms with equal emphasis the essential qualitative kinship of the divine and the human constitutions God is spirit—man is spirit also. Man is made in the image of God and made to know God. These two principles together affirm the necessity and the possibility of revelation. Revelation, considered as an exceptional order of experience due to acts of God performed with the purpose of making Himself known in personal relationship with man, is necessary because man’s finite nature needs guidance. Revelation is possible because man is capable of such guidance. The Bible affirms that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, but that they may become ours because God can utter them so that we can receive them.

(4) These two principles lead to a most important conclusion. In all discussions of the principle of accommodation it is to be remembered that the capacity of the human mind to construct does not measure its capacity to receive and appropriate. The human mind can be taught what it cannot independently discover. No teacher is limited by the capacity of his pupils to deal unaided with a subject of study. He is limited only by their capacity to follow him in his processes of thought and exposition. The determining factor in revelation, which is a true educative process, is the mind of God which stamps itself upon the kindred and plastic mind of man.

2. Accommodation a Feature of Progressive Revelation:

(1) The beginnings of revelation. Since man’s experience is organically conditioned he is under the law of growth. His entire mental and spiritual life is related to his part and lot in the kingdom of organisms. The very laws of his mind reveal themselves only upon occasion in experience. While it is true that his tendencies are innate, so that he is compelled to think and to feel in certain definite ways, yet it is true that he can neither think nor feel at all except as experience presents material for thought and applies stimulus to feeling Man must bye in order to learn. He must, therefore, learn gradually. This fact conditions all revelation. Since it must deal with men it must be progressive, and since it must be progressive it must necessarily involve, in its earlier stages, the principle of accommodation. In order to gain access to man’s mind it must take him where he is and link itself with his natural aptitudes and native modes of thought. Since revelation involves the endeavor to form in the mind of man the idea of God in order that a right relationship with Him may be established, it enters both the intellectual and moral life of the human race and must accommodate itself to the humble beginnings of early human experience. The chief problem of revelation seems to have been to bring these crude beginnings within the scope of a movement the aim and end of which is perfection.

The application of the principle of accommodation to early human experience with a view to progress is accomplished by doing what at first thought seems to negate the very principle upon which the mental and moral life of man must permanently rest.

(a) It involves the authoritative revelations of incomplete and merely tentative truths.

(b) It involves also the positive enactment of rudimentary and imperfect morality.

In both these particulars Scripture has accommodated itself to crude early notions and placed the seal of authority upon principles which are outgrown and discarded within the limits of Scripture itself. But in so doing Scripture has saved the very interests it has seemed to imperil by virtue of two features of the human constitution which in themselves lay hold upon perfection and serve to bind together the crude beginnings and the mature achievements of the human race. These two principles are

(c) the idea of truth;

(d) the idea of obligation.

(2) It is mainly due to these two factors of human nature that any progress in truth and conduct is possible to men. What is true or right in matter of specific fact varies in the judgment of different individuals and of different ages. But the august and compelling twin convictions of truth and right, as absolute, eternal, authoritative, are present from the beginning of human history to the end of it. Scripture seizes upon the fact that these great ideas may be enforced through crude human conceptions and at very rudimentary stages of culture, and enforcing them by means of revelation and imperative law brings man to the test of truth and right and fosters his advance to larger conceptions and broader applications of both fundamental principles. Canon Mozley in discussing this principle of accommodation on its moral side, its necessity and its fruitfulness, says: "How can the law properly fulfill its object of correcting and improving the moral standard of men, unless it first maintains in obligation the standard which already exists? Those crudely delineated conceptions, which it tends ultimately to purify and raise, it must first impose" (Ruling Ideas in Early Ages, 183; compare Mt 5:17 with Mt 5:21,27,33).

3. The Limits of Revelation:

Since the chief end of revelation is to form the mind of man with reference to the purpose and will of God to the end that man may enter into fellowship with God, the question arises as to how far revelation will be accommodated by the limitation of its sphere. How far does it seek to form the mind and how far does it leave the mind to its own laws and to historical educative forces? Four foundation principles seem to be sufficiently clear:

(a) Revelation accepts and uses at every stage of its history such materials from the common stock of human ideas as are true and of permanent worth. The superstructure of revelation rests upon a foundation of universal and fundamental human convictions. It appeals continually to the rooted instructs and regulative ideas of the human soul deeply implanted as a preparation for revelation.

(b) Regard is paid in Scripture to man’s nature as free and responsible. He is a rational being who must be taught through persuasion; he is a moral being who must be controlled through his conscience and will. There must be, therefore, throughout the process of revelation an element of free, spontaneous, unforced life in and through which the supernatural factors work.

(c) Revelation must have reference, even in its earliest phases of development, to the organism of truth as a whole. What is actually given at any time must contribute its quota to the ultimate summing up and completion of the entire process. (d) Revelation must guard against injurious errors which trench upon essential and vital matters. In short, the consistency and integrity of the movement through which truth is brought to disclosure must sacredly be guarded; while, at the same time, since it is God and man who are coming to know each other, revelation must be set in a broad environment of human life and entrusted to the processes of history. See REVELATION.

4. The Outcome of Revelation: It is now our task briefly to notice how in Scripture these interests are safeguarded. We must notice (a) the principle of accommodation in general. It has often been pointed out that in every book of the Bible the inimitable physiognomy of the writer and the age is preserved; that the Biblical language with reference to Nature is the language of phenomena; that its doctrines are stated vividly, tropically, concretely and in the forms of speech natural to the age in which they were uttered; that its historical documents are, for the most part, artless annals of the ancient oriental type, that it contains comparatively little information concerning Nature or man which anticipates scientific discovery or emancipates the religious man who accepts it as a guide from going to school to Nature and human experience for such information. All this, of course, without touching upon disputed points or debated questions of fact, involves, from the point of view of the Divine mind to which all things are known, and of the human mind to which certain facts of Nature hidden in antiquity have been disclosed, the principles of accommodation. Over against this we must set certain contrasting facts:

(b) The Scripture shows a constant tendency to transcend itself and to bring the teaching of the truth to a higher level. The simple, primitive ideas and rites of the patriarchal age are succeeded by the era of organized national life with its ideal of unity and the intensified sense of national calling and destiny under the leadership of God. The national idea of church and kingdom broadens out into the universal conception and world-wide mission of Christianity. The sacrificial symbolism of the Old Testament gives way to the burning ethical realities of the Incarnate Life. The self-limitation of the Incarnation broadens out into the world-wide potencies of the era of the Spirit who uses the letter of Scripture as the instrument of His universal ministry. It is thus seen that by the progressive method through a cumulative process God has gradually transcended the limitation of His instruments while at the same time He has continuously broadened and deepened the Spirit of man to receive His self-disclosure.

(c) More than this, Scripture throughout is marked by a certain distract and unmistakable quality of timelessness. It continually urges and suggests the infinite, the eternal, the unchangeable. It is part of the task of revelation to anticipate so as to guide progress. At every stage it keeps the minds of men on the stretch with a truth that they are not able at that stage easily to apprehend. The inexhaustible vastness and the hidden fullness of truth are everywhere implied. Prophets and Apostles are continually in travail with truths brought to their own ages from afar. The great fundamental verities of Scripture are stated with uncompromising fullness and finality. There is no accommodation to human weakness or error. Its ideals, its standards, its conditions are absolute and inviolate.

Not only has Israel certain fundamental ideas which are peculiar to herself, but there has been an organizing spirit, an "unique spirit of inspiration" which has modified and transformed the materials held by her in common with her Semitic kindred. Even her inherited ideas and Institutions are transformed and infused with new meanings. We note the modification of Semitic customs, as for example in blood revenge, by which savagery has been mitigated and evil associations eliminated. We note the paucity of mythological material. If the stories of Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Samson were originally mythological, they have ceased to be such in the Bible. They have been humanized and stripped of superhuman features. (See Fable, HGHL, 220 ff.)

If we yield to the current hypothesis as to the Babylonian background of the narratives in Gen, we are still more profoundly impressed with that unique assimilative power, working in Israel, which has enabled the Biblical writers to eradicate the deep-seated polytheism of the Babylonian documents and to stamp upon them the inimitable features of their own high monotheism (see BABYLONlA). We note the reserve of Scripture, the constant restraint exercised upon the imagination, the chastened doctrinal sobriety in the Bible references to angels and demons, in its Apocalyptic imagery, in its Messianic promises, in its doctrines of rewards and punishments. In all these particulars the Bible stands unique by contrast, not merely with popular thought, but with the extra-canonical literature of the Jewish people (see DEMON, etc.).

5. The Question as to Christ’s Method:

We come at this point upon a most central and difficult problem. It is, of course, alleged that Christ adopted the attitude of concurrence, which was also one of accommodation, in popular views concerning angels and demons, etc. It is disputed whether this goes back to the essential accommodation involved in the self-limiting of the Incarnation so that as man He should share the views of His contemporaries, or whether, with wider knowledge, He accommodated Himself for pedagogical purposes to erroneous views of the untaught people about Him (see DCG, article "Accommodation"). The question is complicated by our ignorance of the facts. We cannot say that Jesus accommodated Himself to the ignorance of the populace unless we are ready to pronounce authoritatively upon the truth or falseness of the popular theory. It is not our province in this article to enter upon that discussion (see INCARNATION and KENOSIS). We can only point out that the reserve of the New Testament and the absence of all imaginative extravagance shows that if accommodation has been applied it is most strictly limited in its scope. In this it is in harmony with the entire method of Scripture, where the ignorance of men is regarded in the presentation of God’s truth, while at the same time their growing minds are protected against the errors which would lead them astray from the direct path of progress into the whole truth reserved in the Divine counsel.

LITERATURE. (a) For the first division of the subject consult standard works on Science of Interpretation and Homiletics sub loc.

(b) For second division, among others, Dr. A. B. Davidson, Old Testament Prophecy; Dr. Willis J. Beecher, Prophets and Promise.

(c) For the third division, the most helpful single work is the one quoted: Mozley, Ruling Ideas in Early Ages, published by Longmans as "Old Testament Lectures."

Louis Matthews Sweet


a-kom’-plish: Richly represented in the Old Testament by seven Hebrew synonyms and in the New Testament by five Greek (the King James Version); signifying in Hebrew

(1) "to complete" (La 4:11);

(2) "to fulfill" (Da 9:2);

(3) "to execute" (1Ki 5:9);

(4) "to set apart" i.e. "consecrate" (Le 22:21);

(5) "to establish" (Jer 44:25 the King James Version);

(6) "to have pleasure in" (Job 14:6);

(7) "to perfect" (Ps 64:6);

in Greek

(1) "to finish" (Ac 21:5);

(2) "to bring to an end" (Heb 9:6);

(3) "to be fulfilled" (Lu 2:6);

(4) "to fill out" (Lu 9:31);

(5) "to complete" (Lu 12:50).


a-kord’, a-kord’-ing-li: In Old Testament, peh, "mouth," "to fight with one accord" (Jos 9:2) lephi, "according to the mouth of," "according to their families" (Ge 47:12, "acc. to (the number of) their little ones" the Revised Version, margin). In Isa 59:18 the same Hebrew word, ke‘al, is rendered "according to" and "accordingly." In New Testament homothumadon, indicative of harmony of mind or action, Acts, 1:14, 2:46, 7:57, 18:12 and kata, of the same mind .... according to Christ Jesus (Ro 15:5); automatos, "of itself," "without constraint," "opened to them of its own accord" (Ac 12:10), i.e. without human agency (compare Le 25:5 the King James Version; Mr 4:28); authairetos, "of his own free choice" (2Co 8:17). God "will render to every man according to his works" (Ro 2:6), that is, agreeably to the nature of his works (1Co 3:8), but salvation is not according to works (2Ti 1:9; Titus 3:5).


M. O. Evans


ak’-os (Hakchos): The grandfather of Eupolemus, whom Judas Maccabeus sent with others to Rome in 161 BC, to negotiate a "league of amity and confederacy" (1 Macc 8:17). The name occurs In the Old Testament as Hakkoz (haqqots), who was a priest in the reign of David (1Ch 24:10).





1. Scriptural Principles:

The general teaching of Scripture on this subject is summarized in Ro 14:12: "So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God." But this implies, on the one hand, the existence of a Moral Ruler of the universe, whose will is revealed, and, on the other the possession by the creature of knowledge and free will In Ro 4:15 it is expressly laid down that, ‘where no law is, neither is there transgression’; but, lest this might seem to exclude from accountability those to whom the law of Moses was not given, it is shown that even heathen had the law to some extent revealed in conscience; so that they are "without excuse" (Ro 1:20). "For as many as have sinned without the law shall also perish without the law: and as many as have sinned under the law shall be judged by the law" (Ro 2:12). So says Paul in a passage which is one of the profoundest discussions on the subject of accountability, and with his sentiment agrees exactly the word of our Lord on the same subject, in Lu 12:47,48: "And that servant, who knew his lord’s will, and made not ready, nor did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes; but he that knew not, and did things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes And to whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required: and to whom they commit much, of him will they ask the more."

There is a gradual development of accountability accompanying the growth of a human being from infancy to maturity; and there is a similar development in the race, as knowledge grows from less to more. In the full light of the gospel human beings are far more responsible than they were in earlier stages of intellectual and spiritual development, and the doom to which they will be exposed on the day of account will be heavy in proportion to their privileges. This may seem to put too great a premium on ignorance; and a real difficulty arises when we say that, the more of moral sensitiveness there is, the greater is the guilt; because as is well known, moral sensitiveness can be lost through persistent disregard of conscience; from which it might seem to follow that the way to diminish guilt was to silence the voice of conscience. There must, however, be a difference between the responsibility of a conscience that has never been enlightened and that of one which, having once been enlightened, has lost, through neglect or recklessness, the goodness once possessed. In the practice of the law, for example, it is often claimed that a crime committed under the influence of intoxication should be condoned; yet everyone must feel how different this is from innocence, and that, before a higher tribunal, the culprit will be held to be twice guilty—first, of the sin of drunkenness and then of the crime.

2. Connection with Immortality:

Wherever civilization is so advanced that there exists a code of public law, with punishments attached to transgression, there goes on a constant education in the sense of accountability; and even the heathen mind, in classical times, had advanced so far as to believe in a judgment beyond the veil, when the shades had to appear before the tribunal of Rhadamanthus, Minos and AEacus, to have their station and degree in the underworld decided according to the deeds done in the body. How early the Hebrews had made as much progress has to be discussed in connection with the doctrine of immortality; but it is certain that, before the Old Testament canon closed, they believed not only in a judgment after death but in resurrection, by which the sense of accountability was fastened far more firmly on the popular mind. Long before, however, there was awakened by the sacred literature the sense of a judgment of God going on during the present life and expressing itself in everyone’s condition.

The history of the world was the Judgment of the world; prosperity attended the steps of the good man, but retribution sooner or later struck down the wicked. It was from the difficulty of reconciling with this belief the facts of life that the skepticism of Hebrew thought arose; but by the same constraint the pious mind was pushed forward in the direction of the full doctrine of immortality. This came with the advent of Him who brought life and immortality to light by His gospel (2Ti 1:10). In the mind of Jesus not only were resurrection, judgment and immortality unquestionable postulates; but He was brought into a special connection with accountability through His consciousness of being the Judge of mankind, and, in His numerous references to the Last Judgment, He developed the principles upon which the conscience will then be tried, and by which accordingly it ought now to try itself. In this connection the Parable of the Talents is of special significance; but it is by the grandiose picture of the scene itself, which follows in the same chapter of the First Gospel, that the mind of Christendom has been most powerfully influenced. Reference has already been made to the discussions at the commencement of the Epistle to the Romans in which our subject finds a place. By some the apostle John has been supposed to revert to the Old Testament notion of a judgment proceeding now in place of coming at the Last Day; but Weiss (Der johanneische Lehrbegriff, II, 9) has proved that this is a mistake.

3. Joint and Corporate Responsibility:

Up to this point we have spoken of individual accountability, but the subject becomes more complicated when we think of the joint responsibility of several or many persons. From the first the human mind has been haunted by what is called the guilt of Adam’s first sin. There is a solidarity in the human race, and the inheritance of evil is too obvious to be denied even by the most optimistic. There is far, however, from being agreement of opinion as to the relation of the individual to this evil legacy; some contending fiercely against the idea that the individual can have any personal responsibility for a sin hidden in a past so distant and shadowy, while others maintain that the misery which has certainly been inherited by all can only be justified in a world governed by a God of justice if the guilt of all precedes the misery. The question enters deeply into the Pauline scheme, although at the most critical point it is much disputed what the Apostle’s real position is. While joint responsibility burdens the individual conscience, it may, at the same time, be said to lighten it. Thus, in Eze 18 one of the most weighty ethical discussions to be found in Holy Writ is introduced with the popular proverb, "The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge," which proves to be a way of saying that the responsibility of children is lightened, if not abolished, through their connection with their parents. In the same way, at the present time, the sense of responsibility is enfeebled in many minds through the control over character and destroy ascribed to heredity and environment. Even criminality is excused on the ground that many have never had a chance of virtue, and it is contended that to know everything is to forgive everything.

There can be no doubt that, as the agents of trusts and partnerships, men will allow themselves to do what they would never have thought of in private business; and in a crowd the individual sustains psychological modifications by which he is made to act very differently from his ordinary self. In the actions of nations, such as war, there is a vast and solemn responsibility somewhere; but it is often extremely difficult to locate whether in the ruler, the ministry or the people. So interesting and perplexing are such problems often that a morality for bodies of people, as distinguished from individuals, is felt by many to be the great desideratum of ethics at the present time. On this subject something will be found in most of the works on either philosophical or Christian ethics; see especially Lemme’s Christliche Ethik, 242 ff.

James Stalker


ak’-oz (Akbos; the Revised Version (British and American) AKKOS, which see): 1 Esdras 5:38, head of one of the priestly families, which returned from the Exile, but was unable to prove its descent, when the register was searched. See also Ezr 2:61.


a-kurs’-ed, a-kurst’:In the Book of Jos (Jos 6:17,18; 7:1,11,12,13,15) and 1Ch 2:7 "accursed" (or "accursed thing" or "thing accursed") is the King James Version rendering of the Hebrew word, cherem. The the Revised Version (British and American) consistently uses "devoted" or "devoted thing," which the King James Version also adopts in Le 27:21,28,29 and in Nu 18:14. "Cursed thing" is the rendering in two passages (De 7:26; 13:17); and in one passage (Eze 44:29 the King James Version) "dedicated thing" is used. In four places the King James Version renders the word by "curse" (Jos 6:18, Isa 34:5, 43:28, Mal 3:18, 4:6) whilst in, another passage (Zec 14:11) "utter destruction" is adopted in translation. These various renderings are due to the fact that the word cherem sometimes means the act of devoting or banning or the condition or state resulting therefrom and sometimes the object devoted or banned. We occasionally find periphrastic renderings, e.g. 1Sa 15:21: "the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed," the King James Version (literally, "the chief part of the ban"); 1Ki 20:42: "a man whom I appointed to utter destruction," the King James Version (literally, "a man of my ban" (or "banning")). The root-word meant "to separate," "shut off." The Arabic charim denoted the precincts of the temple at Mecca, and also the women’s apartment (whence the word "harem").

In Hebrew the word always suggested "separating" or "devoting to God." Just as qadhosh, meant "holy" or "consecrated to the service" of Yahweh, and so not liable to be used for ordinary or secular purposes, so the stem of cherem meant "devoting" to Yahweh anything which would, if spared, corrupt or contaminate the religious life of Israel, with the further idea of destroying (things) or exterminating (persons) as the surest way of avoiding such contamination. Everything that might paganize or affect the unique character of the religion of Israel was banned, e.g. idols (De 7:26); idolatrous persons (Ex 22:20); idolatrous cities (De 13:13-18). All Canaanite towns—where the cult of Baal flourished—were to be banned (De 20:16-18). The ban did not always apply to the gold and silver of looted cities (Jos 6:24). Such valuable articles were to be placed in the "treasury of the house of Yahweh." This probably indicates a slackening of the rigid custom which involved the total destruction of the spoil. According to Nu 18:14, "everything devoted in Israel" belonged to Aaron, and Eze 44:29 the King James Version ordained that "every dedicated thing" should belong to the priests (compare Ezr 10:8). In the New Testament "accursed" is the King James Version rendering of ANATHEMA (which see).

Thomas Lewis


a-kuz’-er: This word, not found in the Old Testament, is the rendering of two Greek words:

(1) kategoros, that is, a prosecutor, or plaintiff in a lawsuit, or one who speaks in a derogatory way of another (Ac 23:30,35; 25:16,18; Re 12:10);

(2) diabolos, meaning adversary or enemy. This word is rendered "accuser" in the King James Version and "slanderer" in the Revised Version (British and American) and the American Standard Revised Version (2Ti 3:3; Titus 2:3). According to the rabbinic teaching Satan, or the devil, was regarded as hostile to God and man, and that it was a part of his work to accuse the latter of disloyalty and sin before the tribunal of the former (see Job 1:6 ff; Zec 3:1 f; Re 12:10).

W. W. Davies


a-sel’-da-ma. See AKELDAMA.


a-ka’-ya (Achaia): The smallest country in the Peloponnesus lying along the southern shore of the Corinthian Gulf, north of Arcadia and east of Elis. The original inhabitants were Ionians, but these were crowded out later by the Acheans, who came from the East. According to Herodotus, the former founded twelve cities, many of which retain their original names to this day. These cities were on the coast and formed a confederation of smaller communities, which in the last century of the independent history of Greece attained to great importance (Achaean League). In Roman times the term Achaia was used to include the whole of Greece, exclusive of Thessaly. Today Achaia forms with Elis one district, and contains a population of nearly a quarter of a million. The old Achean League was renewed in 280 BC, but became more important in 251, when Aratus of Sicyon was chosen commander-in-chief. This great man increased the power of the League and gave it an excellent constitution, which our own great practical politicians, Hamilton and Madison, consulted, adopting many of its prominent devices, when they set about framing the Constitution of the United States. In 146 BC Corinth was destroyed and the League broken up (see 1 Macc 15:23); and the whole of Greece, under the name of Achaia, was transformed into a Roman province, which was divided into two separate provinces, Macedonia and Achaia, in 27 BC.

In Ac 18:12 we are told that the Jews in Corinth made insurrection against Paul when Gallio was deputy of Achaia, and in 18:27 that Apollos was making preparations to set out for Achaia In Ro 16:5, "Achaia" should read "ASIA" as in the Revised Version (British and American). In Ac 20:2 "Greece" means Achaia, but the oft- mentioned "Macedonia and Achaia" generally means the whole of Greece (Ac 19:21; Ro 15:26; 1Th 1:8). Paul commends the churches of Achaia for their liberality (2Co 9:13).


See Gerhard, Ueber den Volksstamm der A. (Berlin, 1854); Klatt, Forschungen zur Geschichte des achaischen Bundes (Berlin, 1877); M. Dubois, Les ligues etolienne et acheenne (Paris, 1855); Capes, History of the Achean League (London, 1888); Mahaffy, Problems, 177-86; Busolt, Greek Staatsalter, 2nd edition (1892), 347 ff; Toeppfer, in Pauly’s Realencyclopaedie.

For Aratus see Hermann, Staatsalter, 1885; Krakauer, Abhandlung ueber Aratus (Breslau, 1874); Neumeyer, Aratus aus Sikyon (Leipzig, 1886); Holm, History of Greece.

J. E. Harry


a-ka’-i-kus (Achaikos, "belonging to Achaia"): A name honorably conferred upon L. Mummius, conqueror of Corinth and Achaia (compare CORINTH). Achaicus was one of the leaders of the Corinthian church (to be inferred from 1Co 16:15 ff) who, visiting Paul at Ephesus with Stephanas and Fortunatus, greatly relieved the Apostle’s anxiety for the Corinthian church (compare 1Co 5:1 ff). Paul admonishes the members of the Cor church to submit to their authority (compare 1Th 5:12) and to acknowledge their work (1Co 16:15 ff).


a’-kan (‘akhan (in 1Ch 2:7 Achar, ‘akhar, "troubler"): The descendant of Zerah the son of Judah who was put to death, in Joshua’s time, for stealing some of the "devoted" spoil of the city of Jericho (Jos 7). The stem ‘akhan is not used in Hebrew except in this name. The stem ‘akhar has sufficient use to define it. It denotes trouble of the most serious kind—Jacob’s trouble when his sons had brought him into blood feud with his Canaanite neighbors, or Jephthah’s trouble when his vow required him to sacrifice his daughter (Ge 34:30; Jud 11:35). In Pr 11:17,29; 15:6,27) the word is used with intensity to describe the results of cruelty, disloyalty, greed, wickedness. The record especially speaks of Achan’s conduct as the troubling of Israel (1Ch 2:7; Jos 6:18; 7:24). In an outburst of temper Jonathan speaks of Saul as having troubled the land (1Sa 14:29). Elijah and Ahab accuse each the other of being the troubler of Israel (1Ki 18:17,18). The stem also appears in the two proper names ACHOR and OCHRAN (which see).

The crime of Achan was a serious one. Quite apart from all questions of supposable superstition, or even religion, the cherem concerning Jericho had been proclaimed, and to disobey the proclamation was disobedience to military orders in an army that was facing the enemy. It is commonly held that Achan’s family were put to death with him, though they were innocent; but the record is not explicit on these points. One whose habits of thought lead him to expect features of primitive savagery in such a case as this will be sure to find what he expects; a person of different habits will not be sure that the record says that any greater cruelty was practiced on the family of Achan than that of compelling them to be present at the execution. Those who hold that the Deuteronomic legislation comes in any sense from Moses should not be in haste to think that its precepts were violated by Joshua in the case of Achan (see De 24:16). The record says that the execution took place in the arable valley of Achor, up from the Jordan valley. See ACHOR.

Willis J. Beecher


a’-kar: Variant of ACHAN, which see.


a’-kaz (Achaz), the King James Version (Mt 1:9): Greek form of Ahaz (thus the Revised Version (British and American)). The name of a King of Israel.


ak’-bor (‘akhbor, "mouse"):

(1) The father of Baal-hanan, who was the seventh of the eight kings who reigned in Edom before there were kings in Israel (Ge 36:38,39; 1Ch 1:49).

(2) The son of Micaiah (called in Chronicles Abdon the son of Micah) who went with Hilkiah the priest and other high officials, at the command of King Josiah, to consult Huldah the prophetess concerning the book that had been found (2Ki 22:12,14; 2Ch 34:20).

It may be presumed that this Achbor is also the man mentioned in Jer 26:22; 36:12, as the father of Elnathan, who went to Egypt for King Jehoiakim in order to procure the extradition of Uriah the prophet, and who protested against the burning of Baruch’s roll.

Willis J. Beecher


a-ki-ak’-a-rus (Codex Vaticanus Achiacharos; Acheicharos): Governor of Assyria. Achiacharus is the son of Anael, a brother of Tobit (Tobit 1:21). Sarchedonus (Esarhaddon), the king of Assyria, appointed him over all "accounts of his kingdom" and over all "his affairs" (Tobit 1:21 f; compare Da 2:48). At his request Tobit comes to Nineveh (Tobit 1:22). Achiacharus nourishes Tobit, while the latter is afflicted with disease (Tobit 2:10). He attends the wedding-feast of Tobias (Tobit 11:18). Is persecuted by Aman, but saved (Tobit 14:10).


a-ki’-as: An ancestor of Ezra (2 Esdras 1:2). Omitted in other genealogies.


a’-kim (Acheim): A descendant of Zerubbabel and ancestor of Jesus, mentioned only in Mt 1:14.


a’-ki-or (Achior): General of the Ammonites, who spoke in behalf of Israel before Holofernes, the Assyrian general (Judith 5:5 ff). Holofernes ordered him bound and delivered at Bethulia to the Israelites (Judith 6), who received him gladly and with honor. Afterward he became a proselyte, was circumcised, and joined to Israel (Judith 14). In Nu 34:27 it is the Septuagint reading for Ahihud, and in the Hebrew would be ‘achi’or, "brother of light."


ak’-i-fa; the King James Version Acipha, as’-i-fa (Achipha), in the Apocrypha (1 Esdras 5:31) head of one of the families of the temple-servants, who returned with Zerubbabel, same as the Old Testament HAKUPHA (Ezr 2:51; Ne 7:53), which see.


a’-kish (’akhish): King of the city of Gath in the days of David. His father’s name is given as Maoch (1Sa 27:2), and Maacah (1Ki 2:39). David sought the protection of Achish when he first fled from Saul, and just after his visit to Nob (1Sa 21:10-15). Fearing rough treatment or betrayal by Achish, he feigned madness. But this made him unwelcome, whereupon he fled to the Cave of Adullam (1Sa 22:1). Later in his fugitive period David returned to Gath to be hospitably received by Achish (1Sa 27:1 ff), who gave him the town of Ziklag for his home. A year later, when the Philistines invaded the land of Israel, in the campaign which ended so disastrously for Saul (1Sa 31), Achish wished David to participate (1Sa 28:1-2), but the lords of the Philistines objected so strenuously, when they found him and his men with the forces of Achish, that Achish was compelled to send them back. Achish must have been a young man at this time, for he was still ruling forty years later at the beginning of Solomon’s reign (1Ki 2:39). He is mentioned as Abimelech in the title of Ps 34. See ABIMELECH.

Edward Mack


ak’-i-tob: Same as Ahitob. Used in 1 Esdras 8:2; compare 2 Esdras 1:1 the King James Version. See AHITUB 3.


ak’-me-tha (Ezr 6:2; ‘achmetha’; Septuagint Amatha; Peshitta achmathan; in Tiglath Pileser’s inscription circa 1100 BC Amadana: in Darius’ Behistun Inscr., II, 76-78, Hangmatana =" Place of Assembly"; Agbatana, in Herodotus; Ekbatana, Xenophon, etc.; so 1 Esdras 6:23; Tobit 3:7; 6:5; 7:1; 14:12,14; Judith 1:1,2,14; 2 Macc 9:3; Talmud hamdan; now hamadan).

1. Location:

This, the ancient capital of Media, stood (lat 34 degrees 50’ North—long. 48 degrees 32’ East) near the modern Hamadan, 160 miles West-Southwest of Tehran, almost 6,000 feet above the sea, circa 1 1/2 miles from the foot of Mt. Orontes (Alvand).

2. History:

It was founded or rebuilt by Deiokes (Dayaukku) about 700 BC on the site of Ellippi an ancient city of the Manda, and captured by Cyrus 549 BC who brought Croesus there as captive (Herodotus i.153). It was the capital of the 10th Nome under Darius I. Cyrus and other Persian kings used to spend the two summer months there yearly, owing to the comparative coolness of the climate. Herodotus describes it as a magnificent city fortified with seven concentric walls (i.98). Its citadel (biretha’, Ezr 6:2, wrongly rendered "palace" in the Revised Version (British and American)) is mentioned by Arrian, who says that, when Alexander took the city in 324 BC, he there stored his enormous booty. In it the royal archives were kept. It stood on a hill, where later was built a temple of Mithra. Polybius (x.27) speaks of the great strength of the citadel.

Though the city was unwalled in his time, he can hardly find words to express his admiration for it, especially for the magnificent royal palace, nearly 7 stadia in circumference, built of precious kinds of wood sheathed in plates of grid and silver. In the city was the shrine of Aine (Nanaea, Anahita?). Alexander is said to have destroyed a temple of AEsculapius (Mithra?) there. Diodorus tells us the city was 250 stadia in circumference. On Mt. Alvand (10,728 feet) there have been found inscriptions of Xerxes. Doubtless Ecbatana was one of the "cities of the Medes" to which Israel was carried captive (2Ki 17:6). It should be noted that Greek writers mention several other Ecbatanas. One of these, afterward called Gazaca (Takhti Sulaiman, a little South of Lake Urmi, lat. 36 degrees 28’ North, long. 47 degrees 9’ East) was capital of Atropatene. It was almost destroyed by the Mughuls in the 12th century. Sir H. Rawlinson identifies the Ecbatana of Tobit and Herodotus with this northern city. The southern and far more important Ecbatana which we have described is certainly that of 2 Macc 9:3. It was Cyrus’ Median capital, and is doubtless that of Ezr 6:2. Classical writers spoke erroneously of Ecbatana (for Ecbatana) as moderns too often do of Hamadan for Hamadan.

3. Present Condition:

Hamadan has perhaps never fully recovered from the fearful massacre made there in 1220 AD by the Mongols, but its population is about 50,000, including a considerable number of descendants of the Israelites of the Dispersion (tracing descent from Asher, Naphtali, etc.). They point to the tombs of Esther and Mordecai in the neighborhood. It is a center for the caravan trade between Baghdad and Tehran. There is an American Presbyterian mission at work. Authorities (besides those quoted above): Ctesias, Curtius, Amm. Marcellinus, Pausanias, Strabo, Diod. Siculus; Ibnu’l Athir, Yaqut, Jahangusha, Jami‘u’t Tawarikh, and modern travelers.

W. St. Clair Tisdall


ak’-o. See ACCO.


a’-kor (‘akhor, "trouble," the idea of the word being that of trouble which is serious and extreme. See ACHAN): The place where Achan was executed in the time of Joshua (Jos 7:24,26). In all the five places where it is mentioned it is described as the ‘emek, the arable valley of Achor. There is no ground in the record for the current idea that it must have been a locality with horrid and dismal physical features. It was on a higher level than the camp of Israel in the Jordan valley, and on a lower level than Debir—a different Debir from that of Jos 15:15. In a general way, as indicated by the points mentioned in the border of Judah, it was north of Betharabah, and south of Debir (Jos 7:24; 15:7). Many identify it with the Wady Kelt which descends through a deep ravine from the Judean hills and runs between steep banks south of the modern Jericho to Jordan, the stream after rams becoming a foaming torrent. Possibly the name may have been applied to a region of considerable extent. In Isa 65:10 it is a region on the east side of the mountain ridge which is in some sense balanced with Sharon on the west side. By implication the thing depicted seems to be these rich agricultural localities so far recovered from desolation as to be good grounds for cattle and sheep. Hosea recognizes the comforting aspect of the dreadful affair in the valley of Achor; it was a doorway of hope to pardoned Israel (Ho 2:15 (17)), and he hopes for like acceptance for the Israel of his own day.

Willis J. Beecher


ak’-sa: Used in the King James Version in 1Ch 2:49 for ACHSAH, which see.


ak’-sa (‘akhchah; in some copies ‘akhca’ in 1Ch 2:49), ("anklet"): The daughter of Caleb whom he gave in marriage to his younger kinsman Othniel the son of Kenaz, as a reward for smiting Kiriath-sepher (Jos 15:16 ff; Jud 1:12 ff). Caleb, the narrative says, established Achsah in the South-country, and in addition, at her asking, gave her certain important springs of water—the "upper basins" and the "nether basins." Professor G. F. Moore identifies these with the groups of springs in Seit ed-Dilbeh (notes on Jud in Polychrome Bible).

Willis J. Beecher


ak’-shaf (’akhshaph, "sorcery," or "fascination"): A city in the northern part of the territory conquered by Joshua. The king of Achshaph was a member of the coalition against Israel under Jabin and Sisera. It is mentioned with Hazor, Megiddo, Taanach, etc., in the list of conquered kings. It is one of the cities marking the boundaries of the tribe of Asher (Jos 11:1; 12:20; 19:25). Several attempts have been made to identify the site of it, but explorers are not agreed as to the identification.


ak’-zib (’akhzibh, "lying" or "disappointing"): The name of two towns in Palestine:

(1) A town in western Judah in the lowlands, mentioned in connection with Mareshah and Keilah as one of the cities allotted to Judah (Jos 15:44), and in Mic (1:14), where it suggests play upon its meaning, "deceptive" or "failing," possibly the place having received its name from a winter spring or brook, which failed in summer. It is also called Chezib (kezibh (Ge 38:5)), where Judah was at the time of the birth of his son Shelah. In 1Ch 4:22 it is called Cozeba, the King James Version "Chozeba" (kozebha’), clearly seen to be the same as Achzib, from the places with which it is grouped.

(2) It has been identified with the modern ‘Ayin-Kezbeh in the valley of Elah, and north of Adullam.

Edward Mack

(3) Mod Zib Septuagint variously: Jos 19:29, Codex Vaticanus, Echozob, Codex Alexandrinus, Achzeiph; Jud 1:31, Codex Vaticanus, Aschazei, Codex Alexandrinus, Aschendei, Greek Ecdippa: A small town some miles north of Acre on the coast. It is mentioned in Jos 19:29 as falling within the possessions of the tribe of Asher, but they never occupied it, as they did not the neighboring Acre (Acco). The Phoenician inhabitants of the coast were too strongly entrenched to be driven out by a people who had no fleet. The cities on the coast doubtless aided one another, and Sidon had become rich and powerful before this and could succor such a small town in case of attack. Achzib was a coast town, nine miles north of Acco, now known as Ez-Zib. It appears in the Assyrian inscriptions as Aksibi and Sennacherib enumerates it among the Phoenician towns that he took at the same times as Acco (702 BC). It was never important and is now an insignificant village among the sand dunes of the coast. It was the bordertown of Galilee on the west, what lay beyond being unholy ground.

H. Porter


as’-i-fa. See ACHIPHA.


as’-i-tho (variant of AHITUB): The name in the King James Version of an ancestor of Judith (Judith 8:1).


ak-nol’-ej (gignosko): To declare that one recognizes the claims of a person or thing fully established. Both in Old Testament and New Testament expressed by various forms of the word "know" (Pr 3:6; Isa 61:9; Col 2:2 the King James Version). The Psalmist (Ps 32:5) "acknowledged" his sin, when he told God that he knew the guilt of what he had done. The Corinthians (2Co 1:14) "acknowledged" Paul and his companions when they formally recognized their claims and authority.


a-kwant’, a-kwan’-tans (gnostoi): Terms referring to various degrees of knowledge, but implying more or less detailed information; applied to God’s omniscience (Ps 139:3), to the grief of the Suffering Servant of Yahweh (Isa 53:3), and to the knowledge which man should have of God. The noun in the concrete, unless limited by a qualifying term, means more than one who has been known simply in passing, and implies a degree of intimacy, as may be seen in Lu 2:44; 23:49; 2Ki 12:5.

H. E. Jacobs


ak’-ra, a’-kra (1 Macc 1:33 the Revised Version (British and American), "citadel"). See JERUSALEM.


ak-ra-ba-te’-ne. See AKRABATTINE (in the Apocrypha).


ak-rab’-im: Incorrect transliteration of ‘aqrabbim, of Jos 15:3 in the King James Version. See AKRABBIM.

ACRE (1)

a’-ker, a’-ker. See ACCO.

ACRE (2)

a’-ker (tsemedh): A term of land-measurement used twice in the English versions of the Bible (Isa 5:10; 1Sa 14:14), and said to be the only term in square measure found in the Old Testament. The English word "acre" originally signified field. Then it came to denote the measure of land that an ox team could plow in a day, and upon the basis of a maximum acre of this kind the standard acre of 160 square rods (with variations in different regions) was fixed. The Hebrew word translated acre denotes a yoke of animals, in the sense of a team, a span, a pair; it is never used to denote the yoke by which the team are coupled together. The phrase ‘ten yokes of vineyard’ (Isa 5:10) may naturally mean vineyard covering as much land as a team would plow in ten days, though other plausible meanings can also be suggested. In 1Sa 14:14 the same word is used in describing the limits of space within which Jonathan and his armor-bearer slew twenty Philistines. The translation of the Revised Version (British and American), "within as it were half a furrow’s length in an acre of land," means, strictly, that they were slain along a line from two to twenty rods in length. The word rendered "furrow," used only here and in Ps 129:3, is in Brown’s Hebrew Lexicon defined as "plowing-ground." This gives the rendering "as it were in half a plowing-stint, a yoke of ground," the last two phrases defining each the other, so that the meaning is substantially that of the paraphrase in the King James Version. There is here an alleged obscurity and uncertainty in the text, but it is not such as to affect either the translation or the nature of the event.

Willis J. Beecher


a-kros’-tik: The acrostic, understood as a short poem in which the first letters of the lines form a word, or name, or sentence, has not yet been proved to occur in ancient Hebrew literature. The supposed examples found by some scholars in Ps 2:1-4 and Ps 110:1-4 are not generally recognized. Still less can be said in favor of the suggestion that in Es 1:20 four words read from left to right form by their initials an acrostic on the name YHWH (compare Konig, Einleitung 293). In Byzantine hymn-poetry the term acrostichis with which our word "acrostic" is connected was also used of alphabetical poems, that is poems the lines or groups of lines in which have their initials arranged in the order of the alphabet. Acrostics of this kind are found in pre-Christian Hebrew literature as well as elsewhere in ancient oriental literature. There are twelve clear instances in the Old Testament: Psalms 25; 34; 37; 111 f; 119; 145; Pr 31:10-31, and La 1-4. There is probably an example in Psalms 9 and 10, and possibly another in Nab 1:2-10. Outside the Canon, Sirach 51:13-30 exhibits clear traces of alphabetic arrangement. Each of these fifteen poems must briefly be discussed.

Pss 9 and 10, which are treated as one psalm in Septuagint and Vulg, give fairly clear indications of original alphabetic structure even in the Massoretic Text. The initials of 9:1,3,5 are respectively ‘aleph, beth, gimel; of 9:9,11,13,15,17 waw, zayin, cheth, Teth and yodh. Ps 10:1 begins with lamedh and 10:12,14,15,17 with qoph, resh, shin and taw. Four lines seem to have been allotted to each letter in the original form of the poem. In Ps 25 all the letters are represented except waw and qoph. In 25:18 we find resh instead of the latter as well as in its place in 25:19. In 25:2 the alphabetical letter is the initial of the second word. The last verse is again supernumerary. There are mostly two lines to a letter. In Ps 34 all the letters are represented except waw, 34:6 beginning not with it, as was to be expected, but with zayin. The last verse is again a supernumerary. Since here and in 25:22 the first word is a form of padhah it has been suggested that there may have been here a sort of acrostic on the writer’s name Pedahel pedhah’el, but there is no evidence that a psalmist so named ever existed. There are two lines to a letter. In Ps 37 all the letters are represented except ‘ayin which seems however from Septuagint to have been present in the earliest text. As a rule four lines are assigned to each letter. In Psalms 111 f are found two quite regular examples with a line to each letter. Ps 119 offers another regular example, but with 16 lines to a letter, each alternate line beginning with its letter. Vs 1-8, for instance, each begin with ‘aleph. In Ps 145 are found all the letters but nun. As we find in Septuagint between 145:13 and 14, that is where the nun couplet ought to be:

"Faithful is the Lord in his words And holy in his works,"

which may represent a Hebrew couplet beginning with nun, it would seem that a verse has dropped out of the Massoretic Text. Pr 31:10-31 constitutes a regular alphabetical poem with (except in 31:15) two lines to a letter. La 1 is regular, with three lines to a letter La 2; 3; 4, are also regular with a curious exception. In each case pe precedes ‘ayin, a phenomenon which has not yet been explained. In La 2 there are three or four lines to a letter except in 2:17, where there seem to be five. In La 3 also there are three lines to a letter and each line begins with that letter. In La 4 there are two lines to a letter except in 4:22 where there are probably four lines. La 5 has twice as many lines as the letters of the alphabet but no alphabetical arrangement. In Nab 1:1-10 ff Delitzsch (following Frohnmeyer) in 1876, Bickell in 1880 and 1894, Gunkel in 1893 and 1895, G. B. Gray in 1898 (Expos, September) and others have pointed out possible traces of original alphabetical structure. In the Massoretic text, however, as generally arranged, it is not distinctly discernible. Sirach 51:13-30: As early as 1882 Bickell reconstructed this hymn on the basis of the Greek and Syriac versions as a Hebrew alphabetical poem. In 1897 Schechter (in the judgment of most scholars) discovered the original text in a collection of fragments from the Genizah of Cairo, and this proved the correctness of Bickell’s idea and even the accuracy of some details of his reconstruction. The poem begins with ‘aleph and has tav as the initial letter of the last line but one. In 51:21,22,24,25,26,27 the letters mem, nun, ‘ayin, pe, tsadhe, qoph and resh can be traced at the beginnings of lines in that order Samekh is absent (compare Schechter-Taylor, The Wisdom of Ben Sira, lxxvi-lxxxvii).

As this rapid survey will have shown, this form of acrostic as employed by Hebrew writers consisted in the use of letters of the alphabet as initials in their order, at regular intervals, the distance between two different letters ranging from one to sixteen lines. Once each letter is thus used three times, in another case eight times. The corruption of the text has in some cases led to considerable interference with the alphabetical arrangement, and textual criticism has endeavored to restore it with varying success.

These alphabetical poems have been unduly depreciated on account of their artificial structure and have also been regarded for the same reason as of comparatively late origin. This latter conclusion is premature with present evidence. The poems in La undoubtedly go back as far as the 6th century BC, and Assyrian testimony takes us back farther still for acrostic poems of some kind. Strictly alphabetical poems are of course out of the question in Assyrian because of the absence of an alphabet, but there are texts from the library of Ashur-bani-pal each verse-line in which begins with the same syllable, and others in which the initial syllables read together compose a word or sentence. Now these texts were written down in the 7th century BC, but may have been copied from far earlier Babylonian originals. There can be little doubt that oriental poets wrote acrostic at an early period, and therefore the use of some form of the acrostic is no clear indication of lateness of date. (For these Assyrian acrostics compare Weber, Die Literatur der Babylonier und Assyrer, 37.)


In addition to authorities already cited: Konig, Einl, 58, 66, 74, 76, 399, 404, 419, and Stilistik, etc., 357 ff, Budde, Geschichte der alt-hebraischen Litteratur, 30, 90, 241, 291; article "Acrostic" in HDB (larger and smaller) and Hastings, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, and Jewish Encyclopedia; commentaries on Ps, Nah, Pr and Lam; Driver, Parallel Psalter; King, Early Religious Poetry of the Hebrews, chapter iv.

William Taylor Smith


pi’-lat, pi’-lat. See APOCRYPHAL GOSPELS.


"The book of the acts of Solomon" (1Ki 11:41), probably a history based on the state documents kept by the official recorder. See 1Ki 14:19,29; 15:23,31; 16:5,14,20,27; 22:39,45, etc.



I. Title.

It is possible, indeed probable, that the book originally had no title. The manuscripts give the title in several forms. Aleph (in the inscription) has merely "Acts" (Praxeis). So Tischendorf, while Origen, Didymus, Eusebius quote from "The Acts." But BD Aleph (in subscription) have "Ac of Apostles" or "The Ac of the Apostles" (Praxeis Apostolon). So Westcott and Hort, Nestle (compare Athanasius and Euthalius). Only slightly different is the title in 31,61, and many other cursives (Praxeis ton Apostolon, "Ac of the Apostles"). So Griesbach, Scholz. Several fathers (Clement of Alex, Origen, Dionysius of Alex, Cyril of Jerusalem, Chrysostom) quote it as "The Ac of the Apostles" (Hai Praxeis ton Apostolon). Finally A2 EGH give it in the form "Ac of the Holy Apostles" (Praxeis ton Hagion Apostolon). The Memphitic version has "The Ac of the Holy Apostles." Clearly, then, there was no single title that commanded general acceptance.

II. Text.

(1) The chief documents. These are the Primary Uncials (Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Alexandrinus, Codex Vaticanus, Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus, Codex Bezae), Codex Laudianus (E) which is a bilingual Uncial confined to Acts, later Uncials like Codex Modena, Codex Regius, Codex the Priestly Code (P), the Cursives, the Vulgate, the Peshitta and the Harclean Syriac and quotations from the Fathers. We miss the Curetonian and Syriac Sinaiticus, and have only fragmentary testimony from the Old Latin. (2) The modern editions of Ac present the types of text (Textus Receptus; the Revised Version (British and American); the critical text like that of Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek or Nestle or Weiss or von Soden). These three types do not correspond with the four classes of text (Syrian, Western, Alexandrian, Neutral) outlined by Hort in his Introduction to the New Testament in Greek (1882). These four classes are broadly represented in the documents which give us Acts. But no modern editor of the Greek New Testament has given us the Western or the Alexandrian type of text, though Bornemann, as will presently be shown, argues for the originality of the Western type in Acts. But the Textus Receptus of the New Testament (Stephanus’ 3rd edition in 1550) was the basis of the King James Version of 1611. This edition of the Greek New Testament made use of a very few manuscripts, and all of them late, except Codex Bezae, which was considered too eccentric to follow. Practically, then, the King James Version represents the Syriac type of text which may have been edited in Antioch in the 4th century. Various minor errors may have crept in since that date, but substantially the Syriac recension is the text of the King James Version today. Where this text stands alone, it is held by nearly all modern scholars to be in error, though Dean Burgon fought hard for the originality of the Syriac text (The Revision Revised, 1882). The text of Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek is practically that of Codex Vaticanus, which is held to be the Neutral type of text. Nestle, von Soden, Weiss do not differ greatly from the text of Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek, though von Soden and Weiss attack the problem on independent lines. The text of the Revised Version (British and American) is in a sense a compromise between that of the King James Version and the critical text, though coming pretty close to the critical text. Compare Whitney, The Reviser’s Greek Text, 1892. For a present-day appreciation of this battle of the texts see J. Rendel Harris, Side Lights on the New Testament, 1908. For a detailed comparison between the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) Ac see Rackham, The Ac of the Apostles, xxii.

(3) In Ac the Western type of text has its chief significance. It is the meet of the late Friedrich Blass, the famous classicist of Germany, to have shown that in Luke’s writings (Gospel and Acts) the Western class (especially D) has its most marked characteristics. This fact is entirely independent of theory advanced by Blass which will be cussed directly. The chief modern revolt against theories of Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek is the new interest felt in the value of the Western type of text. In particular Codex Bezae has come to the front in the Book of Acts. The feeble support that Codex Bezae has in its peculiar readings in Ac (due to absence of Curetonian Syriac and of the Old Latin) makes it difficult always to estimate the value of this document. But certainly these readings deserve careful consideration, and some of them may be correct, whatever view one holds of the Codex Bezae text. The chief variations are, as is usual with the Western text, additions and paraphrases. Some of the prejudice against Codex Bezae has disappeared as a result of modern discussion.

(4) Bornemann in 1848 argued that Codex Bezae in Ac represented the original text. But he has had very few followers.

(5) J. Rendel Harris (1891) sought to show that Codex Bezae (itself a bilingual MS) had been Latinized. He argued that already in 150 AD a bilingual manuscript existed. But this theory has not won a strong following.

(6) Chase (1893) sought to show that the peculiarities were due to translation from the Syriac.

(7) Blass in 1895 created a sensation by arguing in his Commentary on Ac (Acta Apostolorum, 24 ff) that Luke had issued two editions of the Acts, as he later urged about the Gospel of Luke (Philology of the Gospels, 1898). In 1896 Blass published this Roman form of the text of Ac (Acta Apostolorum, secundum Formam quae videtur Romanam). Blass calls this first, rough, unabridged copy of Ac (beta) and considers that it was issued at Rome. The later edition, abridged and revised, he calls alpha. Curiously enough, in Ac 11:28, Codex Bezae has "when we had gathered together," making Luke present at Antioch. The idea of two editions is not wholly original with Blass. Leclerc, a Dutch philologist, had suggested the notion as early as the beginning of the 18th century. Bishop Lightfoot had also mentioned it (On a Fresh Revision of the New Testament, 29). But Blass worked the matter out and challenged the world of scholarship with his array of arguments. He has not carried his point with all, though he has won a respectable following. Zahn (Einl, II, 338 ff, 1899) had already been working toward the same view (348). He accepts in the main Blass’ theory, as do Belser, Nestle, Salmon, Zockler. Blass acknowledges his debt to Corssen (Der cyprianische Text der Acta Apostolorum, 1892), but Corssen considers the alpha text as the earlier and the beta text as a later revision.

(8) Hilgenfeld (Acta Apostolorum, etc., 1899) accepts the notion of two edd, but denies identity of authorship.

(9) Schmiedel (Encyclopedia Biblica) vigorously and at much length attacks Blass’ position, else "the conclusions reached in the foregoing sections would have to be withdrawn." He draws his conclusions and then demolishes Blass! He does find weak spots in Blass’ armor as others have done (B. Weiss, Der Codex D in der Apostelgeschichte, 1897; Page, Class. Rev., 1897; Harnack, The Ac of the Apostles, 1909, 45). See also Knowling, The Ac of the Apostles, 1900, 47, for a sharp indictment of Blass’ theory as being too simple and lacking verification.

(10) Harnack (The Ac of the Apostles, 48) doubts if Luke himself formally published the book. He thinks that he probably did not give the book a final revision, and that friends issued two or more editions He considers that the so- called beta recension has a "series of interpolations" and so is later than the alpha text.

(11) Ramsay (The Church in the Roman Empire, 150; Paul the Traveler, 27; The Expositor, 1895) considers the beta text to be a 2nd-century revision by a copyist who has preserved some very valuable 2nd-century testimony to the text.

(12) Headlam (HDB) does not believe that the problem has as yet been scientifically attacked, but that the solution lies in the textual license of scribes of the Western type (compare Hort, Introduction, 122 ff). But Headlam is still shy of "Western" readings. The fact is that the Western readings are sometimes correct as against the Neutral (compare Mt 27:49). It is not necessary in Ac 11:20 to say that Hellenas is in Western authorities (AD, etc.) but is not a Western reading. It is at any rate too soon to say the final word about the text of Acts, though on the whole the alpha text still holds the field as against the beta text. The Syriac text is, of course, later, and out of court.

III. Unity of the Book.

It is not easy to discuss this question, apart from that of authorship. But they are not exactly the same. One may be convinced of the unity of the book and yet not credit it to Luke, or, indeed, to anyone in the 1st century. Of course, if Luke is admitted to be the author of the book, the whole matter is simplified. His hand is in it all whatever sources he used. If Luke is not the author, there may still have been a competent historian at work, or the book may be a mere compilation. The first step, therefore, is to attack the problem of unity. Holtzmann (Einl, 383) holds Luke to be the author of the "we" sections only. Schmiedel denies that the Ac is written by a companion of Paul, though it is by the same author as the Gospel bearing Luke’s name. In 1845 Schleiermacher credited the "we" sections to Timothy, not to Luke. For a good sketch of theories of "sources," see Knowling on Acts, 25 ff. Van Manen (1890) resolved the book into two parts, Acta Petri and Acta Pauli, combined by a redactor. Sorof (1890) ascribes one source to Luke, one to Timothy. Spitta also has two sources (a Pauline-Lukan and a Jewish-Christian) worked over by a redactor.

Clemen (1905) has four sources (History of the Hellenists, History of Peter, History of Paul, and a Journey of Paul), all worked over by a series of editors. Hilgenfeld (1895) has three sources (Ac of Peter, Ac of the Seven, Ac of Paul). Jungst (1895) has a Pauline source and a Petrine source J. Weiss (1893) admits sources, but claims that the book has unity and a definite aim. B. Weiss (1902) conceives an early source for the first part of the book. Harnack (The Ac of the Apostles, 1909, 41 f) has small patience with all this blind criticism: "With them the book passes as a comparatively late patchwork compilation, in which the part taken by the editor is insignificant yet in all cases detrimental; the ‘we’ sections are not the property of the author, but an extract from a source, or even a literary fiction." He charges the critics with "airy conceit and lofty contempt." Harnack has done a very great service in carefully sifting the matter in his Luke the Physician (1907). He gives detailed proof that the "we" sections are in the same style and by the same author as the rest of the book (26-120). Harnack does not claim originality in this line of argument:

"It has been often stated and often proved that the ‘we’ sections in vocabulary, in syntax, and in style are most intimately bound up with the whole work, and that this work itself including the Gospel, in spite of all diversity in its parts, is distinguished by a grand unity of literary form" (Luke the Physician, 26). He refers to the "splendid demonstration of this unity" by Klostermann (Vindiciae Lucanae, 1866), to B. Weiss, who, in his commentary (1893, 2 Aufl, 1902) "has done the best work in demonstrating the literary unity of the whole work," to "the admirable contributions" of Vogel (Zur Charakteristik des Lukas, etc., 2 Aufl, 1899) to the "yet more careful and minute investigations" of Hawkins (Horae Synopticae, 1899, 2nd edition, 1909), to the work of Hobart (The Medical Language of Luke, 1882), who "has proved only too much" (Luke the Physician, 175), but "the evidence is of overwhelming force" (198). Harnack only claims for himself that he has done the work in more detail and with more minute accuracy without claiming too much (27). But the conversion of Harnack to this view of Ac is extremely significant. It ought not to be necessary any more to refute the partition theories of the book, or to set forth in detail the proofs for the unity of the book.

Perhaps the compilation theory of Ac is nowhere set forth more cogently than in McGiffert’s The Apostolic Age (1897). See a powerful refutation of his argument by Ramsay in Pauline and Other Studies (1906, 302-21). "I think his clever argumentation is sophistical" (305). Harnack is fully aware that he has gone over to the rode of "Ramsay, Weiss and Zahn": "The results at which I have arrived not only approach very nearly to, but are often coincident with, the results of their research" (The Ac of the Apostles, 302). He is afraid that if these scholars failed to get the ear of critics "there is little prospect of claiming the attention of critics and compelling them to reconsider their position." But he has the advantage of coming to this conclusion from the other side. Moreover, if Harnack was won by the force of the facts, others may be. This brief sketch of Harnack’s experience may take the place of detailed presentation of the arguments for the unity of the book. Harnack sets forth in great wealth of detail the characteristic idioms of the "we" sections side by side with parallels in other parts of Ac and the Gospel of Luke. The same man wrote the rest of Ac who wrote the "we" sections. This fact should now be acknowledged as proven. This does not mean that the writer, a personal witness in the "we" sections, had no sources for the other parts of Acts. This aspect of the matter will be considered a little later.

IV. The Author.

Assuming the unity of the book, the argument runs as follows: The author was a companion of Paul. The "we" sections prove that (Ac 16:10-17; 20:6-16; 21; 27; 28). These sections have the fullness of detail and vivid description natural to an eye-witness. This companion was with Paul in the second missionary journey at Troas and at Philippi, joined Paul’s party again at Philippi on the return to Jerusalem during the third tour, and probably remained with Paul till he went to Rome. Some of Paul’s companions came to him at Rome: others are so described in the book as to preclude authorship. Aristarchus, Aquila and Priscilla, Erastus, Gaius, Mark, Silas, Timothy, Trophimus, Tychicus and others more or less insignificant from the point of view of connection with Paul (like Crescens, Demas, Justus, Linus, Pudens, Sopater, etc.) are easily eliminated. Curiously enough Luke and Titus are not mentioned in Ac by name at all. They are distinct persons as is stated in 2Ti 4:10 f. Titus was with Paul in Jerusalem at the conference (Ga 2:1) and was his special envoy to Corinth during the time of trouble there. (2Co 2:1, 12:18.)

He was later with Paul in Crete (Titus 1:5). But the absence of mention of Titus in Ac may be due to the fact that he was a brother of Luke (compare 2Co 8:18; 12:18). So A. Souter in DCG, article "Luke." If Luke is the author, it is easy to understand why his name does not appear. If Titus is his brother, the same explanation occurs. As between Luke and Titus the medical language of Ac argues for Luke. The writer was a physician. This fact Hobart (The Medical Language of Luke, 1882) has demonstrated. Compare Zahn, Einl, 2, 435 ff; Harnack’s Luke the Physician, 177 ff. The arguments from the use of medical terms are not all of equal weight. But the style is colored at points by the language of a physician. The writer uses medical terms in a technical sense. This argument involves a minute comparison with the writings of physicians of the time. Thus in Ac 28:3 f kathapto, according to Hobart (288), is used in the sense of poisonous matter invading the body, as in Dioscorides, Animal. Ven. Proem. So Galen, De Typis 4 (VII, 467), uses it "of fever fixing on parts of the body." Compare Harnack, Luke the Physician, 177 f. Harnack agrees also that the terms of the diagnosis in Ac 28:8 "are medically exact and can be vouched for from medical literature" (ibid., 176 f). Hobart has overdone his argument and adduced many examples that are not pertinent, but a real residuum remains, according to Harnack. Then pimprasthai is a technical term for swelling. Let these serve as examples. The interest of the writer in matters of disease is also another indication, compare Lu 8:43. Now Luke was a companion of Paul during his later ministry and was a physician. (Col 4:14). Hence, he fulfils all the requirements of the case. The argument thus far is only probable, it is true; but there is to be added the undoubted fact that the same writer wrote both Gospel and Ac (Ac 1:1). The direct allusion to the Gospel is reinforced by identity of style and method in the two books.

The external evidence is clear on the matter. Both Gospel and Ac are credited to Luke the physician. The Muratorian canon ascribes Ac to Luke. By the end of the 2nd century the authority of the Ac is as well established as that of the Gospel (Salmon, Introduction to the New Testament, 1885, 366). Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, all call Luke the author of the book. The argument is complete. It is still further strengthened by the fact that the point of view of the book is Pauline and by the absence of references to Paul’s epistles. If one not Paul’s companion had written Acts, he would certainly have made some use of them. Incidentally, also, this is an argument for the early date of the Acts. The proof that has won Harnack, the leader of the left in Germany, to the acknowledgment of the Lukan authorship of Ac ought to win all to this position.

V. Canonicity.

The use of the Ac does not appear so early or so frequently as is true of the gospels and the Pauline epistles. The reason obvious. The epistles had a special field and the gospels appealed to all. Only gradually would Ac circulate. At first we find literary allusions without the name of book or author. But Holtzmann (Einl, 1892, 406) admits the use of Ac by Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Polycarp. The use of the Gospel according to Luke by Tatian and Marcion really revolves knowledge of the Acts. But in Irenaeus frequently (Adv. Haer., i. 23, 1, etc.) the Ac is credited to Luke and regarded as Scripture. The Canon of Muratori list it as Scripture. Tertullian and Clement of Alexandria attribute the book to Luke and treat it as Scripture. By the times of Eusebius the book is generally acknowledged as part of the canon. Certain of the heretical parties reject it (like the Ebionites, Marcionites, Manicheans). But by this time the Christians had come to lay stress on history (Gregory, Canon and Text of the New Testament, 1907, 184), and the place of Ac is now secure in the canon.

VI. Date.

1. Luke’s relations to Josephus.

The acceptance of the Lukan authorship settles the question of some of the dates presented by critics. Schmiedel places the date of Ac between 105 and 130 AD (Encyclopedia Biblica). He assumes as proven that Luke made use of the writings of Josephus. It has never been possible to take with much seriousness the claim that the Ac shows acquaintance with Josephus. See Keim, Geschichte Jesu, III, 1872, 134, and Krenkel, Josephus und Lucas, 1894, for the arguments in favor of that position. The words quoted to prove it are in the main untechnical words of common use. The only serious matter is the mention of Theudas and Judas the Galilean in Ac 5:36 f and Josephus (Ant., XX, v, 1 f). In Josephus the names occur some twenty lines apart and the resemblance is only slight indeed. The use of peitho in connection with Theudas and apostesai concerning Judas is all that requires notice. Surely, then, two common words for "persuade" and "revolt" are not enough to carry conviction of the writer’s use of Josephus. The matter is more than offset by the differences in the two reports of the death of Herod Agrippa (Ac 12:19-23; Josephus, Ant, XVIII, vi, 7, XIX, viii, 2). The argument about Josephus may be definitely dismissed from the field. With that goes all the ground for a 2nd-century date. Other arguments have been adduced (see Holtzmann, Einl, 1892, 405) such as the use of Paul’s epistles, acquaintance with Plutarch, Arrian and Pausanias, because of imitation in method of work (i.e. parallel lives of Peter and Paul, periods of history, etc.), correction of Ga in Ac (for instance, Ga 1:17-24 and Ac 9:26-30; Ga 2:1-10 and Ac 15:1-33). The parallel with Plutarch is fanciful, while the use of Panl’s epistles is by no means clear, the absence of such use, indeed, being one of the characteristics of the book. The variation from Galatians is far better explained on the assumption that Luke had not seen the epistles.

2. 80 AD Is the Limit if the Book Is to Be Credited to Luke.

The majority of modern critics who accept the Lukan authorship place it between 70 and 80 AD. So Harnack, Lechler, Meyer, Ramsay, Sanday, Zahn. This opinion rests mainly on the idea that the Gospel according to Luke was written after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. It is claimed that Lu 21:20 shows that this tragedy had already occurred, as compared with Mr 13:14 and Mt 24:15. But the mention of armies is very general, to be sure. Attention is called also to the absence of the warning in Luke. Harnack (The Ac of the Apostles, 291 f) admits that the arguments in favor of the date 70 to 80 are by no means conclusive. He writes "to warn critics against a too hasty closing of the chronological question." In his new book (Neue Untersuchungen zur Apostelgeschichte, etc., 1911, S. 81) Harnack definitely accepts the date before the destruction of Jerusalem. Lightfoot would give no date to Ac because of the uncertainty about the date of the Gospel.

3. Before 70 AD.

This date is supported by Blass, Headlam, Maclean, Rackham, Salmon. Harhack, indeed, considers that "very weighty considerations" argue for the early date. He, as already stated, now takes his stand for the early date. It obviously the simplest way to understand Luke’s close of the Ac to be due to the fact that Paul was still in prison. Harnack contends that the efforts to explain away this situation are not "quite satisfactory or very illuminating." He does not mention Paul’s death because he was still alive. The dramatic purpose to bring Paul to Rome is artificial. The supposition of a third book from the use of proton in Ac 1:1 is quite gratuitous, since in the Koine, not to say the earlier Greek, "first was often used when only two were mentioned (compare "our first story" and "second story," "first wife" and "second wife"). The whole tone of the book is that which one would naturally have before 64 AD. After the burning of Rome and the destruction of Jerusalem the attitude maintained in the book toward Romans and Jews would have been very difficult unless the date was a long times afterward Harnack wishes "to help a doubt to its lust dues." That "doubt" of Harnack is destined to become the certainty of the future. (Since this sentence was written Harnack has settled his own doubt.) The book will, I think, be finally credited to the time 63 AD in Rome. The Gospel of Luke will then naturally belong to the period of Paul’s imprisonment in Caesarea. The judgment of Moffatt (Historical New Testament, 1901, 416) that "it cannot be earlier than 80 AD is completely upset by the powerful attack of Harnack on his own previous position. See also Moffatt’s Introduction to the Literature of the New Testament (1911) and Koch’s Die Abfassungszeit des lukanischen Geschichtswerkes (1911).

VII. Sources Used by Luke.

If we now assume that Luke is the author of the Acts, the question remains as to the character of the sources used by him. One is at liberty to appeal to Lu 1:1-4 for the general method of the author. He used both oral and written sources. In the Ac the matter is somewhat simplified by the fact that Luke was the companion of Paul for a considerable part of the narrative (the "we" sections, Ac 16:11-17; 20:5; 21:18; 27 and 28). It is more than probable that Luke was with Paul also during his last stay in Jerusalem and during the imprisonment at Caesarea.

There is no reason to think that Luke suddenly left Paul in Jerusalem and returned to Caesarea only when he started to Rome (Ac 27:1). The absence of "we" is natural here, since it is not a narrative of travel, but a sketch of Paul’s arrest and series of defenses. The very abundance of material here, as in Ac 20 and 21, argues for the presence of Luke. But at any rate Luke has access to Paul himself for information concerning this period, as was true of the second, from Ac 13 to the end of the book. Luke was either present or he could have learned from Paul the facts used. He may have kept a travel diary, which was drawn upon when necessary. Luke could have taken notes of Paul’s addresses in Jerusalem (Ac 22) and Caesarea (Ac 24-26). From these, with Paul’s help, he probably composed the account of Paul’s conversion (Ac 9:1-30). If, as I think is true, the book was written during Paul’s first Roman imprisonment, Luke had the benefit of appeal to Paul at all points. But, if so, he was thoroughly independent in style and assimilated his materials like a true historian. Paul (and also Philip for part of it) was a host witness to the events about Stephen in Ac 6:8-8:1 and a participant of the work in Antioch (11:19-30). Philip, the of Paul’s company (21:8) on the last journey to Jerusalem, was probably in Caesarea still during Paul’s confinement there. He could have told Luke the events in Ac 6:1-7 and 8:4-40. In Caesarea also the story of Peter’s work may have been derived, possibly even from Cornelius himself (9:32-11:18). Whether Luke ever went to Antioch or not we do not know (Codex Bezae has "we" in Ac 11:28), though he may have had access to the Antiochian traditions. But he did go to Jerusalem. However, the narrative in Ac 12 probably rests on the authority of John Mark (Ac 12:12,25), in whose mother’s house the disciples were assembled. Luke was apparently thrown with Mark in Rome (Col 4:10), if not before. For Ac 1-5 the matter does not at first seem so clear, but these chapters are not necessarily discredited on that account. It is remarkable, as ancient historians made so little mention of their sources, that we can connect Luke in the Ac with so many probable fountains of evidence. Barnabas (4:36) was able to tell much about the origin of the work in Jerusalem. So could Mnason. Philip also was one of the seven (6:5; 21:8). We do not know that Luke met Peter in Rome, though that is possible. But during the stay in Jerusalem and Caesarea (two years) Luke had abundant opportunity to learn the narrative of the great events told in Ac 1-5. He perhaps used both oral and written sources for this section. One cannot, of course, prove by linguistic or historical arguments the precise nature of Luke’s sources in Acts. Only in broad outlines the probable materials may be sketched.


XIII. Analysis. 1. The connection between the work of the apostles and that of Jesus (Ac 1:1-11).

2. The equipment of the early disciples for their task (Ac 1:12-2:47). (a) The disciples obeying Christ’s parting command (Ac 1:12-24). (b) The place of Judas filled (Ac 1:15-26). (c) Miraculous manifestations of the presence of the Holy Spirit (Ac 2:1-13). (d) Peter’s interpretation of the situation (Ac 2:14-36). (e) The immediate effect of the sermon (Ac 2:37-41). (f) The new spirit in the Christian community (Ac 2:42-47).

3. The development of the work in Jerusalem (Ac 3:1-8:1). (a) An incident in the work of Peter and John with Peter’s apologetic (Ac 3). (b) Opposition of the Sadducees aroused by the preaching of the resurrection of Jesus (Ac 4:1-31). (c) An internal difficulty, the problem of poverty (Ac 4:32-5:11). (d) Great progress of the cause in the city (Ac 5:12-16). (e) Renewed hostility of the Sadducees and Gamaliel’s retort to the Pharisees (Ac 5:17-42). (f) A crisis in church life and the choice of the seven Hellenists (Ac 6:1-7). (g) Stephen’s spiritual interpretation of Christianity stirs the antagonism of the Pharisees and leads to his violent death (Ac 6:8-8:1).

4. The compulsory extension of the gospel to Judea, Samaria and the neighboring regions (Ac 8:1-40). (a) The great persecution, with Saul as leader (Ac 8:1-4). (b) Philip’s work as a notable example of the work of the scattered disciples (Ac 8:5-40).

5. The conversion of Saul changes the whole situation for Christianity (Ac 9:1-31). (a) Saul’s mission to Damascus (Ac 9:1-3). (b) Saul stopped in his hostile course and turns Christian himself (Ac 9:4-18). (c) Saul becomes a powerful exponent of the gospel in Damascus and Jerusalem (Ac 9:19-30). (d) The church has peace (Ac 9:31).

6. The door opened to the Gentiles, both Roman and Greek (Ac 9:32-11:30). (a) Peter’s activity in this time of peace (Ac 9:32-43). (b) The appeal from Cornelius in Caesarea and Peter’s response (Ac 10). (c) Peter’s arraignment before the Pharisaic element in the church in Jerusalem (Ac 11:1-18). (d) Greeks in Antioch are converted and Barnabas brings Saul to this work (Ac 11:19-26). (e) The Greek Christians send relief to the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem (Ac 11:27-30).

7. Persecution from the civil government (Ac 12). (a) Herod Agrippa I kills James and imprisons Peter (Ac 12:1-19). (b) Herod pays the penalty for his crimes (Ac 12:20-23). (c) Christianity prospers (Ac 12:24 f).

8. The Gentilepropaganda from Antioch under the leadership of Barnabas and Saul (Ac 13-14). (a) The specific call of the Holy Spirit to this work (Ac 13:1-3). (b) The province of Cyprus and the leadership of Paul (Ac 13:4-12). (c) The province of Pamphylia and the desertion of John Mark (Ac 13:13). (d) The province of Galatia (Pisidia and Lycaonia) and the stronghold of the gospel upon the native population (Ac 13:14-14:24). (e) The return and report to Antioch (Ac 14:25-28).

9. The Gentilecampaign challenged by the Judaizers (Ac 15:1-35). (a) They meet Paul and Barnabas at Antioch who decide to appeal to Jerusalem (Ac 15:1-3). (b) The first public meeting in Jerusalem (Ac 15:4 f). (c) The second and more extended discussion with the decision of the conference (Ac 15:6-29). (d) The joyful reception (in Antioch) of the victory of Paul and Barnabas (Ac 15:30-35).

10. The second great campaign extending to Europe (Ac 15:36-18:22). (a) The breach between Paul and Barnabas over John Mark (Ac 15:36-39). (b) From Antioch to Troas with the Macedonian Cry (Ac 15:40-16:10). (c) In Philippi in Macedonia the gospel gains a foothold in Europe, but meets opposition (Ac 16:11-40). (d) Paul is driven also from Thessalonica and Berea (compare Philippi), cities of Macedonia also (Ac 17:1-15). (e) Paul’s experience in Athens (Ac 17:16-34). (f) In Corinth Paul spends nearly two years and the cause of Christ wins legal recognition from the Roman governor (Ac 18:1-17). (g) The return to Antioch by way of Ephesus, Caesarea and probably Jerusalem (Ac 18:18-22).

11. The third great tour, with Ephesus as headquarters (Ac 18:23-20:3). (a) Paul in Galatia and Phrygia again (Ac 18:23). (b) Apollos in Ephesus before Paul comes (Ac 18:24-28). (c) Paul’s three years in Ephesus (Ac 19:1-20:1). (d) The brief visit to Corinth because of the troubles there (Ac 20:1-3).

12. Paul turns to Jerusalem again with plans for Rome (Ac 20:4-21:16). (a) His companions (Ac 20:4). (b) Rejoined by Luke at Philippi (Ac 20:5). (c) The story of Troas (Ac 20:7-12). (d) Coasting along Asia (Ac 20:13-16). (e) with the Ephesian elders at Miletus (Ac 20:17-38). (f) From Miletus to Tyre (Ac 21:1-6). (g) From Tyre to Caesarea (Ac 21:7-14). (h) From Caesarea to Jerusalem (Ac 21:15 f).

13. The outcome in Jerusalem (Ac 21:15-23:30). (a) Paul’s reception by the brethren (Ac 21:15-17). (b) Their proposal of a plan by which Paul could undo the work of the Judaizers concerning him in Jerusalem (Ac 21:18-26). (c) The uproar in the temple courts raised by the Jews from Asia as Paul was carrying out the plan to disarm the Judaizers (Ac 21:27-30). (d) Paul’s rescue by the Roman captain and Paul’s defense to the Jewish mob (Ac 21:31-22:23). (e) Examination of the chief captain (Ac 22:24-29). (f) Brought before the Sanhedrin (Ac 22:30-23:10). (g) Cheered by the Lord Jesus (Ac 23:11). (h) Paul’s escape from the plot of Jewish conspirators (Ac 23:12-30).

14. Paul a prisoner in Caesarea (Ac 23:31-26). (a) The flight to Caesarea and presentation to Felix (Ac 23:31-35). (b) Paul’s appearance before Felix (Ac 24). (c) Paul before Festus (Ac 25:1-12). (d) Paul, as a matter of curiosity and courtesy, brought before Herod Agrippa II (Ac 25:13-26:32).

15. Paul going to Rome (Ac 27:1-28:15). (a) From Caesarea to Myra (Ac 27:1-5). (b) From Myra to Fair Havens (Ac 27:6-8). (c) From Fair Havens to Malta (Ac 27:9-28:10). (d) From Malta to Rome (Ac 28:11-15).

16. Paul in Rome at last (Ac 28:16-31). (a) His quarters (Ac 28:16). (b) His first interview with the Jews (Ac 28:17-22). (c) His second interview with the Jews (Ac 28:23-28). (d) Two years afterward still a prisoner, but with freedom to preach the gospel (Ac 28:30 f). LITERATURE

Besides the works referred to above see Wendt’s edition of Meyer’s Kommentar (1899); Headlam in HDB; Knowling on Ac in Expositor’s Greek Testament (1900); Knowling, Witness of the Epistles (1892), Testimony of Paul to Christ (1905); Moffatt, Historical New Testament (1901).

Here is a selected list of important works:

1. Introduction:

Bacon, Introduction to the New Testament (1900); Bennett and Adeney, Biblical Introduction (1899); Bleek, Einleitung in das New Testament (4 Aufl, 1900); S. Davidson, (3rd edition, 1894); C. R. Gregory, Canon and Text of the New Testament (1907), H. J. Holtzmann, Einleitung in das New Testament (3 Aufl, 1892), Jacquies, Histoire des livres du New Testament (1905-8); Julicher, Introduction to the New Testament (translation, 1904); Peaks, Critical Introduction to the New Testament (1909); Reuss, Canon of the Holy Scriptures (translation, 1886); Salmon, Hist Introduction to the Study of the Books of the New Testament (7th edition, 1896), von Soden, The History of Early Christian Lit. (translation, 1906), B. Weiss, A Manual of Introduction to the New Testament (translation, 1889), Westcott, History of the Canon of the New Testament (1869), Zahn, Introduction to the New Testament (translation, 1909), Moffatt, Introduction to the Lit. of the New Testament (1911).

2. Text:

See general works on textual criticism of the New Testament (Gregory, Kenyon, Nestle, Tischendorf, Scrivener, von Soden, B. Weiss, Westcott, etc.). Of special treatises note Blass, Philology of the Gospels (1898). Acta Apostolorum (1895); Bornemann, Acta Apostolorum (1848); Chase, Old Syriac Element in the Text of Codex Bezae (1893), Corssen, Der cyprianische Text der Acta Apostolorum (1892); Klostermann, Probleme im Apostel Texts (1883), Klostermann, Vindiciae Lucanae (1866); Nestle, Philologia (1896); J. Rendel Harris, Study Codex Bezae (1891).

3. Apostolic History:

For literature on the life of Paul see Robertson, Epochs in the Life of Paul (1909), 321-27, and article PAUL in this encyclopedia. Important general works are the following: Bartlet, The Apostolie Age (1899); Baumgarten, The Apostolic History (translation, 1854); Blunt, Studies in the Apostolic Age (1909); Burton, Records and Letters of the Apostolic Age (1895); Doellinger, The First Age of the Church (translation, 1867); Dobschutz, Christian Life in the Primitive Church (translation, 1904); Ewald, History of the Apostolic Times (translation, Vol VI in History of Israel); Farrar, Early Days of Christianity (1887); Fisher, The Beginnings of Christianity (1877); Gilbert, Christianity in the Apostolic Age (1908); Harnack, The Expansion of Christianity in the First Three Centuries (translation, 1904-5); Hausrath, Neut. Zeitgeschichte (Bd. 2, 1872); Heinrici, Das Urchristentum (1902); Holtzmann, Neut. Zeitgeschichte (1895); Hort, Judaistic Christianity (1898); Organization of the Early Christian Churches (1895); Lechler, The Apostolic and Post-Apostolic Times (translation, 1886); Lightfoot, Dissertations on the Apostolic Age (1892); Lindsay, The Church and the Ministry in the Early Centuries (1902); McGiffert, A History of Christianity in the Apostolic Age (1897); Neander, History of the Planting and Training of the Christian Church (1889); Pfleiderer, Christian origins (1906), Pressonse, The Early Years of Christianity (1870); Purves, Christianity in the Apostolic Age (1901), Ramsay, The Church in the Roman Empire (1893); Ritschl, Die Entstehung der altkath. Kirche (1857); Ropes, The Apostolic Age in the Light of Modern Criticism (1906); Weizsacker, The Apostolic Age of the Christian Church (translation, 1894-95); Pictures of the Apostolic Church (1910).

4. Special Treatises on the Acts:

Belser, Beitrage zur Erklarung der Apostelgeschichte (1897); Benson, Addresses on the Ac of the Apostles (1901); Bethge, Die paulinischen Reden der Apostelgeschichte (1887); Blass, Acta Apostolorum secundum Formam quae videtur Romanam (1896); Chase, The Credibility of the Book of the Ac of the Apostles (1902); Clemen, Die Apostelgeschichte, im Lichte der neueren Forschungen (1905); Fiene, Eine vorkanonische Nebenlieferung des Lukas in Evangelium und Apostelgeschichte (1891); Harnack, Luke, the Physician (translation, 1907); The Ac of the Apostles (1909); Hilgenfeld, Acta Apostolorum Graece et Latine (1899); Jungst, Die Quellen der Apostelgeschichte (1895); Krenkel, Josephus und Lucas (1894); Luckok, Footprints of the Apostles as Traced by Luke in the Ac (1897); J. Lightfoot, Hebrew and Talmudical Exercitations on the Ac of the Apostles (1768); Paley, Horae Paulinae (Birks edition, 1850); Ramsay, Paul the Traveler (1896); Pauline and Other Studies (1906); Cities of Paul (1908), Luke the Physician, and Other Studies (1908); J. Smith, Voyage and Shipwreck of Paul (4th edition, 1880); Sorof, Die Entstehung der Apostelgeschichte (1890); Spitta, Die Apostelgeschichte, ihre Quellen und deren geschichtlicher Worth (1891); Stiffler, An Introduction to the Book of Ac (1892); Vogel, Zur Characteristik des Lukas nach Sprache und Stil (1897); J. Weiss, Ueber die Absicht und die literarischen Charakter der Apostelgeschichte (1897); Zeller, The Contents and Origin of the Ac of the Apostles (translation, 1875); Maurice Jones, Paul the Orator (1910).

5. Commentaries:

There are the great standard works. like Bede, Bengel, Calvin, Chrysostom, Grotius. The chief modern commentaries are the following: Alexander (1857), Alloral (6th edition, 1868), Bartlet (1901), Blass (Acta Apostolorum, 1895), Ewald (Apostelgeschichte, 1871), Felten (Apostelgeschichte, 1892), Hackett (1882), Holtzmann (Hand-Commentar, 3 Aufl, 1901), Knabenbauer (Actus Apostol, 1899), Knowling (Expositor’s Greek Text, 1900), Luthardt and Zoeckler (Apostelgeschichte, 2nd edition, 1894), McGarvey (1892), Meyer (translation by Gloag and Dickson, 1885), Meyer-Wendt (Apostelgeschichte, 1888). Noesgen (Apostelgeschichte, 1882), Olshausen (1832), Page (1897), Rackham (1901), Rendall, (1897), Stokes (1892), B. Weiss (Apostelgeschichte, 1892, 2nd edition).

A. T. Robertson


VIII. The Speeches in Acts.

This matter is important enough to receive separate treatment. Are the numerous speeches reported in Ac free compositions of Luke made to order a la Thucydides? Are they verbatim reports from notes taken at the times and literally copied into the narrative? Are they substantial reports incorporated with more or less freedom with marks of Luke’s own style? In the abstract either of these methods was possible. The example of Thucydides, Xenophon, Livy and Josephus shows that ancient historians did not scruple to invent speeches of which no report was available. There are not wanting those who accuse Luke of this very thing in Acts. The matter can only be settled by an appeal to the facts so far as they can be determined. It cannot be denied that to a certain extent the hand of Luke is apparent in the addresses reported by him in Acts. But this fact must not be pressed too far. It is not true that the addresses are all alike in style.

It is possible to distinguish very clearly the speeches of Peter from those of Paul. Not merely is this true, but we are able to compare the addresses of both Paul and Peter with their epistles. It is not probable that Luke had seen these epistles, as will presently be shown. It is crediting remarkable literary skill to Luke to suppose that he made up "Petrine" speeches and "Pauline" speeches with such success that they harmonize beautifully with the teachings and general style of each of these apostles. The address of Stephen differs also sharply from those of Peter and Paul, though we are not able to compare this report with any original work by Stephen himself. Another thing is true also, particularly of Paul’s sermons.

They are wonderfully stated to time, place and audience. They all have a distract Pauline flavor, and yet a difference in local color that corresponds, to some extent, with the variations in the style of Paul’s epistles. Professor Percy Gardner (The Speeches of Paul in Acts, in Cambridge Biblical Essays, 1909) recognizes these differences, but seeks to explain them on the ground of varying accuracy in the sources used by Luke, counting the speech at Miletus as the most historic of all. But he admits the use of sources by Luke for these addresses.

The theory of pure invention by Luke is quite discredited by appeal to the facts. On the other hand, in view of the apparent presence of Luke’s style to some extent in the speeches, it can hardly be claimed that he has made verbatim reports. Besides, the report of the addresses of Jesus in Luke’s Gospel (as in the other gospels) shows the same freedom in giving the substance exact reproduction of the words that is found in Acts. Again, it seems clear that some, if not all, the reports in Ac are condensed, mere outlines in the case of some of Peter’s addresses.

The ancients knew how to make shorthand reports of such addresses. The oral tradition was probably active in preserving the early speeches of Peter and even of Stephen, though Paul himself heard Stephen. The speeches of Paul all show the marks of an eyewitness (Bethge, Die paulinischen Reden, etc., 174). For the speeches of Peter, Luke may have had documents, or he may have taken down the current oral tradition while he was in Jerusalem and Caesarea. Peter probably spoke in Greek on the day of Pentecost. His other addresses may have been in Aramaic or in Greek. But the oral tradition would certainly carry them in Greek, if also in Aramaic.

Luke heard Paul speak at Miletus (Ac 20) and may have taken notes at the time. So also he almost certainly heard Paul’s address on the steps of the Tower of Antonia (Ac 22) and that before Agrippa (Ac 26). There is no reason to think that he was absent when Paul made his defenses before Felix and Festus (Ac 24-25) He was present on the ship when Paul spoke (Ac 27), and in Rome when he addressed the Jews (Ac 28) Luke was not on hand when Paul delivered his sermon at Antioch in Pisidia (Ac 13), or at Lystra (Ac 14), or at Athens (Ac 17) But these discourses differ so greatly in theme and treatment, and are so essentially Pauline that it is natural to think that Paul himself gave Luke the notes which he used.

The sermon at Antioch in Pisidia is probably given as a sample of Paul’s missionary discourses. It contains the heart of Paul’s gospel as it appears in his epistles. He accentuates the death and resurrection of Jesus, remission of sins through Christ, justification by faith. It is sometimes objected that at Athens the address shows a breadth of view and sympathy unknown to Paul, and that there is a curious Attic tone to the Greek style. The sermon does go as far as Paul can (compare 1Co 9:22) toward the standpoint of the Greeks (but compare Col and Eph). However, Paul does not sacrifice his principle of grace in Christ. He called the Athenians to repentance, preached the judgment for sin and announced the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man here taught did not mean that God yanked at sin and could save all men without repentance and forgiveness of sin. Chase (The Credibility of Acts) gives a collection of Paul’s missionary addresses. The historical reality and value of the speeches in Ac may be said to be vindicated by modern scholarship. For a sympathetic and scholarly discussion of all of Paul’s addresses see Jones, Paul the Orator (1910). The short speech of Tertullus (Ac 24) was made in public, as was the public statement of Festus in Ac 26. The letter of Claudias Lysias to Felix in Ac 23 was a public document. How Luke got hold of the conversation about Paul between Festus and Agrippa in Ac 26 is more difficult to conjecture.

IX. Relation of Ac to the Epistles.

There is no real evidence that Luke made use of any of Paul’s epistles. He was with Paul in Rome when Col was written (4:14), and may, indeed, have been Paul’s amanuensis for this epistle (and for Eph and Philem). Some similarities to Luke’s style have been pointed out. But Ac closes without any narrative of the events in Rome during the years there, so that these epistles exerted no influence on the composition of the book. As to the two preceding groups of Paul’s epistles (1 and 2 Thess, 1 and 2 Cor, Gal, Roman) there is no proof that Luke saw any of them. The Epistle to the Romans was probably accessible to into while in Rome, but he does not seem to have used it. Luke evidently preferred to appeal to Paul directly for information rather than to his epistles.

This is all simple enough if he wrote the book or made his data while Paul was alive. But if Ac was written very late, it would be strange for the author not to have made use of some of Paul’s epistles. The book has, therefore, the great advantage of covering some of the same ground as that discussed in the earlier epistles, but from a thoroughly independent stand-point. The gaps in our knowledge from the one source are often supplied incidentally, but most satisfactorily, from the other. The coincidences between Ac and Paul’s epistles have been well traced by Paley in his Horae Paulinae, still a book of much value. Knowling, in his Witness of the Epistles (1892), has made a more recent study of the same problem. But for the apparent conflict between Ga 2:1-10 and Ac 15 the matter might be dropped at this point.

It is argued by some that Acts, written long after Gal, brushes to one side the account of the Jerusalem conference given by Paul. It is held that Paul is correct in his personal record, and that Ac is therefore unhistorical Others save the credit of Ac by arguing that Paul is referring to an earlier private conference some years before the public discussion recorded in Ac 15. This is, of course, possible in itself, but it is by no means required by the variations between the two reports. The contention of Lightfoot has never been really overturned, that in Ga 2:1-10 Paul gives the personal side of the conference, not a full report of the general meeting. What Paul is doing is to show the Galatians how he is on a par with the Jerusalem apostles, and how his authority and independence were acknowledged by them.

This aspect of the matter came out in the private conference. Paul is not in Ga 2:1-10 setting forth his victory over the Judaizers in behalf of Gentile freedom. But in Ac 15 it is precisely this struggle for Gentile freedom that is under discussion. Paul’s relations with the Jerusalem apostles is not the point at all, though it in plain in Ac that they agree. In Galatians also Paul’s victory for Gentile freedom comes out. Indeed, in Ac 15 it is twice mentioned that the apostles and elders were gathered together (15:4,6), and twice we are told that Paul and Barnabas addressed them (15:4,12). It is therefore natural to suppose that this private conference narrated by Paul in Galatians came in between 2:5 and 6. Luke may not, indeed, have seen the Epistle to the Galatians, and may not have heard from Paul the story of the private conference, though he knew of the two public meetings. If he did know of the private meeting, he thought it not pertinent to his narration. There is, of course, no contradiction between Paul’s going up by revelation and by the appointment of the church in Antioch. In Ga 2:1 we have the second (Ga 1:18) visit to Jerusalem after his conversion mentioned by Paul, while that in Ac 15 is the third in Ac (9:28; 11:29 f; 15:2).

But there was no particular reason for Paul to mention the visit in Ac 11:30, which did not concern his relation to the apostles in Jerusalem. Indeed, only the "elders" are mentioned on this occasion. The same independence between Ac and Ga occurs in Ga 1:17-24, and Ac 9:26-30. In Ac there is no allusion to the visit to Arabia, just as there is no mention of the private conference in Ac 15. So also in Ac 15:35-39 there is no mention of the sharp disagreement between Paul and Peter at Antioch recorded in Ga 2:11 ff. Paul mentions it merely to prove his own authority and independence as an apostle. Luke had no occasion to record the incident, if he was acquainted with the matter. These instances illustrate well how, when the Ac and the epistles vary, they really supplement each other.

X. Chronology of Acts.

Here we confront one of the most perplexing questions in New Testament criticism. In general, ancient writers were not so careful as modern writers are to give precise dates for historical events. Indeed, it was not easy to do so in view of the absence of a uniform method of reckoning times. Luke does, however, relate his narrative to outward events at various points. In his Gospel he had linked the birth of Jesus with the names of Augustus as emperor and of Quirinius as governor of Syria (Lu 2:1 f), and the entrance of John the Baptist upon his ministry with the names of the chief Roman and Jewish rulers of the time (Lu 3:1 f) So also in the Ac he does not leave us without various notes of times. He does not, indeed, give the date of the Ascension or of the Crucifixion, though he places the Ascension forty days after the Resurrection (Ac 1:3), and the great Day of Pentecost would then come ten days later, "not many days hence" (Ac 1:5)

But the other events in the opening chapters of Ac have no clear chronological arrangement. The career of Stephen is merely located "in these days" (6:1). The beginning of the general persecution under Saul is located on the very day of Stephen’s death (8:1), but the year is not even hinted at. The conversion of Saul comes probably in its chronological order in Ac 9, but the year again is not given. We have no hint as to the age of Saul at his conversion. So again the relation of Peter’s work in Caesarea (10) to the preaching to the Greeks in Antioch (11) is not made clear, though probably in this order. It is only when we come to Ac 12 that we reach an event whose date is reasonably certain. This is the death of Herod Agrippa I in 44 AD. But even so, Luke does not correlate the life of Paul with that incident. Ramsay (St. Paul the Traveler, 49) places the persecution and death of James in 44, and the visit of Barnabas and Saul to Jerusalem in 46. About 44, then, we may consider that Saul came to Antioch from Tarsus.

The "fourteen years" in Ga 2:1 as already shown probably point to the visit in Ac 15 some years later. But Saul had been in Tarsus some years and had spent some three years in Arabia and Damascus after his conversion (Ga 1:18). Beyond this it is not possible to go. We do not know the age of Saul in 44 AD or the year of his conversion. He was probably born not far from 1 AD. But if we locate Paul at Antioch with Barnabas in 44 AD, we can make some headway. Here Paul spent a year (Ac 11:26). The visit to Jerusalem in Ac 11, the first missionary tour in 13 and 14, the conference at Jerusalem in 15, the second missionary tour in 16-18, the third missionary tour and return to Jerusalem in 18- 21, the arrest in Jerusalem and two years in Caesarea in 21-26, all come between 44 AD and the recall of Felix and the coming of Festus. It used to be taken for granted that Festus came in 60 AD.

Wieseler figured it out so from Josephus and was followed by Lightfoot. But Eusebius, in his "Chronicle," placed that event in the second year of Nero. That would be 56, unless Eusebius has a special way of counting those years Mr. C. H Turner (art. "Chronology" in HDB) finds that Eusebius counts an emperor’s regnal year from the September following. If so, the date could be moved forward to 57 (compare Rackham on Acts, lxvi). But Ramsay (chapter xiv, "Pauline Chronology," in Pauline and Other Studies) cuts the Gordian knot by showing an error in Eusebius due to his disregarding an interregnum with the reign of Mugs Ramsay here follows Erbes Todestage Pauli und Pertri in this discovery and is able to fix upon 59 as the date of the coming of Festus. Probably 59 will have to answer as a compromise date. Between 44 AD and 59 AD, therefore, we place the bulk of Paul’s active missionary work.

Luke has divided this period into minor divisions with relative dates. Thus a year and six months are mentioned at Corinth (Ac 18:11), besides "yet many days" (Ac 18:18). In Ephesus we find mention of "three months" (Ac 19:8) and "two years" (Ac 19:10), the whole story summed up as "three years" (Ac 20:31) Then we have the "two years" of delay in Caesarea (Ac 24:27). We thus have about seven of these fifteen years itemized. Much of the remaining eight was spent in the journeys described by Luke. We are told also the times of year when the voyage to Rome was under way (Ac 27:9), the length of the voyage (Ac 27:27), the duration of the stay in Melita (Ac 28:11), and the times spent in Rome at the close of the book, "two whole years" (Ac 28:30). Thus it is possible to fix upon a relative schedule of dates, though not an absolute one. Harnack (The Ac of the Apostles, chapter i, "Chronological Data") has worked out a very careful scheme for the whole of Acts. Knowling has a good critical resume of the present state of our knowledge of the chronology of Ac in his Commentary, 38 ff, compare also Clemen, Die Chronologie der paulinischen Briefe (1893). It is clear, then, that a rational scheme for events of Paul’s career so far as recorded in the Ac can be found. If 57 AD, for instance, should be taken as the year of Festus coming rather than 59 or 60 AD, the other dates back to 44 AD would, of course, be affected on a sliding scale. Back of 44 AD the dates are largely conjectural.

XI. Historical Worth of Acts.

It was once fashionable to discredit Ac as a book of no real value as history. The Tubingen school regarded Ac as "a late controversial romance, the only historical value of which was to throw light on the thought of the period which produced it" (Chase, The Credibility of Acts, 9). There are not wanting a few writers who still regard Ac as a late eirenicon between the Peter and Paul parties, or as a party pamphlet in the interest of Paul. Somewhat fanciful parallels are found between Luke’s treatment of both Peter and Paul "According to Holtzmann, the strongest argument for the critical position is the correspondence between the acts of Peter and the other apostles on the one rode and those of Paul on the other" (Headlam in HDB). But this matter seems rather far fetched. Peter is the leading figure in the early chapters, as Paul is in the latter half of the book, but the correspondences are not remarkably striking.

There exists in some minds a prejudice against the book on the ground of the miracles recorded as genuine events by Luke. But Paul himself claimed to have wrought miracles (2Co 12:12). It is not scientific to rule a book out beforehand because it narrates miracles (Blass, Acta Apostolorum, 8). Ramsay (St. Paul the Traveler, 8) tells his experience in regard to the trustworthiness of Acts: "I began with a mind unfavorable to it, for the ingenuity and apparent completeness of the Tubingen theory had at one time quite convinced me." It was by actual verification of Ac in points where it could be tested by inscriptions, Paul’s epistles, or current non-Christian writers, that "it was gradually borne in upon me that in various details the narrative showed marvelous truth." He concludes by "placing this great writer on the high pedestal that belongs to him" (10). McGiffert (The Apostolic Age) had been compelled by the geographical and historical evidence to abandon in part the older criticism. He also admitted that the Ac "is more trustworthy than previous critics allowed" (Ramsay, Luke the Physician, 5). Schmiedel (Encyclopedia Biblica) still argues that the writer of Ac is inaccurate because he was not in possession of full information. But on the whole Ac has had a triumphant vindicatioin in modern criticism. Julicher (Einl, 355) admits "a genuine core overgrown with legendary accretions" (Chase, Credibility, 9). The moral honesty of Luke, his fidelity to truth (Rackham on Acts, 46), is clearly shown in both his Gospel and the Acts.

This, after all, is the chief trait in the true historian (Ramsay, Paul the Traveler, 4). Luke writes as a man of serious purpose and is the one New Testament writer who mentions his careful use of his materials (Lu 1:1-4). His attitude and spent are those of the historian. He reveals artistic skill, it is true, but not to the discredit of his record. He does not give a bare chronicle, but he writes a real history, an interpretation of the events recorded. He had adequate resources in the way of materials and endowment and has made conscientious and skillful use of his opportunity. It is not necessary here to give in detail all the points in which Luke has been vindicated (see Knowling on Acts, Ramsay’s books and Harnack’s Luke and Acts). The most obvious are the following: The use of "proconsul" instead of "propraetor" in Ac 13:7 is a striking instance. Curiously enough Cyprus was not a senatorial province very long. An inscription has been found in Cyprus "in the proconsulship of Paulus."

The ‘first men’ of Antioch in Pisidia is like the (13:50) "First Ten," a title which "was only given (as here) to a board of magistrates in Greek cities of the East" (MacLean in one-vol HDB). The "priest of Jupiter" at Lystra (14:13) is in accord with the known facts of the worship there. So we have Perga in Pamphylia (13:13), Antioch in Pisidia (13:14), Lystra and Derbe in Lycaonia (14:6), but not Iconium (14:1). In Philippi Luke notes that the magistrates are called strategoi or praetors (Ac 16:20), and are accompanied by lictors or rhabdouchoi (Ac 16:35). In Thessalonica the rulers are "politarchs" (Ac 17:6), a title found nowhere else, but now discovered on an inscription of Thessalonica. He rightly speaks of the Court of the Areopagus at Athens (Ac 17:19) and the proconsul in Achaia (Ac 18:12).

Though Athens was a free city, the Court of the Areopagus at the times were the real rulers. Achaia was sometimes associated with Macedonia, though at this time it was a separate senatorial province. In Ephesus Luke knows of the "Asiarchs" (Ac 19:31), "the presidents of the ‘Common Council’ of the province in cities where there was a temple of Rome and the Emperor; they superintended the worship of the Emperor" (Maclean). Note also the fact that Ephesus is "temple-keeper of the great Diana" (Ac 19:35). Then observe the town clerk (Ac 19:35), and the assembly (Ac 19:39). Note also the title of Felix, "governor" or procurator (Ac 24:1), Agrippa the king (25:13), Julius the centurion and the Augustan band (Ac 27:1). Ac 27 is a marvel of interest and accuracy for all who wish to know details of ancient seafaring. The matter has been worked over in a masterful way by James Smith, Voyage and Shipwreck of Paul. The title "First Man of the Island" (Ac 28:7) is now found on a coin of Melita. These are by no means all the matters of interest, but they will suffice. In most of the items given above Luke’s veracity was once challenged, but now he has been triumphantly vindicated.

The force of this vindication is best appreciated when one recalls the incidental nature of the items mentioned. They come from widely scattered districts and are just the points where in strange regions it is so easy to make slips. If space allowed, the matter could be set forth in more detail and with more justice to Luke’s worth as a historian. It is true that in the earlier portions of the Ac we are not able to find so many geographical and historical corroborations. But the nature of the material did not call for the mention of so many places and persons. In the latter part Luke does not hesitate to record miraculous events also. His character as a historian is firmly established by the passages where outside contact has been found. We cannot refuse him a good name in the rest of the book, though the value of the sources used certainly cuts a figure. It has been urged that Luke breaks down as a historian in the double mention of Quirinius in Lu 2:2 and Ac 5:37.

But Ramsay (Was Christ Born at Bethlehem?) has shown how the new knowledge of the census system of Augustus derived from the Egypt papyri is about to clear up this difficulty. Luke’s general accuracy at least calls for suspense of judgment, and in the matter of Theudas and Judas the Galilean (Ac 5) Luke as compared with Josephus outclasses his rival. Harnack (The Ac of the Apostles, 203-29) gives in his usual painstaking way a number of examples of "inaccuracy and discrepancy" But the great bulk of them are merely examples of independence in narration (compare Ac 9 with 22 and 26, where we have three reports of Paul’s conversion). Harnack did not, indeed, once place as high a value on Luke as a historian as he now does. It is all the more significant, therefore, to read the following in Harnack’s The Ac of the Apostles (298 f): "The book has now been restored to the position of credit which is its rightful due. It is not only, taken as a whole, a genuinely historical work, but even in the majority of its details it is trustworthy 6 ..... Judged from almost every possible standpoint of historical criticism it is a solid, respectable, and in many respects an extraordinary work." That is, in my opinion, an understatement of the facts (see Ramsay), but it is a remarkable conclusion concerning the trustworthiness of Luke when one considers the distance that Harnack has come. At any rate the prejudice against Luke is rapidly disappearing. The judgment of the future is forecast by Ramsay, who ranks Luke as a historian of the first order.

XII. Purpose of the Book.

A great deal of discussion has been given to Luke’s aim in the Acts. Baur’s theory was that this book was written to give a conciliatory view of the conflict between Peter and Paul, and that a minute parallelism exists in the Ac between these two heroes. This tendency theory once held the critical field, but it does not take into view all the facts, and fails to explain the book as a whole. Peter and Paul are the heroes of the book as they undoubtedly were the two chief personalities in apostolic history (compare Wendt, Apostelgeschichte, 17). There is some parallelism between the careers of the two men (compare the worship offered Peter at Caesarea in Ac 10:25, and that to Paul in 14:11; see also the punishment of Ananias and Sapphira and that of Elymas). But Knowling (Acts, 16) well replies that curiously no use is made of the death of both Peter and Paul in Rome, possibly at the same time. If the Ac was written late, this matter would be open to the knowledge of the writer.

There is in truth no real effort on Luke’s part to paint Paul like Peter or Peter like Paul. The few similarities in incident are merely natural historical parallels. Others have seen in the Ac a strong purpose to conciliate Gentile(pagan) opinion in the fact that the Roman governors and military officers are so uniformly presented as favorable to Paul, while the Jews are represented as the real aggressors against Christianity (compare Josephus’ attitude toward Rome). Here again the fact is beyond dispute. But the other explanation is the more natural, namely, that Luke brings out this aspect of the matter because it was the truth. Compare B. Weiss, Einl, 569. Luke does have an eye on the world relations of Christianity and rightly reflects Paul’s ambition to win the Roman Empire to Christ (see Ro 15), but that is not to say that he has given the book a political bias or colored it so as to deprive it of its historical worth. It is probably true (compare Knowling, Acts, 15; J. Weiss, Ueber die Absicht und den literarischen Charakter der Apostelgeschichte) that Luke felt, as did Paul, that Jusaism realized its world destiny in Christianity, that Christianity was the true Judaism, the spiritual and real Israel. If Luke wrote Ac in Rome, while Paul’s case was still before Nero, it is easy to understand the somewhat long and minute account of the arrest and trials of Paul in Jerusalem, Caesarea and Rome.

The point would be that the legal aspect of Christianity before Roman laws was involved. Hitherto Christianity had found shelter as a sect of Judaism, and so was passed by Gallio in Corinth as a religio licita. If Paul was condemned as a Christian, the whole aspect of the matter would be altered. Christianity would at once become religio illicita. The last word in the Ac comments on the fact that Paul, though still a prisoner, was permitted to preach unhindered. The importance of this point is clearly seen as one pushes on to the Neronian persecution in 64. After that date Christianity stood apart from Judaism in the eye of Rome. I have already stated my belief that Luke closed the Ac when he did and as he did because the events with Paul had only gone thus far. Numerous scholars hold that Luke had in mind a third book (Ac 1:1), a possible though by no means necessary inference from "first treatise." It was a climax to carry the narrative on to Rome with Paul, but it is rather straining the point to find all this in Ac 1:8. Rome was not "the nethermost part of the earth," Spain more nearly being that. Nor did Paul take the gospel to Rome.

Besides, to make the arrival of Paul in Rome the goal in the mind of Christ is too narrowing a purpose. The purpose to go to Rome did dominate Paul’s mind for several years (Ac 19:21), but Paul cuts no figure in the early part of the book. And Paul wished to push on from Rome to Spain (Ro 15:24). It is probably true that Luke means to announce his purpose in Ac 1:1-8. One needs to keep in mind also Lu 1:1-4. There are various ways of writing history. Luke chooses the biographical method in Acts. Thus he conceives that he can best set forth the tremendous task of interpreting the first thirty years of the apostolic history. It is around persons (compare Harnack, The Ac of the Apostles, 117), two great figures (Peter and Paul), that the narrative is focused. Peter is most prominent in Ac 1-12, Paul in 13-28. Still Paul’s conversion is told in Ac 9 and Peter reappears in Ac 15. But these great personages do not stand alone. John the Apostle is certainly with Peter in the opening chapters. The other apostles are mentioned also by name (Ac 1:13) and a number of times in the first twelve chapters (and in Ac 15). But after Ac 15 they drop out of the narrative, for Luke follows the fortunes of Paul.

The other chief secondary figures in Ac are Stephen, Philip, Barnabas, James, Apollos, all Hellenists save James (Harnack, 120). The minor characters are numerous (John, Mark, Silas, Timothy, Aquila and Priscilla, Aristarchus, etc.). In most cases Luke gives a distinct picture of these incidental personages. In particular he brings out sharply such men as Gallio, Claudius, Lysias, Felix, Festus, Herod, Agrippa I and II, Julius. Luke’s conception of the apostolic history is that it is the work of Jesus still carried on by the Holy Spirit (Ac 1:1 f). Christ chose the apostles, commanded them to wait for power from on high, filled them with the Holy Spirit and then sent them on the mission of world conquest. In the Ac Luke records the waiting, the coming of the Holy Spirit, the planting of a powerful church in Jerusalem and the expansion of the gospel to Samaria and all over the Roman Empire. He addresses the book to Theophilus as his patron, a Gentile Christian plainly, as he had done with his gospel. The book is designed for the enlightenment of Christians generally concerning the historic origins of Christianity. It is in truth the first church history. It is in reality the Ac of the Holy Spirit as wrought through these men. It is an inspiring narration. Luke had no doubt whatever of the future of a gospel with such a history and with such heroes of faith as Peter and Paul.


a-pok’-ri-fal. See APOCRYPHAL ACTS.


ak’-u-a. See ACUD.


a’-kub (Codex Vaticanus, Akouph; Codex Alexandrinus, Akoum) = Bakbuk (Ezr 2:51; Ne 7:53): The descendants of Acub (temple-servants) returned with Zerubbabel to Jerusalem (1 Esdras 5:31).


a’-kud (Akoud; the King James Version Acua) = AKKUB (Ezr 2:45) which see; omitted in Ne 7: The descendants of Acud (temple-servants) returned with Zerubbabel to Jerusalem (1 Esdras 5:30).


a-da’-da (‘adh‘adhah): A city in the southern part of Judah (Jos 15:22). The older copies of the Greek text have Arouel, but that is not a sufficient reason for identifying the name with the Aroer of 1Sa 30:28. Some scholars adopt the change of text, and identify the site with Ararah, about seven miles Southeast of Beer-sheba. Others identify it with Adadah, eight or nine miles Southeast of Arad.


a-dad-rim’-on: Shorter and less accurate name of a place in the Valley of Megiddo, which tradition connected with the death of King Josiah (Zec 12:11; 2Ch 35:22). See HADADRIMMON.


a’-da (‘adhah, "adornment"):

(1) One of the two wives of Lamech the descendant of Cain (Ge 4:19,20,23). The narrative in Ge assigns to her two sons, Jabal the "father" of tent-dwelling people, and Jubal the "father" of all such as handle the harp and pipe." Josephus says that Lamech had 77 sons by Ada and Zillah (Ant., I, ii, 2).

(2) According to Ge 36:2,4,10,12,16, the Hittite wife of Esau, daughter of Elon, and mother of Eliphaz. In this chapter Esau’s other wives are Oholibamah, a Hivite, and Basemath the daughter of Ishmael. The names are differently given elsewhere (Ge 26:34; 28:9). Basemath is said to be the daughter of Elon. The daughter of Ishmael is called Mahalath. In place of Oholibamah the Hivite we find Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite. Data are lacking for the solution of the problem.

Willis J. Beecher


a-da’-ya, a-di’-a (‘adhayah, "Yahweh hath adorned"):

(1) Apparently the seventh of the nine sons of Shimei, who is apparently the same with Shema, who is the fifth of the sons of Elpaal, who is the second of the two sons of Shaharaim and Hushim (1Ch 8:21). Shaharaim and his descendants are listed with the descendants of Benjamin, though his relations to Benjamin are not stated.

(2) A Levite; ancestor to David’s singer Asaph, and a descendant of the fifth generation from Gershom (1Ch 6:41).

(3) The father of Maaseiah, who was one of the captains of hundreds associated with Jehoiada the priest in making Joash king (2Ch 23:1).

(4) A resident of Bozkath, and father of Jedidah the mother of King Josiah (2Ki 22:1).

(5) A descendant of Judah through Perez. His great-great-grandson Maaseiah resided in Jerusalem after Nehemiah had rehabilitated the city (Ne 11:5).

(6) One of the men of Israel, not a priest or Levite, but "of the sons of Bani," who promised Ezra that he would part with his foreign wife (Ezr 10:29).

(7) The same man or another, in a different group of the sons of Bani (Ezr 10:39).

(8) One of the priests of the latest Bible times, mentioned with a partial genealogy (Ne 11:12; 1Ch 9:12).

Willis J. Beecher


a-da-li’-a (’adhalya’, probably a Persian name, meaning unknown): One of the ten sons of Haman who were put to death by the Jews (Es 9:8).


(Adam): The name of Adam occurs nine times (in five different passages) in the New Testament, though several of these are purely incidental.

I. Gospels.

In Lu 3:38 the ancestry of Jesus Christ is traced up to Adam, "Adam, the son of God," thereby testifying to the acceptance of the Old Testament genealogies of Gen. This is the only place in the Gospels in which Adam is actually named, though there is an allusion to him in Mt 19:4-6 ( = Mr 10:6-8), referring to Ge 1:27, 2:24.

II. Epistles.

Adam is used by Paul as the founder of the race and the cause of the introduction of sin in order to point the comparison and contrast with Christ as the Head of the new race and the cause of righteousness.

1. Ro 5:12-21:

The passage is the logical center of the epistle, the central point to which everything that precedes has converged, and out of which everything which follows will flow. The great ideas of Sin, Death, and Judgment are here shown to be involved in the connection of the human race with Adam. But over against this there is the blessed fact of union with Christ, and in this union righteousness and life. The double headship of mankind in Adam and Christ shows the significance of the work of redemption for the entire race. Mankind is ranged under two heads, Adam and Christ. There are two men, two acts and two results. In this teaching we have the spiritual and theological illustration of the great modern principle of solidarity. There is a solidarity of evil and a solidarity of good, but the latter far surpasses the former in the quality of the obedience of Christ as compared with Adam, and the facts of the work of Christ for justification and life. The section is thus no mere episode, or illustration, but that which gives organic life to the entire epistle. Although sin and death are ours in Adam righteousness and life are ours in Christ, and these latter two are infinitely the greater (Ro 5:11); whatever we have lost in Adam we have more than gained in Christ. As all the evils of the race sprang from one man, so all the blessings of redemption come from One Person, and there is such a connection between the Person and the race that all men can possess what the One has done.

In Ro 5:12-19 Paul institutes a series of comparisons and contrasts between Adam and Christ; the two persons, the two works and the two consequences. The fullness of the apostle’s meaning must be carefully observed. Not only does he teach that what we have derived from the first Adam is met by what is derived from Christ, but the transcendence of the work of the latter is regarded as almost infinite in extent. "The full meaning of Paul, however, is not grasped until we perceive that the benefits received from Christ, the Second Adam, are in inverse ratio to the disaster entailed by the first Adam. It is the surplus of this grace that in Paul’s presentation is commonly overlooked" (Mabie, The Divine Reason of the Cross 116).

2. 1Co 15:22:

The contrast instituted here between Adam and Christ refers to death and life, but great difficulty turns on the interpretation of the two "alls." "As in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive." Dods (Expositor’s Bible, 366) interprets it of Adam as the source of physical life that ends in death, and of Christ as the source of spiritual life that never dies. "All who are by physical derivation truly united to Adam incur the death, which by sinning he introduced into human experience; and similarly, all who by spiritual affinity are in Christ enjoy the new life which triumphs over death, and which he won."

So also Edwards, who does not consider that there is any real unfairness in interpreting the former "all" as more extensive than the latter, "if we bear in mind that the conditions of entrance into the one class and the other are totally different. They are not stated here. But we have them in Ro 5:5-11, where the apostle seems as if he anticipated this objection to the analogy which he instituted between Adam and Christ. Both alike are heads of humanity, but they are unlike in this (as also in other things, Ro 5:15), that men are in Adam by nature, in Christ by faith" (Corinthians, 412). Godet considers that "perhaps this Interpretation is really that which corresponds best to the apostle’s view," and he shows that zoopoieisthai, "to be made alive," is a more limited idea than egeiresthai, "to be raised," the limitation of the subject thus naturally proceeding from the special meaning of the verb itself. "The two pantes (all) embrace those only to whom each of the two powers extends." But Godet favors the view of Meyer and Ellicott that "all" is to be given the same interpretation in each clause, and that the reference is to all who are to rise, whether for life or condemnation, and that this is to be "in Christ": "Christ will quicken all; all will hear His voice and will come forth from the grave, but not all to the true ‘resurrection of life’:see Joh 5:29" (Ellicott, Corinthians, 301) Godet argues that "there is nothing to prevent the word ‘quicken,’ taken alone, from being used to denote restoration to the fullness of spiritual and bodily existence, with a view either to perdition or salvation" (Corinthians, 355). There are two serious difficulties to the latter interpretation:

(1) The invariable meaning of "in Christ" is that of spiritual union;

(2) the question whether the resurrection of the wicked really finds any place in the apostle’s argument in the entire chapter.

3. 1Co 15:45:

"The first man Adam became a living soul. The last Adam became a life-giving spirit." The reference to Adam is from Ge 2:7; the reference to Christ is due to the fact of what He had done and was doing in His manifestation as Divine Redeemer. Behind results the apostle proceeds to nature. Adam was simply a living being, Christ a life-giving Being. Thus Christ is called Adam as expressive of His Headship of a race. In this verse He is called the "last" Adam, while in 1Co 15:47 the "second." In the former verse the apostle deals not so much with Christ’s relation to the first Adam as to the part He takes in relation to humanity, and His work on its behalf. When precisely Christ became life-giving is a matter of difference of opinion. Ro 1:4 associates power with the resurrection as the time when Christ was constituted Son of God for the purpose of bestowing the force of Divine grace. This gift of power was only made available for His church through the Ascension and the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. It is possible that the word "life-giving" may also include a reference to the resurrection of the body hereafter.

4. 1Ti 2:13,14:

Paul uses the creation of man and woman in his argument for the subordination of woman (Ge 2:7-25). This is no mere Jewish reasoning, but an inspired statement of the typical meaning of the passage in Genesis. The argument is a very similar one to that in 1Co 11:8,9. When the apostle states that "Adam was not beguiled," we must apparently understand it as simply based on the text in Genesis to which he refers (Ge 3:13), in which Eve, not Adam, says, "The serpent beguiled me." In Ga 3:16 he reasons similarly from "seed" in the singular number, just as Heb 7 reasons from the silence of Ge 14 in regard to the parentage of Melchizedek. Paul does not deny that Adam was deceived, but only that he was not directly deceived. His point is that Eve’s facility in yielding warrants the rule as to women keeping silence.

5. Jude 1:14:

"And Enoch, the seventh from Adam" (Ge 5). Bigg says that the quotation which follows is a combination of passages from Enoch, though the allusion to Enoch himself is evidently based on the story in Gen.

III. Conclusions.

As we review the use of "Adam" in the New Testament, we cannot fail to observe that Paul assumes that Adam was a historical personality, and that the record in Genesis was a record of facts, that sin and death were introduced into the world and affected the entire race as the penalty of the disobedience of one ancestor. Paul evidently takes it for granted that Adam knew and was responsible for what he was doing. Again, sin and death are regarded as connected, that death obtains its moral quality from sin. Paul clearly believed that physical dissolution was due to sin, and that there is some causal connection between Adam and the human race in regard to physical death. While the reference to death in Ro 5 as coming through sin, is primarily to physical death, yet physical death is the expression and sign of the deeper idea of spiritual death; and even though physical death was in the world before Adam it was only in connection with sin that its moral meaning and estimate became clear. Whether we are to interpret, "for that all sinned," as sinning when Adam sinned, or sinning as the result of an inherited tendency from Adam, the entire passage implies some causal connection between him and them. The need of redemption is thus made by the apostle to rest on facts. We are bound to Adam by birth, and it is open to us to become bound to Christ by faith. If we refuse to exchange our position in Adam for that which is offered to us in Christ we become answerable to God; this is the ground of moral freedom. The New Testament assumption of our common ancestry in Adam is true to the facts of evolutionary science, and the universality of sin predicated is equally true to the facts of human experience. Thus, redemption is grounded on the teaching of Scripture, and confirmed by the uncontradicted facts of history and experience. Whether, therefore, the references to Adam in the New Testament are purely incidental, or elaborated in theological discussion, everything is evidently based on the record in Gen.

W. H. Griffith Thomas


(Evolutionary Interpretation): NOTE: It ought to be superfluous to say that the unfolding or development of the human personality here identified with evolution is something far higher, deeper, and other than anything that can be fathered upon Darwin or Herbert Spencer. Evolution (unfolding) is the great process or movement; natural selection and survival of the fittest name only guesses at some of its methods. ‘adham, "man," Ge 1:26, or "a man," Ge 2:5; ha-’adham, "the man"; mostly with the article as a generic term, and not used as the proper name of a patriarch until 5:3, after which the name first given to both man and woman (5:2) is used of the man alone: The being in whom is embodied the Scripture idea of the first created man and ancestor of mankind. The account, which belongs mostly to the oldest stratum of the Genesis story (Jahwist) merits careful attention, because evolutionary science, history, and new theology have all quarreled with or rejected it on various grounds, without providing the smallest approach to a satisfactory substitute.

I. What the Writer Meant to Describe.

It is important first of all, if we can, to get at what the author meant to describe, and how it is related, if at all, to literal and factual statement.

1. Derivation and Use of the Name:

Scholars have exercised themselves much, but with little arrival at certainty, over the derivation of the name; a matter which, as it is concerned with one of the commonest words of the language, is of no great moment as compared with the writer’s own understanding of it. The most plausible conjecture, perhaps, is that which connects it with the Assyrian adamu, "to make," or "produce," hence, "the produced one," "the creature." The author of Ge 2:7 seems to associate it, rather by word-play than derivation, with ha-’adhamah, "the ground" or "soil," as the source from which man’s body was taken (compare 3:19,23) The name ‘adhamah itself seems to be closely connected with the name Edom (’edhom, Ge 25:30), meaning "red"; but whether from the redness of the soil, or the ruddiness of the man, or merely the incident recorded in Ge 25:30, is uncertain. Without doubt the writer of Ge 2; 3 had in mind man’s earthly origin, and understood the name accordingly.

2. Outline of the Genesis Narrative:

The account of the creation is twice given, and from two very different points of view. In the first account, Ge 1:26- 31, man is represented as created on the sixth of the day along with the animals, a species Genesis in the animal world; but differing from them in bearing the image and likeness of God, in having dominion over all created things, and in having grains and fruits for food, while they have herbs. The writer’s object in all this seems to be as much to identify man with the animal creation as to differentiate him from it. In the second account, 2:4-3:24, man’s identity with the animals ignored or at least minimized (compare 2:20), while the object is to determine his status in a spiritual individualized realm wherein he has the companionship of God. Yahweh God "forms" or "shapes" him out of the dust of the ground, breathes into his nostrils the breath of life, and with such special distinction he becomes, like other created things, a "living soul" (nephesh chayyah; compare 2:7 with 1:30). He is placed in a garden situated somewhere among the rivers of Babylonia, his primitive occupation being to dress and keep it. In the midst of the garden are two mysterious trees, the tree of life, whose fruit seems to have the potency of conferring immortality (compare 3:22), and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, whose fruit is not to be eaten under penalty of death. Meanwhile, as in naming the animals the man finds no real companion, Yahweh God "builds" one of the man’s ribs into a woman, and the man recognizes her spiritual unity with him, naming her accordingly.

The story goes on to relate, without note of time, how the serpent, the subtlest of beasts, urged on the woman the desirable qualities of the fruit of the forbidden tree, intimating that God had made the prohibition from envy, and roundly denying that death would be the consequence of eating. Accordingly the woman took and ate, and gave to her husband, who also ate; and the immediate consequence was a sense of shame, which caused them to cover their nakedness with girdles of fig leaves, and a sense of guilt (not differentiated by Adam from shame, 3:10), which made the pair reluctant to meet Yahweh God. He obtains the confession of their disobedience, however; and passes prophetic sentence: on the serpent, of perpetual antipathy between its species and the human; on the woman, of sorrows and pains and subservience to the man; and on the man, of hardship and severe labors, until he returns to the dust from which he was taken. As the pair have chosen to eat of the tree of knowledge, lest now they should eat of the tree of life they are expelled from the garden, and the gate is guarded by flaming sword and Cherubim.

3. History or Exposition?:

It is impossible to read this story with the entire detachment that we accord to an ancient myth, or even to a time- and space- conditioned historical tale. It continually suggests intimate relations with the permanent truths of human nature, as if there were a fiber in it truer than fact. And this provokes the inquiry whether the author himself intended the account of the Edenic state and the Fall to be taken as literal history or as exposition. He uniformly makes the name generic by the article (the adam or man), the only exceptions, which are not real exceptions in meaning, being Ge 1:26, 2:5, already noted. It is not until 5:3, where the proper name Adam is as it were officially given, that such history as is conditioned by chronology and genealogy begins. What comes before this, except the somewhat vague location of the Eden region, 2:10-14, reads rather like a description of the primordial manhood nature not in philosophical but in narrative language . It is not fable, it is not a worked-over myth, it is not a didactic parable; it is (to speak technically) exposition by narration. By a descriptive story it traces the elemental movement of manhood in its first spiritual impact on this earthly life. In other words, instead of being concerned to relate a factual series of events from the remote past, the writer’s penetrative intuition goes downward and inward to those spiritual movements of being which are germinal in all manhood. It is a spiritual analysis of man’s intrinsic nature, and as such must be spiritually discerned. An analogous manner of exposition may be seen in the account of our Lord’s temptation in the wilderness, Mt 4:1-11, which account, if authentic, must have come ultimately from our Lord Himself.

II. How the Story Looks Today.

Scarcely any other Scripture story has so suffered from the changes wrought by modern thinking as has this story of Adam. On the one hand it is felt that to refer the fall and inherited guilt of mankind to this experience of Adam as a cause is to impose too great a burden, dogmatic and historic, on this primitive story. Yet on the other hand the story, including this implication of the primal fall, refuses to be dismissed as an outworn or fantastic myth. It lays hold so vitally on the roots of human nature that our only course is not to reject it but to re-read it with the best light our age affords. And whether best or not, the evolutionary light in which all modern thought is colored cannot be ignored.

1. In the Light of Evolution:

The divergent assumptions of the traditional and the evolutionary view may be roughly stated thus: of the traditional, that in consequence of this Eden lapse man is a ruined nature, needing redemption and reinstatement, and that therefore the subsequent spiritual dealing with him must be essentially pathological and remedial; of the evolutionary, that by the very terms of his creation, which the lapse from obedience did not annul, man is spiritually a child needing growth and education, and that therefore the subsequent dealing with him must foster the development within him of a nature essentially normal and true. It is evident that these two views, thus stated, merely regard two lines of potency in one nature. Without rejecting the traditional, or stopping to inquire how it and the evolutionary may coexist, we may here consider how the story before us responds to the evolutionary view. Only—it must be premised—the evolution whose beginning it describes is not the evolution of the human species; we can leave natural science and history to take care of that; but, beginning where this leaves off, the evolution of the individual, from the first forth-putting of individual initiative and choice toward the far-off adult and complete personality.

This, which in view of its culmination we may call the evolution of personality, is evolution distinctively spiritual, that stage and grade of upward moving being which succeeds to the material and psychical (compare 1Co 15:45,46). On the material stage of evolution, which the human species shares with the beast and the plant, Scripture is silent. Nor is it greatly concerned with the psychical, or cultural development of the human species, except to reveal in a divinely ordered history and literature its essential inadequacy to the highest manhood potencies. Rather its field is the evolution of the spirit in which alone the highest personal values are realized. In the delimitation of this field it has a consistent origin, course and culmination of its own, as it traces the line of spiritual uprising and growth from the first Adam, who as a "living soul" was subject to the determinism of the species, to the last Adam, who as a "life-giving spirit" is identified with the supreme Personality in whom Divine and human met and blended. Of this tremendous evolution the story of Adam, with a clearness which the quaint narrative style of exposition does not impair, reveals the primal and directive factors.

2. The Garden Habitat:

Just as the habitat and the nature of created things answer to each other, so the environment in which man is placed when he comes from his Creator’s hand connotes the kind of life he is fitted to live. He is placed not in wild and refractory Nature but in a garden watered and planted with a new to his receiving care and nurture from above. Nature is kindly and responsive, furnishing, fruits ready to his hand, and requiring only that he "dress and keep" the garden. Of all the trees he may freely eat, including the tree of life; save only the most centrally located of all, the tree of "knowledge of good and evil"

The being fitted to this habitat is a man adult in stature and intelligence, but still like a child; not yet individualized to determinate character, not yet exerting a will of his own apart from the will of his Creator; in other words, as spiritually considered, not yet detached from the spirit of his personal Source. All this reads like the description of a life essentially negative, or rather neutral, with free communication both downward and upward, but neither that of a domesticated animal nor of a captive god; a being balanced, as it were, between the earthly and the Divine, but not yet aware of the possession of that individual will and choice which alone can give spiritual significance to a committal to either.

3. The Organic Factor:

In the first story of man’s creation, Ge 1:26-31, describing his creation as a species, the distinction of male and female is explicitly included (Ge 1:27). In the second story (Ge 2-3), wherein man is contemplated rather as an individual, the description of his nature begins before any distinction of sex exists. If the writer meant this latter to portray a condition of man in time or in natural fact, there is thus a discrepancy in accounts. If we regard it, however, as giving a factor in spiritual evolution, it not only becomes full of meaning but lays hold profoundly on the ultimate teleology of creation. The naive story relates that the woman was "built" out of the already-shaped material of the man’s body, in order to supply a fellowship which the animals could not; a help "answering to" into (keneghdo; compare Ge 2:18 margin). Then it makes the man recognize this conjugal relation, not at all with reference to sexual passion or the propagation of species but as furnishing man occasion, so to say, for loving and being loved, and making this capacity essential to the integrity of his nature. The value of this for the ultimate creative purpose and revelation is as marvelous as it is profound, it is the organic factor in realizing the far-reaching design of Him who is evolving a being bearing His image and deriving from Him the breath of life.

That God is Spirit (Joh 4:24), that God is love (1Jo 4:8,16) and love creation’s "final law," may as an idea be later revelation; but meanwhile from the beginning, in the commonest relation of life, a pulsation of mutual love is implanted, by making man a dual nature, wherein love, which is the antithesis of self-seeking, has the equal and companionable object necessary to its existence. Thus, in the conjugal relation the potency of the highest and broadest spiritual value is made intrinsic. In all the dubious course of his subsequent evolution, this capacity of love, though itself subject to the corruptio optimi pessima, is like a redeeming element at the heart alike of the individual and of society.

4. The Invasion of Subtlety:

Even in this neutral garden existence it is noteworthy that the man’s nature evinces its superiority to the animal in the absence of determinism he is not enslaved to an instinct of blind conformity to an external will In other words, he can cooperate intelligently in his own spiritual evolution. He has the power of choice, ministered by the stimulus of an unmotivated prohibition. He can abstain and live, or eat and die (Ge 2:16,17). No reasons are given, no train of spiritual consequences, to one whose spirit is not yet awake; in this pre-spiritual stage rather the beginnings of law and prescription must be arbitrary. Yet even in so rudimentary a relation we are aware of the essential contrast between animal and spiritual evolution, in that the latter is not a blind and instinctive imposition from without, but a free course submitted to man’s intelligence and cooperation. And it is a supremely significant feature of the narrative to make the first self-interested impulse come by the way of subtlety.

"The serpent," the writer premises, "was more subtle than any beast of the field which Yahweh God had made." It points to a trait which he puts on the border-line between the species and the individual, the disposition, not indeed to rebel against a law of being, but to submit it to refinement and accommodation or perhaps from sheer curiosity to try conclusions with it. The suggestion came first from the lower creation, but not from what is animal in it; and it was eagerly responded to by the woman, the finer and more spiritually awake of the pair. Not to press this too far, it is significant that the first impulse toward individual initiative rises through the free play of intellect and reason. It seems to promise a subtler way of being "like God." To differentiate more minutely the respective parts of man and wife in the affair, which are portrayed in the light of sex distinction, would be beyond our present scope. See EVE.

5. The Fateful Venture:

Two trees "in the midst of the garden" (Ge 2:9) are mentioned at the outset; but the tree of life, the permitted one, seems no more to have been thought of until it was no longer accessible (Ge 3:22); indeed, when the woman speaks to the serpent of "the tree which is in the midst of the garden" (Ge 3:3) she has only one tree in mind, and that the prohibited one. The other, as it was counted in with their daily fare and opportunity, seems to have been put by them with those privileges of life which are ignored or postponed, besides, the life it symbolized was the perpetuation of the garden-life they were living, such life as man would live before his spirit was awake to the alternatives of living—a life innocent and blissful, but without the stimulus of spiritual reaction. And it was just this latter that the alternative of the two trees afforded; a reaction fateful for good or evil, needing only the impulse that should set the human spirit in motion. Consider the case. If manhood were ever to rise from a state of childhood, wherein everything was done and prescribed for him, into a life of free choice and self-moved wisdom, it is hard to see how this could have been brought about except by something involving inhibition and prohibition; something that he could not do without incurring a risk.

This is what the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" (Ge 2:17) means. The tree by its very name was alike a test and a lure. In a sense we may say the temptation began with God; but it was not a temptation to evil. Symbolized in the two trees, but actual in the opportunity of spiritual committal, two ways of life stood open before him. On the one hand, it was open to him to fortify his spent in obedience and against the lure of perilous knowledge, thus deepening and seasoning his negative innocence into positive holiness. That such a course was feasible was shown centuries later in the Divine Son of Man, who in perfect loyalty of the child yet in perfect wisdom of adultness fulfilled the primal sinless ideal of the first Adam. On the other hand there was the lure of the forbidden knowledge, to which the serpent gave the false glamor of godlikeness, and which could be had by detaching his individual will from that of God, and incurring the experience of self- seeking, and taking the risk. It was the latter that was chosen, this however not in the spirit of rebellion or temptation, but in the desire for a good beyond what the childlike limitations of Eden afforded (Ge 3:6). This then was the first motivated uprising of the spirit of manhood, taking the initiative and acting for itself. So far forth, as the self-assertion of the individual, it was as truly a stage of spiritual evolution as if the man had maintained obedience; but there was in it the rupture of his spirit’s union with its personal Source; and the hapless committal to self, which is rightly called a Fall. So strangely mingled were the spiritual elements in this primal manhood initiative. See FALL, THE.

6. The Fitted Sequel:

The Scripture does not say, or even imply, that by this forth-putting of initiative the man was committed to a life of sin and depravity. This was the idea of a later time. By the nature of the case, however, he was committed to the fallibility and lack of wisdom of his own untried nature; in other words, to the perils of self-reliance. Naturally, too, the gulf of detachment from his spiritual Support would tend to widen as he trusted himself more exclusively. It lay with him and his species to perfect the individual personality in the freedom which he had chosen. And in this the possibilities both upward toward godlikeness and downward toward the abysms of self were immensely enlarged. Life must henceforth be lived on a broader and profounder scale. But to this end Eden with its tender garden nurture can no longer be its habitat, nor can man’s existence be fitly symbolized by a tree from which he has only to take and subsist indefinitely (Ge 3:22). It must encounter hardship and sweat and toil; it must labor to subdue a reluctant soil to its service (Ge 3:17-19); it must return at last to the dust from which man’s body was formed (Ge 3:19). Yet there is vouchsafed a dim and distant presage of ultimate victory over the serpent-power, which henceforth is to be man’s deadly enemy (Ge 3:15). At this point of the exposition it is that the inchoate manhood is transplanted from the garden to the unsubdued world, to work out its evolution under the conditions of the human species. The pair becomes the family, with its family interests and cares; the family becomes the unit of social and organized life; the members receive individual names (Ge 3:20; 5:2); and chronologically measured history begins.

III. How Adam Is Recognized in the Old Testament.

After the story of Adam is given as far as the birth of Cain and Abel (Ge 4:1,2) and Seth (Ge 4:25), the "book of the generations of Adam" begins at Ge 5:1, and five verses are taken up with a statistical outline of his life, his offspring, and his 930 years of earthly existence.

1. In the Old Testament Canonical Books:

Here at Ge 5:5, in the canonical books of the Old Testament almost all allusion to him ceases, and nothing whatever is made of his fateful relation to the sin and guilt of the race. (See ADAM IN THE NEW TESTAMENT.) This latter idea seems to have come to consciousness only when men’s sense of sin and a broken law was more ingrained than it seems to have been in canonical times In the case of the few allusions that, occur, moreover, the fact that the name "Adam" is identical with the word for "man" makes the reference more or less uncertain; one does not know whether the patriarch or the race is meant. In the So of Moses (De 32), in the clause De 32:8, "when he separated the children of men" (or "Adam"), the reference, which is to the distribution of races as given in Ge 10, may or may not have Adam in mind. In like manner Zophar’s words (Job 20:4), "Knowest thou not this of old time, since man (or Adam) was placed upon earth?" may or may not be recognition by name of the first created man Job’s words (Job 31:33), "if like Adam I have covered my transgressions," sound rather more definite as an allusion to Adam’s hiding himself after having taken the fruit. When Isaiah says (Isa 43:27), "Thy first father sinned," It is uncertain whom he means; for in Isa 51:2 he says, "Look unto Abraham your father," and Ezekiel has told his people (Eze 16:3), "The Amorite was thy father, and thy mother was a Hittite." The historical consciousness of the prophets seems to have been confined to the history of the Israelite race.

2. In the Apocrypha:

The references in the Apocryphal books (Sirach, Tobit, 2 Esdras) deal with Adam’s origin, his lordship over creation, and in the latest written book with the legacy of sin and misery that the race inherits from him. The passages in Sirach (132 BC) where he is mentioned are 33:10; 40:1, and 49:16. Of these the most striking, 40:1, "Great travail is created for every man, and a heavy yoke is upon the sons of Adam," is hardly to be construed as a reference to our heritage of his sin. In Tobit (2nd century BC) he is mentioned once (8:6), "Thou madest Adam, and gavest him Eve." 2 Esdras, written supposedly some time after 70 AD, is of a somber and desponding tone throughout; and its references to Adam (2 Esdras 3:5,10,21,26, 4:30; 6:54; 7:11,46,48) are almost all in lament over the evil he has implanted in the race of men by his transgression. The first reference (3:5) is rather remarkable for its theory of Adam’s nature: "And (thou) commandedst the dust, and it gave thee Adam, a body without a soul, yet it was the workmanship of thine hands," etc. His indictment of Adam culminates (7:48) in the apostrophe: "O thou Adam, what hast thou done? for though it was thou that sinned, the evil is not fallen on thee alone, but upon all of us that come of thee."

John Franklin Genung

(EDITORIAL NOTE.—The promoters of the Encyclopedia are not to be understood as endorsing all the views set forth in Dr. Genung’s article. It was thought right, however, that a full and adequate presentation of so suggestive an interpretation should be given.)


ad’-am, (’adham; Septuagint Adam).

1. Usage and Etymology:

The Hebrew word occurs some 560 times in the Old Testament with the meaning "man," "mankind." Outside Ge 1-5 the only case where it is unquestionably a proper name is 1Ch 1:1. Ambiguous are De 32:8, the King James Version "sons of Adam," the Revised Version (British and American) "children of men"; Job 31:33 the King James Version "as" the Revised Version (British and American) "like Adam," but margin "after the manner of men"; Ho 6:7 the King James Version "like men," the Revised Version (British and American) "like Adam," and vice versa in the margin. In Ge 1 the word occurs only twice, 1:26,27. In Ge 2-4 it is found 26 times, and in 5:1,3,4,5. In the last four cases and in 4:25 it is obviously intended as a proper name; but the versions show considerable uncertainty as to the rendering in the other cases. Most modern interpreters would restore a vowel point to the Hebrew text in 2:20; 3:17,21, thus introducing the definite article, and read uniformly "the man" up to 4:25, where the absence of the article may be taken as an indication that "the man" of the previous narrative is to be identified with "Adam," the head of the genealogy found in 5:1 ff. Several conjectures have been put forth as to the root-meaning of the Hebrew word:

(1) creature;

(2) ruddy one;

(3) earthborn. Less probable are

(4) pleasant—to sight—and

(5) social gregarious.

2. Adam in the Narrative of Genesis:

Many argue from the context that the language of Ge 1:26,27 is general, that it is the creation of the human species, not of any particular individual or individuals, that is in the described. But

(1) the context does not even descend to a species, but arranges created things according to the most general possible classification: light and darkness; firmament and waters; land and seas; plants; sun, moon, stars; swimming and flying creatures; land animals. No possible parallel to this classification remains in the case of mankind.

(2) In the narrative of Ge 1 the recurrence of identical expressions is almost rigidly uniform, but in the case of man the unique statement occurs (verse 27), "Male and female created he them." Although Dillmann is here in the minority among interpreters, it would be difficult to show that he is wrong in interpreting this as referring to one male and one female, the first pair. In this case we have a point of contact and of agreement with the narrative of chapter 2.

Man, created in God’s image, is given dominion over every animal, is allowed every herb and fruit tree for his sustenance, and is bidden multiply and fill the earth. In Ge 2:4-5:5 the first man is made of the dust, becomes a living creature by the breath of God, is placed in the garden of Eden to till it, gives names to the animals, receives as his counterpart and helper a woman formed from part of his own body, and at the woman’s behest eats of the forbidden fruit of "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." With her he is then driven from the garden, under the curse of brief life and heavy labor, since should he eat—or continue to eat?—of the fruit of the "tree of life," not previously forbidden, he might go on living forever. He becomes the father of Cain and of Abel, and of Seth at a time after the murder of Abel. According to 5:3,5 Adam is aged 130 years at the birth of Seth and lives to the age of 930 years.

3. Teachings of the Narrative:

That man was meant by the Creator to be in a peculiar sense His own "image"; that he is the divinely appointed ruler over all his fellow-creatures on earth; and that he enjoys, together with them, God’s blessing upon a creature fit to serve the ends for which it was created—these things lie upon the surface of Ge 1:26-31. In like manner 2-4 tell us that the gift of a blessed immortality was within man’s reach; that his Creator ordained that his moral development should come through an inward trial, not as a mere gift; and that the presence of suffering in the world is due to sin, the presence of sin to the machinations of a subtle tempter. The development of the doctrine of the fall belongs to the New Testament. See ADAM IN THE NEW TESTAMENT; FALL, THE.

4. Adam in Apocrypha:

Allusions to the narrative of the creation and the fall of man, covering most points of the narrative of Ge 1-4, are found in 2 Esdras 3:4-7,10,21,26; 4:30; 6:54-56; 7:11,46-48; Tobit 8:6, The Wisdom of Solomon 2:23 f; 9:2 f; 10:1 f, Ecclesiasticus 15:14; 17:1-4; 25:24; 40:1; 49:16. In both 2 Esdras and The Wisdom of Solomon we read that death came upon all men through Adam’s sin, while 2 Esdras 4:30 declares that "a grain of evil seed was sown in the heart of Adam from the beginning." Aside from this doctrinal development the Apocrypha offers no additions to the Old Testament narrative.

F. K. Farr


Books pretending to give the life and deeds of Adam and other Old Testament worthies existed in abundance among the Jews and the early Christians. The Talmud speaks of a Book of Adam, which is now lost, but which probably furnished some of the material which appears in early Christian writings. The Vita Adami was translated from the Ethiopic by Dillmann (1853), and into English by Malan (The Book of Adam and Eve, London, 1882). The Testament of Adam is a portion of the Vita Adami (published by Renan in 1853) and so probably is the Diatheke ton Protoplaston (Fabricius, II, 83). See APOCALYPTIC LITERATURE; APOCRYPHA.

M. O. Evans


(’adham, "red" or BDB "made"): A city in the middle of the Jordan valley near ZARETHAN (Jos 3:16), which see. The name probably survives at the Damieh Ford, near the mouth of the Jabbok twenty miles above Jericho. An Arabian historian asserts that about 1265 AD the Jordan was here blocked by a land slide. The inner gorge of the Jordan is here narrow with high banks which would facilitate such an obstruction as permitted the waters to "pile up" above to Adam and run out below, permitting Joshua’s host to cross on dry land (SWP, II, 15; Wright, SCOTH, 130-34).

George Frederick Wright


ad’-a-ma (’adhamah; Adami): A fortified city in the territory of Naphtali, named between Chinnereth and Ramah (Jos 19:36). It is probably identical with the modern ‘Admah, a ruin on the plateau about 10 miles North of Beisan.


ad’-a-mant (shamir (Eze 3:9; Zec 7:12)): In the passages cited and in Jer 17:1, where it is rendered "diamond" the word shamir evidently refers to a hard stone. The word adamant ("unconquerable") is used in the early Greek writers for a hard metal, perhaps steel, later for a metal-like gold and later for the diamond. The Hebrew shamir, the Greek adamas (from which word "diamond" as well as "adamant" is derived) and the English adamant occur regularly in figurative expressions. All three are equally indefinite. Adamant may therefore be considered a good translation for shamir, though the Septuagint does not use adamas in the passages cited. There is a possible etymological identification of shamir with the Greek smyris (smeris or smiris), emery, a granular form of corundum well known to the ancients and used by them for polishing and engraving precious stones. Corundum in all its forms, including the sapphire and ruby, is in the scale of hardness next to the diamond. In English Versions of the Bible Isa 5:6; 7:23-25; 9:18; 10:17; 27:4; 32:13, shamir is translated "brier". See also STONES, PRECIOUS.

Alfred Ely Day


ad’-a-mi; a-da’-mi: Mentioned in the King James Version as a separate name, where the Revised Version (British and American) has ADAMI-NEKEB, which see (Jos 19:33).


ad’-a-mi ne’-keb ‘adhami ha-neqebh, "the ground of the piercing," (that is of the pass, or defile): A place mentioned in indicating the border of Naphtali (Jos 19:33). In the King James Version, Adami and Nekeb are given as separate names, and it is an open question which view of the matter is correct. Most of the Greek texts give the names as two. The Vulgate has "Adami quae est Neceb." The Jerusalem Talmud gives two names, though instead of Hannekeb or Nekeb it has Siyadathah (Meg 1 1, or Neubauer’s Geog du Talmud, 225). In the list of places conquered by Thothmes III of Egypt occurs the name NQBU (Tomkins, Rec of Past, new series, V, 47), which seems to be the same with Neqeb.

The list of names for the border of Naphtali (Jos 19:33,34) has no name in common with the list of cities (Jos 19:35-38) unless Adami and Adamah are the same. The PE Survey maps locate Adamah at Damieh, about seven miles northwest of the exit of the Jordan from the Lake of Galilee, and Adami at Khurbet Adamah, five or six miles south of the exit. Conder, Tomkins and others place Adami at Damieh, and identify Nekeb by its Talmudic name in the neighboring ruin Seiyadeh. Conder says (art. "Nekeb," HDB) that the "pass" implied in the name Nekeb "is probably one leading from the eastern precipices near Tiberias."

Willis J. Beecher


a’-dan. See ADDAN.

ADAR (1)

a-’dar (’adhar, meaning uncertain): The Babylonian name of the twelfth month of the year. Used in the Bible only in Ezr 6:15 and eight times in Esther. At first the author in Esther defines Adar as the twelfth month, but afterward omits the numeral. In order to maintain the relation of the year to the seasons it was customary to add a second Adar, as often as was needed, as an intercalary month.

ADAR (2)

a’-dar: In the King James Version (Jos 15:3) for ADDAR, which see.


a-dar’-sa. See ADASA.


ad’-a-sa (Adasa; the King James Version Adarsa): A town less than four miles from Beth-horon (30 furlongs Ant, XII, x, 5; 1 Macc 7:40) and a day’s journey from Gazara (1 Macc 7:45), where Judas Maccabee defeated and killed Nicanor, a general of Demetrius (1 Macc 7:40 ff). The ruin of Adaseh near Gibeon (SWP, III, XVII).


ad’-be-el (’adhbe’el, "God’s discipline," possibly): The third of the twelve sons of Ishmael (Ge 25:13; 1Ch 1:29). The name appears in the Assyrian records as that of a north Arabian tribe residing somewhere Southwest of the Dead Sea.


(1) epidiatassomai, "to add to," "to arrange in addition": Found only in Ga 3:15, which may thus be paraphrased: "To take a familiar illustration: even a man’s will, when ratified, no third party may annul or supplement" (Dummelow, in the place cited.).

(2) epitithemi, "to put upon," "If any man shall add unto them, God shall add unto him the plagues" (Re 22:18). The book is not to be falsified by addition or excision (see BOOK) by the interpolation of unauthorized doctrines or the neglect of essential ones (compare De 4:2; 12:32).


M. O. Evans


ad’-an (’addan; in Ne ‘addon; connected in some way with the name of the god Addu): A name mentioned in the list of the returning exiles (Ezr 2:59, duplicated in Ne 7:61). It is one of several names of Babylonian localities from which came men who were unable to declare their genealogy as Israelites.


ad’-ar (’addar, "glorious"): See ARD

(1) A grandson of Benjamin, sometimes counted as one of his sons (1Ch 8:3).

(2) A town on the southern border of Judah (Jos 15:3, the King James Version "Adar"). The same as Hazar-addar (Nu 34:4).


ad’-er (‘akhshubh (Ps 140:3); pethen (Ps 58:4); tsiph‘oni (Pr 23:32); shephiphon (Ge 49:17); tsepha‘ (King James Version margin; Isa 14:29)): This word is used for several Hebrew originals. In each case a poisonous serpent is clearly indicated by the context. It is impossible to tell in any case just what species is meant, but it must be remembered that the English word adder is used very ambiguously. It is from the Anglo-Saxon noedre, a snake or serpent, and is the common English name for Vipera berus, L, the common viper, which is found throughout Europe and northern Asia, though not in Bible lands; but the word "adder" is also used for various snakes, both poisonous and non-poisonous, found in different parts of the world. In America, for instance, both the poisonous moccasin (Ancistrodon) and the harmless hog-nosed snakes (Heterodon) are called adders.


Alfred Ely Day


ad’-i (Addi; Addei): An ancestor of Joseph, the husband of Mary, mother of Jesus; fourth from Zerubbabel in the ascending genealogical series (Lu 3:28).


a-dikt’:Found only in the King James Version of 1Co 16:15, for Greek tasso. The house of Stephanus is said to be "addicted to the ministry of the saints," i.e. they have so "arranged" their affairs as to make of this service a prime object; the Revised Version (British and American) "set themselves to minister."


ad’-o (Codex Alexandrinus, Addo; Codex Vaticanus, Eddein) = Iddo (Ezr 5:1; 6:14): The father (Zec 1:1,7 grandfather) of Zechariah the prophet (1 Esdras 6:1).





ad’-us (Addous): The descendants of Addus (sons of Solomon’s servants) returned with Zerubbabel to Jerusalem (1 Esdras 5:34). Omitted in Ezr 2 and Ne 7$.


a’-der: Used in 1Ch 8:15 the King James Version for EDER, which see.


a-di-a-be’-ne (Adiabene): A state lying on the east of the Tigris, on the greater and lesser rivers Zab, in the territory of ancient Assyria. For the half-century terminating with the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, Adiabene is especially interesting by reason of the careers of its king, Izates, and his mother Helena, who became Jews. They had their part in the Jewish-Roman wars, and in various ways were typical of the existing situation. (See Ant, XX, 2-5; BJ, II, xvi, 4; xix. 2; V, iv, 2; vi. 1; xi. 5; VI, vi, 4.) Somewhat later Adiabene was absorbed into the Roman Empire and became one of the six provinces which formed the larger province of Assyria, though Pliny and Ammianus sometimes call the large province by the name Adiabene.

Willis J. Beecher


ad’-i-da (Adida). A town of the Benjamin tribe near Lod and Ono located upon a hill facing the "plain country" of Judea, rebuilt and fortified by Simon Maccabee (1 Macc 12:38), who later encamped here to meet the army of Tryphon (1 Macc 13:13; Ant, XIII, vi, 5). It was also here that Aretas, king of Arabia, met Alexander Janneus in battle and defeated him (Ant., XIII, xv, 2). Perhaps the El-Haditheh of today located about three miles east of Lydda or Lod. See HADID.


ad’-i-el (‘adhi’el, "ornament of God"):

(1) One of the "princes" of the tribe of Simeon, who, in the days of Hezekiah, smote the aborigines of Gedor and captured the valley (1Ch 4:36 ff).

(2) Father of Maasai, one of the priests who dwelt in Jerusalem after the return from the Exile (1Ch 9:12).

(3) Father of Azmaveth who was over David’s treasures (1Ch 27:25).


a’-din (‘adhin, "adorned"): The name of a family, "the sons of Adin" (Ezr 2:15; 8:6; Ne 7:20; 10:16; 1 Esdras 5:14; 8:32), mentioned among the returning exiles. The list in Ezr 2$ is placed in the midst of the narrative concerning Zerubbabel, but its title and Its contents show that it also includes the later Jewish immigrants into Palestine. The list in Ne 7$ is a duplicate of that in Ezr, but with variations; most of the variations are naturally accounted for by supposing that one copy was made later than the other and was brought up to date. In Ezr and 1 Esdras the number of the sons of Adin is said to be 454; in Ne it is 655. The 50 males, led by Ebed the son of Jonathan, who came with Ezr, may or may not have been included in the numbers just mentioned. Among the names of those who sealed the covenant along with Ne are 44 that are placed under the caption "the chiefs of the people" (Ne 10:14-26), and nearly half of these are the family names of the list in Ezr 2$ and Ne 7$. It is natural to infer that in these cases a family sealed the covenant collectively through some representative. In that case the Adin here mentioned is the same that is mentioned in the other places. See also ADINU.

Willis J. Beecher


ad’-i-na, a-di’-na (‘adhina’," adorned"). "Adina the son of Shiza the Reubenite, a chief of the Reubenites, and thirty with him" (1Ch 11:42). This is in that part of the list of David’s mighty men in which the Chronicler supplements the list given in 2 Samuel.


ad’-i-no, a-di’-no (‘adhino, "his adorned one"): The senior of David’s "mighty men." "Josheb-basshebeth a Tahchemonite, chief of the captains; the same was Adino the Eznite, against eight hundred slain at one time" (2Sa 23:8). This very exact rendering makes it evident even to an English reader that the text is imperfect. Ginsburg offers a corrected form taken substantially from the parallel passage in 1Ch 11:11: "Jashobeam a son of a Hachmonite, chief of the captains; he lifted up his spear." This is plausible, and is very generally accepted, and eliminates the names Adino and Eznite, which do not occur elsewhere in the Bible. Some of the facts are against this. The Septuagint has the names Adino and Eznite. The Latin finds no proper names in the passage, but so translates the words as to presuppose the Hebrew text as we have it. It may be a case for suspended judgment.

The texts concerning David’s mighty men are fragmentary both in Samuel and in Chronicles. If they were more complete they would perhaps make it clear that the three seniors were comrades of David at Pas-dammim, Ephes- dammim (1Ch 11:13; 1Sa 17:1); and that we have in them additional details concerning that battle. The record says that on the death of Goliath the Philistines fled and the Israelites pursued (1Sa 17:52 ff), but it is not improbable that during the retreat portions of the Philistine force rallied, so that there was strenuous fighting.

Willis J. Beecher


ad’-i-nu, ad’-in (Adinou, 1 Esdras 5:14; Adin, 1 Esdras 8:32): Compare Adin (Ezr 2:15; 8:6; Ne 7:20; 10:16). The descendants of Adin (leaders of the nation) returned with their families to Jerusalem: one party being with Zerubbabel (454 members 1 Esdras 5:14), a second party with Ezra (250 members 1 Esdras 8:32).


ad’-i-nus. See IADINUS (Apocrypha).


ad-i-tha’-im (‘adhithayim "double ornament, passage, or prey"): A city in "the lowland" (Shephelah, not as the King James Version "valley") of Judah (Jos 15:36). Site unknown, but possibly same as ADIDA (which see).


ad-ju-ra’-shun: The act of requiring or taking a solemn oath. In a time of military peril Saul adjured the people (’alah, "to take oath") and they took oath by saying "Amen" (1Sa 14:24). When Joshua pronounced a ban on Jericho (Jos 6:26) he completed it with an oath (shabha‘, "to cause to swear"). Often used in the sense of a solemn charge without the administration of an oath (1Ki 22:16; 2Ch 18:15; So 2:7; 5:8,9; 1Th 5:27). With reference to the withholding of testimony, see Le 5:1 and Pr 29:24. The high priest sought to put Jesus under oath (exorkizo, "to force to an oath," Mt 26:63). Adjure also means to solemnly implore (horkizo) as when the man with an unclean spirit appealed to Jesus: "I adjure thee by God, torment me not" (Mr 5:7); or seven sons of Sceva, exorcists, sought in the name of Jesus to expel demons (Ac 19:13).

(1) The exacting of an oath has, from time immemorial, been a customary procedure in conferring civil and ecclesiastical office and in taking legal testimony. Though often allowed to become painfully trivial and a travesty on its inherent solemnity, the taking of an official oath or the swearing of witnesses is still considered essential to the moral integrity of government, secular or spiritual. False sweating, under solemn oath, constitutes the guilt and heinousness of perjury. The universality of oath-taking is humanity’s tribute, whether pagan or Christian, to the sacredness of truth.

(2) Civilized nations administer oaths under three heads: political, ecclesiastical, legal. The sovereign of England receives the crown only as he or she responds affirmatively to the solemn adjuration of the archbishop or bishop: "Will you solemnly promise and swear to govern," etc., closing with the affirmation, "So help me God." A fundamental conviction of civilized nations was expressed by Lycurgus: "An oath is the bond that keeps the state together." It is the most solemn appeal to the inviolability of the human conscience, and the sacredness of a vow as witnessed both by God and men. See also OATH.

Dwight M. Pratt


ad’-la-i, ad’-li (‘adhlay; Septuagint Adli and Adai, "lax, weary"): The father of Shaphat, an overseer of David’s herds in the lowlands (1Ch 27:29).


ad’-ma (’adhmah): From a root signifying red; one of the Cities of the Plain (Ciccar) (Ge 10:19; 14:2,8; De 29:23; Ho 11:8) upon which Abraham and Lot looked from the heights of Bethel; destroyed with Sodom and Gomorrah. Conder tentatively identifies it with the City of Adam referred to in Jos 3:16, and thinks that perhaps the name may be preserved in that of Damieh Ford, near the mouth of the river Jabbok; but that point could not have been in view from Bethel.



ad’-ma-tha, ad-ma’-tha (’adhmatha’): One of "the seven princes of Persia and Media, who saw the king’s face, and sat first in the kingdom" (Es 1:14); compare 2Ki 25:19; Ezr 7:14. The Septuagint gives only three names.


ad’-min. See ARNI.


ad-min’-is-ter ad-min-is-tra’-shun diakoneo, diakonia: Terms used in the King James Version in 1Co 12:5; 2Co 8:19,20; 2Co 9:12 respectively, and replaced in the Revised Version (British and American) by "minister" and "ministration." The root idea of both words is "service," hence to supply, or conduct or attend to anything; the performance of official duty, the conduct of affairs, the various forms of spiritual or social service. "Minister," used either of an act or of an office, is the term that best represents the apostolic thought and ideal.

Dwight M. Pratt


ad-mi-ra’-shun (thauma, "a marvel" or "wonder"; thaumazo, "to wonder"): A term thrice used in the King James Version in the New Testament, to express a wonder that includes approval, high esteem; replaced in the Revised Version (British and American) by three renderings better suited to convey the various kinds of surprise, wonder, admiration, expressed, by this fertile word: namely, in 2Th 1:10, "to be admired," reads in the Revised Version (British and American) "to be marveled at"; in Jude 1:16 "having men’s persons in admiration" is rendered "showing respect of persons"; in Re 17:6 "wondered with great admiration" is replaced by "with a great wonder." The Greek original is used frequently in the New Testament, especially in the Gospels, to express marvel and wonder at the supernatural works of Jesus.

Dwight M. Pratt


ad’-na (‘adhna’," pleasure"; Aidaine):

(1) An Israelite in Ezra’s time who, having married a foreign wife, divorced her. He belonged to Pahath-moab (Ezr 10:30).

(2) A priest of the family of Harum, during the high-priesthood of Joiakim son of Jethua (Ne 12:12-15).


ad’-na (‘adhnach, "pleasure"; Edna):

(1) A warrior of the tribe of Manasseh, who deserted Saul and joined David’s forces at Ziklag (1Ch 12:20,21)

(2) An officer of high rank, perhaps the commander-in-chief of Jehoshaphat’s army (2Ch 17:14). Here the spelling in Hebrew is ‘adhnah.


a-doo’:Found only in Mr 5:39 King James Version: "Why make ye this ado and weep?" Here "make ado" is used to translate the Greek verb thorubeomai (compare Mt 9:23 the King James Version, where it is likewise rendered "making a noise"). "Ado" as a substantive is Old English for "trouble" or "fuss," used only in the sing.; and in the early English versions it combined well with the verb "make," as here, to translate the Greek word rendered elsewhere "causing an uproar," or "tumult," "making a noise," etc. (see Ac 17:5; 20:10). Compare Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, III, 4, "We’ll keep no great ado; —a friend or two."

George B. Eager


a-do’-ni, ad-o-na’-i (’adhonay): A Divine name, translated "Lord," and signifying, from its derivation, "sovereignty." Its vowels are found in the Massoretic Text with the unpronounceable tetragrammaton YHWH; and when the Hebrew reader came to these letters, he always substituted in pronunciation the word "‘ adhonay." Its vowels combined with the tetragrammaton form the word "Yahweh (Yahweh)."



a-do-ni-ze’-dek (’adhonitsedheq, "lord of righteousness"): King of Jerusalem at the time of the conquest of Canaan (Jos 10:1). When he heard of the fall of Ai and the submission of the Gibeonites, he entered into a league with four other kings to resist Joshua and Israel, and to punish Gibeon (Jos 10:3,4), but was overthrown by Joshua in a memorable battle (Jos 10:12-14). Adoni-zedek and his four allies were shut up in a cave, while the battle lasted, and afterward were taken out by Joshua’s order, put to death and hanged on trees (Jos 10:22-27). It is noticeable that the name is almost the equivalent of Melchizedek, malkitsedheq, "king of righteousness," who was ruler of Jerusalem in the time of Abraham.

Edward Mack


a-do-ni-be’-zek (’adhonibhezeq "lord of Bezek"): Lord of a town, Bezek, in southern Palestine, whom the tribes of Judah and Simeon overthrew. Adonibezek fled when his men were defeated, but was captured, and was punished for his cruelty in cutting off the thumbs and great toes of seventy kings by a similar mutilation. Being brought to Jerusalem, he died there (Jud 1:5-7). This not to be confused with Adonizedek, as in the Septuagint. This is quite another name.


ad-o-ni’-ja (’adhoniyahu or ‘adhoniyah, "my lord is Yahweh"):

(1) The son of David and Haggith, the forth of David’s sons, born in Hebron after David became king of Judah, principally known for his attempt to become king instead of Solomon (2Sa 3:4; 1Ch 3:2; 1Ki 1$, 2$). The record gives no details concerning Chileab, the son of David and Abigail. Leaving him out, Adonijah was the oldest living son of David, after the death of Amnon and Absalom.

In treating the record it has been needlessly obscured by neglecting or distorting the time data. It says that the rebellion of Absalom broke out "at an end of forty years" (2Sa 15:7). The natural meaning is not forty years after the last-mentioned preceding date, but at the close of the fortieth calendar year of the reign of David. Since David reigned 40 1/2 years (2Sa 5:4,5), the close of his fortieth calendar year was the beginning of has last year. That the date intended was at the beginning of a vernal year is confirmed by the references to the season (2Sa 17:19,28). Instead of giving this number Josephus says that 4 years had elapsed since the last preceding date, which is very likely correct.

Many considerations show that the outbreak cannot have occurred much earlier than the fortieth year of David; for Amnon and Absalom were born after David’s reign began, and were men with establishments of their own before Amnon’s offense against Tamar, and after that the record, if we accept the numeral of Josephus, accounts for 2 plus 3 plus 2 plus 4, that is, for 11 years (2Sa 13:23,38; 14:28; Ant, VII, ix, 1). In the year following David’s fortieth year there was ample room for the rebellions of Absalom and of Sheba, the illness of David, the attempt of Adonijah, and the beginning of the reign of Solomon. All things confirm the number forty as giving the date of the outbreak. The common assumption that the forty is to be reduced to four, on the basis of the number in Josephus, is contrary to the evidence.

On this view of the chronology all the events fall into line. David’s idea of making Solomon king was connected with his temple-building idea. This is implied in Kings, and presented somewhat in full in Chronicles. The preparations described in Chronicles (1Ch 22-29) seem to have culminated in David’s fortieth year (1Ch 26:31). David’s policy was not altogether popular with the nation. His assembly (1Ch 28:1) is mostly made up of sarim and other appointed officials, the hereditary Israelite "princes" and "elders" being conspicuous by their absence. The outbreak under Absalom was mainly a matter of skillful manipulation; the hearts of the people were really with David. And yet the party of Absalom was distinctly a legitimist party. It believed in the succession of the eldest son, and it objected to many things in the temple-building policy. Joab and Abiathar and others sympathized with this party, but they remained with David out of personal loyalty to him.

The Absalom campaign began early in the calendar year. There is no reason to think that it lasted more than a few weeks. Later in the year a few weeks are enough time to allow for the campaign against Sheba. Joab must have been more or less alienated from David by David’s appointment of Amasa to supersede him. Then came David’s serious illness. Abishag was brought in, not to "attend upon David during has declining years," but to put her vitality at has disposal during a few weeks. Joab and Abiathar did not believe that David would ever do business again. Their personal loyalty to him no longer restrained them from following their own ideas, even though these were contrary to his wishes.

The narrative does not represent that Nathan and Bathsheba influenced David to interfere in behalf of Solomon; it represents that they succeeded in arousing him from has torpor, so that he carried out his own wishes and intentions. Perhaps resting in bed had done something for him. The treatment by Abishag had not been unsuccessful. And now a supreme appeal to his mind proved sufficient to arouse him. He became himself again, and acted with has usual vigor and wisdom.

Adonijah is described as a handsome and showy man, but his conduct does not give us a high opinion of his capabilities. He had no real command of the respect of the guests who shouted "Live King Adonijah." When they heard that Solomon had been crowned, they "were afraid, and rose up, and went every man his way." Adonijah made has submission, but afterward attempted to engage in intrigues, and was put to death.

(2) One of the Levites sent out by Jehoshaphat, in his third year, with the Book of the Law, to give instruction in Judah (2Ch 17:8).

(3) One of the names given, under the heading "the chiefs of the people," of those who sealed the covenant along with Nehemiah (Ne 10:16).

Willis J. Beecher


ad-o-ni’-kam (’adhoniqam, "my lord has risen up"): The name of a family of the returning exiles (Ezr 2:13; Ne 7:18). "The sons of Adonikam," men and women and children, numbered 666 according to the list as given in Ezr, but 667 according to the copy in Neh. Either included among these or in addition to them was the contingent that came with Ezr, "Ehphalet, Jeuel, and Shemaiah, and with them 60 males" (Ezr 8:13).


ad-o-ni’-ram (’adhoniram, "my lord is exalted"): An official of Solomon (1Ki 4:6; 5:14). Near the close of the reign of David, and at the opening of the reign of Rehoboam, the same office was held by Adoram (2Sa 20:24; 1Ki 12:18).

The name Adoram seems to be a contraction of Adoniram, and doubtless the same person held the office in all the three reigns. The name also appears as Hadoram (2Ch 10:18). In the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) the office is variantly described as "over the tribute," which is misleading, and "over the levy," which is correct, though obscure. In the American Standard Revised Version it is uniformly "over the men subject to taskwork." Adoniram was at the head of the department of forced labor for the government. The record is to the effect that peoples conquered by Israel, except the Canaanites, were to be spared, subject to the obligation to forced labor on the public works (De 20:11); that this law was actually extended to the Canaanites (Jos 16:10; 17:13; Jud 1:28 ff); that David, in his preparations for the temple, organized and handed over to Solomon a service of forced labor (1Ch 22:2,15, etc.); that under Solomon this service was elaborately maintained (1Ki 5:13 ff; 9:15 ff; 2Ch 8:7 ff).

It was not for the temple only, but for all Solomon’s numerous building enterprises. In theory men of Israelite blood were free from this burden, but practically they found it a burden and a grievance. At the accession of Rehoboam they protested against it (1Ki 12; 2Ch 10). Nothing in the account is more indicative of Rehoboam’s utter lack of good judgment than his sending his veteran superintendent of the forced labor department to confer with the people. The murder of Adoniram, and the ignominious flight of Rehoboam, were natural consequences.

Willis J. Beecher


a-do’-nis: A name for the Babylonian god TAMMUZ, which see. The word occurs only in the English Revised Version, margin of Isa 17:10, where for "pleasant plants" is read "plantings of Adonis." The the American Standard Revised Version rightly omits this marginal suggestion.


a-dop’-shun (huiothesia, "placing as a son"): I. THE GENERAL LEGAL IDEA

1. In the Old Testament 2. Greek 3. Roman


1. In Galatians as Liberty 2. In Romans as Deliverance from Debt


1. In Relation to Justification 2. In Relation to Sanctification 3. In Relation to Regeneration


1. Divine Fatherhood 2. Its Cosmic Range This term appears first in New Testament, and only in the epistles of Paul (Ga 4:5; Ro 8:15,23; 9:4; Eph 1:5) who may have coined it out of a familiar Greek phrase of identical meaning. It indicated generally the legal process by which a man might bring into his family, and endow with the status and privileges of a son, one who was not by nature his son or of his kindred.

I. The General Legal Idea.

The custom prevailed among Greeks, Romans and other ancient peoples, but it does not appear in Jewish law.

1. In the Old Testament:

Three cases of adoption are mentioned: of Moses (Ex 2:10), Genubath (1Ki 11:20) and Esther (Es 2:7,15), but it is remarkable that they all occur outside of Palestine—in Egypt and Persia, where the practice of adoption prevailed. Likewise the idea appears in the New Testament only in the epistles of Paul, which were addressed to churches outside Palestine. The motive and initiative of adoption always lay with the adoptive father, who thus supplied his lack of natural offspring and satisfied the claims of affection and religion, and the desire to exercise paternal authority or to perpetuate his family. The process and conditions of adoption varied with different peoples. Among oriental nations it was extended to slaves (as Moses) who thereby gained their freedom, but in Greece and Rome it was, with rare exceptions, limited to citizens.

2. Greek:

In Greece a man might during his lifetime, or by will, to take effect after his death, adopt any male citizen into the privileges of his son, but with the invariable condition that the adopted son accepted the legal obligations and religious duties of a real son.

3. Roman:

In Rome the unique nature of paternal authority (patria potestas), by which a son was held in his father’s power, almost as a slave was owned by his master, gave a peculiar character to the process of adoption. For the adoption of a person free from paternal authority (sui juris), the process and effect were practically the same in Rome as in Greece (adrogatio). In a more specific sense, adoption proper (adoptio) was the process by which a person was transferred from his natural father’s power into that of his adoptive father, and it consisted in a fictitious sale of the son, and his surrender by the natural to the adoptive father.

II. Paul’s Doctrine.

As a Roman citizen the apostle would naturally know of the Roman custom, but in the cosmopolitan city of Tarsus, and again on his travels, he would become equally familiar with the corresponding customs of other nations. He employed the idea metaphorically much in the manner of Christ’s parables, and, as in their case, there is danger of pressing the analogy too far in its details. It is not clear that he had any specific form of adoption in mind when illustrating his teaching by the general idea. Under this figure he teaches that God, by the manifestation of His grace in Christ, brings men into the relation of sons to Himself, and communicates to them the experience of sonship.

1. In Galatians as Liberty:

In Galatians, Paul emphasizes especially the liberty enjoyed by those who live by faith, in contrast to the bondage under which men are held, who guide their lives by legal ceremonies and ordinances, as the Galatians were prone to do (Ga 5:1). The contrast between law and faith is first set forth on the field of history, as a contrast between both the pre-Christian and the Christian economies (Ga 3:23,24), although in another passage he carries the idea of adoption back into the covenant relation of God with Israel (Ro 9:4). But here the historical antithesis is reproduced in the contrast between men who now choose to live under law and those who live by faith. Three figures seem to commingle in the description of man’s condition under legal bondage—that of a slave, that of a minor under guardians appointed by his father’s will, and that of a Roman son under the patria potestas (Ga 4:1-3). The process of liberation is first of all one of redemption or buying out (Greek exagorasei) (Ga 4:5). This term in itself applies equally well to the slave who is redeemed from bondage, and the Roman son whose adoptive father buys him out of the authority of his natural father. But in the latter case the condition of the son is not materially altered by the process: he only exchanges one paternal authority for another. If Paul for a moment thought of the process in terms of ordinary Roman adoption, the resulting condition of the son he conceives in terms of the more free and gracious Greek or Jewish family life. Or he may have thought of the rarer case of adoption from conditions of slavery into the status of sonship. The redemption is only a precondition of adoption, which follows upon faith, and is accompanied by the sending of "the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father," and then all bondage is done away (Ga 4:5-7).

2. In Romans as Deliverance from Debt:

In Ro 8:12-17 the idea of obligation or debt is coupled with that of liberty. Man is thought of as at one time under the authority and power of the flesh (Ro 8:5), but when the Spirit of Christ comes to dwell in him, he is no longer a debtor to the flesh but to the Spirit (Ro 8:12,13), and debt or obligation to the Spirit is itself liberty. As in Galatians, man thus passes from a state of bondage into a state of sonship which is also a state of liberty. "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these (and these only) are sons of God" (Ro 8:14). The spirit of adoption or sonship stands in diametrical opposition to the spirit of bondage (Ro 8:15). And the Spirit to which we are debtors and by which we are led, at once awakens and confirms the experience of sonship within us (Ro 8:16). In both places, Paul conveys under this figure, the idea of man as passing from a state of alienation from God and of bondage under law and sin, into that relation with God of mutual confidence and love, of unity of thought and will, which should characterize the ideal family, and in which all restraint, compulsion and fear have passed away.

III. The Christian Experience.

As a fact of Christian experience, the adoption is the recognition and affirmation by man of his sonship toward God. It follows upon faith in Christ, by which man becomes so united with Christ that his filial spirit enters into him, and takes possession of his consciousness, so that he knows and greets God as Christ does (compare Mr 14:36).

1. In Relation to Justification: It is an aspect of the same experience that Paul describes elsewhere, under another legal metaphor, as justification by faith. According to the latter, God declares the sinner righteous and treats him as such, admits into to the experience of forgiveness, reconciliation and peace (Ro 5:1). In all this the relation of father and son is undoubtedly involved, but in adoption it is emphatically expressed. It is not only that the prodigal son is welcomed home, glad to confess that he is not worthy to be called a son, and willing to be made as one of the hired servants, but he is embraced and restored to be a son as before. The point of each metaphor is, that justification is the act of a merciful Judge setting the prisoner free, but adoption is the act of a generous father, taking a son to his bosom and endowing him with liberty, favor and a heritage.

2. In Relation to Sanctification:

Besides, justification is the beginning of a process which needs for its completion a progressive course of sanctification by the aid of the Holy Spirit, but adoption is coextensive with sanctification. The sons of God are those led by the Spirit of God (Ro 8:14); and the same spirit of God gives the experience of sonship. Sanctification describes the process of general cleansing and growth as an abstract process, but adoption includes it as a concrete relation to God, as loyalty, obedience, and fellowship with an ever-loving Father.

3. In Relation to Regeneration:

Some have identified adoption with regeneration, and therefore many Fathers and Roman Catholic theologians have identified it with baptismal regeneration, thereby excluding the essential fact of conscious sonship. The new birth and adoption are certainly aspects of the same totality of experience, but they belong to different systems of thought, and to identify them is to invite confusion. The new birth defines especially the origin and moral quality of the Christian experience as an abstract fact, but adoption expresses a concrete relation of man to God. Nor does Paul here raise the question of man’s natural and original condition. It is pressing the analogy too far to infer from this doctrine of adoption that man is by nature not God’s son. It would contradict Paul’s teaching elsewhere (e.g. Ac 17:28), and he should not be convicted of inconsistency on the application of a metaphor. He conceives man outside Christ as morally an alien and a stranger from God, and the change wrought by faith in Christ makes him morally a son and conscious of his sonship; but naturally he is always a potential son because God is always a real father.

IV. As God’s Act.

Adoption as God’s act is an eternal process of His gracious love, for He "fore-ordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will" (Eph 1:5).

1. Divine Fatherhood:

The motive and impulse of Fatherhood which result in adoption were eternally real and active in God. In some sense He had bestowed the adoption upon Israel (Ro 9:4). "Israel is my son, my first-born" (Ex 4:22; compare De 14:1; 32:6; Jer 31:9; Ho 11:1). God could not reveal Himself at all without revealing something of His Fatherhood, but the whole revelation was as yet partial and prophetic. When "God sent forth his Son" to redeem them that were under the law," it became possible for men to receive the adoption; for to those who are willing to receive it, He sent the Spirit of the eternal Son to testify in their hearts that they are sons of God, and to give them confidence and utterance to enable them to call God their Father (Ga 4:5,6; Ro 8:15).

2. Its Cosmic Range:

But this experience also is incomplete, and looks forward to a fuller adoption in the response, not only of man’s spirit, but of the whole creation, including man’s body, to the Fatherhood of God (Ro 8:23). Every filial spirit now groans, because it finds itself imprisoned in a body subjected to vanity, but it awaits a redemption of the body, perhaps in the resurrection, or in some final consummation, when the whole material creation shall be transformed into a fitting environment for the sons of God, the creation itself delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God (Ro 8:21). Then will adoption be complete, when man’s whole personality shall be in harmony with the spirit of sonship, and the whole universe favorable to its perseverance in a state of blessedness.



Lightfoot, Galatians; Sanday, Romans; Lidgett, Fatherhood of God; Ritschl, Justification and Reconciliation.

T. Rees


a’-dor, a-do’-ra (Adora): In Idumaea, mentioned in Ant, XIII, ix, 1 as one of the cities captured by Hyrcanus, and referred to in 1 Macc 13:20.



ad-o-ra’-im (’adhorayim, "a pair of knolls," perhaps): One of several cities in Judah that were fortified by Rehoboam (2Ch 11:9). The name appears in Josephus and in 1 Macc as Adora or Dora or Dor. Its location is indicated in general by that of the other cities which the record in Chronicles groups with it. Common consent identifies it with Dura, about five miles West by South of Hebron.


a-do’-ram. See ADONIRAM.


ad-o-ra’-shun: Though this word never occurs in English Versions, it represents aspects of worship which are very prominent in the Bible.

I. Etymology.

The word is derived from Latin adorare =

(1) "to speak to,"

(2) "to beseech," "entreat,"

(3) "to do homage," "to worship"; from the Latin, os (oris), mouth.

Some have supposed that the root os points to the Roman practice of applying the hand to the mouth, i.e. kissing the hand to (a person or thing), as a token of homage.

II. Meaning.

Adoration is intense admiration culminating in reverence and worship, together with the outward acts and attitudes which accompany such reverence. It thus includes both the subjective sentiments, or feelings of the soul, in the presence of some superior object or person, and the appropriate physical expressions of such sentiments in outward acts of homage or of worship. In its widest sense it includes reverence to beings other than God, especially to monarchs, who in oriental countries were regarded with feelings of awe. But it finds its highest expression in religion. Adoration is perhaps the highest type of worship, involving the reverent and rapt contemplation of the Divine perfections and prerogatives, the acknowledgment of them in words of praise, together with the visible symbols and postures that express the adoring attitude of the creature in the presence of his Creator. It is the expression of the soul’s mystical realization of God’s presence in His transcendent greatness, holiness and lovingkindness. As a form of prayer, adoration is to be distinguished from other forms, such as petition, thanksgiving, confession and intercession.

III. Outward Postures.

In the Old Testament and New Testament, these are similar to those which prevailed in all oriental countries, as amply illustrated by the monuments of Egypt and Assyria, and by the customs still in use among the nations of the East. The chief attitudes referred to in the Bible are the following:

1. Prostration:

Among the Orientals, especially Persians, prostration (i.e. falling upon the knees, then gradually inclining the body, until the forehead touched the ground) was common as an expression of profound reverence and humility before a superior or a benefactor. It was practiced in the worship of Yahweh (Ge 17:3; Nu 16:45; Mt 26:39, Jesus in Gethsemane; Re 1:17), and of idols (2Ki 5:18; Da 3:5,6), but was by no means confined to religious exercises. It was the formal method of supplicating or doing obeisance to a superior (eg 1Sa 25:23 f; 2Ki 4:37; Es 8:3; Mr 5:22; Joh 11:32).

2. Kneeling:

A substitute for prostration was kneeling, a common attitude in worship, frequently mentioned in Old Testament and New Testament (eg 1Ki 8:54; Ezr 9:5; Ps 95:6; Isa 45:23; Lu 22:41, Christ in Gethsemane; Ac 7:60; Eph 3:14). The same attitude was sometimes adopted in paying homage to a fellow-creature, as in 2Ki 1:13. "Sitting" as an attitude of prayer (only 2Sa 7:18 parallel 1Ch 17:16) was probably a form of kneeling, as in Mahometan worship.

3. Standing:

This was the most usual posture in prayer, like that of modern Jews in public worship. Abraham "stood before Yahweh (Yahweh)" when he interceded for Sodom (Ge 18:22). Compare 1Sa 1:26. The Pharisee in the parable "stood and prayed" (Lu 18:11), and the hypocrites are said to "pray standing in the synagogues, and in the corners of the streets" (Mt 6:5 the King James Version).

4. The Hands:

The above postures were accompanied by various attitudes of the hands, which were either lifted up toward heaven (Ps 63:4; 1Ti 2:8), or outspread (Ex 9:29; Ezr 9:5; Isa 1:15), or both (1Ki 8:54).

5. Kiss of Adoration:

The heathen practice of kissing hands to the heavenly bodies as a sign of adoration is referred to in Job 31:27, and of kissing the idol in 1Ki 19:18; Ho 13:2. The kiss of homage is mentioned in Ps 2:12, if the text there be correct. Kissing hands to the object of adoration was customary among the Romans (Pliny xxviii.5). The New Testament word for "worship" (proskuneo) literally means to kiss (the hand) to (one).


IV. Objects of Adoration.

The only adequate object of adoration is the Supreme Being. He only who is the sum of all perfections can fully satisfy man’s instincts of reverence, and elicit the complete homage of his soul.

1. Fellow-Creatures:

Yet, as already suggested, the crude beginnings of religious adoration are to be found in the respect paid to created beings regarded as possessing superior claims and powers, especially to kings and rulers. As instances we may mention the woman of Tekoa falling on her face to do obeisance to king David (2Sa 14:4), and the king’s servants bowing down to do reverence to Haman (Es 3:2). Compare Ru 2:10; 1Sa 20:41; 2Sa 1:2; 14:22.

2. Material Objects:

On a higher plane, as involving some recognition of divinity, is the homage paid to august and mysterious objects in Nature, or to phenomena in the physical world which were supposed to have some divine significance. To give reverence to material objects themselves is condemned as idolatry throughout the Old Testament. Such an example is the case with the worship of "the host of heaven" (the heavenly bodies) sometimes practiced by the Hebrews (2Ki 17:16; 21:3,5). So Job protests that he never proved false to God by kissing hands to the sun and moon in token of adoration (Job 31:26-28). We have reference in the Old Testament to acts of homage paid to an idol or an image, such as falling down before it (Isa 44:15,17,19; Da 3:7), or kissing it (1Ki 19:18; Ho 13:2). All such practices are condemned in uncompromising terms. But when material things produce a reverential attitude, not to themselves, but to the Deity whose presence they symbolize, then they are regarded as legitimate aids to devotion; eg. fire as a manifestation of the Divine presence is described as causing the spectator to perform acts of reverence (eg. Ex 3:2,5; Le 9:24; 1Ki 18:38 f). In these instances, it was Yahweh Himself that was worshipped, not the fire which revealed Him. The sacred writers are moved to religious adoration by the contemplation of the glories of Nature. To them, "the heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth his handiwork." (Compare especially the "nature Psalms" Ps 8; 19; 29; 104.)

3. Angels:

On a still higher plane is the adoration practiced in the presence of supernatural agents of the Divine will. When an angel of God appeared, men fell instinctively before him in reverence and awe (eg. Ge 18:2; 19:1; Nu 22:31; Jud 13:20; Lu 24:4,5). This was not to worship the creature instead of the Creator, for the angel was regarded, not as a distract individual having an existence and character of his own, but as a theophany, a self-manifestation of God.

4. The Deity:

The highest form of adoration is that which is directed immediately to God Himself, His kingly attributes and spiritual excellencies being so apprehended by the soul that it is filled with rapture and praise, and is moved to do Him reverence. A classical instance is the vision that initiated Isaiah into the prophetic office, when he was so possessed with the sovereignty and sublimity of God that he was filled with wonder and self-abasement (Isa 6:1-5). In the Old Testament, the literature of adoration reaches its high-water mark in the Psalms (compare especially the group Psalms 95-100), where the ineffable majesty, power and holiness of God are set forth in lofty strains. In the New Testament, adoration of the Deity finds its most rapturous expression in Rev, where the vision of God calls forth a chorus of praise addressed to the thrice-holy God (4:8-11; 7:11,12), with whom is associated the Redeemer-Lamb.

5. Jesus Christ:

How far is Jesus regarded in the New Testament as an object of adoration, seeing that adoration is befitting only to God? During our Lord’s lifetime He was often the object of worship (Mt 2:11; 8:2; 9:18; 14:33; 15:25; 20:20; 28:9,17; Mr 5:6; Joh 9:38). Some ambiguity, however, belongs to the Greek word proskunein, for while it is the usual word for "worshipping" God (eg. Joh 4:24), in some contexts it means no more than paying homage to a person of superior rank by kneeling or prostration, just as the unmerciful servant is said to have ‘fallen down and worshipped’ his master the king (Mt 18:26), and as Josephus speaks of the Jewish high priests as proskunoumenoi (BJ, IV, v, 2). On the other hand, it certainly implies a consciousness, on the part of those who paid this respect to Jesus, and of Jesus Himself, of a very exceptional superiority in His person, for the same homage was refused by Peter, when offered to him by Cornelius, on the ground that he himself also was a man (Ac 10:25 f), and even by the angel before whom John prostrated himself, on the ground that God alone was to be "worshipped" (Re 22:8,9).

Yet Jesus never repudiated such tokens of respect. But whatever about the "days of His flesh," there is no doubt that after the ascension Christ became to the church the object of adoration as Divine, and the homage paid to Him was indistinguishable in character from that paid to God. This is proved not only by isolated passages, but still more by the whole tone of the Ac and epistles in relation to Him. This adoration reaches its highest expression in Re 5:9-14, where the Redeemer-Lamb who shares the throne of God is the subject of an outburst of adoring praise on the part of the angelic hosts. In Re 4:8-11 the hymn of adoration is addressed to the Lord God Almighty, the Creator; here it is addressed to the Lamb on the ground of His redeeming work. In Re the adoration of Him "who sitteth on the throne" and that of "the Lamb" flow together into one stream of ecstatic praise (compare Re 7:9-11).

D. Miall Edwards


a-dorn’ (kosmeo): Has as its primary meaning "to arrange," "to put In order," "to decorate." It is used with reference to the manner in which Christian women were urged to dress. This was a vital question in the early church, and both Paul and Peter give advice on the subject (1Ti 2:9; 1Pe 3:3).


Figurative: In Mt 12:44 the King James Version the word is translated "garnish" and is used in a figurative sense. It describes accurately the condition of the Jewish nation. Even though they have swept out idolatry and have adorned the life with much ceremony and endless religious prescriptions yet the evil spirit can say, "I will return to my house." This same thing has repeatedly been done by individuals and nations when reforms have been instituted, but Christ was not enthroned and the heart or nation was still dominated by evil. It is used also in a figurative sense with reference to the graces of the Christian life. When we remember how very highly Orientals esteem the adornment of the body, its use here becomes very forceful. It is this that makes Ps 45:13 of special significance as to the beauty and glory of the church as she is presented to God. See also Pr 1:9; 4:9; Isa 61:10; 1Pe 3:4,5. Consecration to God, the indwelling of His Spirit, righteousness, a meek and quiet spirit—these are the true adornments of the life. All these passages carry with them the idea of joy, the satisfaction that should be ours in these possessions.

Jacob W. Kapp


a’-dra. See ARAD (city). ADRAMMELECH and ANAMMELECH a-dram’-el-ek and a-nam’-el-ek (’adhrammelekh and ‘anammelekh, apparently, according to Assyrian usage, "Adar is prince," "Anu is prince." By Palestinian usage it would be "Adar is king," "Anu is king"):

(1) The names given by the Israelite narrator to the god or gods imported into the Samaritan land by the men of Sepharvaim whom the king of Assyria had settled there (2Ki 17:31). In the Babylonian pantheon Anu, the god of heaven, is one of the three chief gods, and Adar, otherwise known as Ninib, is a solar god. Concerning the statements in this verse in Kings, archaeologists differ in some important points, and it is a case in which a suspended judgment may be becoming in one who is not an expert. But at least a portion of the alleged difficulties have arisen from failures to get the point of view of the Israelite narrator. He is writing from a time considerably later than the establishment of the institutions of which he speaks—late enough to render the phrase "unto this day" suitable (2Ki 17:34), late enough so that words and usages may have undergone modification. He is describing a mixture of religions which he evidently regards as deserving of contempt and ridicule, even apart from the falsity of the religions included in it. This mixture he describes as containing ingredients of three kinds—first, the imported religions of the imported peoples; second, the local high-place religions (2Ki 17:32, etc.), and third, the Yahweh religion of Northern Israel (not that of Jerusalem). It is not likely that he thought that they practiced any cult in its purity. They contaminated the religion of Yahweh by introducing Canaanitish usages into it, and they are likely to have done the same with the ancestral religions which they brought with them. The proper names may be correct as representing Palestine usage, even if they differ somewhat from the proper Babylonian usage. The writer says that they "burnt their children in the fire to Adrammelech," but this does not necessarily prove that he thought that they brought this practice from Babylonia; his idea may be that they corrupted even their own false cult by introducing into it this horrible Canaanitish rite. In considering the bearings of the evidence of the monuments on the case, considerations of this kind should not be neglected.

(2) The name of a son of Sennacherib king of Assyria—one of the two who slew him and escaped, indirectly leading to the accession of Esar-haddon (2Ki 19:37; Isa 37:38). Mention of the incident is found on the monuments, and traces of the name appear in the writings of Abydenus and Poly-histor.

Willis J. Beecher


ad-ra-mit’-i-um (Adramuttion; for other forms see Thayer’s lexicon): An ancient city of Mysia in the Roman Province of Asia. The only reference in the New Testament to it is in Ac 27:2 which says that Paul, while being taken a prisoner from Caesarea to Rome, embarked upon a ship belonging to Adramyttium.

The city, with a good harbor, stood at the head of the Gulf of Adramyttium facing the island of Lesbos, and at the base of Mt. Ida. Its early history is obscure. While some authors fancy that it was the Pedasus of Homer, others suppose that it was founded by Adramys, the brother of the wealthy Croesus; probably a small Athenian colony existed there long before the time of Adramys. When Pergamus became the capital of Asia, Adramyttium grew to be a city of considerable importance, and the metropolis of the Northwest part of the province. There the assizes were held. The coins which the peasants pick up in the surrounding fields, and which are frequently aids in determining the location and history of the cities of Asia Minor, were struck at Adramyttium as late as the 3rd century AD, and sometimes in connection with Ephesus. Upon them the effigies of Castor and Pollux appear, showing that Adramyttium was the seat of worship of these deities.

The ancient city with its harbor has entirely disappeared, but on a hill, somewhat farther inland, is a village of about one thousand houses bearing the name Edremid, a corruption of the ancient name Adramys. The miserable wooden huts occupied by Greek fishermen and by Turks are surrounded by vineyards and olive trees, hence the chief trade is in olive oil, raisins and timber. In ancient times Adramyttium was noted for a special ointment which was prepared there (Pliny, NH, xiii.2.5).

E. J. Banks


a’-dri-a (Westcott-Hort: ho Hadrias or ho Adrias): In Greek Adrias (Polybios i.2.4), Adriatike Thalassa (Strabo iv.204), and Adriatikon Pelagos (Ptolemy iii.15.2), and in Latin Adriaticum mare (Livy xl.57.7), Adrianum mare (Cicero in Pisonem 38), Adriaticus sinus (Livy x.2.4), and Mare superurn (Cicero ad Att. 9.5.1). The Adriatic Sea is a name derived from the old Etruscan city Atria, situated near the mouth of the Po (Livy v.33.7; Strabo v.214). At first the name Adria was only applied to the most northern part of the sea. But after the development of the Syracusan colonies on the Italian and Illyrian coasts the application of the term was gradually extended southward, so as to reach Mons Garganus (the Abruzzi), and later the Strait of Hydruntum (Ptolemy iii.1.1; Polybios vii.19.2). But finally the name embraced the Ionian Sea as well, and we find it employed to denote the Gulf of Tarentum (Servius Aen xi.540), the Sicilian Sea (Pausanias v. 25), and even the waters between Crete and Malta (Orosius i.2.90). Procopius considers Malta as lying at the western extremity of the Adriatic Sea (i.14). After leaving Crete the vessel in which the apostle Paul was sailing under military escort was "driven to and fro in the sea of Adria" fourteen days (Ac 27:27) before it approached the shore of Malta. We may compare this with the shipwreck of Josephus in "the middle of the Adria" where he was picked up by a ship sailing from Cyrene to Puteoli (Josephus, Vita, 3).

George H. Allen


a’-dri-el (‘adhri’el, "my help is God"): The son of Barzillai the Meholathite, to whom Merab the daughter of King Saul was married when she should have been given to David (1Sa 18:19; 2Sa 21:8). "Michal" in 2Sa 21:8 is a textual error easily accounted for Adriel and Merab had five sons, whom David handed over to the blood vengeance of the men of Gibeon. The name Adriel seems to be Aramaic, the equivalent of the Hebrew name Azriel.


a-du’-el (Adouel): An ancestor of Tobit (Tobit 1:1).


a-dul’-am (‘adhullam):

(1) A city, with dependencies, and in ancient times having a king, mentioned five times in the Old Testament, each time in a list with other cities (Jos 12:15; 15:35; 2Ch 11:7; Mic 1:15; Ne 11:30). In the list of 31 kings whom Joshua smote, Adullam follows Hormah, Arad, Libnah, and precedes Makkedah. Among the 14 Judahite cities of the first group in "the lowland" Adullam is mentioned between Jarmuth and Socoh. In the list of 15 cities fortified by Rehoboam it appears between Socoh and Gath. Micah gives what may be a list of cities concerned in some Assyrian approach to Jerusalem; it begins with Gath, includes Lachish, and ends with Mareshah and Adullam. And Adullam is still in the same company in the list in Nehemiah of the cities "and their villages" where the men of Judah then dwelt. In the time of the patriarchs it was a place to which men "went down" from the central mountain ridge (Ge 38:1). Judas Maccabeus found it still existing as a city (2 Macc 12:38). Common opinion identifies Adullam with the ruin ‘Aid-el-Ma, 13 miles West-Southwest from Bethlehem (see HGHL, 229 ff). This is in spite of the testimony of the Onomasticon, which, it is alleged, confuses Adullam with Eglon. Presumably the city gave its name to the cave of Adullam, the cave being near the city.

(2) The cave of Adullam, David’s headquarters during a part of the time when he was a fugitive from Saul (1Sa 22:1; 2Sa 23:13; 1Ch 11:15). Sufficient care has not been exercised in reading the Bible statements on this subject. To begin with, Hebrew syntax permits of the use of the word "cave" collectively; it may denote a group or a region of caves; it is not shut up to the meaning that there was one immense cave in which David and his 400 men all found accommodations at once. All reasonings based on this notion are futile.

Further, by the most natural syntax of 2Sa 23:13-17 (duplicated with unimportant variations in 1Ch 11:15-19), that passage describes two different events, and does not connect the cave of Adullam with the second of these. "And three of the thirty chief men went down, and came to David in the harvest time unto the cave of Adullam; and the troop of the Philistines was encamped in the valley of Rephaim. And David was then in the stronghold; and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Beth-lehem. And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me water," etc. Concerning these three seniors among David’s "mighty men" it is narrated, first, that they were David’s comrades in a certain battle, a battle which the Chronicler identifies with Pas-dammim, where David slew Goliath; second, that they joined David at the cave of Adullam, presumably during the time when he was hiding from Saul; third, that at a later time, when the Philistines were in the valley of Rephaim (compare 2Sa 5:18), and David was "in the stronghold" (Josephus says "at Jerusalem," Ant, VII, xii, 4), these men broke through the Philistine lines and brought him water from the home well of Bethlehem.

The cave of Adullam, like the city, was "down" from the central ridge (1Sa 22:1; 2Sa 23:13). The city was in Judah; and David and his men were in Judah (1Sa 23:3) at a time when, apparently, the cave was their headquarters. Gad’s advice to David to return to Judah (1Sa 22:3,5) was given at a time when he had left the cave of Adullam. If the current identification of ‘Aid-el-Ma as Adullam is correct, the cave of Adullam is probably the cave region which has been found in that vicinity.

It has been objected that this location is too far from Bethlehem for David’s men to have brought the water from there. To this it is replied that thirteen or fourteen miles is not an excessive distance for three exceptionally vigorous men to go and return; and a yet stronger reply is found in the consideration just mentioned, that the place from which the men went for the water was not the cave of Adullam. The one argument for the tradition to the effect that Chariton’s cave, a few miles Southeast of Bethlehem, is Adullam, is the larger size of this cave, as compared with those near ‘Aid-el-Ma We have already seen that this has no force.

In our current speech "cave of Adullam" suggests an aggregation of ill-assorted and disreputable men. This is not justified by the Bible record. David’s men included his numerous and respectable kinsmen, and the representative of the priesthood, and some of David’s military companions, and some men who afterward held high office in Israel. Even those who are described as being in distress and debt and bitter of soul were doubtless, many of them, persons who had suffered at the hands of Saul on account of their friendship for David. Doubtless they included mere adventurers in their number; but the Scriptural details and the circumstances alike indicate that they were mainly homogeneous, and that most of them were worthy citizens.

Willis J. Beecher


a-dul’-am-it: The gentilic adjective of ADULLAM, which see. It is used only of Judah’s friend Hirah (Ge 38:1,12,20).


a-dul’-ter-i: In Scripture designates sexual intercourse of a man, whether married or unmarried, with a married woman.

1. Its Punishment:

It is categorically prohibited in the Decalogue (seventh commandment, Ex 20:14; De 5:18): "Thou shalt not commit adultery." In more specific language we read: "And thou shalt not he carnally with thy neighbor’s wife, to defile thyself with her" (Le 18:20). The penalty is death for both guilty parties: "And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death" (Le 20:10). The manner of death is not particularized; according to the rabbis (Siphra’ at the place; Sanhedhrin 52b) it is strangulation. It would seem that in the days of Jesus the manner of death was interpreted to mean stoning ("Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such," Joh 8:5, said of the woman taken in adultery). Nevertheless, it may be said that in the case in question the woman may have been a virgin betrothed unto a husband, the law (in De 22:23 f) providing that such a person together with her paramour be stoned to death (contrast De 22:22, where a woman married to a husband is spoken of and the manner of death is again left general). Eze 16:40 (compare 23:47) equally mentions stoning as the penalty of the adulteress; but it couples to her sin also that of shedding blood; hence, the rabbinic interpretation is not necessarily disputed by the prophet. Of course it may also be assumed that a difference of custom may have obtained at different times and that the progress was in the line of leniency, strangulation being regarded as a more humane form of execution than stoning.

2. Trial by Ordeal:

The guilty persons become amenable to the death penalty only when taken "in the very act" (Joh 8:4). The difficulty of obtaining direct legal evidence is adverted to by the rabbis (see Makkoth 7a). In the case of a mere suspicion on the part of the husband, not substantiated by legal evidence, the woman is compelled by the law (Nu 5:11-30) to submit to an ordeal, or God’s judgment, which consists in her drinking the water of bitterness, that is, water from the holy basin mingled with dust from the floor of the sanctuary and with the washed-off ink of a writing containing the oath which the woman has been made to repeat. The water is named bitter with reference to its effects in the case of the woman’s guilt; on the other hand, when no ill effects follow, the woman is proved innocent and the husband’s jealousy unsubstantiated. According to the Mishna (SoTah 9) this ordeal of the woman suspected of adultery was abolished by Johanan ben Zaccai (after 70 AD), on the ground that the men of his generation were not above the suspicion of impurity.


3. A Heinous Crime:

Adultery was regarded as a heinous crime (Job 31:11). The prophets and teachers in Israel repeatedly upbraid the men and women of their generations for their looseness in morals which did not shrink from adulterous connections. Naturally where luxurious habits of life were indulged in, particularly in the large cities, a tone of levity set in: in the dark of the evening, men, with their features masked, waited at their neighbors’ doors (Job 24:15; 31:9; compare Pr 7$), and women forgetful of their God’s covenant broke faith with the husbands of their youth (Pr 2:17). The prophet Nathan confronted David after his sin with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, with his stern rebuke ("Thou art the man," 2Sa 12:7); the penitential psalm (Ps 51)—"Miserere"—was sung by the royal bard as a prayer for divine pardon. Promiscuous intercourse with their neighbors’ wives is laid by Jeremiah at the door of the false prophets of his day (Jer 23:10,14; 29:23).

4. Penal and Moral Distinctions:

While penal law takes only cognizance of adulterous relations, it is needless to say that the moral law discountenances all manner of illicit intercourse and all manner of unchastity in man and woman. While the phrases "harlotry," "commit harlotry," in Scripture denote the breach of wedlock (on the part of a woman), in the rabbinical writings a clear distinction is made on the legal side between adultery and fornication. The latter is condemned morally in no uncertain terms; the seventh commandment is made to include all manner of fornication. The eye and the heart are the two intermediaries of sin (Palestinian Talmud, Berakhoth 6b). A sinful thought is as wicked as a sinful act (Niddah 13b and elsewhere). Job makes a covenant with his eyes lest he look upon a virgin (31:1). And so Jesus who came "not to destroy, but to fulfill" (Mt 5:17), in full agreement with the ethical and religious teaching of Judaism, makes the intent of the seventh commandment explicit when he declares that "every one that looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already In his heart" (Mt 5:28). And in the spirit of Hosea (Hos 4:15) and Johanan ben Zaccai (see above) Jesus has but scorn for those that are ready judicially to condemn though they be themselves not free from sin! "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her" (Joh 8:7). Whereas society is in need of the death penalty to secure the inviolability of the home life, Jesus bids the erring woman go her way and sin no more. How readily His word might be taken by the unspiritual to imply the condoning of woman’s peccability is evidenced by the fact that the whole section (Joh 7:53-8:11) is omitted by "most ancient authorities" (see Augustine’s remark).

5. A Ground of Divorce:

Adultery as a ground of divorce. —The meaning of the expression "some unseemly thing" (De 24:1) being unclear, there was great variety of opinion among the rabbis as to the grounds upon which a husband may divorce his wife. While the school of Hillel legally at least allowed any trivial reason as a ground for divorce, the stricter interpretation which limited it to adultery alone obtained in the school of Shammai. Jesus coincided with the stricter view (see Mt 5:32; 19:9, and commentaries). From a moral point of view, divorce was discountenanced by the rabbis likewise, save of course for that one ground which indeed makes the continued relations between husband and wife a moral impossibility.


Max L. Margolis


a-dum’-im (’adhummim, perhaps "red spots"): "The ascent of Adummim" is one of the numerous landmarks mentioned in defining the northern border of Judah westward from the mouth of the Jordan to Jerusalem, and in defining the southern border of Benjamin eastward from Jerusalem to the mouth of the Jordan (Jos 15:7; 18:17). It is identified with the gorge part of the road from Jericho up to Jerusalem. Its present name is Tala‘at-ed-Dumm, "ascent of blood." The stone is marked by "curious red streaks," a phenomenon which probably accounts for both the ancient and the modern names, and for other similar names which have been applied to the locality. It is the scene of our Saviour’s story of the Good Samaritan, and tradition of course locates the inn to which the Samaritan brought the wounded man (see HGHL, 265).

Willis J. Beecher


ad-van’-taj (cakhan): In Job 35:3 is interpreted in succeeding clause as "profit." In Ro 3:1 perissos, is likewise interpreted by a paraphrase in the next sentence. the Revised Version (British and American) prefers to render pleonekteo by "take advantage," where the King James Version has "defraud" (2Co 7:2), or "make gain of" (2Co 12:17; compare 2Co 2:11). In Jude 1:16 "advantage" (opheleia) means "profit."




ad-ven’-tur: "To risk," "to dare," referring always to an undertaking attended with some peril (Jud 9:17: "My father adventured his life"). Compare De 28:56. So also Ec 5:14: "Riches perish by evil adventure." Only once in New Testament for didomi (Ac 19:31), where Paul’s friends beg him "not to adventure himself (archaic for "venture") into theater."


ad’-ver-sa-ri, ad’-ver-sa-ri: This word (in the singular or plural) is used in the Old Testament to render different Hebrew words. In thirty-two cases the word corresponds to the noun tsar, or the verb tsarar. This noun is the ordinary word for "foe" or "adversary." In twelve passages the Hebrew word, of which "adversary" is the translation, is saTan = noun or saTan = verb. This stem means "to oppose," or "thwart" anyone in his purpose or claims.

The angel of Yahweh was saTan to Balaam (Nu 22:22). The word often denotes a political adversary (1Ki 11:14,23,25). In four cases (namely, Prologue to Job; Zec 3:1,2; 1Ch 21:1; Ps 109:6) the King James Version retains Satan as the rendering. But it is only in 1 Chronicles that the word is used without the article, that is, strictly as a proper name. The Septuagint gives diabolos, as the rendering, and both in Job and Zechariah, Satan is portrayed as the "false accuser." In two cases "adversary" represents two Hebrew expressions which mean the "opponent in a suit" or "controversy" (Job 31:35; Isa 50:8).

In the New Testament "adversary" represents:

(1) antikeimenoi, the participle of a verb which means "to be set over against," "to be opposed" (Lu 13:17; Php 2:8).

(2) antidikos, "opponent in a lawsuit," "prosecutor" (Mt 5:25; Lu 12:58; 18:3; 1Pe 5:8).

According to the last passage the devil is the "accuser" or "prosecutor" of believers, but according to another writer they have an "advocate" or "counselor for the defense" with the Father (1Jo 2:1). In one passage (Heb 10:27) "adversary" represents a Greek word, hupenantios, which means "set over against," "contrary to"—a word used in classical Greek and in the Septuagint.

Thomas Lewis


ad-vur’-si-ti: In the Revised Version (British and American) exclusively an Old Testament term, expressing the various forms of distress and evil conveyed by four Hebrew words: tsela‘, "a halting" or "fall"; tsarah, "straits" "distress," "affliction"; tsar, "straitness," "affliction"; ra‘, "bad," "evil," "harmful." These words cover the whole range of misfortunes caused by enemies, poverty, sorrow and trouble. "Adversity," which occurs once in the King James Version in New Testament (Heb 13:3: kakouchoumenos, "ill-treated") is displaced in the Revised Version (British and American) by the literal rendering which illustrates or interprets a common phase of adversity.

Dwight M. Pratt


ad’-ver-tiz: This word is found twice in the Old Testament: In Nu 24:14 (from Hebrew, ya‘ats, "to advise") Balsam advises Balak of the future of Israel and its influence upon his kingdom ("I will advertise thee"). In the King James Version Ru 4:4 (from galah ‘ozen, "to uncover the ear," "to reveal") Boaz in speaking to the nearer kinsman of Ruth: "I thought to advertise thee" (the Revised Version, margin "uncover thine ear").


ad-vis’, ad-viz’, ad-viz’-ment: Aside from their regular meaning these words are peculiarly employed as follows:

(1) Advice’ In 2Sa 19:43 (from, dabhar, "word") the meaning is equal to "request" (the Revised Version, margin "were we not the first to speak of bringing back"). In 1Sa 25:33 the King James Version (from, Ta‘am, "taste," "reason") "advice" is equal to "sagacity" (the Revised Version (British and American) "blessed be thy discretion"). In 2Ch 25:17 (from ya‘ac, "to give or take counsel") the meaning seems to be "to consult with oneself"; compare also Jud 19:30 the King James Version (the Revised Version (British and American) "take counsel").

(2) Advise: In 2Sa 24:13 the King James Version (from yadha, "to know") "to advise" means "to advise oneself," i.e. "to consider" (the Revised Version (British and American) "advise thee") Compare also 1Ch 21:12 the King James Version (the Revised Version (British and American) "consider" from, ra’ah, "to see") and Pr 13:10 where "well- advised" is the same as "considerate" (from ya‘ac; see 2Ch 25:17).

(3) Advisement (antiquated): Found once in the Old Testament in 1Ch 12:19 (from ‘etsah, "counsel"), where "upon advisement" means "upon deliberation." Compare 2Macc 14:20 the King James Version (the Revised Version (British and American) "when these proposals had been long considered").

A. L. Breslich


ad’-vo-kat (parakletos): Found in 1Joh 2:1, "If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." The Greek word has several shades of meaning:

(1) a legal advocate;

(2) an intercessor,

(3) a helper generally.

In the passage before us the first and second meanings are included. Christ in heaven intercedes for Christians who sin upon earth. The next verse declares that He is the "propitiation for our sins" and it is His propitiatory work which lies at the basis of His intercession. The margins of the Revised Version (British and American) and the American Standard Revised Version give as alternative readings Comforter, Helper, Greek Paraclete. Beyond doubt however, "advocate" is the correct translation in the passage in the epistle. The same Greek word also occurs in the Gospel of John (Joh 14:16,26; 15:26; 16:7) referring not to Christ but to the Holy Spirit, to whom Christ refers as "another comforter" whom He will send from the Father. In the Gospel various functions are ascribed to the Spirit in relation to believers and unbelievers. The word in the Gospel is inadequately translated "Comforter." The Spirit according to these passages, is more than Comforter and more than Advocate.


E. Y. Mullins


ad’-i-tum (Latin from Greek aduton, adjective adutos, "not to be entered"): Applied to the innermost sanctuary or chambers in ancient temples, and to secret places which were open only to priests: hence, also to the Holy of Holies in the Jewish temple.



a-e-di’-as (Aedeias). Mentioned in 1 Esdras 9:27, being one of those who agreed to divorce their alien wives. This name is supposed to be a corruption of the Greek Helia, there being no Hebrew equivalent for it, and in Ezr 10:26, the name occurs in the correct form as Elijah (’eliyah =" God is Yahweh").





e-ne’-as (’Aineas): A paralytic at Lydda, who, after he "had kept his bed eight years," was miraculously healed by Peter (Ac 9:33,34).


e’-non (Ainon): The place where John was baptizing "because there was much water there" (Joh 3:23). It was on the west side of the Jordan, the place where John baptized at the first being on the east (Joh 1:28; 3:26; 10:40). We may be sure it was not in Samaritan territory. Eusebius, Onomasticon locates it 8 Roman miles South of Scythopolis (Beisan), this stretch of land on the west of the Jordan being then, not under Samaria, but under Scythopolis. Its position is defined by nearness to Salim. Various identifications have been suggested, the most probable being the springs near Umm el-‘Amdan, which exactly suit the position indicated by Eusebius, Onomasticon.omforter, Helper, Greek Paraclete. Beyond doubt however, "advocate’is the correct translation in the passage in the epistle. The same Greek word also occurs in the Gospel of John (Joh 14:16,26; 15:26; 16:7) referring not to Christ but to the Holy Spirit, to whom Christ refers as "another comforter" whom He will send from the Father. In the Gospel various functions are ascribed to the Spirit in relation to believers and unbelievers. The word in the Gospel is inadequately translated "Comforter." The Spirit according to these passages, is more than Comforter and more than Advocate.

See discussion under SALIM.

W. Ewing


e’-on: This word originally meant "duration," "dispensation." In the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle the word is aion, from which this word is transliterated. In the Gnostic philosophy it has a special meaning and is there used to solve the problem of the world order. In the infinite separation between God and the world, it was taught, there must of necessity be mediating powers. These powers are the eons and are the successive emanations from God from eternity. They are spiritual, existing as distinct entities. They constituted the Divine fullness or the Divine Pleroma. The name was applied to these beings for two reasons: because they were thought to partake of the eternal existence of God and because they were supposed to govern the various ages. The idea of the eons in various forms may be found in nearly all oriental philosophy that attempted to deal with the problem of the world order. It appears in the writings of Philo, in Shintoism, in the old Zoroastrian religion.


Jacob W. Kapp


e’-so-ra, the King James Version Esora, e-so’-ra (Aisora): A town in the borders of Samaria, mentioned in connection with Beth-boron and Jericho (Judith 4:4), and from this association we judge that it was in the eastern part of Samaria.


a-fekt’, a-fek’-shun: The literal meaning of "affect" is to act upon (Latin ad, "to," "upon," facio, "to do"). It has various shades of meaning, and occurs in the following senses in the English Bible:

(1) In its literal sense: La 3:51, "Mine eye affecteth my soul"

(2) In the sense of "to endeavor after," "desire," "court": Ga 4:17, "They zealously affect (the Revised Version (British and American) "seek") you .... that ye may affect (the Revised Version (British and American) "seek") them," i.e. they earnestly court your favor, that you may court theirs. Paul means that the proselytizing zeal of the Judaizers was rooted in personal ambition. The past part. "affected" (the Revised Version (British and American) "sought") has the same meaning in Ga 4:18. The same Greek word (zeloo) is translated "desire earnestly" in the Revised Version (British and American) (1Co 12:31; 14:1,39). "Affect" has a similar meaning in Ecclesiasticus 13:11.

(3) In the passive, it occurs in the sense of "to be disposed," in a neutral sense, with an adverb to characterize the nature of the disposition: Ac 14:2, "evil affected against the brethren" So also 2 Macc 4:21; 13:26.

"Affection" occurs in the following senses:

(1) In the literal sense: the state of having one’s feelings acted upon or affected in some way; bent or disposition of mind, in a neutral sense (the nature of the affection, whether good or bad, needing further description in the context). So Col 3:2, "Set your affection (the Revised Version (British and American) "mind") on things above"; Col 3:5, "inordinate affection" (here "affection" by itself is neutral; the addition of the adjective makes it equivalent to "passion" in an evil sense, as in the Revised Version (British and American)).

(2) In a good sense: tender feeling, warm attachment, good will; the word in itself carrying a good meaning apart from the context. 1Ch 29:3, "because I have set my affection on the house of my God"; Ro 1:31; 2Ti 3:3, "without natural affection", 2Co 6:12 "Ye are straitened in your own affections" (lit. "bowels," regarded as the seat of kindly feelings, compare Eng "heart") So 2Co 7:15.

(3) In an evil sense in the plural = passions. Ga 5:24, the flesh, with the affections (the Revised Version (British and American) "passions") and "lusts"; Ro 1:26, "God gave them unto vile affections" (the Revised Version (British and American) "passions").

"Affectioned" occurs once, in a neutral sense: Ro 12:10, "affectioned (i.e. "disposed") one to another" In 1Th 2:8, we have "affectionately," in a good sense.

D. Miall Edwards


a-fin’-i-ti (chathan "to join one-self"): This term is used three times in the Old Testament:

(1) in 1Ki 3:1, where we read that "Solomon made affinity with Pharaoh King of Egypt",

(2) in 2Ch 18:1, where it is stated that Jehoshaphat "joined affinity with Ahab," and

(3) in Ezr 9:14, where it is asked "Shall we .... join in affinity with the peoples that do these abominations?" The Hebrew word thus rendered in the above three passages refers in each case to marriage alliances rather than to family or political relationships.


W. W. Davies


a-fur’-ma-tivs (diischurizomai). The verb "affirm" occurs in several passages of the New Testament in the sense of "assert" Lu 22:59; Ac 12:15; 25:19 pha-sko; Ro 3:8 phemi; 1Ti 17, Titus 3:8 diabebaioomai. The Hebrew does not employ affirmative particles, but gives a positive reply by either repeating the word in question or by substituting the first person in the reply for the second person in the question, or by employing the formula: "Thou hast said" or "Thou hast rightly said." The Saviour used this idiom (su eipas) when answering Judas and Caiaphas (Mt 26:25,64). A peculiar elegance occasionally attaches to the interpretation of the Scriptures because of their use of an affirmative and a negative together, rendering the sense more emphatic; sometimes the negative occurs first, as in Ps 118:17: "I shall not die, but live"; sometimes the affirmative precedes, as in Isa 88:1: "Thou shalt die, and not bye" Joh 1:20 is made peculiarly emphatic because of the negative placed between two affirmatives: "And he confessed, and denied not; and he confessed, I am not the Christ."

Frank E. Hirsch


a-flik’-shun: Represents no fewer than 11 Hebrew words in the Old Testament, and 3 Greek words in the New Testament, of which the most common are (oni), (thlipsis). It is used

(1) actively = that which causes or tends to cause bodily pain or mental distress, as "the bread of affliction" (De 16:3; 2Ch 18:26); often in plural, as "Many are the afflictions of the righteous" (Ps 34:19);

(2) passively = the state of being in pain or trouble, as "to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction" (Jas 1:27).

The following are the chief forms of affliction referred to:

(1) Individual affliction, especially sickness, poverty, the oppression of the weak by the strong and rich, perverted justice.

(2) National. A great place is given in the Old Testament to affliction as a national experience, due to calamities, such as war, invasion, conquest by foreign peoples, exile. These form the background of much of the prophetic writings, and largely determine their tone and character.

(3) In the New Testament the chief form of affliction is that due to the fierce antagonism manifested to the religion of Jesus, resulting in persecution.

I. The Source of Affliction.

1. God:

The Hebrew mind did not dwell on secondary causes, but attributed everything, even afflictions, directly to the great First Cause and Author of all things: "Shall evil befall a city, and Yahweh hath not done it?" (Am 3:6); "I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil (i.e. calamity); I am Yahweh, that doeth all these things" (Isa 45:7) Thus, all things, including calamity, were referred to the Divine operation. The Hebrew when afflicted did not doubt the universal sovereignty of God; yet, while assuming this sovereignty, he was sometimes tempted to accuse Him of indifference, neglect or forgetfulness. Compare Job passim; Isa 40:27; 49:14; Eze 8:12; 9:9.

2. Evil Agents:

Yet there are traces of a dualism which assigns a certain vague limit to God’s absolute sovereignty, by referring affliction to an evil agency acting in quasi-independence of God. There could, however, never be more than a tendency in this direction, for a strict dualism was incompatible with the standpoint of Jewish monotheism. Thus Saul’s mental affliction is attributed to an "evil spirit," which is yet said to be "from Yahweh" (1Sa 16:14; 18:10; 19:9); and the fall of Ahab is said by Micaiah to be due to the "lying spirit" which enticed him to his doom, in obedience to God’s command (1Ki 22:20-22). In the prologue of Job, Job’s calamities are ascribed to the Satan, but even he receives his word of command from God, and is responsible to Him, like the other "sons of God" who surround the heavenly throne. He is thus "included in the Divine will and in the circle of Divine providence" (Schultz). After the prologue, the Satan is left out of account, and Job’s misfortunes are attributed directly to the Divine causality. In later Judaism, the tendency to trace the origin of evil, physical and moral, to wicked spirits became more marked, probably because of the influence of Persian dualism. In New Testament times, physical and mental maladies were thought to be due to the agency of evil spirits called demons, whose prince was Beelzebub or Satan (Mr 1:23 ff; Mr 3:22 f; Mr 5:2 ff; Mt 9:32 f, etc.). Christ gave His assent to this belief (compare the woman under infirmity, "whom Satan hath bound," Lu 13:16). Paul attributed his bodily affliction to an evil angel sent by Satan (2Co 12:7), though he recognized that the evil agent was subordinate to God’s purpose of grace, and was the means of moral discipline (1Co 12:7,9). Thus, while the evil spirits were regarded as malicious authors of physical maladies, they were not, in a strictly dualistic fashion, thought to act in complete independence; rather, they had a certain place assigned to them in the Divine Providence.

II. Meaning and Purpose of Affliction.

Why did God afflict men? How is suffering to be explained consistently with the goodness and justice of God? This was an acute problem which weighed heavily upon the Hebrew mind, especially in the later, more reflective, period. We can only briefly indicate the chief factors which the Scriptures contribute to the solution of the problem. We begin with the Old Testament.

1. Punitive or Retributive:

The traditional view in early Hebrew theology was that afflictions were the result of the Divine law of retribution, by which sin was invariably followed by adequate punishment. Every misfortune was a proof of sin on the part of the sufferer. Thus Job’s "friends" sought to convince him that his great sufferings were due to his sinfulness. This is generally the standpoint of the historians of Israel, who regarded national calamities as a mark of the Divine displeasure on account of the people’s sins. But this naive belief, though it contains an important element of truth, could not pass uncontested. The logic of facts would suffice to prove that it was inadequate to cover all cases; eg. Jeremiah’s sufferings were due, not to sin, but to his faithfulness to his prophetic vocation. So the "suffering servant" in Isa. Job, too, in spite of his many woes, was firm in the conviction of his own integrity. To prove the inadequacy of the penal view is a main purpose of the Book of Job. A common modification of the traditional view was, that the sorrows of the pious and the prosperity of the wicked were only of brief duration; in the course of time, things would adjust themselves aright (eg. Job 20:5 ff, Ps 73:3-20). But even granting time for the law of retribution to work itself out, experience contradicts the view that a man’s fortune or misfortune is an infallible proof of his moral quality.

2. Probational:

The thought is often expressed that afflictions are meant to test the character or faith of the sufferer. This idea is especially prominent in Job. God allowed the Satan to test the reality of Job’s piety by over-whelming him with disease and misfortunes (2). Throughout the poem Job maintains that he has stood the test (eg. Job 23:10-12). Compare De 8:2,16; Ps 66:10 f; Ps 17:3; Isa 48:10; Jer 9:7; Pr 17:3.

3. Disciplinary and Purificatory:

For those who are able to stand the test, suffering has a purificatory or disciplinary value.

(1) The thought of affliction as a discipline or form of Divine teaching is found in Job, especially in the speeches of Elihu, who insists that tribulation is intended as a method of instruction to save man from the pride and presumption that issue in destruction (Job 33:14-30; 36:8-10,15 the Revised Version (British and American)). The same conception is found in Ps 94:12; 119:67,71.

(2) The purificatory function of trials is taught in such passages as Isa 1:25; Zec 13:9; Mal 3:2,3, where the process of refining metals in fire and smelting out the dross is the metaphor used.

4. Vicarious and Redemptive:

The above are not fully adequate to explain the mystery of the afflictions of the godly. The profoundest contribution in the Old Testament to a solution of the problem is the idea of the vicarious and redemptive significance of pain and sorrow. The author of Job did not touch this rich vein of thought in dealing with the afflictions of his hero. This was done by the author of the Second Isaiah. The classical passage is Isa 53:1-12, which deals with the woes of the oppressed and afflicted Servant of God with profound spiritual insight. It makes no difference to the meaning of the afflictions whether we understand by the Servant the whole Hebrew nation, or the pious section of it, or an individual member of it, and whether the speakers in Isa 53 are the Jewish nation or the heathen. The significant point here is the value and meaning ascribed to the Servant’s sufferings. The speakers had once believed (in accordance with the traditional view) that the Servant suffered because God was angry with him and had stricken him. Now they confess that his sorrows were due, not to his own sin but to theirs (Isa 53:4-6,8). His sufferings were not only vicarious (the punishment of their sin falling upon him), but redemptive in their effect (peace and health coming to them as a result of his chastisement). Moreover, it was not only redemptive, but expiatory ("his soul guilt-offering," Isa 53:10)—a remarkable adumbration of the Christian doctrine of atonement.

5. The New Testament:

So far we have dealt only with Old Testament teaching on the meaning and purpose of affliction. The New Testament makes no new contribution to the solution of the problem, but repeats and greatly deepens the points of view already found in the Old Testament.

(1) There is a recognition throughout the New Testament of the law of retribution (Ga 6:7). Yet Jesus repudiates the popular view of the invariable connection between misfortune and moral evil (Joh 9:2 f). It is clear that He had risen above the conception of God’s relation to man as merely retributive (Mt 5:45, sunshine and rain for evil men as well as for the good). His followers would suffer tribulation even more than unbelievers, owing to the hostile reaction of the evil world, similar to that which afflicted Christ Himself (Mt 5:10 f; 10:16-25; Joh 15:18-20; 16:33). Similarly the Ac and the epistles frequently refer to the sufferings of Christians (eg. Ac 14:22; 2Co 4:8-11; Col 1:24; He 10:32; 1Pe 4:13; Re 7:14). Hence afflictions must have some other than a purely punitive purpose.

(2) They are probational, affording a test by which the spurious may be separated from the genuine members of the Christian church (Jas 1:3,12; 1Pe 1:7; 4:17), and

(3) a means of discipline, calculated to purify and train the character (Ro 5:3; 2Co 12:7,9; Jas 1:3).

(4) The idea of vicarious and redemptive suffering gets a far deeper significance in the New Testament than in the Old Testament, and finds concrete realization in a historical person, Jesus Christ. That which is foreshadowed in Second-Isa becomes in the New Testament a central, pervasive and creative thought. A unique place in the Divine purpose is given to the passion of Christ. Yet in a sense, His followers partake of His vicarious sufferings, and "fill up.... that which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ" (Col 1:24; compare Php 3:10; 1Pe 4:13). Here, surely is a profound thought which may throw a flood of light on the deep mystery of human affliction. The cross of Christ furnishes the key to the meaning of sorrow as the greatest redemptive force in the universe.

III. Endurance of Affliction.

The Scriptures abound in words of consolation and exhortation adapted to encourage the afflicted. Two main considerations may be mentioned.

(1) The thought of the beneficent sovereignty of God "Yahweh reigneth; let the earth rejoice," even though "clouds and darkness are round about him" (Ps 97:1,2); "All things work together for good to them that love God" (Ro 8:28 the King James Version). Since love is on the throne of the universe, we may rest assured that all things are meant for our good.

(2) The thought that tribulation is of brief duration, in comparison with the Joy that shall follow (Ps 30:5; Isa 54:7 f; Joh 16:22); a thought which culminates in the hope of immortality. This hope is in the Old Testament only beginning to dawn, and gives but a faint and flickering light, except in moments of rare exaltation and insight, when the thought of a perfect future blessedness seemed to offer a solution of the enigmas of life (Job 19:25-27; Psalms 37; 49; 73). But in the New Testament it is a postulate of faith, and by it the Christian is able to fortify himself in affliction, remembering that his affliction is light and momentary compared with the "far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" which is to issue out of it (2Co 4:17 the King James Version; compare Mt 5:12; Ro 8:18). Akin to this is the comfort derived from the thought of the near approach of Christ’s second coming (Jas 5:7,8). In view of such truths as these, the Bible encourages the pious in trouble to show the spirit of patience (Ps 37:7; Lu 21:19; Ro 12:12; Jas 1:3,4; 5:7-11; 1Pe 2:20), and even the spirit of positive joy in tribulation (Mt 5:11 f; Ro 5:3; 2Co 12:10; Jas 1:2,12; 1Pe 4:13). In the New Testament emphasis is laid on the example of Jesus in patient endurance in suffering (Joh 16:33; Jas 5:7-11; 1Pe 2:19-23; 3:17 f). Above all, the Scriptures recommend the afflicted to take refuge in the supreme blessedness of fellowship with God, and of trust in His love, by which they may enter into a deep peace that is undisturbed by the trials and problems of life (Ps 73:23-28; Isa 26:3,4; Joh 14:1,27; Php 4:7; et passim).

D. Miall Edwards


a-frit’:Designates a state of terror occasioned by some unexpected and startling occurrence; not as strong as "amazed," which refers more to the stupor resulting from fright. In the New Testament most frequently for emphobos (Lu 24:37; Ac 10:4; Re 11:13). The Revised Version (British and American) uses it also for pturomenoi of Php 1:28, a word "properly used of scared horses" (Ellicott).


a-foot’ (pezeuo, "to go on foot"): By walking from Troas to Assos Paul avoided the tedious voyage round Cape Lectum (Ac 20:13 the King James Version; compare Mr 6:33).


a-for’:Archaic for "before" of time, or "formerly"; frequently occurs as compound, as in "aforetime," "aforehand," etc.; in the New Testament most commonly for the Greek prefix, pro, in compound words (Ro 1:2; 15:4); at other times, for Greek adverb pote, "at some time," "once" (Joh 9:13; 1Pe 3:5; Col 3:7).


a-fresh’:Only in Heb 6:6, "seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh," where it stands for the prefix of the Greek anastaurountas. It has been disputed whether in this word ana has the reiterative force ("again," "anew"). In classical Greek anastauroo has always the simple sense of "to crucify," (ie. "to rinse up on a cross," ana being merely "up"). So some would render it here (eg. Cremer, Lexicon of New Testament Greek). Against this it is argued

(1) that the classical writers had no occasion for the idea of crucifying anew (compare Winer, De verb. Comp., etc., Pt III, 9 ff, Leipzig, 1843);

(2) that in many compounds ana signifies both "up" and "again," as in anablepo, which means "to recover sight" as well as "to look up";

(3) that the rendering "crucify afresh" suits the context;

(4) that the Greek expositors (eg. Chrysostom) take it so without questioning. (So also Bleek, Lunemann, Alford, Westcott; compare the Vulgate’s rursum crucifigentes.)

D. Miall Edwards


af’-ri-ka: The name of this tract, as a continent, does not occur in the Bible, and it was only in later days known as one of the quarters of the world, under the name of Libya—that portion opposite the coast of Greece and West of Egypt.

1. Africa as Known to the Ancients:

Naturally the most considerable part of Africa known to the Hebrews was Egypt itself, but Libya is regarded as being referred to under the names of Lehabim and Lubim (Ludim) (Ge 10:13; 2Ch 12:3)—words indicating, as often with the Semites, not the country itself, but its inhabitants. Other portions of Africa known to the Hebrews were Cush or Ethiopia, and Put, whose inhabitants they regarded as belonging to the Hamitic stock. Canaan, also Cushite and therefore Hamitic, naturally did not belong to the African continent, showing that the divisions of then known world into "quarters" (Europe, Asia, Africa) had not taken place when the Table of the Nations (Ge 10:1 ff) was drawn up—indeed, these division were not apparently thought of until many centuries later. The Casluhim and the Naphtuhim (Ge 10:13,14) were in all probability African peoples, though their position is in general regarded as uncertain. For the Hebrews, to all appearance, the southernmost point of Africa was Cush or Ethiopia, called by the Assyrians and Babylonians Kusu and Meluhha (Meroe), which included the district now known as the Sudan, or Black region. The sons of Cush, and also those of his firstborn, Sheba, were all Arabian tribes, nominally under the domain of Mizraim or Egypt, and on this account classed with the descendants of Ham.

2. The Cushites and the Negroes:

It will thus be seen that the Negro districts were practically unknown to the ancient Hebrews, though men and women of Negro race must have come within their ken. It seems doubtful, therefore, whether there be, in the Bible, any reference to that race, either collectively or individually, the word Cushite standing, not for Negro, but for Ethiopian. This term is applied to Moses’ (first) wife (Nu 12:1), and it will probably be generally admitted, that the great Hebrew lawgiver is not likely to have espoused a Negro woman. The Ethiopian eunuch converted by Philip the Evangelist (Ac 8:26 ff) was an official of Meroe, and an educated man, for he could read the Old Testament in the Greek(septuagint) version. Commerce must have revealed to the Hebrews the whereabouts of the various peoples of Africa with whom they came into contact, and they acquired a personal knowledge of Egypt when the 12 tribes were in bondage there. During this period, it may be supposed, they saw from time to time visitors from the South—people who are not mentioned in the sacred books of the Old Testament because the Hebrews, as a nation, never came into contact with them. Apart from Egypt, the history of the portion of Africa known to the Hebrews was a chequered one, as it came successively under Egypt, Phoenicia, Greek and Roman civilization. That it was not overrun, or even influenced, by the barbarous tribes of the South, is due to the fact that the Mediterranean tract is isolated from the central (and southern) portion of that continent by the Sahara.

3. Hebrew Tradition:

In the Talmud it is related that Alexander penetrated Africa on Libyan asses to find a race of women, with whom he had conversation, and from whom, as he afterward confessed, being a fool, he learned wisdom—a legend suggesting some possible tradition of the Amazons of Dahomey. But even in the Talmud it is mainly the nearer (Northeast) portion of Africa which is referred to, the Africans, who had the reputation of being flat-footed, being associated with the Canaanites.


T. G. Pinches


aft’-er, aft’-er-werd: The fundamental thought, in which all shades of meaning unite, is that of succession either in time or place. This succession may be immediate or remote. A very common adaptation of this conception the use of "after" to denote "according to," "after the manner of," or "in the order of," as in Ge 1:26; Eph 4:24; Lu 1:59; Ro 5:14; Heb 4:11 (the Revised Version, margin "unto"), and in many passages where the Greek uses the preposition kata, as Mt 23:3; Ro 8:4; 1Co 1:26, etc. "In proportion to": Ps 28:4; compare Ps 90:15.

It sometimes correctly translates a peculiar Greek idiom of the preposition dia, with the genitive case, indicating time elapsed, as Mr 2:1, literally, "through some days," "after some days had passed"; compare Ac 24:17. While the Greek is expressed by a variety of words, the Hebrew uses ‘achar for both preposition and adverb.

H. E. Jacobs


af-ter-noon’ (neToth ha-yom, "the declining of the day"; Jud 19:8 the King James Version): The expression kechom ha-yom, "in the heat of the day" (Ge 18:1) refers to the early afternoon when the sun is a little past its zenith, its rays still being very strong. The phrase le-ruach ha-yom, "in the cool of the day" (Ge 3:8) is in contrast to the last phrase and points to the late afternoon; in the Orient a cooling breeze arises at this period of the day, and it is then that much of the day’s business is transacted.

See DAY.


ag’-a-ba: A fortress in Judea. The first of 22 "strong places" which by its commander Galestus was given over to Aristobulus, the son of Alexander Janneus and Alexandra, when he (his mother, the queen, being dangerously ill) attempted to get control of the Judean government (Ant., XIII, xvi, 5).


ag’-a-bus (Agabos): A Christian prophet of Jerusalem, twice mentioned in Acts.

(1) In Ac 11:27 f, we find him at Antioch foretelling "a great famine over all the world," "which," adds the historian, "came to pass in the days of Claudius." This visit of Agabus to Antioch took place in the winter of 43-44 AD, and was the means of urging the Antiochian Christians to send relief to the brethren in Judea by the hands of Barnabas and Saul. Two points should be noted.

(a) The gift of prophet’s here takes the form of prediction. The prophet’s chief function was to reveal moral and spiritual truth, to "forth-tell" rather than to "foretell"; but the interpretation of God’s message sometimes took the form of predicting events.

(b) The phrase "over all the world" (practically synonymous with the Roman Empire) must be regarded as a rhetorical exaggeration if strictly interpreted as pointing to a general and simultaneous famine. But there is ample evidence of severe periodical famines in various localities in the reign of Claudius (eg. Suet Claud. 18; Tac. Ann. xii.43), and of a great dearth in Judea under the procurators Cuspius Fadus and Tiberius Alexander, 44-48 AD (Ant., XX, ii, 6; v, 2), which probably reached its climax circa 46 AD.

(2) In Ac 21:10 f we find Agabus at Caesarea warning Paul, by a vivid symbolic action (after the manner of Old Testament prophets; compare Jer 13:1 ff; Eze 3; 4) of the imprisonment and suffering he would undergo if he proceeded to Jerusalem.

(3) In late tradition Agabus is included in lists of the seventy disciples of Christ.

D. Miall Edwards


ag’-a-de: Ancient name for Akkad (or ACCAD, which see), one of the chief cities of Babylonia (Ge 10:10), and the capital city of Sargon, who lived and ruled in Babylonia circa 3500 BC. Together with Shunir it formed part of one of the royal titles: "kings of Shunir (Sumer) and Accad."


a’-gag (’aghagh, or ‘aghagh, meaning unknown, possibly "violent," BDB): A name, or title, applied to the king of the Amalekites, like Abimelech in Philistia and Pharaoh in Egypt. It is used of two of these kings:

(1) A king of Amalek, mentioned by Balaam (Nu 24:7) in his blessing of Israel;

(2) A later king, in the days of King Saul (1Sa 15). Saul was sent with his army to destroy the Amalekites, who had so violently opposed Israel in the Wilderness. He disregarded the Divine command, sparing the best of the spoil, and saving Agag the king alive (1Sa 15:8,9). After rebuking Saul, Samuel had Agag put to death for all the atrocities committed by himself and his nation (1Sa 15:32,33).

Edward Mack


a’-gag-it, (’aghaghi, from, ‘aghagh, "a member of the house of Agag"): A title of opprobrium given to Haman (Es 3:1,10; 8:3,5; 9:24). Jewish tradition always assigned the arch-enemies of Israel membership in the house of Amalek, the hereditary foe of the nation. Compare Ant, XI, vi, 5. The word Agag has properly been taken by Delitzsch as related to the Assyrian agagu, "to be powerful," "vehement," "angry." In the Greek parts of Esther, Haman is termed a Macedonian (Es 1:2-6; 1:6-10). The name Haman is probably of Elamitic origin. Oppert’s attempt to connect the term "Agagite" with "Agaz," a Median tribe mentioned by Sargon, has found no supporters. See AGAG.

H. J. Wolf


a-gen’:Advb. denoting repetition; in New Testament, generally for palin, "back," "once more." Occasionally, it has the force of a connective, synonymous with "moreover," as in Ro 15:10 ff; 1Co 3:20, etc. The expression "born again" of the King James Version, Joh 3:3,7; 1Pe 1:23, translating the Greek "anothen" and "ana" in composition, becomes in the Revised Version (British and American) "anew," i.e. "over again." As these particles mean "from above" and "up," their use as indicating repetition is sometimes disputed, but without further foundation than that "again" does not exhaust the meaning.




a-genst’ (kata; enantion; pros): Preposition expressing contrast. When used of direction, equivalent to "toward" (Mt 10:35; 12:14, etc.); when of position, meaning "opposite," "facing," "in front of" (1Ki 7:5; Ge 15:10, Ro 8:31); when of action, "opposed to" (Mt 5:11; 26:59; 1Co 4:6); "in resistance to" (Heb 12:4); "provision for" (Greek eis, literally, "unto, toward" (1Ti 6:19)). Sometimes also applied to what breaks an established order as "customs" (Ac 28:17), "nature" (Ro 1:26). Peculiar shades of meaning may be traced by careful examination of the variety of prepositions in Hebrew and Greek employed in the Scriptures, that are translated into English by this one word.

H. E. Jacobs


ag’-a-pe (agape).

1. The Name and the Thing:

The name Agape or "love-feast," as an expression denoting the brotherly common meals of the early church, though of constant use and in the post-canonical literature from the time of Ignatius onward, is found in the New Testament only in Jude 1:12 and in 2Pe 2:13 according to a very doubtful reading. For the existence of the Christian common meal, however, we have abundant New Testament evidence. The"breaking of bread" practiced by the primitive community in Jerusalem according to Ac 2:42,46 must certainly be interpreted in the light of Pauline usage (1Co 10:16; 11:24) as referring to the ceremonial act of the Lord’s Supper. But the added clause in 2:46, "they took there food with gladness and singleness of heart," implies that a social meal was connected in some way with this ceremonial act. Paul’s references to the abuses that had sprung up in the Corinthian church at the meetings for the observance of the Lord’s Supper (1Co 11:20-22,33,34) make it evident that in Corinth as in Jerusalem the celebration of the rite was associated with participation in a meal of a more general character. And in one of the "we" sections of Ac (20:11) where Luke is giving personal testimony as to the manner in which the Lord’s Supper was observed by Paul in a church of his own founding, we find the breaking of bread associated with and yet distinguished from an eating of food, in a manner which makes it natural to conclude that in Troas, as in Jerusalem and Corinth, Christians when they met together on the first day of the week were accustomed to partake of a common meal. The fact that the name Agape or love-feast used in Jude 1:12 (Revised Version) is found early in the 2nd century and often afterward as a technical expression for the religious common meals of the church puts the meaning of Jude’s reference beyond doubt.

2. Origin of the Agape:

So far as the Jerusalem community was concerned, the common meal appears to have sprung out of the koinonia or communion that characterized the first days of the Christian church (compare Ac 1:14; 2:1 etc.). The religious meals familiar to Jews—the Passover being the great type—would make it natural In Jerusalem to give expression by means of table fellowship to the sense of brotherhood, and the community of goods practiced by the infant church (Ac 2:44; 4:32) would readily take the particular form of a common table at which the wants of the poor were supplied out of the abundance of the rich (Ac 6:1 ff). The presence of the Agape in the Greek church of Corinth was no doubt due to the initiative of Paul, who would hand on the observances associated with the Lord’s Supper just as he had received them from the earlier disciples; but participation in a social meal would commend itself very easily to men familiar with the common meals that formed a regular part of the procedure at meetings of those religious clubs and associations which were so numerous at that time throughout the Greek-Roman world.

3. Relation to the Eucharist:

In the opinion of the great majority of scholars the Agape was a meal at which not only bread and wine but all kinds of viands were used, a meal which had the double purpose of satisfying hunger and thirst and giving expression to the sense of Christian brotherhood. At the end of this feast, bread and wine were taken according to the Lord’s command, and after thanksgiving to God were eaten and drunk in remembrance of Christ and as a special means of communion with the Lord Himself and through Him with one another. The Agape was thus related to the Eucharist as Christ’s last Passover to the Christian rite which He grafted upon it. It preceded and led up to the Eucharist, and was quite distinct from it. In opposition to this view it has been strongly urged by some modern critical scholars that in the apostolic age the Lord’s Supper was not distinguished from the Agape, but that the Agape itself from beginning to end was the Lord’s Supper which was held in memory of Jesus. It seems fatal to such an idea, however, that while Paul makes it quite evident that bread and wine were the only elements of the memorial rite instituted by Jesus (1Co 11:23-29), the abuses which had come to prevail at the social gatherings of the Corinthian church would have been impossible in the case of a meal consisting only of bread and wine (compare 1Co 11:21,33 f) Moreover, unless the Eucharist in the apostolic age had been discriminated from the common meal, it would be difficult to explain how at a later period the two could be found diverging from each other so completely.

4. Separation from the Eucharist:

In the Didache (circa 100 AD) there is no sign as yet of any separation. The direction that the second Eucharistic prayer should be offered "after being filled" (x.1) appears to imply that a regular meal had immediately preceded the observance of the sacrament. In the Ignatian Epistles (circa 110 AD) the Lord’s Supper and the Agape are still found in combination (Ad Smyrn viii.2). It has sometimes been assumed that Pliny’s letter to Trajan (circa 112 AD) proves that the separation had already taken place, for he speaks of two meetings of the Christians in Bithynia, one before the dawn at which they bound themselves by a "sacramentum" or oath to do no kind of crime, and another at a later hour when they partook of food of an ordinary and harmless character (Ep x.96). But as the word "sacramentum" cannot be taken here as necessarily or even probably referring to the Lord’s Supper, the evidence of this passage is of little weight. When we come to Justin Martyr (circa 150 AD) we find that in his account of church worship he does not mention the Agape at all, but speaks of the Eucharist as following a service which consisted of the reading of Scripture, prayers and exhortation (Apol, lxvii); so that by his time the separation must have taken place. Tertullian (circa 200 AD) testifies to the continued existence of the Agape (Apol, 39), but shows clearly that in the church of the West the Eucharist was no longer associated with it (De Corona, 3). In the East the connection appears to have been longer maintained (see Bigg, Christian Platonists of Alexandria, 102 ff), but by and by the severance became universal; and though the Agape continued for long to maintain itself as a social function of the church, it gradually passed out of existence or was preserved only as a feast of charity for the poor.

5. Reasons for the Separation:

Various influences appear to have cooperated in this direction. Trajan’s enforcement of the old law against clubs may have had something to do with it (compare Pliny as above), but a stronger influence probably came from the rise of a popular suspicion that the evening meals of the church were scenes of licentious revelry and even of crime. The actual abuses which already meet us in the apostolic age (1Co 11:20 ff; Jude 1:12), and which would tend to multiply as the church grew in numbers and came into closer contact with the heathen world, might suggest the advisability of separating the two observances. But the strongest influence of all would come from the growth of the ceremonial and sacerdotal spirit by which Christ’s simple institution was slowly turned into a mysterious priestly sacrifice. To Christ Himself it had seemed natural and fitting to institute the Supper at the close of a social meal. But when this memorial Supper had been transformed into a repetition of the sacrifice of Calvary by the action of the ministering priest, the ascetic idea became natural that the Eucharist ought to be received fasting, and that it would be sacrilegious to link it on to the observances of an ordinary social meal.


Zahn, art "Agapen" in Hauck-Herzog, Realencyklopadie; Keating, Agape and Eucharist; Schaff, The Oldest Church Manual, chapter xviii; Lambert, Sacraments in the New Testament, Lect viii; Weizsacker, The Apostolic Age, etc., I. 52 ff.

J. C. Lambert


a’-gar (Agar). Found once in the Apocrypha in the Greek (Baruch 3:23) probably for the Old Testament Hagar, mother of Ishmael, whose children are mentioned with the merchants of Meran (Midian) and Teman. In 1Ch 5:10 the "Hagarites" the King James Version, are located East of Gilead, and In the days of Saul were at war with the tribe of Reuben. See also 1Ch 5:19,20 and 1Ch 27:31. In Ps 83:6 the name of the same people is Hagarenes.


ag-a-renz’:Baruch 3:23 the King James Version. In the Old Testament the word is HAGARENES (which see).

See also AGAR.

AGATE ag’-at.



aj: A period of time or a dispensation. In the above sense the word occurs only once in the King James Version, in the sing, as the translation of dor, which means, properly, a "revolution" or "round of time," "a period," "an age" or "generation of man’s life"; almost invariable translated "generation," "generations" (Job 8:8), "Inquire, I pray thee, of the former age"); we have the plural as the translation of aion, properly "duration," "the course or flow of time," "an age or period of the world," "the world" (Eph 2:7, "in the ages to come"; Col 1:26, "the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations," the English Revised Version, "from all ages," etc., the American Revised Version, margin, of geneai, "generations" (Eph 3:5 "generations," Eph 3:21, "unto all generations for ever and ever," Greek margin, "all the generations of the age of the ages"). "Ages is given in margin of the King James Version (Ps 145:13; Isa 26:4, "the rock of ages").

We have "age" in the above sense (2 Esdras 3:18; Tobit 14:5; aion) "ages," aion (1 Esdras 4:40 (of Truth) "she is the strength," etc., "of all ages"), genea, the Revised Version (British and American), "generation" (The Wisdom of Solomon 7:27; 1 Macc 2:61); Ecclesiasticus 24:33, eis geneas aionon, "generations of ages"; The Wisdom of Solomon 14:6, "generations’ (geneseos).

Revised Version has "age" for "world" (Heb 6:5); "ages" for "worlds" (the Revised Version, margin Heb 1:2; the American Revised Version, margin; compare 1Ti 1:17) (margin, "unto the ages of the ages"), "ages" for "world" (1Co 10:11; Heb 9:26). the English Revised Version has "all ages" for "the beginning of the world "( Eph 3:9, the American Standard Revised Version "for ages"); "king of the ages" for "king of saints" (Re 15:3, corrected text; margin, many ancient authorities read "nations"; Jer 10:7).


W. L. Walker


In individual lives (cheledh; helikia): We have scarcely any word in the Old Testament or New Testament which denotes "age" in the familiar modern sense; the nearest in the Old Testament is perhaps heledh, "life," "lifetime," and in the New Testament helikia, "full age," "manhood," but which is rendered stature in Mt 6:27, etc., the King James Version; cheledh occurs (Job 11:17), "Thine age shall be clearer than the noonday," the Revised Version (British and American) "(thy) life"; Ps 39:5, "Mine age is as nothing before thee," the American Standard Revised Version, "my life-time"); we have helikia (Joh 9:21,23), "He is of age"; Heb 11:11 "past age," Lu 2:52, "Jesus increased in wisdom and age," so the Revised Version, margin, King James Version margin, Eph 4:13); yom, day, (days) is used in the Old Testament to express "age" (Ge 47:28), the whole age of Jacob," the King James Version, "the days of the years of his life"; but it occurs mostly in connection with old age); ben, "son" (Nu 8:25; 1Ch 23:3,24); kelah, "to be complete," is translated "full age" (Job 5:26); teleios, "complete" (Heb 5:14), the Revised Version (British and American), full-grown men, margin, perfect", dor, a revolution," "a period" is translated "age" Isa 38:12, "Mine age is departed and removed from me as a shepherd’s tent," the American Standard Revised Version, "My dwelling is removed, and is carried away from me as a shepherd’s tent," the English Revised Version, "mine age," margin, "or habitation"; Delitzsch, "my home"; compare Ps 49:19, 20; 2Co 5:8. In New Testament we have etos, "year" (Mr 5:42), the Revised Version British and American, "old"; Lu 2:37; 3:23, "Jesus .... about 30 years of age". "Old age," "aged," are the translation of various words, zaqen zaqan, "the chin," "the beard", perhaps to have the chin sharp or hanging down, often translated "elders," "old man," etc. 2Sa 19:32, Job 12:20, 32:9, Jer 6:11.

In New Testament we have presbutes, "aged," "advanced in days" (Titus 2:2; Phm 1:9); presbutis, "aged woman" (Titus 2:3); probebekos en hemerais, advanced in days" (Lu 2:36); geras, "old age" (Lu 1:36).

Revised Version has "old" for "the age of" (1Ch 23:3), "own age" for "sort" (Da 1:10); "aged" for "ancients" (Ps 119:100), for "ancient" (Isa 47:6); for "old" (Heb 8:13); "aged men" for "the ancients" (Job 12:12); for "aged" (Job 12:20), "elders."

Regard for Old Age:

(1) Among the Hebrews (and Orientals generally) old age was held in honor, and respect was required for the aged (Le 19:32), "Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honor the face of the old man"; a mark of the low estate of the nation was that "The faces of elders were not honored"; "The elders have ceased from the gate" (La 5:12,14). Compare Job 29:8 (as showing the exceptionally high regard for Job). See also The Wisdom of Solomon 2:10; Ecclesiasticus 8:6.

(2) Old age was greatly desired and its attainment regarded as a Divine blessing (Ge 15:15; Ex 20:12, "that thy days may be long in the land"; Job 5:26; Ps 91:16, "With long life will I satisfy him"; Ps 92:14; compare Isa 65:20; Zec 8:4; 1Sa 2:32).

(3) A Divine assurance is given, "Even to old age I am he, and even to hoar hairs will I carry you" (Isa 46:4); hence it was looked forward to in faith and hope (Ps 71:9,18).

(4) Superior wisdom was believed to belong to the aged (Job 12:20; 15:10; 32:7,9; compare 1Ki 12:8); hence positions of guidance and authority were given to them, as the terms "elders," "presbyters" and (Arabic) "sheik" indicate.

W. L. Walker


a’-ge (aghe’," fugitive"): A Hararite, father of Shammah, one of David’s "three mighty men" (2Sa 23:11). In 1Ch 11:34 we read of one "Jonathan the son of Shagee the Hararite." The parallel in 2Sa 23:32,33 reads "Jonathan, Shammah the Hararite." If we read "Jonathan (son of) Shammah," then Agee is the grandfather of Jonathan. Some, however, think 1Ch 11:34 to be correct, and read "Shagee" for "Agee" in 2Sa 23:11, and for "Shammah" in 2Sa 23:33. This makes Jonathan and Shammah brothers.


Applied to Yahweh as an encouragement for trust (Isa 26:4 the Revised Version, margin; the King James Version "everlasting strength").


a-ga’-ba (Aggaba, and Agraba; the King James Version, Graba) = Hagabah (Ezr 2:45) and Hagaba (Ne 7:48): The descendants of Abraham (temple-servants) returned with Zerubbabel to Jerusalem (1 Esdras 5:29).

See also ACCABA.


a-ge’-us (Aggaios; the King James Version Aggeus). Haggai, one of the Minor Prophets. Abraham prophesied in the second year of the reign of Darius (compare Ezr 4:24; 5:1) with Zacharias in Jerusalem (1 Esdras 6:1; 7:3) In 2 Esdras 1:40 he is mentioned as one who with others shall be given as "leader to the nation from the east."


a’-gi-a (Agia; the King James Version Hagia) = Hattil (Ezr 2:57; Ne 7:59): The descendants of Abraham (sons of the servants of Solomon) returned with Zerubbabel to Jerusalem (1 Esdras 5:34).


a-gon’:In the King James Version of 1Sa 30:13. Old past participle of "to go." the Revised Version (British and American) has "ago," namely, "three days ago," literally, "the third day."


ag’-o-ni (agonia; Vulgate agonia):

A word occurring only once in the New Testament (Lu 22:44), and used to describe the climax of the mysterious soul-conflict and unspeakable suffering of our Lord in the garden at Gethsemane. The term is derived from the Greek agon "contest" and this in turn from the Greek ago "to drive or lead," as in a chariot race. Its root idea is the struggle and pain of the severest athletic contest or conflict. The wrestling of the athlete has its counterpart in the wrestling of the suffering soul of the Saviour in the garden. At the beginning of this struggle He speaks of His soul being exceeding sorrowful even unto death, and this tumult of emotion culminated in the agony. All that can be suggested by the exhausting struggles and sufferings of charioteers, runners, wrestlers and gladiators, in Grecian and Roman amphitheaters, is summed up in the pain and death-struggle of this solitary word "agony." The word was rendered by Wyclif (1382) "maad in agonye" Tyndale (1534) and following translators use an agony." The record of Jesus’ suffering in Gethsemane, in the Synoptic Gospels (Mt 26:36-46; Mr 14:32-42; Lu 22:39-46, and also in He 5:7,8) indicates that it was threefold:

1. Physical:

The agony of His soul wrought its pain on His body, until "his sweat became as it were great drops of blood falling down upon the ground" (Lu 22:44, omitted by some ancient authorities). He offered His prayers and supplications "with strong crying and tears" (He 5:7). The intensity of His struggle so distressed and weakened Him that Luke says "there appeared unto him an angel from heaven, strengthening him." The threefold record of the evangelists conveys the idea of the intensest physical pain. As the wire carries the electric current, so every nerve in Jesus’ physical being felt the anguish of His sensitive soul as He took upon Himself the burden of the world’s sin and moral evil.

2. Mental:

The crisis of Jesus’ career as Messiah and Redeemer came in Gethsemane. The moral issue of His atoning work was intelligently and voluntarily met here. The Gospels exhaust language in attempting to portray the stress and struggle of this conflict. "My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death." "Being in an agony he prayed more earnestly, saying, Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass away from me." The mental clearness of Christ’s vision of humanity’s moral guilt and the energy of will necessary to meet the issue and take "this cup" of being the world’s sin- bearer, indicate the awful sorrow and anguish of His supernatural conflict. It is divinely significant that the word "agony" appears but once in all Scripture. This solitary word records a solitary experience. Only One ever compassed the whole range of the world’s sorrow and pain, anguish and agony. The shame of criminal arrest in the garden and of subsequent condemnation and death as a malefactor had to His innocent soul the horror of humanity’s entire and ageless guilt. The mental and moral anguish of Jesus in Gethsemane interprets the meaning of Paul’s description of the atonement, "Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf" (2Co 5:21).

3. Spiritual:

The agony of Jesus was supremely within the realm of His spirit. The effect of sin in separating the human soul from God was fathomed by the suffering Saviour in the fathomless mystery of His supernatural sorrow. Undoubtedly the anguish of Gethsemane surpassed the physical torture of Calvary. The whole conflict was wrought out here. Jesus’ filial spirit, under the burden of the world’s guilt, felt isolated from the Father. This awful, momentary seclusion from His Father’s face constituted the "cup" which He prayed might pass from Him, and the "agony" of soul, experienced again on the cross, when He felt that God had forsaken Him.

No theory of the atonement can do justice to the threefold anguish of Jesus in Gethsemane and on Calvary, or to the entire trend of Scripture, that does not include the substitutionary element in His voluntary sacrifice, as stated by the prophet: "Yahweh hath laid on him the iniquity of us all," Isa 53:6; and by His apostles "who was delivered up for our trespasses," Ro 4:25; "who his own self bare our sins," 1Pe 2:24.

The word "agony" also occurs in 2 Macc 3:14,16,21 the King James Version (the Revised Version (British and American) "distress") in describing the distress of the people at the attempt of Heliodorus to despoil the treasury of the temple in the days of Onias.

Dwight M. Pratt


ag’-ra-fa (agrapha).

1. The Term and Its History:

The word agraphos of which agrapha is the neuter plural is met with in classical Greek and in Greek papyri in its primary sense of "unwritten," "unrecorded." In early Christian literature, especially in the writings of Clement of Alexandria, it was used of oral tradition; and in this sense it was revived by Koerner in a Leipzig Program issued in 1776 under the title De sermonibus Christi agraphois. For some time it was restricted to sayings of Christ not recorded in the Gospels and believed to have reached the sources in which they are found by means of oral tradition. As however graphe, the noun with which agrapha is connected, can have not only the general meaning "writing," but the special meaning "Scripture," the, adjective could signify not only "oral" but also uncanonical or "non-canonical"; and it was employed by Resch in the latter sense in the 1st edition of his great work on the subject which appeared in German in 1889 under the title, Agrapha: Extra-canonical Gospel Fragments. The term was now also extended so as to include narratives as well as sayings. In the second edition (also in German) it is further widened so as to embrace all extra-canonical sayings or passages connected with the Bible. The new title runs: Agrapha Extra-canonical Fragments of Scripture; and the volume contains a first collection of Old Testament agrapha. The term is still however used most frequently of non-canonical sayings ascribed to Jesus, and to the consideration of these this article will mainly be devoted.

2. Extent of Material:

Of the 361 agrapha and apocrypha given by Resch about 160 are directly ascribed to Christ. About 30 others can be added from Christian and Jewish sources and about 80 sayings found in Muhammadan literature (Expository Times, V, 59, 107, 177 f, 503 f, 561, etc.). The last-mentioned group, although not entirely without interest, may largely be disregarded as it is highly improbable that it represents early tradition. The others come from a variety of sources: the New Testament outside of the Gospels, Gospel manuscripts and VSS, Apocryphal Gospels and an early collection of sayings of Jesus, liturgical texts, patristic and medieval literature and the Talmud.

3. Sayings to Be Excluded:

Many of these sayings have no claim to be regarded as independent agrapha. At least five classes come under this category.

(1) Some are mere parallels or variants, for instance: "Pray and be not weary," which is evidently connected with Lu 18:1; and the saying in the Talmud: "I, the Gospel, did not come to take away from the law of Moses but to add to the law of Moses have I come" (Shab 116b) which is clearly a variant of Mt 5:17.

(2) Some sayings are made up of two or more canonical texts. "I chose you before the world was," for example, is a combination of Joh 15:19 and Eph 1:4; and "Abide in my love and I will give you eternal life" of Joh 8:31 and Joh 10:28.

(3) Misquotation or loose quotation accounts for a number of alleged agrapha. "Sodom is justified more than thou" seems to be really from Eze 16:53 and its context. "Let not the sun go down upon your wrath" is of apostolic not evangelic origin (Eph 4:26). "Anger destroys even the prudent" comes from Septuagint of Pr 15:1.

(4) Some sayings must be rejected because they cannot be traced to an early source, for instance, the fine saying: "Be brave in war, and fight with the old serpent, and ye shall receive eternal life," which is first met with in a text of the 12th century

(5) Several sayings are suspicious by reason of their source or their character. The reference to "my mother the Holy Spirit," in one of them, has no warrant in the acknowledged teaching of Christ and comes from a source of uncertain value, the Gospel according to the Hebrews. Pantheistic sayings such as "I am thou and thou art I, and wherever thou art I am"; "You are I and I am you"; and perhaps the famous saying: "Raise the stone and thou wilt find me; cleave the wood and there am I," as well as the sayings reported by Epiphanius from the Gospel of the Ebionites seem to breathe an atmosphere different from that of the canonical Gospels.

4. Sayings in New Testament:

When all the sayings belonging to these five classes, and a few others of liturgical origin, have been deducted there remain about thirty-five which are worthy of mention and in some cases of careful consideration. Some are dealt with in the article LOGIA (which see). The others, which are given here, are numbered consecutively to facilitate reference. The best authenticated are of course those found in the New Testament outside of the Gospels. These are

(1) the great saying cited by Paul at Miletus: "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Ac 20:35);

(2) the words used in the institution of the Eucharist preserved only in 1Co 11:24 f;

(3) the promise of the baptism of the Spirit (Ac 1:5, 11:16); and

(4) the answer to the question: "Dost thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" (Ac 1:7 f). Less certain are

(5) the description of the Second Advent, said to be "by the word of the Lord" (1Th 4:15 ff); and

(6) the promise of the crown of life to them that love God (Jas 1:12).

5. Sayings in Manuscripts and Versions:

Of considerable interest are some additions, in manuscripts of the Gospels and versions One of the most remarkable

(7) is the comment of Jesus on a man’s working on the Sabbath day inserted after Lu 6:4 in Codex Bezae (D) and the Freer manuscript recently discovered in Egypt: "If thou knowest what thou doest, O man, blessed art thou, but if thou knowest not, thou art accursed and a transgressor of the law." Another

(8) also found in D and in several other authorities is appended to Mt 20:28: "But ye seek ye from little to increase and from greater to be less." In the Curetonian Syriac the latter clause runs: "and not from greater to be less." The new saying is noteworthy but obscure. A third passage

(9) of less value but still of interest is an insertion in the longer ending of Mark, between 16:14 and 16:15, which was referred to by Jerome as present in codices in his day but has now been met with in Greek for the first time in the above-mentioned Freer MS. (For facsimile see American Journal of Archaeology, 1908.) In reply to a complaint of the disciples about the opposition of Satan and their request: "Therefore reveal thy righteousness even now," Jesus is reported to have said: "The limit of the years of the authority of Satan is fulfilled, but other dreadful things are approaching, and in behalf of those who had sinned was I delivered unto death in order that they might return to the truth and might sin no longer, that they might inherit the spiritual and incorruptible glory of righteousness in heaven." This alleged utterance of the risen Lord is most probably of secondary character (compare Gregory, Das Freer Logion; Swete, Two New Gospel Fragments).

6. Sayings from the Fathers, etc.:

Apocryphal and patristic literature supplies some notable sayings. The first place must be given

(10) to the great saying which in its shortest form consists of only three words: "Be ("become," "show yourselves to be") approved money-changers." Resch (Agrapha2, number 87) gives 69 references, at least 19 of which date from the 2nd and 3rd centuries, although they represent only a few authorities, all Egyptian. The saying seems to have circulated widely in the early church and may be genuine. Other early sayings of interest or value, from these sources, must be given without comment.

(11) "The heavenly Father willeth the repentance of the sinner rather than his punishment" (Justin Martyr).

(12) "That which is weak shall be saved by that which is strong" (circa 300 AD).

(13) "Come out from bonds ye who will" (Clement of Alexandria).

(14) "Be thou saved and thy soul" (Theodotus in id).

(15) "Blessed are they who mourn for the perdition of unbelievers" (Didaskalia).

(16) "He who is near me is near the fire; he who is far from me is far from the kingdom" (Origen).

(17) "He who has not been tempted has not been approved" (Didaskalia, etc.).

(18) He who makes sad a brother’s spirit is one of the greatest of criminals" (Ev Heb).

(19) "Never be glad except when ye have seen your brother in love" (same place).

(20) "Let not him who seeks cease .... until he find, and when he finds he shall be astonished; astonished he shall reach the kingdom, and when he has reached the kingdom he shall rest" (Clement of Alexandria and Logia of Oxyrhynchus).

(21) In a fragment of a Gospel found by Grenfell and Hunt at Oxyrhynchus (O Papyri number 655) is the following non-canonical passage in a canonical context: "He Himself will give you clothing. His disciples say unto Him: When wilt thou be manifest to us and when shall we see thee? He saith: When ye shall be stripped and not be ashamed." The saying or apocryphon exhibits considerable likeness to a saying cited by Clement of Alexandria from the Gospel according to the Egyptians, but the difference is great enough to make original identity doubtful. Another fragment found by the same explorers on the same site (O Papyri number 840) preserves two agrapha or apocrypha which though clearly secondary are very curious. The first

(22) is the concluding portion of a saying about the punishment of evil-doers: "Before a man does wrong he makes all manner of subtle excuses. But give heed lest you also suffer the same things as they for the evil-doers among men receive not their due among the living (Greek zois) only but also await punishment and much torment." Professor Swete (Two New Gospel Fragments), accents zoois as the plural of zoon and thus finds a contrast between the fate of animals and that of human beings. The second saying

(23) is a rather lengthy reply to the complaint of a Pharisaic stickler for outward purity. The most interesting part of it as edited by Swete runs as follows: "Woe to you blind who see not.... But I and my disciples who thou sayest have not been dipped have dipped in the waters of eternal life which come down from God out of heaven." All these texts from Oxyrhynchus probably date from the 2nd century. Other Egypt sources, the so-called Coptic Apocryphal Gospels (Texts and Studies Camb. IV, 2, 1896), contain several sayings which are of interest as coming from the same religious environment. The following three are the most remarkable.

(24) "Repent, for it is better that a man find a cup of water in the age that is coming than all the riches of this world" (130).

(25) "Better is a single footstep in My Father’s house than all the wealth of this world" (130 f).

(26) "Now therefore have faith in the love of My Father; for faith is the end of all things" (176). As in the case of the Logia these sayings are found in association with canonical sayings and parallels. Since the Logan may well have numbered scores, if not hundreds, it is at least possible that these Coptic sayings may have been taken from the missing portions of this collection, or a recension of it, and therefore they are not unworthy of notice as conceivably early agrapha. To these sayings of Christian derivation may be added

(27) one Muhammadan saying, that inscribed in Arabic on the chief gateway of the city Futteypore Sikri built by Akbar: "The world is but a bridge, over which you must pass, but must not linger to build your dwelling" (In the Himalayas by Miss Gordon Cumming, cited by Griffenhoofe, The Unwritten Sayings of Christ, 128).

7. Result:

Although the number of agrapha purporting to be sayings of Jesus which have been collected by scholars seems at first sight imposing, those which have anything like a strong claim to acceptance on the ground of early and reliable source and internal character are disappointingly few. Of those given above numbers 1-4, 7, 8, 10 which have mostly early attestation clearly take precedence of the rest. Numbers 11-20 are early enough and good enough to merit respectful consideration. Still the proportion of genuine, or possibly genuine, material is very small. Ropes is probably not far from the truth when he remarks that "the writers of the Synoptic Gospels did their work so well that only stray bits here and there, and these but of small value, were left for the gleaners." On the other hand it is not necessary to follow Wellhausen in rejecting the agrapha in toto. Recent discoveries have shown that they are the remains of a considerable body of extra-canonical sayings which circulated more or less in Christian circles, especially in Egypt, in the early centuries, and the possible presence in what we possess of a sentence or two actually spoken by Jesus fully justifies research.

8. Other Agrapha:

The second edition of the work of Resch includes 17 agrapha from manuscripts of Ac and 1 Joh most of which are from Codex Bezae (D), 31 apostolic apocrypha, and 66 agrapha and apocrypha connected with the Old Testament. 19 of the latter are largely taken from pseudepigrapha, a pseudo-Ezekiel for instance These agrapha some of which are really textual variants are of inferior interest and value.


The chief authorities are the German book of the American scholar J. H. Ropes, Die Spruche Jesu, die in den kanonischen Evangelien nicht uberliefert sind, and his article "Agrapha in HDB (extra vol); and the often-mentioned work of Resch. The former has great critical value, and the latter, especially in the 2nd edition, is a veritable thesaurus of material. For a full survey of the literature up to 1905 see that work, pp. 14-17. There is much criticism in Bauer’s Das Leben Jesu im Zeitalter der neutestamentlichen Apokryphen, chapter vii. Among smaller works special mention may be made of Prebendary Blomfield’s Twenty-Five Agrapha (1900); and the book of Griffenhoofe, the title of which is given above. There are recent articles on the subject in HDB (1909), "Unwritten Sayings," and DCG, "Sayings (Unwritten)"; Am. Journal of Archaeology, XII (1908), 49-55; H. A. Sanders, New manuscripts from Egypt; also ib, XIII (1909), 130.


William Taylor Smith


a-gra’-ri-an loz: 1. The Sabbath Year 2. The Jubilee 3. Its Object 4. The Legal Rules 5. Ideas and Circumstances of the Legislation 6. Form of the Legislation 7. Its Operation and Extension 8. Other Laws Affecting the Land The Mosaic provisions on this subject form one of the most characteristic and interesting portions of the legislation. The main institutions are two, namely, the Sabbath year and the jubilee, and they are closely linked together.

1. The Sabbath Year:

In every seventh year the land was to lie fallow "that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave the beast of the field shall eat" (Ex 23:10 f; compare Le 25:2-7). ‘And the Sabbath of the land shall be for food for you; for thee, and for thy servant, and for thy maid, and for thy hired servant and for thy stranger that sojourn with thee; but for thy cattle, and for the beasts that are in thy land, shall all the increase thereof be for food’ (Le 25:6 f). This has been quoted at length because the rendering of English Versions of the Bible is misleading. "The Sabbath of the land" does not mean that the natural increase thereof is to be eaten by the Israelite peasant. That interpretation is excluded by Le 25:3-5,20-22. What is intended is clearly shown by the latter of these two passages, "I will command my blessing upon you in the sixth year." The principle on which the manna had been provided for Sabbaths was to apply to the harvest of the sixth year, and this is the import of the phrase.

2. The Jubilee:

After "seven sabbaths of years, even forty and tone years" a trumpet was to be blown throughout the land on the tenth day of the seventh month (i.e. the Day of Atonement) and the fiftieth year was to be hallowed and celebrated as a "jubilee." No agricultural work of any kind was to be performed, but "ye may (so correct EVV) eat the increase thereof out of the field" (Le 25:12). God would so bless the land in the sixth year that it would bring forth enough for the Sabbath year, the ensuing jubilee and the subsequent period to the harvest of the ninth year (Le 25:20-22).

3. Its Object:

In addition to being a period in which the land was left fallow, the jubilee was intended to meet the economic evils that befell peasants in ancient societies. Wars or unfavorable seasons would soon reduce a farmer to a condition in which he would have to borrow. But money is rarely to be had without interest and security, and in early communities the rates of interest were very high indeed, while the only security the farmer could offer would consist of his land and the persons of himself and his children. Hence we find insolvency giving rise to the alienation of land and to slavery all over the world—sometimes with the retention of civil rights (as in Rome and Israel), at others in a more unalloyed form. The jubilee aims at both these evils. It is provided that in that year the peasants who had lost their full freedom through insolvency should be free (see Wiener, Studies in Biblical Law, 5 ff) and all lands that had been sold should return to the original owner or his family. "And the land shall not be sold in perpetuity; for the land is mine: for ye are strangers and sojourners with me" (Lev 25:23). To this theory there are parallels elsewhere, e.g. in Togoland (Heinrici, Zeitschrift fur vergleichende Rechtswissenschaft, XI, 138).

4. The Legal Rules:

Le 25$ containing the land laws gives effect to this view by enacting that when an Israelite was compelled to part with his land there was to be a "redemption" of land, and that in default of redemption the land should return to its original owner in the jubilee year. This "redemption" covers two ideas—a right of preemption by the next of kin the first instance, and if that were not exercised, a right on the part of the original owner to buy back the land before the jubilee (Le 25:24-28). The theory did not apply to houses in walled cities. Those might be redeemed within a year of sale: in default the property passed for ever and was unaffected by the jubilee (Le 25:29 f). Villages were reckoned as country (Le 25:31). The Levitical cities were subject to the rules of land, not of walled cities (Le 25:32 f; read with the Vulgate in the American Revised Version, margin, "if they have not been redeemed" in Le 25:32), and their fields were not to be sold (Le 25:34). All sales of lands to which the jubilee applied were to be made on the basis of the number of crops (Le 25:14 ff); in fact, what was sold was not the property itself but the usufruct (i.e. the right of using, reaping, etc.) till the year of the jubilee. Similarly with the laws of Le 27:16-25, where the general principle is that if a field be sanctified the value shall be estimated according to the number of years to the jubilee. Unfortunately the text is corrupt and it is impossible to make out the exact circumstances in which no further redemption was allowed (Le 27:20).

5. Ideas and Circumstances of the Legislation:

"The land laws are the product of many independent ideas and circumstances. .... First such a system as that expounded in the 25th chapter of Le could only be put forward by one who had to work on what is so very rare in history—a clean slate. In other words, the system of land tenure here laid down could only be introduced in this way by men who had no preexisting system to reckon with. Secondly, there is (mutatis mutandis) a marked resemblance between the provisions of Le and the system introduced in Egypt by Joseph (Ge 47$). The land is the Lord’s as it is Pharaoh’s; but the towns which are built on that land are not subject to the same theory or the same rules. Perhaps the explanation is that Joseph’s measures had affected only those who gained their living by agriculture, i.e. the dwellers in the country. Thirdly, the system shows the enormous power that the conception of family solidarity possessed in the Mosaic age. .... And fourthly, the enactment is inspired and illuminated by the humanitarian and religious convictions to which reference has already been made" (Journal of Transactions of the Victoria Institute, XLI, 160). Undoubtedly the most striking feature of the enactment is to be found in these religious convictions with the absolute reliance on constant Divine intervention to secure the working of the law (Ge 47:20 ff).

6. Form of the Legislation:

Le 26$ shows clearly that this legislation was conceived as the terms of a covenant made between God and the children of Israel, and it appears from Le 26:42-45 that this of the covenant was regarded as being connected with the covenants with the patriarchs though it is also a covenant made with the generation that came forth from Egypt. The land was originally promised to Abraham in a covenant (Ge 17$) and it would seem that these laws are regarded as attaching to that covenant which had been renewed with his descendants. Indeed the laws appear to be presented as terms of the sworn agreement (covenant) under which God was about to give Israel the possession of Canaan.

7. Its Operation and Extension:

As respects the operation of these laws we have no information as to the observance of any fallow years before the Exile: 2Ch 36:21 is rather unfavorable, but so obviously echoes Le 26:43 that it scarcely seems to be meant as a historical statement. But traces are to be found of the operation of other parts of the system. Ru 4 shows us the law of redemption working, but with two notable extensions. Widows have acquired a right of property in their husbands’ estates, and when the next of kin refuses to redeem, the right passes to the kinsman who is nearest in succession. Neither of these cases is contemplated by the Pentateuch: both appear to be fresh applications of the Levitical law which, like all other legislations, had to be adapted to meet new sets of facts as they arose. Similarly Jer 32 illustrates the law of preemption, but here a small difficulty arises, for Le 25:34 forbids the sale of the suburbs of the Levitical cities. Probably however this refers only to sale outside the family and not as here to the nearest kinsman and heir presumptive. Similarly Eze twice refers to the jubilee (Eze 7:12 f and Eze 46:17) in terms that seem to show that he knew it as an existing institution (see SBL, 96; Churchman, May, 1906, 292). Historical traces of the Levitical cities are mentioned in the article LEVITICAL CITIES. It should be added that under the monarchy a rule seems to have been introduced that derelict lands fell to the king (see 2Sa 9:9; 1Ki 21:16; 2Ki 8:3,6).

In later times there are several references to the fallow of the Sabbatical year (1 Macc 6:49,53; Ant, XIII, viii, 1, XIV, x, 6, etc.).

8. Other Laws Affecting the Land:

In addition to these laws Moses enacted provisions favoring gleaning, on which see POOR. He also prohibited sowing a field or vineyard with two kinds of seed (Le 19:19; De 22:9) and prescribed that for three years the fruit of trees should not be eaten, while in the fourth it should be holy, and in the fifth it was to be available for ordinary purposes (Le 19:23 ff).

Harold M. Wiener


a-gre’ (sumphoneo, "to be of the same mind," "to come to a mutual understanding"): This is the sense of the word in Mt 20:2; Joh 9:22, and other passages. In Mr 14:56 the word is isos and has the thought not only that their words did not agree, but also that the testimony was not in agreement with or equal to what the law required in such a case. The thought of being equal occurs also in 1Joh 5:8.

The figurative use of the word in Mt 18:19 makes it of special interest. The word there is sumphoneo, from which comes our word symphony, meaning a harmonious blending. This agreement therefore is complete. Three persons are introduced: two human beings and the Father. They are in perfect agreement on the subject or purpose under consideration. It is therefore an inward unity produced by the Holy Spirit leading the two into such an agreement with the Father. There will follow then, as a matter of course, what is promised in Mt 18:19,20. In Ac 5:9 it sets forth the justice of Peter in dealing in the same manner in both cases. Ananias and Sapphira were in perfect agreement and equally guilty (Lu 5:36; Ac 15:15).

Jacob W. Kapp


ag’-ri-kul-tur, ag’-ri-kul-chur:



III. AGRICULTURAL PURSUITS 1. Growing of Grain (1) Plowing and Sowing (2) Reaping (3) Threshing 2. Care of Vineyards 3. Raising of Flocks I. Development of Agriculture.

One may witness in Syria and Palestine today the various stages of social progress through which the people of Bible times passed in which the development of their agriculture played an important part. To the East the sons of Ishmael still wander in tribes from place to place, depending upon their animals for food and raiment, unless by a raid they can secure the fruits of the soil from the peoples, mostly of their own blood, who have given up wandering and are supporting themselves by tilling the ground. It is only a short step from this frontier life to the more protected territory toward the Mediterranean, where in comparatively peaceful surroundings, the wanderers become stationary. If the land which they have come to possess is barren and waterless, they become impoverished physically and spiritually, but if they have chosen the rarer spots where underground streams burst forth into valleys covered with alluvial deposits (Ex 3:8), they prosper and there springs up the more complicated community life with its servants, hirelings, gardeners, etc. A division of labor ensues. Some leave the soil for the crafts and professions but still depend upon their farmer neighbors for theft sustenance. (1Ki 5:11.) Such was the variety of life of the people among whom Jesus lived, and of their ancestors, and of the inhabitants of the land long before the children of Israel came to take possession of it. Bible history deals with the Hebrews at a period when a large proportion of that people were engaged in agrarian pursuits, hence we find its pages filled with references to agricultural occupations.

II. Climatic Conditions and Fertility.

With climatic conditions and fertility so varied, the mode of cultivation, seedtime and harvest differed even in closely adjacent territory. On the coastal plains and in the low Jordan valley the soil was usually rich and the season was early, whereas the mountainous regions and high interior plains the planting and reaping times were from two weeks to a month later. To make use of the soil on the hillsides, terracing was frequently necessary.

Examples of these old terraces still exist. On the unwatered plains the crops could be grown only In the winter and spring, i.e. during the rainy season. These districts dried up in May or June and remained fallow during the rainless summer. The same was true of the hilly regions and valleys except where water from a stream could be diverted from its channel and spread over the fields. In such districts crops could be grown irrespective of the seasons. See IRRIGATION.

III. Agricultural Pursuits.

To appreciate the many references in the Bible to agricultural pursuits and the frequent allusions of our Lord to the fields and their products, we must remember how different were the surroundings of the farmers of that day from those among which most of us live or with which we are acquainted. What knowledge we have of these pursuits is drawn from such references as disclose methods bearing a close similarity to those of the present day. The strong tendency to resist change which is everywhere manifest throughout the country and the survival of ancient descriptive words in the language of today further confirm our belief that we now witness in this country the identical operations which were used two thousand or more years ago. It would be strange if there were not a variety of ways by which the same object was accomplished when we remember that the Hebrew people benefited by the experience of the Egyptians, of the Babylonians, of the inhabitants of the land of their adoption, as well as of its late European conquerors. For this reason the drawings found on the Egyptian monuments, depicting agricultural scenes, help us to explain the probable methods used in Palestine.

Three branches of agriculture were more prominent than the others; the growing of grain, the care of vineyards (Nu 18:30), and the raising of flocks. Most households owned fields and vineyards and the richer added to these a wealth of flocks. The description of Job’s wealth (in Job 1) shows that he was engaged in all these pursuits. Hezekiah’s riches as enumerated in 2Ch 32:27,28 suggest activity in each of these branches.

1. Growing of Grain:

In this and following descriptions, present-day methods as far as they correspond to ancient records will be dealt with.

(1) Plowing and sowing.

On the plains, little or no preparation for plowing is needed, but in the hilly regions, the larger stones, which the tilling of the previous season has loosened and which the winter’s rains have washed bare, are picked out and piled into heaps on some ledge, or are thrown into the paths, which thus become elevated above the fields which they traverse. (See FIELD.) If grain is to be planted, the seed is scattered broadcast by the sower. If the land has not been used for some time the ground is first plowed, and when the seed has been scattered is plowed again. The sower may keep his supply of seed in a pocket made by pulling up his outer garment through his girdle to a sufficient extent for it to sag down outside his girdle in the form of a loose pouch. He may, on the other hand, carry it in a jar or basket as the sowers are pictured as doing on the Egyptian monuments. As soon as the seed is scattered it is plowed in before the ever-present crows and ravens can gather it up. The path of the plow in the fields of the hilly regions is a tortuous one because of the boulders jutting out here and there (Mt 13:3 ff) or because of the ledges which frequently lie hidden just beneath the surface (the rocky places of Christ’s parable).

When the plowman respects the footpaths which the sufferance of the owner has allowed to be trodden across his fields or which mark the boundaries between the lands of different owners, and leaves them unplowed, then the seed which has fallen on these portions becomes the food of the birds. Corners of the field where the plow cannot reach are hoed by hand. Harrowing-in as we know it is not practiced today, except on some of the larger plains, and probably was not used in Palestine in earlier times. See HARROW.

(2) Reaping.

After the plowing is over, the fields are deserted until after the winter rains, unless an unusually severe storm of rain and hail (Ex 9:25) has destroyed the young shoots. Then a second sowing is made. In April, if the hot east winds have not blasted the grain (see BLASTING) the barley begins to ripen. The wheat follows from a week to six weeks later, depending upon the altitude. Toward the end of May or the first week in June, which marks the beginning of the dry season, reaping begins. Whole families move out from their village homes to spend the time in the fields until the harvest is over. Men and women join in the work of cutting the grain. A handful of grain is gathered together by means of a sickle held in the right hand. The stalks thus gathered in a bunch are then grasped by the left hand and at the same time a pull is given which cuts off some of the stalks a few inches above ground (see STUBBLE) and pulls the rest up by the roots. These handfuls are laid behind the reapers and are gathered up by the helpers (see GLEANING), usually the children, and made into piles for transporting to the threshing- floor.

(3) Threshing.

The threshing-floors are constructed in the fields, preferably in an exposed position in order to get the full benefit of the winds. If there is a danger of marauders they are clustered together close to the village. The floor is a level, circular area 25 to 40 ft. in diameter, prepared by first picking out the stones, and then wetting the ground, tamping or rolling it, and finally sweeping it. A border of stones usually surrounds the floor to keep in the grain. The sheaves of grain which have been brought on the backs of men, donkeys, camels, or oxen, are heaped on this area, and the process of tramping out begins. In some localities several animals, commonly oxen or donkeys, are tied abreast and driven round and round the floor. In other places two oxen are yoked together to a drag, the bottom of which is studded with pieces of basaltic stone. This drag, on which the driver, and perhaps his family, sits or stands, is driven in a circular path over the grain. In still other districts an instrument resembling a wheel harrow is used, the antiquity of which is confirmed by the Egyptian records. The supply of unthreshed grain is kept in the center of the floor. Some of this is pulled down from time to time into the path of the animals. All the while the partly threshed grain is being turned over with a fork. The stalks gradually become broken into short pieces and the husks about the grain are torn off. This mixture of chaff and grain must now be winnowed. This is done by tossing it into the air so that the wind may blow away the chaff (see WINNOWING). When the chaff is gone then the grain is tossed in a wooden tray to separate from it the stones and lumps of soil which clung to the roots when the grain was reaped. The difference in weight between the stones and grain makes separation by this process possible (see SIFT). The grain is now poled in heaps and in many localities is also sealed. This process consists in pressing a large wooden seal against the pile. When the instrument is removed it leaves an impression which would be destroyed should any of the grain be taken away. This allows the government offers to keep account of the tithes and enables the owner to detect any theft of grain. Until the wheat is transferred to bags some one sleeps by the pries on the threshing-floor. If the wheat is to be stored for home consumption it is often first washed with water and spread out on goats’ hair mats to dry before it is stored in the wall compartments found in every house (see STOREHOUSES). Formerly the wheat was ground only as needed. This was then a household task which was accomplished with the hand-mill or mortar (see MILL).

2. Care of Vineyards:

No clearer picture to correspond with present-day practice in vine culture (see VINE) in Palestine could be given than that mentioned in Isa 5:1,6. Grapes probably served an important part in the diet of Bible times as they do at present. In the season which begins in July and extends for at least three months, the humblest peasant as well as the richest landlord considers grapes as a necessary part of at least one meal each day. The grapes were not only eaten fresh but were made into wine (see WINE PRESS). No parallel however can be found in the Bible for the molasses which is made by boiling down the fresh grape juice. Some writers believe that this substance was meant in some passages translated by wine or honey, but it is doubtful. The care of the vineyards fitted well into the farmer’s routine, as most of the attention required could be given when the other crops demanded no time.

3. Raising of Flocks:

The leaders of ancient Israel reckoned their flocks as a necessary part of their wealth (see SHEEP). When a man’s flocks were his sole possession he often lived with them and led them in and out in search of pasturage (Ps 23; Mt 18:12), but a man with other interests delegated this task to his sons (1Sa 16:11) or to hirelings. Human nature has not changed since the time when Christ made the distinction between the true shepherd and the hireling (Joh 10:12). Within a short time of the writing of these words the writer saw a hireling cursing and abusing the stray members of a flock which he was driving, not leading as do good shepherds. The flock furnished both food and raiment. The milk of camels, sheep and goats was eaten fresh or made into curdled milk, butter or cheese. More rarely was the flesh of these animals eaten (see FOOD). The peasant’s outer coat is still made of a tawed sheepskin or woven of goats’ hair or wool (see WEAVING). The various agricultural operations are treated more fully under their respective names, (which see) . James A. Patch


a-grip’-a. See HEROD.


a’-gu (qaddachath): In Le 26:16 the King James Version is one of the diseases threatened as a penalty for disobedience to the law. The malady is said to "consume the eyes, and make the soul to pine away." The word means burning (Vulgate "ardor") and was probably intended to denote the malarial fever so common now both in the Shephelah and in the Jordan valley. In Septuagint the word used (ikteros) means jaundice, which often accompanies this fever. the Revised Version (British and American) translates it "fever." See FEVER.


a’-gur (’aghur, seeming, from comparison with Arabic roots, to mean either "hireling," or "collector," "gatherer"): One of the contributors to Proverbs; his words being included in Pr 30. He takes an agnostic attitude toward God and transcendent things, and in general the range of his thought, as compared with that of other authors, is pedestrian. He shows, however, a tender reverence and awe. His most notable utterance, perhaps, is the celebrated Prayer of Agur (Pr 30:7-9), which gives expression to a charming golden mean of practical ideal. His sayings are constructed on a rather artificial plan; having the form of the so-called numerical proverb. See under PROVERBS, THE BOOK OF, II, 6.

John Franklin Genung


In proper names. See AHI.


a, a-ha’:Interjections of frequent occurrence in the Old Testament, representing different Hebrew words and different states of feeling.

(1) ‘ahah, expressing complaint and found in the phrase "Ah, Lord Yahweh" (Jer 1:6; 4:10 etc.; Eze 4:14 etc.). Elsewhere the word is translated "alas!" (Joe 1:15).

(2) ‘ach, occurs once (Eze 21:15), expressing grief in contemplating Israel’s destruction.

(3) he’ach, usually expresses malicious joy over the reverses of an enemy, and is introduced by the verb "to say" (Brown-Driver-Briggs’ Lexicon); so in Ps 35:21,25; Eze 25:3; 26:2; 36:2; in the repeated Psalm 40:15; 70:3. It expresses satiety in Isa 44:16; and represents the neighing of a horse in Job 39:25.

(4) hoy, expresses grief or pain, (Isa 1:4; Jer 22:18). In 1Ki 13:30 it is translated "alas!" More frequently it is used to indicate that a threat of judgment is to follow (Isa 10:5; 29:1); or to direct attention to some important announcement (Isa 55:1), where the Hebrew word is translated "Ho."

(5) Greek oua, in Mr 15:29, used by those who mocked Jesus, as He hung upon the cross. All of these words are evidently imitative of the natural sounds, which spontaneously give expression to these emotions of complaint, grief, pain, exultation, etc.

Edward Mack


a’-hab (’ach’abh, Assyrian a-cha-ab-bu; Septuagint Achaab, but Jer 29:21 f, Achiab, which, in analogy with’-h-y- m-l-k, (’)-h-y-’-l, etc., indicates an original ‘achi’abh, meaning "the father is my brother"): The compound probably signifies that "the father," referring to God, has been chosen as a brother.

1. Ahab’s Reign:

Ahab, son of Omri, the seventh king of Israel, who reigned for twenty-two years, from 876 to 854 (1Ki 16:28 ff), was one of the strongest and at the same time one of the weakest kings of Israel. With his kingdom he inherited also the traditional enemies of the kingdom, who were no less ready to make trouble for him than for his predecessors. Occupying a critical position at the best, with foes ever ready to take advantage of any momentary weakness, the kingdom, during the reign of Ahab, was compelled to undergo the blighting effects of misfortune, drought and famine. But Ahab, equal to the occasion, was clever enough to win the admiration and respect of friend and foe, strengthening the kingdom without and within. Many of the evils of his reign, which a stronger nature might have overcome, were incident to the measures that he took for strengthening the kingdom.

2. His Foreign Policy:

In the days of David and Solomon a beneficial commercial intercourse existed between the Hebrews and the Phoenicians. Ahab, recognizing the advantages that would accrue to his kingdom from an alliance with the foremost commercial nation of his time, renewed the old relations with the Phoenicians and cemented them by his marriage with Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal, king of Tyre (the Ithobalos, priest of Astarte mentioned by Meander). He next turns his attention to the establishment of peaceful and friendly relations with the kindred and neighboring kingdom of Judah. For the first time since the division of the kingdoms the hereditary internecine quarrels are forgotten, "and Jehoshaphat," the good king of Judah, "made peace with the king of Israel." This alliance, too, was sealed by a marriage relationship, Jehoram, the crown-prince of Judah, being united in marriage with the princess Athaliah, daughter of Ahab.

Perhaps some additional light is thrown upon Ahab’s foreign policy by his treatment of Benhadad, king of Damascus. An opportunity was given to crush to dust the threatening power of Syria. But when Benhadad in the garb of a suppliant was compelled to sue for his life, Ahab received into kindly as his brother, and although denounced by the prophets for his leniency, spared his enemy and allowed him to depart on the condition that he would restore the cities captured from Omri, and concede certain "streets" in Damascus as a quarter for Israelite residents. No doubt Ahab thought that a king won as a friend by kindness might be of greater service to Israel than a hostile nation, made still more hostile, by having its king put to death. Whatever Ahab’s motives may have been, these hereditary foes really fought side by side against the common enemy, the king of Assyria, in the battle at Karkar on the Orontes in the year 854, as is proved by the inscription on the monolith of Shalmaneser II, king of Assyria.

3. His Religious Policy:

Ahab’s far-sighted foreign policy was the antithesis of his short-sighted religious policy. Through his alliance with Phoenicia he not only set in motion the currents of commerce with Tyre, but invited Phoenician religion as well. The worship of Yahweh by means of the golden calves of Jeroboam appeared antiquated to him. Baal, the god of Tyre, the proud mistress of the seas and the possessor of dazzling wealth, was to have an equal place with Yahweh, the God of Israel. Accordingly he built in Samara a temple to Baal and in it erected an altar to that god, and at the side of the altar a pole to Asherab (1Ki 16:32,33). On the other hand he tried to serve Yahweh by naming his children in his honor—Ahaziah ("Yah holds"), Jehoram ("Yah is high"), and Athaliah ("Yah is strong"). However, Ahab failed to realize that while a coalition of nations might be advantageous, a syncretism of their religions would be disastrous. He failed to apprehend the full meaning of the principle, "Yahweh alone is the God of Israel." In Jezebel, his Phoenician wife, Ahab found a champion of the foreign culture, who was as imperious and able as she was vindictive and unscrupulous. She was the patron of the prophets of Baal and of the devotees of Asherab (1Ki 18:19,20; 19:1,2) At her instigation the altars of Yahweh were torn down. She inaugurated the first great religious persecution of the church, killing off the prophets of Yahweh with the sword. In all this she aimed at more than a syncretism of the two religions; she planned to destroy the religion of Yahweh root and branch and put that of Baal in its place. In this Ahab did not oppose her, but is guilty of conniving at the policy of his unprincipled wife, if not of heartily concurring in it.

4. The Murder of Naboth:

Wrong religious principles have their counterpart in false ethical ideals and immoral civil acts. Ahab, as a worshipper of Baal, not only introduced a false religion, but false social ideals as well. The royal residence was in Jezreel, which had probably risen in importance through his alliance with Phoenicia. Close to the royal palace was a vineyard (1Ki 21:1) owned by Naboth, a native of Jezreel. This piece of ground was coveted by Ahab for a vegetable garden. He demanded therefore that Naboth should sell it to into or exchange it for a better piece of land. Naboth declined the offer. Ahab, a Hebrew, knowing the laws of the land, was stung by the refusal and went home greatly displeased. Jezebel, however, had neither religious scruples nor any regard for the civil laws of the Hebrews. Accordingly she planned a high-handed crime to gratify the whim of Ahab. In the name and by the authority of the king she had Naboth falsely accused of blasphemy against God and the king, and had him stoned to death by the local authorities. The horror created by this judicial murder probably did as much to finally overthrow the house of Omri as did the favor shown to the Tyrian Baal.

5. Ahab and Elijah:

Neither religious rights nor civil liberties can be trampled under foot without Divine retribution. The attempt to do so calls forth an awakened and quickened conscience, imperatively demanding that the right be done. Like an accusing conscience, Elijah appeared before Ahab. His very name ("my God is Yah") inspired awe. "As Yahweh, the God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years," was the conscience- troubling message left on the mind of Ahab for more than three years. On Elijah’s reappearance, Ahab greets into as the troubler of Israel. Elijah calmly reforms him that the king’s religious policy has caused the trouble in Israel. The proof for it is to be furnished on Mount Carmel. Ahab does the bidding of Elijah. The people shall know whom to serve. Baal is silent. Yahweh answers with fire. A torrent of rain ends the drought. The victory belongs to Yahweh.

Once more Elijah’s indignation flashes against the house of Ahab. The judicial murder of Naboth calls it forth. The civil rights of the nation must be protected. Ahab has sold himself to do evil in the sight of Yahweh. Therefore Ahab’s house shall fall. Jezebel’s carcass shall be eaten by dogs; the king’s posterity shall be cut off; the dogs of the city or the fowls of the air shall eat their bodies (1Ki 21:20-26). Like thunderbolts the words of Elijah strike home. Ahab "fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly." But the die was cast. Yahweh is vindicated. Never again, in the history of Israel can Baal, the inspirer of injustice, claim a place at the side of Yahweh, the God of righteousness.

6. Ahab’s Building Operations:

In common with oriental monarchs, Ahab displayed a taste for architecture, stimulated, no doubt, by Phoenician influence. Large building operations were undertaken in Samaria (1Ki 16:32; 2Ki 10:21). Solomon had an ivory throne, but Ahab built for himself, in Jezreel, a palace adorned with woodwork and inlaid with ivory (1Ki 21:1; 22:39). Perhaps Amos, one hundred years later, refers to the work of Ahab when he says, "The houses of ivory shall perish" (Am 3:15). In his day Hiel of Bethel undertook to rebuild Jericho, notwithstanding the curse of Joshua (1Ki 16:33,34). Many cities were built during his reign (1Ki 22:39).

7. Ahab’s Military Career:

Ahab was not only a splendor-loving monarch, but a great military leader as well. He no doubt began his military policy by fortifying the cities of Israel (1Ki 16:34; 22:39). Benhadad (the Dadidri of the Assyrian annals; Hadadezer and Barhadad are Hebrew, Aramaic and Arabic forms of the same name), the king of Syria, whose vassals the kings of Israel had been (1Ki 15:19), promptly besieges Samaria, and sends Ahab an insulting message. Ahab replies, "Let not him that girdeth on his armor boast himself as he that putteth it off." At the advice of a prophet of Yahweh, Ahab, with 7,000 men under 232 leaders, inflicts a crushing defeat upon Benhadad and his 32 feudal kings, who had resigned themselves to a drunken carousal (1Ki 20-21).

In the following year, the Syrian army, in spite of its overwhelming superiority, meets another defeat at the hands of Ahab in the valley, near Aphek. On condition that Benhadad restore all Israelite territory and grant the Hebrews certain rights in Damascus, Ahab spares his life to the great indignation of the prophet (1Ki 20:22 f). In the year 854, Ahab with 2,000 chariots and 10,000 men, fights shoulder to shoulder with Benhadad against Shalmaneser II, king of Assyria. At Karkar, on the Orontes, Benhadad, with his allied forces, suffered an overwhelming defeat (COT, II, i, 183 f).

Perhaps Benhadad blamed Ahab for the defeat. At any rate he fails to keep his promise to Ahab (1Ki 22:3; 20:34). Lured by false prophets, but against the dramatic warning of Micaiah, Ahab is led to take up the gauntlet against Syria once more. His friend, Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, joins him in the conflict. For the first time since the days of David all Israel and Judah stand united against the common foe.

8. Ahab’s Death:

Possibly the warning of Micaiah gave Ahab a premonition that this would be has last fight. He enters the battle in disguise, but in vain. An arrow, shot at random, inflicts a mortal wound. With the fortitude of a hero, in order to avoid a panic, Ahab remains in his chariot all day and dies at sunset. His body is taken to Samaria for burial. A great king had died, and the kingdom declined rapidly after his death. He had failed to comprehend the greatness of Yahweh; he failed to stand for the highest justice, and his sins are visited upon has posterity (1Ki 22:29 f).

9. Ahab and Archaeology:

(1) The Moabite Stone

The Moabite Stone (see MOABITE STONE) bears testimony (lines 7, 8) that Omri and his son (Ahab) ruled over the land of Mehdeba for forty years. When Ahab was occupied with the Syriac wars, Moab rose in insurrection. Mesha informs us in an exaggerated manner that "Israel perished with an everlasting destruction." Mesha recognizes Yahweh as the God of Israel.

(2) The Monolith of Shalmaneser II

The Monolith of Shalmaneser II (Brit Mus; see ASSYRIA) informs us that in 854 Shalmaneser II came in conflict with the kingdom of Hamath, and that Benhadad II with Ahab of Israel and others formed a confederacy to resist the Assyrian advance. The forces of the coalition were defeated at Karkar.

(3) Recent Excavations.

Under the direction of Harvard University, excavations have been carried on in Samaria since 1908. In 1909 remains of a Hebrew palace were found. In this palace two grades of construction have been detected. The explorers suggest that they have found the palace of Omri, enlarged and improved by Ahab. This may be the "ivory house" built by Ahab. In August, 1910, about 75 potsherds were found in a building adjacent to Ahab’s palace containing writing. The script is the same as that of the Moabite Stone, the words being divided by ink spots. These ostraca seem to be labels attached to jars kept in a room adjoining Ahab’s palace. One of them reads, "In the ninth year. From Shaphtan. For Ba‘al-zamar. A jar of old wine." Another reads, "Wine of the vineyard of the Tell." These readings remind one of Naboth’s vineyard. In another room not far from where the ostraca were found, "was found an alabaster vase inscribed with the name of Ahab’s contemporary, Osorkon II of Egypt." Many proper names are found on the ostraca, which have their equivalent in the Old Testament. It is claimed that the writing is far greater than all other ancient Hebrew writing yet known. Perhaps with the publication of all these writings we may expect much light upon Ahab’s reign. (See OSTRACA; Harvard Theological Review, January, 1909, April, 1910, January, 1911; Sunday School Times, January 7, 1911; The Jewish Chronicle, January 27, 1911.)

S. K. Mosiman


a’-hab, zed-e-ki’-a (’ach’abh, "uncle"; tsidhqiyahu, "Yahweh is my righteousness"): Ahab, son of Kolaiah, and Zedekiah, son of Maaseiah, were two prophets against whom Jeremiah uttered an oracle for prophesying falsely in the name of Yahweh, and for immoral conduct. They should be delivered over to Nebuchadrezzar and be slain, and the captives of Judah that were in Babylon should take up the curse concerning them. "Yahweh make thee like Zedekiah and like Ahab, whom the King of Babylon roasted in the fire" (Jer 29:21 ff).

S. F. Hunter


a’-har-a, a-har’-a (’achrach; A, Aara; B, Iaphael, "brother of Rach," or, a brother’s follower, though some regard it as a textual corruption for Ahiram): A son of Benjamin (1Ch 8:1). See AHIRAM.


a-har’-hel (’acharchel, "brother of Rachel"; Septuagint adelphou Rechab, "brother of Rechab"): A son of Harum of the tribe of Judah (1Ch 4:8).


a’-ha-si, a-ha’-si. See AHZAI.


a-has’-bi (’achacbay, "blooming"): The father of Eliphelet, a Maacathite, a soldier in David’s army (2Sa 23:34). He was either a native of Abel-beth-maacah (2Sa 20:14) or, more probably, of Maacah in Syria (2Sa 10:6). The list in 1Ch 11:35,36 gives different names entirely. Here we have Ur and Hepher, which simply show that the text is corrupt in one or both places.


a-haz-u-e’-rus, (Septuagint Assoueros, but in Tobit 14:15 Asueros; the Latin form of the Hebrew ‘achashwerosh, a name better known in its ordinary Greek form of Xerxes): It was the name of two, or perhaps of three kings mentioned in the canonical, or apocryphal, books of the Old Testament.

1. In Esther:

There seems to be little reasonable doubt, that we should identify the Ahasuerus of Es with the well-known Xerxes, who reigned over Persia from 485 to 465 BC, and who made the great expedition against Greece that culminated in the defeat of the Persian forces at Salamis and Plataea. If Es be taken as equivalent to Ishtar, it may well be the same as the Amestris of Herodotus, which in Babylonian would be Ammi-Ishtar, or Ummi-Ishtar. Amestris is said to have been the daughter of Otanes, a distinguished general of Xerxes, and the grand-daughter of Sisamnes, a notorious judge, who was put to death with great cruelty by the king because of malfeasance in office. Sisamnes may be in Babylonian Shamash-ammanu-(shallim). If he were the brother and Otanes the nephew of Mordecai, we can easily account for the ease with which the latter and has ward Esther, were advanced and confirmed in their Positions at the court, of Xerxes.

2. In Ezra:

An Ahasuerus is mentioned in Ezr 4:6, as one to whom some persons unnamed wrote an accusation against Judah and Jerusalem. Ewald and others have suggested that this Ahasuerus was Cambyses, the son and successor of Cyrus. It seems to be more probable that Xerxes, the son and successor of Darius Hystaspis, is meant: first, because in the following verse Artaxerxes, the son and successor of Xerxes, is mentioned; and secondly, because we have no evidence whatever that Cambyses was ever called Ahasuerus, whereas there is absolute certainty that the Pets Khshayarsha, the Hebrew ‘achashwerosh, the Greek Assoueros or Xerxes, and the Latin Ahasuerus, are the exact equivalents of one another.

3. In Tobit:

In the apocryphal book of Tobit (14:15, the King James Version) it is said that before Tobias died he heard of the destruction of Nineveh, which was taken by Nabuchodonosor and Assuerus. This Assuerus can have been no other than Cyaxares, who according to Herodotus (i.196) took Nineveh and reduced the Assyrians into subjection, with the exception of the Babylonian district. As we shall see below, he was probably the same as the Ahasuerus of Da 9:1. The phrase "which was taken by Nabuchodonosor and Assuerus" is not found in the Syriac version of Tobit.

4. In Daniel:

An Ahasuerus is said in Da 9:1 to have been the father of Darius the Mede, and to have been of the seed of the Medes. It is probable that this Ahasuerus is the same as the Uvakhshatara of the Persian recension of the Behistun inscription, which in the Babylonian is Umaku’ishtar, in the Susian Makishtarra, and in Herod Cyaxares. It will be noted that both the Greek Cyaxares and the Hebrew Akhashwerosh omit the preformative uwa- and the "t" of the Persian form Uvakhshatara. That this Median king had sons living in the time of Cyrus is shown by the fact that two rebel aspirants to the throne in the time of Darius Hystaspis claimed to be his sons, to wit: Fravartish, a Median, who lied saying, "I am Khshathrita of the family of Uvakhshatara" (Behistun Inscr, col. II, v); and Citrantakhma, who said, "I am king in Sagartia of the family of Uvakhshatara" (id, II, xiv). If we accept the identification of Gubaru with Darius the Mede, then the latter may well have been another of his sons, at first a sub-king to Astyages the Scythian, as he was later to Cyrus the Persian.

R. Dick Wilson


a-ha’-va (’ahawa’): The river in Babylonia on the banks of which Ezra gathered together the Jews who accompanied him to Jerusalem. At this rendezvous the company encamped for three days to make preparation for the difficult and dangerous journey (Ezr 8:15 ff). On reviewing the people and the priests Ezra found no Levites among them; he therefore sent to Iddo, "the chief at the place Casiphia," a request for ministers for the temple. A number of Levites with 220 Nethinim returned to the rendezvous with the deputation. Ezra had expressed to the king his faith in the protection of God; being, therefore, ashamed to ask for a military escort he proclaimed a fast to seek of God "a straight way." To 12 priests Ezra assigned the care of the offering for the temple in Jerusalem. When all was ready the company "departed from the river Ahava," and journeyed in safety to Jerusalem.

This river, apparently called after a town or district toward which it flowed (Ezr 8:15), remains unidentified, though many conjectures have been made. Rawlinson thinks it is the "Is" of Herodotus (i.79), now called "Hit," which flowed past a town of the same name in the Euphrates basin, 8 days’ journey from Babylon. Some identify the district with "Ivvah" (2Ki 18:34, etc.). Most probably, however, this was one of the numerous canals which intersected Babylonia, flowing from the Euphrates toward a town or district "Ahava." If so, identification is impossible.

S. F. Hunter


a’-haz (’achaz, "he has grasped," 2Ki 16; 2Ch 28; Isa 7:10 ff; Achaz).

1. Name:

The name is the same as Jehoahaz; hence appears on Tiglath-pileser’s Assyrian inscription of 732 BC as Ia-u-ha-zi. The sacred historians may have dropped the first part of the name in consequence of the character of the king.

2. The Accession:

Ahaz was the son of Jotham, king of Judah. He succeeded to the throne at the age of 20 years (according to another reading 25). The chronology of his reign is difficult, as his son Hezekiah is stated to have been 25 years of age when he began to reign 16 years after (2Ki 18:2). If the accession of Ahaz be placed as early as 743 BC, his grandfather Uzziah, long unable to perform the functions of his office on account of his leprosy (2Ch 26:21), must still have been alive. (Others date Ahaz later, when Uzziah, for whom Jotham had acted as regent, was already dead.)

3. Early Idolatries:

Although so young, Ahaz seems at once to have struck out an independent course wholly opposed to the religious traditions of his nation. His first steps in this direction were the causing to be made and circulated of molten images of the Baalim, and the revival in the valley of Hinnom, south of the city, of the abominations of the worship of Moloch (2Ch 28:2,3). He is declared to have made his own son "pass through the fire" (2Ki 16:3); the chronicler puts it even more strongly: he "burnt his children in the fire" (2Ch 28:3). Other acts of idolatry were to follow.

4. Peril from Syria and Israel:

The kingdom of Judah was at this time in serious peril. Rezin, king of Damascus, and Pekah, king of Samaria, had already, in the days of Jotham, begun to harass Judah (2Ki 15:37); now a conspiracy was formed to dethrone the young Ahaz, and set upon the throne a certain "son of Tabeel" (Isa 7:6). An advance of the two kings was made against Jerusalem, although without success (2Ki 16:5; Isa 7:1); the Jews were expelled from Elath (2Ki 16:6), and the country was ravaged, and large numbers taken captive (2Ch 28:5 ff). Consternation was universal. The heart of Ahaz "trembled, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the forest tremble with the wind" (Isa 7:2). In his extremity Ahaz appealed to the king of Assyria for help (2Ki 16:7; 2Ch 28:16).

5. Isaiah’s Messages to the King:

Amid the general alarm and perturbation, the one man untouched by it in Jerusalem was the prophet Isaiah. Undismayed, Isaiah set himself, apparently single-handed, to turn the tide of public opinion from the channel in which it was running, the seeking of aid from Assyria. His appeal was to both king and people. By Divine direction, meeting Ahaz "at the end of the conduit of the upper pool, in the highway of the fuller’s field," he bade him have no fear of "these two tails of smoking firebrands," Rezin and Pekah, for, like dying torches, they would speedily be extinguished (Isa 7:3 ff). If he would not believe this he would not be established (Isa 7:9). Failing to win the young king’s confidence, Isaiah was sent a second time, with the offer from Yahweh of any sign Ahaz chose to ask, "either in the depth, or in the height above," in attestation of the truth of the Divine word. The frivolous monarch refused the arbitrament on the hypocritical ground, "I will not ask, neither will I tempt Yahweh" (Isa 7:10-12). Possibly his ambassadors were already dispatched to the Assyrian king. Whenever they went, they took with them a large subsidy with which to buy that ruler’s favor (2Ki 16:8). It was on this occasion that Isaiah, in reply to Ahaz, gave the reassuring prophecy of Immanuel (Isa 7:13 ff).

6. Isaiah’s Tablet:

As respects the people, Isaiah was directed to exhibit on "a great tablet" the words "For Maher-shalal-hash-baz" ("swift the spoil, speedy the prey"). This was attested by two witnesses, one of whom was Urijah, the high priest. It was a solemn testimony that, without any action on the part of Judah, "the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be carried away before the king of Assyria" (Isa 8:1-4).

7. Fall of Damascus and Its Results:

It was as the prophet had foretold. Damascus fell, Rezin was killed (2Ki 16:9), and Israel was raided (2Ki 15:29). The action brought temporary relief to Judah, but had the effect of placing her under the heel of Assyria. Everyone then living knew that there could be no equal alliance between Judah and Assyria, and that the request for help, accompanied by the message, "I am thy servant" (2Ki 16:7,8) and by "presents" of gold and silver, meant the submission of Judah and the annual payment of a heavy tribute. Had Isaiah’s counsel been followed, Tiglath-pileser would probably, in his own interests, have been compelled to crush the coalition, and Judah would have retained her freedom.

8. Sun-Dial of Ahaz:

The political storm having blown over for the present, with the final loss of the important port of Elath on the Red Sea (2Ki 16:6), Ahaz turned his attention to more congenial pursuits. The king was somewhat of a dilettante in matters of art, and he set up a sun-dial, which seems to have consisted of a series of steps arranged round a short pillar, the time being indicated by the position of the shadow on the steps (compare 2Ki 20:9-11; Isa 38:8). As it is regarded as possible for the shadow to return 10 steps, it is clear that each step did not mark an hour of the day, but some smaller period.

9. The Lavers and Brazen Sea:

Another act of the king was to remove from the elaborate ornamental bases on which they had stood (compare 1Ki 7:27-39), the ten layers of Solomon, and also to remove Solomon’s molten sea from the 12 brazen bulls which supported it (compare 1Ki 7:23-26), the sea being placed upon a raised platform or pavement (2Ki 16:17). From Jer 52:20, where the prophet sees "the 12 brazen bulls that were under the bases," it has been conjectured that the object of the change may have been to transfer the layers to the backs of the bulls.

10. The Damascus Altar:

To this was added a yet more daring act of impiety. In 732 Ahaz was, with other vassal princes, summoned to Damascus to pay homage to Tiglath-pileser (2Ki 16:10; his name appears in the Assyrian inscription). There he saw a heathen altar of fanciful pattern, which greatly pleased him. A model of this was sent to Urijah the high priest, with instructions to have an enlarged copy of it placed in the temple court. On the king’s return to Jerusalem, he sacrificed at the new altar, but, not satisfied with its position, gave orders for a change. The altar had apparently been placed on the east side of the old altar; directions were now given for the brazen altar to be moved to the north, and the Damascus altar to be placed in line with it, in front of the temple giving both equal honor. Orders were further given to Urijah that the customary sacrifices should be offered on the new altar, now called "the great altar," while the king reserved the brazen altar for himself "to inquire by" (2Ki 16:15).

11. Further Impieties:

Even this did not exhaust the royal innovations. We learn from a later notice that the doors of the temple porch were shut, that the golden candlestick was not lighted, that the offering of incense was not made, and other solemnities were suspended (2Ch 29:7). It is not improbable that it was Ahaz who set up ‘the horses of the sun’ mentioned in 2Ki 23:11, and gave them accommodation in the precincts of the temple. He certainly built the "altars .... on the roof of the upper chamber of Ahaz," perhaps above the porch of the temple, for the adoration of the heavenly bodies (verse 12). Many other idolatries and acts of national apostasy are related regarding him (2Ch 28:22 ff).

12. Recurrence of Hostilities:

In the later years of his unhappy reign there was a recurrence of hostilities with the inhabitants of Philistia and Edom, this time with disaster to Judah (see the list of places lost in 2Ch 28:18,19). New appeal was made to Tiglath-pileser, whose subject Ahaz, now was, and costly presents were sent from the temple, the royal palace, and even the houses of the princes of Judah, but without avail (2Ch 28:19-21). The Assyrian ‘distressed’ Ahaz, but rendered no assistance. In his trouble the wicked king only "trespassed yet more" (2Ch 28:22).

13. Death of Ahaz:

Ahaz died in 728, after 16 years of misused power. The exultation with which the event was regarded is reflected in Isaiah’s little prophecy written "in the year that King Ahaz died" (Isa 14:28-32). The statement in 2Ki 16:20 that Ahaz "was buried with his fathers in the city of David" is to be understood in the light of 2Ch 28:27, that he was buried in Jerusalem, but that his body was not laid in the sepulchers of the kings of Israel. His name appears in the royal genealogies in 1Ch 3:13 and Mt 1:9.

W. Shaw Caldecott




a-ha-zi’-a (’achazyah and ‘achazyahu, "Yah holds, or sustains"):

I. Ahaziah.

Son of Ahab and Jezebel, eighth king of Israel (1Ki 22:51-2Ki 1:18).

1. His Reign:

Ahaziah became king over Israel in the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, and he reigned two years, 854-853 BC. There is, here an incongruity between the synchronism and the length of the reigns of the kings. Jehoshaphat began to reign in the fourth year of Ahab (1Ki 22:41), and he reigned 22 years (1Ki 16:29). Accordingly Ahaziah’s first year, in the twenty-second year of Ahab, would fall in the nineteenth year of Jehoshaphat. The chronological statement in 2Ki 1:17 is probably taken from the Syriac, and both are in harmony wrath a method of computation followed by certain Greek manuscripts.

2. His Character:

A good name does not insure a good character. Ahaziah, the "God-sustained," served Baal and worshipped him, and provoked to anger Yahweh, the God of Israel, Just as his father before him had done. He appears to have been weak and unfortunate, and calamities in quick succession pursued him.

3. The Revolt of Moab:

Ahab had sought the good and became an enemy to the best. His house and the nation suffered the consequences. "Moab rebelled against Israel after the death of Ahab." Ahaziah appears to have been too weak to offer resistance. The Moabite Stone dates the revolt in the days of Ahab. No doubt it began at the time of Ahab’s last campaign against Syria.

4. His Maritime Alliance:

According to 1Ki 22:48 f Ahaziah attempted to form an alliance with Jehoshaphat of Judah to revive the ancient maritime traffic, but failed. According to 2Ch 20:35-37 the alliance was consummated, in consequence of which the enterprise came to nothing. See JEHOSHAPHAT.

5. His Sickness and Death:

Ahaziah suffered a severe accident by falling through the lattice in his upper apartment in Samaria, and lay sick. As a worthy son of Jezebel and Ahab, he sent messengers to consult Baalzebub, the god of Ekron, regarding his recovery. But Israel belonged to Yahweh. Accordingly the messengers were met by the prophet Elijah who for the last time warns against the corrupting moral influences of the Baal religion. "Thus saith Yahweh, Is it because there is no God in Israel, that thou sendest to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron? therefore thou shalt not come down from the bed whither thou art gone up, but shalt surely die" was the message which he sent back to the embassy, and the death of the king speedily followed.

II. Ahaziah.

Sixth king of Judah (2Ki 8:25-29; 9:16 f = 2Ch 22:1-9); also written Jehoahaz (2Ch 21:17; 25:23), which is merely a transposition of the component parts of the compound. The form "Azariah" (2Ch 22:6) is an error, fifteen Hebrew manuscripts and all the versions reading Ahaziah.

1. His Brief Reign:

Ahaziah, youngest son of Jehoram, began to reign in the twelfth year (2Ki 8:25) of Jehoram of Israel. In 2Ki 9:29 it is stated as the eleventh. The former is probably the Hebrew, the latter the Greek method of computation, the Septuagint Luc also reading eleventh in 8:25. He was 22 years old when he began to reign and he reigned one year (2Ki 8:26). The reading "forty two" (2Ch 22:2) is a scribal error, since according to 2Ch 21:5,20 Jehoram the father was only 40 years old at the time of his death. Syriac, Arabic and Luc read 22, Septuagint Codex Vaticanus 20.


2. His Character:

(Compare 2Ki 8:27; 2Ch 22:3,4.) In view of the disaster which befell the royal house (2Ch 21:16,17), the inhabitants of Jerusalem placed Ahaziah the youngest son upon the throne. That "he walked in the way of the house of Ahab" is exemplified by Chronicles to the effect that his mother, the daughter of Jezebel, counseled him in the ways of wickedness and that the house of Ahab led him to his destruction. The influence of Jezebel was at work in Judah. Ahaziah dedicated "hallowed things" to Yahweh (2Ki 12:18), but he did evil in Yahweh’s eyes.

3. His Alliance with Jehoram of Israel:

(Compare 2Ki 8:28,29; 2Ch 22:5,6.) Ahaziah cultivated the relations which had been established between the two kingdoms by Ahab. Accordingly he joined his uncle Jehoram of Israel in an expedition against Hazael, king of Syria. Ramoth-gilead was captured and held for Israel against the king of Syria (2Ki 9:14). However, Jehoram of Israel was wounded and returned to Jezreel to be healed of his wounds. It appears that the army was left in charge of Jehu at Ramoth-gilead. Ahaziah apparently went to Jerusalem and later went down to Jezreel to visit Jehoram. In the meantime Jehu formed a conspiracy against Jehoram.

4. His Death:

The death of Ahaziah, as told in 2Ki 9:16 f, differs from the account in 2Ch 22:7-9. According to the account in Kings, Ahaziah who is visiting Jehoram, joins him in a separate chariot to meet Jehu. Jehoram suspecting treachery turns to flee, but an arrow from the bow of Jehu pierces his heart and he dies in his chariot. Ahaziah tries to escape, but is overtaken near Ibleam and mortally wounded by one of Jehu’s men. He fled to the fortress of Megiddo, where he died. His servants conveyed his body in a chariot to Jerusalem, where he was buried. According to the Chronicler, this account is very much abbreviated (2Ch 22:7 f). His destruction is of God because of his alliance with Jehoram. Jehu, who was executing judgment on the house of Ahab, first slew the kinsmen of Ahaziah. He then sought Ahaziah who was hiding in Samaria. When he was found, he was brought to Jehu and put to death. He was buried, but where and by whom we are not told.

That there were other traditions respecting the death of Ahaziah, is proved by Josephus, who says that when Ahaziah was wounded he left his chariot and fled on horseback to Megiddo, where he was well cared for by his servants until he died (Ant., IX, vi, 3). S. K. Mosiman


a’-ban (’achban, "brother of an intelligent one"(?) Achbar): The son of Abishur of the tribe of Judah (1Ch 2:29).


a’-her (’acher, "another"; Aer): A man of Benjamin (1Ch 7:12), apparently a contracted form, perhaps the same as Ahiram (King James Version) (Nu 26:38) or Aharah (1Ch 8:1).


a’-hi (’achi, "my brother," or perhaps a contraction from AHIJAH, which see): ( 1) A member of the tribe of Gad (1Ch 5:15). (2) A member of the tribe of Asher (1Ch 7:34).


In proper names (’achi or ‘ach "brother"): The usage is practically the same with that of ‘abh, ‘abhi. See ABI; NAMES, PROPER.


a-hi’-a: A variant in the King James Version (1Sa 14:3,18; 1Ki 4:3; 1Ch 8:7) for AHIJAH, which see. Also in the Revised Version (British and American) (Ne 10:26).


a-hi’-am (’achi’am, "mother’s brother"): One of David’s thirty heroes. He was the son of Sharar (2Sa 23:33) or according to 1Ch 11:35 of Sacar, the Hararite.


a-hi’-an (’achyan, "brotherly"): A son of Shemida of the tribe of Manasseh (1Ch 7:19).


a-hi-e’-zer (’achi‘ezer, "brother is help"):

(1) A son of Ammishaddai, a Danite prince, who acted as representative of his tribe on several occasions. (See Nu 1:12; 2:25; 7:66,71; 10:25.)

(2) One of the mighty men or warriors, who joined David at Ziklag when a furtive before Saul (1Ch 12:3).


a-hi’-hud (’achihudh, "brother is majesty"):

(1) One of the chief men of the tribe of Asher. He was selected by Moses to help divide the land west of the Jordan (Nu 34:27).

(2) A son of Ehud of the tribe of Benjamin (1Ch 8:6,7). The text here is obscure and probably corrupt.


a-hi’-ja (’achiyah or ‘achiyahu, "brother of Yahweh," "my brother is Yahweh," "Yah is brother." In the King James Version the name sometimes appears as Ahiah):

(1) One of the sons of Jerahmeel the great-grandson of Judah (1Ch 2:25).

(2) A descendant of Benjamin (1Ch 8:7).

(3) The son of Ahitub, priest in the time of King Saul (1Sa 14:3,18). Either he is the same with Ahimelech, who is mentioned later, or he is the father or brother of Ahimelech. He is introduced to us when Saul has been so long on the throne that his son Jonathan is a man grown and a warrior. He is in attendance upon Saul, evidently as an official priest, "wearing an ephod." When Saul wishes direction from God he asks the priest to bring hither the ark; but then, without waiting for the message, Saul counts the confusion in the Philistine camp a sufficient indication of the will of Providence, and hurries off to the attack. Some copies of the Greek here read "ephod" instead of "ark," but the documentary evidence in favor of that reading is far from decisive. If the Hebrew reading is correct, then the seclusion of the ark, from the time of its return from Philistia to the time of David, was not so absolute as many have supposed. See AHIMELECH, i.

(4) One of David’s mighty men, according to the list in 1Ch 11:36. The corresponding name in the list in 2Sa 23:34 is Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite.

(5) A Levite of David’s time who had charge of certain treasures connected with the house of God (1Ch 26:20). The Greek copies presuppose the slightly different text which would give in English "and their brethren," instead of Ahijah. This is accepted by many scholars, and it is at least more plausible than most of the proposed corrections of the Hebrew text by the Greek.

(6) Son of Sinsha and brother of Elihoreph (1Ki 4:3). The two brothers were scribes of Solomon. Can the scribes Ahijah and Shemaiah (1Ch 24:6) be identified with the men of the same names who, later, were known as distinguished prophets? Sinsha is probably the same with Shavsha (1Ch 18:16; compare 2Sa 8:17; 20:25), who was scribe under David, the office in this case descending from father to son.

(7) The distinguished prophet of Shiloh, who was interested in Jeroboam I. In Solomon’s lifetime Ahijah clothed himself with a new robe, met Jeroboam outside Jerusalem, tore the robe into twelve pieces, and gave him ten, in token that he should become king of the ten tribes (1Ki 11:29-39). Later, when Jeroboam had proved unfaithful to Yahweh, he sent his wife to Ahijah to ask in regard to their sick son. The prophet received her harshly, foretold the death of the son, and threatened the extermination of the house of Jeroboam (1Ki 14). The narrative makes the impression that Ahijah was at this time a very old man (1Ki 14:4). These incidents are differently narrated in the long addition at 1Ki 12:24 found in some of the Greek copies. In that addition the account of the sick boy precedes that of the rent garment, and both are placed between the account of Jeroboam’s return from Egypt and that of the secession of the ten tribes, an order in which it is impossible to think that the events occurred. Further, this addition attributes the incident of the rent garment to Shemaiah and not to Ahijah, and says that Ahijah was 60 years old.

Other notices speak of the fulfillment of the threatening prophecies spoken by Ahijah (2Ch 10:15; 1Ki 12:15; 15:29). In 2Ch "the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite" is referred to as a source for the history of Solomon (2Ch 9:29).

(8) The father of Baasha king of Israel (1Ki 15:27,33; 21:22; 2Ki 9:9).

(9) A Levite of Nehemiah’s time, who sealed the covenant (Ne 10:26 the King James Version).

Willis J. Beecher


a-hi’-kam (’achiqam, "my brother has risen up"): A prominent man of the time of King Josiah and the following decades (2Ki 22:12,14; 25:22; 2Ch 34:20; Jer 26:24; 39:14; 40:5 ff; 41:1 ff; 43:6). He was the son of Shaphan, who very likely is to be identified with Shaphan the scribe, who was at that time so prominent. Ahikam was the father of Gedaliah, whom, on the capture of Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar made governor of the land. Ahikam was a member of the deputation sent by Josiah to the prophetess Huldah to consult her concerning the contents of the Book of the Law which had been found. Under Jehoiakim he had sufficient influence to protect Jeremiah from being put to death. On the capture of Jerusalem Nebuchadnezzar committed Jeremiah into the care of Gedaliah. It is clear that both Shaphan and his son, like Jeremiah, belonged to the party which held that the men of Judah were under obligation to keep the oath which they had sworn to the tang of Babylon.

Willis J. Beecher


a-hi’-lud (’achiludh, "child’s brother," perhaps): The father of Jehoshaphat, who is mentioned as "recorder" in both the earlier and the later lists under David, and in the list under Solomon (2Sa 8:16, 1Ch 18:15; 2Sa 20:24; 1Ki 4:3). In the absence of proof we may assume that the father of Baana, one of Solomon’s district superintendents, was the same Ahilud (1Ki 4:12).


a-hi-ma’-az, a-him’-a-az (’achima‘ats, perhaps "my brother is rage," or "brother of rage"):

(1) Father of Ahinoam the wife of King Saul (1Sa 14:50).

(2) The son of Zadok the high priest (1Ch 6:8,9,53). With his father he remained loyal to David in the rebellions both of Absalom and of Adonijah. With Jonathan the son of Abiathar he carried information to Dared when he fled from Absalom (2Sa 15:27,36; 17:17,20). At his own urgent request he carried tidings to David after the death of Absalom (2Sa 18:19 ff). He told the king of the victory, and also, through his reluctance to speak, informed him of Absalom’s death. By his reluctance and his sympathy he softened a little the message, which the Cushite presently repeated more harshly.

That Ahimaaz did not succeed his father as high priest has been inferred from the fact that in the Solomon list of heads of departments (1Ki 4:2) Azariah the son of Zadok is mentioned as priest. It is assumed that this Azariah is the one who appears in the genealogy as the son of Ahimaaz, and that for some reason Ahimaaz was left out of the succession. These inferences are not Justified by the record, though possibly the record does not absolutely disprove them. As the list stands it makes Zadok and Abiathar the high priests. Azariah and Zabud, the son of Nathan (1Ki 4:2,5), are spoken of as holding priestly offices of a different kind. Ahimaaz may have died early, or may have followed some other career, but the simple fact is that we do not know.

(3) Ahimaaz, in Naphtali, was one of Solomon’s twelve commissary officers (1Ki 4:15), who married Basemath the daughter of Solomon. It is not impossible that he was Ahimaaz the son of Zadok, though there is no proof to that effect.

Willis J. Beecher


a-hi’-man (’achiman, perhaps, "brother of fortune," or, "my brother is fortune"):

(1) One of the names given as those of the three "children of the Anak" (Nu 13:22; Jos 15:14; Nu 13:28; 2Sa 21:16,18), or the three "sons of the Anak" (Jos 15:14; Jud 1:20). The three names (Ahiman, Sheshai, Talmai) also occur together in Jud 1:10. The word Anak in the Hebrew Bible has the definite article except in Nu 13:33 and De 9:2. Its use is that of a common noun denoting a certain type of man, rather than as the proper name of a person or a clan, though this need not prevent our thinking of the Anakim as a clan or group of clans, who regarded Arba as their founder. The question is raised whether Ahiman and Sheshai and Talmai are to be thought of as persons or as clans. The most natural understanding of the Bible statements is certainly to the effect that they were personal leaders among the Anakim of Kiriath-arba (Hebron). They were smitten and dispossessed by the tribe of Judah, with Caleb for leader.

(2) A Levite, one of the gatekeepers of the latest Bible times (1Ch 9:17). He is associated with Akkub and Talmon and their brethren: compare Ne 11:19.

Willis J. Beecher


a-him’-e-lek (’achimelekh, "brother of a king," or, "my brother is king," or, "king is brother"):

(1) The father of David’s high priest Abiathar: son of Ahitub, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli (1Sa 21:1,2,8; 22:9-20; 23:6; 30:7). Ahijah the son of Ahitub (1Sa 14:3,18) was either the same person under another name, or was Ahimelech’s father or brother. See AHIJAH, 3. Ahimelech is an interesting person, especially because he stands for whatever information we have concerning the priestly office in Israel during the period between Eli and David. Whether the Deuteronomic law for a central sanctuary originated with Moses or not, its provisions were very imperfectly carried out during the times of the Judges. This was particularly the case after the capture of the ark by the Philistines, and the deaths of Eli and his sons. From that time to the middle of the reign of David the ark was in the custody of the men of Kiriath-jearim "in the hill," or "in Gibeah" (1Sa 7:1; 2Sa 6:2,3).

As a general proposition Israel "sought not unto it" (1Ch 13:3), though there is nothing to forbid the idea that it may, on occasion, have been brought out from its seclusion (1Sa 14:18). Before and after the accession of Saul some of the functions of the national sanctuary were transacted, of course very incompletely, at Gilgal (1Sa 10:8; 11:14,15; 13:7; 15:12,21,33). Whether there was a priesthood, with Ahitub the grandson of Eli as high priest, is a matter on which we have no information; but we may remind ourselves that the common assumption that such men as Samuel and Saul performed priestly offices is nothing but an assumption. After Saul has been king for a good many years we find Ahijah in his retinue, acting as priest and wearing priestly vestments. A few years later Ahimelech is at the head of the very considerable priestly establishment at Nob. The scale on which it existed is indicated by the fact that 85 robed priests perished in the massacre (1Sa 22:18).

They had families residing at Nob (1Sa 22:19). They were thought of as priests of Yahweh, and were held in reverence (1Sa 22:17). It was a hereditary priesthood (1Sa 22:11,15). Men deposited votive offerings there, the sword of Goliath, for example (1Sa 21:9). There seems to have been some kind of police authority, whereby a person might be "detained" (1Sa 21:7). It was customary to inquire of Yahweh there (1Sa 22:10,15). A distraction was made between the common and the holy (1Sa 21:4-6). The custom of the shewbread was maintained (1Sa 21:6). In fine, Jesus is critically correct in calling the place "the house of God" (Mr 2:26). The account does not say that the ark was there, or that the burnt-offering of the morning and evening was offered, or that the great festivals were held. The priestly head of the establishment at Nob is represented to have been the man who had the right to the office through his descent from Aaron. It is gratuitous to assume that there were other similar sanctuaries in Israel, though the proposition that there were none might be, like other negative propositions, hard to establish by positive proof.

(2) A son of Abiathar (2Sa 8:17; 1Ch 18:16; 24:6), and grandson of the above. In a list of the heads of departments under David, a list belonging later than the middle of David’s 40 years, and in which David’s sons appear, this Ahimelech, the son of David’s friend, is mentioned as sharing with Zadok a high position in the priesthood. In this capacity, later, he shared with David and Zadok in the apportionment of the priests into 24 ancestral classes, 16 of the house of Eleazar, and 8 of the house of Ithamar (1Ch 24). In this account Ahimelech is mentioned three times, and with some detail. It is alleged as a difficulty that Abiathar was then living, and was high priest along with Zadok (1Ch 15:11; 2Sa 15:29; 19:11; 20:25; 1Ki 2:27,35; 4:4, etc.). But surely there is no improbability in the affirmation that Abiathar had a son named Ahimelech, or that this son performed prominent priestly functions in his father’s lifetime.

Many regard "Ahimelech the son of Abiathar" (Mt gives Ahimelech) as an inadvertent transposition for "Abiathar the son of Ahimelech." This is rather plausible in the passage in 2Sa 8 and the duplicate of it in 1Ch 18:16, but it has no application in the detailed account in 1Ch 24. One must accept Ahimelech the son of Abiathar as historical unless, indeed, one regards the testimony of Ch to a fact as evidence in disproof of that fact. See ABIATHAR.

(3) A Hittite, a companion and friend of David, when he was hiding from Saul in the wilderness (1Sa 26:6).

Willis J. Beecher


a-hi’-moth (’achimoth, "brother of death," or, "my brother is death"): A descendant of Kohath the son of Levi (1Ch 6:25); ancestor of Elkanah the father of Samuel. The name Mahath holds a similar place in the list that follows (1Ch 6:35).


a-hin’-a-dab (’achinadhabh, "brother of willingness," or, "my brother is willing"): Decidedly the ordinary use of the stem nadhabh is to denote willingness rather than liberality or nobleness One of Solomon’s twelve commissary officers (1Ki 4:14). He was the son of Iddo, and his district was Mahanaim.


a-hi-no’-am, a-hin’-o-am (’achino‘am, "my brother is pleasantness"):

(1) Daughter of Ahimaaz, and wife of King Saul (1Sa 14:50).

(2) The woman from Jezreel whom David married after Saul gave Michal to another husband. She and Abigail, the widow of Nabal, seem to have been David’s only wives prior to the beginning of his reign in Hebron. His marriage to Abigail is mentioned first, with some details, followed by the statement, easily to be understood in the pluperfect, that he had previously married Ahinoam (1Sa 25:39-44). Three times they are mentioned together, Ahinoam always first (1Sa 27:3; 30:5; 2Sa 2:2), and Ahinoam is the mother of David’s first son and Abigail of his second (2Sa 3:2; 1Ch 3:1). Ahinoam’s son was Amnon. The record really represents David’s polygamy as a series of bids for political influence; the names of Amnon, Absalom, Adonijah suggest that the method was not finally a success.

Willis J. Beecher


a-hi’-o (’achyo, variously explained as "his brother," "brotherly," "brother of Yahweh," "my brother is Yah"): Proper names containing a similar form of the name of Yahweh are found on the ostraca recently exhumed at Samaria. The word is always treated as a common noun in the ordinary Greek copies, being rendered either "brother" or "brothers," or "his brother" or "his brothers"; but this is probably to be taken as an instance of the relative inferiority of the Greek text as compared with the Massoretic Text. See OSTRACA.

(1) One of the sons of Beriah, the son of Elpaal, the son of Shaharaim and Hushim, reckoned among the families of Benjamin (1Ch 8:14). Beriah and Shema are described as ‘ancestral heads’ "of the inhabitants of Aijalon, who put to flight the inhabitants of Gath."

(2) A descendant of Jeiel ("the father of Gibeon") and his wife Maacah (1Ch 8:31; 9:37). King Saul apparently came from the same family (1Ch 8:30,33; 9:39).

(3) One of the men who drove the new cart when David first attempted to bring the ark from the house of Abinadab to Jerusalem (2Sa 6:3,4; 1Ch 13:7). In Samuel Uzza and Ahio are called sons of Abinadab. By the most natural understanding of the Biblical data about 100 years had elapsed since the ark was brought to the house; they were sons of that Abinadab in the sense of being his descendants. Whether he had a successor of the same name living in David’s time is a matter of conjecture.

Willis J. Beecher


a-hi’-ra (’achira‘, "brother of evil," or, "my brother is evil"): A man of Naphtali, contemporary with Moses. He is five times mentioned as the son of Enan. He was the representative of his tribe who assisted Moses in the census (Nu 1:15). He was the hereditary "prince" of the tribe; he made the tribal offering (Nu 2:29; 7:78; compare Nu 7:83), and was commander of the tribal host when on the march (Nu 10:27).


a-hi’-ram (’achiram, "exalted brother," or "my brother is exalted"):

A son of Benjamin. Mentioned third of the five in Nu 26:38,39. In 1Ch 8:1 five sons are likewise mentioned, being explicitly numbered; the third name, Aharah (’achrach), is conjectured to be either a corruption of Ahiram or a different name for the same person. In 1Ch 7:6 ff is a fuller list of Benjamite names, but it is fragmentary and not clear. In it occurs Aher (’acher), which may be either Ahiram or Aharah with the end of the word lost. In Ge 46:21 ten sons of Benjamin are mentioned, some being there counted as sons who, in the other lists, are spoken of as more remote descendants. In this list Ehi (’echi) is perhaps Ahiram shortened. See AHARAH; AHER; EHI.

Willis J. Beecher


a-hi’-ram-it (’achirami, "of the family of Ahiram"; Nu 26:38). See AHIRAM.


a-his’-a-mak (’achicamakh, "my brother supports"): A man of the tribe of Dan, father of Oholiab, who was the assistant of Bezalel in the building of the tent of meeting and preparing its furniture (Ex 31:6; 35:34; 38:23).


a-hish’-a-har (’achishachar, "brother of dawn"): One of the sons of Bilhan, the son of Jediael, the son of Benjamin (1Ch 7:10).


a-hish’-ar (’achishar, "my brother has sung"): Mentioned in Solomon’s list of heads of departments as "over the household" (1Ki 4:6).


a-hith’-o-fel (’achithophel, "brother of foolishness," perhaps): The real leader of the Absalom rebellion against David. He is described as "the king’s counselor," in a context connected with events some of which are dated in the fortieth year of David (1Ch 27:33,34; compare 1Ch 26:31). Concerning him and his part in the rebellion we have rather full information (2Sa 15:12 ff).

Some hold that he was the grandfather of Bathsheba, and make much of this in forming their estimates of him. Does the evidence sustain this view? In the latter half of the list of David’s mighty men, not among the older veterans with whom the list begins, appears "Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite" (2Sa 23:34), the corresponding name in the other copy of the list being "Ahijah the Pelonite" (1Ch 11:36). It is assumed that this is the same Eliam who was father to Bath-sheba (2Sa 11:3). Apparently the Chronicler testifies (1Ch 3:5) that the mother of Solomon was "Bath-shua the daughter of Ammiel."

Bathshua may easily be a variant of Bathsheba, and the names Eliam and Ammiel are made up of the same parts, only in reversed order. It is not strange that men have inferred that the son of Ahithophel was the father of Bathsheba. But the inference is really not a probable one. The record does not make the impression that Ahithophel was an older man than David. The recorded events of David’s life after his misconduct with Bathsheba cannot have occupied less than about twenty years; that is, he cannot have been at the time older than about fifty years. That Ahithophel had then a married grand-daughter is less probable than that there were in Israel two Eliams. Further, Ahithophel was not the sort of man to conspire against the interests of his grand-daughter and her son, however he may, earlier, have resented the conduct of David toward her. Ahithophel’s motive in the rebellion was doubtless ambition for personal power, though he very likely shared with many of his countrymen in the conviction that it was unjust to push aside an older son by elevating a younger son to the throne.

Ahithophel has a reputation for marvelous practical sagacity (2Sa 16:23). He did not show this in joining the conspiracy but it is in evidence in his management of the affair. According to the record the hearts of the people, in spite of the much fault they had to find, were all the time with David. Absalom’s only chance of success was by the method of surprise and stampede. There must be a crisis in which everybody would join Absalom because everybody thought that everybody else had done so. Such a state of public sentiment could last only a very few days; but if, in those few days, David could be put out of the way, Absalom might hold the throne in virtue of his personal popularity and in default of a rival. The first part of the program was carried out with wonderful success; when it came to the second part, Ahithophel’s practical wisdom was blocked by Hushai’s adroit appeal to Absalom’s personal vanity. Ahithophel saw with absolute clearness that Absalom had sacrificed his one opportunity, and he committed suicide to avoid participation in the shameful defeat which he saw could not be averted.

Willis J. Beecher


a-hi’-tob (Achitob; the King James Version Achitob): One of the ancestors of Ezra (1 Esdras 8:2; 2 Esdras 1:1). Compare AHITUB, 3 (Ezr 7:2 et al.).


a-hi’-tub (’achiTubh, "brother of goodness," i.e. "good brother," or, "my brother is goodness"):

(1) The brother of Ichabod and son of Phinehas the son of Eli (1Sa 14:3; 22:9,11,12,20), According to 1Ch 24 he and his line were descended from Aaron through Ithamar. The record implies that he was born while his father and grandfather were priests at Shiloh, and it says that he was the father and grandfather of priests; but it is silent as to his own exercise of the priestly office. We have no information concerning the office from the time when the Philistines captured the ark till Saul became king. See AHIJAH; AHIMELECH; ABIATHAR.

(2) A descendant of Aaron through Eleazar: by this fact distinguished from Ahitub, the descendant of Ithamar, though nearly contemporaneous with him. Especially known as the father of Zadok who, at Solomon’s accession, became sole high priest (2Sa 8:17; 1Ch 6:8; 18:16). His genealogical line, from Levi to the Exile, is given in 1Ch 6:1-15. The three successive names, Ahitub and Zadok and Ahimaaz, appear in 2Sa 8:17; 15:27, etc.. The line is paralleled by selected names in Ezr 7:1-5, and relatively late parts of it are paralleled in 1Ch 9:11 and Ne 11:11. The best explanation of certain phenomena in Chronicles is that the record was copied from originals that were more or less fragmentary. In some cases, also, a writer gives only such parts of a genealogy as are needed for his purpose. It is due to these causes that there are many omissions in the genealogical lists, and that they supplement one another. Allowing for these facts there is no reason why we should not regard the genealogies of Ahitub as having distract historical value.

(3) In the genealogies, in the seventh generation from Ahitub, the descendant of Eleazar, appears another Ahitub, the son of another Amariah and the father (or grandfather) of another Zadok (1Ch 6:11; 9:11, Ne 11:11). The list in Ezr 7$ omits a block of names, and the Ahitub there named may be either 2 or 3. He is mentioned in 1 Esdras 8:2 and 2 Esdras 1:1, and the name occurs in Judith 8:1. In these places it appears in the English versions in the various forms: Ahitub, Ahitob, Achitob, Acitho.

Willis J. Beecher


a’-lab (’achlabh, "fat or fruitful"): A town of Asher. It is clear, however, that the Israelites failed to drive away the original inhabitants (Jud 1:31). Some have identified Ahlab with Gush Halab or Geschila, Northwest of the Sea of Galilee.


a’-li (’achlay "O would that!"):

(1) A Son of Sheshan (1Ch 2:31) or according to 1Ch 2:34 a daughter of Sheshan, for here we read: "Now Sheshan had no sons, but daughters."

(2) The father of Zabad, a soldier in David’s army (1Ch 11:41).


a-ho’-a (’achoah, "brotherly"(?)): A son of Bela of the tribe of Benjamin (1Ch 8:4).


a-ho’-hit (’achochi): A patronymic employed in connection with the descendants of AHOAH (which see) such as Doda (2Sa 23:9) or Dodo (1Ch 11:12), Ilai (29) or Zalmon (2Sa 23:28), and also Eleazar, son of Dodo (1Ch 11:12). The family must have been fond of military affairs, for all the above were officers in David and Solomon’s armies.


a-ho’-la. See OHOLAH.


a-ho-li’-ab. See OHOLIAB.


a-ho-li’-a. See OHOLIAH.


a-ho’-li-ba. See OHOLIBAH.


a-ho-li-ba’-ma. See OHOLIBAMAH.


a-hu’-ma-i, a-hu’-mi (’achumay, "brother of water"(?)): A descendant of Shobal of the tribe of Judah (1Ch 4:2).


a-huz’-am, a-hu’-zam (’achuzzam, "possessor"). A son of Ashahur of the tribe of Judah, his mother’s name was Naarah (1Ch 4:6); written Ahuzam in the King James Version.


a-huz’-ath (’achuzzath, "possession"): A "friend" perhaps a minister, of Abimelech, king of Gerar. He together with Phicol, commander of the army, accompanied their sovereign to Beersheba to make a covenant with Isaac (Ge 26:26). The termination "-ath" reminds us of Philistine proper names, such as Gath, Goliath, etc. Compare Genubath (1Ki 11:20).


a’-zi (’achzay, "my protector"): A priest who resided in Jerusalem (Ne 11:13). The the King James Version has Ahasai which is probably the same as Jahzevah of 1Ch 9:12.


a’-i (‘ay, written always with the definite article, ha-‘ay, probably meaning "the ruin," kindred root, ‘awah):

(1) A town of central Palestine, in the tribe of Benjamin, near and just east of Bethel (Ge 12:8). It is identified with the modern Haiyan, just south of the village Der Diwan (Conder in HDB; Delitzsch in Commentary on Ge 12:8) or with a mound, El-Tell, to the north of the modern village (Davis, Dict. Biblical). The name first appears in the earliest journey of Abraham through Palestine (Ge 12:8), where its location is given as east of Bethel, and near the altar which Abraham built between the two places. It is given similar mention as he returns from his sojourn in Egypt (Ge 13:3). In both of these occurrences the King James Version has the form Hai, including the article in transliterating. The most conspicuous mention of Ai is in the narrative of the Conquest. As a consequence of the sin of Achan in appropriating articles from the devoted spoil of Jericho, the Israelites were routed in the attack upon the town; but after confession and expiation, a second assault was successful, the city was taken and burned, and left a heap of ruins, the inhabitants, in number twelve thousand, were put to death, the king captured, hanged and buried under a heap of stones at the gate of the ruined city, only the cattle being kept as spoil by the people (Jos 7; 8). The town had not been rebuilt when Jos was written (Jos 8:28). The fall of Ai gave the Israelites entrance to the heart of Canaan, where at once they became established, Bethel and other towns in the vicinity seeming to have yielded without a struggle. Ai was rebuilt at some later period, and is mentioned by Isa (Isa 10:28) in his vivid description of the approach of the Assyrian army, the feminine form (‘ayyath) being used. Its place in the order of march, as just beyond Michmash from Jerusalem, corresponds with the identification given above. It is mentioned also in post-exilic times by Ezr 2:28 and Ne 7:32, (and in Ne 11:31 as, ‘ayya’), identified in each case by the grouping with Bethel.

(2) The Ai of Jer 49:3 is an Ammonite town, the text probably being a corruption of ‘ar; or ha-‘ir, "the city" (BDB).

Edward Mack


a’-ya (’ayyah, "falcon"; once in the King James Version Ajah, Ge 36:24):

(1) A Horite, son of Zibeon, and brother of Anah, who was father of one of Esau’s wives (Ge 36:24; 1Ch 1:40).

(2) Father of Rizpah, a concubine of Saul, about whom Ishbosheth falsely accused Abner (2Sa 3:7), and whose sons were hanged to appease the Gibeonites, whom Saul had wronged (2Sa 21:8-11).


a’-yath (‘ayyath): Found in Isa 10:28; feminine form of the city AI (which see).


ad (chazaq, "to strengthen," "to aid"): A military term used only once in Old Testament in the King James Version (Jud 9:24) and displaced in the Revised Version (British and American) by the literal rendering, "who strengthened his hands." The men of Shechem supported Abimelech in his fratricidal crime, with money, enabling him to hire men to murder his brethren. The fundamental idea in the word, as used in the Old Testament, is "abounding strength."


a-i’-ja (‘ayya’): A form of name for city Ai, found in Ne 11:31. See AI; AIATH.


a’-ja-lon (’ayyalon, "deerplace"; the King James Version, Ajalon (Jos 10:12)):

(1) The name of a town allotted to the tribe of Da (Jos 19:42), which was also designated a Levitical city (Jos 21:24), which fell to the Sons of Kohath (1Ch 6:69). The first mention of Aijalon is in the narrative of Joshua’s defeat of the five Amorite kings: "thou, Moon, in the valley of Aijalon" (Jos 10:12). The Danites failed to take it from the Amorites (Jud 1:35), although the men of Ephraim held it in vassalage. Here Saul and Jonathan won a great victory over the Philistines (1Sa 14:31). At one time it was held by the tribe of Benjamin (1Ch 8:13). Rehoboam fortified it against the kingdom of Israel (2Ch 11:10). In the days of King Ahaz it was captured by the Philistines (2Ch 28:18). It has been identified with the modern Yalo; its antiquity goes back to Tell el-Amarna Letters, in which it has mention. It Is situated Northwest of Jerusalem in a valley of the same name, which leads down from the mountains to the sea.

(2) A town in the tribe of Zebulun, site unknown, where Elon the judge was buried (Jud 12:12).

Edward Mack


a’-je-leth hash-sha’-har. See PSALMS; SONG.


al (Anglo-Saxon: eglan, "to pain"): As a verb translation, is "to trouble," "afflict" (obsolete); intrans, "to feel pain, trouble, uneasiness," etc.; it represents Hebrew mah lekha "what to thee" (Ge 21:17, "What aileth thee, Hagar?"; Jud 18:23; 1Sa 11:5; 2Sa 14:5; 2Ki 6:28; Isa 22:1); in Ps 114:5, it is figuratively or poetically applied to the sea, the river Jordan, etc.: "What ailed thee, O thou sea, that thou fleddest?" etc.; the Revised Version (British and American), "What aileth thee, O thou sea that thou fleest?" etc.; in 2 Esdras 9:42; 10:31, "What aileth thee?"


am: In The Wisdom of Solomon 13:9. Lit. translation by the King James Version of Greek stochasasthai, which commonly means "to shoot at." This is Interpreted and explained by the Revised Version (British and American) as "explore," with a hint as to the nature of the process, and may be paraphrased: "If they be able to conjecture the mysteries of the universe."

AIN (1)


AIN (2)

a’-in (‘ayin, "eye or spring (of water)"):

(1) A town in the extreme Northwest corner of Canaan, so named, most probably, from a noted spring in the vicinity (Nu 34:11). Thomson and after him Robinson make Ain the same as ‘Ain el-‘Asy, the chief source of the Orontes, some fifteen miles Southwest of Riblah, which, in turn, is about twenty miles Southwest of Emesa (Hums). As Ain is named in connection with Lake Gennesaret, some claim that Riblah of Nu 34:11 must be another place farther South and closer to that lake.

(2) A Levitical city (Jos 21:16) in the Negeb or southern part of Judah. It was first allotted to the tribe of Judah (Jos 15:32) but later to Simeon (Jos 19:7). The fact that it is several times named in immediate connection with Rimmon has lent plausibility to the view that we have here a compound word, and that we should read En-Rimmon, i.e. Ain-Rimmon (see Jos 15:32; 19:7; 1Ch 4:32). See also AYIN.

W. W. Davies


ar (aer): In the Old Testament "air" is used (with one exception) in the phrase "fowl" or "fowls (birds) of the air." The Hebrew word is usually rendered "heaven" or "heavens." According to ancient Hebrew cosmogony the sky was a solid dome (firmament) stretching over the earth as a covering. In the above phrase the air means the space between the earth and the firmament. In Job 41:16 "air" renders ruach, "breath," "wind," "spirit." The scales of the leviathan are so closely joined together that no air can penetrate. In the New Testament the phrase "birds (or fowls) of the air," occurs ten times. This simply reproduces the Hebraism noticed above. Apart from this expression "air" in the King James Version represents aer, which denotes the atmosphere which surrounds us. The expression "beating the air" (1Co 9:26) means to "deal blows that do not get home"—that miss the mark. In his conflict with the lower life represented by the body, Paul compares himself to a boxer who aims with unerring accuracy at his opponent. No stroke is lost. Paul also uses the phrase "speaking into the air" (1Co 14:9) in reference to the unintelligible utterances of those who "spake with tongues." In the expression, "prince of the powers of the air" (Eph 2:2 the King James Version) we find an echo of the current belief that the air was the dwelling place of spirits, especially of evil spirits.

Thomas Lewis


a-i’-rus, ar’-us (Iairos): the King James Version, one of the heads of a family of temple servants (1 Esdras 5:31 the Revised Version (British and American) JAIRUS), which returned from Babylon with Zerubbabel; in the Old Testament called Reaiah (Ezr 2:47; Ne 7:50), and classed among the Nethinim.


a’-ja. An Edomite tribe (Ge 36:24 the King James Version). See AIAH.


aj’-a-lon. See AIJALON.


a’-kan (‘aqan, "twisted"): A son of Ezer, a descendant of Esau of Seir (Ge 36:27). He is called Jaakan in 1Ch 1:42. The King James Version margin has Jakan.


ak’-a-tan (Akatan; the King James Version, Acatan = Hakkatan; Ezr 8:12): The father of Joannes who returned with Ezra to Jerusalem (1 Esdras 8:38).


a-kel’-da-ma (Akeldama, or, in many manuscripts, Akeldamach; the King James Version, Aceldama): A field said in Ac 1:19 to have been bought by Judas with the "thirty pieces of silver." In Mt 27:6,7 it is narrated that the priests took the silver pieces which Judas had "cast down .... into the sanctuary" and "bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day." Doubtless it was a supposed connection between this potter’s field and the potter’s house (Jer 18:2) and the Valley of the Son of Hinnom (Jer 19:2) which influenced the selection of the present site which, like the Aramaic h-q-l-d-m-’(Dalman), is today known as haqq-ed-dumm, "field of blood."

Tradition, which appears to go back to the 4th century, points to a level platform on, and some distance up, the southern slope of the Wady er Rababi (Valley of Hinnom) just before it joins the Kidron Valley. Upon this spot there is a very remarkable ruin (78 ft. x 57 ft.) which for many centuries was used as a charnel house. The earth here was reputed to have the property of quickly consuming dead bodies. So great was its reputation that vast quantities of it are said to have been transported in 1215 AD to the Campo Santo at Pisa.

When this building was standing entire, the bodies were lowered into it through five openings in the roof and then left to disintegrate, so that a few years ago there were very many feet of bones all over the floor. These have now been removed. A little Southeast of this ruin is a new Greek monastery erected in recent years over the remains of a large number of cave tombs; many of the bones from "Akeldama" are now buried here.

E. W. G. Masterman


ak’-ad, a-ka’-di-ans. See ACCAD; ACCADIANS.


ak’-os (Akbos in 1 Esdras 5:38; the King James Version Accos, which see): The Old Testament equivalent (1Ch 24:10; Ezr 2:61; Ne 3:4,21) is HAKKOZ (haqqots), which also see.


ak’-ub (‘aqqubh, "pursuer"):

(1) A son of Elioenai, a descendant of Zerubbabel (1Ch 3:24).

(2) A Levite porter on duty at the east gate of the second Temple (1Ch 9:17).


ak-ra-ba-ti’-ne (Akrabattine; the King James Version, Arabattine): A place in Idumaea where Judas Maccabee defeated the children of Esau (1 Macc 5:3).


ak-rab’-im (once in the King James Version, Acrabbim (Jos 15:3); ‘aqrabbim, "scorpions"): Three times found (Nu 34:4; Jos 15:3; Jud 1:36), and always with ma‘aleh, "ascent" or "pass"; and so "Ascent of the Scorpions," an ascent at the Southwest point of the Dead Sea and a part of the boundary line between Judah and Edom. At this pass Judas Maccabeus won a victory over the Edomites (1 Macc 5:3), called in the King James Version, Arabattine.


al-tash’-heth, al-tas’-kith. See PSALMS; SONG.


al’-a-bas-ter (alabastron (Mt 26:7; Mr 14:3; Lu 7:37)): In modern mineralogy alabaster is crystalline gypsum or sulphate of lime. The Greek word alabastron or alabastos meant a stone casket or vase, and alabastites was used for the stone of which the casket was made. This stone was usually crystalline stalagmitic rock or carbonate of lime, now often called oriental alabaster, to distinguish it from gypsum. The word occurs in the Bible only in the three passages of the Synoptic Gospels cited above. See BOX.


al’-a-meth (‘alameth, "concealment"; 1Ch 7:8 the King James Version): The name of a son of Becher and grandson of Benjamin. His name was preserved as the name of a town near Anathoth (ALLEMETH, 1Ch 6:60 the Revised Version (British and American)). Except for the strong pausal accent in the Hebrew the form of the word would be the same as ALEMETH (which see).


a-lam’-e-lek: the King James Version (Jos 19:26) for ALLAMMELECH (which see).


al’-a-moth. See MUSIC.


a-larm’ (teru‘ah): This expression is found six times in the Old Testament. The Hebrew word so rendered is derived from a verb meaning "to shout" or "blow a horn," as a signal for breaking up camp, starting on a journey or into battle, or in triumphant shout over the defeat of enemies. In a few instances it is employed of a cry of despair or distress. The noun teru‘ah translated "alarm" in Nu 10:5 f refers to the signal given the people of Israel to start on their journey in the Wilderness. The passages in Jer (4:19; 49:2) both refer to the summons for war. The same is true of Ze 1:16. The law concerning the sounding of the alarm is fully stated in Nu 10:1-10. Here we read that two silver trumpets of beaten work were sounded by the sons of Aaron in case of war and also "in the day of .... gladness" to gather the people together for the various feasts, new moons, sacrifices and offerings.

W. W. Davies


ol-be’-it (hina me; literally, "lest"): Occurs in a paraphrase rather than as a translation of a clause in Phm 1:19 the King James Version. The thought is: "although" or "albeit" (synonym of "although") "I might say," etc. This the Revised Version (British and American) translates with intense literalness: "that I say not".


al’-si-mus (’elyaqum, "God will rise"; Alkimos, "valiant"): A high priest for three years, 163-161 BC, the record of whose career may be found in 1 Macc 7:4-50; 9:1-57; 2 Macc 14; see also Ant, XII, 9-11; XX, 10. He was a descendant of Aaron, but not in the high-priestly line (1 Macc 7:14; also Ant, XX, 10); and being ambitious for the office of high priest, he hastened to Antioch to secure the favor and help of the new king, Demetrius, who had just overthrown Antiochus Eupator and made himself king. Alcimus was of the Grecianizing party, and therefore bitterly opposed by the Maccabees. Demetrius sent a strong army under Bacchides to establish him in the high-priesthood at Jerusalem. The favor with which Alcimus was received by the Jews at Jerusalem on account of his Aaronic descent was soon turned to hate by his cruelties. When Bacchides and his army returned to Antioch, Simon Maccabeus attacked and overcame Alcimus, and drove him also to Syria. There he secured from Demetrius another army, led by Nicanor, who, failing to secure Simon by treachery, joined battle with him, but was defeated and killed. A third and greater army, under Bacchides again, was dispatched to save the falling fortunes of Alcimus. Now Simon was overwhelmed and slain, Alcimus established as high priest and a strong force left in Jerusalem to uphold him. But he did not long enjoy his triumph, since he died soon after from a paralytic stroke.

Edward Mack


al’-kov (qubbah; the King James Version tent; the American Standard Revised Version pavilion; the American Revised Version, margin alcove): Perhaps a large tent occupied by a prince (Nu 25:8).


al’-e-ma (Alemois): A town in Gilead, mentioned once only (1 Macc 5:26), besieged by the nations under Timotheus, together with Bosor and other cities; and probably relieved along with these cities by Judas Maccabeus, although no mention is made of Alema’s relief. The name occurs the one time as dative plural.


al’-e-meth (‘alemeth, "concealment"):

(1) the Revised Version (British and American) for Alameth of the King James Version in 1Ch 7:8.

(2) Descendant of Saul and Jonathan, and son of Jehoaddah, 1Ch 8:36, or of Jarah, 1Ch 9:42. The genealogies in the two chapters are identical, and he is the fifth generation after Jonathan.

(3) In some Hebrew texts, Ginsburg and Baer, for ALLEMETH (which see); so in the King James Version.


a’-lef (’): The first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. It is nearly soundless itself and best represented, as in this Encyclopedia, by the smooth breathing (’), but it is the direct ancestor of the Greek, Latin and English "a" as in "father." In either case this beginning of the alphabet happens to be near the very basis of all speech—in one case the simple expiration of breath, in the other the simplest possible vocal action—the actual basis from which all other vowels are evolved. It became also the symbol for the number one (1) and, with the dieresis, 1,000. It is the symbol also for one of the most famous of Greek Biblical manuscripts, the Codex Sinaiticus. For name, written form, etc., see ALPHABET.

E. C. Richardson


a-lep’-o. See BEREA.


al-eg-zan’-der Alexandros, literal meaning "defender of men." This word occurs five times in the New Testament, (Mr 15:21; Ac 4:6; 19:33; 1Ti 1:19,20, 2Ti 4:14): It is not certain whether the third, fourth and fifth of these passages refer to the same man.

1. A Son of Simon of Cyrene:

The first of these Alexanders is referred to in the passage in Mk, where he is said to have been one of the sons of Simon of Cyrene, the man who carried the cross of Christ. Alexander therefore may have been a North African by birth. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all record the fact, with varying detail, that Simon happened to be passing at the time when Christ was being led out of the city, to be crucified on Calvary. Mark alone tells that Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus. From this statement of the evangelist, it is apparent that at the time the Second Gospel was written, Alexander and Rufus were Christians, and that they were well known in the Christian community. Mark takes it for granted that the first readers of his Gospel will at once understand whom he means.

There is no other mention of Alexander in the New Testament, but it is usually thought that his brother Rufus is the person mentioned by Paul in Ro 16:13, "Salute Rufus the chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine." If this identification is correct, then it follows, not only that the sons of Simon were Christians, but that his wife also was a Christian, and that they had all continued faithful to Christ for many years. It would also follow that the households were among the intimate friends of Paul, so much so that the mother of the family is affectionately addressed by him as "Rufus’ mother and mine." The meaning of this is, that in time past this lady had treated Paul with the tender care which a mother feels and shows to her own son.

This mention of Rufus and his mother is in the list of names of Christians resident in Rome. Lightfoot (Comm. on Phil, 176) writes: "There seems no reason to doubt the tradition that Mr wrote especially for the Romans; and if so, it is worth remarking that he alone of the evangelists describes Simon of Cyrene, as ‘the father of Alexander and Rufus.’ A person of this name therefore (Rufus) seems to have held a prominent place among the Roman Christians; and thus there is at least fair ground for identifying the Rufus of Paul with the Rufus of Mark. The inscriptions exhibit several members of the household (of the emperor) bearing the names Rufus and Alexander, but this fact is of no value where both names are so common."

To sum up, Alexander was probably by birth a North African Jew; he became a Christian, and was a well-known member of the church, probably the church in Rome. His chief claim to recollection is that he was a son of the man who carried the cross of the Saviour of the world.

2. A Relative of Annas:

The second Alexander, referred to in Ac 4:6, was a relative of Annas the Jewish high priest. He is mentioned by Lk, as having been present as a member of the Sanhedrin, before which Peter and John were brought to be examined, for what they had done in the cure of the lame man at the gate of the temple. Nothing more is known of this Alexander than is here given by Luke. It has been conjectured that he may have been the Alexander who was a brother of Philo, and who was also the alabarch or magistrate of the city of Alexandria. But this conjecture is unsupported by any evidence at all.

3. Alexander and the Riot at Ephesus:

The third Alexander is mentioned in Ac 19:33: "And some of the multitude instructed Alexander, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made defense unto the people. But when they perceived that he was a Jew, all with one voice," etc., the Revised Version, margin. In the matter of the riot in Ephesus the whole responsibility rested with Demetrius the silversmith. In his anger against the Christians generally, but specially against Paul, because of his successful preaching of the gospel, he called together a meeting of the craftsmen; the trade of the manufacture of idols was in jeopardy. From this meeting there arose the riot, in which the whole city was in commotion. The Jews were wholly innocent in the matter: they had done nothing to cause any disturbance. But the riot had taken place, and no one could tell what would happen. Modern anti-Semitism, in Russia and other European countries, gives an idea of an excited mob stirred on by hatred of the Jews. Instantly recognizing that the fury of the Ephesian people might expend itself in violence and bloodshed, and that in that fury they would be the sufferers, the Jews "put forward" Alexander, so that by his skill as a speaker he might clear them, either of having instigated the riot, or of being in complicity with Paul. "A certain Alexander was put forward by the Jews to address the mob; but this merely increased the clamor and confusion. There was no clear idea among the rioters what they wanted: an anti-Jewish and an anti-Christian demonstration were mixed up, and probably Alexander’s retention was to turn the general feeling away from the Jews. It is possible that he was the worker in bronze, who afterward did Paul much harm" (Ramsay, Paul the Traveler, etc., 279).

4. Alexander an Ephesian Heretic:

The fourth of the New Testament Alexanders is one of two heretical teachers at Ephesus—the other being Hymeneus: see article under the word—against whom Paul warns Timothy in 1Ti 1:19,20. The teaching of Hymeneus and Alexander was to the effect that Christian morality was not required—antinomianism. They put away- -"thrust from them," the Revised Version (British and American)—faith and a good conscience; they willfully abandoned the great central facts regarding Christ, and so they "made shipwreck concerning the faith."

5. His Heresy Incipient Gnosticism:

In 2Ti 2:17,18, Hymeneus is associated with Philetus, and further details are there given regarding their false teaching. What they taught is described by Paul as "profane babblings," as leading to more ungodliness, and as eating "as doth a gangrene." Their heresy consisted in saying that the resurrection was past already, and it had been so far successful, that it had overthrown the faith of some. The doctrine of these three heretical teachers, Hymeneus, Alexander and Philetus, was accordingly one of the early forms of Gnosticism. It held that matter was originally and essentially evil; that for this reason the body was not an essential part of human nature; that the only resurrection was that of each man as he awoke from the death of sin to a righteous life; that thus in the case of everyone who has repented of sin, "the resurrection was past already," and that the body did not participate in the blessedness of the future life, but that salvation consisted in the soul’s complete deliverance from all contact with a material world and a material body.

So pernicious were these teachings of incipient Gnosticism in the Christian church, that they quickly spread, eating like a gangrene. The denial of the future resurrection of the body involved also the dental of the bodily resurrection of Christ, and even the fact of the incarnation. The way in which therefore the apostle dealt with those who taught such deadly error, was that he resorted to the same extreme measures as he had employed in the case of the immoral person at Corinth; he delivered Hymeneus and Alexander to Satan, that they might learn not to blaspheme. Compare 1Co 5:5.

6. Alexander the Coppersmith:

The fifth and last occurrence of the name Alexander is in 2Ti 4:14,15, "Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord will render to him according to his works: of whom do thou also beware (the King James Version "of whom be thou ware also"); for he greatly withstood our words." This Alexander was a worker in copper or iron, a smith. It is quite uncertain whether Alexander number 5 should be identified with Alexander number 4, and even with Alexander number 3. In regard to this, it should be remembered that all three of these Alexanders were resident in Ephesus; and it is specially to be noticed that the fourth and the fifth of that name resided in that city at much the same time; the interval between Paul’s references to these two being not more than a year or two, as not more than that time elapsed between his writing 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy. It is therefore quite possible these two Alexanders may be one and the same person.

In any case, what is stud of this last Alexander is that he had shown the evil which was in him by doing many evil deeds to the apostle, evidently on the occasion of a recent visit paid by Paul to Ephesus. These evil deeds had taken the form of personally opposing the apostle’s preaching. The personal antagonism of Alexander manifested itself by his greatly withstanding the proclamation of the gospel by Paul. As Timothy was now in Ephesus, in charge of the church there, he is strongly cautioned by the apostle to be on his guard against this opponent.

John Rutherfurd


Alexander ba’-las (Alexandros ho Balas legomenos): He contended against Demetrius I of Syria for the throne and succeeded in obtaining it. He was a youth of mean origin, but he was put forth by the enemies of Demetrius as being Alexander, the son and heir of Antiochus Epiphanes. He received the support of the Roman Senate and of Ptolemy VI of Egypt, and on account of the tyranny of Demetrius, was favored by many of the Syrians. The country was thrown into civil war and Demetrius was defeated by Alexander II took up the cause of his father and in 147 BC, Alexander fled from his kingdom and was soon after assassinated.

Our chief interest in Alexander is his connection with the Maccabees. Jonathan was the leader of the Maccabean forces and both Alexander and Demetrius sought his aid. Demetrius granted Jonathan the right to raise and maintain an army. Alexander, not to be outdone, appointed Jonathan high priest, and as a token of his new office sent him a purple robe and a diadem (Ant., XIII, ii, 2). This was an important step in the rise of the Maccabean house, for it insured them the support of the Chasidim. In 153 BC, Jonathan officiated as high priest at the altar (1 Macc 10:1-14; Ant, XIII, ii, 1). This made him the legal head of Judea and thus the movement of the Maccabees became closely identified with Judaism. In 1 Macc 10:1, he is called Alexander Epiphanes.

A. W. Fortune


(Alexandros). 1. Parentage and Early Life:

Alexander, of Macedon, commonly called "the Great" (born 356 BC), was the son of Philip, king of Macedon, and of Olympias, daughter of Neoptolemos, an Epeirote king. Although Alexander is not mentioned by name in the canonical Scriptures, in Da he is designated by a transparent symbol (8:5,21). In 1 Macc 1:1 he is expressly named as the overthrower of the Persian empire, and the founder of that of the Greeks. As with Frederick the Great, the career of Alexander would have been impossible had his father been other than he was. Philip had been for some years a hostage in Thebes: while there he had learned to appreciate the changes introduced into military discipline and tactics by Epaminondas. Partly no doubt from the family claim to Heracleid descent, deepened by contact in earlier days with Athenians like Iphicrates, and the personal influence of Epaminondas, Philip seems to have united to his admiration for Greek tactics a tincture of Hellenistic culture, and something like a reverence for Athens, the great center of this culture. In military matters his admiration led him to introduce the Theban discipline to the rough peasant levies of Macedon, and the Macedonian phalanx proved the most formidable military weapon that had yet been devised. The veneer of Greek culture which he had taken on led him, on the one hand, laying stress on his Hellenistic descent, to claim admission to the comity of Hellas, and on the other, to appoint Aristotle to be a tutor to his son. By a combination of force and fraud, favored by circumstances, Philip got himself appointed generalissimo of the Hellenistic states; and further induced them to proclaim war against the "Great King." In all this he was preparing the way for his son, so soon to be his successor.

2. His Preparation for His Career:

He was also preparing his son for his career. Alexander was, partly no doubt from being the pupil of Aristotle, yet more imbued with Greek feelings and ideas than was Preparation his father. He was early introduced into the cares of government and the practice of war. While Philip was engaged in the siege of Byzantium he sent his son to replace Antipater in the regency; during his occupancy of this post, Alexander, then only a youth of sixteen, had to undertake a campaign against the Illyrians, probably a punitive expedition. Two years later, at the decisive battle of Chaeroneia, which fixed the doom of the Greek autonomous city, Alexander commanded the feudal cavalry of Macedon, the "Companions." He not only saved his father’s life, but by his timely and vehement charge materially contributed to the victory.

3. His Accession to the Hegemony of Greece:

When all his plans for the invasion of Persia were complete, and a portion of his troops was already across the Hellespont, Philip was assassinated. Having secured his succession, Alexander proceeded to Corinth, where he was confirmed in his father’s position of leader of Hellas against Darius. Before he could cross into Asia he had to secure his northern frontier against possible raids of barbarian tribes. He invaded Thrace with his army and overthrew the Triballi, then crossed the Danube and inflicted a defeat on the Getae. During his absence in these but slightly known regions, the rumor spread that he had been killed, and Thebes began a movement to throw off the Macedonian yoke. On his return to Greece he wreaked terrible vengeance on Thebes, not only as promoter of this revolt, but also as the most powerful of the Greek states.

4. Campaign in Asia Minor:

Having thus secured his rear, Alexander collected his army at Pella to cross the Hellespont, that he might exact the vengeance of Greece on Persia for indignities suffered at the hands of Xerxes, who "by his strength through his riches" had stirred, up "all against the realm of Grecia" (Da 11:2, the King James Version). Steeped as he was in the romance of the Iliad, Alexander, when he came to the site of Troy, honored Achilles, whom he claimed as his ancestor, with games and sacrifices. This may have been the outflow of his own romantic nature, but there was also wise policy in it; the Greeks were more readily reconciled to the loss of their freedom when it was yielded up to one who revived in his own person the heroes of the Iliad. It may be noted how exactly the point of Alexander’s invasion is indicated in Daniel’s prophecy (Da 8:5). From Troy he advanced southward, and encountered the Persian forces at the Granicus. While in the conflict Alexander exhibited all the reckless bravery of a Homeric hero. He at the same time showed the skill of a consummate general. The Persian army was dispersed with great slaughter.

Before proceeding farther into Persia, by rapid marches and vigorously pressed sieges, he completed the conquest of Asia Minor. Here, too, he showed his knowledge of the sensitiveness of Asiatic peoples to omens, by visiting Gordium, and cutting the knot on which, according to legend, depended the empire of Asia.

5. Battle of Issus and March through Syria to Egypt:

What he had done in symbol he had to make a reality; he had to settle the question of supremacy in Asia by the sword. He learned that Darius had collected an immense army and was coming to meet him. Although the Persian host was estimated at a half-million men, Alexander hastened to encounter it. Rapidity of motion, as symbolized in Da by the "he-goat" that "came from the west .... and touched not the ground" (Da 8:5), was Alexander’s great characteristic. The two armies met in the relatively narrow plain of Issus, where the Persians lost, to a great extent, the advantage of their numbers; they were defeated with tremendous slaughter, Darius himself setting the example of flight. Alexander only pursued the defeated army far enough to break it up utterly. He began his march southward along the seacoast of Syria toward Egypt, a country that had always impressed the Greek imagination. Though most of the cities, on his march, opened their gates to the conqueror, Tyre and Gaza only yielded after a prolonged siege.

In the case of the latter of these, enraged at the delay occasioned by the resistance, and emulous of his ancestor, Alexander dragged its gallant defender Batis alive behind his chariot as Achilles had dragged the dead Hector. It ought to be noted that this episode does not appear in Arrian, usually regarded as the most authentic historian of Alexander. Josephus relates that after he had taken Gaza, Alexander went up to Jerusalem, and saw Jaddua the high priest, who showed him the prophecy of Daniel concerning him. The fact that none of the classic historians take any notice of such a detour renders the narrative doubtful: still it contains no element of improbability that the pupil of Aristotle, in the pursuit of knowledge, might, during the prosecution of the siege of Gaza, with a small company press into the hill country of Judea, at once to secure the submission of Jerusalem which occupied a threatening position in regard to his communications, and to see something of that mysterious nation who worshipped one God and had no idols.

6. Founding of Alexandria and Visit to the Shrine of Jupiter Ammon:

When he entered Egypt, the whole country submitted without a struggle. Moved at once by the fact that Pharos is mentioned in the Odyssey, and that he could best rule Egypt from the seacoast, he founded Alexandria on the strip of land opposite Pharos, which separated Lake Mareotis from the Mediterranean. The island Pharos formed a natural breakwater which made possible a spacious double harbor; the lake, communicating with the Nile, opened the way for inland navigation. As usual with Alexander, romance and policy went hand in hand. The city thus founded became the capital of the Ptolemies, and the largest city of the Hellenistic world. He spent his time visiting shrines, in the intervals of arranging for the government of the country. The most memorable event of his stay in Egypt was his expedition to the oracle or Jupiter Ammon (Amen-Ra) where he was declared the son of the god. To the Egyptians this meant no more than that he was regarded a lawful monarch, but he pretended to take this declaration as assigning to him a Divine origin like so many Homeric heroes. Henceforward, there appeared on coins Alexander’s head adorned with the ram’s horn of Amen-Ra. This impressed the eastern imagination so deeply that Mohammed, a thousand years after, calls him in the Quran Iskander dhu al-qarnain, "Alexander the lord of the two horns." It is impossible to believe that the writer of Da could, in the face of the universal attribution of the two ram’s horns to Alexander, represent Persia, the power he overthrew, as a two-horned ram (Da 8:3,20), unless he had written before the expedition into Egypt.

7. The Last Battle with Darius:

Having arranged the affairs of Egypt, Alexander set out for his last encounter with Darius. In vain had Darius sent to Alexander offering to share the empire with him; the "king of Javan" (Revised Version margin) "was moved with anger against him" (Da 8:7) and would have nothing but absolute submission. There was nothing left for Darius but to prepare for the final conflict. He collected a yet huger host than that he had had under him at Issus, and assembled it on the plain east of the Tigris. Alexander hastened to meet him. Although the plain around Gaugamela was much more suitable for the movements of the Persian troops, which consisted largely of cavalry, and gave them better opportunity of making use of their great numerical superiority to outflank the small Greek army, the result was the same as at Issus—overwhelming defeat and immense slaughter. The consequence of this victory was the submission of the greater portion of the Persian empire.

After making some arrangements for the government of the new provinces, Alexander set out in the pursuit of Darius, who had fled in the care or custody of Bessus, satrap of Bactria. Bessus, at last, to gain the favor of Alexander, or, failing that, to maintain a more successful resistance, murdered Darius. Alexander hurried on to the conquest of Bactria and Sogdiana, in the course of his expedition capturing Bessus and putting him to death. In imitation of Bacchus, he proceeded now to invade India. He conquered all before him till he reached the Sutlej; at this point his Macedonian veterans refused to follow him farther.

8. Close of His Life:

Thus compelled to give up hopes of conquests in the farther East, he returned to Babylon, which he purposed to make the supreme capital of his empire, and set himself, with all his superabundant energy, to organize his dominions, and fit Babylon for its new destiny. While engaged in this work he was seized with malaria, which, aggravated by his recklessness in eating and drinking, carried him off in his 33rd year.

9. His Influence:

Alexander is not to be estimated merely as a military conqueror. If he had been only this, he would have left no deeper impress on the world than Tamerlane or Attila. While he conquered Asia, he endeavored also to Hellenize her. He everywhere founded Greek cities that enjoyed at all events a municipal autonomy. With these, Hellenistic thought and the Hellenistic language were spread all over southwestern Asia, so that philosophers from the banks of the Euphrates taught in the schools of Athens. It was through the conquests of Alexander that Greek became the language of literature and commerce from the shores of the Mediterranean to the banks of the Tigris. It is impossible to estimate the effect of this spread of Greek on the promulgation of the gospel.

J. E. H. Thomson


al-eg-zan’-dri-a (he Alexandreia).

1. History:

In 331 BC, Alexander the Great, on his way to visit the Oracle of Amon seeking divine honors, stopped at the West extremity of the Delta at the isle of Pharos the landing-place of Odysseus (Od. iv.35) His keen eye noted the strategic possibilities of the site occupied by the little Egyptian village of Rhacotis, and his decision was immediate to erect here, where it would command the gateway to the richest domain of his empire, a glorious city to be called by his own name. Deinocrates, greatest living architect, already famous as builder of the Temple of Diana, was given free hand and like a dream the most beautiful city of the ancient or modern world (with the single exception of Rome) arose with straight, parallel streets—one at least 200 feet wide—with fortresses, monuments, palaces, government buildings and parks all erected according to a perfect artistic plan. The city was about fifteen miles in circumference (Pliny), and when looked at from above represented a Macedonian cloak, such as was worn by Alexander’s heroic ancestors. A colossal mole joined the island to the main land and made a double harbor, the best in all Egypt.

Before Alexander died (323 BC) the future of the city as the commercial metropolis of the world was assured and here the golden casket of the conqueror was placed in a fitting mausoleum. Under the protection of the first two Ptolemies and Euergetes Alexandria reached its highest prosperity, receiving through Lake Mareotis the products of Upper Egypt, reaching by the Great Sea all the wealth of the West, while through the Red Sea its merchant vessels brought all the treasures of India and Arabia into the Alexandria docks without once being unladen.

The manufactories of Alexandria were extensive, the greatest industry however being shipbuilding, the largest merchant ships of the world and battleships capable of carrying 1,000 men, which could hurl fire with fearful effect, being constructed here. This position of supremacy was maintained during the Roman domination up to the 5th century during which Alexandria began to decline. Yet even when Alexandria was captured by the Arabs (641) under the caliph Omar, the general could report: "I have taken a city containing 4,000 palaces and 4,000 baths and 400 theaters." They called it a "city of marble" and believed the colossal obelisks, standing on crabs of crystal, and the Pharos, that white stone tower 400 ft. high, "wonder of the world," to be the creation of jinn, not of men. With oriental exaggeration they declared that one amphitheater could easily hold a million spectators and that it was positively painful to go upon the streets at night because of the glare of light reflected from the white palaces. But with the coming of the Arabs Alexandria began to decline. It sank lower when Cairo became the capital (circa 1000 AD), and received its death blow when a sea route to India was discovered by way of the Cape of Good Hope (circa 1500).

Today the ancient Alexandria lies entirely under the sea or beneath some later construction. Only one important relic remains visible, the so-called Pompey’s Pillar which dates from the reign of Diocletian. Excavations by the English (1895) and Germans (1898-99) have yielded few results, though Dr. G. Botti discovered the Serapeum and some immense catacombs, and only recently (1907) some fine sphinxes. In its most flourishing period the population numbered from 600,000 to 800,000, half of whom were perhaps slaves. At the close of the 18th century. it numbered no more than 7,000. Under the khedives it has recently gained something of its old importance and numbers now 320,000, of whom 46,000 are Europeans, chiefly Greeks (Baedeker, Handbook, 1902; Murray, Handbook, 1907).

2. The Jews in Alexandria:

Among the private papers of Alexander it is said a sketch was found outlining his vast plan of making a Greek empire which should include all races as harmonious units. In accordance with this, Europeans, Asiatics and Africans found in Alexandria a common citizenship. Indeed in several cities, under the Ptolemies, who accepted this policy, foreigners were even given superiority to natives. Egyptians and Greeks were conciliated by the introduction of a syncretic religion in which the greatest Greek god was worshipped as Osiris, Egyptian god of the underworld, whose soul appeared visibly in the form of the Apis bull.

This was the most popular and human form of the Egyptian worship. This new religion obtained phenomenal success. It was in furtherance of this general policy that the Jews in Alexandria were given special privileges, and though probably not possessing full civic rights, yet they "occupied in Alexandria a more Influential position than anywhere else in the ancient world" (Jewish Encyclopedia). To avoid unnecessary friction a separate district was given to the Jews, another to the Greeks and another to the native Egyptians. In the Greek section were situated the palaces of the Ptolemies, the Library and Museum. In the Egyptian district was the temple dedicated to Serapis (Osiris-Apis) which was only excelled in grandeur by the capitol at Rome. The Jews possessed many synagogues in their own district and in Philo’s day these were not confined to any one section of the city. Some synagogues seem to have exercised the right of asylum, the same as heathen temples. One of these was so large that the chazan signaled by a flag when the congregation should give the Amen! Each district had a practically independent political government.

The Jews were at first ruled by a Hebrew ethnarch. By the days of Augustus a Council of Elders (gerusia) had control, presided over by 71 archons. Because of their wealth, education and social position they reached high public office. Under Ptol. VI and Cleopatra the two generals-in-chief of the royal army were Jews. Ptol. I had 30,000 Jewish soldiers, in his army, whose barracks have only recently been discovered. It may have been a good thing that the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes (2nd century BC) checked Jewish Hellenization. During the Roman supremacy the rights of the Jews were maintained, except during their persecution for a brief period by the insane Caligula, and the control of the most important industries, including the corn trade, came into their hands.

When Christianity became the state religion of Egypt the Jews at once began to be persecuted. The victory of Heraclius over the Persians (629 AD) was followed by such a massacre of the Jews that the Coptics of Egypt still denominate the first week in Lent as the "Fast of Heraclius." Wisdom and many other influential writings of the Jews originated in Alexandria. Doubtless numbers of the recently discovered documents from the Cairo genizah came originally from Alexandria. But the epochal importance of Alexandria is found in the teaching which prepared the Hebrew people for the reception of a gospel for the whole world, which was soon to be preached by Hebrews from Hellenized Galilee.

3. Alexandria’s Influence on the Bible:

(1) In Da 11 the Ptolomies of Alexandria and their wives are made a theme of prophecy. Apollos, the "orator," was born in Alexandria (Ac 18:24). Luke twice speaks of himself and Paul sailing in "a ship of Alexandria" (Ac 27:6; 28:11). Stephen ‘disputed’ in Jerusalem in the synagogue of the Alexandrians (Ac 6:9). These direct references are few, but the influence of Alexandria on the Bible was inestimable.

(2) The Septuagint, translated in Alexandria (3rd to 2nd centuries BC), preserves a Hebrew text 1,000 years older than any now known. This translation if not used by Jesus was certainly used by Paul and other New Testament writers, as shown by their quotations. It is Egyptian even in trifles. This Greek Bible not only opened for the first time the "Divine Oracles" to the Gentiles and thus gave to the Old Testament an international influence, but it affected most vitally the Hebrew and Christian development.

(3) The Alexandrinus Codex (4th to 5th centuries) was the first of all the great uncials to come into the hands of modern scholars. It was obtained in Alexandria and sent as a present to the king of England (1628) by Cyrellus Lucaris, the Patriarch of Constantinople. The Sinaiticus and Vaticanus uncials with many other most important Bible manuscripts—Hebrew, Greek, Coptic and Syriac—came from Alexandria.

(4) John and several other New Testament writings have justly been regarded as showing the influence of this philosophic city. Neither the phraseology nor conceptions of the Fourth Gospel could have been grasped in a world which Alexandria had not taught. Pfleiderer’s statement that He "may be termed the most finished treatise of the Alexandria philosophy" may be doubted, but no one can doubt the fact of Alexandrian influence on the New Testament.

4. Influence of Alexandria on Culture:

With the founding of the University of Alexandria began the "third great epoch in the history of civilization" (Max Muller). It was modeled after the great school of Athens, but excelled, being preeminently the "university of progress" (Mahaffy). Here for the first time is seen a school of science and literature, adequately endowed and offering large facilities for definite original research. The famous library which at different eras was reported as possessing from 400,000 to 900,000 books and rolls—the rolls being as precious as the books—was a magnificent edifice connected by marble colonnades with the Museum, the "Temple of the Muses." An observatory, an anatomical laboratory and large botanical and Zoological gardens were available. Celebrated scholars, members of the various faculties, were domiciled within the halls of the Museum and received stipends or salaries from the government.

The study of mathematics, astronomy, poetry and medicine was especially favored (even vivisection upon criminals being common); Alexandrian architects were sought the world over; Alexandrian inventors were almost equally famous; the influence of Alexandrian art can still be marked in Pompeii and an Alexandrian painter was a hated rival of Apelles. Here Euclid wrote his Elements of Geometry; here Archimedes, "that greatest mathematical and inventive genius of antiquity," made his spectacular discoveries in hydrostatics and hydraulics; here Eratosthenes calculated the size of the earth and made his other memorable discoveries; while Ptolemy studied here for 40 years and published an explanation of the stellar universe which was accepted by scientists for 14 centuries, and established mathematical theories which are yet the basis of trigonometry. "Ever since this epoch the conceptions of the sphericity of the earth, its poles, axis, the equator, the arctic and antarctic circles, the equinoctial points, the solstices, the inequality of climate on the earth’s surface, have been current notions among scientists. The mechanism of the lunar phases was perfectly understood, and careful though not wholly successful calculations were made of inter-sidereal distances. On the other hand literature and art flourished under the careful protection of the court. Literature and its history, philology and criticism became sciences" (Alexandria Weber).

It may be claimed that in literature no special originality was displayed though the earliest "love storms" and pastoral poetry date from this period (Mahaffy); yet the literature of the Augustan Age cannot be understood "without due appreciation of the character of the Alexandrian school" (EB, 11th ed.), while in editing texts and in copying and translating manuscripts inconceivable patience and erudition were displayed. Our authorized texts of Homer and other classic writers come from Alexandria not from Athens. All famous books brought into Egypt were sent to the library to be copied.

The statement of Josephus that Ptolemy Philadelphus (285-247) requested the Jews to translate the Old Testament into Greek is not incredible. It was in accordance with the custom of that era. Ptol. Euergetes is said to have sent to Athens for the works of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, etc., and when these were transcribed, sent back beautiful copies to Greece and kept the originals! No library in the world except the prophetic library in Jerusalem was ever as valuable as the two Alexandrian libraries. The story that the Arabs burned it in the 7th century is discredited and seemingly disproved (Butler). At any rate, after this period we hear of great private libraries in Alexandria, but the greatest literary wonder of the world has disappeared.

5. Influence on Philosophy:

Though no department of philosophy was established in the Museum, nevertheless from the 3rd century BC to the 6th century AD it was the center of gravity in the philosophic world. Here Neo-Pythagoreanism arose. Here Neo- Platonism, that contemplative and mystical reaction against the materialism of the Stoics, reached its full flower. It is difficult to overestimate the influence of the latter upon religious thought. In it the profoundest Aryan speculations were blended with the sublimest Semitic concepts. Plato was numbered among the prophets. Greece here acknowledged the Divine Unity to which the Old Testament was pledged. Here the Jew acknowledged that Athens as truly as Jerusalem had taught a vision of God. This was the first attempt to form a universal religion.

The Alexandrian philosophy was the Elijah to prepare the way for a Saviour of the world. The thought of both Sadducee and Pharisee was affected by it and much late pre-Christian Jewish literature is saturated with it. Neo- Platonism drew attention to the true relation between matter and spirit, good and evil, finite and infinite; it showed the depth of antagonism between the natural and spiritual, the real and ideal; it proclaimed the necessity of some mystic union between the human and the Divine. It stated but could not solve the problem. Its last word was escape, not reconciliation (Ed. Caird). Neo-Platonism was the "germ out of which Christian theology sprang" (Caird) though later it became an adverse force. Notwithstanding its dangerous teaching concerning evil, it was on the whole favorable to piety, being the forerunner of mysticism and sympathetic with the deepest, purest elements Of a spiritual religion.

6. Christian Church in Alexandria:

According to all tradition, Mark the evangelist, carried the gospel to Alexandria, and his body rested here until removed to Venice, 828 AD. From this city Christianity reached all Egypt and entered Nubia, Ethiopia and Abyssinia. During the 4th century, ten councils were held in Alexandria, it being theological and ecclesiastical center of Christendom. The first serious persecution of Christians by heathen occurred here under Decius (251) and was followed by many others, the one under Diocletian (303-11) being so savage that the native Coptic church still dates its era from it. When the Christians reached political power they used the same methods of controversy, wrecking the Caesarion in 366 and the Serapeum twenty-five years later. Serapis (Osiris-Apis) was the best beloved of all the native deities. His temple was built of most precious marbles and filled with priceless sculptures, while in its cloisters was a library second only to the Great Library of the Museum. When Christianity became the state religion of Egypt the native philosophers, moved by patriotism, rallied to the support of Serapis. But Theodosius (391) prohibited idolatry, and led by the bishop, the Serapeum was seized, and smitten by a soldier’s battle-axe, the image—which probably represented the old heathen religion at its best—was broken to pieces, and dragged through the streets.

That day, as Steindorff well puts it, "Egyp paganism received its death blow; the Egyptian religion fell to pieces" (History of Egypt). Thereafter heathen worship hid itself in the dens and caves of the earth. Even secret allegiance to Serapis brought persecution and sometimes death. The most appalling tragedy of this kind occurred in 415 when Hypatia, the virgin philosopher, celebrated equally for beauty, virtue and learning, was dragged by a mob to the cathedral, stripped, and torn to pieces before the altar. Some of the greatest Christian leaders used all their influence against such atrocities, but the Egyptian Christians were always noted for their excitability. They killed heretics easily, but they would themselves be killed rather than renounce the very slightest and most intangible theological tenet. It only needed the change of a word e.g. in the customary version to raise a riot (Expos, VII, 75).

Some curious relics of the early Egyptian church have very recently come to light. The oldest autographic Christian letter known (3rd century) proves that at that time the church was used as a bank, and its ecclesiastics (who, whether priests or bishops, were called "popes") were expected to help the country merchants in their dealings with the Roman markets. Some sixty letters of the 4th century written to a Christian cavalry officer in the Egyptian army are also preserved, while papyri and ostraca from circa 600 AD show that at this time no deacon could be ordained without having first learned by heart as much as an entire Gospel or 25 Psalms and two epistles of Paul, while a letter from a bishop of this period is filled with Scripture, as he anathematizes the "oppressor of the poor," who is likened unto him who spat in the face of our Lord on the cross and smote Him on the head (Adolph Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East, etc., 1910). Oppression of Jews and heretics was not, however, forbidden and during the 5th and 6th centuries. Egypt was a battle-field in which each sect persecuted every other.

Even when the Arabs under the caliph Omar captured the city on Good Friday (641), Easter Day was spent by the orthodox in torturing supposed heretics! The next morning the city was evacuated and Jews and Coptics received better treatment from the Arabs than they had from the Roman or Greek ecclesiastics. After the Arab conquest the Coptic church, being released from persecution, prospered and gained many converts even from the Mohammedans.

But the Saracenic civilization and religion steadily displaced the old, and the native learning and native religion soon disappeared into the desert. By the 8th century, Arabic had taken the place of Greek and Coptic, not only in public documents but in common speech. Then for 1,000 years the Egyptian church remained without perceptible influence on culture or theology. But its early influence was immeasurable and can still be marked in Christian art, architecture and ritual as well as in philosophy and theology. Perhaps its most visible influence was in the encouragement of image-reverence and asceticism. It is suggestive that the first hermit (Anthony) was a native Egyptian, and the first founder of a convent (Pachomius) was a converted Egyptian (heathen) monk. Today Alexandria has again become a Christian metropolis containing Coptics, Romans, Greeks, Armenians, Maronites, Syrians, Chaldeans and Protestants. The Protestants are represented by the Anglican church, the Scotch Free church, the evangelical church of Germany and the United Presbyterian church of the U.S. (For minute divisions see Catholic Encyclopedia)

7. Catechetical School in Alexandria:

The first theological school of Christendom was founded in Alexandria. It was probably modeled after earlier Gnostic schools established for the study of religious philosophy. It offered a three years’ course. There were no fees, the lecturers being supported by gifts from rich students. Pantaenus, a converted Stoic philosopher, was its first head (180). He was followed by Clement (202) and by Origen (232) under whom the school reached its zenith. It always stood for the philosophical vindication of Christianity. Among its greatest writers were Julius Africanus (215), Dionysius (265), Gregory (270), Eusebius (315), Athanasius (373) and Didymus (347), but Origen (185-254) was its chief glory; to him belongs the honor of defeating paganism and Gnosticism with their own weapons; he gave to the church a "scientific consciousness," his threefold interpretation of Scripture affected Biblical exegesis clear down to the last century.

Arius was a catechist in this institution, and Athanasius, the "father of orthodoxy" and "theological center of the Nicene age" (Schaff), though not officially connected with the catechetical school was greatly affected by it, having been bred and trained in Alexandria. The school was closed toward the end of the 4th century because of theological disturbances in Egypt, but its work was continued from Caesarea and other centers, affecting profoundly Western teachers like Jerome and Ambrose, and completely dominating Eastern thought. From the first there was a mystical and Docetic tendency visible, while its views of inspiration and methods of interpretation, including its constant assumption of a secret doctrine for the qualified initiate, came legitimately from Neo-Platonism. For several centuries after the school disbanded its tenets were combated by the "school of Antioch," but by the 8th century the Alexandrian theology was accepted by the whole Christian world, east and west.


Besides works mentioned in the text see especially: Petrie, History of Egypt (1899), V, VI, Mahaffy, Empire of the Ptolemies (1895), Progress of Hellenism (1905); Butler, Arab Conquest of Egypt (1902); Ernst Sieglin, Ausgrabungen in Alexandrien (1908); Harnack, Lehrbuch der Dogmengeschichte (1895-1900), and in New Sch-Herz (1910); Inge, Alexandrian Theology in Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics (1908); Ed. Caird, Evolution of Theology in the Greek Philosophers (1904); Pfleiderer, Philosophy and Development of Religion (1894); Schaff, History of Christian Church (1884-1910); Zogheb, Etudes sur l’ancienne Alexandrie (1909).

Camden M. Cobern


al-eg-zan’-dri-ans (Alexandreis): Jews of Alexandria, who had, with the Libertines and Cyrenians, a synagogue in Jerusalem. They were among those who disputed with Stephen (Ac 6:9).


a-li’-a (‘alyah): One of the dukes, or heads of thousands of Edom (1Ch 1:51). In Ge 36:40 the name is Alvah (‘alwah), the only difference being the change of the weaker w, of Ge to the somewhat stronger, y, of the later Chronicles, a change which is not infrequent in Hebrew. He is not to be confused, as in HDB, with the Alian of the same chapter.


a-li’-an (‘alyan): A descendant of Esau, and son of Shobal (1Ch 1:40). In the corresponding earlier genealogy (Ge 36:23) the same person is given as Alvan (‘alwan), the change of the third consonant being a simple one, common to Hebrew, occurring similarly in Aliah (which see). Alian is not to be identified with Aliah, since the groups of names in which these occur are quite different, and the context in each case is not the same.


al’-yen: Found in the King James Version for ger, (Ex 18:3) =" guest," hence: "foreigner," "sojourner" the Revised Version (British and American); also for nekhar (Isa 61:5) =" foreign," "a foreigner" the Revised Version (British and American) (concrete), "heathendom" (abstract), "alien," "strange" (-er), and for nokhri (De 14:21 the Revised Version (British and American) "foreigner"; compare Job 19:15; Ps 69:8; La 5:2)—"strange," in a variety of degrees and meanings: "foreign," "non-relative," "adulterous," "different," "wonderful," "alien," "outlandish," "strange." In the New Testament we find apellotriomenos (Eph 4:18; Col 1:21) =" being alienated," and allotrios (Heb 11:34) =" another’s," "not one’s own," hence: "foreign," "not akin," "hostile." In the Old Testament the expression was taken in its literal sense, referring to those who were not Israelites—the heathen; in the New Testament it is given a figurative meaning, as indicating those who have not become naturalized in the kingdom of God, hence are outside of Christ and the blessing of the gospel.

Frank E. Hirsch


al’-yen-at (‘abhar; apallotrioo, "to estrange from"): In Old Testament, for the break between husband and wife caused by unfaithfulness to the marriage vow (Jer 6:8; Eze 23:17); also applied to the diversion of property (Eze 48:14). In New Testament, spiritually, for the turning of the soul from God (Eph 2:12; Col 1:21). The Greek allotrios, which is the root of the verb, is the opposite of id-i-os, "one’s own." The word implies a former state, whence the person or thing has departed, and that, generally, by deterioration.


a-liv’ (chai, "living"; zao, "to live," anazao, "to live again"): These Hebrew and Greek originals are the chief terms for life in both Testaments. They cover all life, including soul and spirit, although primarily referring to physical vitality. Striking examples may be cited: "Is your father yet alive?" (Ge 43:7); "To whom he also showed himself alive" (Ac 1:3). Often used of God: "the living God" (Jos 3:10); also of the resurrection life: "In Christ shall all be made alive" (1Co 15:22); of the soul’s regenerate life: "Reckon .... yourselves .... alive unto God," "as those that are alive from the dead" (Ro 6:11:13 the King James Version). The term is vital with the creative energy of God; the healing, redemptive, resurrection life of Christ; the renewing and recreative power of the Holy Spirit. Dwight M. Pratt


ol: Used in various combinations, and with different meanings.

(1) All along, "Weeping all along as he went" (Jer 41:6), i.e. throughout the whole way he went, feigning equal concern with the men from Shiloh, etc., for the destruction of the Temple, so as to put them off their guard.

(2) All in all, "That God may be all in all" (1Co 15:28, Greek: panta en pasin, "all things in all (persons and) things"). "The universe, with all it comprises, will wholly answer to God’s will and reflect His mind" (Dummelow).

(3) All one, "It is all one" (Job 9:22), "it makes no difference whether I live or die."

(4) At all, "If thy father miss me at all" (1Sa 20:6), "in any way," "in the least."

(5) All to, "All to brake his skull" (Jud 9:53 the King James Version) an obsolete form signifying "altogether"; "broke his skull in pieces."

(6) Often used indefinitely of a large number or a great part, "All the cattle of Egypt died" (Ex 9:6; compare Ex 9:19,25); "all Judea, and all the region round about" (Mt 3:5); "that all the world should be enrolled" (Lu 2:1); "all Asia and the world" (Ac 19:27); "All (people) verily held John to be a prophet" (Mr 11:32).

M. O. Evans


a-lam’-e-lek (’allammelekh, "oak of a king"): A town in the tribe of Asher, the location of which is not known (Jos 19:26; the King James Version Alammelech).


al’-ar (the King James Version, Aalar; Aalar): Occurring once (1 Esdras 5:36) and used apparently to indicate a place from which certain Jews came on the return from captivity, who could not prove their lineage, and were excluded for this reason from the privileges of the priesthood. HDB identifies with Immer of Ezr 2:59 and Ne 7:61 (which see), but this is not at all certain.


a-la’ (heniach, "to cause to rest," "soothe": "Gentleness allayeth (lit., "pacifieth") great offenses" (Ec 10:4)): The word is applied to what "excites, disturbs and makes uneasy" (Smith, Synonyms Discriminated, 106).


a-lej’ ("paratithemi," "to set forth," Ac 17:3): It is not used in the English Bible in its more modern and usual sense, "to assert," but is about equivalent to "to prove."


a-le’-jans (mishmereth, "a charge," from shamar, "to keep," 1Ch 12:29): the Revised Version, margin gives as literal meaning, "kept the charge of the house of Saul," which revisers consider figurative for "maintaining their loyalty and fidelity," i.e. "allegiance."


al’-e-go-ri: The term allegory, being derived from allo agoreuein, signifying to say something different from what the words themselves imply, can etymologically be applied to any figurative form of expression of thought. In actual usage in theology, the term is employed in a restricted sense, being used however in three ways, namely, rhetorically, hermeneutically and homiletically. In the first-mentioned sense it is the ordinary allegory of rhetoric, which is usually defined as an extended or continued metaphor, this extension expanding from two or more statements to a whole volume, like Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. Allegories of this character abound in the Scriptures, both in Old Testament and in New Testament. Instructive examples of this kind are found in Ps 80:8-19; Ec 12:3-7; Joh 10:1-16; Eph 6:11-17. According to traditional interpretation of both the Jewish exegesis and of the Catholic and Protestant churches the entire book of Canticles is such an allegory. The subject is discussed in full in Terry’s Biblical Hermeneutics, etc., chapter vii, 214-38.

In the history of Biblical exegesis allegory represents a distinct type of interpretation, dating back to pre-Christian times, practiced particularly by the Alexandrian Jews, and adopted by the early Church Fathers and still practiced and defended by the Roman Catholic church. This method insists that the literal sense, particularly of historical passages, does not exhaust the divinely purposed meaning of such passages, but that these latter also include a deeper and higher spiritual and mystical sense. The fourfold sense ascribed to the Scriptures finds its expression in the well-known saying: Littera gesta docet; quid credas, allegorica; moralis, quid agas, quid speres, anagogica ("The letter shows things done; what you are to believe, the allegoric; what you are to do, the moral; what you are to hope, the anagogic"), according to which the allegorical is the hidden dogmatical meaning to be found in every passage.

Cremer, in his Biblico-Theological New Testament Lexicon, shows that this method of finding a hidden thought behind the simple statement of a passage, although practiced so extensively on the Jewish side by Aristobulus and especially Philo, is not of Jewish origin, but was, particularly by the latter, taken from the Alexandrian Greeks (who before this had interpreted Greek mythology as the expression of higher religious conceptions) and applied to a deeper explanation of Old Testament historical data, together with its theophanies, anthropomorphisms, anthropopathies, and the like, which in their plain meaning were regarded as unworthy of a place in the Divine revelation of the Scriptures. Such allegorizing became the common custom of the early Christian church, although not practiced to the same extent in all sections, the Syrian church exhibiting the greatest degree of sobriety in this respect. In this only Jewish precedent was followed; the paraphrases commonly known as the Targum, the Midrash, and later in its most extreme form in the Kabbalah, all showed this mark of eisegesis instead of exegesis. This whole false hermeneutical principle and its application originated doubtless in an unhistorical conception of what the Scriptures are and how they originated. It is characteristic of the New Testament, and one of the evidences of its inspiration, that in the entire Biblical literature of that age, both Jewish and Christian, it is the only book that does not practice allegorizing but abides by the principle of the literal interpretation. Nor is Paul’s exegesis in Ga 4:21-31 an application of false allegorical methods. Here in Ga 4:24 the term allegoroumena need not be taken in the technical sense as expressive of a method of interpretation, but merely as a paraphrase of the preceding thought; or, if taken technically, the whole can be regarded as an argumentum ad hominem, a way of demonstration found also elsewhere in Paul’s writings.

The Protestant church, beginning with Luther, has at all times rejected this allegorizing and adhered to the safe and sane principle, practiced by Christ and the entire New Testament, namely, Sensum ne inferas, sed efferas ("Do not carry a meaning into (the Scriptures) but draw it out of (the Scriptures)"). It is true that the older Protestant theology still adheres to a sensus mysticus in the Scriptures, but by this it means those passages in which the sense is conveyed not per verba (through words), but per res verbis descriptas ("through things described by means of words"), as e.g. in the parable and the type.

In homiletics allegorizing is applied to the method which draws spiritual truths from common historical statements, as e.g. when the healing of a leper by Christ is made the basis of an exposition of the healing of the soul by the Saviour. Naturally this is not interpretation in the exegetical sense.

G. H. Schodde


al-e-loo’-ya. See HALLELUJAH.


al’-e-meth (‘allemeth, "concealment"; the King James Version Alemeth, 1Ch 6:60): Name of a town in tribe of Benjamin, near Anathoth, one of the cities given to the sons of Aaron, the same as Almon of Jos 21:18. The the King James Version ALEMETH (which see) is based upon the Hebrew reading ‘alemeth. Its site is the modern Almit, a village a short distance Northeast of Anathoth.


a-li’-ans. 1. In the Patriarchal Stories:

Frequent references are made to alliances between the patriarchs and foreigners. Abraham is reported to have had "confederates" among the chiefs of the Canaanites (Ge 14:13). He also allied with Abimelech, king of Gerar (Ge 21:22-34). Isaac’s alliance with Abimelech (Ge 26:26-34), which is offered as an explanation of the name Beer-sheba (Ge 26:33), appears to be a variant of the record of alliance between Abraham and Abimelech. Jacob formed an alliance with Laban, the Syrian (Ge 31:44-54), by which Gilead was established as a boundary line between Israel and Aramaic. These treaties refer, in all probability, to the early period of Israel’s history, and throw a good deal of light upon the relation between Israel and the Philistines and the Syrians immediately after the conquest of Canaan.

2. In Pre-Canaanitic History:

The only reference to an alliance between Israel and foreign people prior to the conquest of Canaan, that might be regarded as historical, is that made between Israel and the Kenite tribes at the foot of Sinai, the precise nature of which, however, is not very clearly indicated. Such alliances led to intermarriages between the members of the allied tribes. Thus Moses married a Kenite woman (Jud 1:16; 4:11). The patriarchal marriages refer to the existing conditions after the conquest. Possibly one more alliance belonging to that period is that between Israel and Moab (Nu 25:1-3). According to the narrative, Israel became attached to the daughters of Moab, at Shittim, and was led astray after Baal-peor. Its historicity is proven from the prophetic allusions to this event (compare Ho 9:10; Mic 6:5).

3. During the Conquest:

The invading hordes of Israel met with strong opposition on the part of the natives of Palestine (Jud 1:21,27-36). In time, alliances were formed with some of them, which generally led, as might be expected, to considerable trouble. One concrete illustration is preserved in the story of the Gibeonites (Jos 9$). Intermarriages were frequent. The tribe of Judah thus became consolidated through the alliance and the amalgamation with the Kenites and Calebites (Jud 1:10-16). These relations between Israel and the Canaanites threatened the preservation of Yahwism.

4. The Monarchy:

Prohibitory measures were adopted in the legal codes with a view to Jewish separateness and purity (Ex 23:32; 34:12,15; De 7:2; compare Jud 2:2,3; Le 18:3,4; 20:22 f).

But at a very early date in the history of the Jewish kingdom the official heads of the people formed such alliances and intermarried. David became an ally to Achish of Gath (1Sa 27:2-12) and later on with Abner, which led to the consolidation of Judah and Israel into one kingdom (2Sa 3:17-21; 5:1-3). It appears likewise that Toi, king of Hamath, formed an alliance with David (2Sa 9:10) and that Hiram of Tyre was his ally (1Ki 5:12 a). Alliances wrath foreign nations became essential to the progress of trade and commerce during the reign of Solomon. Two of his treaties are recorded: one with Hiram of Tyre (1Ki 5:12-18; 9:11-14) and one with Pharaoh, king of Egypt (1Ki 9:16).

5. The Divided Kingdom:

After the disruption, Shishak of Egypt invaded Judea, and probably also Israel. This meant an abrogation of the treaty existing between Israel and Egypt during the reign of Solomon. In consequence of the war between the two kingdoms, Asa formed an alliance with Benhadad of Syria (1Ki 15:18-20). Later on Ahab sought an alliance with Ben-hadad (1Ki 20:31-34). Friendly relations ensued between Israel and Judah, during the reign of Jehoshaphat, which continued to the close of the dynasty of Omri (1Ki 22:2-4,50; 2Ki 3:7). With the accession of Jehu, hostilities were resumed. In the Syro-Ephraimitic war, Israel was allied with Syria, and Judah with Assyria (2Ki 16:6-9; Isa 7). This opened the way to the Assyrian power into both kingdoms. Relief against Assyria was sought in Egypt; Hoshea rebelled against Shalmaneser, and allied with So (Sevechus, the Shabaka of the 25th Dynasty) and thus brought about the fall of Samaria.

6. The Kingdom of Judah:

Hezekiah likewise sought an alliance with So, but derived no assistance from him. He is recorded to have formed friendly relations with Berodach-baladan of Babylon (2Ki 20:12-18). These alliances resulted in the introduction of foreign cults into Jerusalem (2Ki 16:10,11). During the reign of Manasseh, Yahwism was seriously threatened by foreign religious practices (2Ki 21:2-9). The protesting spirit against the prevailing conditions found expression in the Deuteronomic code, which emphasizes the national policy. Josiah fought against Pharaoh- necoh as an ally of Assyria (2Ki 23:29). Jehoahaz continued the Assyrian alliance and was dethroned in consequence by Pharaoh-necoh (2Ki 23:33). Jehoiakin was disposed to be friendly with Egypt, and even after his subjection to Nebuchadnezzar, he remained loyal to the Pharaoh (2Ki 23:35). Zedekiah came to the throne as an ally of Babylon. When he broke this alliance, the destruction of Jerusalem resulted (2Ki 25).

7. In Post-exilic Times:

Judas Maccabeus sought an alliance with the Romans (1 Macc 8; Josephus, Ant, XII, x, 6) which was renewed by Jonathan (1 Macc 12:1; Ant, XIII, v, 8) and by Simon (1 Macc 15:17; Ant, XIII, vii, 3). Treaties were concluded with the Spartans (1 Macc 12:2; 14:20; Ant, XII, iv, 10; XIII, v, 8). The Roman alliance was again renewed by Hyrcanus about 128 BC (Ant., XIII, ix, 2). This alliance proved to be of fatal consequence to the independence of the Jews (Ant., XIV, iv, 4; and xiv, 5). For the rites connected with the formation of the earlier alliances, see COVENANT.

Samuel Cohon


a-lid’ (qarobh, "near," as in Ge 45:10; Ex 13:17, etc.): Ne 13:4 refers either to family ties, as in Ru 2:20, or to intimate association.


al’-om (Allon): the Revised Version (British and American) ALLON (which see): One of the families of the "servants of Solomon," whose descendants returned with Zerubbabel from Babylon in the First Return, 537 BC ( APC 1Esdras 5:34). The name is not found in the parallel lists of Ezra and Nehemiah, although some have tried to identify with the last name of each list, Ami of Ezr 2:57, and Amon of Ne 7:59. This is not probable.


al’-on (’allon, "oak"):

(1) A town in the tribe of Naphtali in northern Palestine (Jos 19:33), according to the King James Version, which follows some Hebrew texts. It is better however to read with the Revised Version (British and American), "oak" (’elon), rather than as proper noun.

(2) A prominent descendant of the tribe of Simeon (1Ch 4:37).

(3) the Revised Version (British and American) for Allom of the King James Version in 1 Esdras 5:34 (which see).


al’-on-ba’-kuth (’allon bakhuth; the King James Version transliterates Allon-bachuth, al-on-bak’uth, "oak of weeping"): The burial place of Deborah, the nurse of Rebekah (Ge 35:8); it appears from the narrative that she made her home with Jacob, who had returned from Paddan-aram, and was sojourning at the time at Bethel, in the vicinity of which was the "oak of weeping," under which she was buried.


a-lou’, a-lou’-ans: The verb "to allow" is used in the King James Version to translate four different Greek words:

(1) suneudokeo, "to approve together" (with others) (the Revised Version (British and American) "consent unto"), Lu 11:48.

(2) prosdechomai, "to receive to oneself," "admit" (the Revised Version (British and American) "look for," margin "accept"); Ac 24:15.

(3) ginosko, "to know," "recognize": "That which I do, I allow not" (the Revised Version (British and American) "I know not"), i.e. "I do not understand what I am doing, my conduct is inexplicable to me" (Grimm-Thayer); Ro 7:15.

(4) dokimazo, "to prove," "approve." "Happy is he that condemneth not himself in the thing which he alloweth" (the Revised Version (British and American) "approveth," i.e. in practice), i.e. who is not troubled with scruples; Ro 14:22. Thus the Revised Version (British and American) has removed the verb "allow" in each case in which it occurs in the King James Version, it being somewhat ambiguous in meaning (its original sense, as derived from Latin allocare, "to place," "assign," "grant," being influenced by another word, Latin allaudare, "to praise"). The noun "allowance" occurs in the sense of quantity of food allowed, in 2Ki 25:30 (King James Version, the Revised Version (British and American)) and the parallel passage Jer 52:34 (RV; "diet" in the King James Version).

D. Miall Edwards


a-loi’ (bedhil): In Isa 1:25 the Revised Version, margin; translated "tin" in the text. Elsewhere in both versions bedhil is translated TIN (which see).


a-lur’ (pathah, "to persuade," "woo," "entice"; deleazo, "to entrap," "lay a bait"):

(1) "I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness" (Ho 2:14), with evident reference to the Assyrian invasion and the devastation of the land, followed up by the Exile. Thus would Yahweh entice Israel to repent by gentle punishment; then would follow her restoration and the outpouring of His love (Ho 2:14 ff).

(2) "They allure through the lusts of the flesh" (2Pe 2:18, the Revised Version (British and American) "entice"). Wicked men allure to destruction; God (as above) allures to punishment, repentance and restoration.

M. O. Evans



(1) (shaddai (Ge 17:1)): Found in the Old Testament forty-eight times, most of these in the Book of Job; it occurs either alone or in combination with ‘el, "God"). The root meaning is uncertain.

(2) (pantokrator), the exclusive translation of this Greek word in the New Testament, found principally in Re (nine times), once besides (2Co 6:18). Its occurrence in the Apocrypha is frequent. See GOD, NAMES OF.


al-mo’-dad (’almodhadh, "the beloved," or, "God is beloved"): The first mentioned of the thirteen sons of Joktan (Ge 10:25-29; 1Ch 1:19-23). A south Arabian name, and pointing to a south Arabian tribe. See ABIMAEL.


al’-mon (‘almon, "hidden"): A Levitical city in the tribe of Benjamin (Jos 21:18), the same as "Allemeth" the Revised Version (British and American), "Alemeth" the King James Version, of 1Ch 6:60 (which see).


al’-mon-dib-la-tha’-im (‘almon dibhlathayim, "Almon of the double cake of figs"): A station in the wilderness journeyings of the Israelites, located in Moab between Diban-gad and the mountains of Abarim (Nu 33:46,47). It was near the end of the forty years’ wanderings. The name was probably given because the location was like two lumps of pressed figs. In both occurrences the word has the accusative ending of direction, and should properly be read: "Almon toward Diblathaim." It was probably the same place as Beth-diblathaim of Jer 48:22, mentioned in the prophet’s oracle against Moab.


a’-mund: (1) shaqedh, Ge 43:11; Nu 17:8, etc. The word shaked comes from a Hebrew root meaning to "watch" or "wait." In Jer 1:11,12 there is a play on the word, "And I said, I see a rod of an almond-tree (shaqedh). Then said Yahweh unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will watch (shoqedh) over my word to perform it." (2) luz; the King James Version hazel, Ge 30:37; lauz is the modern Arabic name for "almond"—Luz was the old name of BETHEL (which see).

1. Almond Tree:

The almond tree is mentioned in Ec 12:5, where in the description of old age it says "the almond-tree shall blossom." The reference is probably to the white hair of age. An almond tree in full bloom upon a distant hillside has a certain likeness to a head of white hair.

2. A Rod of Almond:

A rod of almond is referred to Ge 30:37, where "Jacob took him rods of fresh poplar, and of the almond (luz) and of the plane-tree; and peeled white streaks in them" as a means of securing "ring-streaked, speckled, and spotted" lambs and goats—a proceeding founded doubtless upon some ancient folklore. Aaron’s rod that budded (Nu 17:2,3) was an almond rod. Also see Jer 1:11 referred to above.

3. The Blossoms:

The blossoms of the almond are mentioned Ex 25:33 f; 37:19 f, etc. "Cups made like almond-blossoms in one branch, a knop (i.e. knob) and a flower," is the description given of parts of the sacred candlesticks. It is doubtful exactly what was intended—the most probable is, as Dillmann has suggested, that the cup was modeled after the calyx of the almond flower. See CANDLESTICK.

4. The Fruit:

Israel directed his sons (Ge 43:11) to carry almonds as part of their present to Joseph in Egypt. Palestine is a land where the almond flourishes, whereas in Egypt it would appear to have been uncommon. Almonds are today esteemed a delicacy; they are eaten salted or beaten into a pulp with sugar like the familiar German Marzipan.

The almond is Amygdalus communis (N.O. Rosaceae), a tree very similar to the peach. The common variety grows to the height of 25 feet and produces an abundant blossom which appears before the leaves; In Palestine this is fully out at the end of January or beginning of February; it is the harbinger of spring. This early blossoming is supposed to be the origin of the name shaqedh which contains the idea of "early." The masses of almond trees in full bloom in some parts of Palestine make a very beautiful and striking sight. The bloom of some varieties is almost pure white, from a little distance, in other parts the delicate pink, always present at the inner part of the petals, is diffused enough to give a pink blush to the whole blossom. The fruit is a drupe with a dry fibrous or woody husk which splits into two halves as the fruit ripens. The common wild variety grows a kernel which is bitter from the presence of a substance called amygdalon, which yields in its turn prussic (hydrocyanic) acid. Young trees are grafted with cuttings from the sweet variety or are budded with apricot, peach or plum.

E. W. G. Masterman


ol’-most (en oligo): In Ac 26:28 the Greek en oligo does not mean "almost," although scholars have for centuries translated the clause "Almost thou persuadest me to become a Christian." The revisers saw clearly the errors of their predecessors, so far as the signification of the first two words is concerned; but their explanation of the sentence is also erroneous; for the Greek cannot mean "With but little persuasion thou wouldst fain make me a Christian." Paul’s reply proves that en oligo must be taken with the last word poiesai, not with peitheis, since he takes up Agrippa’s en oligo, couples it with en megalo and continues with genesthai which is the regular passive of poiesai (compare Lysias xii.71 with 72). And the idea of "Christian" is also taken up and repeated in hopoios kai ego eimi.

An investigation of the usage of en oligo shows that it was never used in the sense of "almost." soil from the peoples, mostly of their own blood, who have given up.

The phrase occurs first in the Hymn to Hermes, 240, and here it is evidently an abbreviated expression for the Homeric oligo eni choro (M 423). Compare K 161, P 394. But it was used for both time and place, with the substantive expressed or understood (Thuc. i.93.1; iii.66.3; iv.26.3; iv.55.3; ii.84.3; ii.86.5; iv.96.3; v.112; vii.67.3; vii.87.1; Pind. Pyth. viii.131; Eur. Suppl. 1126; Hel. 771; Isoc. iv.83; Dem. lviii.60; iii.18). These uses persist from Homer far down into the post-classical literature (Plut. Per. 159 F; Coriol. 217 F; Mar. 427 A; Crass. 547 C; Polyb. x.18; Appian, Mithrad. 330; Themistius xi.143 C; Eustath. II.B, p.339.18). In the New Testament the phrase occurs also in Eph 3:3. Here too the common versions are incorrect. The clause in which the phrase occurs means simply, "as I said a little while ago"—the addition of en oligo merely indicates that the interval indicated by pro is short, an idea which would have been expressed in classical Greek by the simple dative, oligo and the adverb proteron (Ar. Thesm. 578; Aeschin. i. 2, 26, 72, 165; ii. 77, 147). Only a short while before Paul had expressed practically the same thought (Eph 3:3) and in almost identical language.

Consequently, en oligo, in the New Testament, means "a little," and is equivalent to oligos which occurs in 2Pe 2:18. In classical writers the idea would have been expressed by oligon, or kat’ oligon. So en oligo, which originally signified "in a little space" (or time), comes to mean simply "a little (bit)," ein bischen, but is never equivalent to oligou ("within a little") in any period of the language. The King James translators disregarded the real significance of poiesai, or adopted the reading of the inferior manuscripts (genesthai), so as to make the rest of the sentence harmonize with their translation of the first two words; and the revisers force the last two words into an impossible service, since the object of poiesai of which Christianon is the lucrative predicate, must be a third person, but certainly not Agrippa. Some scholars are of the opinion that the thought is: "You are trying to persuade me so as to make me a Christian." This is, indeed, the Spanish version; but examples show that the infinitive after peithein was used in a different sense. The best manuscript reads PITHEIS. This might, of course, stand for peitheis. But mepitheis may point to an original mepipotheis. Compare Jas 4:5 and 2Co 5:2, Plato Leg. 855 E. If these contentions be correct, the verb means simply "earnestly desire," and not "persuade."

Compare Herod. v.93; Plato Protag. 329 D; Aesch. Persian. 542; Soph. Phil. 534; Eur. H.F. 1408; I.T. 542; Cycl. 68; Ion 1432, Ar. Lys. 605, tou dei; ti potheis; Agrippa is asking, "What do you want, Paul? What are you trying to do? Make me a Christian?" The implication in Paul’s reply is that he is very desirous indeed of making him a Christian. And this interpretation harmonizes with the scene. The apostle’s business at this juncture is not to convert heathen to Christianity; for he is in chains before Agrippa, Berenice, Festus and prominent men of Caesarea, meta polles phantasias (Ac 26:23), to answer the charges brought against him by the Jews. But he holds forth at length and with such ardor that the Roman king says (though not necessarily in irony): "You seem to be anxious to make me a Christian in small measure." And Paul responds: "both small and great."

All the manuscripts, except Sinaiticus, have peitheis (Alexandrinus PEITHE). Several read genesthai (instead of poiesai). Wetstenius (Amsterdam 1752) and Knapp (Halle 1829) follow these manuscripts. So most of the old translates: Coverdale (1535), "Thou persuadest me in a parte to become a Christen"; Biblia Sacra (Paris 1745) "In modico suades me C. fieri"; a Latin MS, 14th century, now in Lane Semitic., Cincinnati; Rosenmueller’s Scholia (1829), "Parum abest quin mihi persuadeas ut fiam"; Stier und Theile’s Polyglotten Bibel (1849), Tregelles (1857- 1879, with Jerome’s version); Edouard Reuss, Histoire apostolique (Paris 1876), "Tu vas me persuader bientot de devenir Chretien." The translation of Queen Elizabeth’s Bible is "Somewhat thou bryngeste me in minde for to become Chryste." Wycliffe renders "In litil thing thou councelist me for to be maad a Christen man." Erasmus takes en oligo in the sense of "a little."

Calvin’s rendering, "Thou writ make me a Christian in a moment," has been adopted in various countries (Wetstenius, Kuinoel, Neander, de Wette, Lange, Robinson, Hackett, Conybeare). The older scholars generally hold to "almost" (Valla, Luther, Beza, Grotius, Castalio, Du Veil, Bengel, Stier). Some interpret the phrase "with little labor" (Oecumenius, Olshausen, Baumgarten, Meyer, Lechler). Neander maintains that if we adopt the readings en megalo in Paul’s answer, Agrippa’s words must be explained "with a few reasons" ("which will not cost you much trouble"). Meyer-Wendt (Kritisch-exegetisches Handbuch uber die Apostelgeschichte) translates "mit Weregem imnerredest du mich Christ zu werden." Meyer himself conceives the words to have been spoken sarcastically. Se Classical Review, XXII, 238-41.

J. E. Harry


ams, ams-giv’-ing:

The English word "alms" is an abridged form of the Greek word, eleemosune (compare "eleemosynary"), appearing in gradually reduced forms in German Almosen, Wyclif’s Almesse, Scotch Aw’mons, and our alms.

The later Jews often used "righteousness" tsedhaqah as meaning alms, that being in their view the foremost righteousness. (Compare our modern use of "charity" to denote almsgiving.) This use is seen in the Talmud and in the frequent translations of the Hebrew word for "righteousness" (tsedhaqah) by "alms" (eleemosune) in the Septuagint, though nothing warranting this is found in the Hebrew Old Testament, or in the true text of the New Testament. This notion of righteousness as alms being well-nigh universal among Jews in Jesus’ day, and spreading even among Christians, accounts for "alms" in Mt 6:1, where the true text has "righteousness": "Take heed that ye do not your righteousness before men, to be seen of them" (the Revised Version (British and American) with Codex Vaticanus, Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Bezae, the Latin versions, etc.). The oriental versions which generally read "alms" may be accounted for on the supposition that "alms" was first written on the margin as explaining the supposed meaning of "righteousness," and then, as according with this accepted oriental idea, was substituted for it in the text by the copyists.

Dikaiosune and eleemosune are both used in the Septuagint to translate chesedh, "kindness," and are also both used to translate tsedhaqah, "justice." Almsgiving was regarded not merely as a plain evidence of righteousness in general but also as an act of justice, a just debt owing to the needy. "No one refuses directly," Mackie says, hence, possibly, Christ’s teaching in Lu 11:41, "Let your righteousness (charity) be from within," "Give your hearts to almsgiving."

In the course of time the impulse and command to give alms in a true human way, out of pity, such as is found expressed in De 15:11 the King James Version, "Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land," gave place to a formal, meritorious" practice, possessing, like sacrifice, as men came to think, the power of atoning for man’s sins, and redeeming him from calamity and death. For instance, Pr 11:4 (compare Pr 16:6, 21:3) was expounded: "Water will quench blazing fire; so doth almsgiving make atonement for sins" (Ecclesiasticus 3:30). "Lay up alms in thy storehouse; it shall deliver thee from affliction" (Ecclesiasticus 29:12). The story of Tobit is especially in point: it is simply a lesson on almsgiving and its redeeming powers: "Alms delivers from death and will purge away all sin" (Tobit 1:3,16; 2:14; 4:7-11; 12:8,9. Compare Sirach 29:11 ff). Kindred teaching abounds in the Talmud: "Alms-giving is more excellent than all offerings," is "equal to the whole law," will "deliver from the condemnation of hell," will "make one perfectly righteous," etc. According to Rabbi Assi, "Almsgiving is a powerful paraclete between the Israelites and their Father in heaven, it brings the time of redemption nigh (Babha’ Bathra’ Talmud 10a).

The Roman Catholics, holding the books of Tobit and Sirach to be canonical, find in them proof-texts for their doctrine of almsgiving, and likewise attach great value to the gifts to the poor as atoning for sins. Protestants, by a natural reaction, have failed to hold always at its true value what was and is an important Christian duty (see Lu 12:33 the King James Version, and, compare Mt 6:19-24: "Sell that ye have and give alms," etc.). It seems to have been so regarded and kept up in the Christian communities until the beginning of the 4th century (Apos Const II 36; Cyprian, De Opera and Eleemos. xiv).

The teaching of Jesus on the subject is important, first, as bearing upon Jewish ideas and practices, and second, as bearing upon present-day Christian ideas and practices.

This teaching appears most conspicuously in the Sermon on the Mount. While showing what is required of the subjects of the Messianic reign, He avowedly sets forth a higher and more spiritual morality than that which was taught and practiced by the scribes and Pharisees: "Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Mt 5:20). There, too, He lays down the general principle embodied in the words of Mt 6:1: "Take heed that ye do not your righteousness before men, to be seen of them," and illustrates it by applying it to the three exercises most valued among the Jews (commended together in Tobit 12:8), namely, almsgiving (Mt 6:2,4), prayer (Mt 6:5-15), and fasting (Mt 6:16-18). Jewish writers claim that these are "the three cardinal disciplines which the synagogue transmitted to the Christian church and the Mohammedan mosque" (compare Koran, Sura 2 40, 104; 9 54).

Clearly what Jesus here forbids in general is not publicity in performing good deeds, which is often necessary and proper, but ostentatious publicity, for the purpose of attracting attention. (The Greek conveys distinctly this idea of purpose, and the verb for "to be seen" is the one from which comes our word "theater.")

Jewish writers, as also Greek and Roman philosophers, have many notable maxims upon the beauty and importance of being unostentatious in virtue, especially in deeds of benevolence. The Essenes had their treasury in a chamber of their own in the temple that both the giving and the taking should be unobserved (Mishnah, Sheq., v.6). Rabbi Eleazer said, "Alms-giving should be done in secret and not before men, for he who gives before men is a sinner, and God shall bring also the good deed before his judgment" (B.B. 9a; compare Ec 12:14).

In applying this principle to almsgiving Jesus teaches His disciple: "When ... thou doest alms, sound not a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do" (Mt 6:2). The conjecture of Calvin, followed by Stier and others, and mentioned as early as Euthymius, that it was a practice among Jews for an ostentatious almsgiver literally to sound a trumpet, or cause a trumpet to be sounded before him, in public places to summon the needy is without foundation (Lightfoot); as is also the notion, made current by the rabbis and accepted by Edersheim (The Temple, etc., 26), that by "sounding a trumpet" Jesus was alluding to the trumpet-like receptacles of brass in the temple treasury.

There is no proof that these were found "in the synagogues," or "in the streets." "Sound a trumpet," according to the Greek commentators, and the best modern authorities, is merely a figurative expression common to many languages, for self-parade—efforts to attract notice and win applause (compare our vulgar English saying about "blowing your own horn"). The contrast with the common practice instituted by Jesus is the significant thing: "But when thou doest alms"—"thou" is emphatic by position in the Greek—"let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth," etc., i.e. "So far from trumpeting your almsgiving before the public, do not even let it be known to yourself." Jesus here, Calvin well says, "silently glances at a kind of folly which prevails everywhere among men, that they think they have lost their pares if there have not been many spectators of their virtues." (The traditional saying of Mohammed, "In almsgiving, the left hand should not know what the right has given," is evidently borrowed from this saying of Jesus.) It is worthy of note that, despite popular practice, to give alms with right motives, and only to those who were worthy to receive, was a matter of special solicitude and instruction with the best among Jews as well as among Christians. The words of the Psalmist, "Blessed is he that considereth the poor," are construed to be an admonition to "take personal interest in him and not simply give him alms" (Lev. R. xxxiv). "When thou wilt do good, know to whom thou doest it. Give unto the good and help not the sinner" (Ecclesiasticus 12:1-6; compare Didache 1:5,6). "He that gives a free offering should give with a well-meaning eye" (Yer. B.D. 4 11). Jesus’ words concerning the "single" and the "evil" eye (compare Lu 11:34-36), and Paul’s teaching, "God loveth a cheerful giver" (2Co 9:7-9) have their counterparts in Jewish teaching. Rabbi Eleazer, referring to Ho 10:12, taught this high doctrine. "The kindness displayed in the giving of alms decides the final reward" (Suk. 49b). Other kindred teaching in a way anticipated Jesus’ supreme lesson, "that thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father who seeth in secret shall recompense thee" (Mt 6:4).


Commentaries at the place Rabbinical literature in point. D. Cassel, Die Armenverwaltung des alten Israel, 1887.

George B. Eager


al’-gum, (’algummim (2Ch 2:8; 9:10 f); (’almuggim, 1Ki 10:11 f)): It is generally supposed that these two names refer to one kind of tree, the consonants being transposed as is not uncommon in Semitic words. Solomon sent to Hiram, king of Tyre, saying, "Send me also cedar-trees, fir-trees, and algum-trees, out of Lebanon" (2Ch 2:8). In 1Ki 10:11 it is said that the navy of Hiram "that brought gold from Ophir, brought in from Ophir great plenty of almug-trees and precious stones." In the parallel passage in 2Ch 9:10 it is said that "algum-trees and precious stones" were brought. From this wood "the king made .... pillars for the house of Yahweh, and for the king’s house, harps also and psalteries for the singers: there came no such almug-trees, nor were seen, unto this day" (1Ki 10:12). The wood was evidently very precious and apparently came from East Asia—unless we suppose from 2Ch 2:8 that it actually grew on Lebanon, which is highly improbable; it was evidently a fine, close grained wood, suitable for carving. Tradition says that this was the famous sandal wood, which was in ancient times put to similar uses in India and was all through the ages highly prized for its color, fragrance, durability and texture. It is the wood of a tree, Pterocar pussantalinus (N.D. Santalaceae), which grows to a height of 25 to 30 feet; it is a native of the mountains of Malabar.

E. W. G. Masterman


al’-na-than (Alnathan, "God has given," the Revised Version (British and American) ELNATHAN): Apocryphal name of a person (1 Esdras 8:44) corresponding to Elnathan of Ezr 8:16. He was one of the learned men summoned by Ezra, as he was beginning his journey to Jerusalem, and sent to Iddo to ask for ministers for the house of Yahweh.


al’-oz, lin-al’-oz, lig-nal’-oz (’ahalim, Nu 24:6, translation "lign-aloes" (= lignum aloes, "wood of aloes"), Pr 7:17; ‘ahaloth, Ps 45:8; So 4:14; aloe, Joh 19:39): Mentioned as a substance for perfuming garments (Ps 45:8) and beds (Pr 7:17). In So 4:14, it occurs in a list of the most precious spices. The most memorable use of aloes as a spice is in Joh 19:39: "There came also Nicodemus, he who at the first came to him at night, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds." This was an immense quantity and if the aloes bore any large proportion to the myrrh the mixture must have been purchased at a very high cost. The most difficult mention of aloes is the earliest where (Nu 24:5,6) Balaam in his blessing on Israel exclaims— " How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, Thy tabernacles, O Israel! As valleys are they spread forth, As gardens by the river-side, As lign-aloes which Yahweh hath planted, As cedar-trees beside the waters." As the aloes in question grow in East Asia it is difficult to see how Balaam could have come to speak of them as living trees. Post (HDB, I, 69) suggests that they may possibly have been growing at that time in the Jordan valley; this is both improbable and unnecessary. Balaam need have had no actual tree in his mind’s eye but may have mentioned the aloe as a tree famous over the Orient for its preciousness. That the reference is poetical rather than literal may be supposed by the expression in the next verse "cedar-trees beside the waters"—a situation very unnatural for the high-mountain-loving cedar. Yet another explanation is that the Hebrew has been altered and that ‘elim, "terebinths" instead of ‘ahalim, "aloes" stood in the original text. The aloe wood of the Bible is eaglewood—so misnamed by the Portuguese who confused the Malay name for it (agora) with the Latin aquila, "eagle"—a product of certain trees of the Natural Order Aquilariaceae, growing in Southeast Asia The two most valued varieties are Aquilaria malaccensis and Aloes agallocha—both fine spreading trees. The resin, which gives the fragrant quality to the wood, is formed almost entirely in the heart wood; logs are buried, the outer part decays while the inner, saturated with the resin, forms the "eagle wood" or "aloe wood" of commerce; "aloes" being the same wood in a finely powdered condition. To the Arabs this wood is known as ‘ud. It shows a beautiful graining and takes a high polish.

These aloes must be clearly distinguished from the well-known medicinal aloes, of ancient fame. This is a resin from Aloes socatrina, and allied species, of the Natural Order Liliaceae, originally from the island of Socotra, but now from Barbados, the Cape of Good Hope and other places. The "American aloe" (Agave americana) which today is cultivated in many parts of Palestine, is also quite distinct from the Biblical plant.

E. W. G. Masterman


a-loft’ (epano): Only in 1 Esdras 8:92. Meaning obscure. The statement following a confession of sin means probably that Israel in penitence returning to the Lord, is exultant in the assurance of His forgiveness, and encouraged in efforts at reformation.


a-long’:Corresponding to two different Hebrew words, Jud 9:25; 1Sa 6:12; Jer 41:6, joined with "come" and "go," vividly describes a course that is taken—it emphasizes its directness and immediateness. In Jud 7:12, "lay along in the valley," probably means "all the length" or "at length."


a’-loth (‘aloth): So found in the King James Version and the Revised Version, margin in 1Ki 4:16, where the Revised Version (British and American) has BEALOTH (be‘aloth). A town, or district in northern Palestine, together with Asher under Baana, one of Solomon’s twelve civil officers. Conder identifies with the ruin ‘Alia, near Achzib. There was another Bealoth in southern Palestine (Jos 15:24). The difference in the form of the word in the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) is due to interpretation of the initial "b" as the preposition "in" in the former, and as part of the word itself in the latter.


al’-fa, o’-me-ga, o-me’-ga (Alpha and Omega = A and O): The first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, hence, symbolically, "beginning and end"; in Revelation "The Eternal One" in Re 1:8 of the Father, in Re 21:6 and Re 22:13 of the Son. Compare Theodoret, Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica, iv. 8: "We used alpha down to omega, i.e. all." A similar expression is found in Latin (Martial, v.26). Compare Aretas (Cramer’s Catenae Graecae in New Testament) on Re 1:8 and Tertullian (Monog, 5): "So also two Greek letters, the first and last, did the Lord put on Himself, symbols of the beginning and the end meeting in Him, in order that just as alpha rolls on to omega and omega returns again to alpha, so He might show that both the evolution of the beginning to the end is in Him and again the return of the end to the beginning." Cyprian, Testim, ii.1; vi.22, iii.100, Paulinus of Nola Carm. xix.645; xxx.89; Prudentius, Cathem., ix.10-12. In Patristic and later literature the phrase is regularly applied to the Son. God blesses Israel from ‘aleph to taw (Le 26:3-13), but curses from waw to mem (Le 26:14-43). So Abraham observed the whole law from ‘aleph to taw. Consequently, "Alpha and Omega" may be a Greek rendering of the Hebrew phrase, which expressed among the later Jews the whole extent of a thing.

J. E. Harry



1. Definition:

An alphabet is a list of the elementary sounds used in any language. More strictly speaking it is that particular series, commonly known as the Phoenician or Canaanite alphabet, which was in use in the region of Palestine about 1000 BC, and which is the ancestor of nearly all modern written alphabets whether Semitic or European. It is the alphabet therefore of Old Testament Hebrew and Aramaic and New Testament Greek, of the superscription of Caesar and the Latin inscription on the cross, as well as of English through the Greek and Latin. It is an interesting fact, with many practical bearings on text and exegesis, that three sets of letters so very unlike in appearance as Hebrew, Greek and modern English should be the same in origin and alike in nature. Although the earliest surviving inscriptions must be a good deal later than the separation between the Greek and Hebrew, the records in each are more like one another than either is like its own modern printed form.

The characteristics of an alphabet are

(1) the analysis of sounds into single letters rather than syllables or images,

(2) the fixed order of succession in the letters,

(3) the signs for the sounds, whether names or written symbols. Of these the analysis into single letters, instead of whole words or syllables, is the characteristic element. The order of the letters may vary, as that of the Sanskrit does from the European, and yet the list remain not only alphabetic but the "same" alphabet, i.e. each sound represented by a similar name or written character. On the face of it, therefore, it might be imagined that the Egyptian and Babylonian, the Cypriote, the Minoan and other forms earlier than the Canaanite which are known or suspected to have had phonetic systems, may have had lists of these forms arranged in a fixed order, but these lists were not alphabetic until the final analysis into individual letters.

2. Name:

The name alphabet comes from the fist two letters of the Greek, alpha beta, just as the old English name for the alphabet, abc or abece, is simply the first three letters of the English alphabet, and thus is merely an abbreviation for the whole alphabet. It appears that the Greeks also used the first and last letters of the alphabet (alpha and omega) as the Jews did the first and last, or the first, middle and last letters of their alphabet, as abbreviation for the whole and in the same sense that in English one says "a to izzard." Alpha and beta are themselves derived from the Semitic names for the same letters (’aleph, beth) and have no meaning in the Greek.

3. Invention:

The question of the invention of this alphabet differs from the question of the origin of the written forms of the letters with which it is often confused, and relates to the recognition of the individual letters. Alphabetical language whether written or spoken, inward or outward, is distinguished from the pictographic, hieroglyphic, and syllabic stages by this analysis into individual sounds or letters. It begins with the picture, passes to the ideogram and syllable, and from the syllable to the letter. This is best seen in writing, but it is equally true in speech. At the letter stage the alphabet begins. It is alleged by some that another stage, a consonantal writing, between syllabic and alphabetic writing, should be recognized. This would deny to the Phoenician the character of a true alphabet since, as in all Semitic languages, the vowels were in ancient times not written at all. Some go so far as to speak of it as syllabic in character, but on the other hand it may be said with equal pertinence that various syllabaries are nearly alphabetic. When a syllabic writing is reduced, as was the case with the Egyptian, the Cypriote and others, to a point where a character represents uniformly a certain consonant and a certain vowel, the vocal analysis has been made and the essential alphabet begun, although it was only later that men discovered that the consonant common to several syllables might be expressed to advantage in writing by one unvarying sign, and later still that the vowels too might be distinguished to advantage.

4. Origin of the Letters:

Few modern questions are changing shape so rapidly as that of the historical predecessor of the Canaanite or Phoenician alphabet. For a long time it was thought that De Rouge had solved the problem by tracing the letters to the Egyptian hieratic. This is the view of most of the popular literature of the present time, but is wholly surrendered by most workers in the field now, in spite of the fact that the latest studies in hieratic show a still greater resemblance in forms (Moller, Hierat. Palaographie, 1909). Winckler and others have claimed derivation from the Cuneiform, Praetorius from the Cypriote, Sayce gets at least three letters from the Hittite, while Evans and others incline to believe that the Minoan was the direct source of the alphabet, introduced from Crete into Palestine by the Philistines who were Cretans, or at least that the two are from a common ancestor, which is also the ancestor of many other of the Mediterranean alphabets.

Some, like Evans and Mosso, even suggest that, perhaps through the Minoan, the letter forms may be traced to the pictographs of the neolithic era in the caves of Europe. There is, in fact, an extraordinary resemblance between some of the letters of the Phoenician alphabet and some of the conventionalized signs of the neolithic age, and it may not be too fantastic to imagine that these early signs are the historic ancestors of the written alphabetical characters, but that they were in any sense alphabetical themselves is impossible if the invention of the alphabet was historical as here supposed, and is unlike from any point of view. If in fact the Paestos disk dates from before 1600 BC, and if Dr. Hempl’s resolution of it into Ionic Greek is sound, we have another possible source or stock of characters from which the inventor of the alphabet may have chosen (Harper’s Magazine, January, 1911).

5. Number of Letters:

The ideal written alphabet contains a separate character for each sound used in any or every language. Practically in most languages the alphabet falls a good deal short of the number of recognized sounds to be expressed in that language and in pronouncing dictionaries they have to be analyzed into say a broad, a short, a open, etc., by adding diacritical marks. "In educated English without regarding finer distinctions" (Edmonds, Comparative Philology, 45) about 50 sounds are commonly used, but Murray distinguishes at least 96, and the number sometimes used or which maybe used is much greater, the possible number of vowel sounds alone being as many as 72. Moreover the individual letters differ in sound in different individuals, and even in the same individual in successive utterances of what would be called the same letter or the same sound. It is alleged that the average sound of the a for example, is never the same in any two languages; the a in "father," even, is never the same in any two individuals, and that the same individual, even, never pronounces it twice so exactly in the same fashion that the difference may not be detected by sound photography.

The written alphabet is always thus less than the number of sounds used. The Phoenician and the Semitic alphabets generally had 22 letters, but they omitted the vowels. English has 26, of which many have two or more sounds.

6. Names of the Letters:

The names of the Greek alphabet are derived from the Semitic names and are meaningless in the Greek, while in the Semitic it has been pretty clearly shown that they signify for the most part some object or idea of which the earliest form of the written letter was a picture, as eg. ‘aleph, the ox. The forms of the letters are apparently derived from pictures of the ox, house, etc., made linear and finally reduced to a purely conventional sign which was itself reduced to the simplest writing motion. All this has been boldly denied by Mr. Pilcher (PSBA, XXVI (1904), 168-73; XXVII (1905), 65-68), and the original forms declared to be geometric; but he does not seem to have made many converts, although he has started up rival claimants to his invention.

The names of the letters at least seem to indicate the Semitic origin of the alphabet, since the majority of them are the Semitic names for the objects which gave name to the letter, and the picture of which gives form to the written letter.

Following is Sayce’s list (PSBA, XXXII (1910), 215-22) with some variants:

(1) ‘aleph = ox;

(2) beth = house (tent);

(3) gimel = camel;

(4) daleth = door;

(5) he = house;

(6) waw = nail (Evans, tent peg);

(7) zayin = weapon;

(8) cheth = fence;

(9) Teth = cake of bread (Lidzbarski, a package);

(10) yodh = hand;

(11) kaph = palm of hand;

(12) lamedh = ox-goad;

(13) mem = water flowing;

(14) nun = fish;

(15) camekh = ?;

(16) ‘ayin = eye;

(17) pe = mouth;

(18) tsadhe = trap (others, hook or nose or steps),

(19) qoph = cage (Evans says picture is an outline head and Lidzbarski, a helmet);

(20) resh = head;

(21) shin = tooth (not teeth);

(22) taw = mark. Not all of these meanings are, however, generally accepted (compare also Noldeke, Beitrage Strassb. (1904), 124-36; Lidzbarski, Ephemeris, II, 125-39).

7. Order of Letters:

The order of the letters differs more or less in different languages, but it is in the main the same in all the Semitic and Western alphabets derived from the Phoenician alphabet and this is roughly the order of the English alphabet. This order is, however, full of minor variations even among the Western alphabets and in the Indian languages the letters are entirely regrouped on a different principle.

The conventional order of the Semitic alphabet may be traced with some certainty in the Biblical books to as early as the 6th century BC, even accepting the dates of a radical higher criticism, for there are more than a dozen passages in the Old Testament composed on the principle of the alphabetical acrostic (Pss 111; 112; 119; Pr 31:10-31; La 1; 2; 3; 4, etc.) and the oldest of these are of this period (see ACROSTIC). The Formello abecedarium, if it is in fact from the 7th century BC, carries the known order back a century farther still and shows it prevailing in Italy as well as Palestine. Moreover, there are those who still consider some of the alphabetical psalms older even than this.

It must be noted, however, that while the order is in general fixed, there are local and temporary differences. In several cases eg. the order of the sixteenth and seventeenth letters of the alphabet is inverted in the alphabetical acrostics, and this would seem to point to a time or place where pe, ‘ayin, was the accepted order. It happens that the inversion occurs in both the passages which are counted earliest by the modern critics (G. B. Gray in HDB2, 8). Mr. Sayce too has recently altered or restored the order by relegating the original camekh to a place after shin, while Mr. Pilcher has quite reconstructed the original order on a geometrical basis, to his own taste at least, as brd; hvg; mnl; szt.

A certain grouping together of signs according to the relationship of the objects which they represent has often been noticed, and Sayce (PSBA, XXXII (1910), 215-22) thinks that he has (after having put camekh in its right place) reduced the whole matter to a sequence of pairs of things which belong together: ox-house, camel-tent door, house-nail, weapon-fence (city wall), bread-hand, open hand-arm with goad, water-fish, eye-mouth, trap-cage, head- tooth, camekh, taw. This arranging he thinks was done by someone who knew that ‘aluph was the West Semitic for "leader" and taw was the Cretan sign for ending—an Amorite therefore in touch with the Philistines. The final word on order seems not yet to have been spoken.

8. The Earliest Texts:

The chief North Semitic texts are

(1) Moabite stone (circa 850 BC);

(2) inscriptions of Zkr, Zenjirli, etc. (circa 800 BC);

(3) Baal-Lebanon inscription (circa 750 BC);

(4) Siloam inscription (circa 700 BC);

(5) Harvard Samaritan ostraca (time of Ahab?);

(6) Gezer tablet;

(7) various weights and seals before 600 BC. The striking fact about the earliest inscriptions is that however remote geographically, there is on the whole so little difference in the forms of the letters. This is particularly true of the North Semitic inscriptions and tends to the inference that the invention was after all not so long before the surviving inscriptions. While the total amount of the earliest Palestine inscriptions is not even yet very large, the recent discovery of the Samaritan ostraca, the Gezer tablet, and various minor inscriptions, is at least pointing to a general use of Semitic writing in Palestine at least as early as the 9th century BC.

9. Changes in Letter Forms:

The tendency of letters to change form in consequence of changed environment is not peculiar to alphabetical writing but is characteristic of the transmission of all sorts of writing. The morphology of alphabetical writing has however its own history. The best source for studying this on the Semitic side is Lidzbarski’s Handbuch (see below), and on the Greek side the best first source is E. S. Roberts, Introduction to Greek Epigraphy (Cambr.). The best synoptical statement of the Semitic is found in the admirable tables in the Jewish Encyclopedia, V, i, 449-53. For the later evolution of both Greek and Latin alphabets, E. M. Thompson’s Introduction to Greek and Latin Paleography, Oxford, 1912, is far the best Introduction. In this he takes account of the great finds of papyri which have so revolutionized the study of the forms of Greek letters around the beginning of the Christian era, since his first Handbook was published. (See articles on the text of Old Testament and New Testament.)

In the Hebrew, the old Phoenician alphabet of the early inscriptions had in the New Testament times given way to the square Aramaic characters of the modern Hebrew which possibly came into use as early as the time of Ezra. The most comprehensive modern brief conspectus covering both Hebrew and Greek is that reproduced in this article from the little manual of Specht. See also WRITING.


Isaac Taylor’s Alphabet (2nd ed., 1899) is still useful for orientation, and his article in the HDB likewise, but Edward Clodd’s little Story of the Alphabet (New York, 1907), taken with Faulmann’s Geschichte der Schrift and Buch der Schrift, is better for general purposes. For scientific purposes see the bibliography prefixed to Lidzbarski’s Handbuch der nordsemitischen Epigraphik (1898, 2 vols) and his Ephemeris passim to date, Evans’ Scripta minoa, Oxf., 1909, and the literature of the article WRITING in this Encyclopedia. See also C. G. Ball, "Origin of the Phoenician Alphabet," Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, XV, 392-408; E. J. Pilcher, "The Origin of the Alphabet," PSBA, XXVI (1904), 168-73; Franz Praetorius, "The Origin of the Canaanite Alphabet," Smithsonian Rep. (1907), 595-604; S. A. Cook, "The Old Hebrew Alphabet and the Gezer Tablet," PEFS (1909), 284-309. For Bible class work, H. N. Skinner’s Story of the Letters and Figures (Chicago, 1905) is very admirably adapted to the purpose.

E. C. Richardson


al-fe’-us (Alphaios; Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek, Halphaios):

(1) The father of the second James in the list of the apostles (Mt 10:3; Mr 3:18; Lu 6:15; Ac 1:13).

(2) The father of Levi, the publican (Mr 2:14). Levi is designated as Matthew in the Gospel of Mt 9:9. There is no other reference to this Alpheus.

Some writers, notably Weiss, identify the father of Levi with the father of the second James. He says that James and Levi were undoubtedly brothers; but that seems improbable. If they were brothers they would quite likely be associated as are James and John, Andrew and Peter. Chrysostom says James and Levi had both been tax- gatherers before they became followers of Jesus. This tradition would not lend much weight as proof that they were brothers, for it might arise through identifying the two names, and the western manuscripts do identify them and read James instead of Levi in Mr 2:14. This, however, is undoubtedly a corruption of the text. If it had been the original it would be difficult to explain the substitution of an unknown Levi for James who is well known. Many writers identify Alpheus, the father of the second James, with Clopas of Joh 19:25. This had early become a tradition, and Chrysostom believed they were the same person. This identity rests on four suppositions, all of which are doubtful:

(a) That the Mary of Clopas was the same as the Mary who was the mother of the second James. There is a difference of opinion as to whether "Mary of Clopas" should be understood to be the wife of Clopas or the daughter of Clopas, but the former is more probable. We know from Mt 27:56 and Mr 15:40 that there was a James who was the son of Mary, and that this Mary belonged to that little group of women that was near Jesus it the time of the crucifixion. It is quite likely that this Mary is the one referred to in Joh 19:25. That would make James, the son of Mary of Mt 27:56, the son of Mary of Clopas. But Mary was such a common name In the New Testament that this supposition cannot be proven.

(b) That the James, who was the son of Mary, was the same person as the James, the son of Alpheus. Granting the supposition under (a), this would not prove the identity of Clopas and Alpheus unless this supposition can also be proven, but it seems impossible to either prove it or disprove it.

(c) That Alpheus and Clopas are different variations of a common original, and that the variation has arisen from different pronunciations of the first letter ("ch") of the Aramaic original. There are good scholars who both support and deny this theory.

(d) That Clopas had two names as was common at that time; but there is nothing to either substantiate or disprove this theory. See CLOPAS.

It seems impossible to determine absolutely whether or not Alpheus, the father of the second James, and Clopas of Joh 19:25 are the same person, but it is quite probable that they are.

A. W. Fortune


ol’-so: In the Greek kai, when it is equivalent to "also" or "even," is always placed before the word or phrase which it is intended to emphasize (e.g. Ac 12:3; 1 Joh 4:21). Mt 6:14 should therefore read, "Your heavenly Father will forgive you also"; Lu 6:13, "Whom also he named apostles"; Heb 8:6, "The mediator of a better covenant also"; and 1Th 4:14, ‘If we believe that Jesus died and rose again, so also (we believe that) those who are fallen asleep in Jesus, God will bring with Him.’


al-ta-ne’-us. See MALTANNEUS (Apocrypha).


ol’-ter (mizbeach, literally, "place of slaughter or sacrifice," from zabhach, which is found in both senses; bomos, (only in Ac 17:23), thusiasterion):


Importance of the Distinction


1. Pre-Mosaic

2. In the Mosaic Age

3. Dangers of the Custom

4. The Mosaic Provisions


1. The Tabernacle Altar

2. The Altar of Jos 22

3. The Altar till Solomon

4. The Horned Altar in Use

5. The Temple of Solomon

6. The Altar of Ahaz

7. Ezekiel

8. The Post-exilic Altar

9. Idolatrous and Unlawful Altars

10. The Horns



2. The Taanach Altar of Incense



I. Classification of Hebrew Altars.

Before considering the Biblical texts attention must be drawn to the fact that these texts know of at least two kinds of altars which were so different in appearance that no contemporary could possibly confuse them. The first was an altar consisting of earth or unhewn stones. It had no fixed shape, but varied with the materials. It might consist of a rock (Jud 13:19) or a single large stone (1Sa 14:33-35) or again a number of stones (1Ki 18:31 f). It could have no horns, nor it would be impossible to give the stone horns without hewing it, nor would a heap of earth lend itself to the formation of horns. It could have no regular pattern for the same reason. On the other hand we meet with a group of passages that refer to altars of quite a different type. We read of horns, of fixed measurements, of a particular pattern, of bronze as the material. To bring home the difference more rapidly illustrations of the two types are given side by side. The first figure represents a cairn altar such as was in use in some other ancient religions. The second is a conjectural restoration of Hebrew altars of burnt offering and incense of the second kind.

Importance of the Distinction:

Both these might be and were called altars, but it is so evident that this common designation could not have caused any eye-witness to confuse the two that in reading the Bible we must carefully examine each text in turn and see to which kind the author is referring. Endless confusion has been caused, even in our own time, by the failure to note this distinction, and the reader can hope to make sense of the Biblical laws and narratives only if he be very careful to picture to himself in every case the exact object to which his text refers. For the sake of clearness different terms will be adopted in this article to denote the two kinds of altars. The first will be termed "lay altars" since, as will be seen, the Law permitted any layman to offer certain sacrifices at an altar of earth or unhewn stone without the assistance of a priest, while the second while be styled "horned altars," owing to their possession of horns which, as already pointed out, could not exist in a lay altar that conformed with the provisions of the law.

II. Lay Altars.

1. Pre-Mosaic:

In Genesis we often read of the erection of altars, e.g. Ge 8:20; 12:7; 13:4. Though no details are given we are able to infer their general character with considerable precision. In reading the accounts it is sometimes evident that we are dealing with some rough improvised structure. For example, when Abraham builds the altar for the sacrifice of Isaac in Ge 22 it cannot be supposed that he used metal or wrought stone. When Jacob makes a covenant with Laban a heap of stones is thrown up "and they did eat there by the heap" (31:46). This heap is not expressly termed an altar, but if this covenant be compared with later covenants it will be seen that in these its place is taken by an altar of the lay type (SBL, chapter 2), and it is reasonable to suppose that this heap was in fact used as an altar (compare Ge 31:54). A further consideration is provided by the fact that the Arabs had a custom of using any stone as an altar for the nonce, and certainly such altars are found in the Mosaic and post- Mosaic history. We may therefore feel sure that the altars of Ge were of the general type represented by Fig. 1 and were totally unlike the altars of Fig. 2.

2. In the Mosaic Age:

Thus Moses found a custom by which the Israelite threw up rude altars of the materials most easily obtained in the field and offered sacrificial worship to God on sundry occasions. That the custom was not peculiar to the Israelites is shown by such instances as that of Balaam (Nu 23:1, etc.). Probably we may take the narrative of Jethro’s sacrifice as a fair example of the occasions on which such altars were used, for it cannot be supposed that Aaron and all the elders of Israel were openly committing an unlawful act when they ate bread with Moses’ father-in-law before God (Ex 18:12). Again, the narrative in which we see Moses building an altar for the purposes of a covenant probably exemplifies a custom that was in use for other covenants that did not fall to be narrated (Ex 24:4 ff).

3. Dangers of the Custom:

But a custom of erecting altars might easily lend itself to abuses. Thus archaeology has shown us one altar—though of a much later date—which is adorned with faces, a practice that was quite contrary to the Mosaic ideas of preserving a perfectly imageless worship. Other possible abuses were suggested by the current practices of the Canaanites or are explained by the terms of the laws.


4. The Mosaic Provisions:

Accordingly Moses regulated these lay altars. Leaving the occasion of their erection and use to be determined by custom he promulgated the following laws: "An altar of earth mayest thou make unto me, and mayest sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen; in all the place where I record my name I will come unto thee and I will bless thee. And if thou make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stones; for if thou lift thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it. Neither mayest thou go up by steps unto mine altar," etc. (Ex 20:24-26; so correct English Versions of the Bible). Several remarks must be made on this law.

It is a law for laymen, not priests. This is proved by the second person singular and also by the reason given for the prohibition of steps—since the priests were differently garbed. It applies "in all the place where I record my name," not, as the ordinary rendering has it, "in every place." This latter is quite unintelligible: it is usually explained as meaning places hallowed by theophanies, but there are plenty of instances in the history of lay sacrifices where no theophany can be postulated; see e.g. Ge 31:54; 1Sa 20:6,29 (EPC, 185 f). "All the place" refers to the territory of Israel for the time being. When Naaman desired to cease sacrificing to any deity save the God of Israel he was confronted by the problem of deciding how he could sacrifice to Him outside this "place." He solved it by asking for two mules’ burden of the earth of the "place" (2Ki 5:17). Lastly, as already noticed, this law excludes the possibility of giving the altars horns or causing them to conform to any given pattern, since the stone could not be wrought One other law must be noticed in this connection: De 16:21 f: ‘Thou shalt not plant thee an ‘asherah of any kind of tree beside the altar of the Lord thy God, which thou shalt make thee. Neither shalt thou set thee up a pillar, which the Lord thy God hateth.’ Here again the reference is probably to the lay altars, not to the religious capital which was under the control of the priests.

III. Horned Altars of Burnt Offering.

1. The Tabernacle Altar:

In Ex 27:1-8 (compare Ex 38:1-7) a command is given to construct for the Tabernacle an altar of shittim wood covered with bronze. It was to be five cubits long by five broad and three high. The four corners were to have horns of one piece with it. A network of bronze was to reach halfway up the altar to a ledge. In some way that is defined only by reference to what was shown to Moses in the Mount the altar was to be hollow with planks, and it was to be equipped with rings and staves for facility of transport. The precise construction cannot be determined, and it is useless to speculate where the instructions are so plainly governed by what was seen by Moses in the Mount; but certain features that are important for the elucidation of the Bible texts emerge clearly. The altar is rectangular, presenting at the top a square surface with horns at the four corners. The more important material used is bronze, and the whole construction was as unlike that of the ordinary lay altar as possible. The use of this altar in the ritual of the Tabernacle falls under the heading SACRIFICE. Here we must notice that It was served by priests. Whenever we find references to the horns of an altar or to its pattern we see that the writer is speaking of an altar of this general type. Thus, a criminal seeking asylum fled to an altar of this type, as appears from the horns which are mentioned in the two historical instances and also from such expressions as coming down or going up. See ASYLUM.

2. The Altar of Jos 22:

We read in Jos 22:9 ff that the children of Reuben and the children of Gad built an altar. In 22:28 we find them saying, "Be hold the pattern of the altar," etc. This is decisive as to the meaning, for the lay altar had no pattern. Accordingly in its general shape this altar must have conformed to the type of the Tabernacle altar. It was probably not made of the same materials, for the word "build" is continually used in connection with it, and this word would scarcely be appropriate for working metal: nor again was it necessarily of the same size, but it was of the same pattern: and it was designed to serve as a witness that the descendants of the men who built it had a portion in the Lord. It seems to follow that the pattern of the Tabernacle altar was distinctive and unlike the heathen altars in general use in Palestine and this appears to be confirmed by modern excavations which have revealed high places with altars quite unlike those contemplated by the Pentateuch. See HIGH PLACE.

3. The Altar till Solomon:

In the subsequent history till the erection of Solomon’s Temple attention need only be directed to the fact that a horned altar existed while the Ark was still housed in a tent. This is important for two reasons. It shows a historical period in which a horned altar existed at the religious capital side by side with a number of lay altars all over the country, and it negatives the suggestion of G. A. Smith (Jerusalem, II, 64) that the bare rock ec-Cakhra was used by Solomon as the altar, since the unhewn rock obviously could not provide a horned altar such as we find as early as 1Ki 1:50-53.

4. The Horned Altar in Use:

Note too that we read here of bringing down from the altar, and this expression implies elevation. Further in 1Ki 9:25 we hear that Solomon was in the habit of offering on the altar which he had built, and this again proves that he had built an altar and did not merely use the temple rock. (See also Watson in PEFS (January, 1910), 15 ff, in reply to Smith.)

5. The Temple of Solomon:

For the reasons just given it is certain that Solomon used an altar of the horned type, but we have no account of the construction in Kings. According to a note preserved in the Septuagint but not in the Hebrew, Solomon enlarged the altar erected by David on Araunah’s threshing-floor (2Sa 24:25), but this notice is of very doubtful historical value and may be merely a glossator’s guess. According to 2Ch 4:1 the altar was made of bronze and was twenty cubits by twenty by ten. The Chronicler’s dimensions are doubted by many, but the statement of the material is confirmed by 1Ki 8:64; 2Ki 16:10-15. From the latter passage it appears that an altar of bronze had been in use till the time of Ahaz.

6. The Altar of Ahaz:

This king saw an altar in Damascus of a different pattern and had a great altar made for the temple on its model. As the text contrasts the great altar with the altar of bronze, we may refer that the altar of Ahaz was not made of bronze. Whether either or both of these altars had steps (compare Eze 43:17) or were approached by a slope as in Fig. 2 cannot be determined with certainty. It may be noted that in Isa 27:9 we read of the stones of the altar in a passage the reference of which is uncertain.

7. Ezekiel:

Ezekiel also gives a description of an altar (Eze 43:13-17), but there is nothing to show whether it is purely ideal or represents the altar of Solomon or that of Ahaz, and modern writers take different views. In the vision it stood before the house (Eze 40:47). In addition he describes an altar or table of wood (Eze 41:22). This of course could only be a table, not in any sense an altar. See TABLE.

8. The Post-exilic Altar:

Ezr 3:2 f tells of the setting up of the altar by Zerubbabel and his contemporaries. No information as to its shape, etc., can be extracted from this notice. We read of a defilement of the temple altar in 1 Macc 1:54. This was made of stones (Ex 20:24-26 having at this date been applied to the temple altar contrary to its original intent) and a fresh altar of whole stones was constructed (1 Macc 4:44-49). Presumably this altar had no horns.

9. Idolatrous and Unlawful Altars:

It is clear from the historical and prophetical books that in both kingdoms a number of unlawful altars were in use. The distinction which has been drawn between lay altars and horned altars helps to make these passages easy to understand. Thus when Amos in speaking of Bethel writes, "The horns of the altar shall be cut off," we see that he is not thinking of lay altars which could have no horns (Am 3:14). Again Hosea’s "Because Ephraim hath multiplied altars ‘to sin,’ altars have been to him ‘for sin’"( Ho 8:11, compare Ho 10:1-8; 12:11 (12)), is not in contradiction to Ex 20:24-26 because the prophet is not speaking of lay altars. The high places of Jeroboam (1Ki 12:28-33) were clearly unlawful and their altars were unlawful altars of the horned type. Such cases must be clearly distinguished from the lay altars of Saul and others.

10. The Horns:

The origin of the horns is unknown, though there are many theories. Fugitives caught hold of them (1Ki 1:50,51), and victims could be tied to them (Ps 118:27).

IV. Altars of Incense.

Ex 30:1-10 contains the commands for the construction and use of an altar of incense. The material was shittim wood, the dimensions one cubit by one by two, and it also had horns. Its top and sides were overlaid with gold and it was surrounded by a crown or rim of gold. For facility of transport it had golden rings and staves. It stood before the veil in front of the ark.

Solomon also constructed an altar of incense (1Ki 6:20; 7:48; 1Ch 28:18), cedar replacing shittim wood. The altar of incense reappears in 1 Macc 1:21; 4:49.

V. Recent Archaeological Materials.

Recently several altars have been revealed by excavations. They throw light on the Bible chiefly by showing what is forbidden. See especially HIGH PLACE.

1. A Gezer Altar:

Fig. 3 represents an altar found at Gezer built into the foundation of a wall dating about 600 BC. Mr. Macalister describes it in the following words: "It is a four-sided block of limestone, 1 ft. 3 inches high. The top and bottom are approximately 10 1/2 and 9 inches square respectively; but these are only the average dimensions of the sides, which are not regularly cut. The angles are prolonged upward for an additional 1 1/2 inches as rounded knobs—no doubt the ‘horns’ of the altar. The top is very slightly concave so as to hold perhaps an eighth of a pint of liquid" (PEFS (July, 1907), 196 f). The size suggests an altar of incense rather than an altar of burnt offering, but in view of the general resemblance between the Tabernacle altars of burnt offering and incense, this is a fact of minor importance. On the other hand, the shape, pattern and material are of great interest. That the altar violates in principle the law of Ex 20:25 forbidding the dressing of the stones is obvious, though that passage does not apply in terms to altars of incense, but certainly the appearance of the block does recall in a general way the altars of the other type—the horned altars. Like them it is four-sided with a square top, and like them it has knobs or horns at each corner. Possibly it was formed in general imitation of the Temple altars. Other altars in Canaanite high places exemplify by their appearance the practices prohibited by the Pentateuch. See for illustrations H. Vincent, Canaan d’apres l’exploration recente; R. Kittel, Studien zur hebraischen Archaologie und Religions-Geschichte; S. R. Driver, Modern Research as Illustrating the Bible.

2. The Taanach Altar of Incense:

Importance attaches to a terra cotta altar of incense found by Sellin at Taanach, because its height and dimensions at the base recall the altar of Ex. "It was just 3 ft. high, and in shape roughly like a truncated pyramid, the four sides at the bottom being each 18 inches long, and the whole ending at the top in a bowl a foot in diameter. .... The altar is hollow. .... Professor Sellin places the date of the altar at about 700 BC. .... An incense-altar of exactly the same shape .... but of much smaller size .... has been found quite recently at Gezer in debris of about 1000-600 BC" (Driver, Modern Research, etc., 85). These discoveries supply a grim comment on theories of those critics who maintain that incense was not used by the Hebrews before the time of Jeremiah. The form of the altar itself is as contrary to the principles of the Pentateuch law as any thing could be.



R. Kittel, Studien zur hebraischen Archaologie und Religions-Geschichte, I and II; Hastings, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics; Murray, Illustrated Bible Dictionary; EB, under the word "Altar"; EPC, chapter 6. The discussions in the ordinary works of reference must be used with caution for the reason given in I above.

Harold M. Wiener


1. Patriarchal Altars

2. Sacred Sites


1. Altar before the Tabernacle

2. Its History

3. Altar of Solomon’s Temple

4. Altar of Ezekiel’s Temple

5. Altar of Second Temple

6. Altar of Herod’s Temple


1. In the Tabernacle

2. Mode of Burning Incense

3. In Solomon’s Temple and Later

4. In Herod’s Temple

5. Symbolism of Incense Burning


I. In Worship: Tabernacle and Temples.

In the literature of the Bible, sacrifices are prior to altars, and altars prior to sacred buildings. Their first mention is in the case of the altar built by Noah after the Flood (Ge 8:20).

1. Patriarchal Altars:

The next is the altar built at the place of Shechem, by which Abraham formally took possession, on behalf of his descendants, of the whole land of Canaan (Ge 12:7). A second altar was built between Bethel and Ai (Ge 12:8). To this the patriarch returned on his way from Egypt (Ge 13:4). His next place of sacrifice was Hebron (Ge 13:18); and tradition still professes to show the place where his altar stood. A subsequent altar was built on the top of a mountain in the land of Moriah for the sacrifice of Isaac (Ge 22:9).

2. Sacred Sites:

Each of these four spots was the scene of some special revelation of Yahweh; possibly to the third of them (Hebron) we may attribute the memorable vision and covenant of Ge 15. These sites became, in after years, the most venerated and coveted perquisites of the nation, and fights for their possession largely determined its history. To them Isaac added an altar at Beersheba (Ge 26:25), probably a re-erection, on the same site, of an altar built by Abraham, whose home for many years was at Beersheba. Jacob built no new altars, but again and again repaired those at Shechem and Bethel. On one occasion he offered a sacrifice on one of the mountains of Gilead, but without mention of an altar (Ge 31:54). There were thus four or five spots in Canaan associated at once with the worship of Yahweh, and the name of their great ancestor, which to Hebrews did not lose their sanctity by the passage of time, namely, Shechem, Bethel, Hebron, Moriah and Beersheba.

3. Pre-Tabernacle Altars:

The earliest provision for an altar as a portion of a fixed establishment of religion is found in Ex 20:24-26, immediately after the promulgation of the Decalogue. Altars are commanded to be made of earth or of unhewn stone, yet so as to have, not steps, but only slopes for ascent to the same—the injunction implying that they stood on some elevation (see ALTAR, sec A, above). Before the arrival at Sinai, during the war with Amalek, Moses had built an emergency altar, to which he gave the name Yahweh-Nissi (Ex 17:15). This was probably only a memorial altar (compare the altar ‘Ed in Jos 22:21 ff). At Sinai took place the great crisis in Israel’s national history. It was required that the covenant about to be made with Yahweh should be ratified with sacrificial blood; but before Moses could sprinkle the Book of the Covenant and the people who covenanted (Ex 24:6, ; compare He 9:19), it was necessary that an altar should be built for the sacrificial act. This was done "under the mount," where, beside the altar, were reared twelve pillars, emblematic of the twelve tribes of Israel (Ex 24:4). In connection with the tabernacle and the successive temples there were two altars—the Altar of Burnt Offering (the altar by preeminence, Eze 43:13), and the Altar of Incense. Of these it is now necessary to speak more particularly.

II. The Altar of Burnt Offering (The Brazen Altar)

(mizbach ha-‘olah), (mizbach ha-nechosheth).—(By "brass" throughout understand "bronze.")

1. Altar before the Tabernacle:

The altar which stood before the tabernacle was a portable box constructed of acacia wood and covered on the outside with plates of brass (Ex 27:1 ff). "Hollow with planks," is its definition (Ex 27:8). It was five cubits long, five cubits broad, and three cubits high; on the ordinary reckoning, about 7 1/2 ft. on the horizontal square, and 4 1/2 ft. in height (possibly less; see CUBIT). On the "grating of network of brass" described as around and half-way up the altar (verses 4,5), see GRATING. Into the corners of this grating, on two sides, rings were riveted, into which the staves were inserted by which the Ark was borne (see STAVES). For its corner projections, see HORNS OF THE ALTAR. The prohibition of steps in Ex 20:26 and the analogy of later altars suggest that this small altar before the tabernacle was made to stand on a base or platform, led up to by a slope of earth. The right of sanctuary is mentioned in Ex 21:14. For the utensils connected with the altar, see PAN; SHOVEL; BASIN; FLESH-HOOK; CENSER. All these utensils were made of brass.

2. Its History:

The history of the altar before the tabernacle was that of the tabernacle itself, as the two were not parted during its continuance (see TABERNACLE). Their abolition did not take place till Solomon’s temple was ready for use, when the great high place at Gibeon (1Ki 3:4) was dismantled, and the tabernacle and its holy vessels were brought to the new temple (1Ki 8:4). Another altar had meanwhile been raised by David before the tabernacle he had made on Zion, into which the Ark of the Covenant was moved (1Ch 15:1; 16:1). This would be a duplicate of that at Gibeon, and would share its supersession at the erection of the first temple.

3. Altar of Solomon’s Temple:

In Solomon’s temple the altar was considerably enlarged, as was to be expected from the greater size of the building before which it stood. We are indebted to the Chronicler for its exact dimensions (2Ch 4:1). It formed a square of twenty cubits, with an elevation of ten cubits (30 x 30 x 15 ft.; or somewhat less). It is described as "an altar of brass" (2Ch 4:1), or "brazen altar" (1Ki 8:64; 2Ch 7:7; compare 2Ki 16:14), either as being, like its predecessors, encased in brass, or, as others think, made wholly of brass. It was not meant to be portable, but that the altar itself was movable is shown by the fact of Ahaz having it removed (2Ki 16:14). Further details of its structure are not given. The altar stood in "the middle of the court that was before the house," but proved too small to receive the gifts on the day of the temple’s dedication (1Ki 8:64; 2Ch 7:7). It remained, however, the center of Israelite worship for 2 1/2 centuries, till Ahaz removed it from the forefront of the house, and placed it on the northern side of is Damascene altar (2Ki 16:14). This indignity was repaired by Hezekiah (compare 2Ki 18:22), and the altar assumed its old place in the temple service till its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC.

4. Altar of Ezekiel’s Temple:

The altar of Ezekiel’s ideal temple was, as planned, a most elaborate structure, the cubit used for this purpose being that of "a cubit and an handbreadth" (Eze 43:13), or the large cubit of history (see CUBIT). The paragraph describing it (Eze 43:13-17) is very specific, though uncertainty rests on the meaning of some of the details. The altar consisted of four stages lying one above another, gradually diminishing in size till the hearth was reached upon which the fire was literal. This was a square of twelve cubits (18 ft.), from the corners of which 4 horns projected upward (Eze 43:15). The base or lowest stage was one cubit in height, and had a border round about, half a cubit high (Eze 43:13); the remaining stages were two, four, and four cubits high respectively (Eze 43:14,15); the horns may have measured another cubit (thus, the Septuagint). Each stage was marked by the inlet of one cubit (Eze 43:13,14). The basement was thus, apparently, a square of eighteen cubits or 27 ft. The word "bottom" (literally, "bosom") in Ezekiel’s description is variously interpreted, some regarding it as a "drain" for carrying off the sacrificial blood, others identifying it with the "basement." On its eastern face the altar had steps looking toward the east (Eze 43:17)—a departure from the earlier practice (for the reason of this, compare Perowne’s article "Altar" in Smith, Dictionary of the Bible).

5. Altar of Second Temple:

Of the altar of the second temple no measurements are given. It is told only that it was built prior to the temple, and was set upon its base (Ezr 3:3), presumably on the Cakhra stone—the ancient site.

6. Altar of Herod’s Temple:

In Herod’s temple a difficulty is found in harmonizing the accounts of the Mishna and Josephus as to the size of the altar. The latter gives it as a square of fifty cubits (BJ, V, v, 6). The key to the solution probably lies in distinguishing between the structure of the altar proper (thirty-two cubits square), and a platform of larger area (fifty cubits square = 75 ft.) on which it stood. When it is remembered that the Cakhra stone is 56 ft in length and 42 ft. in width, it is easy to see that it might form a portion of a platform built up above and around it to a level of this size. The altar, like that of Ezekiel’s plan, was built in diminishing stages; in the Mishna, one of one cubit, and three of five cubits in height, the topmost stage measuring twenty-six cubits square, or, with deduction of a cubit for the officiating priests, twenty-four cubits. Josephus, on the other hand, gives the height at fifteen cubits. The altar, as before, had four horns. Both Josephus and the Mishna state that the altar was built of unhewn stones. The ascent, thirty-two cubits long and sixteen broad, likewise of unhewn stone, was on the south side. See further, TEMPLE, HEROD’S. It is of this altar that the words were spoken, "Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way, first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift" (Mt 5:24).

III. The Altar of Incense (Golden Altar)

(mizbach ha-qeToreth), (mizbach ha-zahabh).

1. In the Tabernacle:

This was a diminutive table of acacia overlaid with gold, the upper surface of which was a square of one cubit, and its height two cubits, with an elevated cornice or crown around its top (Ex 30:2 ff). Like the great altar of burnt offering, it was in the category of "most holy" things (Ex 30:10); a distinction which gave it a right to a place in the inner room of the cella or holy of holies. Hence, in 1Ki 6:22, it is said to "belong to the oracle," and in Heb 9:4 that chamber is said to have the "altar of incense." It did not, however, actually stand there, but in the outer chamber, "before the veil" (Ex 40:26). The reason for this departure from the strict rule of temple ritual was that sweet incense was to be burnt daily upon it at the offering of every daily sacrifice, the lamps being then lit and extinguished (compare Nu 28:3 f; Ex 30:7,8), so that a cloud of smoke might fill the inner chamber at the moment when the sacrificial blood was sprinkled (see MERCY-SEAT). To have burnt this incense within the veil would have required repeated entries into the holy of holies, which entries were forbidden (Le 16:2). The altar thus stood immediately without the veil, and the smoke of the incense burnt upon it entered the inner chamber by the openings above the veil. For the material construction which admitted of this, see HOLY PLACE.

For other uses of the altar of incense see HORNS OF THE ALTAR, where it is shown that at the time of the offerings of special sin offerings and on the day of the annual fast its horns were sprinkled with blood. This, with the offering of incense upon it, were its only uses, as neither meal offerings might be laid upon it, nor libations of drink offerings poured thereon (Ex 30:9). The Tamiyd, or standing sacrifice for Israel, was a whole burnt offering of a lamb offered twice daily with its meal offering, accompanied with a service of incense.

2. Mode of Burning Incense:

It is probable that the censers in use at the time of the construction of this altar and after were in shape like a spoon or ladle (see SHEWBREAD, TABLE OF), which, when filled with live coals from the great altar, were carried within the sanctuary and laid upon the altar of incense (Le 16:12). The incense-sticks, broken small, were then placed upon the coals. The narrative of the deaths of Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, is thus made intelligible, the fire in their censers not having been taken from the great altar.

3. In Solomon’s Temple and Later:

The original small altar made by Moses was superseded by one made by Solomon. This was made of cedar wood, overlaid with gold (1Ki 6:20,22; 7:48; 9:25; 2Ch 4:19); hence, was called the "golden altar." This was among "all the vessels of the house of God, great and small," which Nebuchadnezzar took to Babylon (2Ch 36:18). As a consequence, when Ezekiel drew plans for a new temple, he gave it an incense altar made wholly of wood and of larger dimensions than before (Eze 41:22). It had a height of three cubits and a top of two cubits square. There was an incense altar likewise in the second temple. It was this altar, probably plated with gold, which Antiochus Epiphanes removed (1 Macc 1:21), and which was restored by Judas Maccabeus (1 Macc 4:49). (On critical doubts as to the existence of the golden altar in the first and second temples, compare POT, 323.)

4. In Herod’s Temple:

That the Herodian temple also had its altar of incense we know from the incident of Zacharias having a vision there of "an angel .... standing on the right side of the altar of incense" when he went into the temple of the Lord to burn incense (Lu 1:11). No representation of such an altar appears on the arch of Titus, though it is mentioned by Josephus (BJ, V, v, 5). It was probably melted down by John during the course of the siege (V, xiii, 6).

5. Symbolism of Incense Burning:

In the apocalypse of John, no temple was in the restored heaven and earth (Re 21:22), but in the earlier part of the vision was a temple (Re 14:17; 15:6) with an altar and a censer (Re 8:3). It is described as "the golden altar which was before the throne," and, with the smoke of its incense, there went up before God the prayers of the saints. This imagery is in harmony with the statement of Luke that as the priests burnt incense, "the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the hour of incense" (Lu 1:10). Both history and prophecy thus attest the abiding truth that salvation is by sacrificial blood, and is made available to men through the prayers of saints and sinners offered by a great High Priest.

W. Shaw Caldecott


ol-too-geth’-er: Representing five Hebrew and three Greek originals, which variously signify

(1) "together"; i.e. all, e.g. ‘all men, high and low, weighed together in God’s balance are lighter than vanity’ (Ps 62:9); so also Ps 53:3; Jer 10:8.

(2) "all": so the Revised Version (British and American), Isa 10:8: "Are not my princes all of them kings?"

(3) "with one accord have broken the yoke"; so the Revised Version (British and American), Jer 5:5.

(4) "completely," "entirely," "fully": "so as not to destroy him altogether" (2Ch 12:12; compare Ge 18:21; Ex 11:1; Ps 39:5; Jer 30:11 the King James Version; compare the Revised Version (British and American)).

(5) "wholly": "altogether born in sins," Joh 9:34.

(6) In 1Co 5:10 the Revised Version (British and American) rendered "at all"; 1Co 9:10 "assuredly."

(7) A passage of classic difficulty to translators is Ac 26:29, where "altogether" in the Revised Version (British and American) is rendered "with much," Greek en megalo (en pollo). See ALMOST. Many of the instances where "altogether" occurs in the King James Version become "together" in the Revised Version (British and American). Used as an adjective in Ps 39:5 ("altogether vanity").

Dwight M. Pratt


a’-lush (’alush): A desert camp of the Israelites between Dophkah and Rephidim (Nu 33:13,14). The situation is not certainly known. See WANDERINGS OF ISRAEL.


al’-va (‘alwah): A chief (the King James Version duke) of Edom (Ge 36:40), called "Aliah" in 1Ch 1:51. Probably the same as Alvan, or Ahan, son of Shobal son of Seir (Ge 36:23; 1Ch 1:40).


al’-van (‘alwan, "tall"?): A son of Shobal, the Horite (Ge 36:23). In 1Ch 1:40 the name is written Alian, Septuagint Olam. It is probably the same as Alvah of Ge 36:23, which appears in 1Ch 1:51 as Aliah.


ol’-way, ol’-waz (archaic and poetic): Properly applied to acts or states perpetually occurring, but not necessarily continuous. In Hebrew, most frequently, tamiydh. In Greek dia pantos, ordinarily expresses continuity. In Mt 28:20 "alway" the King James Version, the Revised Version (British and American) "always," translation Greek pasas tas hemeras, "all the days," corresponding to the Hebrew idiom similarly rendered in De 5:29; 6:24; 11:1; 28:33; 1Ki 11:36, etc. Greek aei in Ac 7:51; 2Co 6:10; 1Pe 3:15, means "at every and any time."


a’-mad (‘am‘adh): A town in northern Palestine, which fell to the tribe of Asher in the division of the land (Jos 19:26). The modern ruin ‘Amud near Accho may be the site.


a-mad’-a-tha, a-mad’-a-thus (Additions to Es 12:6). See AMAN; HAMMEDATHA.


a-man’ (translated from the Greek eis phugen hormesan, "they rushed to flight"): The word is composed of the prefix "a" and the word "main," meaning "force." The expression is used by Milton, Parker, et al., but in Biblical literature found only in 2 Macc 12:22 where used to describe the flight of Timotheus and his army after he suffered defeat at the hands of Judas Maccabee ("They fled amain," i.e. violently and suddenly).


a’-mal (‘amal, "toiler"): A son of Helem of the tribe of Asher (1Ch 7:35).


am’-a-lek (‘amaleq): The son, by his concubine Timna, of Eliphaz, the eldest son of Esau. He was one of the chiefs (the King James Version dukes) of Edom (Ge 36:12,16). See AMALEKITE.


am’-a-lek, a-mal’-e-kit, am’-a-lek-it (‘amaleq, ‘amaleqi): A tribe dwelling originally in the region south of Judah, the wilderness of et-Tih where the Israelites came into conflict with them. They were nomads as a people dwelling in that tract would naturally be. When they joined the Midianites to invade Israel they came "with their cattle and their tents" (Jud 6:3-5). They are not to be identified with the descendants of Esau (Ge 36:12,16) because they are mentioned earlier, in the account of the invasion of Chedorlaomer (Ge 14:7) and in Balaam’s prophecy (Nu 24:20) Amalek is called "the first of the nations," which seems to refer to an early existence. We are uncertain of their origin, for they do not appear in the list of nations found in Ge 10. They do not seem to have had any relationship with the tribes of Israel, save as, we may surmise, some of the descendants of Esau were incorporated into the tribe. It is probable that they were of Semitic stock though we have no proof of it.

The first contact with Israel was at Rephidim, in the wilderness of Sinai, where they made an unprovoked attack and were defeated after a desperate conflict (Ex 17:8-13; De 25:17,18). On account of this they were placed under the ban and Israel was commanded to exterminate them (De 25:19; 1Sa 15:2,3). The next encounter of the two peoples was when the Israelites attempted to enter Canaan from the west of the Dead Sea. The spies had reported that the Amalekites were to be found in the south, in connection with the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites (Nu 13:29). The Israelites at first refused to advance, but later determined to do so contrary to the will of God and the command of Moses. They were met by Amalek and the Canaanites and completely defeated (Nu 14:39-45). Amalek is next found among the allies of Moab in their attack upon Israel in the days of Eglon (Jud 3:13). They were also associated with the Midianites in their raids upon Israel (Jud 6:3), and they seemed to have gained a foothold in Ephraim, or at least a branch of them, in the hill country (Jud 5:14; 12:15), but it is evident that the great body of them still remained in their old habitat, for when Saul made war upon them he drove them toward Shur in the wilderness toward Egypt (1Sa 15:1-9). David also found them in the same region (1Sa 27:8; 30:1). After this they seem to have declined, and we find, in the days of Hezekiah, only a remnant of them who were smitten by the Simeonites at Mount Seir (1Ch 4:41-43). They are once mentioned in Psalms in connection with other inveterate enemies of Israel (Ps 83:7). The hatred Inspired by the Amalekites is reflected in the passages already mentioned which required their utter destruction. Their attack upon them when they were just escaped from Egypt and while they were struggling through the wilderness made a deep impression upon the Israelites which they never forgot, and the wrath of David upon the messenger who brought him news of the death of Saul and Jonathan, declaring himself to be the slayer of Saul, was no doubt accentuated by his being an Amalekite (2Sa 1:1-16).

H. Porter


a’-mam (’amam): An unidentified town in southern Palestine, which fell to Judah In the allotment of the land; occurs only in Jos 15:26.


a’-man (Aman; Codex Vaticanus reads Adam): Tobit 14:10; Additions to Esther 12:6; 16:10,17, probably in each case for Haman, the arch-enemy of the Jews in the canonical Book of Esther (compare Es 3:1 with Additions to Esther 12:6). In Additions to Esther (16:10) Aman is represented as a Macedonian, in all other points corresponding to the Haman of the Book of Esther.


a-ma’-na, (’amanah): A mountain mentioned in So 4:8 along with Lebanon, Senir and Hermon. The name probably means the "firm," or "constant." "From the top of Amana" is mistranslated by the Septuagint apo arches pisteos. The Amana is most naturally sought in the Anti-Lebanon, near the course of the river Abana, or Amana (see ABANAH). Another possible identification is with Mt. Amanus in the extreme north of Syria.


am-a-ri’-a (’amaryah and ‘amaryahu, "the Lord has said"; compare HPN, 180, 285).

(1) A Levite in the line of Aaron-Eleazar; a son of Meraioth and grandfather of Zadok (1Ch 6:7,52) who lived in David’s time. Compare Zadok (2Sa 15:27, etc.) also Ant, VIII, i, 3 and X, viii, 6.

(2) A Levite in the line of Kohath-Hebron referred to in 1Ch 23:19 and 24:23 at the time when David divided the Levites into courses.

(3) A Levite in the line of Aaron-Eleazar; a son of Azariah who "executed the priest’s office in the house that Solomon built" (1Ch 6:10 f). Compare Ezr 7:3 where in the abbreviated list this Amariah is mentioned as an ancestor of Ezra. See AMARIAS (1 Esdras 8:2; 2 Esdras 1:2) and number (4) of this article

(4) Chief priest and judge "in all matters of Yahweh" appointed by Jehoshaphat (2Ch 19:11). Possibly identical with Amariah, number (3).

(5) A descendant of Judah in the line of Perez and an ancestor of Ataiah who lived in Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile (Ne 11:4). Compare Imri (1Ch 9:4) and number (7) of this article, which Amariah seems to be of the same family,

(6) A Levite and an assistant of Kore who was appointed by Hezekiah to distributed the "oblations of Yahweh" to their brethren (2Ch 31:15).

(7) A son of Bani who had married a foreign woman (Ezr 10:42). See number (5) of this article

(8) A priest who with Nehemiah sealed the covenant (Ne 10:3); he had returned to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel (Ne 12:2) and was the father of Jehohanan (compare Hanani, Ezr 10:20), priest at the time of Joiakim (Ne 12:13). Compare Immer (Ezr 2:37; 10:20; Ne 7:40) and also Emmeruth (the King James Version "Meruth," 1 Esdras 5:24).

(9) An ancestor of Zephaniah, the prophet (Ze 1:1).

A. L. Breslich


am-a-ri’-as (A, Amarias; B, Amartheias) = Amariah number 3: An ancestor of Ezra (1 Esdras 8:2; 2 Esdras 1:2).


tel-el-a-mar’-na. See TELL EL-AMARNA.


a-ma’-sa (‘amasa’, or read ‘ammishai, i.e. ‘am yishai, "people of Jesse"): The form ‘amasa’, is based upon a mistaken etymology (from =‘ amac "to burden").

(1) According to 2Sa 17:25, Amasa is the son of Abigail, the sister of Zeruiah and David, and Ithra, an Israelite; but another source, 1Ch 2:17, calls his father Jether the Ishmaelite. He was a nephew of David and a cousin of Absalom, who made him commander of the army of rebellion. When the uprising had been quelled, David, in order to conciliate Amasa, promised him the position held by Joab; the latter had fallen from favor (2Sa 19:13 ff). When a new revolt broke out under Sheba, the son of Bichri (2Sa 20), Amasa was entrusted with the task of assembling the men of Judah. But Joab was eager for revenge upon the man who had obtained the office of command that he coveted. When Amasa met Joab at Gibeon, the latter murdered him while pretending to salute (2Sa 20:8-10; 1Ki 2:5).

(2) Son of Hadlai, of the Bene ‘Ephrayim ("Children of Ephraim"), who, obeying the words of the prophet Oded, refused to consider as captives the Judeans who had been taken from Ahaz, king of Judah, by the victorious Israelites under the leadership of Pekah (2Ch 28:12).

H. J. Wolf


a-ma’-si (‘amasay, perhaps rather to be read ‘ammishay; so Wellhausen, IJG, II, 24, n.2):

(1) A name in the genealogy of Kohath, son of Elkanah, a Levite of the Kohathite family (compare 1Ch 6:25; 2Ch 29:12).

(2) Chief of the captains who met David at Ziklag and tendered him their allegiance. Some have identified him with Amasa and others with Abishai, who is called Abshai in 1Ch 11:20 m (compare 1Ch 18:12). The difficulty is that neither Amasa nor Abishai occupied the rank of the chief of thirty according to the lists in 2Sa 23 and 1Ch 11, the rank to which David is supposed to have appointed into (compare 1Ch 12:18).

(3) One of the trumpet-blowing priests who greeted David when he brought back the Ark of the Covenant (compare 1Ch 15:24).


a-mash’-si ‘amashcay, probably a textual error for ‘amashay; the ("s") implies a reading ‘-M-C-Y, based on a mistaken derivation from’-M-C. The original reading may have been ‘ammishay; compare AMASAI): Amashsai is a priestly name in the post-exilic list of inhabitants of Jerusalem (Ne 11:13; Maasai, 1Ch 9:12); the reading in Chronicles is ma‘asay, the King James Version "Maasiai," the Revised Version (British and American) "Maasai."


am-a-si’-a (‘amacyah, "Yah bears"): One of the captains of Jehoshaphat (compare 2Ch 17:16).


a’-math, am’-a-this (1 Macc 12:25). See HAMATH.


am-a-the’-is. See EMATHEIS.


a-mazd’:A term which illustrates the difficulty of expressing in one English word the wide range of startled emotion, wonder, astonishment, awe, covered, in the Old Testament, by four Hebrew words and in the New Testament by as many Greek words. Its Scripture originals range in meaning from amazement accompanied with terror and trembling to an astonishment full of perplexity, wonder, awe and joyous surprise. It is the word especially used to show the effect of Christ’s miracles, teaching, character and Divine personality on those who saw and heard Him, and were made conscious of His supernatural power (Mt 12:23: "All the multitudes were amazed"). The miracles of Pentecost and the Holy Spirit’s bestowal of the gift of tongues produced the same universal wonder (Ac 2:7: "They were all amazed and marveled").

Dwight M. Pratt


am-a-zi’-a (’amatsyah, ‘amatsyahu, "Yahweh is mighty"; 2Ki 14:1-20; 2Ch 25). Son of Jehoash, and tenth king of Judah. Amaziah had a peaceable accession at the age of 25. A depleted treasury, a despoiled palace and temple, and a discouraged people were among the consequences of his father’s war with Hazael, king of Syria. When settled on the throne, Amaziah brought to justice the men who had assassinated his father. Amaziah verbal citation of De 24:16 in 2Ki 14:6, forbidding the punishment of children for a father’s offense, shows that the laws of this book were then known, and were recognized as authoritative, and, in theory, as governing the nation. His accession may be dated circa 812 (some put later).

1. The Edomite War:

The young king’s plan for the rehabilitation of his people was the restoration of the kingdom’s military prestige, so severely lowered in his father’s reign. A militia army, composed of all the young men above 20 years of age, was first organized and placed upon a war footing (2Ch 25:5; the number given, 300,000, is not a reliable one). Even this not being considered a large enough force to effect the project, 100 talents of silver were sent to engage mercenary troops for the expedition from Israel. When these came, a man of God strongly dissuaded the king from relying on them (2Ch 25:7 ff). When this was communicated to the soldiers, and they were sent back unemployed, it roused them to "fierce anger" (2Ch 25:10).

2. Its Occasion:

Amaziah’s purpose in making these extensive preparations for war, in a time of profound peace, is clear to the Southeast of Judah lay the Edomite state, with its capital at Petra. For many years Edom had been subject to Jehoshaphat, and a Hebrew "deputy" had governed it (1Ki 22:47). In the reign of his son and successor, Jehoram, a confederacy of Philistines, Arabians and Edomites took Libnah and made a raid on Jerusalem. A band of these penetrated the palace, which they plundered, abducted some women, and murdered all the young princes but the youngest (2Ch 21:17; 22:1). The public commotion and distress caused by such an event may be seen reflected in the short oracle of the prophet Obadiah, uttered against Edom, if, with some, Obadiah’s date is put thus early

3. The Victory in the Valley of Salt:

From that time "Edom .... made a king over themselves" (2Ch 21:8), and for fifty years following were practically independent. It was this blot on Jerusalem and the good name of Judah that Amaziah determined to wipe out. The army of retaliation went forward, and after a battle in the Valley of Salt, south of the Dead Sea, in which they were the victors, moved on to Petra. This city lies in a hollow, shut in by mountains, and approached only by a narrow ravine, through which a stream of water flows. Amaziah took it "by storm" (such is Ewald’s rendering of "by war," in 2Ki 14:7). Great execution was done, many of the captives being thrown from the rock, the face of which is now covered with rock-cut tombs of the Greek-Roman age.

4. Apostasy and Its Punishment:

The campaign was thus entirely successful, but had evil results. Flushed with victory, Amaziah brought back the gods of Edom, and paid them worship. For this act of apostasy, he was warned of approaching destruction (2Ch 25:14-17). Disquieting news soon came relating to the conduct of the troops sent back to Samaria. From Beth-horon in the south to the border of the northern state they had looted the villages and killed some of the country people who had attempted to defend their property (2Ch 25:13). To Amaziah’s demand for reparation, Jehoash’s answer was the contemptuous one of the well-known parable of the Thistle and the Cedar.

5. Battle of Beth-shemesh:

War was now inevitable. The kings "looked one another in the face," in the valley of Beth-shemesh, where there is a level space, suitable to the movements of infantry. Judah was utterly routed, and the king himself taken prisoner. There being no treasures in the lately despoiled capital, Jehoash contented himself with taking hostages for future good behavior, and with breaking down 400 cubits of the wall of Jerusalem at the Northwest corner of the defense (2Ki 14:13,14; 2Ch 25:22-24).

6. Closing Years and Tragical End:

Amaziah’s career as a soldier was now closed. He outlived Jehoash of Israel "fifteen years" (2Ki 14:17). His later years were spent in seclusion and dread, and had a tragical ending. The reason for his unpopularity is not far to seek. The responsibility for the war with Jehoash is by the inspired writer placed upon the shoulders of Amaziah (2Ki 14:9-11). It was he who "would not hear." The quarrel between the kings was one which it was not beyond the power of diplomacy to remedy, but no brotherly attempt to heal the breach was made by either king. When the results of the war appeared, it could not be but that the author of the war should be called upon to answer for them. So deep was his disgrace and so profound the sense of national humiliation, that a party in the state determined on Amaziah’s removal, so soon as there was another to take his place. The age of majority among the Hebrew kings was 16, and when Amaziah’s son was of this age, the conspiracy against his life grew so strong and open that he fled to Lachish. Here he was followed and killed; his body being insultingly carried to Jerusalem on horses, and not conveyed in a litter or coffin (2Ki 14:19,20; 2Ch 25:27,28). He was 54 years old and had reigned for 29 years. The Chronicler (2Ch 26:1) hardly conceals the popular rejoicings at the exchange of sovereigns, when Uzziah became king.

In 2Ch 25:28 is a copyist’s error by which we read "in the city of Judah," instead of "in the city of David," as in the corresponding passage in Kings. The singular postscript to the record of Amaziah in 2Ki 14:22 is intended to mark the fact that while the port of Elath on the Red Sea fell before the arms, in turn, of Amaziah and of his son Uzziah, it was the latter who restored it to Judah, as a part of its territory. Amaziah is mentioned in the royal genealogy of 1Ch 3:12, but not in that of Mt 1. There is a leap here from Jehoram to Uzziah, Ahaziah, Jehoash and Amaziah being omitted.

W. Shaw Caldecott


am-bas’-a-dor (mal’akh, "messenger"; ‘luts, "interpreter"; tsir, "to go"; hence a messenger; presbeuo, "to act as an ambassador," literally, to be older): An ambassador is an official representative of a king or government, as of Pharaoh (Isa 30:4); of the princes of Babylon (2Ch 32:31); of Neco, king of Egypt (2Ch 35:21); of the messengers of peace sent by Hezekiah, king of Judah, to Sennacherib, king of Assyria (Isa 33:7). The same Hebrew term is used of the messengers sent by Jacob to Esau (Ge 32:3); by Moses to the king of Edom (Nu 20:14). For abundant illustration consult "Messenger" (mal’akh) in any concordance. See CONCORDANCE. The inhabitants of Gibeon made themselves pretended ambassadors to Joshua in order to secure by deceit the protection of a treaty ("covenant") (Jos 9:4).

In the New Testament the term is used in a figurative sense. As the imprisoned representative of Christ at Rome Paul calls himself "an ambassador in chains" (Eph 6:20); and in 2Co 5:20 includes, with himself, all ministers of the gospel, as "ambassadors .... on behalf of Christ," commissioned by Him as their sovereign Lord, with the ministry of reconciling the world to God. The Bible contains no finer characterization of the exalted and spiritual nature of the minister’s vocation as the representative of Jesus Christ, the King of kings, and Saviour of the world.

Dwight M. Pratt


am’-ba-saj (presbeia, "an embassy," a body of ambassadors on the message entrusted to them): Twice used by Christ

(1) in the parable of the Pounds, of the citizens who hated the nobleman and sent an ambassage, refusing to have him reign over them, thus illustrating those who willfully rejected His own spiritual sovereignty and kingdom (Lu 19:14);

(2) of a weak king who sends to a stronger an ambassage to ask conditions of peace (Lu 14:32). Not used elsewhere in the Bible.


am’-ber. See STONES, PRECIOUS.


am-bish’-us (philotimeomai, "to be strongly desirous," "strive earnestly," "make it one’s aim"): Given as a marginal reading in Ro 15:20 ("being ambitious to bring good tidings"), 2Co 5:9 ("We are ambitious, whether at home or absent, to be well-pleasing unto him"), and 1Th 4:11 ("that ye be ambitious to be quiet").


am’-boosh (’arabh, "to set an ambush"; ma’arabh, "an ambush"): A military stratagem in which a body of men are placed in concealment to surprise an enemy unawares, or to attack a point when temporarily undefended. This stratagem was employed successfully by Joshua at Ai (Jos 8). Jeremiah calls upon the Medes to "set up a standard against the walls of Babylon, make the watch strong, set the watchmen, prepare the ambushes" (Jer 51:12).


am’-boosh-ment (as above) has now disappeared in 2Ch 20:22, where the Revised Version (British and American) gives for "ambushment" "liers-in-wait." It still remains in 2Ch 13:13 where both the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) render the Hebrew noun "ambushment."


a-men’ (in ritual speech and in singing a-men’, a’men) (’amen; amen, =" truly," "verily"): Is derived from the reflexive form of a verb meaning "to be firm," or "to prop." It occurs twice as a noun in Isa 65:16, where we have (the King James Version, the Revised Version (British and American)) "God of truth." This rendering implies the pointing ‘omen or ‘emun i.e. "truth," or "faithfulness," a reading actually suggested by Cheyne and adopted by others. "Amen" is generally used as an adverb of assent or confirmation—fiat, "so let it be." In Jer 28:6 the prophet endorses with it the words of Hananiah. Amen is employed when an individual or the whole nation confirms a covenant or oath recited in their presence (Nu 5:22; De 27:15 ff; Ne 5:13, etc.). It also occurs at the close of a psalm or book of psalms, or of a prayer.

That "Amen" was appended to the doxology in the early church is evident both from Paul and Rev, and here again it took the form of a response by the hearers. The ritual of the installation of the Lamb (Re 5:6-14) concludes with the Amen of the four beasts, and the four and twenty elders. It is also spoken after "Yea: I come quickly" (Re 22:20). And that Revelation reflects the practice of the church on earth, and not merely of an ideal, ascended community in heaven, may be concluded from 1Co 14:16, whence we gather that the lay brethren were expected to say "Amen" to the address. (See Weizsacker’s The Apostolic Age of the Christian Church, English translation, II, 289.)

James Millar


a-murs’:Found in the King James Version only in De 22:19, "And they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver." Amerce is a legal term derived from the French (a =" at"; merci =" mercy," i.e. literally, "at the mercy" (of the court)). Here it is used of the imposing of a fine, according to the Law of Moses, upon the man who has been proven by the Elders to have brought a false charge against the virginity of the maid he has married by saying to the father, "I found not thy daughter a maid."


a-mer’-i-kan re-vizd’ vur’-shun.

1. History:

On July 7, 1870, it was moved in the Lower House of the Convocation of Canterbury that in the work of revision the cooperation of American divines be invited. This resolution was assented to, and on December 7, 1871, the arrangements were completed. Under the general presidency of Dr. Philip Schaff, an Old Testament Company of fifteen scholars was formed, with Dr. W. H. Green as chairman, and a New Testament Company of sixteen members (including Dr. Schaff), with Dr. T. D. Woolsey as chairman. Work was begun on October 4, 1872, and took the form of offering criticisms on the successive portions of the English revision as they were received. These criticisms of the American Companies were duly considered by the English Companies during the second revision and the decisions were again sent to America for criticism. The replies received were once more given consideration and, finally, the unadopted readings for which the American Companies professed deliberate preference were printed as appendices to the two Testaments as published in 1881 and 1885. These lists, however, were not regarded by the American Companies as satisfactory. In the first place, it became evident that the English Companies, on account of their instructions and for other reasons, were not willing to make changes of a certain class. Consequently the American Companies insisted on only such readings as seemed to have a real chance of being accepted. And, in the second place, the English presses hurried the last part of the work and were unwilling to allow enough time for adequate thoroughness in the preparation of the lists. But it was hoped that the first published edition of the English Revised Version would not be considered definitive and that in the future such American proposals as had stood the test of public discussion might be incorporated into the text. This hope was disappointed—the English Companies disbanded as soon as their revision was finished and their work stood as final. As a result the American Companies resolved to continue their organization. They were pledged not to issue or endorse any new revision within fourteen years after the publication of the English Revised Version, and so it was not until 1900 that the American Standard Revised Version New Testament was published. The whole Bible was issued in the following year.

2. Differences from English Revised Version:

As the complete editions of the American Standard Revised Version give a full list of the changes made, only the more prominent need be mentioned here. A few of the readings printed in the appendices to the English Revised Version were abandoned, but many new ones were introduced, including some that had been adopted while the English work was in progress but which had not been pressed. (See above.) Still, in general appearance, the American Standard Revised Version differs but slightly from the English. The most important addition is found in the page-headings. Some changes have been made in shortening the titles of the New Testament books. The printing of poetical passages in poetical form has been carried through more consistently. The paragraphs have been altered in some cases and (especially in the Old Testament) shortened. The punctuation has been simplified, especially by the more frequent use of the semi-colon. The removal of obsolete words ("magnifical," "neesings," etc.) has been effected fairly thoroughly, obsolete constructions ("jealous over," etc.) have been modernized, particularly by the use of "who" or "that" (instead of "which") for persons and "its" (instead of "his") for things. In the Old Testament "Yahweh" has been introduced systematically for the proper Hebrew word, as has "Sheol" ("Hades" in the New Testament). Certain passages too literally rendered in the English Revised Version ("reins," "by the hand of," etc.) are given in modern terms. In the New Testament, the substitution of "Holy Spirit" for "Holy Ghost" was completed throughout (in the English Revised Version it is made in some twenty places), "demons" substituted for "devils," "Teacher" for "Master," and "try" for "tempt" when there is no direct reference to wrongdoing. And so on.

3. Criticism:

It may be questioned whether the differences between the two Revisions are great enough to counterbalance the annoyance and confusion resulting from the existence of two standard versions in the same language. But, accepting the American Standard Revised Version as an accomplished fact, and acknowledging a few demerits that it has or may be thought to have in comparison with the English Revised Version (a bit of pedantry in Ps 148:12 or renderings of disputed passages such as Ps 24:6), these demerits are altogether outweighed by the superiorities—with one exception. In the Psalter, when used liturgically, the repetition of the word "Yahweh" becomes wearisome and the English Revised Version which retains "The Lord" is much preferable. Most to be regretted in the American Standard Revised Version is its extreme conservatism in the readings of the original texts. In the Old Testament the number of marginal variants was actually reduced. In the New Testament, only trivial changes are made from the so-called Revisers’ Greek Text, although this text did not represent the best scholarly opinion even in 1881, while in 1900 it was almost universally abandoned (Today—in 1914—it is obsolete.) It is very unfortunate that the American Revisers did not improve on the example of their English brethren and continue their sessions after the publication of their version, for it is only by the successive revisions of published work that a really satisfactory result can be attained.

4. Apocrypha:

No American Standard Revised Version Apocrypha was attempted, a particularly unfortunate fact, as the necessity for the study of the Apocrypha has become imperative and the English Revised Version Apocrypha is not a particularly good piece of work. However, copies of the American Standard Revised Version can now be obtained with the English Revised Version Apocrypha included. See ENGLISH VERSIONS.

Burton Scott Easton


am’-e-thist. See STONES, PRECIOUS.


a’-mi, a’-me (’ami): Ancestor of a family among "Solomon’s servants" in the Return (Ezr 2:57); the same as Amon in Ne 7:59.


a’-mi-a-b’-l (yedhidh, "beloved"): Applied to the tabernacle or tent of meeting "How amiable ("lovely" the Revised Version, margin) are thy tabernacles" (Ps 84:1), the plural having reference to the subdivisions and appurtenances of the sanctuary (compare Ps 68:35). The adjective is rendered "amiable" in the sense of the French amiable, lovely; but the usage of the Hebrew word requires it to be understood as meaning "dear," "beloved." Compare "so amiable a prospect" (Sir T. Herbert), "They keep their churches so cleanly and amiable" (Howell, 1644). "What made the tabernacle of Moses lovely was not the outside, which was very mean, but what was within" (John Gill). See TABERNACLE.

M. O. Evans


a-min’-a-dab (Aminadab): the King James Version: Greek form of Amminadab (which see). Thus the Revised Version (British and American) (Mt 1:4; Lu 3:33).


a-mis’:There are two words translated "amiss" in the New Testament, atopos, referring to that which is improper or harmful (Lu 23:41; Ac 28:6), while kakos, refers to that which is evil in the sense of a disaster, then to that which is wicked, morally wrong. This latter is the use of it in Jas 4:3. The purpose of the prayer is evil, it is therefore amiss and cannot be granted (compare 2Ch 6:37 ff).


a-mit’-i (’amittay, "faithful"): The father of the prophet Jonah. He was from Gath-hepher in Zebulun (2Ki 14:25; Jon 1:1).


am’-a (’ammah, "mother" or "beginning"): A hill in the territory of Benjamin (2Sa 2:24), where Joab and Abishai halted at nightfall in their pursuit of Abner and his forces after their victory over him in the battle of Gibeon. It "lieth before Giah by the way of the wilderness of Gibeon"; but the exact location has not been identified. The same Hebrew word appears as the second part of Metheg-ammah in 2Sa 8:1 the King James Version, but rendered "mother city" in the Revised Version (British and American), probably however not the same place as in 2Sa 2:24.


am’-i (‘ammi, "my people"): A symbolic name given to Israel by Hosea (Ho 2:1; 2:3 in Hebrew text), descriptive of Israel in the state of restoration, and in contrast to sinful and rejected Israel, represented by Hosea’s son, who was called Lo-ammi, "not my people," when born to the prophet (Ho 1:9,10). This restoration to the Divine favor is more fully described in Ho 2:21,23 in words quoted by Paul (Ro 9:25,26). The use of such figurative and descriptive names is frequent in the Old Testament; compare Isa 62:4,12.


a-mid’-i-oi, am’-i-doi (the King James Version Ammidioi, (also with aspirate); occurring only in 1 Esdras 5:20): One of the families returning from the Babylonian Captivity in the First Return, under Zerubbabel, in 537 BC. This name is not found in the corresponding lists of the canonical books, Ezr 2 and Ne 7. Their identity is uncertain.


am’-i-el (‘ammi’el, "my kinsman is God"; (Ameiel)): A name borne by four men in the Old Testament.

(1) One of the twelve spies sent into Canaan by Moses; son of Gemalli, of the tribe of Da (Nu 13:12).

(2) A Benjamite, the father of Machir, a friend of David, living at Lodebar in Gilead (2Sa 9:4,5; 17:27).

(3) Father of Bathshua (or Bathsheba), one of David’s wives, who was mother of Solomon (1Ch 3:5). In the parallel passage, 2Sa 11:3, by transposition of the two parts of the name, he is called Eliam, meaning "my God is a kinsman."

(4) The sixth son of Obed-edom, a Levite, one of the doorkeepers of the tabernacle of God in David’s life-time (1Ch 26:5).

Edward Mack


a-mi’-hud (‘ammihudh, "my kinsman is glorious"; variously in the Septuagint, Emioud or Semioud or Amioud): The name of several Old Testament persons.

(1) Father of Elishama, who in the wilderness was head of the tribe of Ephraim (Nu 1:10; 2:18; 7:48,53; 10:22; 1Ch 7:26).

(2) Father of Shemuel, who was appointed by Moses from the tribe of Simeon to divide the land among the tribes after they should have entered Canaan (Nu 34:20).

(3) Father of Pedahel, who was appointed from the tribe of Naphtali for the same purpose as the Ammihud of (2) (Nu 34:28).

(4) In the King James Version and the Revised Version, margin for the Ammihur (‘ammichur,"my kinsman is noble"), who was father of Talmai of Geshur, a little Aramaic kingdom East of the Lebanon mountains, to whom Absalom fled after the murder of his brother Amnon. The weight of evidence seems to favor the reading Ammichur (2Sa 13:37).

(5) A descendant of Judah through the line of Perez (1Ch 9:4).

Edward Mack


a-mi’-hur (the King James Version and the Revised Version, margin; ‘ammichur, "my kinsman is noble"; Emioud). See AMMIHUD (4).


a-min’-a-dab (‘amminadhabh =" my people (or my kinsman) is generous or noble"): Three persons bearing this name are mentioned in the Old Testament.

(1) In Ru 4:19,20 and 1Ch 2:10 Amminadab is referred to as one of David’s ancestors. He was the great- grandson of Perez, a son of Judah (Ge 38:29; 46:12) and the great-grandfather of Boaz, who again was the great- grandfather of David. Aaron’s wife, Elisheba, was a daughter of Amminadab (Ex 6:23), while one of the sons, namely, Nahshon, occupied an important position in the Judah-clan (Nu 1:7; 2:3; 7:12; 10:14).

(2) In the first Book of Chronicles (1Ch 6:22) Amminadab is mentioned as a son of Kohath (and therefore a grandson of Levi) and the father of Korah. But in other genealogical passages (Ex 6:18; Nu 3:19; 1Ch 6:2) the sons of Kohath are Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel, and in two places (Ex 6:21; 1Ch 6:38) Izhar is mentioned as the father of Korah.

(3) According to 1Ch 15:10,11 Amminadab was the name of a priest who took part in the removal of the ark to Jerusalem. He was the son of Uzziel, and therefore a nephew of Amminadab, son of Kohath (= Izhar).

Thomas Lewis


a-min’-a-dib (‘amminadhibh): The name occurs in the King James Version and the Revised Version, margin only in one passage (So 6:12, "the chariots of Amminadib"). In King James Version margin and the Revised Version (British and American) text, however, it is not regarded as a proper name, and the clause is rendered, "among the chariots of my princely people." Interpretations widely vary (see COMMENTARIES).


am-i-shad’-i, am-i-shad-a’-i (‘ammishadday, "Shaddai is my kinsman"): The father of Ahiezer, a Danite captain or "head of his fathers’ house," during the wilderness journey (Nu 1:12; 2:25, etc.).


a-miz’-a-bad (‘ammizabhadh, "my kinsman has made a present"): The son of Benaiah, one of David’s captains for the third month (1Ch 27:6).


am’-on, am’-on-its (‘ammon; ‘ammonim):

The Hebrew tradition makes this tribe descendants of Lot and hence related to the Israelites (Ge 19:38). This is reflected in the name usually employed in Old Testament to designate them, Ben ‘Ammi, Bene ‘Ammon, "son of my people," "children of my people," i.e. relatives. Hence we find that the Israelites are commanded to avoid conflict with them on their march to the Promised Land (De 2:19). Their dwelling-place was on the east of the Dead Sea and the Jordan, between the Arnon and the Jabbok, but, before the advance of the Hebrews, they had been dispossessed of a portion of their land by the Amorites, who founded, along the east side of the Jordan and the Dead Sea, the kingdom of Sihon (Nu 21:21-31).

We know from the records of Egypt, especially Tell el-Amarna Letters, the approximate date of the Amorite invasion (14th and 13th centuries, BC). They were pressed on the north by the Hittites who forced them upon the tribes of the south, and some of them settled east of the Jordan. Thus, Israel helped Ammonites by destroying their old enemies, and this makes their conduct at a later period the more reprehensible. In the days of Jephthah they oppressed the Israelites east of the Jordan, claiming that the latter had deprived them of their territory when they came from Egypt, whereas it was the possessions of the Amorites they took (Jud 11:1-28). They were defeated, but their hostility did not cease, and their conduct toward the Israelites was particularly shameful, as in the days of Saul (1Sa 11) and of David (2Sa 10). This may account for the cruel treatment meted out to them in the war that followed (2Sa 12:26-31).

They seem to have been completely subdued by David and their capital was taken, and we find a better spirit manifested afterward, for Nahash of Rabbah showed kindness to him when a fugitive (2Sa 17:27-29). Their country came into the possession of Jeroboam, on the division of the kingdom, and when the Syrians of Damascus deprived the kingdom of Israel of their possessions east of the Jordan, the Ammonites became subjects of Benhadad, and we find a contingent of 1,000 of them serving as allies of that king in the great battle of the Syrians with the Assyrians at Qarqar (854 BC) in the reign of Shalmaneser II. They may have regained their old territory when Tiglath-pileser carried off the Israelites East of the Jordan into captivity (2Ki 15:29; 1Ch 5:26). Their hostility to both kingdoms, Judah and Israel, was often manifested. In the days of Jehoshaphat they joined with the Moabites in an attack upon him, but met with disaster (2Ch 20). They paid tribute to Jotham (2Ch 27:5). After submitting to Tiglath-pileser they were generally tributary to Assyria, but we have mention of their joining In the general uprising that took place under Sennacherib; but they submitted and we find them tributary in the reign of Esarhaddon.

Their hostility to Judah is shown in their joining the Chaldeans to destroy it (2Ki 24:2). Their cruelty is denounced by the prophet Am 1:13, and their destruction by Jer 49:1-6, Eze 21:28-32, Ze 2:8,9. Their murder of Gedaliah (2Ki 25:22-26; Jer 40:14) was a dastardly act. Tobiah the Ammonites united with Sanballat to oppose Ne (Ne 4), and their opposition to the Jews did not cease with the establishment of the latter in Judea.

They joined the Syrians in their wars with the Maccabees and were defeated by Judas (1 Mac 5:6). Their religion was a degrading and cruel superstition. Their chief god was Molech, or Moloch, to whom they offered human sacrifices (1Ki 11:7) against which Israel was especially warned (Le 20:2-5). This worship was common to other tribes for we find it mentioned among the Phoenicians.

H. Porter


am-on-i’-tes, a-mon’-i-tes (‘ammonith): A woman of the Ammonites, Naamah, the mother of Rehoboam (1Ki 14:21,31; 2Ch 12:13; 24:26).

AMNON am’-non (’amnon, "faithful"; compare ‘aminon, 2Sa 13:20, which is probably a diminutive. Wellhausen (IJG, II, 24, note 2) resolves ‘amiynown into ‘immi, and nun, "my mother is the serpent"; compare NUN): (1) The eldest son of David and Ahinoam, the Jezreelites (compare 2Sa 3:2). As the crown prince and heir presumptive to the throne, he was intensely hated by Absalom, who was, therefore, doubly eager to revenge the outrage committed by Amnon upon his sister Tamar (2Sa 3:2; 13:1 ff, 1Ch 3:1). (2) A name in the genealogy of Judah (1Ch 4:20).


a’-mok (‘amoq, "deep"): A chief priest who came to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel (Ne 12:7) and the forefather of Eber, who was priest in the days of Joiakim (Ne 12:20).


a’-mon (’amon): A name identical with that of the Egyptian local deity of Thebes (No); compare Jer 46:25. The foreign name given to a Hebrew prince is remarkable, as is also the fact that it is one of the two or three royal names of Judah not compounded with the name of Yahweh. See MANASSEH. It seems to reflect the sentiment which his fanatical father sought to make prevail that Yahweh had no longer any more claim to identification with the realm than had other deities.

(1) A king of Judah, son and successor of Manasseh; reigned two years and was assassinated in his own palace by the officials of his household. The story of his reign is told briefly in 2Ki 21:19-26, and still more briefly, though in identical terms, so far as they go, in 2Ch 33:21-25. His short reign was merely incidental in the history of Judah; just long enough to reveal the traits and tendencies which directly or indirectly led to his death. It was merely a weaker continuation of the regime of his idolatrous father, though without the fanaticism which gave the father positive character, and without the touch of piety which, if the Chronicler’s account is correct, tempered the father’s later years.

If the assassination was the initial act of a revolution the latter was immediately suppressed by "the people of the land," who put to death the conspirators and placed Amon’s eight-year-old son Josiah on the throne. In the view of the present writer the motive of the affair was probably connected with the perpetuity of the Davidic dynasty, which, having survived so long according to prophetic prediction (compare 2Sa 7:16; Ps 89:36,37), was an essential guarantee of Yahweh’s favor. Manasseh’s foreign sympathies, however, had loosened the hold of Yahweh on the officials of his court; so that, instead of being the loyal center of devotion to Israel’s religious and national idea, the royal household was but a hotbed of worldly ambitions, and all the more for Manasseh’s prosperous reign, so long immune from any stroke of Divine judgment.

It is natural that, seeing the insignificance of Amon’s administration, some ambitious clique, imitating the policy that had frequently succeeded in the Northern Kingdom, should strike for the throne. They had reckoned, however, without estimating the inbred Davidic loyalty of the body of the people. It was a blow at one of their most cherished tenets, committing the nation both politically and religiously to utter uncertainty. That this impulsive act of the people was in the line of the purer religious movement which was ripening in Israel does not prove that the spiritually-minded "remnant" was minded to violence and conspiracy, it merely shows what a stern and sterling fiber of loyalty still existed, seasoned and confirmed by trial below the corrupting cults and fashions of the ruling classes. In the tragedy of Amon’s reign, in short, we get a glimpse of the basis of sound principle that lay at the common heart of Israel.

(2) A governor of Samaria (1Ki 22:26); the one to whom the prophet Micaiah was committed as a prisoner by King Ahab, after the prophet had disputed the predictions of the court prophets and foretold the king’s death in battle.

(3) The head of the "children of Solomon’s servants" (Ne 7:59) who returned from captivity; reckoned along with the Nethinim, or temple slaves. Called also Ami (Ezr 2:57).

John Franklin Genung


am’-o-rits; Amorites (’emori, always in the singular like the Babylonian Amurru from which it is taken; Amorraioi):

1. Varying Use of the Name Explained

2. The Amorite Kingdom

3. Sihon’s Conquest

4. Disappearance of the Amorite Kingdom

5. Physical Characteristics of the Amorites

The name Amorite is used in the Old Testament to denote

(1) the inhabitants of Palestine generally,

(2) the population of the hills as opposed to the plain, and

(3) a specific people under a king of their own. Thus

(1) we hear of them on the west shore of the Dead Sea (Ge 14:7), at Hebron (Ge 14:13), and Shechem (Ge 48:22), in Gilead and Bashan (De 3:10) and under Hermon (De 3:8; 4:48). They are named instead of the Canaanites as the inhabitants of Palestine whom the Israelites were required to exterminate (Ge 15:16; De 20:17; Jud 6:10; 1Sa 7:14; 1Ki 21:26; 2Ki 21:11); the older population of Judah is called Amorite in Jos 10:5,6, in conformity with which Eze (16:3) states that Jerusalem had an Amorite father; and the Gibeonites are said to have been "of the remnant of the Amorites" (2Sa 21:2). On the other hand

(2), in Nu 13:29 the Amorites are described as dwelling in the mountains like the Hittites and Jebusites of Jerusalem, while the Amalekites or Bedouins lived in the south and the Canaanites on the seacoast and in the valley of the Jordan. Lastly (3) we hear of Sihon, "king of the Amorites," who had conquered the northern half of Moab (Nu 21:21-31; De 2:26-35).

1. Varying Use of the Name Explained:

Assyriological discovery has explained the varying use of the name. The Hebrew form of it is a transliteration of the Babylonian Amurru, which was both sing. and plural. In the age of Abraham the Amurru were the dominant people in western Asia; hence Syria and Palestine were called by the Babylonians "the land of the Amorites." In the Assyrian period this was replaced by "land of the Hittites," the Hittites in the Mosaic age having made themselves masters of Syria and Canaan. The use of the name "Amorite" in its general sense belongs to the Babylonian period of oriental history.

2. The Amorite Kingdom:

The Amorite kingdom was of great antiquity. About 2500 BC it embraced the larger part of Mesopotamia and Syria, with its capital probably at Harran, and a few centuries later northern Babylonia was occupied by an "Amorite" dynasty of kings who traced theft descent from Samu or Sumu (the Biblical Shem), and made Babylon their capital. To this dynasty belonged Khammu-rabi, the Amraphel of Ge 14:1. In the astrological documents of the period frequent reference is made to "the king of the Amorites." This king of the Amorites was subject to Babylonia in the age of the dynasty of Ur, two or three centuries before the birth of Abraham He claimed suzerainty over a number of "Amorite" kinglets, among whom those of Khana on the Euphrates, near the mouth of the Khabur, may be named, since in the Abrahamic age one of them was called Khammu-rapikh and another Isarlim or Israel. A payment of a cadastral survey made at this time by a Babylonian governor with the Canaanite name of Urimelech is now in the Louvre. Numerous Amorites were settled in Ur and other Babylonian cities, chiefly for the purpose of trade. They seem to have enjoyed the same rights and privileges as the native Babylonians. Some of them were commercial travelers, but we hear also of the heads of the great firms making journeys to the Mediterranean coast.

In an inscription found near Diarbekir and dedicated to Khammu-rabi by Ibirum (= Eber), the governor of the district, the only title given to the Babylonian monarch is "king of the Amorites," where instead of Amurru the Sumerian Martu (Hebrew moreh) is used. The great-grandson of Khammu-rabi still calls himself "king of the widespread land of the Amorites," but two generations later Babylonia was invaded by the Hittites, the Amorite dynasty came to an end, and there was once more a "king of the Amorites" who was not also king of Babylonia.

The Amorite kingdom continued to exist down to the time of the Israelite invasion of Palestine, and mention is made of it in the Egyptian records as well as in the cuneiform Tell el-Amarna Letters, and the Hittite archives recently discovered at Boghaz-keui, the site of the Hittite capital in Cappadocia. The Egyptian conquest of Canaan by the kings of the XVIIIth Dynasty had put an end to the effective government of that country by the Amorite princes, but their rule still extended eastward to the borders of Babylonia, while its southern limits coincided approximately with what was afterward the northern frontier of Naphtali. The Amorite kings, however, became, at all events in name, the vassals of the Egyptian Pharaoh. When the Egyptian empire began to break up, under the "heretic king" Amenhotep IV, at the end of the XVIIIth Dynasty (1400 BC), the Amorite princes naturally turned to their more powerful neighbors in the north. One of the letters in the Tell el-Amarna correspondence is from the Pharaoh to his Amorite vassal Aziru the son of Ebed-Asherah, accusing him of rebellion and threatening him with punishment.

Eventually Aziru found it advisable to go over openly to the Hittites, and pay the Hittite government an annual tribute of 300 shekels of gold. From that time forward the Amorite kingdom was a dependency of the Hittite empire, which, on the strength of this, claimed dominion over Palestine as far as the Egyptian frontier. The second successor of Aziru was Abi-Amurru (or Abi-Hadad), whose successor bore, in addition to a Semitic name, the Mitannian name of Bentesinas. Bente-sinas was dethroned by the Hittite King Muttallis and imprisoned in Cappadocia, where he seems to have met the Hittite prince Khattu-sil, who on the death of his brother Muttallis seized the crown and restored Bente-sinas to his kingdom. Bente-sinas married the daughter of Khattu-sil, while his own daughter was wedded to the son of his Hittite suzerain, and an agreement was made that the succession to the Amorite throne should be confined to her descendants. Two or three generations later the Hittite empire was destroyed by an invasion of "northern barbarians," the Phrygians, probably, of Greek history, who marched southward, through Palestine, against Egypt, carrying with them "the king of the Amorites." The invaders, however, were defeated and practically exterminated by Ramses III of the XXth Egyptian Dynasty (1200 BC). The Amorite king, captured on this occasion by the Egyptians, was probably the immediate predecessor of the Sihon of the Old Testament.

3. Sihon’s Conquest:

Egyptian influence in Canaan had finally ceased with the invasion of Egypt by the Libyans and peoples of the Aegean in the fifth year of Meneptah, the successor of Ramses II, at the time of the Israelite Exodus. Though the invaders were repulsed, the Egyptian garrisons had to be withdrawn from the cities of southern Palestine, where their place was taken by the Philistines who thus blocked the way from Egypt to the north. The Amorites, in the name of their distant Hittite suzerains, were accordingly able to overrun the old Egyptian provinces on the east side of the Jordan; the Amorite chieftain Og possessed himself of Bashan (De 3:8), and Sihon, "king of the Amorites," conquered the northern part of Moab.

The conquest must have been recent at the time of the Israelite invasion, as the Amorite song of triumph is quoted in Nu 21:27-29, and adapted to the overthrow of Sihon himself by the Israelites. ‘Woe unto thee,’ it reads, ‘O Moab; thou art undone, O people of Chemosh! (Chemosh) hath given thy sons who escaped (the battle) and thy daughters into captivity to Sihon king of the Amorites.’ The flame that had thus consumed Heshbon, it is further declared, shall spread southward through Moab, while Heshbon itself is rebuilt and made the capital of the conqueror: "Come to Heshbon, that the city of Sihon (like the city of David, 2Sa 5:9) may be rebuilt and restored. For the fire has spread from Heshbon, the flame from the capital of Sihon, devouring as far as Moab (reading ‘adh with the Septuagint instead of ‘ar), and swallowing up (reading bale‘ah with the Septuagint) the high places of Arnon." The Israelite invasion, however, prevented the expected conquest of southern Moab from taking place.

4. Disappearance of the Amorite Kingdom:

After the fall of Sihon the Amorite kingdom disappears. The Syrians of Zobah, of Hamath and of Damascus take its place, while with the rise of Assyria the "Amorites" cease to be the representatives in contemporary literature of the inhabitants of western Asia. At one time their power had extended to the Babylonian frontier, and Bente-sinas was summoned to Cappadocia by his Hittite overlord to answer a charge made by the Babylonian ambassadors of his having raided northern Babylonia. The Amorite king urged, however, that the raid was merely an attempt to recover a debt of 30 talents of silver.

5. Physical Characteristics of the Amorites:

In Nu 13:29 the Amorites are described as mountaineers, and in harmony with thins, according to Professor Petrie’s notes, the Egyptian artists represent them with fair complexions, blue eyes and light hair. It would, therefore, seem that they belonged to the Libyan race of northern Africa rather than to the Semitic stock. In western Asia, however, they were mixed with other racial elements derived from the subject populations, and as they spoke a Semitic language one of the most important of these elements would have been the Semites. In its general sense, moreover, the name "Amorite" included in the Babylonian period all the settled and civilized peoples west of the Euphrates to whatever race they might belong.


Hugo Winckler, Mitteilungen der deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft (1907), No. 35, Berlin; Sayce, The Races of the Old Testament, Religious Tract Soc., 1890.

A. H. Sayce

AMOS (1)

a’-mos (‘amoc, "burdensome" or "burden-bearer"; Amos):


1. Name

2. Native Place

3. Personal History

4. His Preparation

(1) Knowledge of God

(2) Acquaintance with History of His People

(3) Personal Travel

(4) Scenery of His Home

5. His Mission

6. Date


1. Its Divisions

2. Its Outlook

3. Value of the Book

(1) As a Picture of the Social Condition

(2) As Picture of the Religious Condition

(3) Testimony to History

(4) Testimony to the Law

(a) The Ritual

(b) Ethical Teaching

(5) The Prophetic Order

(6) The Prophetic Religion


I. The Prophet.

1. Name:

Amos is the prophet whose book stands third among the "Twelve" in the Hebrew canon. No other person bearing the same name is mentioned in the Old Testament, the name of the father of the prophet Isaiah being written differently (’amots). There is an Amos mentioned in the genealogical series Lu 3:25, but he is otherwise unknown, and we do not know how his name would have been written in Hebrew. Of the signification of the prophet’s name all that can be said is that a verb with the same root letters, in the sense of to load or to carry a load, is not uncommon in the language.

2. Native Place:

Tekoa, the native place of Amos, was situated at a distance of 5 miles South from Bethlehem, from which it is visible, and 10 miles from Jerusalem, on a hill 2,700 ft. high, overlooking the wilderness of Judah. It was made a "city for defense" by Rehoboam (2Ch 11:6), and may have in fact received its name from its remote and exposed position, for the stem of which the word is a derivative is of frequent occurrence in the sense of sounding an alarm with the trumpet: e. g. "Blow the trumpet in Tekoa, and set up a sign of fire in Beth-haccerem" (Jer 6:1 the King James Version). The same word is also used to signify the setting up of a tent by striking in the tent- pegs; and Jerome states that there was no village beyond Tekoa in his time. The name has survived, and the neighborhood is at the present day the pasture-ground for large flocks of sheep and goats. From the high ground on which the modern village stands one looks down on the bare undulating hills of one of the bleakest districts of Palestine, "the waste howling wilderness," which must have suggested some of the startling imagery of the prophet’s addresses. The place may have had—as is not seldom the case with towns or villages—a reputation for a special quality of its inhabitants; for it was from Tekoa that Joab fetched the "wise woman" who by a feigned story effected the reconciliation of David with his banished son Absalom (2Sa 14). There are traces in the Book of Am of a shrewdness and mother-wit which are not so conspicuous in other prophetical books.

3. Personal History:

The particulars of a personal kind which are noted in the book are few but suggestive. Amos was not a prophet or the son of a prophet, he tells us (Am 7:14), i.e. he did not belong to the professional class which frequented the so-called schools of the prophets. He was "among the herdsmen of Tekoa" (1:1), the word here used being found only once in another place (2Ki 3:4) and applied to Mesha, king of Moab. It seems to refer to a special breed of sheep, somewhat ungainly in appearance but producing, an abundant fleece. In Am 7:14 the word rendered "herdman" is different, and denotes an owner of cattle, though some, from the Septuagint rendering, think that the word should be the same as in Am 1:1. He was also "a dresser of sycomore-trees" (Am 7:14). The word rendered "dresser" (Revised Version) or "gatherer" (the King James Version) occurs only here, and from the rendering of the Septuagint (knizon) it is conjectured that there is reference to a squeezing or nipping of the sycamore fig to make it more palatable or to accelerate its ripening, though such a usage is not known in Palestine at the present day.

4. His Preparation:

Nothing is said as to any special preparation of the prophet for his work: "The Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel" (Am 7:15, the English Revised Version). In these words he puts himself in line with all the prophets who, in various modes of expression, claim a direct revelation from God. But the mention of the prophetic call in association with the mention of his worldly calling is significant. There was no period interposed between the one and the other, no cessation of husbandry to prepare for the work of prophesying. The husbandman was prepared for this task, and when God’s time came he took it up. What was that preparation? Even if we suppose that the call was a momentary event, the man must have been ready to receive it, equipped for its performance. And, looking at the way in which he accomplished it, as exhibited in his book, we can see that there was a preparation, both internal and external, of a very thorough and effective character.

(1) Knowledge of God.

First of all, he has no doubt or uncertainty as to the character of the God in whose name he is called to speak. The God of Amos is one whose sway is boundless (Am 9:2 ff), whose power is infinite (Am 8:9 f), not only controlling the forces of Nature (Am 4; 5:8 f) but guiding the movements and destinies of nations (Am 6:1 ff, 14; 9:7 ff). Moreover, He is righteous in all His ways, dealing with nations on moral principles (Am 1:3 ff; 2:1 ff); and, though particularly favorable to Israel, yet making that very choice of them as a people a ground for visiting them with sterner retribution for their sins (Am 3:2). In common with all the prophets, Amos gives no explanation of how he came to know God and to form this conception of His character. It was not by searching that they found out God. It is assumed that God is and that He is such a Being; and this knowledge, as it could come only from God, is regarded as undisputed and undisputable. The call to speak in God’s name may have come suddenly, but the prophet’s conception of the character of the God who called him is no new or sudden revelation but a firm and well-established conviction.

(2) Acquaintance with History of His People.

Then his book shows not only that he was well acquainted with the history and traditions of his nation, which he takes for granted as well known to his hearers, but that he had reflected upon these things and realized their significance. We infer that he had breathed an atmosphere of religion, as there is nothing to indicate that, in his acquaintance with the religious facts of his nation, he differed from those among whom he dwelt, although the call to go forth and enforce them came to him in a special way.

(3) Personal Travel.

It has been conjectured that Amos had acquired by personal travel the accurate acquaintance which he shows in his graphic delineations of contemporary life and conditions; and it may have been the case that, as a wool-merchant or flock-master, he had visited the towns mentioned and frequented the various markets to which the people were attracted.

(4) Scenery of His Home.

Nor must we overlook another factor in his preparation: the scenery in which he had his home and the occupations of his daily life. The landscape was one to make a solemn impression on a reflective mind: the extensive desert, the shimmering waters of the Dead Sea, the high wall of the distant hills of Moab, over all which were thrown the varying light and shade. The silent life of the desert, as with such scenes ever before him, he tended his flock or defended them from the ravages of wild beasts, would to one whose thoughts were full of God nourish that exalted view of the Divine Majesty which we find in his book, and furnish the imagery in which his thoughts are set (Am 1:2; 3:4 f; 4:13; 5:8; 9:5 f). As he is taken from following the flock, he comes before us using the language and figures of his daily life (Am 3:12), but there runs through all the note of one who has seen God’s working in all Nature and His presence in every phenomenon. Rustic he may be, but there is no rudeness or rusticity in his style, which is one of natural and impassioned eloquence, ordered and regular as coming from a mind which was responsive to the orderly working of God in Nature around him. There is an aroma of the free air of the desert about his words; but the prophet lives in an ampler ether and breathes a purer air; all things in Nature and on the field of history are seen in a Divine light and measured by a Divine standard.

5. His Mission:

Thus, prepared in the solitudes of the extreme south of Judah, he was called to go and prophesy unto the people of Israel, and appears at Bethel the capital of the Northern Kingdom. It may be that, in the prosecution of his worldly calling, he had seen and been impressed by the conditions of life and religion in those parts. No reason is given for his mission to the northern capital, but the reason is not far to seek. It is the manner of the prophets to appear where they are most needed; and the Northern Kingdom about that time had come victorious out of war, and had reached its culmination of wealth and power, with the attendant results of luxury and excess, while the Southern Kingdom had been enjoying a period of outward tranquillity and domestic content.

6. Date:

The date of the prophet Amos can approximately be fixed from the statement in the first verse that his activity fell "in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel, two years before the earthquake." Both these monarchs had long reigns, that of Uzziah extending from 779 to 740 BC and that of Jeroboam II from 783 to 743 BC. If we look at the years when they were concurrently reigning, and bear in mind that, toward the end of Uzziah’s reign, Jotham acted as co-regent, we may safely place the date of Amos at about the year 760 BC. In a country in which earthquakes are not uncommon the one here mentioned must have been of unusual severity, for the memory of it was long preserved (Zec 14:5). How long he exercised his ministry we are not told. In all probability the book is the deposit of a series of addresses delivered from time to time till his plain speaking drew upon him the resentment of the authorities, and he was ordered to leave the country (Am 7:10 ff). We can only conjecture that, some time afterward, he withdrew to his native place and put down in writing a condensed record of the discourses he had delivered.

II. The Book.

We can distinguish with more than ordinary certainty the outlines of the individual addresses, and the arrangement of the book is clear and simple. The text, also, has been on the whole faithfully preserved; and though in a few places critics profess to find the traces of later editorial hands, these conclusions rest mainly on subjective grounds, and will be estimated differently by different minds.

1. Its Divisions:

The book falls naturally into three parts, recognizable by certain recurring formulas and general literary features.

(1) The first section, which is clearly recognizable, embraces Am 1 and 2. Here, after the title and designation of the prophet in Am 1:1, there is a solemn proclamation of Divine authority for the prophet’s words. "Yahweh will roar from Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem" (verse 2). This is notable in one who throughout the book recognizes God’s power as world-wide and His operation as extensive as creation; and it should be a caution in view, on the one hand, of the assertion that the temple at Jerusalem was not more sacred than any of the numerous "high places" throughout the land, and, on the other hand, the superficial manner in which some writers speak of the Hebrew notion of a Deity whose dwelling-place was restricted to one locality beyond which His influence was not felt. For this God, who has His dwelling-place in Zion, now through the mouth of the prophet denounces in succession the surrounding nations, and this mainly not for offenses committed against the chosen people but for moral offenses against one another and for breaches of a law binding on humanity. It will be observed that the nations denounced are not named in geographical order, and the prophet exhibits remarkable rhetorical skill in the order of selection. The interest and sympathy of the hearers is secured by the fixing of the attention on the enormities of guilt in their neighbors, and curiosity is kept awake by the uncertainty as to where the next stroke of the prophetic whip will fall. Beginning with the more distant and alien peoples of Damascus, Gaza and Tyre, he wheels round to the nearer and kindred peoples of Edom, Ammon and Moab, till he rests for a moment on the brother tribe of Judah, and thus, having relentlessly drawn the net around Israel by the enumeration of seven peoples, he swoops down upon the Northern Kingdom to which his message is to be particularly addressed.

(2) The second section embraces Am 3 to 6, and consists apparently of a series of discourses, each introduced by the formula: "Hear this word" (Am 3:1; 4:1; 5:1), and another introduced by a comprehensive: "Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and to them that are secure in the mountain of Samaria" (Am 6:1). The divisions here are not so clearly marked. It will be observed e. g. that there is another "Woe" at Am 5:18; and in chapter 4, though the address at the outset is directed to the luxurious women of Samaria, from 4:4 onward the words have a wider reference. Accordingly some would divide this section into a larger number of subsections; and some, indeed, have described the whole book as a collection of ill-arranged fragments. But, while it is not necessary to suppose that the written book is an exact reproduction of the spoken addresses, and while the division into chapters has no authority, yet we must allow for some latitude in the details which an impassioned speaker would introduce into his discourses, and for transitions and connections of thought which may not be apparent on the surface.

(3) The third section has some well-marked characteristics, although it is even less uniform than the preceding. The outstanding feature is the phrase, "Thus the Lord Yahweh showed me" (Am 7:1,4,7; 8:1) varied at Am 9:1 by the words, "I saw the Lord standing beside the altar." We have thus a series of "visions" bearing upon, and interpreted as applying to, the condition of Israel. It is in the course of one of these, when the prophet comes to the words, "I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword" (Am 7:9) that the interposition of Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, is recorded, with the prophet’s noble reply as to his Divine call, and his rebuke and denunciation of the priest, ending with a prophetic announcement of the downfall and captivity of Israel (Am 7:14-17).

2. Its Outlook:

If the discourses are put down in chronological order of their delivery, it would appear that Amos did not immediately take his departure, since more visions follow this episode, and there is a special appropriateness in the intervention of Amaziah just at the point where it is recorded. As to the closing passage of this section (Am 9:11-15) which gives a bright prospect of the future, there is a class of critics who are inclined to reject it just on this account as inconsistent with the severe denunciatory tone of the rest of the book. It is quite possible, however, that the prophet himself (and no succeeding later editor) may have added the passage when he came to write down his addresses. There is no reason to believe that any of the prophets—harsh though their words were—believed that the God of Israel would make a full end of His people in captivity: on the contrary, their assurance of God’s faithfulness to His promise, and the deep-seated conviction that right would ultimately prevail, lead us to expect even in the sternest or earliest of the prophets the hope of a future glory—that hope which grew brighter and brighter as the nation’s outlook grew darker, and attained intensity and clearness in the Messianic hope which sustained them in the darkest days of exile. It is difficult to believe that any of the prophets were prophets of despair, or to conceive how they could have prophesied at all unless they had a firm faith in the ultimate triumph of the good.

3. Value of the Book:

The Book of Amos is particularly valuable from the fact that he is certainly one of the earliest prophets whose writings have come down to us. It is, like the Book of Hosea which belongs to about the same time, a contemporaneous document of a period of great significance in the history of Israel, and not only gives graphic sketches or illuminating hints of the life and religious condition of the people, but furnishes a trustworthy standard for estimating the value of some other books whose dates are not so precisely determined, a definite starting-point for tracing the course of Israel’s history.

(1) As a Picture of the Social Condition.

The book is valuable as embodying a contemporary picture of society and the condition of religion. From the abuses which the prophet denounces and the lifelike sketches he draws of the scenes amid which he moved, taken along with what we know otherwise of the historical movements of the period, we are able to form a fairly adequate estimate of the condition of the age and the country. During the reign of Jeroboam II the kingdom of Israel, after having been greatly reduced during preceding reigns, rose to a degree of extent and influence unexampled since the days of Solomon (2Ki 14:25); and we are not astonished to read in the Book of Am the haughty words which he puts into the mouth of the people of his time when they spoke of Israel as the "chief of the nations" a first-class power in modern language, and boasted of the "horns" by which they had attained that eminence (Am 6:1,13).

But success in war, if it encouraged this boastful spirit, brought also inevitable evils in its train. Victory, as we know from the Assyrian monuments, meant plunder; for king after king recounts how much spoil he had taken, how many prisoners he had carried away; and we must assume that wars among smaller states would be conducted on the same methods. In such wars, success meant an extension of territory and increase of wealth, while defeat entailed the reverse. But it is to be remembered that, in an agricultural country and in a society constituted as that of Israel was, the result of war to one class of the population was to a great extent disastrous, whatever was the issue, and success, when it was achieved, brought evils in its train which even aggravated their condition. The peasant, required to take up arms for offense or defense, was taken away from the labors of the field which, in the best event, were for a time neglected, and, in the worst, were wasted and rendered unproductive. And then, when victory was secured, the spoils were liable to fall into the hands of the nobles and leaders, those "called with a name" (Am 6:1), while the peasant returned to his wasted or neglected fields without much substantial resource with which to begin life again. The wealth secured by the men of strong hand led to the increase of luxury in its possessors, and became actually the means of still further adding to the embarrassment of the poor, who were dependent on the rich for the means of earning their livelihood. The situation would be aggravated under a feeble or corrupt government, such as was certainly that of Jeroboam’s successors. The condition prevails in modern eastern countries, even under comparatively wise and just administration; and that it was the state of matters prevailing in the time of Amos is abundantly clear from his book.

The opening denunciation of Israel for oppression of the poor and for earth-hunger (Am 2:6,7) is re-echoed and amplified in the succeeding chapters (Am 3:9,10; 4:1; 5:11,12; 8:4-6); and the luxury of the rich, who battened on the misfortune of their poorer brethren, is castigated in biting irony in such passages as Am 6:3-6. Specially noticeable in this connection is the contemptuous reference to the luxurious women, the "kine of Bashan" (Am 4:1), whose extravagances are maintained by the oppression of the poor. The situation, in short, was one that has found striking parallels in modern despotic countries in the East, where the people are divided into two classes, the powerful rich, rich because powerful and powerful because rich, and, the poor oppressed, men who have no helper, no "back" in the common eastern phrase, dependent on the rich and influential and tending to greater poverty under greedy patrons.

(2) As a Picture of the Religious Condition.

In such a social atmosphere, which poisoned the elementary virtues, religion of a vital kind could not flourish; and there are plain indications in the words of Amos of the low condition to which it had sunk. There was, indeed, as we gather from ins addresses, no lack of outward attention to the forms of worship; but these forms were of so corrupted a character and associated with so much practical godlessness and even immorality, that instead of raising the national character it tended to its greater degradation. The people prided themselves in what they regarded the worship of the national God, thinking that so long as they honored Him with costly offerings and a gorgeous ritual, they were pleasing Him and secure in His protection. Bethel, Dan, Gilgal, Beersheba, and we know not how many other places were resorted to in pilgrimage by crowds of worshippers. With all the accompaniments of ceremonious ritual which the newly found wealth put in their power, with offerings more than the legally prescribed or customary (Am 4:4,5) the service of these sanctuaries was maintained; but even these offerings were made at the expense of the poor (Am 5:11), the prevailing luxury forced its way even to the precincts of the altars (Am 2:8), and justice and mercy were conspicuously absent from the religious life. The people seemed to have settled down to a complacent optimism, nourished no doubt by national prosperity, and, though there had not been wanting reminders of the sovereignty of a righteous God, in convulsions of Nature—drought, famine, pestilence and earthquake (Am 4:6-11)—these had been of no avail to awaken the sleeping conscience. They put the evil day far from them (Am 6:3), for Yahweh was their national God and "the day of the Lord," the good time coming (Am 5:18), when God would come to their help, was more in their mind than the imperative duty of returning to Him (Am 4:6,8, etc.).

(3) Testimony to History.

The book is valuable for the confirmation it gives of the historical statements of other books, particularly for the references it contains to the earlier history contained in the Pentateuch. And here we must distinguish between references to, or quotations from, books, and statements or hints or indications of historical events which may or may not have been written in books or accessible to the prophet and his hearers. Opinions differ as to the date of composition of the books which record the earlier history, and the oldest Biblical writers are not in the habit of saying from what sources they drew their information or whether they are quoting from books. We can hardly believe that in the time of Amos copies of existing books or writings would be in the hands of the mass of the people, even if the power to read them was general. In such circumstances, if we find a prophet like Amos in the compass of a small book referring to outstanding events and stages of the past history as matters known to all his hearers and unquestionable, our confidence in the veracity of the books in which these facts are recorded is greatly increased, and it becomes a matter of comparatively less importance at what date these books were composed.

Now it is remarkable how many allusions, more or less precise, to antecedent history are found in the compass of this small book; and the significance of them lies not in the actual number of references, but in the kind of reference and the implications involved in the individual references. That is to say, each reference is not to be taken as an isolated testimony to some single event in question, but involves a great deal more than is expressed, and is intelligible only when other facts or incidents are taken into consideration. Thus e. g. the reference to the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah (Am 4:11) is only intelligible on the supposition that the story of that catastrophe was a matter of common knowledge; and it would be a carping criticism to argue that the destruction of other cities of the plain at the same time and the whole story of Lot were unknown in the days of Amos because they are not mentioned here in detail. So, when we have in one passage a reference to the house of Isaac (Am 7:16), in another to the house of Jacob (Am 3:13), in another to the house of Joseph (Am 5:6) and in another to the enmity between Jacob and Esau (Am 1:11), we cannot take these as detached notices, but must supply the links which the prophet’s words would suggest to his hearers. In other words, such slight notices, just because they are incidental and brief, imply a familiarity with a connected patriarchal history such as is found in the Book of Gen. Again, the prophet’s references to the "whole family" of the "children of Israel" whom the Lord "brought up out of the land of Egypt" (Am 3:1), to the Divine leading of the people "forty years in the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite" (Am 2:10) are not odds and ends of popular story but links in a chain of national history. It seems to be on the strength of these and similar references in the books of Am and Hos, whose dates are known, that critics have agreed to fix the date of the earliest historical portions of the Pentateuch as they understand them, namely, the parts designated as Jahwist and Elohist, in the 8th and 9th centuries BC, i.e. at or shortly before the time of these prophets. It may be left to the unbiased judgment of the reader to say whether the references look like references to a newly composed document, or whether it is not more probable that, in an age when written documents were necessarily few and not accessible to the multitude, these references are appeals to things well fixed in the national memory, a memory extending back to the things themselves. Or, if the prophet’s words are to be taken as sufficient proof of the existence of written sources, the fact that the matters are assumed as well known would rather encourage the conclusion that the written sources in question go back to a much earlier period, since the matters contained in them had by this time become matters of universal knowledge.

(4) Testimony to the Law.

(a) The Ritual.

And what about those other elements of the Pentateuch of a legal and ritual character which bulk so prominently in those books? The question whether the Book of Amos indicates an acquaintance with these or not is important because it is to a great extent on the silence of prophetical and historical writers that critics of a certain school relegate these legalistic portions of the Pentateuch to a late date. Now at the outset it is obvious to ask what we have a reasonable right to expect. We have to bear in mind what was the condition of the people whom Amos addressed, and the purpose and aim of his mission to the Northern Kingdom. It is to be remembered that, as we are told in the Book of Kings (1Ki 12:25 ff), Jeroboam I deliberately sought to make a breach between the worship of Jerusalem and that of his own kingdom, while persuading his people that the worship of Yahweh was being maintained. The schism occurred some 170 years before the time of Amos and it is not probable that the worship and ritual of the Northern Kingdom tended in that interval to greater purity or greater conformity to what had been the authoritative practice of the undivided kingdom at the temple of Jerusalem. When, therefore, Amos, in face of the corrupt worship combined with elaborate ritual which prevailed around him, declares that God hates and despises their feasts and takes no delight in their solemn assemblies (Am 5:21), we are not justified in pressing his words, as is sometimes done, into a sweeping condemnation of all ritual. On the contrary, seeing that, in the very same connection (Am 5:22), he specifies burnt offerings and meal offerings and peace offerings, and, in another passage (Am 4:4,5), daily sacrifices and tithes, sacrifices of thanksgiving and free-will offerings, it is natural to infer that by these terms which are familiar in the Pentateuch he is referring to those statutory observances which were part of the national worship of united Israel, but had been overlaid with corruption and become destitute of spiritual value as practiced in the Northern Kingdom. So we may take his allusions to the new moon and the Sabbath (Am 8:5) as seasons of special sacredness and universally sanctioned. Having condemned in such scornful and sweeping terms the worship that he saw going on around him, what was Amos to gum by entering into minute ritual prescriptions or defining the precise duties and perquisites of priests and Levites; and having condemned the pilgrimages to the shrines of Bethel, Gilgal, Beersheba, Samaria and Da (Am 4:4; 5:5; 8:14), what was he to gain by quoting the law of Deut as to a central sanctuary? And had one of his hearers, like the woman of Samaria of a later day, attempted to draw him into a discussion of the relative merits of the two temples, we can conceive him answering in the spirit of the great Teacher: "Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship" (Joh 4:22 the King James Version). A regulation of the form was of no avail while the whole spirit of the observance was corrupt; the soul of religion was dead, and the prophet had a higher duty than to dress out the carcass.

At the root of the corruption of the religion lay a rottenness of moral sense; and from beginning to end Amos insists on the necessity of a pure and righteous life. In this connection his appeals are in striking agreement with the specially ethical demands of the law books, and in phraseology so much resemble them as to warrant the conclusion that the requirements of the law on these subjects were known and acknowledged. Thus his denunciations of those who oppress the poor (Am 2:7; 4:1; 8:4) are quite in the spirit and style of Ex 22:21,22; 23:9; his references to the perversion of justice and taking bribes (Am 2:6; 5:7,10 ff, 6:12) are rhetorical enforcements of the prohibitions of the law in Ex 23:6-8; when he reproves those that "lay themselves down beside every altar upon clothes taken in pledge" (Am 2:8) we hear an echo of the command: "If thou at all take thy neighbor’s garment to pledge, thou shalt restore it unto him before the sun goeth down" (Ex 22:26); and when he denounces those making "the ephah small, and the shekel great, and dealing falsely with balances of deceit" (Am 8:5) his words are in close agreement with the law, "Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in mete-yard, in weights, or in measure. Just balances, just weight, a just ephah, and a just hin shall ye have" (Le 19:35,36, the King James Version).

(b) Ethical Teaching.

As a preacher of righteousness, Amos affirms and resists upon those ethical parts of the law which are its vital elements, and which lie at the foundation of all prophecy; and it is remarkable how even in phraseology he agrees with the most ethical book of the Pentateuch, Deuteronomy. He does not, indeed, like his contemporary Hosea, dwell on the love of God as De does; but, of sterner mould, in almost the very words of Deuteronomy, emphasizes the keeping of God’s commandments, and denounces those who despise the law (compare Am 2:4 with De 17:19). Among verbal coincidences have been noticed the combinations "oppress" "crush" (Am 4:1; De 28:33), "blasting" and "mildew" (Am 4:9; De 28:22), and "gall" and "wormwood" (Am 6:12; De 29:18).

Compare also Am 9:8 with De 6:15, and note the predilection for the same word to "destroy" common to both books (compare Am 2:9 with De 2:22). In view of all of which it seems an extraordinary statement to make that "the silence of Amos with reference to the centralization of worship, on which De is so explicit, alone seems sufficient to outweigh any linguistic similarity that can be discovered" (H. G. Mitchell, Amos, an Essay in Exegesis, 185).

(5) The Prophetic Order.

As Amos is without doubt one of the earliest writing prophets, his book is invaluable as an example of what prophecy was in ancient Israel. And one thing cannot fail to impress the reader at the very outset: namely, that he makes no claim to be the first or among the first of the line, or that he is exercising some new and hitherto unheard- of function. He begins by boldly speaking in God’s name, assuming that even the people of the Northern Kingdom were familiar with that kind of address. Nay, he goes farther and states in unequivocal terms that "the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets" (Am 3:7, the King James Version).

We need not search farther for a definition of the prophet as understood by him and other Old Testament writers: the prophet is one to whom God reveals His will, and who comes forward to declare that will and purpose to man. A great deal has been made of the words of Amaziah the priest of Bethel (Am 7:12), as if they proved that the prophet in those times was regarded as a wandering rhetorician, earning his bread by reciting his speeches; and it has been inferred from the words of Amos himself that the prophets of his day were so disreputable a class that he disdained to be named along with them (Am 7:14). But all this is fanciful. Even if we admit that there were men calling themselves prophets who prophesied for hire (Mic 3:5,11), it cannot be assumed that the expression here to "eat bread" has that meaning; for in other passages it seems simply to signify to lead a quiet or ordinary life, to go about one’s daily business (see Ex 24:11; Jer 22:15). In any case we are not to take the estimate of a man like Amaziah or a godless populace in preference to the conception of Amos himself and his account of his call. It was not by man or by any college of prophets but by Yahweh Himself that he was appointed, and by whatever name he might be called, the summons was "Go, prophesy unto my people Israel" (Am 7:15). There is no trace here of the "prophets becoming conscious of a distinction between themselves and the professional nebhi’im, who were apt simply to echo the patriotic and nationalistic sentiments of the people, and in reality differed but little from the soothsayers and diviners of Semitic heathenism" (Ottley, The Religion of Israel, 90). Whoever the "professional nebhi’im" may have been in his day, or whatever he thought of them if they existed, Amos tells us nothing; but he ranges himself with men to whom Yahweh has spoken in truth (Am 3:7,8), and indicates that there had been a succession of such men (Am 2:11), faithful amid the prevailing corruption though tempted to be unfaithful (Am 2:12); in short he gives us to understand that the "prophetic order" goes back to a period long before his day and has its roots in the true and original religion of Israel.

(6) The Prophetic Religion.

Finally, from the Book of Am we may learn what the prophetic religion was. Here again there is no indication of rudimentary crudeness of conception, or of painful struggling upward from the plane of naturalism or belief in a merely tribal God. The God in whose name Amos speaks has control over all the forces of Nature (Am 4:6 ff; 5:8,9), rules the destinies of nations (Am 6:2,14; 9:2-6), searches the thoughts of the heart (Am 4:13), isinflexible in righteousness and deals with nations and with men on equal justice (Am 1$, 2$ 9:7), andis most severe to the people who have received the highest privileges (Am 3:2). And this is the God by whose name his hearers call themselves, whose claims they cannot deny, whose dealings with them from old time are well known and acknowledged (Am 2:11), whose laws they have broken (Am 2:4; 3:10) and for whose just judgment they are warned to prepare (Am 4:12). All this the prophet enforces faithfully and sternly; not a voice is raised in the circle of his hearers to dispute his words; all that Amaziah the priest can do is to urge the prophet to abstain from unwelcome words in Bethel, because it is the king’s sanctuary and a royal house; the only inference is that the people felt the truth and justice of the prophet’s words. The "prophetic religion" does not begin with Amos.


W. R. Harper, "Amos and Hosea," in the ICC; S. R. Driver, "Joe and Amos" in Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges; H. G. Mitchell, Amos, an Essay in Exegesis (Boston); A. B. Davidson, two articles in The Expositor, 3rd ser, V, VI (1887); W. R. Smith, The Prophets of Israel; G. A. Smith, "The Book of the Twelve Prophets," in Expositor’s Bible; J. J. P. Valeton, Amos und Hosea (1894); C. von Orelli, Die zwolf kleinen Propheten, 3. Aufl. (1908) and ET; Nowack, "Die kleinen Propheten," in Hand-commentar zum Altes Testament; Marti, "Das Dodekapropheton erklart," in Kurzer Hand-Commentar zum Altes Testament.

James Robertson

AMOS (2)

a’-mos (Amos): An ancestor of Jesus in Luke’s genealogy, the eighth before Joseph, the husband of Mary (Lu 3:25).


a’-moz (amots, "strong"): The father of Isaiah the prophet (2Ki 19:2,20; 20:1; 2Ch 26:22; 32:20,32; Isa 1:1; 2:1; 13:1; 20:2; 37:2,21; 38:1).


am-fip’-o-lis (Amphipolis): A town in Macedonia, situated on the eastern bank of the Strymon (modern Struma or Karasu) some three miles from its mouth, near the point where it flows out of Lake Prasias or Cercinitis. It lay on a terraced hill, protected on the North, West and South by the river, on the East by a wall (Thuc. iv.102), while its harbor-town of Eion lay on the coast close to the river’s mouth. The name is derived either from its being nearly surrounded by the stream or from its being conspicuous on every side, a fact to which Thucydides draws attention (in the place cited). It was at first called Ennea Hodoi, Nine Ways, a name which suggests its importance both strategically and commercially. It guarded the main route from Thrace into Macedonia and later became an important station on the Via Egnatia, the great Roman road from Dyrrhachium on the Adriatic to the Hebrus (Maritza), and it was the center of a fertile district producing wine, oil, figs and timber in abundance and enriched by gold and silver mines and considerable manufactures, especially of woolen stuffs. In 497 BC Aristagoras, ex- despot of Miletus, tried to settle there, and a second vain attempt was made in 465-464 by the Athenians, who succeeded in founding a colony there in 437 under the leadership of Hagnon. The population, however, was too mixed to allow of strong Athenian sympathies, and in 424 the town fell away to the Spartan leader Brasidas and defied all the subsequent attempts of the Athenians to recover it. It passed under the protectorate of Perdiccas and Philip of Macedon, and the latter finally made himself master of it in 358. On the Roman partition of Macedonia after the battle of Pydna (168 BC) Amphipolis was made a free city and capital of Macedonia Prima. Paul and Silas passed through it on their way from Philippi to Thessalonica, but the narrative seems to preclude a long stay (Ac 17:1). The place was called Popolia in the Middle Ages, while in modern times the village of Neochori (Turkish, Yenikeui) marks the site (Leake, Northern Greece, III, 181 ff, Cousinery, Macedoine, I, 100 ff, 122 ff; Heuzey et Daumet, Mission archeol. de Macedoine, 165 ff).

Marcus N. Tod


am’-pli-as (Textus Receptus Amplias), the King James Version form: a contraction of AMPLIATUS (thus, the Revised Version (British and American); which see).


am-pli-a’-tus (Ampliatos, Codex Sinaiticus, A, B, F, Ampliatus; Amplias, D, E, L, P, the Revised Version (British and American) form; the King James Version Amplias): The name of a member of the Christian community at Rome, to whom Paul sent greetings (Ro 16:8). He is designated "my beloved in the Lord." It is a common name and is found in inscriptions connected with the imperial household. The name is found twice in the cemetery of Domitilla. The earlier inscription is over a cell which belongs to the end of the 1st century or the beginning of the 2nd century. The bearer of this name was probably a member of her household and conspicuous in the early Christian church in Rome.


am’-ram (‘amram, "people exalted"):

(1) Father of Aaron, Moses and Miriam (Ex 6:20; Nu 26:59; 1Ch 6:3; 23:13); and a son of Kohath, the son of Levi (Ex 6:18; Nu 3:19, etc.). It is not certain that he was literally the son of Kohath, but rather his descendant, since there were ten generations from Joseph to Joshua (1Ch 7:20-27), while only four are actually mentioned from Levi to Moses for the corresponding period. Moreover the Kohathites at the time of the Exodus numbered 8,600 (Nu 3:28), which would therefore have been an impossibility if only two generations had lived. It seems best to regard Amram as a descendant of Kohath, and his wife Jochebed as a "daughter of Levi" in a general sense.

(2) One of the Bani, who in the days of Ezra had taken a foreign wife (Ezr 10:34).

(3) In 1Ch 1:41 (the King James Version) for the properly read HAMRAN of the Revised Version (British and American) (chamran), a Horite, who in Ge 36:26 is called HEMDAN (which see).

Edward Mack


am’-ram-its (‘amrami): The descendants of Amram, one of the Levitical families mentioned in Nu 3:27 and 1Ch 26:23, who had the charge of the tabernacle proper, guarding the ark, table, candlestick, etc., called in 1Ch 26:22 "the treasures of the house of Yahweh."


am’-ra-fel, am-ra’-fel (’amraphel, or, perhaps better, ‘ameraphel).

1. The Expedition Against Sodom and Gomorrah:

This name, which is identified with that of the renowned Babylonian king Hammurabi (which see), is only found in Ge 14:1,9, where he is mentioned as the king of Shinar (Babylonia), who fought against the cities of the plain, in alliance with Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Nations (the Revised Version (British and American) GOIIM). The narrative which follows is very circumstantial. From it we learn, that Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela or Zoar, had served Chedorlaomer for 12 years, rebelled in the 13th, and in the 14th year Chedorlaomer, with the kings enumerated, fought with and defeated them in the vale of Siddim, which is described as being the Salt Sea. Previous to this engagement, however, the Elamites and their allies had attacked the Rephaim (Onkelos: "giants") in Ashtaroth-karnaim, the Zuzim (O: "mighty ones," "heroes") in Ham (O: Chamta’), the Emim (O: "terrible ones") in Shaveh-kiriathaim, and the Horites in their Mount Seir, by the Desert. These having been rendered powerless to aid the revolted vassals, they returned and came to Enmishpat, or Kadesh, attacked the country of the Amalekites, and the Amorites dwelling in Hazazontamar (Ge 14:2-7).

2. The Preparation and the Attack:

At this juncture the kings of the cities of the plain came out against them, and opposed them with their battle-array in the vale of Siddim. The result of the fight was, that the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah, with their allies, fled, and fell among the bitumen-pits of which the place was full, whilst those who got away took refuge in the mountain. All the goods and food (the camp-equipment and supplies) of the kings of the plain were captured by Chedorlaomer and his allies, who then continued their march (to their own lands) (Ge 14:8-11).

3. Abraham’s Rescue of Lot:

Among the captives, however, was Lot, Abram’s nephew, who dwelt in Sodom. A fugitive, having escaped, went and announced the result of the engagement to Abram, who was at that time living by Mamre’s oak plantation. The patriarch immediately marched forth with his trained men, and pursued them to Dan, where he divided his forces, attacked the Elamite-Babylonian army by night, and having put them to flight, pursued them again to Hobah, on the left (or North) of Damascus. The result of this sudden onslaught was that he rescued Lot, with the women and people, and recaptured Lot’s goods, which the allies of Amraphel had carried off (Ge 14:12-16).

4. Difficulties of the Identification of Amraphel:

There is no doubt that the identification of Amraphel with the Hammurabi of the Babylonian inscriptions is the best that has yet been proposed, and though there are certain difficulties therein, these may turn out to be apparent rather than real, when we know more of Babylonian history. The "l" at the end of Amraphel (which has also "ph" instead of "p" or "b") as well as the fact that the expedition itself has not yet been recognized among the campaigns of Hammurabi, must be acknowledged as two points hard to explain, though they may ultimately be solved by further research.

5. Historical Agreements:

It is noteworthy, however, that in the first verse of Ge 14 Amraphel is mentioned first, which, if he be really the Babylonian Hammurabi, is easily comprehensible, for his renown to all appearance exceeded that of Chedorlaomer, his suzerain. In 14:4 and 5, however, it is Chedorlaomer alone who is referred to, and he heads the list of eastern kings in verse 9, where Tidal comes next (a quite natural order, if Goiim be the Babylonian Gute, i.e. the Medes). Next in order comes Amraphel, king of Babylonia and suzerain of Arioch of Ellasar (Eri-Aku of Larsa), whose name closes the list. It may also be suggested, that Amraphel led a Babylonian force against Sodom, as the ally of Chedorlaomer, before he became king, and was simply crown prince. In that case, like Belshazzar, he was called "king" by anticipation. For further details see ARIOCH and CHEDORLAOMER, and compare ERI-AKU and HAMMURABI; for the history of Babylonia during Hammurabi’s period, see that article.

T. G. Pinches


am’-u-let (qemia, lechashim, mezuzah, tephillin, tsitsith; phulakterion): Modern scholars are of opinion that our English word amulet comes from the Latin amuletum, used by Pliny (Naturalis Historia, xxviii, 28; xxx, 2, etc.), and other Latin writers; but no etymology for the Latin word has been discovered. The present writer thinks the root exists in the Arabic himlat, "something carried" (see Dozy, Supplement aux Dictionnaires Arabes, I, 327), though there is no known example of the use of the Arabic word in a magical sense. Originally "amulet" denoted any object supposed to have the power of removing or warding noxious influences believed to be due to evil spirits, etc., such as the evil eye, etc. But in the common usage it stands for an object worn on the body, generally hung from the neck, as a remedy or preservative against evil influences of a mystic kind. The word "amulet" occurs once in the Revised Version (British and American) (Isa 3:20) but not at all in the King James Version.

1. Classes of Amulets:

The substances out of which amulets have been made and the forms which they have taken have been various.

(1) The commonest have consisted of Amulets of pieces of stone or metal, strips of parchment with or without inscriptions from sacred writings (Bible, Koran, etc.). The earliest Egyptian amulets known are pieces of green schist of various shapes- -animal, etc. These were placed on the breast of a deceased person in order to secure a safe passage to the under-world. When a piece of stone is selected as an amulet it is always portable and generally of some striking figure or shape (the human face, etc.). The use of such a stone for this purpose is really a survival of animism.

(2) Gems, rings, etc. It has been largely held that all ornaments worn on the person were originally amulets.

(3) Certain herbs and animal preparations; the roots of certain plants have been considered very potent as remedies and preservatives.

The practice of wearing amulets existed in the ancient world among all peoples, but especially among Orientals; and it can be traced among most modern nations, especially among peoples of backward civilization. Nor is it wholly absent from peoples of the most advanced civilization of today, the English, Americans, etc. Though the word charm (see CHARM) has a distinct meaning, it is often inseparably connected with amulets, for it is in many cases the incantation or charm inscribed on the amulet that gives the latter its significance. As distinguished from talisman (see TALISMAN) an amulet is believed to have negative results, as a means of protection: a talisman is thought to be the means of securing for the wearer some positive boon.

2. Amulets in the Bible:

Though there is no word in the Hebrew or Greek Scriptures denoting "amulet," the thing itself is manifestly implied in many parts of the Bible. But it is remarkable that the general teaching of the Bible and especially that of the Old Testament prophets and of the New Testament writers is wholly and strongly opposed to such things.

(1) The Old Testament.

The golden ear-rings, worn by the wives and sons and daughters of the Israelites, out of which the molten calf was made (Ex 32:2 f), were undoubtedly amulets. What other function could they be made to serve in the simple life of the desert? That the women’s ornaments condemned in Isa 3:16-26 were of the same character is made exceedingly likely by an examination of some of the terms employed. We read of moonlets and sunlets (verse 18), i.e. moon and sun-shaped amulets.

The former in the shape of crescents are worn by Arab girls of our own time. The "ear-drops," "nose-rings," "arm chains" and "foot chains" were all used as a protection to the part of the body implied, and the strong words with which their employment is condemned are only intelligible if their function as counter charms is borne in mind. In Isa 3:20 we read of lechashim rendered "ear-rings" (the King James Version) and "amulets" (Revised Version (British and American)). The Hebrew word seems to be cognate with the word for "serpent" (nechashim; "l" and "r" often interchange), and meant probably in the first instance an amulet against a serpent bite (see Magic, Divination, and Demonology among the Hebrews and Their Neighbours, by the present writer, 50 f, 81; compare Jer 8:7; Ec 10:11; Ps 58:5). Crescent-shaped amulets were worn by animals as well as human beings, as Jud 8:21,26 shows.

At Bethel, Jacob burned not only the idols ("strange gods") but also the ear-rings, the latter being as much opposed to Yahwism as the former, on account of their heathen origin and import.

In Pr 17:8 the Hebrew words rendered "a precious stone" (Hebrew "a stone conferring favor") mean without question a stone amulet treasured on account of its supposed magical efficacy. It is said in Pr 1:9 that wisdom will be such a defense to the one who has it as the head amulet is to the head and that of the neck to the neck. The words rendered in the Revised Version (British and American) "a chaplet of grace unto thy head" mean literally, "something bound to the head conferring favor," the one word for the latter clause being identical with that so rendered above (chen). The Talmudic word for an amulet (qemia‘) denotes something tied or bound (to the person).

We have reference to the custom of wearing amulets in Pr 6:21 where the reader is urged to "bind them (i.e. the admonitions of father and mother) .... upon thy heart" and to "tie them about thy neck"—words implying a condemnation of the practice of trusting to the defense of mere material objects.

Underneath the garments of warriors slain in the Maccabean wars amulets were found in the shape apparently of idols worshipped by their neighbors (2 Macc 12:40). It is strange but true that like other nations of antiquity the Jews attached more importance to amulets obtained from other nations than to those of native growth. It is probable that the signet ring referred to in So 8:6; Jer 22:24; Hag 2:23 was an amulet. It was worn on the heart or on the arm.

(2) The Phylacteries and the Mezuzah.

There is no distract reference to these in the Old Testament. The Hebrew technical term for the former (tephillin) does not occur in Biblical. Hebrew, and although the Hebrew word mezuzah does occur over a dozen times its sense is invariably "door-(or "gate-") post" and not the amulet put on the door-post which in later Hebrew the word denotes.

It is quite certain that the practice of wearing phylacteries has no Biblical support, for a correct exegesis and a proper understanding of the context put it beyond dispute that the words in Ex 13:9,16, De 6:8 f; 11:18-20 have reference to the exhortations in the foregoing verses: "Thou shalt bind them (the commands previously mentioned) for a sign upon thy hand, and they shall be for frontiers between thy eyes. And thou shalt write them upon, the door-posts of thy house, and upon thy gates" (De 6:8 f). The only possible sense of these words is that they were to hold the precepts referred to before their minds constantly as if they were inscribed on their arms, held in front of their eyes, and written on the door-posts or gate- posts which they daily passed. That the language in Ex 13:9,16 does not command the use of phylacteries is obvious, and that the same is true of Pr 3:3; 6:21; 7:3 where similar words are used is still more certain. Yet, though none of the passages enjoin the use of phylacteries or of the mezuzah, they may all contain allusions to both practices as if the sense were, "Thou shalt keep constantly before thee my words and look to them for safety and not to the phylacteries worn on head and arm by the heathen." If, however, phylacteries were in use among the Jews thus early, it is strange that there is not in the Old Testament a single instance in which the practice of wearing phylacteries is mentioned. Josephus, however, seems to refer to this practice (Ant., IV, viii, 13), and it is frequently spoken of in the Mishna (Berakhoth, i, etc.). It is a striking and significant fact that the Apocrypha is wholly silent as to the three signs of Judaism, phylacteries, the mezuzah and the tsitsith (or tassel attached to the corner of the prayer garment called Tallith; compare Mt 9:20; 14:36 the King James Version where "hem of the garment" is inaccurate and misleading).

It is quite evident that phylacteries have a magical origin. This is suggested by the Greek name phulakterion (whence the English name) which in the 1st century of our era denoted a counter charm or defense (phulasso, "to protect") against evil influences. No scholar now explains the Greek word as denoting a means of leading people to keep (phulasso) the law. The Hebrew name tephillin (=" prayers") meets us first in post-Bib. Hebrew, and carries with it the later view that phylacteries are used during prayer in harmony with the prayers or other formulas over the amulet to make it effective (see Budge, Egyptian Magic, 27).

See more fully under CHARM.


In addition to the literature given in the course of the foregoing article, the following may be mentioned. On the general subject see the great works of Tyler (Early History of Mankind, Primitive Culture) and Frazer, Golden Bough; also the series of articles under "Charms and Amulets" in Hastings’ Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics and the excellent article "Amulet" in the corresponding German work, Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart. See further the article "Amulet" in Jewish Encyclopedia, and on Egyptian amulets, Budge, Egyptian Magic, 25 ff.

T. Witton Davies


am’-zi (‘amtsi, "my strength"):

(1) A Levite of the family of Merari (1Ch 6:46).

(2) A priest of the family of Adaiah in the second temple. His father’s name was Zechariah (Ne 11:12).


a’-nab (‘anabh, "grapes"; Codex Vaticanus, Anon or Anob): Mentioned in the list of cities which fell to Judah (Jos 15:50). In the list it follows Debir, from which it was a short distance to the Southwest. It lay about twelve males to the Southwest of Hebron. It was a city of the Anakim, from whom Joshua took it (Jos 11:21). Its site is now known as the rum ‘Anab.


an’-a-el (Anael): A brother of Tobit mentioned once only ( APC Tobit 1:21) as the father of Achiacharus, who was an official in Nineveh under Esar-haddon.


a’-na (‘anah, meaning uncertain; a Horite clan-name (Ge 36)):

(1) Mother of Aholibamah, one of the wives of Esau and daughter of Zibeon (compare Ge 36:2,14,18,25). The Septuagint, the Samaritan Pentateuch, and the Peshitta read "son," identifying this Anah with number 3 (see below); Ge 36:2, read (ha-chori), for (ha-chiwwi).

(2) Son of Seir, the Horite, and brother of Zibeon; one of the chiefs of the land of Edom (compare Ge 36:20,21 = 1Ch 1:38). Seir is elsewhere the name of the land (compare Ge 14:6; Isa 21:11); but here the country is personified and becomes the mythical ancestor of the tribes inhabiting it.

(3) Son of Zibeon, "This is Anah who found the hot springs in the wilderness" (compare Ge 36:24 = 1Ch 1:40,41)

The word ha-yemim, occurs only in this passage and is probably corrupt. Ball (Sacred Books of the Old Testament, Genesis, critical note 93) suggests that it is a corruption of we-hemam (compare Ge 36:22) in an earlier verse. Jerome, in his commentary on Ge 36:24, assembles the following definitions of the word gathered from Jewish sources.

(1) "seas" as though yammim;

(2) "hot springs" as though hammim;

(3) a species of ass, yemim;

(4) "mules."

This last explanation was the one most frequently met with in Jewish lit; the tradition ran that Anah was the first to breed the mule, thus bringing into existence an unnatural species. As a punishment, God created the deadly water-snake, through the union of the common viper with the Libyan lizard (compare Ge Rabbah 82 15, Yer. Ber 1 12b; Babylonian Pes 54a, Ginzberg, Monatschrift, XLII, 538-39).

The descent of Anah is thus represented in the three ways pointed out above as the text stands. If, however, we accept the reading ben, for bath, in the first case, Aholibamah will then be an unnamed daughter of the Anah of Ge 36:24, not the Aholibamah, daughter of Anah of 36:25 (for the Anah of this verse is evidently the one of 36:20, not the Anah of 36:24). Another view is that the words, "the daughter of Zibeon," are a gloss, inserted by one who mistakenly identified the Anah of 36:25 with the Anah of 36:24; in this event, Aholibamah, the daughter of Anah, will be the one mentioned in 36:25. The difference between (2) and (3) is to be explained on the basis of a twofold tradition. Anah was originally a sub-clan of the clan known as Zibeon, and both were "sons of Seir"—i.e. Horites.

H. J. Wolf


a-na’-ha-rath (’ana-charath, meaning unknown): A place which fell to the tribe of Issachar in the division of the land (Jos 19:19). Located in the valley of Jezreel toward the East, the name and site being preserved as the modern en-Na‘-ura. BDB is wrong in assigning it to the tribe of Naphtali.


an-a-i’-a, a-ni’-a (‘anayah, "Yah has answered"):

(1) a Levite who assisted Ezr in reading the law to the people (Ne 8:4), perhaps the person called Ananias in Esdras 9:43.

(2) One of those who sealed the covenant (Ne 10:22). He may have been the same as Anaiah (1).


an’-nak. See ANAKIM.


an’-a-kim (‘anaqim; Enakim, or Enakeim; also called "sons of Anak" (Nu 13:33), and "sons of the Anakim" (De 1:28)): The spies (Nu 13:33) compared them to the Nephilim or "giants" of Ge 6:4, and according to De 2:11 they were reckoned among the REPHAIM (which see). In Nu 13:22 the chiefs of Hebron are said to be descendants of Anak, while "the father of Anak" is stated in Jos (15:13; 21:11) to be Arba after whom Hebron was called "the city of Arba." Jos "cut off the Anakim .... from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab, .... and from all the hill-country of Israel," remnants of them being left in the Philistine cities of Gaza, Gath and Ashdod (Jos 11:21,22). As compared with the Israelites, they were tall like giants (Nu 13:33), and it would therefore seem that the "giant" Goliath and his family were of their race.

At Hebron, at the time of the Israelite conquest, we may gather that they formed the body-guard of the Amorite king (see Jos 10:5) under their three leaders Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai (Nu 13:22; Jos 15:14; Jud 1:20). Tell el-Amarna Letters show that the Canaanite princes were accustomed to surround themselves with bodyguards of foreign mercenaries. It appears probable that the Anakim came from the Aegean like the Philistines, to whom they may have been related. The name Anak is a masculine corresponding with a feminine which we meet with in the name of the goddess Onka, who according to the Greek writers, Stephanus of Byzantium and Hesychius, was the "Phoen," i.e. Syrian equivalent of Athena. Anket or Anukit was also the name of the goddess worshipped by the Egyptians at the First Cataract. In the name Ahi-man it is possible that "-man" denotes a non-Semitic deity.

A. H. Sayce


an’-a-mim (‘anamim): Descendants of Mizraim (Ge 10:13; 1Ch 1:11). See TABLE OF NATIONS.


a-nam’-e-lek (‘anammelekh = Assyrian Anu-malik, "Anu is the prince"): A Babylonian (?) deity worshipped by the Sepharvites in Samaria, after being transported there by Sargon. The worship of Adrammelech (who is mentioned with Anammelech) and Anammelech is accompanied by the sacrifice of children by fire: "The Sepharvites burnt their children in the fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim" (2Ki 17:31). This passage presents two grave difficulties. First, there is no evidence in cuneiform literature that would point to the presence of human sacrifice, by fire or otherwise, as part of the ritual; nor has it been shown that the sculptures or bas-reliefs deny this thesis.

Much depends upon the identification of "Sepharvaim"; if, as some scholars hold, Sepharvaim and Sippar are one and the same cities, the two deities referred to are Babylonian. But there are several strong objections to this theory. It has been suggested that Sepharvaim (Septuagint, seppharin, sepphareimi) is rather identical with "Shabara’in," a city mentioned in the Babylonian Chronicle as having been destroyed by Shalmaneser IV. As Sepharvaim and Arpad and Hamath are grouped together (2Ki 17:24; 18:34) in two passages, it is probable that Sepharvaim is a Syriac city. Sepharvaim may then be another form of "Shabara’in," which, in turn, is the Assyrian form of Sibraim (Eze 47:16), a city in the neighborhood of Damascus (of Halevy, ZA, II, 401 ff). One objection to this last is the necessity for representing "c" by "sh"; this is not necessarily insurmountable, however. Then, the attempt to find an Assyrian etymology for the two god-names falls to the ground. Besides, the custom of sacrifice by fire was prevalent in Syria. Secondly, the god that was worshipped at Sippar was neither Adrammelech nor Anammelech but Samas. It is improbable, as some would urge, that Adrammelech is a secondary title of the tutelary god of Sippar; then it would have to be shown that Anu enjoyed special reverence in this city which was especially consecrated to the worship of the Sun-god. (For "Anu" see ASSYRIA.) It may be that the text is corrupt. See also ADRAMMELECH.

H. J. Wolf


a’-nan (‘anan, "cloud"):

(1) One of those who, with Nehemiah, sealed the covenant (Ne 10:26).

(2) A returned exile (1 Esdras 5:30). He is called Hanan in Ezr 2:46 and Ne 7:49.


a-na’-ni ‘anani, perhaps a shortened form of Ananiah, "Yah has covered"): A son of Elioenai of the house of David, who lived after the captivity (1Ch 3:24).


an-a-ni’-a ‘ananyah, ("Yah has covered"):

(1) Grandfather of Azariah. He assisted in repairing the walls of Jerusalem after his return from the exile (Ne 3:23).

(2) A town of Benjamin mentioned in connection with Nob and Hazor (Ne 11:32). It is commonly identified with Beit Hanina, between three and four miles North-Northwest from Jerusalem.


an-a-ni’-as (Ananias; Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek, Hananias; chananyah, "Yah has been gracious"): The name was common among the Jews. In its Hebrew form it is frequently found in the Old Testament (e.g. 1Ch 25:4; Jer 28:1; Da 1:6).


1. A Disciple at Jerusalem:

Husband of Sapphira (Ac 5:1-10). He and his wife sold their property, and gave to the common fund of the church part of the purchase money, pretending it was the whole. When his hypocrisy was denounced by Peter, Ananias fell down dead; and three hours later his wife met the same doom. The following points are of interest.

(1) The narrative immediately follows the account of the intense brotherliness of the believers resulting in a common fund, to which Barnabas had made a generous contribution (Ac 4:32-37). The sincerity and spontaneity of the gifts of Barnabas and the others set forth in dark relief the calculated deceit of Ananias. The brighter the light, the darker the shadow.

(2) The crime of Ananias consisted, not in his retaining a part, but in his pretending to give the whole. He was under no compulsion to give all, for the communism of the early church was not absolute, but purely voluntary (see especially Ac 5:4) Falsehood and hypocrisy ("lie to the Holy Spirit" Ac 5:3), rather than greed, were the sins for which he was so severely punished.

(3) The severity of the Judgment can be justified by the consideration that the act was "the first open venture of deliberate wickedness" (Meyer) within the church. The punishment was an "awe-inspiring act of Divine church-discipline." The narrative does not, however, imply that Peter consciously willed their death. His words were the occasion of it, but he was not the deliberate agent. Even the words in Ac 5:9 are a prediction rather than a judicial sentence.

2. A Disciple at Damascus:

A disciple in Damascus, to whom the conversion of Saul of Tarsus was made known in a vision, and who was the instrument of his physical and spiritual restoration, and the means of introducing him to the other Christians in Damascus (Ac 9:10-19). Paul makes honorable mention of him in his account of his conversion spoken at Jerusalem (Ac 22:12-16), where we are told that Ananias was held in high respect by all the Jews in Damascus, on account of his strict legal piety. No mention is made of him in Paul’s address before Agrippa in Caesarea (Ac 26). In late tradition, he is placed in the list of the seventy disciples of Jesus, and represented as bishop of Damascus, and as having died a martyr’s death.

3. A High Priest at Jerusalem:

A high priest in Jerusalem from 47-59 AD. From Josephus (Ant., XX, v, 2; vi, 2; ix, 2; BJ, II, xvii, 9) we glean the following facts: He was the son of Nedebaeus (or Nebedaeus) and was nominated to the high-priestly office by Herod of Chalcis. In 52 AD he was sent to Rome by Quadratus, legate of Syria, to answer a charge of oppression brought by the Samaritans, but the emperor Claudius acquitted him. On his return to Jerusalem, he resumed the office of high priest. He was deposed shortly before Felix left the province, but continued to wield great influence, which he used in a lawless and violent way. He was a typical Sadducee, wealthy, haughty, unscrupulous, filling his sacred office for purely selfish and political ends, anti-nationalist in his relation to the Jews, friendly to the Romans. He died an ignominious death, being assassinated by the popular zealots (sicarii) at the beginning of the last Jewish war. In the New Testament he figures in two passages.

(1) Ac 23:1-5, where Paul defends himself before the Sanhedrin. The overbearing conduct of Ananias in commanding Paul to be struck on the mouth was characteristic of the man. Paul’s ire was for the moment aroused, and he hurled back the scornful epithet of "whited wall." On being called to account for "reviling God’s high priest," he quickly recovered the control of his feelings, and said "I knew not, brethren, that he was high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of a ruler of thy people." This remark has greatly puzzled the commentators. The high priest could have been easily identified by his position and official seat as president of the Sanhedrin. Some have wrongly supposed that Ananias had lost his office during his trial at Rome, but had afterward usurped it during a vacancy (John Lightfoot, Michaelis, etc.). Others take the words as ironical, "How could I know as high priest one who acts so unworthily of his sacred office?" (so Calvin). Others (e.g. Alford, Plumptre) take it that owing to defective eyesight Paul knew not from whom the insolent words had come. Perhaps the simplest explanation is that Paul meant, "I did not for the moment bear in mind that I was addressing the high priest" (so Bengel, Neander, etc.).

(2) In Ac 24:1 we find Ananias coming down to Caesarea in person, with a deputation from the Sanhedrin, to accuse Paul before Felix.

D. Miall Edwards


(Apocrypha), an-a-ni’-as:

(1) Ananias, the Revised Version (British and American) Annis, the Revised Version, margin, Annias (1 Esdras 5:16). See ANNIS.

(2) A son of Emmer (1 Esdras 9:21) = Hanani, son of Immer in Ezr 10:20.

(3) A son of Bebai (1 Esdras 9:29) = Hananiah in Ezr 10:28. The two last are mentioned in the list of priests who were found to have strange wives.

(4) One of those who stood by Esdras while he read the law to the people (1 Esdras 9:43) = Anaiah in Ne 8:4.

(5) One of the Levites who explained the law to the people (1 Esdras 9:48) = Hanan in Ne 8:7.

(6) Ananias the Great, son of Shemaiah the Great; a kinsman of Tobit, whom Raphael the angel, disguised as a man, gave out to be his father (Tobit 5:12 f).

(7) Son of Gideon, mentioned as an ancestor of Judith (Judith 8:1).

(8) Another Ananias is mentioned in The So of the Three Children (Azariah) (verse 66).

D. Miall Edwards


a-nan’-i-el (Ananiel, "God is gracious"): An ancestor of Tobit (Tobit 1:1).


a’-nath (‘anath): Father of Shamgar (Jud 3:31; 5:6). This name is connected with the Phoenician and Canaanite goddess ‘Anat, which was also worshipped in Egypt. She is mentioned in monuments of the 18th Dynasty, coupled with the war- goddess Astart (Moore, Judges, 105-896; DB; EB).


a-nath’-e-ma (anathema): This word occurs only once in the King James Version, namely, in the phrase "Let him be anathema. Maranatha" (1Co 16:22); elsewhere the King James Version renders anathema by "accursed" (Ro 9:3; 1Co 12:3; Ga 1:8,9), once by "curse" (Ac 23:12). Both words—anathema and anathema—were originally dialectical variations and had the same connotation, namely, offering to the gods. The non-Attic form—anathema—was adopted in the Septuagint as a rendering of the Hebrew cherem (see ACCURSED), and gradually came to have the significance of the Hebrew word—"anything devoted to destruction." Whereas in the Greek Fathers anathema—as cherem in rabbinic Hebrew—came to denote excommunication from society, in the New Testament the word has its full force. In common speech it evidently became a strong expression of execration, and the term connoted more than physical destruction; it invariably implied moral worthlessness. In Ro 9:3 Paul does not simply mean that, for the sake of his fellow-countrymen, he is prepared to face death, but to endure the moral degradation of an outcast from the kingdom of Christ. In 1Co 12:3 the expression, "Jesus is anathema"—with its suggestion of moral unfitness—reaches the lowest depths of depreciation, as the expression, "Jesus is Lord," reaches the summit of appreciation.

Thomas Lewis


an’-a-thoth (‘anathoth; Anathoth): A town which lay between Michmash and Jerusalem (Isa 10:30), in the territory of Benjamin, assigned to the Levites (Jos 21:18). It was the native place of Abiathar (1Ki 2:26), and of the prophet Jer (Jer 1:1; 11:21 ff, etc.). Here lay the field which, under remarkable circumstances, the prophet purchased (Jer 32:7 ff). Two of David’s distinguished soldiers, Abiezer (2Sa 23:27) and Jehu (1Ch 12:3), also hailed from Anathoth. It was again occupied by the Benjamites after the return from the Exile (Ne 11:32, etc.). It is identified with ‘Anata, two and a quarter miles Northeast of Jerusalem, a small village of some fifteen houses with remains of ancient walls. There are quarries in the neighborhood from which stones are still carried to Jerusalem. It commands a spacious outlook over the uplands to the North, and especially to the Southeast, over the Jordan valley toward the Dead Sea and the mountains of Moab. There is nothing to shelter it from the withering power of the winds from the eastern deserts (Jer 4:11; 18:17, etc.).

W. Ewing


an’-a-thoth-it (ha-‘annethothi): the Revised Version (British and American) form of the King James Version Anethothite, Anetothite, Antothite. An inhabitant of Anathoth, a town of Benjamin assigned to the Levites. The Anathothites are

(1) Abiezer, one of David’s thirty heroes (2Sa 23:27; 1Ch 11:28; 27:12), and

(2) Jehu who came to David at Ziklag (1Ch 12:3).


an’-ses-ters (ri’shonim, "first ones"): The word ancestor appears in the English Bible only once (Le 26:45). The Hebrew word, the ordinary adjective "first," occurs more than 200 times, and in a few places might fairly be rendered ancestors (e.g. De 19:14; Jer 11:10). In speaking of ancestors the Old Testament ordinarily uses the word for "fathers" (’abhoth).


an’-ker. See SHIPS AND BOATS.


an’-shent: This word renders several Hebrew words:

(1) qedhem, which denotes "beforetime," "yore"; generally the remote past (compare De 33:15, "ancient mountains"; Jud 5:21, Kishon, the "ancient river"; Isa 19:11 "ancient kings").

(2) zaqen, "old" in years. Whereas the King James Version generally renders the word by "old" (or "elders" when the plural form is found) in six cases "ancient" is used and "ancients" in nine cases. See ANCIENTS.

(3) ‘olam, which denotes "long duration" —past or future. In regard to the past it suggests remote antiquity. The connotation may be discovered in such expressions as: "the years of ancient times" (Ps 77:5); "ancient land-mark" or "paths" (Pr 22:28; Jer 18:15); "ancient people" or "nation" (Isa 44:7; Jer 5:15); "ancient high places" (Eze 36:2).

(4) ‘attiq. This word—really Aramaic—comes from a stem which means "to advance," i.e. in age; hence old, aged (1Ch 3:22).

(5) yashish, literally, "weak," "impotent," hence decrepit aged; a rare and poetical word, and found only in Job. It is rendered "ancient" only in one instance (Job 12:12 the King James Version).

Thomas Lewis


(‘attiq yomin, = Aramaic): On ‘attiq, see ANCIENT (4). The expression is used in reference to God in Da 7:9,13,22 and is not intended to suggest the existence of God from eternity. It was the venerable appearance of old age that was uppermost in the writer’s mind. "What Daniel sees is not the eternal God Himself, but an aged man, in whose dignified and impressive form God reveals Himself (compare Eze 1:26)" (Keil).


an-shents: This word (except in one instance) renders the Hebrew word zeqenim, (pl of zaqen), which should always be translated "old men" or "elders." The Hebrew word never has the connotation which "ancients" has in modern English. The words "I understand more than the ancients" (Ps 119:100 the King James Version) do not mean that the Psalmist claims greater wisdom than his distant forbears but than his contemporaries with all their age and experience. In the parallel clause "teachers" is the corresponding word. In such phrases as "ancients of the people" (Jer 19:1 the King James Version), "ancients of the house of Israel" (Eze 8:12), "elders" would obviously be the correct rendering, as in the Revised Version (British and American). Even in Isa 24:23 ("before his ancients gloriously" the English Revised Version) "elders" is the right translation (American Revised Version). The writer probably alludes to the Sinaitic; theophany witnessed by the "seventy .... elders" (Ex 24:9-18) Generally speaking the word suggests the experience, insight and practical acquaintance with life which age ought to bring with it (Ps 119:100; Eze 7:26). In one instance (1Sa 24:13) "ancients" is the right rendering for the Hebrew word qadhmonim, which means "men of former times."

Thomas Lewis


an’-k’-l. See ANKLE.


an’-droo (Andreas, i.e. "manly." The name has also been interpreted as "the mighty one, or conqueror"): Andrew was the first called of the Twelve Apostles.

I. In New Testament.

1. Early History and First Call:

Andrew belonged to Bethsaida of Galilee (compare Joh 1:44). He was the brother of Simon Peter and his father’s name was John (compare Joh 1:42; 21:15,16,17). He occupies a more prominent place in the Gospel of Joh than in the synoptical writings, and this is explicable at least in part from the fact that Andrew was Greek both in language and sympathies (compare infra), and that his subsequent labors were intimately connected with the people for whom Joh was immediately writing. There are three stages in the call of Andrew to the apostleship. The first is described in Joh 1:35-40. Andrew had spent his earlier years as a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee, but on learning of the fame of John the Baptist, he departed along with a band of his countrymen to Bethabara (the Revised Version (British and American) "Bethany") beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing (Joh 1:28). Possibly Jesus was of their number, or had preceded them in their pilgrimage. There Andrew learned for the first time of the greatness of the "Lamb of God" and "followed him" (Joh 1:40). He was the means at this time of bringing his brother Simon Peter also to Christ (Joh 1:41). Andrew was probably a companion of Jesus on his return journey to Galilee, and was thus present at the marriage in Cana of Galilee (Joh 2:2), in Capernaum (Joh 2:12), at the Passover in Jerusalem (Joh 2:13), at the baptizing in Judea (Joh 3:22), where he himself may have taken part (compare Joh 4:2), and in Samaria (Joh 4:5).

2. Second Call and Final Ordination:

On his return to Galilee, Andrew resumed for a time his old vocation as fisherman, till he received his second call. This happened after John the Baptist was cast into prison (compare Mr 1:14; Mt 4:12) and is described in Mr 1:16-18; Mt 4:18,19. The two accounts are practically identical, and tell how Andrew and his brother were now called on definitely to forsake their mundane occupations and become fishers of men (Mr 1:17). The corresponding narrative of Luke varies in part; it does not mention Andrew by name, and gives the additional detail of the miraculous draught of fishes. By some it has been regarded as an amalgamation of Mark’s account with Joh 21:1-8 (see JAMES). After a period of companionship with Jesus, during which, in the house of Simon and Andrew, Simon’s wife’s mother was healed of a fever (Mr 1:29-31; compare Mt 8:14,15; Lu 4:38,39); the call of Andrew was finally consecrated by his election as one of the Twelve Apostles (Mt 10:2; Mr 3:18; Lu 6:14; Ac 1:13).

3. Subsequent History:

Further incidents recorded of Andrew are: At the feeding of the five thousand by the Sea of Galilee, the attention of Jesus was drawn by Andrew to the lad with five sequent barley loaves and two fishes (Joh 6$ History Joh 8.9). At the feast of the Passover, the Greeks who wished to "see Jesus" inquired of Philip, who turned for advice to Andrew, and the two then told Jesus (Joh 12:20-36). On the Mount of Olives, Andrew along with Peter, James and John, questioned Jesus regarding the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world (Mr 13:3-23; compare also Mt 24:3-28; Lu 21:5-24).

II. In Apocryphal Literature.

The name of Andrew’s mother was traditionally Joanna, and according to the "Genealogies of the Twelve Apostles" (Budge, Contendings of the Apostles, II, 49) he belonged to the tribe of Reuben, the tribe of his father. A fragment of a Coptic gospel of the 4th or 5th century tells how not only Thomas (Joh 20:27), but also Andrew was compelled, by touching the feet of the risen Saviour, to believe in the bodily resurrection (Hennecke, Neutestamentlichen Apokryphen, etc., 38, 39). Various places were assigned as the scene of his subsequent missionary labors. The Syriac Teaching of the Apostles (ed Cureton, 34) mentions Bithynia, Eusebius gives Scythia (Historia Ecclesiastica, III, i, 1), and others Greece (Lipsius, Apokryphen Apostelgeschichten, I, 63). The Muratorian Fragment relates that John wrote his gospel in consequence of a revelation given to Andrew, and this would point to Ephesus (compare Hennecke id, 459). The Contendings of the Twelve Apostles (for historicity, authorship, etc., of this work, compare Budge, Contendings of the Apostles, Intro; Hennecke, Handbuch zu den neutestamentlichen Apokryphen, 351-58; RE, 664-66) contains several parts dealing with Andrew:

(1) "The Preaching of Andrew and Philemon among the Kurds" (Budge, II 163 ff) narrates the appearance of the risen Christ to His disciples, the sending of Andrew to Lydia and his conversion of the people there.

(2) The "Preaching of Matthias in the City of the Cannibals" (Budge, II, 267 ff; REH, 666) tells of how Matthias, on being imprisoned and blinded by the Cannibals, was released by Andrew, who had been brought to his assistance in a ship by Christ, but the two were afterward again imprisoned. Matthias then caused the city to be inundated, the disciples were set free, and the people converted.

(3) "The Ac of Andrew and Bartholomew" (Budge, II, 183 ff) gives an account of their mission among the Parthians.

(4) According to the "Martyrdom of Andrew" (Budge, II, 215) he was stoned and crucified in Scythia.

According to the surviving fragments of "The Ac of Andrew," a heretical work dating probably from the 2nd century, and referred to by Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica, III, ii, 5), the scene of Andrew’s death was laid in Achaia. There he was imprisoned and crucified by order of the proconsul Eges (or Aegeates), whose wife had been estranged from him by the preaching of Andrew (compare Hennecke, 459-73; Pick, Apocryphal Acts, 201-21; Lipsius, I, 543-622). A so-called "Gospel of Andrew" mentioned by Innocent I (Ep, I, iii, 7) and Augustine (Contra Advers. Leg. et Prophet., I, 20), but this is probably due to a confusion with the above-mentioned "Ac of Andrew." The relics of Andrew were discovered in Constantinople in the time of Justinian, and part of his cross is now in Peter’s, Rome. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, whither his arm is said to have been transferred by Regulus. The ascription to him of the decussate cross is of late origin.

III. Character.

There is something significant in Andrew’s being the first called of the apostles. The choice was an important one, for upon the lead given by Andrew depended the action of the others. Christ perceived that the soul’s unrest, the straining after higher things and a deeper knowledge of God, which had induced Andrew to make the pilgrimage to Bethany, gave promise of a rich spiritual growth, which no doubt influenced Him in His decision. His wisdom and insight were justified of the after event. Along with a keenness of perception regarding spiritual truths was coupled in Andrew a strong sense of personal conviction which enabled him not only to accept Jesus as the Messiah, but to win Peter also as a disciple of Christ. The incident of the Feeding of the Five Thousand displayed Andrew in a fresh aspect: there the practical part which he played formed a striking contrast to the feeble-mindedness of Philip. Both these traits—his missionary spirit, and his decision of character which made others appeal to him when in difficulties—were evinced at the time when the Greeks sought to interview Jesus. Andrew was not one of the greatest of the apostles, yet he is typical of those men of broad sympathies and sound common sense, without whom the success of any great movement cannot be assured.

C. M. Kerr


an-dro-ni’-kus (Andronikos):

(1) A deputy of Antiochus Epiphanes, who, while ruling at Antioch, excited the Jews by the murder of Onias, and, upon their formal complaint, was executed by his superior (2 Macc 4:32-38); generally distinguished from another officer of the same name, also under Antiochus (2 Macc 5:23).

(2) A kinsman of Paul, residing at Rome (Ro 16:7). He had been converted to Christianity before Paul, and, like Paul, had suffered imprisonment, although when and where can only be surmised. When he and Junias, another kinsman of Paul, are referred to as "of note among the apostles," this may be interpreted as either designating the high esteem in which they were held by the Twelve, or as reckoning them in the number of apostles. The latter is the sense, if "apostle" be understood here in the more general meaning, used in Ac 14:14 of Barnabas, in 2Co 8:23 of Titus, in Php 2:25 of Epaphroditus, and in the Didache of "the traveling evangelists or missionaries who preached the gospel from place to place" (Schaff, The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, 67; see also Lightfoot on Philippians, 196). On this assumption, Andronicus was one of the most prominent and successful of the traveling missionaries of the early church.

H. E. Jacobs


a’-nem (‘anem, "two springs"; Anam): Anem is mentioned with Ramoth among the cities of Issachar assigned to the priests, the sons of Gershom (1Ch 6:73). In the parallel list (Jos 21:29), there are mentioned Jarmuth and En- gannim, corresponding to Ramoth and Anim, therefore Anim and En-gannim (Jenin) are identical. As the name denotes (Anem =" two springs"; En-gannim =" the spring of gardens"), it was well watered. Anem is identified by Eusebius with Aner, but Conder suggests the village of "Anim," on the hills West of the plain of Esdraelon which represents the Anea of the 4th century AD (Onom under the word "Aniel" and "Bethara"), a city lying 15 Roman miles from Caesarea, which had good baths.

M. O. Evans

ANER (1)

a’-ner (‘aner; Septuagint Aunan; Samaritan Pentateuch, ‘anram, "sprout," "waterfall"): One of the three "confederates" of Abraham in his pursuit after the four kings (Ge 14:13,14). Judging from the meanings of the two other names, Mamre being the name of the sacred grove or tree (Jahwist) and synonymous with Hebron (Priestly Code); and Eschol—a name of a valley (lit. "grape cluster") from which the personal names are derived—it may be expected to explain the name Aner in a similar way. Dillmann suggested the name of a range of mountains in that vicinity (Comm. at the place and Rosen in ZDMG, XII, 479; Skinner, Genesis, 365).

S. Cohon

ANER (2)

a’-ner (‘aner, meaning doubtful): A Levitical town in Manasseh, West of the Jordan (1Ch 6:70). Gesenius and others identified it with Taanach of Jos 21:25. There is, however, no agreement as to its location.


an’-e-thoth-it: the King James Version form of Anathothite (thus the Revised Version (British and American) 2Sa 23:27).


an’-e-toth-it: the King James Version form of Anathothite (thus the Revised Version (British and American) 1Ch 27:12).


an’-jel (mal’akh; Septuagint and New Testament, aggelos):



1. Nature, Appearances and Functions

2. The Angelic Host

3. The Angel of the Theophany


1. Appearances

2. The Teaching of Jesus about Angels

3. Other New Testament References




I. Definition and Scripture Terms.

The word angel is applied in Scripture to an order of supernatural or heavenly beings whose business it is to act as God’s messengers to men, and as agents who carry out His will. Both in Hebrew and Greek the word is applied to human messengers (1Ki 19:2; Lu 7:24); in Hebrew it is used in the singular to denote a Divine messenger, and in the plural for human messengers, although there are exceptions to both usages. It is applied to the prophet Haggai (Hag 1:13), to the priest (Mal 2:7), and to the messenger who is to prepare the way of the Lord (Mal 3:1). Other Hebrew words and phrases applied to angels are bene ha-’elohim (Ge 6:2,4; Job 1:6; 2:1) and bene ‘elim (Ps 29:1; 89:6), i.e. sons of the ‘elohim or ‘elim; this means, according to a common Hebrew usage, members of the class called ‘elohim or ‘elim, the heavenly powers. It seems doubtful whether the word ‘elohim, standing by itself, is ever used to describe angels, although Septuagint so translates it in a few passages.

The most notable instance is Ps 8:5; where the Revised Version (British and American) gives, "Thou hast made him but little lower than God," with the English Revised Version, margin reading of "the angels" for "God" (compare Heb 2:7,9); qedhoshim "holy ones" (Ps 89:5,7), a name suggesting the fact that they belong to God; ‘ir, ‘irim, "watcher," "watchers" (Da 4:13,17,23). Other expressions are used to designate angels collectively: codh, "council" (Ps 89:7), where the reference may be to an inner group of exalted angels; ‘edhah and qahal, "congregation" (Ps 82:1; 89:5); and finally tsabha’, tsebha’oth, "host," "hosts," as in the familiar phrase "the God of hosts."

In New Testament the word aggelos, when it refers to a Divine messenger, is frequently accompanied by some phrase which makes this meaning clear, e.g. "the angels of heaven" (Mt 24:36). Angels belong to the "heavenly host" (Lu 2:13). In reference to their nature they are called "spirits" (Heb 1:14). Paul evidently referred to the ordered ranks of supra-mundane beings in a group of words that are found in various combinations, namely, archai, "principalities," exousiai, "powers," thronoi, "thrones," kuriotetes, "dominions," and dunameis, also translated "powers." The first four are apparently used in a good sense in Col 1:16, where it is said that all these beings were created through Christ and unto Him; in most of the other passages in which words from this group occur, they seem to represent evil powers. We are told that our wrestling is against them (Eph 6:12), and that Christ triumphs over the principalities and powers (Col 2:15; compare Ro 8:38; 1Co 15:24). In two passages the word archaggelos, "archangel" or chief angel, occurs: "the voice of the archangel" (1Th 4:16), and "Michael the archangel" (Jude 1:9).

II. Angels in Old Testament.

1. Nature, Appearances and Functions:

Everywhere in the Old Testament the existence of angels is assumed. The creation of angels is referred to in Ps 148:2,5 (compare Col 1:16). They were present at the creation of the world, and were so filled with wonder and gladness that they "shouted for joy" (Job 38:7). Of their nature we are told nothing. In general they are simply regarded as embodiments of their mission. Though presumably the holiest of created beings, they are charged by God with folly (Job 4:18), and we are told that "he putteth no trust in his holy ones" (Job 15:15).

References to the fall of the angels are only found in the obscure and probably corrupt passage Ge 6:1-4, and in the interdependent passages 2Pe 2:4 and Jude 1:6, which draw their inspiration from the Apocryphal book of Enoch. Demons are mentioned (see DEMON); and although Satan appears among the sons of God (Job 1:6; 2:1), there is a growing tendency in later writers to attribute to him a malignity that is all his own (see SATAN).

As to their outward appearance, it is evident that they bore the human form, and could at times be mistaken for men (Eze 9:2; Ge 18:2,16). There is no hint that they ever appeared in female form. The conception of angels as winged beings, so familiar in Christian art, finds no support in Scripture (except, perhaps Da 9:21; Re 14:6, where angels are represented as "flying"). The cherubim and seraphim (see CHERUB; SERAPHIM) are represented as winged (Ex 25:20; Isa 6:2); winged also are the symbolic living creatures of Eze (Eze 1:6; compare Re 4:8).

As above stated, angels are messengers and instruments of the Divine will. As a rule they exercise no influence in the physical sphere. In several instances, however, they are represented as destroying angels: two angels are commissioned to destroy Sodom (Ge 19:13); when David numbers the people, an angel destroys them by pestilence (2Sa 24:16); it is by an angel that the Assyrian army is destroyed (2Ki 19:35); and Ezekiel hears six angels receiving the command to destroy those who were sinful in Jerusalem (Eze 9:1,5,7). In this connection should be noted the expression "angels of evil," i.e. angels that bring evil upon men from God and execute His judgments (Ps 78:49; compare 1Sa 16:14). Angels appear to Jacob in dreams (Ge 28:12; 31:11). The angel who meets Balaam is visible first to the ass, and not to the rider (Nu 22 ff). Angels interpret God’s will, showing man what is right for him (Job 33:23). The idea of angels as caring for men also appears (Ps 91:11 f), although the modern conception of the possession by each man of a special guardian angel is not found in Old Testament.

2. The Angelic Host:

The phrase "the host of heaven" is applied to the stars, which were sometimes worshipped by idolatrous Jews (Jer 33:22; 2Ki 21:3; Ze 1:5); the name is applied to the company of angels because of their countless numbers (compare Da 7:10) and their glory. They are represented as standing on the right and left hand of Yahweh (1Ki 22:19). Hence God, who is over them all, is continually called throughout Old Testament "the God of hosts," "Yahweh of hosts," "Yahweh God of hosts"; and once "the prince of the host" (Da 8:11). One of the principal functions of the heavenly host is to be ever praising the name of the Lord (Ps 103:21; 148:1 f). In this host there are certain figures that stand out prominently, and some of them are named. The angel who appears to Joshua calls himself "prince of the host of Yahweh" (Jos 5:14 f). The glorious angel who interprets to Daniel the vision which he saw in the third year of Cyrus (Da 10:5), like the angel who interprets the vision in the first year of Belshazzar (Da 7:16), is not named; but other visions of the same prophet were explained to him by the angel Gabriel, who is called "the man Gabriel," and is described as speaking with "a man’s voice" (Da 9:21; 8:15 f). In Daniel we find occasional reference made to "princes": "the prince of Persia," "the prince of Greece" (Da 10:20). These are angels to whom is entrusted the charge of, and possibly the rule over, certain peoples. Most notable among them is Michael, described as "one of the chief princes," "the great prince who standeth for the children of thy people," and, more briefly, "your prince" (Da 10:13; 12:1; 10:21); Michael is therefore regarded as the patron-angel of the Jews. In Apocrypha Raphael, Uriel and Jeremiel are also named. Of Raphael it is said (Tobit 12:15) that he is "one of the seven holy angels who present the prayers of the saints" to God (compare Re 8:2, "the seven angels that stand before God"). It is possible that this group of seven is referred to in the above-quoted phrase, "one of the chief princes". Some (notably Kosters) have maintained that the expressions "the sons of the ‘elohim," God’s "council" and "congregation," refer to the ancient gods of the heathen, now degraded and wholly subordinated to Yahweh. This rather daring speculation has little support in Scripture; but we find traces of a belief that the patron-angels of the nations have failed in establishing righteousness within their allotted sphere on earth, and that they will accordingly be punished by Yahweh their over-Lord (Isa 24:21 f; Ps 82$; compare Ps 58:1 f the Revised Version, margin; compare Jude 1:6).

3. The Angel of the Theophany:

This angel is spoken of as "the angel of Yahweh," and "the angel of the presence (or face) of Yahweh." The following passages contain references to this angel: Ge 16:7 ff—the angel and Hagar; Ge 18—Abraham intercedes with the angel for Sodom; Ge 22:11 ff—the angel interposes to prevent the sacrifice of Isaac; Ge 24:7,40—Abraham sends Eliezer and promises the angel’s protection; Ge 31:11 ff—the angel who appears to Jacob says "I am the God of Beth-el"; Ge 32:24 ff—Jacob wrestles with the angel and says, "I have seen God face to face"; Ge 48:15 f—Jacob speaks of God and the angel as identical; Ex 3 (compare Ac 7:30 ff)—the angel appears to Moses in the burning bush; Ex 13:21; 14:19 (compare Nu 20:16)—God or the angel leads Israel out of Egypt; Ex 23:20 ff—the people are commanded to obey the angel; Ex 32:34-33:17 (compare Isa 63:9)—Moses pleads for the presence of God with His people; Jos 5:13-6:2—the angel appears to Joshua; Jud 2:1-5—the angel speaks to the people; Jud 6:11 ff—the angel appears to Gideon.

A study of these passages shows that while the angel and Yahweh are at times distinguished from each other, they are with equal frequency, and in the same passages, merged into each other. How is this to be explained? It is obvious that these apparitions cannot be the Almighty Himself, whom no man hath seen, or can see. In seeking the explanation, special attention should be paid to two of the passages above cited. In Ex 23:20 ff God promises to send an angel before His people to lead them to the promised land; they are commanded to obey him and not to provoke him "for he will not pardon your transgression: for my name is in him." Thus the angel can forgive sin, which only God can do, because God’s name, i.e. His character and thus His authority, are in the angel. Further, in the passage Ex 32:34-33:17 Moses intercedes for the people after their first breach of the covenant; God responds by promising, "Behold mine angel shall go before thee"; and immediately after God says, "I will not go up in the midst of thee." In answer to further pleading, God says, "My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest." Here a clear distinction is made between an ordinary angel, and the angel who carries with him God’s presence. The conclusion may be summed up in the words of Davidson in his Old Testament Theology: "In particular providences one may trace the presence of Yahweh in influence and operation; in ordinary angelic appearances one may discover Yahweh present on some side of His being, in some attribute of His character; in the angel of the Lord He is fully present as the covenant God of His people, to redeem them." The question still remains, Who is theophanic angel? To this many answers have been given, of which the following may be mentioned:

(1) This angel is simply an angel with a special commission;

(2) He may be a momentary descent of God into visibility;

(3) He may be the Logos, a kind of temporary preincarnation of the second person of the Trinity. Each has its difficulties, but the last is certainly the most tempting to the mind. Yet it must be remembered that at best these are only conjectures that touch on a great mystery. It is certain that from the beginning God used angels in human form, with human voices, in order to communicate with man; and the appearances of the angel of the Lord, with his special redemptive relation to God’s people, show the working of that Divine mode of self-revelation which culminated in the coming of the Saviour, and are thus a fore-shadowing of, and a preparation for, the full revelation of God in Jesus Christ. Further than this, it is not safe to go.

III. Angels in New Testament.

1. Appearances:

Nothing is related of angels in New Testament which is inconsistent with the teaching of Old Testament on the subject. Just as they are specially active in the beginning of Old Testament history, when God’s people is being born, so they appear frequently in connection with the birth of Jesus, and again when a new order of things begins with the resurrection. An angel appears three times in dreams to Joseph (Mt 1:20; 2:13,19). The angel Gabriel appears to Zacharias, and then to Mary in the annunciation (Lu 1). An angel announces to the shepherds the birth of Jesus, and is joined by a "multitude of the heavenly host," praising God in celestial song (Lu 2:8 ff). When Jesus is tempted, and again during the agony at Gethsemane, angels appear to Him to strengthen His soul (Mt 4:11; Lu 22:43). The verse which tells how an angel came down to trouble the pool (Joh 5:4) is now omitted from the text as not being genuine. An angel descends to roll away the stone from the tomb of Jesus (Mt 28:2); angels are seen there by certain women (Lu 24:23) and (two) by Mary Magdalene (Joh 20:12). An angel releases the apostles from prison, directs Philip, appears to Peter in a dream, frees him from prison, smites Herod with sickness, appears to Paul in a dream (Ac 5:19; 8:26; 10:3; 12:7 ff; 12:23; 27:23). Once they appear clothed in white; they are so dazzling in appearance as to terrify beholders; hence they begin their message with the words "Fear not" (Mt 28:2-5).

2. The Teaching of Jesus about Angels:

It is quite certain that our Lord accepted the main teachings of Old Testament about angels, as well as the later Jewish belief in good and bad angels. He speaks of the "angels in heaven" (Mt 22:30), and of "the devil and his angels" (Mt 25:41). According to our Lord the angels of God are holy (Mr 8:38); they have no sex or sensuous desires (Mt 22:30); they have high intelligence, but they know not the time of the Second Coming (Mt 24:36); they carry (in a parable) the soul of Lazarus to Abraham’s bosom (Lu 16:22); they could have been summoned to the aid of our Lord, had He so desired (Mt 26:53); they will accompany Him at the Second Coming (Mt 25:31) and separate the righteous from the wicked (Mt 13:41,49). They watch with sympathetic eyes the fortunes of men, rejoicing in the repentance of a sinner (Lu 15:10; compare 1Pe 1:12; Eph 3:10; 1Co 4:9); and they will hear the Son of Man confessing or denying those who have confessed or denied Him before men (Lu 12:8 f). The angels of the presence of God, who do not appear to correspond to our conception of guardian angels, are specially interested in God’s little ones (Mt 18:10). Finally, the existence of angels is implied in the Lord’s Prayer in the petition, "Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth" (Mt 6:10).

3. Other New Testament References:

Paul refers to the ranks of angels ("principalities, powers" etc.) only in order to emphasize the complete supremacy of Jesus Christ. He teaches that angels will be judged by the saints (1Co 6:3). He attacks the incipient Gnosticism of Asia Minor by forbidding the, worship of angels (Col 2:18). He speaks of God’s angels as "elect," because they are included in the counsels of Divine love (1Ti 5:21). When Paul commands the women to keep their heads covered in church because of the angels (1Co 11:10) he probably means that the angels, who watch all human affairs with deep interest, would be pained to see any infraction of the laws of modesty. In Heb 1:14 angels are described as ministering spirits engaged in the service of the saints. Peter also emphasizes the supremacy of our Lord over all angelic beings (1Pe 3:22). The references to angels in 2 Peter and Jude are colored by contact with Apocrypha literature. In Revelation, where the references are obviously symbolic, there is very frequent mention of angels. The angels of the seven churches (Re 1:20) are the guardian angels or the personifications of these churches. The worship of angels is also forbidden (Re 22:8 f). Specially interesting is the mention of elemental angels—"the angel of the waters" (Re 16:5), and the angel "that hath power over fire" (Re 14:18; compare Re 7:1; 19:17). Reference is also made to the "angel of the bottomless pit," who is called ABADDON or APOLLYON (which see), evidently an evil angel (Re 9:11 the King James Version, the Revised Version (British and American) "abyss"). In Re 12:7 ff we are told that there was war between Michael with his angels and the dragon with his angels.

IV. Development of the Doctrine.

In the childhood of the race it was easy to believe in God, and He was very near to the soul. In Paradise there is no thought of angels; it is God Himself who walks in the garden. A little later the thought of angels appears, but, God has not gone away, and as "the angel of Yahweh" He appears to His people and redeems them. In these early times the Jews believed that there were multitudes of angels, not yet divided in thought into good and bad; these had no names or personal characteristics, but were simply embodied messages. Till the time of the captivity the Jewish angelology shows little development. During that dark period they came into close contact with a polytheistic people, only to be more deeply confirmed in their monotheism thereby. They also became acquainted with the purer faith of the Persians, and in all probability viewed the tenets of Zoroastrianism with a more favorable eye, because of the great kindness of Cyrus to their nation.

There are few direct traces of Zoroastrianism in the later angelology of the Old Testament. It is not even certain that the number seven as applied to the highest group of angels is Persian in its origin; the number seven was not wholly disregarded by the Jews. One result of the contact was that the idea of a hierarchy of the angels was more fully developed. The conception in Da of angels as "watchers," and the idea of patron-princes or angel-guardians of nations may be set down to Persian influence. It is probable that contact with the Persians helped the Jews to develop ideas already latent in their minds. According to Jewish tradition, the names of the angels came from Babylon. By this time the consciousness of sin had grown more intense in the Jewish mind, and God had receded to an immeasurable distance; the angels helped to fill the gap between God and man. The more elaborate conceptions of Daniel and Zechariah are further developed in Apocrypha, especially in 2 Esdras, Tobit and 2 Macc.

In the New Testament we find that there is little further development; and by the Spirit of God its writers were saved from the absurdly puerile teachings of contemporary Rabbinism. We find that the Sadducees, as contrasted with the Pharisees, did not believe in angels or spirits (Ac 23:8). We may conclude that the Sadducees, with their materialistic standpoint, and denial of the resurrection, regarded angels merely as symbolical expressions of God’s actions. It is noteworthy in this connection that the great priestly document (Priestly Code, P) makes no mention of angels. The Book of Revelation naturally shows a close kinship to the books of Ezekiel and Daniel. Regarding the rabbinical developments of angelology, some beautiful, some extravagant, some grotesque, but all fanciful, it is not necessary here to speak. The Essenes held an esoteric doctrine of angels, in which most scholars find the germ of the Gnostic eons.

V. The Reality of Angels.

A belief in angels, if not indispensable to the faith of a Christian, has its place there. In such a belief there is nothing unnatural or contrary to reason. Indeed, the warm welcome which human nature has always given to this thought, is an argument in its favor. Why should there not be such an order of beings, if God so willed it? For the Christian the whole question turns on the weight to be attached to the words of our Lord. All are agreed that He teaches the existence, reality, and activity of angelic beings. Was He in error because of His human limitations? That is a conclusion which it is very hard for the Christian to draw, and we may set it aside. Did He then adjust His teaching to popular belief, knowing that what He said was not true? This explanation would seem to impute deliberate untruth to our Lord, and must equally be set aside. So we find ourselves restricted to the conclusion that we have the guaranty of Christ’s word for the existence of angels; for most Christians that will settle the question.

The visible activity of angels has come to an end, because their mediating work is done; Christ has founded the kingdom of the Spirit, and God’s Spirit speaks directly to the spirit of man. This new and living way has been opened up to us by Jesus Christ, upon whom faith can yet behold the angels of God ascending and descending. Still they watch the lot of man, and rejoice in his salvation; still they join in the praise and adoration of God, the Lord of hosts, still can they be regarded as "ministering spirits sent forth to do service for the sake of them that shall inherit salvation."


All Old Testament and New Testament theologies contain discussions. Among the older books Oehler’s Old Testament Theology and Hengstenberg’s Christology of Old Testament (for "angel of Yahweh") and among modern ones Davidson’s Old Testament Theology are specially valuable. The ablest supporter of theory that the "sons of the Elohim" are degraded gods is Kosters. "Het onstaan der Angelologie onder Israel," TT 1876. See also articles on "Angel" in HDB (by Davidson), EB, DCG, Jew Encyclopedia, RE (by Cremer). Cremer’s Biblico- Theological New Testament Lexicon should be consulted under the word "aggelos." For Jewish beliefs see also Edersheim’s Life and Times of Jesus, II, Appendix xiii. On the Pauline angelology see Everling, Die paulinische Angelologie. On the general subject see Godet, Biblical Studies; Mozley, The Word, chapter lix, and Latham, A Service of Angels.

John Macartney Wilson




See ANGEL (II, 3).


It is evident from the contexts of the various Biblical passages in which the word "angel" appears, that the word does not always represent the same idea. In such passages as Da 12:1 and Ac 12:15 it would seem that the angel was generally regarded as a superhuman being whose duty it was to guard a nation or an individual, not unlike the jenei of the Arabs. However, in Mal 2:7, 3:1 (Hebrew) the word is clearly used to represent men. In the New Testament also, there are passages, such as Jas 2:25 (Greek), in which the word seems to be applied to men. The seven angels of the seven churches (Re 1:20) received seven letters, figurative letters, and therefore it would seem that the seven angels are also figurative and may refer to the seven bishops who presided over the seven churches of Asia. Or the angels may be regarded as the personifications of the churches.

E. J. Banks


an’-ger: In the Old Testament, the translation of several Hebrew words, especially of ‘aph (lit. "nostril," "countenance"), which is used some 45 times of human, 177 times of Divine, anger (OHL). The word occurs rarely in the New Testament (Mr 3:5; Eph 4:31; Col 3:8; Re 14:10), its place being taken by the word "wrath" (see WRATH). As a translation of words denoting God’s "anger," the English word is unfortunate so far as it may seem to imply selfish, malicious or vindictive personal feeling. The anger of God is the response of His holiness to outbreaking sin. Particularly when it culminates in action is it rightly called Has "wrath." The Old Testament doctrine of God’s anger is contained in many passages in the Pentateuch, Psalms and the Prophets. In Proverbs men are dissuaded from anger (Pr 15:1; 27:4), and the "slow to anger" is commended (Pr 15:18; 16:32; 19:11). Christians axe enjoined to put away the feeling of self-regarding, vindictive anger (Eph 4:31; Col 3:8), and to cherish no desire of personal revenge (Eph 4:26).

F. K. Farr


an’-g’-l: Used in Isa 19:8 for a Hebrew noun that is rendered "hook" in Job 41:1: "The fishers shall lament, and all they that cast angle (hook) into the Nile shall mourn." For a striking figurative use of it see Hab 1:15 where, speaking of the wicked devouring the righteous, "making men as the fishes of the sea," the prophet says: "They take up all of them with the angle, they catch them in their net" (the Revised Version (British and American) uses singular).


an’-gling: Angling, i.e. fishing with a hook or angle, was little known among the ancients. The fish were chiefly taken by casting nets, etc. (see Mt 13:47). Compare e.g. "Then did Deucalion first the art invent of angling" (Davors, Secret of Angling, I). See NET.


an-glo-sax’-on vur’-shuns. See ENGLISH VERSIONS.


an’-gwish: Extreme distress of body, mind or spirit; excruciating pain or suffering of soul, e.g. excessive grief, remorse, despair. Chiefly expressed in Old Testament, by four derivatives of tsuq, "straitened," "pressed," and tsar, and two derivatives signifying "straitness," "narrowness," hence distress; also shabhats, "giddiness," "confusion of mind"; hul "to twist" with pain, "writhe." So in the New Testament, thlipsis, "a pressing together," hence affliction, tribulation, stenochoria, "narrowness of place," hence extreme affliction; sunoche, "a holding together," hence distress. The fundamental idea in these various terms is pressure—being straitened, compressed into a narrow place, or pain through physical or mental torture. Used of the physical agony of child-birth (Jer 4:31; 6:24; 49:24; 50:43; Joh 16:21); of distress of soul as the result of sin and wickedness (Job 15:24; Pr 1:27; Ro 2:9); of anguish of spirit through the cruel bondage of slavery (Ex 6:9) and Assyrian oppression (Isa 8:22); of the anxiety and pain of Christian love because of the sins of fellow-disciples (2Co 2:4).

Dwight M. Pratt


a-ni’-am (‘ani‘am, "lament of the people"): A son of Shemidah of Manasseh (1Ch 7:19).


a’-nim (‘anim, "springs"): One of the cities of the hill country of Judah mentioned immediately after Eshtemoa (Jos 15:50). It is probably represented by the double ruin of el Ghuwein situated South of es Semu‘a. The surface remains are Byzantine—a Christian town called Anem was here in the 4th century, but it is clearly an ancient site of importance (PEF, III, 408, Sh, XXV).


an’-i-mal: See under the various names and also the general article on ZOOLOGY.


an’-is, or dil; (RVm, anethon): Not the true anise, Pimpinella anisum, as was supposed by the King James Version translators, but Dill, Anethum graveolens. This is an annual or biennial herb of NO Umbelliferae, growing from one to three feet high, with small yellow flowers and brownish, flattened, oval fruits 1/5 inch long. It grows wild in lands bordering on the Mediterranean. The seeds have an aromatic flavor and are used as condiment in cooking, as carminative in medicine. "Dill water" is a favorite domestic remedy. Jesus said (Mt 23:23): "Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye tithe mint and anise and cummin, and have left undone the weightier matters of the law," etc. In the tract, Ma‘aseroth (4 5) it is mentioned that this plant (Hebrew shabhath), its stem, leaves and seed, was subject to tithe. See CUT.

E. W. G. Masterman


an’-k’-l (in older editions of the King James Version, ancle): From Hebrew me’aphecayim literally, "water of ankles," i.e. shallow water (Eze 47:3); "anklebones" (Ac 3:7) from sphudron "ankle chains" (the King James Version "chains"), from a Hebrew root meaning "to walk about proudly" (Nu 31:50). The same Hebrew word is translated "bracelet" (2Sa 1:10), but in Isa 3:20 another word from the same root "ankle chains" (the King James Version "ornaments of the legs"). Compare ANKLET (Isa 3:18).


an’-klet, an’-k’-l-chan: "Anklets" is rightly found in Isa 3:18 the Revised Version (British and American), and "ankle-chains" in Nu 31:50 the Revised Version (British and American). A cognate word of essentially the same meaning is used in Isa 3:20, and is rendered by the King James Version "ornaments of the legs." It was these "anklets" that Isaiah represented the ladies of Jerusalem as "rattling" as they walked (Isa 3:16 to end), "making a tinkling with their feet"; and a part of the punishment threatened is, "The Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet" (Isa 3:16 the King James Version).


an’-a (Anna (Westcott-Hort, Hanna; see Intro, 408); Hebrew equivalent channah, signifying "grace" 1Sa 1:2):

(1) The wife of Tobit (Tobit 1:9).

(2) A "prophetess," daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher, and thus a Galilean, living in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus’ birth (Lu 2:36-38). "Of a great age," she must have been considerably over 100 years, having been a widow 84 years after a short married life of seven (see the Revised Version (British and American)). Exceptionally devout and gifted in spirit, she worshipped so constantly "with fastings and supplications night and day," that she is said to have "departed not from the temple." Some have mistakenly supposed that this signified permanent residence in the temple. The fact that her lineage is recorded indicates the distraction of her family. Tradition says that the tribe of Asher was noted for the beauty and talent of its women, who for these gifts, were qualified for royal and high-priestly marriage. While the tribe of Asher was not among the tribes that returned from the Babylonian exile to Palestine, many of its chief families must have done so as in the case of the prophetess. The period of war and national oppression, through which Anna’s early life was passed, created in her, as in the aged Simeon, an intense longing for the "redemption" promised through the Messiah. See SIMEON. This hope of national deliverance sustained her through more than four decades of patient waiting. In the birth of Jesus her faith was abundantly rewarded, and she became a grateful and ceaseless witness "to all them that were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem," that the day of their spiritual deliverance had come.


See Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus, I, 200-201, Gelkie, Life and Words of Christ, I, 133-34.

Dwight M. Pratt


an’-a-as (Sanaas, 1 Esdras 5:23, the Revised Version (British and American) SANAAS): The Senaah of Ezr 2:35.


an’-as (Annas; Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek Hannas; Josephus Ananos, the Greek form of Hebrew chanan; "merciful," "gracious"; compare Ne 8:7, etc.):

(1) A high priest of the Jews, the virtual head of the priestly party in Jerusalem in the time of Christ, a man of commanding influence. He was the son of Seth (Josephus: Sethi), and was elevated to the high-priesthood by Quirinius, governor of Syria, 7 AD. At this period the office was filled and vacated at the caprice of the Roman procurators, and Annas was deposed by Valerius Gratus, 15 AD. But though deprived of official status, he continued to wield great power as the dominant member of the hierarchy, using members of his family as his willing instruments. That he was an adroit diplomatist is shown by the fact that five of his sons (Ant., XX, ix, 1) and his son- in-law Caiaphas (Joh 18:13) held the high-priesthood in almost unbroken succession, though he did not survive to see the office filled by his fifth son Annas or Ananus II, who caused Jas the Lord’s brother to be stoned to death (circa 62 AD). Another mark of his continued influence is, that long after he had lost his office he was still called "high priest," and his name appears first wherever the names of the chief members of the sacerdotal faction are given. Ac 4:6, "And Annas the high priest was there, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest." Annas is almost certainly called high priest in Joh 18:19,22, though in Joh 18:13,24 Caiaphas is mentioned as the high priest. Note especially the remarkable phrase in Lu 3:2, "in the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas," as if they were joint holders of the office. The cases In which Josephus gives the title "high-priest" to persons who no longer held the office afford no real parallel to this. The explanation seems to be that owing to age, ability and force of character Annas was the virtual, though Caiaphas the titular, high priest. He belonged to the Sadducean aristocracy, and, like others of that class, he seems to have been arrogant, astute, ambitious and enormously wealthy. He and his family were proverbial for their rapacity and greed.

The chief source of their wealth seems to have been the sale of requisites for the temple sacrifices, such as sheep, doves, wine and oil, which they carried on in the four famous "booths of the sons of Annas" on the Mount of Olives, with a branch within the precincts of the temple itself. During the great feasts, they were able to extort high monopoly prices for theft goods. Hence, our Lord’s strong denunciation of those who made the house of prayer "a den of robbers" (Mr 11:15-19), and the curse in the Talmud, "Woe to the family of Annas! Woe to the serpent- like hisses" (Pes 57a). As to the part he played in the trial and death of our Lord, although he does not figure very prominently in the gospel narratives, he seems to have been mainly responsible for the course of events. Renan’s emphatic statement is substantially correct, "Annas was the principal actor in the terrible drama, and far more than Caiaphas, far more than Pilate, ought to bear the weight of the maledictions of mankind" (Life of Jesus). Caiaphas, indeed, as actual high priest, was the nominal head of the Sanhedrin which condemned Jesus, but the aged Annas was the ruling spirit. According to Joh 18:12,13, it was to him that the officers who arrested Jesus led Him first. "The reason given for that proceeding ("for he was father-in-law of Caiaphas") lays open alike the character of the man and the character of the trial" (Westcott, in the place cited). Annas (if he is the high priest of Joh 18:19-23, as seems most likely) questioned Him concerning His disciples and teaching. This trial is not mentioned by the synoptists, probably because it was merely informal and preliminary and of a private nature, meant to gather material for the subsequent trial. Failing to elicit anything to his purpose from Jesus, "Annas therefore sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest" (Joh 18:24 the King James Version is incorrect and misleading) for formal trial before the Sanhedrin, "but as one already stamped with a sign of condemnation" (Westcott). Doubtless Annas was present at the subsequent proceedings, but no further mention is made of him in New Testament, except that he was present at the meeting of the Sanhedrin after Pentecost when Peter and John defended themselves for preaching the gospel of the resurrection (Ac 4:6).

(2) Head of a family who returned with Ezra (1 Esdras 9:32), called "Harim" in Ezr 10:31.

D. Miall Edwards


an’-is (the King James Version Ananias; the Revised Version, margin Annias, Anneis Codex Vaticanus, Annias Codex Alexandrinus): The name of a family in the list of the returning exiles (1 Esdras 5:16). The name is not given in the parallel list in Ezra and Nehemiah.


a-nul’, dis-a-nul’:God, as the Supreme Ruler, can disannul His covenant for cause (Isa 28:18); man, through willfulness and transgression, as party of the second part, may break the contract and thus release Yahweh, as party of the first part (Job 40:8; Isa 14:27), though there are some purposes and laws which the Almighty will carry out in spite of ungodly rage and ravings (Ga 3:15 the King James Version); or an old law or covenant might be conceived as disannulled by a new one (Ga 3:17), or because of its becoming obsolete and ineffective (Heb 7:18). For the first idea, the Hebrew employs kaphar =" to cover," "to expiate," "condone," "placate," "cancel," "cleanse," "disannul," "purge," "put off" (Isa 28:18); and the Greek (Ga 3:15), atheteo =" to set aside," "disesteem," "neutralize," "violate," "frustrate." One covenant disannulling another by "conflict of laws" is expressed by akuroo, "to invalidate," "disannul," "make of no effect." Atheteo is employed to express also the disannulling through age and disuse (Heb 7:18).

Frank E. Hirsch


an’-us (A, Annous, B, Anniouth; the King James Version Anus = Bani, Ne 8:7): One of the Levites who interpreted the law to the people (1 Esdras 9:48).


an’-u-us (Announos): Returned with Ezra from Babylon to perform the functions of a priest in Jerusalem (1 Esdras 8:48). Omitted in Ezr 8:19.


a-noint’, a-noint’-ed (aleipho, chrio): Refers to a very general practice in the East. It originated from the relief from the effect of the sun that was experienced in rubbing the body with oil or grease. Among rude people the common vegetable or animal fat was used. As society advanced and refinement became a part of civilization, delicately perfumed ointments were used for this purpose. Other reasons soon obtained for this practice than that stated above. Persons were anointed for health (Mr 6:13), because of the widespread belief in the healing power of oil. It was often employed as a mark of hospitality (Lu 7:46); as a mark of special honor (Joh 11:2); in preparation for social occasions (Ru 3:3; 2Sa 14:2; Isa 61:3). The figurative use of this word (chrio) has reference strictly to the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the individual (Lu 4:18; Ac 4:27; 10:38). In this sense it is God who anoints (Heb 1:9; 2Co 1:21). The thought is to appoint, or qualify for a special dignity, function or privilege. It is in this sense that the word is applied to Christ (Joh 1:41 m; Ac 4:27; 10:38; Heb 1:9; compare Ps 2:2; Da 9:25).


Jacob W. Kapp


a-noint’-ing: A distinction was made by the ancient Hebrews between anointing with oil in private use, as in making one’s toilet (cukh), and anointing as a religious rite (mashach).

1. Ordinary Use:

(1) As regards its secular or ordinary use, the native olive oil, alone or mixed with perfumes, was commonly used for toilet purposes, the very poor naturally reserving it for special occasions only (Ru 3:3). The fierce protracted heat and biting lime dust of Palestine made the oil very soothing to the skin, and it was applied freely to exposed parts of the body, especially to the face (Ps 104:15).

(2) The practice was in vogue before David’s time, and traces of it may be found throughout the Old Testament (see De 28:40; Ru 3:3; 2Sa 12:20; 14:2; 2 Chron 28:15; Eze 16:9; Mic 6:15; Da 10:3) and in the New Testament (Mt 6:17, etc.). Indeed it seems to have been a part of the daily toilet throughout the East.

(3) To abstain from it was one token of mourning (2Sa 14:2; compare Mt 6:17), and to resume it a sign that the mourning was ended (2Sa 12:20; 14:2; Da 10:3; Judith 10:3). It often accompanied the bath (Ru 3:3; 2Sa 12:20; Eze 16:9; Susanna 17), and was a customary part of the preparation for a feast (Ec 9:8; Ps 23:5). One way of showing honor to a guest was to anoint his head with oil (Ps 23:5; Lu 7:46); a rarer and more striking way was to anoint his feet (Lu 7:38). In Jas 5:14, we have an instance of anointing with oil for medicinal purposes, for which see OIL.

2. Religious Use:

Anointing as a religious rite was practiced throughout the ancient East in application both to persons and to things.

(1) It was observed in Canaan long before the Hebrew conquest, and, accordingly, Weinel (Stade’s Zeutschrift, XVIII, 50 ff) holds that, as the use of oil for general purposes in Israel was an agricultural custom borrowed from the Canaanites, so the anointing with sacred oil was an outgrowth from its regular use for toilet purposes. It seems more in accordance with the known facts of the case and the terms used in description to accept the view set forth by Robertson Smith (Religion of the Semites, 2nd ed., 233, 383 ff; compare Wellhausen, Reste des arabischen Heidenthums, 2nd ed., 125 ff) and to believe that the cukh or use of oil for toilet purposes, was of agricultural and secular origin, and that the use of oil for sacred purposes, mashach, was in origin nomadic and sacrificial. Robertson Smith finds the origin of the sacred anointing in the very ancient custom of smearing the sacred fat on the altar (matstsebhah), and claims, rightly it would seem, that from the first there was a distinct and consistent usage, distinguishing the two terms as above.

(2) The primary meaning of mashach in Hebrew, which is borne out by the Arabic, seems to have been "to daub" or "smear." It is used of painting a ceiling in Jer 22:14, of anointing a shield in Isa 21:5, and is, accordingly, consistently applied to sacred furniture, like the altar, in Ex 29:36 and Da 9:24, and to the sacred pillar in Ge 31:13: "where thou anointedst a pillar."

(3) The most significant uses of mashach, however, are found in its application, not to sacred things, but to certain sacred persons. The oldest and most sacred of these, it would seem, was the anointing of the king, by pouring oil upon his head at his coronation, a ceremony regarded as sacred from the earliest times, and observed religiously not in Israel only, but in Egypt and elsewhere (see Jud 9:8,15; 1Sa 9:16; 10:1; 2Sa 19:10; 1Ki 1:39,45; 2Ki 9:3,6; 11:12). Indeed such anointing appears to have been reserved exclusively for the king in the earliest times, which accounts for the fact that "the Lord’s anointed" became a synonym for "king" (see 1Sa 12:3,5; 26:11; 2Sa 1:14; Ps 20:6). It is thought by some that the practice originated in Egypt, and it is known to have been observed as a rite in Canaan at a very early day. Tell el-Amarna Letters 37 records the anointing of a king.

(4) Among the Hebrews it was believed not only that it effected a transference to the anointed one of something of the holiness and virtue of the deity in whose name and by whose representative the rite was performed, but also that it imparted a special endowment of the spirit of Yahweh (compare 1Sa 16:13; Isa 61:1). Hence the profound reverence for the king as a sacred personage, "the anointed" (Hebrew, meshiach YHWH), which passed over into our language through the Greek Christos, and appears as "Christ".

(5) In what is known today as the Priestly Code, the high priest is spoken of as "anointed" (Ex 29:7; Le 4:3; 8:12), and, in passages regarded by some as later additions to the Priestly Code, other priests also are thus spoken of (Ex 30:30; 40:13-15). Elijah was told to anoint Elisha as a prophet (1Ki 19:16), but seems never to have done so. 1Ki 19:16 gives us the only recorded instance of such a thing as the anointing of a prophet. Isa 61:1 is purely metaphorical (compare Dillmann on Le 8:12-14 with ICC on Nu 3:3; see also Nowack, Lehrbuch der hebraischen Archaologie, II, 124).


Jewish Encyclopedia, article "Anointing"; BJ, IV, ix, 10, DB, article "Anointing," etc.

George B. Eager


a-non’ (eutheos, euthus): In the King James Version of Mr 1:30; Mt 13:20, for "straightway" of the Revised Version (British and American), i.e. "without delay," "immediately."


a’-nos (Anos = Vaniah (Ezr 10:36): A son of Bani who put away his "strange wife" (1 Esdras 9:34).


an’-ser: In our English Bible the word "answer" does not always mean a simple reply to a question.

1. In the Old Testament:

Six different words are translated by answer.

(1) It is frequently used where no question has been asked and in such cases it means a word, a statement.

(2) It also means a response (Job 21:34; 34:36).

(3) It often means a declaration or proclamation from God where no question has been asked. See the many passages that read: "The Lord answered and said."

(4) The other words translated "answer" or "answered" in the Old Testament are unimportant shadings and variations.

2. In the New Testament:

The words translated "answer" are not so varied.

(1) It sometimes means an apology, a defense (1Pe 3:15; Ac 24:10,25).

(2) It may mean simply "to say" (Mr 9:6).

(3) It may mean a revelation from God (Ro 11:4).

(4) It is also used to apply to unspoken thoughts of the heart, especially in the sayings of Jesus; also by Peter to Sapphira (Ac 5:8).

G. H. Gerberding


an’-ser-a-bl: This word is found in the Old Testament only. Moses and Ezekiel alone use it (Ex 38:18; Eze 40:18; 45:7; 48:13,18). It is used in the Old English sense of "corresponding to," "in harmony with." Bunyan uses it in the same sense (Holy War, Clar. Press ed., 92).


(nemalah = Arabic namalah): The word occurs only twice in the Bible, in the familiar passages in Pr 6:6; 30:25 in both of which this insect is made an example of the wisdom of providing in the summer for the wants of the winter. Not all ants store up seeds for winter use, but among the ants of Palestine there are several species that do so, and their well-marked paths are often seen about Palestinian threshing-floors and in other places where seeds are to be obtained. The path sometimes extends for a great distance from the nest.

Alfred Ely Day


an-te-di-lu’-vi-an pa’-tri-arks.

1. The Ten Antediluvian Patriarchs:

Ten patriarchs who lived before the Flood are listed in the genealogical table of Ge 5, together with a statement of the age of each at the birth of his son, the number of years that remained to him till death, and the sum of both periods or the entire length of his life. The first half of the list, from Adam to Mahalalel inclusive, together with Enoch and Noah is the same in the three texts, except that the Septuagint has 100 years more in the first column in each case save that of Noah, and 100 years less in the second column. See CHRONOLOGY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT.

2. Divergences between the Three Texts:

Divergence exists in the case of Jared, Methuselah and Lamech only. Even here the longevity of Jared and Methuselah is given similarly in the Hebrew and the Septuagint; and probably represents the reading of the source, especially since the different data in the Samaritan text bear evidence of adjustment to a theory. The customary excess of 100 years in the Septuagint over the other texts for the age of the patriarch at the birth of the son, and the variously divergent data for the total age of Jared, Methuselah and Lamech are, therefore, the matters that await explanation.

The general superiority of the Hebrew text of the Pentateuch as a whole to the Samaritan text and the Septuagint is no longer questioned by Biblical scholars. But whether the superiority obtains in this particular passage has given rise to long and earnest discussion. Keil and Delitzsch in their commentaries on Genesis, Preuss (Zeitrechnung der Septuaginta, 1859, 30ff), Noldeke (Untersuchung zur Kritik des Altes Testament, 1869, 112), and Eduard Konig (ZKW, 1883, 281 ff), hold to the originality of the Hebrew data. Bertheau (Jahrbucher fur deutsche Theologie, XXIII, 657 ff) and Dillmann ascribe prior authority to the Samaritan numbers in Ge 5, but to the Hebrew numbers in Ge 11. Klostermann argues for the originality of the Septuagint (Pentateuch, Neue Folge, 1907, 37- 39).

3. Divergences not Accidental:

It is agreed by all that the divergences between the texts are mainly due, not to accidental corruption, but to systematic alteration. Accordingly, two tasks devolve upon the investigator, namely

(1) the removal of accidental corruptions from the numerical data in the several texts and

(2) the discovery of a principle that underlies and explains the peculiarities in each one or in two of the three sets of data.

4. Different Explanations:

On the interpretation that the names denote individuals and that no links have been omitted in the genealogy, readers of the Septuagint noticed that according to its data Methuselah survived the flood, and in order to avoid this incongruity a scribe changed the 167 years, ascribed to his age at the birth of his son, to 187 years. This reading was early in existence, and was followed by Josephus. Holding the same theory regarding the genealogy, the Samaritans noticed that by their data three men, Jared, Methuselah, and Lamech, survived the Flood. To correct the apparent mistake, without tampering with the age of these three men at parent