ga’-al (ga‘al, "rejection," or "loathing"; according to Wellhausen, "beetle," HPN, 110): A man of whose antecedents nothing is known, except that his father’s name was Ebed. He undertook to foment and lead a rebellion on the part of the inhabitants of Shechem against Abimelech, son of Gideon, and his rebellion failed (Jud 9:26-45).



ga’-ash (ga‘-ash): First mentioned in connection with the burial place of Joshua "in the border of his inheritance in Timnath-serah, which is in the hill-country of Ephraim, on the north (side) of the mountain of Gaash" (Jos 24:30; compare Jud 2:9); see TIMNATH-HERES. The "brooks," or rather the wadies or "watercourses" of Gaash are mentioned as the native place of Hiddai (2Sa 23:30), or Hurai (1Ch 11:32), one of David’s heroes. No likely identification has been suggested.



ga’-ba (gabha’ (in pause)).



gab’-a-el (Gabael; Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) "Gabelus"):

(1) An ancestor of Tobit (APC Tobit 1:1).

(2) A poor Jew of Rages, a city of Media, to whom Tobit lent ten talents of silver (APC TOBIT 1:14). The money was restored to Tobit in the time of his distress through his son Tobias, whom the angel Raphael led to Gabael at Rages (APC TOBIT 1:14; 4:1,20; 5:6; 6:9; 10:2).


gab’-a-tha (Gabatha): A eunuch of Mardocheus (Additions to Esther 10:1).


gab’-a-i (gabbay, "collector"): One of the chiefs of the Benjamites in Jerusalem after the return from the Babylonian captivity (Ne 11:8).


gab’-a-tha: Given (Joh 19:13) as the name of a special pavement (to lithostroton), and is probably a transcription in Greek of the Aramaic gabhetha’, meaning "height" or "ridge."

Tradition which now locates the Pretorium at the Antonia and associates the triple Roman arch near there with the "Ecce Homo" scene, naturally identifies an extensive area of massive Roman pavement, with blocks 4 ft. x 3 1/2 ft. and 2 ft. thick, near the "Ecce Homo Arch," as the Gabbatha.

This paved area is in places roughened for a roadway, and in other places is marked with incised designs for Roman games of chance. The site is a lofty one, the ground falling away rapidly to the East and West, and it must have been close to, or perhaps included in, the Antonia. But apart from the fact that it is quite improbable that the Pretorium was here (see PRAETORIUM), it is almost certain that the lithostroton was a mosaic pavement (compare Es 1:6), such as was very common in those days, and the site is irretrievably lost.

E. W. G. Masterman


gab’-e (Gabbe; the King James Version Gabdes (APC 1Esdras 5:20)):

Called Geba in Ezr 2:26.


ga’-bri-as (Gabrias): Brother of GABAEL (which see).

In APC Tobit 4:20 he is described as his father. The readings are uncertain.


ga’-bri-el (gabhri’-el, "Man of God"; Gabriel):

The name of the angel commissioned to explain to Daniel the vision of the ram and the he-goat, and to give the prediction of the 70 weeks (Da 8:16; 9:21).

In the New Testament he is the angel of the annunciation to Zacharias of the birth of John the Baptist, and to Mary of the birth of Jesus (Lu 1:19,26).

Though commonly spoken of as an archangel, he is not so called in Scripture. He appears in the Book of Enoch (chapters 9, 20, 40) as one of 4 (or 6) chief angels. He is "set over all powers," presents, with the others, the cry of departed souls for vengeance, is "set over the serpents, and over Paradise, and over the cherubim." He is prominent in the Jewish Targums, etc.


James Orr

GAD (1)

(gadh, "fortune"; Gad):

1. The Name:

The seventh son of Jacob, whose mother was Zilpah (Ge 30:11), and whose birth was welcomed by Leah with the cry, "Fortunate!" Some have sought to connect the name with that of the heathen deity Gad, of which traces are found in Baal-gad, Migdal-gad, etc. In the blessing of Jacob (Ge 49:19) there is a play upon the name, as if it meant "troop," or "marauding band." "Gad, a troop shall press upon him; but he shall press upon their heel" (Hebrew gadh, gedhudh, yeghudhennu, wehu yaghudh ‘aqebh). Here there is doubtless a reference to the high spirit and valor that characterized the descendants of Gad. The enemy who attacked them exposed himself to grave peril. In the blessing of Moses again (De 33:20 ) it is said that Gad "dwelleth as lioness, and teareth the arm, yea, the crown of the head." Leonine qualities are ascribed to the Gadites, mighty men of valor, who joined David (1Ch 12:8,14). Their "faces were like the faces of lions, and they were as swift as the roes upon the mountain." Among their captains "he that was least was equal to a hundred, and the greatest to a thousand."

2. The Tribe:

Of the patriarch Gad almost nothing is recorded. Seven sons went down with him into Egypt, when Jacob accepted Joseph s invitation (Ge 46:16). At the beginning of the desert march Gad numbered 45,650 "from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war" (Nu 1:24). In the plains of Moab the number had fallen to 40,500 (Nu 26:18). The place of Gad was with the standard of the camp of Reuben on the South side of the tabernacle (Nu 2:14). The prince of the tribe was Eliasaph, son of Deuel (Nu 1:14), or Reuel (Nu 2:14). Among the spies Gad was represented by Geuel son of Machi (Nu 13:15).


3. The Tribal Territory:

From time immemorial the dwellers East of the Jordan have followed the pastoral life. When Moses had completed the conquest of these lands, the spacious uplands, with their wide pastures, attracted the great flock-masters of Reuben and Gad. In response to their appeal Moses assigned them their tribal portions here: only on condition, however, that their men of war should go over with their brethren, and take their share alike in the hardship and in the glory of the conquest of Western Palestine (Nu 32). When the victorious campaigns of Joshua were completed, the warriors of Reuben and Gad returned to their possessions in the East. They halted, however, in the Jordan valley to build the mighty altar of Ed. They feared lest the gorge of the Jordan should in time become all too effective a barrier between them and their brethren on the West. This altar should be for all time a "witness" to their unity in race and faith (Jos 22). The building of the altar was at first misunderstood by the western tribes, but the explanation given entirely satisfied them.

4. Boundaries:

It is impossible to indicate with any certainty the boundaries of the territory of Gad. Reuben lay on the South, and the half-tribe of Manasseh on the North. These three occupied the whole of Eastern Palestine. The South border of Gad is given as the Arnon in Nu 32:34; but six cities to the North of the Arnon are assigned in 32:16 ff to Reuben. Again, Jos 13:26 makes Wady Chesban the southern boundary of Gad. Mesha, however (MS), says that the men of Gad dwelt in Ataroth from old time. This is far South of Wady Chesban. The writer of Nu 32 may have regarded the Jabbok as the northern frontier of Gad; but Jos 13:27 extends it to the Sea of Chinnereth, making the Jordan the western boundary. It included Rabbath-ammon in the East. We have not now the information necessary to explain this apparent confusion. There can be no doubt that, as a consequence of strifes with neighboring peoples, the boundaries were often changed (1Ch 5:18 f). For the Biblical writers the center of interest was in Western Palestine, and the details given regarding the eastern tribes are very meager. We may take it, however, that, roughly, the land of Gilead fell to the tribe of Gad. In Jud 5:17 Gilead appears where we should naturally expect Gad, for which it seems to stand. The city of refuge, Ramoth in Gilead, was in the territory of Gad (Jos 20:8). For description of the country see GILEAD.

5. History:

Reuben and Gad were absent from the muster against Sisera (Jud 5:15 ); but they united with their brethren in taking vengeance on Benjamin, Jabesh-gilead, from which no contingent was sent, being destroyed (20 f). Jephthah is probably to be reckoned to this tribe, his house, Mizpah (Jud 11:34), being apparently within its territory (Jos 13:26). Gad furnished a refuge for some of the Hebrews during the Philistine oppression (1Sa 13:7). To David, while he avoided Saul at Ziklag, certain Gadites attached themselves (1Ch 12:8 ). A company of them also joined in making him king at Hebron (1Ch 12:38). In Gad the adherents of the house of Saul gathered round Ish-bosheth (2Sa 2:8 ). Hither David came in his flight from Absalom (2Sa 17:24). Gad fell to Jeroboam at the disruption of the kingdom, and Penuel, apparently within its borders, Jeroboam fortified at first (1Ki 12:25). It appears from the Moabite Stone that part of the territory afterward passed into the hands of Moab. Under Omri this was recovered; but Moab again asserted its supremacy. Elijah probably belonged to this district; and the brook Cherith must be sought in one of its wild secluded glens.

Gad formed the main theater of the long struggle between Israel and the Syrians. At Ramoth-gilead Ahab received his death wound (1Ki 22). Under Jeroboam II, this country was once more an integral part of the land of Israel. In 734 BC, however, Tiglath-pileser appeared, and conquered all Eastern Palestine, carrying its inhabitants captive (2Ki 15:29; 1Ch 5:26). This seems to have furnished occasion for the children of Ammon to occupy the country (Jer 49:1). In Ezekiel’s ideal picture (Eze 48:27,34), a place is found for the tribe of Gad. Obadiah seems to have forgotten the tribe, and their territory is assigned to Benjamin (1:19). Gad, however, has his place among the tribes of Israel in Re 7.

W. Ewing

GAD (2)

(gadh, "fortunate"): David’s seer (chozeh, 1Ch 21:9; 29:29; 2Ch 29:25), or prophet (nabhi’; compare 1Sa 22:5; 2Sa 24:11). He appears

(1) to advise David while an outlaw fleeing before Saul to return to the land of Judah (1Sa 22:5);

(2) to rebuke David and give him his choice of punishments when, in spite of the advice of Joab and the traditional objections (compare Ex 30:11 ff), he had counted the children of Israel (2Sa 24:11; 1Ch 21:9 );

(3) to instruct David to erect an altar on the threshing-floor of Araunah when the plague that had descended on Israel ceased (2Sa 24:18; 1Ch 21:18); and

(4) to assist in the arrangement of Levitical music with cymbals, psalteries and harps (compare 2Ch 29:25).

Of his writings none are known, though he is said to have written a history of a part of David’s reign (1Ch 29:29).

Ella Davis Isaacs

GAD (3)

(gadh, "fortune"): A god of Good Luck, possibly the Hyades. The writer in Isa 65:11 (margin) pronounces a curse against such as are lured away to idolatry. The warning here, according to Cheyne, is specifically against the Samaritans, whom with their religion the Jews held in especial abhorrence. The charge would, however, apply just as well to superstitious and semi-pagan Jews. "But ye that forsake Yahweh, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for Fortune, and that fill up mingled wine unto Destiny; I will destine you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter." There is a play upon words here: "Fill up mingled wine unto Destiny" (meni) and "I will destine manithi, i.e. portion out) you for the sword" (Isa 65:11,12). Gad and Meni mentioned here are two Syrian-deities (Cheyne, Book of the Prophet Isaiah, 198). Schurer (Gesch. d. jud. Volkes, II, 34 note, and bibliography) disputes the reference of the Greek (Tuche) cult to the Semitic Gad, tracing it rather to the Syrian "Astarte" worship. The custom was quite common among heathen peoples of spreading before the gods tables laden with food (compare Herod. i. 181, 183; Smith, Rel. of Semites, Lect X).

Nothing is known of a Babylonian deity named Gad, but there are Aramean and Arabic equivalents. The origin may have been a personification of fortune and destiny, i.e. equivalent to the Fates. The Nabatean inscriptions give, in plural, form, the name of Meni. Achimenidean coins (Persian) are thought by some to bear the name of Meni. How widely spread these Syrian cults became, may be seen in a number of ways, e.g. an altar from Vaison in Southern France bearing an inscription:

"Belus Fortunae rector, Menisque Magister."

Belus, signifying the Syrian Bel of Apamaea (Driver). Canaanitish place-names also attest the prevalence of the cult, as Baal-gad, at the foot of Hermen (Jos 11:17; 12:7; 13:5); Migdal-gad, possibly Mejdel near Askalon (Jos 15:37); Gaddi and Gaddiel (Nu 13:10 f). In Talmudic literature the name of Gad is frequently invoked (compare McCurdy in Jewish Encyclopedia, V, 544). Indeed the words of Leah in Ge 30:11 may refer not to good fortune or luck but to the deity who was especially regarded as the patron god of Good Fortune (compare Kent, Student’s Old Testament, I, 111). Similar beliefs were held among the Greeks and Romans, e.g. Hor. Sat. ii.8, 61:

".... Fortuna, quis est crudelior in nos te deus?"

Cic. N.D. iii.24, 61:

"Quo in genere vel maxime est Fortuna numeranda."

The question has also an astronomical interest. Arabic tradition styled the planet Jupiter the greater fortune, and Venus the lesser fortune. Jewish tradition identified Gad with the planet Jupiter, and it has been conjectured that Meni is to be identified with the planet Venus.

See, however, ASTROLOGY, 10.

W. N. Stearns

GAD (4)

(’azal, "to go about"): Used once in Jer 2:36, "Why gaddest thou about so much to change thy way?" of going after Egypt and Assyria.


(nachal ha-gadh; the King James Version River of Gad):

In 2Sa 24:5 we read that Joab and the captains of the host passed over Jordan and pitched in Aroer, on the right side of the city that is in the midst of the valley of Gad.

If we refer to Jos 13:25 f, this might seem to indicate a valley near Rabbath-ammon. According to a generally accepted emendation suggested by Wellhausen, however, we should read, "They began from Aroer, and from the city that is in the middle of the torrent valley, toward Gad."

See AR. The valley is evidently the Arnon. W. Ewing


gad’-a-ra (Gadara):

1. Country of the Gadarenes:

This city is not named in Scripture, but the territory belonging to it is spoken of as chora ton Gadarenon, "country of the Gadarenes" (Mt 8:28). In the parallel passages (Mr 5:1; Lu 8:26,37) we read: chora ton Gerasenon "country of the Gerasenes." There is no good reason, however, to question the accuracy of the text in either case. The city of Gadara is represented today by the ruins of Umm Qeis on the heights south of el-Chummeh—the hot springs in the Yarmuk valley—about 6 miles Southeast of the Sea of Galilee. It maybe taken as certain that the jurisdiction of Gadara, as the chief city in these regions, extended over the country East of the Sea, including the lands of the subordinate town, GERASA (which see). The figure of a ship frequently appears on its coins: conclusive. proof that its territory reached the sea. The place might therefore be called with propriety, either "land of the Gerasenes," with reference to the local center, or "land of the Gadarenes," with reference to the superior city.

(NOTE.—The Textus Receptus of the New Testament reading. ton Gergesenon, "of the Gergesenes," must be rejected (Westcott-Hort, II. App., 11).)

2. History:

The name Gadara appears to be Semitic It is still heard in Jedur, which attaches to the ancient rock tombs, with sarcophagi, to the East of the present ruins. They are closed by carved stone doors, and are used as storehouses for grain, and also as dwellings by the inhabitants. The place is not mentioned till later times. It was taken by Antiochus the Great when in 218 BC he first invaded Palestine (Polyb. v.71). Alexander Janneus invested the place, and reduced it after a ten months’ siege (Ant., XIII, iii, 3; BJ, I, iv, 2). Pompey is said to have restored it, 63 BC (Ant., XIV, iv, 4; BJ, I, vii, 7); from which it would appear to have declined in Jewish hands. He gave it a free constitution. From this date the era of the city was reckoned. It was the seat of one of the councils instituted by Gabinius for the government of the Jews (Ant., XIV, v, 4; BJ, I, viii, 5). It was given by Augustus to Herod the Great in 30 BC (Ant., XV, vii, 3; BJ, I, xx, 3). The emperor would not listen to the accusations of the inhabitants against Herod for oppressive conduct (Ant., XV, x, 2 f). After Herod’s death it was joined to the province of Syria, 4 BC (Ant., XVII, xi, 4; BJ, II, vi, 3). At the beginning of the Jewish revolt the country around Gadara was laid waste (BJ, II, xviii, 1). The Gadarenes captured some of the boldest of the Jews, of whom several were put to death, and others imprisoned (ibid., 5). A party in the city surrendered it to Vespasian, who placed a garrison there (BJ, IV, vii, 3). It continued to be a great and important city, and was long the seat of a bishop (Reland, Palestine, 776). With the conquest of the Moslems it passed under eclipse, and is now an utter ruin.

3. Identification and Description:

Umm Cheis answers the description given of Gadara by ancient writers. It was a strong fortress (Ant., XIII, iii, 3), near the Hieromax—i.e. Yarmuk (Pliny N H, xvi)—East of Tiberias and Scythopolis, on the top of a hill, 3 Roman miles from hot springs and baths called Amatha, on the bank of the Hieromax (Onomasticon, under the word). The narrow ridge on which the ruins lie runs out toward the Jordan from the uplands of Gilead, with the deep gorge of Wady Yarmuk—Hieromax—on the North, and Wady el ‘Arab on the South. The hot springs, as noted above, are in the bottom of the valley to the North. The ridge sinks gradually to the East, and falls steeply on the other three sides, so that the position was one of great strength. The ancient walls may be traced in almost their entire circuit of 2 miles. One of the great Roman roads ran eastward to Der‘ah; and an aqueduct has been traced to the pool of el Khab, about 20 miles to the North of Der‘ah. The ruins include those of two theaters, a basilica, a temple, and many important buildings, telling of a once great and splendid city. A paved street, with double colonnade, ran from East to West. The ruts worn in the pavement by the chariot wheels are still to be seen.

That there was a second Gadara seems certain, and it may be intended in some of the passages referred to above. It is probably represented by the modern Jedur, not far from es-Salt (Buhl, Buhl, Geographic des alten Palastina, 255; Guthe). Josephus gives Pella as the northern boundary of Peraea (BJ, III, iii, 3). This would exclude Gadara on the Hieromax. The southern city, therefore, should be understood as "the capital of Peraea" in BJ, IV; vii, 3.

Gadara was a member of the DECAPOLIS (which see).

W. Ewing


gad-a-renz’. See preceding article.


gad’-i (gaddi, "my fortune"):

One of the twelve spies, son of Susi, and a chief of Manasseh (Nu 13:11).


gad’-i-el (gaddi’el, "blest of God"):

One of the twelve men sent by Moses from the wilderness of Paran to spy out the land of Canaan. He represented the tribe of Zebulun (Nu 13:10).


gad’-is (A Gaddis; Kaddis; the King James Version Caddis):

Surname of John, the eldest brother of Judas Maccabeus (APC 1Macc 2:2).


ga’-di (gadhi, "fortunate"):

The father of Menahem, one of the kings of Israel who reached the throne through blood (2Ki 15:14,17).



Members of the tribe of Gad (De 3:12, etc.).


ga’-ham (gacham):

A son of Nahor, brother of Abraham, by his concubine Reumah (Ge 22:24).


ga’-har (gachar):

A family name of the Nethinim who came up with Zerubbabel to Jerusalem (Ezr 2:47; Ne 7:49); in APC 1Esdras 5:30 called Geddur.


ga’-i (gay’):

In the Revised Version (British and American) of 1Sa 17:52 for the King James Version "valleys." the Revised Version, margin notes: "The Syriac and some editions of the Septuagint have Gath" (thus also Wellhausen, Budde, Driver, etc.).


gan: In the Old Testament the translation of three Hebrew substantives, betsa‘, "unjust gain," "any gain" (Jud 5:19; Job 22:3; Pr 1:19; 15:27; Isa 33:15; 56:11; Eze 22:13,17; Mic 4:13); mechir, "price" for which a thing is sold (Da 11:39, the only place where the Hebrew word is translated "gain" in the King James Version, though it occurs in other places translated "price"); tebhu’ah, "produce," "profits," "fruit" (Pr 3:14). It is the translation of one Hebrew verb, batsa‘, "to gain dishonestly" (Job 27:8); of one Aramaic verb, zebhan, "to buy," "procure for oneself" (Da 2:8, here used of buying time, i.e. "seeking delay" (Gesenius)).

In the New Testament, the translation of three Greek substantives, ergasia, "gain gotten by work," "profit" (Ac 16:16,19; 19:24 (the King James Version)); kerdos, "gain," "advantage" (Php 2:1; 3:7, in the former, Paul asserting that to him to die was a personal advantage, because then he would "be with Christ"; in the latter, he counts as "loss" his personal privileges in the flesh, when compared with "the excellency of the knowledge of Christ"); porismos, "gain," "a source of gain" (1Ti 6:5,6, where the apostle asserts, not "gain" (earthly) is godliness, but godliness is "gain" (real, abiding)).

It is the translation of three Greek vbs., kerdaino, "to gain," "acquire," in Mt 16:26, where Jesus teaches that the soul, or life in its highest sense ("his own self," Lu 9:25), is worth more than the "gaining" of the whole (material) world; Mt 18:15, concerning the winning of a sinning brother by private interview; Mt 25:17,22, the parable of the Talents; Ac 27:21 the King James Version, injury "gained," sustained, by sailing from Crete; 1Co 9:19,20 bis, 21,22, all referring to Paul’s life-principle of accommodation to others to "gain," win, them to Christ; in Jas 4:13 used in a commercial sense; poieo, "to make," "make gain" (Lu 19:18 the King James Version, the parable of the Pounds); prosergazomai, "to gain by trading" (Lu 19:16, commercial use, in the same parallel).

Charles B. Williams


gan-sa, gan’-sa (anteipon, antilego, "to say or speak against"): Occurs as anteipon, "not .... able to withstand or to gainsay" (Lu 21:15); as antilego, "a disobedient and gainsaying people" (Ro 10:21); APC 2Esdras 5:29, contradicebant; APC Judith 8:28, anthistemi; APC Judith 12:14, antero; Additions to Esther 9:13, antitasso; APC 1Macc 14:44, anteipon.

Gainsayer, antilego (Tit 1:9, "exhort and convince (the Revised Version (British and American) "convict") the gainsayers").

Gainsaying, antilogia (Jude 1:11, "the gain-saying of Korah"); antilogia is Septuagint for meribhah (Nu 20:13); anantirrhetos, "without contradiction" (Ac 10:29, "without gainsaying").

The Revised Version (British and American) has "gainsaid" for "spoken against" (Ac 19:36); "not gainsaying" for "not answering again" (Tit 2:9); "gainsaying" for "contradiction" Heb 12:3).

W. L. Walker


ga’-yus (Gaios; Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek, Gaios):

(1) The Gaius to whom 3 Joh is addressed. He is spoken of as "the beloved" (3 Joh 1:1,2,5,11), "walking in the truth" (3 Joh 1:3,4), and doing "a faithful work" "toward them that are brethren and strangers withal" (3 Joh 1:5,6). He has been identified by some with the Gaius mentioned in the Apostolical Constitutions (VII, 46), as having been appointed bishop of Pergamum by John.

(2) Gaius of Macedonia, a "companion in travel" of Paul (Ac 19:29). He was one of those who were seized by Demetrius and the other silversmiths in the riot at Ephesus, during Paul’s third missionary journey.

(3) Gaius of Derbe, who was among those who accompanied Paul from Greece "as far as Asia," during his third missionary journey (Ac 20:4). In the corresponding list given in the "Contendings of Paul" (compare Budge, Contendings of the Twelve Apostles, II, 592), the name of this Gaius is given as "Gallius."

(4) Gaius, the host of Paul when he wrote the Epistle to the Roman, and who joined in sending his salutations (Ro 16:23). As Paul wrote this epistle from Corinth, it is probable that this Gaius is identical with (5).

(5) Gaius, whom Paul baptized at Corinth (1Co 1:14).

C. M. Kerr


gal’-a-ad (Galaad, Greek form of Gilead (APC 1Macc 5:9,55; Judith 1:8)).


ga’-lal (galal):

The name of two Levites, one mentioned in 1Ch 9:15, the other in 1Ch 9:16 and Ne 11:17.


ga-la’-shi-a, ga-la’-sha (Galatia):


1. Two Senses of Name

(1) Geographical

(2) Political

2. Questions to Be Answered


1. The Gaulish Kingdom

2. Transference to Rome

3. The Roman Province


1. Stages of Evangelization of Province

2. The Churches Mentioned


I. Introductory.

1. Two Senses of Name:

"Galatia" was a name used in two different senses during the 1st century after Christ:

(1) Geographical

To designate a country in the north part of the central plateau of Asia Minor, touching Paphlagonia and Bithynia North, Phrygia West and South, Cappadocia and Pontus Southeast and East, about the headwaters of the Sangarios and the middle course of the Halys;

(2) Political

To designate a large province of the Roman empire, including not merely the country Galatia, but also Paphlagonia and parts of Pontus, Phrygia, Pisidia, Lycaonia and Isauria. The name occurs in 1Co 16:1; Ga 1:2; 1Pe 1:1, and perhaps 2Ti 4:10. Some writers assume that Galatia is also mentioned in Ac 16:6; 18:23; but the Greek there has the phrase "Galatic region" or "territory," though the English Versions of the Bible has "Galatia"; and it must not be assumed without proof that "Galatic region" is synonymous with "Galatia." If e.g. a modern narrative mentioned that a traveler crossed British territory, we know that this means something quite different from crossing Britain. "Galatic region" has a different connotation from "Galatia"; and, even if we should find that geographically it was equivalent, the writer had some reason for using that special form.

2. Questions to Be Answered:

The questions that have to be answered are: (a) In which of the two senses is "Galatia" used by Paul and Peter? (b) What did Luke mean by Galatic region or territory? These questions have not merely geographical import; they bear most closely, and exercise determining influence, on many points in the biography, chronology, missionary work and methods of Paul.

II. Origin of the Name "Galatia."

1. The Gaulish Kingdom:

The name was introduced into Asia after 278-277 BC, when a large body of migrating Gauls (Galatai in Greek) crossed over from Europe at the invitation of Nikomedes, king of Bithynia; after ravaging a great part of Western Asia Minor they were gradually confined to a district, and boundaries were fixed for them after 232 BC. Thus, originated the independent state of Galatia, inhabited by three Gaulish tribes, Tolistobogioi, Tektosages and Trokmoi, with three city-centers, Pessinus, Ankyra and Tavia (Tavion in Strabo), who had brought their wives and families with them, and therefore continued to be a distinct Gaulish race and stock (which would have been impossible if they had come as simple warriors who took wives from the conquered inhabitants). The Gaulish language was apparently imposed on all the old inhabitants, who remained in the country as an inferior caste. The Galatai soon adopted the country religion, alongside of their own; the latter they retained at least as late as the 2nd century after Christ, but it was politically important for them to maintain and exercise the powers of the old priesthood, as at Pessinus, where the Galatai shared the office with the old priestly families.

2. Transference to Rome:

The Galatian state of the Three Tribes lasted till 25 BC, governed first by a council and by tetrarchs, or chiefs of the twelve divisions (four to each tribe) of the people, then, after 63 BC, by three kings. Of these, Deiotaros succeeded in establishing himself as sole king, by murdering the two other tribal kings; and after his death in 40 BC his power passed to Castor and then to Amyntas, 36-25 BC. Amyntas bequeathed his kingdom to Rome; and it was made a Roman province (Dion Cass. 48, 33, 5; Strabo, 567, omits Castor). Amyntas had ruled also parts of Phrygia, Pisidia, Lycaonia and Isauria. The new province included these parts, and to it were added Paphlagonia 6 BC, part of Pontus 2 BC (called Pontus Galaticus in distinction from Eastern Pontus, which was governed by King Polemon and styled Polemoniacus), and in 64 also Pontus Polemoniacus. Part of Lycaonia was non-Roman and was governed by King Antiochus; from 41 to 72 AD Laranda belonged to this district, which was distinguished as Antiochiana regio from the Roman region Lycaonia called Galatica.

3. The Roman Province:

This large province was divided into regiones for administrative purposes; and the regiones coincided roughly with the old national divisions Pisidia, Phrygia (including Antioch, Iconium, Apollonia), Lycaonia (including Derbe, Lystra and a district organized on the village-system), etc. See Calder in Journal of Roman Studies, 1912. This province was called by the Romans Galatia, as being the kingdom of Amyntas (just like the province Asia, which also consisted of a number of different countries as diverse and alien as those of province Galatia, and was so called because the Romans popularly and loosely spoke of the kings of that congeries of countries as kings of Asia). The extent of both names, Asia and Galatia, in Roman language, varied with the varying bounds of each province. The name "Galatia" is used to indicate the province, as it was at the moment, by Ptolemy, Pliny v.146, Tacitus Hist. ii.9; Ann. xiii. 35; later chroniclers, Syncellus, Eutropius, and Hist. Aug. Max. et Balb. 7 (who derived it from earlier authorities, and used it in the old sense, not the sense customary in their own time); and in inscriptions CIL, III, 254, 272 (Eph. Ep. v.51); VI, 1408, 1409, 332; VIII, 11028 (Mommsen rightly, not Schmidt), 18270, etc. It will be observed that these are almost all Roman sources, and (as we shall see) express a purely Roman view. If Paul used the name "Galatia" to indicate the province, this would show that he consistently and naturally took a Roman view, used names in a Roman connotation, and grouped his churches according to Roman provincial divisions; but that is characteristic of the apostle, who looked forward from Asia to Rome (Ac 19:21), aimed at imperial conquest and marched across the Empire from province to province (Macedonia, Achaia, Asia are always provinces to Paul). On the other hand, in the East and the Greco-Asiatic world, the tendency was to speak of the province either as the Galatic Eparchia (as at Iconium in 54 AD, CIG, 3991), or by enumeration of its regiones (or a selection of the regiones). The latter method is followed in a number of inscriptions found in the province (CIL, III, passim). Now let us apply these contemporary facts to the interpretation of the narrative of Luke.

III. The Narrative of Luke.

1. Stages of Evangelization of Province:

The evangelization of the province began in Ac 13:14. The stages are:

(1) the audience in the synagogue, Ac 13:42 f;

(2) almost the whole city, 13:44;

(3) the whole region, i.e. a large district which was affected from the capital (as the whole of Asia was affected from Ephesus 19:10);

(4) Iconium another city of this region: in 13:51 no boundary is mentioned;

(5) a new region Lycaonia with two cities and surrounding district (14:6);

(6) return journey to organize the churches in (a) Lystra, (b) Iconium and Antioch (the secondary reading of Westcott and Hort, (kai eis Ikonion kai Antiocheleian), is right, distinguishing the two regions (a) Lycaonia, (b) that of Iconium and Antioch);

(7) progress across the region Pisidia, where no churches were founded (Pisidian Antioch is not in this region, which lies between Antioch and Pamphylia).

Again (in Ac 16:1-6) Paul revisited the two regiones:

(1) Derbe and Lystra, i.e. regio Lycaonia Galatica,

(2) the Phrygian and Galatic region, i.e. the region which was racially Phrygian and politically Galatic. Paul traversed both regions, making no new churches but only strengthening the existing disciples and churches. In Ac 18:23 he again revisited the two regiones, and they are briefly enumerated:

(1) the Galatic region (so called briefly by a traveler, who had just traversed Antiochiana and distinguished Galatica from it);

(2) Phrygia. On this occasion he specially appealed, not to churches as in 16:6, but to disciples; it was a final visit and intended to reach personally every individual, before Paul went away to Rome and the West. On this occasion the contribution to the poor of Jerusalem was instituted, and the proceeds later were carried by Timothy and Gaius of Derbe (Ac 20:4; 24:17; 1Co 16:1); this was a device to bind the new churches to the original center of the faith.

2. The Churches Mentioned:

These four churches are mentioned by Luke always as belonging to two regiones, Phrygia and Lycaoma; and each region is in one case described as Galatic, i.e. part of the province Galatia. Luke did not follow the Roman custom, as Paul did; he kept the custom of the Greeks and Asiatic peoples, and styled the province by enumerating its regiones, using the expression Galatic (as in Pontus Galaticus and at Iconium, CIG, 3991) to indicate the supreme unity of the province. By using this adjective about both regiones he marked his point of view that all four churches are included in the provincial unity.

From Paul’s references we gather that he regarded the churches of Galatia as one group, converted together (Ga 4:13), exposed to the same influences and changing together (Ga 1:6,8; 3:1; 4:9), naturally visited at one time by a traveler (Ga 1:8; 4:14). He never thinks of churches of Phrygia or of Lycaonia; only of province Galatia (as of provinces Asia, Macedonia, Achaia). Paul did not include in one class all the churches of one journey: he went direct from Macedonia to Athens and Corinth, but classes the churches of Macedonia separate from those of Achaia. Troas and Laodicea and Colosse he classed with Asia (as Luke did Troas Ac 20:4), Philippi with Macedonia, Corinth with Achaia. These classifications are true only of the Roman usage, not of early Greek usage. The custom of classifying according to provinces, universal in the fully formed church of the Christian age, was derived from the usage of the apostles (as Theodore Mopsuestia expressly asserts in his Commentary on First Timothy (Swete, II, 121); Harnack accepts this part of the statement (Verbreitung, 2nd edition, I, 387; Expansion, II, 96)). His churches then belonged to the four provinces, Asia, Galatia, Achaia, Macedonia. There were no other Pauline churches; all united in the gift of money which was carried to Jerusalem (Ac 20:4; 24:17).

IV. Paul’s Use of "Galatians."

The people of the province of Galatia, consisting of many diverse races, when summed up together, were called Galatai, by Tacitus, Ann. xv.6; Syncellus, when he says (Augoustos Galatais phorous etheto), follows an older historian describing the imposing of taxes on the province; and an inscription of Apollonia Phrygiae calls the people of the city Galatae (Lebas-Waddington, 1192). If Paul spoke to Philippi or Corinth or Antioch singly, he addressed them as Philippians, Corinthians, Antiochians (Php 4:15; 2Co 6:11), not as Macedonians or Achaians; but when he had to address a group of several churches (as Antioch, Iconium, Derbe and Lystra) he could use only the provincial unity, Galatae.

All attempts to find in Paul’s letter to the Galatians any allusions that specially suit the character of the Gauls or Galatae have failed. The Gauls were an aristocracy in a land which they had conquered. They clung stubbornly to their own Celtic religion long after the time of Paul, even though they also acknowledged the power of the old goddess of the country. They spoke their own Celtic tongue. They were proud, even boastful, and independent. They kept their native law under the Empire. The "Galatians" to whom Paul wrote had Changed very quickly to a new form of religion, not from fickleness, but from a certain proneness to a more oriental form of religion which exacted of them more sacrifice of a ritual type. They needed to be called to freedom; they were submissive rather than arrogant. They spoke Greek. They were accustomed to the Greco-Asiatic law: the law of adoption and inheritance which Paul mentions in his letter is not Roman, but Greco-Asiatic, which in these departments was similar, with some differences; on this see the writer’s Historical Commentary on Galatians.

W. M. Ramsay


ga-la’-shanz. See preceding article.



1. Position of the Dutch School

2. Early Testimony


A) Summary of Contents

1. Outline

2. Personal History (Galatians 1:11-2:21; 4:12-20; 6:17)

Paul’s Independent Apostleship

3. The Doctrinal Polemic (Galatians 3:1-5:12)

(1) Thesis

(2) Main Argument

(3) Appeal and Warning

4. The Ethical Application (Galatians 5:12-6:10)

Law of the Spirit of Life

5. The Epilogue (Galatians 6:11-18)

B) Salient Points

1. The Principles at Stake

2. Present Stage of the Controversy

3. Paul’s Depreciation of the Law

4. The Personal Question

C) Characteristics

1. Idiosyncrasy of the Epistle

2. Jewish Coloring


1. Galatians and Romans

2. Links with 1 and 2 Corinthians

3. With the Corinthians-Romans Group

4. With Other Groups of Epistles

5. General Comparison


1. Place and Time Interdependent

2. Internal Evidence

3. External Data

(1) Galatia and the Galatians

(2) Prima facie Sense of Ac 16:6

(3) The Grammar of Ac 16:6

(4) Notes of Time in the Epistle

(5) Paul’s Renewed Struggle with Legalism (6) Ephesus or Corinth?

(7) Paul’s First Coming to Galatia

(8) Barnabas and the Galatians

(9) The Two Antiochs

(10) Wider Bearings of the Problem


When and to whom, precisely, this letter was written, it is difficult to say; its authorship and purpose are unmistakable. One might conceive it addressed by the apostle Paul, in its main tenor, to almost any church of his Gentilemission attracted to Judaism, at any point within the years circa 45-60 AD. Some plausibly argue that it was the earliest, others place it among the later, of the Pauline Epistles. This consideration dictates the order of our inquiry, which proceeds from the plainer to the more involved and disputable parts of the subject.

I. The Authorship.

1. Position of the Dutch School:

The Tubingen criticism of the last century recognized the four major epistles of Paul as fully authentic, and made them the corner-stone of its construction of New Testament history. Only Bruno Bauer (Kritik. d. paulin. Briefe, 1850-52) attacked them in this sense, while several other critics accused them of serious interpolations; but these attempts made little impression. Subsequently, a group of Dutch scholars, beginning with Loman in his Quaestiones Paulinae (1882) and represented by Van Manen in the Encyclopedia Biblica (art. "Paul"), have denied all the canonical epistles to the genuine Paul. They postulate a gradual development in New Testament ideas covering the first century and a half after Christ, and treat the existing letters as "catholic adaptations" of fragmentary pieces from the apostle’s hand, produced by a school of "Paulinists" who carried their master’s principles far beyond his own intentions. On this theory, Galatians, with its advanced polemic against the law, approaching the position of Marcion (140 AD), was work of the early 2nd century. Edwin Johnson in England (Antiqua Mater, 1887), and Steck in Germany (Galaterbrief, 1888), are the only considerable scholars outside of Holland who have adopted this hypothesis; it is rejected by critics so radical as Scholten and Schmiedel (see the article of the latter on "Galatians" in EB). Knowling has searchingly examined the position of the Dutch school in his Witness of the Epistles (1892)—it is altogether too arbitrary and uncontrolled by historical fact to be entertained; see Julicher’s or Zahn’s Introduction to New Testament (English translation), to the same effect. Attempts to dismember this writing, and to appropriate it for other hands and later times than those of the apostle Paul, are idle in view of its vital coherence and the passionate force with which the author’s personality has stamped itself upon his work; the Paulinum pectus speaks in every line. The two contentions on which the letter turns—concerning Paul’s apostleship, and the circumcision of GentileChristians—belonged to the apostle’s lifetime: in the fifth and sixth decades these were burning questions; by the 2nd century the church had left them far behind.

2. Early Testimony:

Early Christianity gives clear and ample testimony to this document. Marcion placed it at the head of his Apostolikon (140 AD); Justin Martyr, Athenagoras, Melito, quoted it about the same time. It is echoed by Ignatius (Philad., i) and Polycarp (Philip., iii and v) a generation earlier, and seems to have been used by contemporary Gnostic teachers. It stands in line with the other epistles of Paul in the oldest Latin, Syriac and Egyptian translations, and in the Muratorian (Roman) Canon of the 2nd century. It comes full into view as an integral part of the new Scripture in Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria and Tertullian at the close of this period. No breath of suspicion as to the authorship, integrity or apostolic authority of the Ep. to the Ga has reached us from ancient times.

II. Matter of the Epistle.

A) Summary of Contents:

1. Outline:

A double note of war sounds in the address and greeting (Ga 1:1,4). Astonishment replaces the customary thanksgiving (Ga 1:6-10): The Galatians are listening to preachers of "another gospel" (1:6,7) and traducers of the apostle (1:8,10), whom he declares "anathema." Paul has therefore two objects in writing—to vindicate himself, and to clear and reinforce his doctrine. The first he pursues from 1:11 to 2:21; the second from 3:1 to 5:12. Appropriate: moral exhortations follow in 5:13-6:10. The closing paragraph (6:11-17) resumes incisively the purport of the letter. Personal, argumentative, and hortatory matter interchange with the freedom natural in a letter to old friends.

2. Personal History (Galatians 1:11-2:21 (4:12-20; 6:17)):

Paul’s Independent Apostleship.

Paul asserts himself for his gospel’s sake, by showing that his commission was God-given and complete (Ga 1:11,12). On four decisive moments in his course he dwells for this purpose—as regards the second manifestly (Ga 1:20), as to others probably, in correction of misstatements:

(1) A thorough-paced Judaist and persecutor (Ga 1:13,14), Paul was supernaturally converted to Christ (Ga 1:15), and received at conversion his charge for the Gentiles, about which he consulted no one (Ga 1:16,17).

(2) Three years later he "made acquaintance with Cephas" in Jerusalem and saw James besides, but no "other of the apostles" (Ga 1:18,19). For long he was known only by report to "the churches of Judea" (Ga 1:21-24).

(3) At the end of "fourteen years" he "went up to Jerusalem," with Barnabas, to confer about the "liberty" of Gentilebelievers, which was endangered by "false brethren" (Ga 2:1-5). Instead of supporting the demand for the circumcision of the "Greek" Titus (Ga 2:3), the "pillars" there recognized the sufficiency and completeness of Paul’s "gospel of the uncircumcision" and the validity of his apostleship (Ga 2:6-8). They gave "right hands of fellowship" to himself and Barnabas on this understanding (Ga 2:9,10). The freedom of GentileChristianity was secured, and Paul had not "run in vain."

(4) At Antioch, however, Paul and Cephas differed (Ga 2:11). Cephas was induced to withdraw from the common church-table, and carried "the rest of the Jews," including Barnabas, with him (Ga 2:12,13). "The truth of the gospel," with Cephas’ own sincerity, was compromised by this "separation," which in effect "compelled the Gentiles to Judaize" (Ga 2:13,14). Paul therefore reproved Cephas publicly in the speech reproduced by Ga 2:14-21, the report of which clearly states the evangelical position and the ruinous consequences (2:18,21) of reestablishing "the law."

3. Doctrinal Polemic (Galatians 3:1-5:12):

(1) Thesis.

The doctrinal polemic was rehearsed in the autobiography (Ga 2:3-5,11-12). In Ga 2:16 is laid down thesis of the epistle: "A man is not justified by the works of law but through faith in Jesus Christ." This proposition is (a) demonstrated from experience and history in 3:1-4:7; then (b) enforced by 4:8-5:12.

(2) Main Argument.

(a1) From his own experience (Ga 2:19-21) Paul passes to that of the readers, who are "bewitched" to forget "Christ crucified" (Ga 3:1)! Had their life in "the Spirit" come through "works of the law" or the "hearing of faith"? Will the flesh consummate what the Spirit began (Ga 3:2-5)?

(a2) Abraham, they are told, is the father of God’s people; but ‘the men of faith’ are Abraham’s true heirs (Ga 3:6-9). "The law" curses every transgressor; Scripture promised righteousness through faith for the very reason that justification by legal "doing" is impossible (Ga 3:10,12). "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law" in dying the death it declared "accursed" (Ga 3:13). Thus He conveyed to the nations "the promise of the Spirit," pledged to them through believing Abraham (Ga 3:7,14).

(a3) The "testament" God gave to "Abraham and his seed" (a single "seed," observe) is unalterable. The Mosaic law, enacted 430 years later, could not nullify this instrument (Ga 3:15-17 the King James Version). Nullified it wound have been, had its fulfillment turned on legal performance instead of Divine "grace" (Ga 3:18).

(a4) "Why then the law?" Sin required it, pending the accomplishment of "the promise." Its promulgation through intermediaries marks its inferiority (Ga 3:19,20). With no power ‘to give life,’ it served the part of a jailer guarding us till "faith came," of "the paedagogus" training us ‘for Christ’ (Ga 3:21-25).

(a5) But now "in Christ," Jew and Greek alike, "ye are all sons of God through faith"; being such, "you are Abraham’s seed" and ‘heirs in terms of the promise’ (Ga 3:26-29). The ‘infant’ heirs, in tutelage, were ‘subject to the elements of the world,’ until "God sent forth his Son," placed in the like condition, to "redeem" them (Ga 4:1-5). Today the "cry" of "the Spirit of his Son" in your "hearts" proves this redemption accomplished (Ga 4:6,7).

The demonstration is complete; Ga 3:1-4:7 forms the core of the epistle. The growth of the Christian consciousness has been traced from its germ in Abraham to its flower in the church of all nations. The Mosaic law formed a disciplinary interlude in the process, which has been all along a life of faith. Paul concludes where he began (3:2), by claiming the Spirit as witness to the full salvation of the Gentiles; compare Ro 8:1-27; 2Co 3:4-18; Eph 1:13,14. From Ga 4:8 onward to 5:12, the argument is pressed home by appeal, illustration and warning.

(3) Appeal and Warning.

(b1) After "knowing God," would the Galatians return to the bondage in which ignorantly they served as gods "the elements" of Nature? (4:8,9). Their adoption of Jewish "seasons" points to this backsliding (4:10,11).

(b2) Paul’s anxiety prompts the entreaty of 4:12-20, in which he recalls his fervent reception by his readers, deplores their present alienation, and confesses his perplexity.

(b3) Observe that Abraham had two sons—"after the flesh" and "through promise" (4:21-23); those who want to be under law are choosing the part of Ishmael: "Hagar" stands for ‘the present Jerusalem’ in her bondage; ‘the Jerusalem above is free—she is our mother!’ (4:24-28,31). The fate of Hagar and Ishmael pictures the issue of legal subjection (4:29,30): "Stand fast therefore" (5:1). (b4) The crucial moment comes at 5:2: the Galatians are half-persuaded (5:7,8); they will fatally commit themselves, if they consent to ‘be circumcised.’ This will sever them from Christ, and bind them to complete observance of Moses’ law: law or grace—by one or the other they must stand (5:3-5). "Circumcision, uncircumcision"—these "count for nothing in Christ Jesus" (5:6). Paul will not believe in the defection of those who ‘ran’ so "well"; "judgment" will fall on their ‘disturber’ (5:7-10,12). Persecution marks himself as no circumcisionist (5:11)!

4. The Ethical Application (Galatians 5:13-6:10):

Law of the Spirit of Life

The ethical application is contained in the phrase of Ro 8:2, "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus."

(1) Love guards Christian liberty from license; it ‘fulfills the whole law in a single word’ (Ga 5:13-15).

(2) The Spirit, who imparts freedom, guides the free man’s "walk." Flesh and spirit are, opposing principles: deliverance from "the flesh" and its "works" is found in possession by "the Spirit," who bears in those He rules His proper "fruit." ‘Crucified with Christ’ and ‘living in the Spirit,’ the Christian man keeps God’s law without bondage under it (Ga 5:16-26).

(3) In cases of unwary fall, ‘men of the Spirit’ will know how to "restore" the lapsed, ‘fulfilling Christ’s law’ and mindful of their own weakness (Ga 6:1-5).

(4) Teachers have a peculiar claim on the taught; to ignore this is to ‘mock God.’ Men will "reap corruption" or "eternal life," as in such matters they ‘sow to the flesh’ or ‘to the Spirit.’ Be patient till the harvest! (Ga 6:6-10).

5. The Epilogue (Galatians 6:11-18):

The autograph conclusion (Ga 6:11) exposes the sinister motive of the circumcisionists, who are ashamed of the cross, the Christian’s only boast (Ga 6:12-15). Such men are none of "the Israel of God!" (Ga 6:16). "The brand of Jesus" is now on Paul’s body; at their peril "henceforth" will men trouble him! (Ga 6:17). The benediction follows (Ga 6:18).

B) Salient Points:

1. The Principles at Stake:

The postscript reveals the inwardness of the legalists’ agitation. They advocated circumcision from policy more than from conviction, hoping to conciliate Judaism and atone for accepting the Nazarene—to hide the shame of the cross—by capturing for the Law the Gentilechurches. They attack Paul because he stands in the way of this attempt. Their policy is treason; it surrenders to the world that cross of Christ, to which the world for its salvation must unconditionally submit. The grace of God the one source of salvation Ga (1:3; 2:21; 5:4), the cross of Christ its sole ground (1:4; 2:19-21; 3:13; 6:14), faith in the Good News its all-sufficient means (2:16,20; 3:2,5-9,23-26; 5:5), the Spirit its effectuating power (3:2-5; 4:6,7; 5:5,16-25; 6:8)—hence, emancipation from the Jewish law, and the full status of sons of God open to the Gentiles (2:4,5,15-19; 3:10-14; 3:28-4:9,26-31; 5:18; 6:15): these connected principles are at stake in the contention; they make up the doctrine of the epistle.

2. Present Stage of the Controversy:

Circumcision is now proposed by the Judaists as a supplement to faith in Christ, as the qualification for sonship to Abraham and communion with the apostolic church (Ga 3:7,29). After the Council at Jerusalem, they no longer say outright, "Except ye be circumcised after the custom of Moses, ye cannot be saved" (Ac 15:1). Paul’s Galatian converts, they admit, "have begun in the Spirit"; they bid them "be perfected" and attain the full Christian status by conforming to Moses—"Christ will profit" them much more, if they add to their faith circumcision (Ga 3:3; 5:2; compare Ro 3:1). This insidious proposal might seem to be in keeping with the findings of the Council; Peter’s action at Antioch lent color to it. Such a grading of the Circumcision and Uncircumcision within the church offered a tempting solution of the legalist controversy; for it appeared to reconcile the universal destination of the gospel with the inalienable prerogatives of the sons of Abraham. Paul’s reply is, that believing Gentiles are already Abraham’s "seed"—nay, sons and heirs of God; instead of adding anything, circumcision would rob them of everything they have won in Christ; instead of going on to perfection by its aid, they would draw back unto perdition.

3. Paul’s Depreciation of the Law:

Paul carries the war into the enemies’ camp, when he argues,

(a) that the law of Moses brought condemnation, not blessing, on its subjects (Ga 3:10-24); and

(b) that instead of completing the work of faith, its part in the Divine economy was subordinate (Ga 3:19-25).

It was a temporary provision, due to man’s sinful unripeness for the original covenant (Ga 3:19,24; 4:4). The Spirit of sonship, now manifested in the Gentiles, is the infallible sign that the promise made to mankind in Abraham has been fulfilled. The whole position of the legalists is undermined by the use the apostle makes of the Abrahamic covenant.

4. The Personal Question:

The religious and the personal questions of the epistle are bound up together; this Ga 5:2 clearly indicates. The latter naturally emerges first (1:1,11 ff). Paul’s authority must be overthrown, if his disciples are to be Judaized. Hence, the campaign of detraction against him (compare 2Co 10-12). The line of defense indicates the nature of the attack. Paul was said to be a second-hand, second-rate apostle, whose knowledge of Christ and title to preach Him came from Cephas and the mother church. In proof of this, an account was given of his career, which he corrects in Ga 1:13-2:21. "Cephas" was held up (compare 1Co 1:12) as the chief of the apostles, whose primacy Paul had repeatedly acknowledged; and "the pillars" at Jerusalem were quoted as maintainers of Mosaic rule and authorities for the additions to be made to Paul’s imperfect gospel. Paul himself, it was insinuated, "preaches circumcision" where it suits him; he is a plausible time-server (Ga 1:10; 5:11; compare Ac 16:3; 1Co 9:19-21). The apostle’s object in his self-defense is not to sketch his own life, nor in particular to recount his visits to Jerusalem, but to prove his independent apostleship and his consistent maintenance of Gentilerights. He states, therefore, what really happened on the critical occasions of his contact with Peter and the Jerusalem church. To begin with, he received his gospel and apostolic office from Jesus Christ directly, and apart from Peter (Ga 1:13-20); he was subsequently recognized by "the pillars" as apostle, on equality with Peter (Ga 2:6-9); he had finally vindicated his doctrine when it was assailed, in spite of Peter (Ga 2:11-12). The adjustment of Paul’s recollections with Luke’s narrative is a matter of dispute, in regard both to the conference of Ga 2:1-10 and the encounter of 2:11-21; to these points we shall return, iv.3 (4), (5).

C) Characteristics:

1. Idiosyncrasy of the Epistle:

This is a letter of expostulation. Passion and argument are blended in it. Hot indignation and righteous scorn (Ga 1:7-9; 4:17; 5:10,12; 6:12,13), tender, wounded affection (Ga 4:11-20), deep sincerity and manly integrity united with the loftiest consciousness of spiritual authority (Ga 1:10-12,20; 2:4-6,14; 5:2; 6:17), above all a consuming devotion to the person and cross of the Redeemer, fill these few pages with an incomparable wealth and glow of Christian emotion. The power of mind the epistle exhibits matches its largeness of heart. Roman indeed carries out the argument with greater breadth and theoretic completeness; but Ga excels in pungency, incisiveness, and debating force. The style is that of Paul at the summit of his powers. Its spiritual elevation, its vigor and resource, its subtlety and irony, poignancy and pathos, the vis vivida that animates the whole, have made this letter a classic of religious controversy. The blemishes of Paul’s composition, which contribute to his mastery of effect, are conspicuous here—his abrupt turns and apostrophes, and sometimes difficult ellipses (Ga 2:4-10,20; 4:16-20; 5:13), awkward parentheses and entangled periods (Ga 2:1-10,18; 3:16,20; 4:25), and outburst of excessive vehemence (Ga 1:8,9; 5:12).

2. Jewish Coloring:

The anti-legalist polemic gives a special Old Testament coloring to the epistle; the apostle meets his adversaries on their own ground. In Ga 3:16,19-20; 4:21-31, we have examples of the rabbinical exegesis Paul had learned from his Jewish masters. These texts should be read in part as argumenta ad hominem; however peculiar in form such Pauline passages may be, they always contain sound reasoning.

III. Relations to Other Epistles.

(1) The connection of Galatians with Romans is patent; it is not sufficiently understood how pervasive that connection is and into what manifold detail it extends. The similarity of doctrine and doctrinal vocabulary manifest in Ga 2:13-6:16 and Ro 1:16-8:39 is accounted for by the Judaistic controversy on which Paul was engaged for so long, and by the fact that this discussion touched the heart of his gospel and raised questions in regard to which his mind was made up from the beginning (1:15,16), on which he would therefore always express himself in much the same way. Broadly speaking, the difference is that Romans is didactic and abstract, where Galatians is personal and polemical; that the former presents, a measured and rounded development of conceptions projected rapidly in the latter under the stress of controversy. The emphasis lies in Romans on justification by faith; in Galatians on the freedom of the Christian man. The contrast of tone is symptomatic of a calmer mood in the writer—the lull which follows the storm; it suits the different address of the two epistles.

1. Galatians and Romans:

Besides the correspondence of purport, there is a verbal resemblance to Romans pervading the tissue of Galatians, and traceable in its mannerisms and incidental expressions. Outside of the identical quotations, we find more than 40 Greek locutions, some of them rare in the language, common to these two and occurring in these only of Paul’s epistles—including the words rendered "bear" (Ro 11:18 and Ga 5:10, etc.); "blessing" or "gratulation" (makarismos), "divisions" (Ro 16:17; Ga 5:20); "fail" or "fall from" (ekpipto); "labor on" or "upon" (of persons), "passions" (pathemata, in this sense); "set free" or "deliver" (eleutheroo); "shut up" or "conclude," and "shut out" or "exclude"; "travail (together)," and such phrases as "die to" (with dative), "hearing of faith," "if possible," "put on (the Lord Jesus) Christ," "those who do such things," "what saith the Scripture?" "where then?" (rhetorical), "why any longer?" The list would be greatly extended by adding expressions distinctive of this pair of letters that occur sporadically elsewhere in Paul. The kinship of Galatians-Romans in vocabulary and vein of expression resembles that existing between Colossians-Ephesians or 1 and 2 Thessalonians; it is twice as strong proportionately as that of 1 and 2 Corinthians. Not only the same current of thought, but with it, much the same stream of language was running through Paul’s mind in writing these two epistles.

The association of Galatians with the two Corinthian letters, though less intimate than that of Galatians-Romans, is unmistakable.

2. Links with 1 and 2 Corinthians:

We count 23 distinct locations shared by 2 Corinthians alone (in its 13 chapters) with Galatians, and 20 such shared with 1 Corinthians (16 chapters)—a larger proportion for the former. Among the Galatians-1 Corinthians peculiarities are the sayings, "A little leaven," etc., "circumcision is nothing," etc., and the phrases, "be not deceived," "it is manifest" (delon as predicate to a sentence), "known by God," "profit nothing" and "to be something," "scandal of the cross," "the spiritual" (of persons), "they that are Christ’s (of Christ Jesus)." Peculiar to Ga through 2Co are "another gospel" and "false brethren," "brings into bondage," "devour" and "zealously seek" or "am jealous over" (of persons); "a new creation," "confirm" or "ratify" (kuroo); "I am perplexed," the antithesis of "sowing" and "reaping" (figuratively); the phrase "on the contrary" or "contrariwise" (t’ounantion), etc. The conception of the "two covenants" (or "testaments") is conspicuous in both epistles (Ga 3:17-21; 4:21-31; 2Co 3:8-18), and does not recur in Paul; in each case the ideas of "law" (or "letter"), "bondage," "death," are associated with the one, diatheke, of "spirit," "freedom," "life," with the other. Ga 3:13 ("Christ .... made a curse for us") is matched by 2Co 5:21 ("made sin for us"); in Ga 2:19 and 6:14 we find Paul "crucified to the world" in the cross of his Master and "Christ" alone "living in" him; in 2Co 5:14,15 this experience becomes a universal law for Christians; and where in Ga 6:17 the apostle appears as ‘from hence-forth .... bearing in’ his ‘body the brand of Jesus,’ in 2Co 4:10 he is "always bearing about in" his "body the dying of Jesus."

These identical or closely congruous trains of thought and turns of phrase, varied and dominant as they are, speak for some near connection between the two writings. By its list of vices in Ga 5:19,20 Galatians curiously, and somewhat intricately, links itself at once with 2 Corinthians and Roman (see 2Co 12:20; Ro 13:13; 16:17). Galatians is allied by argument and doctrine with Romans, and by temper and sentiment with 2 Corinthians. The storm of feeling agitating our epistle blows from the same quarter, reaches the same height, and engages the same emotions with those which animate 2 Corinthians 10-13.

3. With the Corinthians-Romans Group:

If we add to the 43 locutions confined in the Pauline Epistles to Galatians-Romans the 23 such of Galatians-2 Corinthians, the 20 of Galatians-1 Corinthians, the 14 that range over Galatians- Romans-2 Corinthians, the 15 of Galatians-Romans-1 Corinthians, the 7 of Galatians-1-2 Corinthians, and the 11 running through all four, we get a total of 133 words or phrases (apart from Old Testament quotations) specific to Galatians in common with one or more of the Corinthians-Romans group—an average, that is, of close upon 3 for each chapter of those other epistles.

With the other groups of Pauline letters Galatians is associated by ties less numerous and strong, yet marked enough to suggest, in conjunction with the general style, a common authorship.

4. With Other Groups of Epistles:

The proportion of locutions peculiar to Ga and the 3rd group (Colossians-Philemon-Ephesians- Philippians) is 1 to each of their 15 chapters. The more noticeable of these are in Galatians- Colossians: "elements of the world," and the maxim, "There is no Jew nor Greek," etc., associated with the "putting on of Christ" ("the new man"); "fullness of the time" (or "seasons") and "householders of faith (of God)," also "Christ loved me (the church) and gave up himself for me (her)," in Galatians-Ephesians; "he that supplieth (your supplying of, epichoregia) the Spirit," and "vain-glory" (kenodoxia), in Galatians-Philippians; "redeem" (exagorazo) and "inheritance" are peculiar to Ga with Colossians-Ephesians together; the association of the believer’s "inheritance" with "the Spirit" in Galatians-Ephesians is a significant point of doctrinal identity.

The Thessalonians and Timothy-Titus (1st and 4th) groups are outliers in relation to Galatians, judged by vocabulary. There is little to associate our epistle with either of these combinations, apart from pervasive Corinthians-Romans phrases and the Pauline complexion. There are 5 such expressions registered for the 8 chapters of 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 7 for the 13 of 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus—just over one to two chapters for each group. While the verbal coincidences in these two cases are, proportionately, but one-half so many as those connecting Galatians with the 3rd group of epistles and one-fifth or one-sixth of those linking it to the 2nd group, they are also less characteristic; the most striking is the contrast of "well-doing" (kalopoieo) with "fainting" or "wearying" (egkakeo) in Ga 6:9 and 2Th 3:13.

5. General Comparison:

No other writing of Paul reflects the whole man so fully as this—his spiritual, emotional, intellectual, practical, and even physical, idiosyncrasy. We see less of the apostle’s tenderness, but more of his strength than in Philippians; less of his inner, mystic experiences, more of the critical turns of his career; less of his "fears," more of his "fightings," than in 2 Corinthians. While the 2nd letter to Timothy lifts the curtain from the closing stage of the apostle’s ministry, Ga throws a powerful light upon its beginning. The Pauline theology opens to us its heart in this document. The apostle’s message of deliverance from sin through faith in the crucified Redeemer, and of the new life in the Spirit growing from this root, lives and speaks; we see it in Galatians as a working and fighting theology, while in Romans it peacefully expands into an ordered system. The immediately saving truth of Christianity, the gospel of the Gospel, finds its most trenchant utterance in this epistle; here we learn "the word of the cross" as Paul received it from the living Saviour, and defended it at the crisis of his work.

IV. The Destination and Date.

1. Place and Time Interdependent:

The question of the people to whom, is bound up with that of the time at which, the Epistle to the Galatians was written. Each goes to determine the other. The expression "the first time" (to proteron) of Ga 4:13 presumes Paul to have been twice with the readers previously—for the first occasion, see 4:13-15; for the second, 1:9; 5:3. The explanation of Round (Date of the Epistle to Galatians, 1906), that the apostle intended to distinguish his first arrival at the several (South) Galatian cities from his return in the course of the same journey (Ac 14:21-23), cannot be accepted: Derbe, the limit of the expedition, received Paul and Barnabas but once on that round, and in retracing their steps the missionaries were completing an interrupted work, whereas Ga 4:13 implies a second, distinct visitation of the churches concerned as a whole; in Ac 15:36 Paul looks back to the journey of Ac 13:14-14:26 as one event.

Now the apostle revisited the South Galatian churches in starting on the 2nd missionary tour (Ac 16:1-5). Consequently, if his "Galatians" were Christians of Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe (the South Galatian hypothesis), the letter was written in the further course of the 2nd tour—from Macedonia or Corinth about the time of 1 and 2Th (so Zahn, Introduction to the New Testament, I, English translation), or from Antioch in the interval between the 2nd and 3rd journeys (so Ramsay); for on this latter journey (Ac 18:23) Paul (ex hyp.) traversed ‘the (South) Galatian country’ a third time. On the other hand, if they were people of Galatia proper, i.e. of North (Old) Galatia, the epistle cannot be earlier than the occasion of Ac 18:23, when Paul touched a second time "the Galatian country," which, on this supposition, he had evangelized in traveling from South Galatia to Troas during the previous tour (Ac 16:6-8). On the North Galatian hypothesis, the letter was dispatched from Ephesus during Paul’s long residence there (Ac 19; so most interpreters, ancient and modern), in which case it heads the 2nd group of the epistles; or later, from Macedonia or Corinth, and shortly before the writing of the Epistle to the Romans (thus Lightfoot, Salmon, A. L. Williams and others).

Per contra, the earlier date, if proved independently, carries with it the South Galatian, the later date the North Galatian theory. The subscription of the Textus Receptus of the New Testament "written from Rome," rests on inferior manuscript authority and late Patristic tradition. Clemen, with no suggestion as to place of origin, assigns to the writing a date subsequent to the termination of the 3rd missionary tour (55 or 57 AD), inasmuch as the epistle reflects the controversy about the Law, which in Romans is comparatively mild, at an acute, and, therefore (he supposes), an advanced stage.

2. Internal Evidence:

Lightfoot (chapter iii of Introduction to Commentary) placed Galatians in the 2nd group of the epistles between 2 Corinthians and Romans, upon considerations drawn from "the style and character" of the epistle. His argument might be strengthened by a detailed linguistic analysis (see III, 1-3, above). The more minutely one compares Galatians with Romans and 1 and 2 Corinthians, the more these four are seen to form a continuous web, the product of the same experience in the writer’s mind and the same situation in the church. This presumption, based on internal evidence, must be tested by examination of the topographical and chronological data.

3. External Data:

(1) Galatia and the Galatians.

The double sense of these terms obtaining in current use has been shown in the article on GALATIA; Steinmann sets out the evidence at large in his essay on Der Leserkreis des Galaterbriefes, 61-76 (1908); see also A. L. Williams’ Introduction to Galatians in Cambr. Greek Test. (1910). Roman authors of the period in using these expressions commonly thought of provincial Galatia (NOTE: Schurer seems to be right, however, in maintaining that "Galatia" was only the abbreviated designation for the province, named a parte potiori, and that in more formal description it was styled "Galatia, Pisidia, Phrygia," etc.) which then embraced in addition to Galatia proper a large tract of Southern Phrygia and Lycaonia, reaching from Pisidian Antioch in the west to Derbe in the east; but writers of Asia Minor leaned to the older local and national usage, according to which "Galatia" signified the north-central highlands of the peninsula, on both sides of the river Halys, in which the invading Galatae had settled long before this time. (On their history see the previous article) It is asserted that Paul strictly followed the official, as against the popular, usus loquendi in these matters—a questionable dictum (see A. L. Williams, op. cit., xix, xx, or Steinmann’s Leserkreis, 78-104), in view of Ga 1:21,22 (note the Greek double article), to go no farther. There was nothing in Paul’s Roman citizenship to make him a precisian in a point like this. Ramsay has proved that all four cities of Ac 13:14-14:23 were by this time included in provincial Galatia. Their inhabitants might therefore, officially, be styled "Galatians" (Galatae); it does not follow that this was a fit or likely compilation for Paul to use. Julicher says this would have been a piece of "bad taste" on his part. The attachment of the southern districts (Phrygian, Pisidian, Lycaonian) to Galatia was recent—Derbe had been annexed so late as the year 41—and artificial. Supposing that their Roman "colonial" rank made the designation "Galatians" agreeable to citizens of Antioch or Lystra, there was little in it to appeal to Iconians or Derbeans (compare Schmiedel, in EB, col. 1604).

(2) Prima Facie Sense of Ac 16:6.

The "Galatian country" (Galatike chora) is mentioned by Luke, with careful repetition, in Ac 16:6 and 18:23. Luke at any rate was not tied to imperial usage; he distinguishes "Phrygia" from "Asia" in Ac 2:9,10, although Phrygia was administratively parceled out between Asia and Galatia. When therefore "Asia" is opposed in 16:6 to "the Phrygian and Galatian country" (or "Phrygia and Galatian country," Zahn), we presume that the three terms of locality bear alike a non-official sense, so that the "Galatian country" means Old Galatia (or some part of it) lying to the Northeast, as "Asia" means the narrower Asia west of "Phrygia." On this presumption we understand that Paul and Silas, after completing their visitation of "the cities" of the former tour (Ac 16:4,5; compare Ac 15:36, in conjunction with Ac 13:14-14:23), since they were forbidden to proceed westward and "speak the word in Asia," turned their faces to the region—first Phrygian, then Galatian—that stretched northward into new territory, through which they traveled toward "Mysia" and "Bithynia" (Ac 16:7). Thus Ac 16:6 fills in the space between the South Galatia covered by 16:4 and 5, and the Mysian-Bithynian border where we find the travelers in 16:7. Upon this, the ordinary construction of Luke’s somewhat involved sentence, North Galatia was entered by Paul on his 2nd tour; he retraversed, more completely, "the Galatian region" at the commencement of the 3rd tour, when he found "disciples" there (Ac 18:23) whom he had gathered on the previous visit.

(3) The Grammar of Ac 16:6.

In the interpretation of the Lukan passages proposed by Ramsay, Ac 16:16 a, detached from 16b, is read as the completion of 16:1-5 (‘And they went through the Phrygian .... region. They were forbidden by the Holy Ghost .... in Asia, and came over against Mysia,’ etc.); and "the Phrygian and Galatian region" means the southwestern division of Provincia Galatia, a district at once Phrygian (ethnically) and Galatian (politically). The combination of two local adjectives., under a common article, to denote the same country in different respects, if exceptional in Greek idiom (15:41 and 27:5 illustrate the usual force of this collocation), is clearly possible—the one strictly parallel geographical expression, "the Iturean and Trachonite country" in Lu 3:1, unfortunately, is also ambiguous. But the other difficulty of grammar involved in the new rendering of Ac 16:6 is insuperable: the severance of the participle, "having been forbidden" (koluthentes), from the introductory verb, "they went through" (diel-thon), wrenches the sentence to dislocation; the aorist participle in such connection "must contain, if not something antecedent to ‘they went,’ at least something synchronous with it, in no case a thing subsequent to it, if all the rules of grammar and all sure understanding of language are not to be given up" (Schmiedel, EB, col. 1599; endorsed in Moulton’s Prolegomena to the Grammar of New Testament Greek, 134; see also Chase in The Expositor, IV, viii, 404-11, and ix, 339-42). Ac 10:29 ("I came .... when I was sent for") affords a grammatical parallel to 16:6 (‘They went through .... since they were hindered’).

Zahn’s position is peculiar (Intro to New Testament, I, 164-202). Rejecting Ramsay’s explanation of Ac 16:6, and of 18:23 (where Ramsay sees Paul a third time crossing South Galatia), and maintaining that Luke credits the apostle with successful work in North Galatia, he holds, notwithstanding, the South Galatian view of the epistle. This involves the paradox that Paul in writing to "the churches of Galatia" ignored those of North Galatia to whom the title properly belonged—an incongruence which Ramsay escapes by denying that Paul had set foot in Old Galatia. In the 1st edition of the Einleitung Zahn had supposed North and South Galatia together included in the address; this supposition is contrary to the fact that the readers form a homogeneous body, the fruit of a single mission (4:13), and are affected simultaneously by the same disturbance (1:6; 5:7-9). Associating the letter in 2nd edition with South Galatians alone, Zahn suggests that while Paul had labored in North Galatia and found "disciples" there on his return, these were too few and scattered to form "churches"—an estimate scarcely in keeping with Luke’s phrase Ac 5:7-9 "all the disciples" (18:23), and raising a distinction between "disciples" and "churches" foreign to the historian’s usage (see Ac 6:2; 9:19; 14:20). We must choose between North and South Galatia; and if churches existed among the people of the north at the time of writing, then the northerners claim this title by right of use and wont—and the epistle with it. The reversal of "Galatian and Phrygia(n)" in Ac 18:23, as compared with 16:6, implies that the apostle on the 3rd tour struck "the Galatian country" first, traveling this time directly North from Syrian Antioch, and turned westward toward Phrygia when he had reached Old Galatia; whereas his previous route had brought him westward along the highroad traversing South Galatia, until he turned northward at a point not far distant from Pisidian Antioch, to reach North Galatia through Phrygia from the southwest. See the Map of Asia Minor.

(4) Notes of Time in the Epistle.

The "3 years" of Ga 1:18 and the "14 years" of 2:1 are both seemingly counted from Paul’s conversion.

(a) The synchronism of the conversion with the murder of Stephen and the free action of the high priest against the Nazarenes (Ac 9:2, etc.), and of Saul’s visit to Jerusalem in the 3rd year thereafter with Aretas’ rule in Damascus (2Co 11:32,33), forbid our placing these two events further back than 36 and 38—at furthest, 35 and 37 AD (see Turner on "Chronology of the NT" in HDB, as against the earlier dating).

(b) This calculation brings us to 48-49 as the year of the conference of Ga 2:1-10—a date precluding the association of that meeting with the errand to Jerusalem related in Ac 11:30 and 12:25, while it suits the identification of the former with the council of Ac 15. Other indications converge on this as the critical epoch of Paul’s apostleship. The expedition to Cyprus and South Galatia (Ac 13; 14) had revealed in Paul ‘signs of the apostle’ which the chiefs of the Judean church now recognized (Ga 2:7-9; compare Ac 15:12), and gave him the ascendancy which he exercised at this crisis; up to the time of Ac 13:1 "Saul" was known but as an old persecutor turned preacher (Ga 1:23), one of the band of "prophets and teachers" gathered round Barnabas at Antioch. The previous visit of Barnabas and Saul to Jerusalem (Ac 11; 12) had no ostensible object beyond that of famine-relief. From Ac 12 we learn that the mother church just then was suffering deadly persecution; Peter certainly was out of the way. There was no opportunity for the negotiation described in Ga 2:1-10, and it would have been premature for Paul to raise the question of his apostleship at this stage. In all likelihood, he saw few Judean Christians then beyond "the elders," who received the Antiochene charity (Ac 11:30). Nothing transpired in connection with this remittance, important as it was from Luke’s standpoint, to affect the question of Ga 1; 2; it would have been idle for Paul to refer to it. On the other hand, no real contradiction exists between Ac 15 and Ga 2 "The two accounts admirably complete each other" (Pfleiderer; compare Cambr. Greek Test., 145, 146; Steinmann, Die Abfassungszeit d. Gal.-Briefes, section 7); in matters of complicated dispute involving personal considerations, attempts at a private understanding naturally precede the public settlement. It would be strange indeed if the same question of the circumcision of Gentilebelievers had twice within a few years been raised at Antioch, to be twice carried to Jerusalem and twice over decided there by the same parties—Barnabas and Paul, Peter and James—and with no reference made in the second discussion (that of Acts, ex hyp.) to the previous compact (Ga 2). Granting the epistle written after the council, as both Ramsay and Zahn suppose, we infer that Paul has given his more intimate account of the crisis, about which the readers were already informed in the sense of Ac 15, with a view to bring out its essential bearing on the situation.

(c) The encounter of Paul and Cephas at Antioch (Ga 2:11-21) is undated. The time of its occurrence bears on the date of the epistle. As hitherto, the order of narration presumably follows the order of events, the "but" of Ga 2:11 appears to contrast Cephas’ present attitude with his action in Jerusalem just described. Two possible opportunities present themselves for a meeting of Paul and Cephas in Antioch subsequently to the council—the time of Paul’s and Barnabas’ sojourn there on their return from Jerusalem (Ac 15:35,36), or the occasion of Paul’s later visit, occupying "some time," between the 2nd and 3rd tours (Ac 18:22,23), when for aught we know Barnabas and Peter may both have been in the Syrian capital.

The former dating assumes that Peter yielded to the Judaizers on the morrow of the council, that "Barnabas too was carried away" while still in colleagueship with Paul and when the cause of Gentilefreedom, which he had championed, was in the flush of victory. It assumes that the legalists had no sooner been defeated than they opened a new attack on the same ground, and presented themselves as "from James" when James only the other day had repudiated their agitation (Ac 15:19,24). All this is very unlikely. We must allow the legalists time to recover from their discomfiture and to lay new plans (see II 2, (2), (3), (4). Moreover, Luke’s detailed narrative in Ac 15:30-36, which makes much of the visit of Judas and Silas, gives no hint of any coming of Peter to Antioch at that time, and leaves little room for this; he gives an impression of settled peace and satisfaction following on the Jerusalem concordat, with which the strife of Ga 2:11 ff would ill accord. Through the course of the 2nd missionary tour, so far as the Thessalonian epistles indicate, Paul’s mind remained undisturbed by legalistic troubles. "The apostle had quitted Jerusalem (after his understanding with the pillars) and proceeded to his 2nd missionary journey full of satisfaction at the victory he had gained and free from anxiety for the future .... The decisive moment of the crisis necessarily falls between the Thessalonian and Galatian epistles .... A new situation suddenly presents itself to him on his return" to Antioch (A. Sabatier, The Apostle Paul, English translation, 10, 11, also 124-36).

(5) Paul’s Renewed Struggle with Legalism.

The new situation arose through the vacillation of Peter; and the "certain from James" who made mischief at Antioch, were the forerunners of "troublers" who agitated the churches far and wide, appearing simultaneously in Corinth and North Galatia. The attempt to set up a separate church- table for the circumcised at Antioch was the first movement in a crafty and persistent campaign against Gentileliberties engineered from Jerusalem. The Epistle to the Romans signalized Paul’s conclusive victory in this struggle, which covered the period of the 3rd missionary tour. On his revisitation of the Galatians (1:9; 5:3 parallel Ac 18:23), fresh from the contention with Cephas and aware of the wide conspiracy on foot, Paul gave warning of the coming of "another gospel"; it had arrived, fulfilling his worst fears. Upon this view of the course of affairs (see Neander, Planting and Training of the Christian Church, III, vii; Godet’s Introduction to the New Testament, Epistles of Paul, 200-201; Sabatier, as above), the mistake of Peter at Antioch was the proximate antecedent of the trouble in Galatia; hence, Ga 2:11-24 leads up to 3:1 and the main argument. Now, if the Antiochene collision befell so late as this, then the epistle is subsequent to the date of Ac 18:22,23; from which it follows, once more, that Ga belongs to the 3rd missionary tour and the Corinthians-Romans group of letters.

(6) Ephesus or Corinth?

Chiefly because of the words, "you are removing so quickly," in Ga 1:6, the epistle is by many referred to the earlier part of the above period, the time of Paul’s protracted sojourn in Ephesus (Ac 19:8,10 54-56 AD); "so quickly," however, signifies not "so soon after my leaving you," but "so suddenly" and "with such slight persuasion" (Ga 5:7,8). From Ephesus, had the apostle been there when the trouble arose, he might as easily have visited Galatia as he did Corinth under like circumstances (so much is implied in 2Co 13:1): he is longing to go to Galatia, but cannot (Ga 4:19,20). A more distant situation, such as Macedonia or Corinth (Ac 20:1-3), where Paul found himself in the last months of this tour (56-57 AD), and where, in churches of some standing, he was surrounded by a body of sympathetic "brethren" (Ga 1:1) whose support gave weight to his remonstrance with the Galatians, suits the epistle better on every account.

(7) Paul’s First Coming to Galatia.

In Ga 4:13-15 the apostle recalls, in words surcharged with emotion, his introduction to the readers. His "preaching the good news" to them was due to "weakness of the flesh"—to some sickness, it seems, which arrested his steps and led him to minister in a locality that otherwise he would have "passed over," as he did Mysia a little later (Ac 16:8). So we understand the obscure language of Ga 4:13. The South Galatian theorists, in default of any reference to illness as affecting the apostle’s movements in Ac 13:13,14, favor Ramsay’s conjecture that Paul fell a victim to malaria on the Pamphylian coast, and that he and Barnabas made for Pisidian Antioch by way of seeking the cooler uplands. The former explanation lies nearer to the apostle’s language: he says "I preached to you," not "I came to you, because of illness." The journey of a hundred miles from Perga to Antioch was one of the least likely to be undertaken by a fever- stricken patient (see the description in Conybeare and Howson’s Life of Paul, or in Ramsay’s Paul the Traveler). Besides, if this motive had brought Paul to Antioch, quite different reasons are stated by Luke for his proceeding to the other South Galatian towns (see Ac 13:50,51; 14:6,19,20). Reading Ga 4:13-15, one imagines the missionary hastening forward to some further goal (perhaps the important cities of Bithynia, Ac 16:7), when he is prostrated by a malady the physical effects of which were such as to excite extreme aversion. As strength returns, he begins to offer his gospel in the neighborhood where the unwilling halt has been made. There was much to prejudice the hearers against a preacher addressing them under these conditions; but the Galatians welcomed him as a heaven-sent messenger. Their faith was prompt and eager, their gratitude boundless.

The deification of Barnabas and Paul by the Lycaonians (Ac 14:11-18) is the one incident of Luke’s narrative of which the apostle’s description reminds us. To this the latter is thought to be alluding when he writes, "You received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus!" But could he speak thus of his reception—hateful at the time—in the character of a heathen god, and of a reception that ended in his stoning? The "welcome" of the messenger implies faith in his message (compare Ga 4:14; 2Co 6:1; 1Th 1:6; Mt 10:40,41, where the same Greek verb is used).

Paul’s mishandling at Lystra (Ac 14:19,20) has suggested a correspondence in the opposite sense between the epistle and the story of the South Galatian mission. The Lystran stones left their print on Paul’s body; in these disfiguring scars one might see "the marks of Jesus" to which he points in Ga 6:17, were it not for the note of time, "from henceforth," which distinguishes these stigmata as a fresh infliction, identifying the servant now more than ever with his Master. The true parallel to Ga 6:17 is 2Co 4:10 (see the context in 4:7-5:4, also 18), which we quoted above (III, 2). When he wrote 2 Cor, the apostle was emerging from an experience of crucial anguish, which gave him an aspect imaging the dying Saviour whom he preached; to this new consecration the appeal of our epistle seems to refer.

(8) Barnabas and the Galatians.

The references to Barnabas in Ga 2:1,9,13, at first sight suggest the South Galatian destination of the letter. For Barnabas and Paul were companions on the first only of the three tours, and Barnabas is named thrice here and but twice in the rest of the epistles. Yet these very references awaken misgiving. Barnabas was Paul’s full partner in the South Galatian mission; he was senior in service, and had introduced Saul to the apostles at Jerusalem; he was the leader at the outset of this journey (Ac 9:27; 11:22-26; 13:1-3; 15:25)—Barnabas was taken for "Zeus" by the heathen of Lystra, while the eloquent Paul was identified with "Hermes" (Ac 14:12). The churches of South Galatia had two founders, and owed allegiance to Barnabas along with Paul. Yet Paul deals with the readers as though he alone were their father in Christ. Referring to Barnabas conspicuously in the letter and as differing from himself on a point affecting the question at issue (Ga 2:13), Paul was the more bound to give his old comrade his due and to justify his assumption of sole authority, if he were in truth addressing communities which owed their Christianity to the two men in conjunction. On the South Galatian hypothesis, the apostle appears ungenerously to have elbowed his colleague out of the partnership. The apostle Paul, it is to be noted, was particularly sensitive on matters of this kind (see 1Co 4:15; 2Co 10:13-16). The name of Barnabas was known through the whole church (see 1Co 9:6; Col 4:10); there is no more difficulty in supposing the North Galatians to be familiar with it than with the names of James and John (Ga 2:9). Possibly Paul, as his responsibilities extended, had left the care of South Galatia to Barnabas, who could readily superintend this district from Antioch in Syria; Paul refers to him in 1Co 9:6, long after the separation of Ac 15:39, as a fellow- worker. This would account for his making direct for North Galatia on the 3rd tour; see IV, 3 (3).

(9) The Two Antiochs.

In Ga 2:11 Paul refers to "Antioch,". the famous city on the Orontes. To South Galatians "Antioch" meant, as in 2Ti 3:11, the Pisidian city of that name. Had Paul been addressing South Galatians, and Antiochenes imprimis, he could not without singular inadvertence have failed to make the distinction. The gaucherie would have been as marked as if, in writing to a circle of West-of-England towns including Bradford-on-Avon, one should mention "Bradford" without qualification, meaning the Yorkshire Bradford.

The arguments drawn from local difference in legal usage—in the matters of adoption, testament, etc.—in favor of the South Galatian destination (see Schmiedel’s examination of Ramsay’s views in EB, coll. 1608-9), and from the temperament of Paul’s "Galatians" in favor of North Galatia (Lightfoot), are too precarious to build upon.

(10) Wider Bearings of the Problem.

On a broad view of the scope of Paul’s missionary work and of the relation of his letters to Acts, there is much to commend the South Galatian theory. It simplifies the situation by connecting this cardinal writing of Paul with churches of cardinal importance in Luke’s narrative. The South Galatian cities lay along the main route of the apostle’s travels, and in the mid-stream of the church’s life. The epistle, when associated with the Christian communities of this region, gains a definite setting and a firm point of attachment in New Testament history; whereas the founding of North Galatian Christianity is indicated by Luke, if at all, in the most cursory fashion, and it held an obscure place in the early church. How, it is asked, could Paul’s intimate friend have been (on the North Galatian theory) so uninterested in churches by which Paul himself set such store? And how can Paul have ignored, apart from the allusion of 2Ti 3:11, the South Galatians who formed the first-fruits of his wider labors and supplied a vital link in his chain of churches? In reply, we must point out: (1) that for anything we know Paul wrote many letters to South Galatia; we possess but a selection from his correspondence; the choice of the canonical epistles was not governed by the importance of the parties addressed in them—witness Colossians and Philemon; nor were Paul’s concern for his churches, and the empressement with which he wrote, determined by their magnitude and position, but by their needs and their hold on his affections (see Ga 1:6, etc.; 4:12-20). (2) The North Galatian mission lay off the central line of Paul’s journeyings and of the advance of GentileChristianity; this is probably the reason why Luke, who was compelled to a strict economy of space, just ignores this field, though he shows himself aware of its existence. The apostle’s confession that he preached to the readers, in the first instance, not from choice but necessity (Ga 4:13), accords with the neglect of North Galatia in Acts; the evangelizing of the North Galatians was an aside in Paul’s work—an incident beyond the scope of his plans, from which at this period he was compelled again and again to deviate (Ac 16:6-10).

After all, though less important during the 1st century than South Galatia North Galatia was not an unimportant or inaccessible region. It was traversed by the ancient "Royal Road" from the East to the Hellespont, which the apostle probably followed as far as Phrygia in the journey of Ac 18:22,23. Planted by Paul in Old Galatia, the gospel would spread to Bithynia and Pontus farther north, as it certainly had done by the time Peter wrote to the churches of Asia Minor (1Pe 1:1). It is observable that "Galatia" stands between "Pontus and Cappadocia" in Peter’s enumeration of the provinces—an order indicating that Christians of North Galatia were particularly in the writer’s mind. Had Paul never set foot in North Galatia, had he not worked along the Royal Road and put his message in the Way of reaching the northern provinces of Asia Minor, the claim of Ro 15:19 is difficult to sustain, that "from Jerusalem, and in a circle as far as Illyricum, he had fulfilled the gospel of Christ." On the whole, we find the external evidence in accord with the testimony given by the internal character and affinities of the epistle: we judge that this epistle was written circa the autumn or winter of 56-57 AD, from Macedonia or Corinth, toward the end of Paul’s third missionary tour; that it was addressed to a circle of churches situated in Galatia proper or North Galatia, probably in the western part of this country contiguous to (or overlapping) Phrygia (Ac 16:6); and that its place lies between the two Corinthian and the Roman letters among the epistles of the second group.


The South Galatian destination was proposed by the Danish Mynster (Einltg. in d. Brief an d. Gal, 1825; M. however included North Galatia), and adopted by the French Perrot (De Galatia Provincia Romana, 1867) and Renan (S. Paul); by the German Clemen (Chronologie d. paulin. Briefe, 1893; Die Adressaten d. Gal.-Briefes; Paulus: sein Leben u. Wirken, 1904), Hausrath (NT Zeitgeschichte, 1873, English Translation), Pfleiderer (Paulinismus, 1873, English translation; Paulinismus2, much altered; Urchristenthum, 1902), Steck (as above), Weizsacker (Das apost. Zeitalter3, 1902, English Translation); after Ramsay (see under GALATIA), by Belser (Beitrage z. Erklarung d. AG, etc.), O. Holtzmann (Zeitschrift f. KG, 1894), von Soden (Hist of Early Christian Lit., ET; he includes South with North Galatia), Weber (Die Adressaten d. Gal.-Briefes), J. Weiss (RE3, article "Kleinasien"), in Germany; by Askwith (Ep. to Gal: An Essay on Its Destination and Date), Bacon (Expos, V, vii, 123-36; x, 351-67), Bartlet (Expos, V, x, 263-80), Gifford (Expos, IV, x, 1-20), Maclean (1-vol HDB), Rendall (Expos, IV, ix, 254-64; EGT, Introduction to "Galatians"), Round (as above), Sanday (with hesitation, The Expositor, IV, vii, 491-95), Woodhouse (EB, article "Galatia"). The N. Galatian destination, held by earlier scholars up to Lightfoot and Salmon (DB2, an illuminating discussion), is reasserted, in view of Ramsay’s findings, by Chase (Expos, IV, viii, 401-19; ix, 331-42), Cheetham (Class. Review, 1894), Dods (HDB, article "Galatians"), Williams (Cambr. Greek Testament., 1910), in this country; by Sabatier (L’Apotre Paul2, English translation, 1891); by Gheorghiu (Adressatii epistle c. Galateni, Cernauti, 1904, praised by Steinmann); and by the German critics Blass (Acta Apost.), yon Dobschutz (Die urchr. Gemeinden, 1902, and Probleme d. apost. Zeitalters), Harnack (Apostelgeschichte, 1908, 87-90), H. Holtzmann (Handcomm. z. New Testament, "AG"), Julicher (NT Intro, English Translation), Lipsius (Handcomm. z. New Testament, "Galater") Lietzmann (doubtfully, Handbuch z. N T, III, i, "Galaterbrief"), Mommsen (ZNTW, 1901, 81-96), Schmiedel (Encyclopedia Biblica), Schurer (Jahrbuch f. prot. Theologie, XVIII, 460- 74), Sieffert (Meyer’s Kommentar), Steinmann (as above), Zockler (a full and masterly discussion: Studien u. Kritiken, 1895, 51-102). Mommsen’s verdict is thus expressed: "To apprehend ‘the Galatians’ of Paul otherwise than in the strict and narrower sense of the term, is unallowable. The Provinces associated with Galatia under the rule of a single legate, as e.g. Lycaonia certainly was as early as the time of Claudius, were in no way incorporated in that region; the official inscriptions simply set Galatia at the head of the combined regions. Still less could the inhabitants of Iconium and Lystra be named ‘Galatians’ in common speech."

Apart from the aforesaid controversy, besides the standard Commentary on Paul’s Epistles, Luther’s Ad Galatas is of unique historical interest; the interpretations of Usteri (1833), Hilgenfeld (1852), Winer (18594), Holsten (Das Evangel. d. Paulus, 1880), Philippi (1884), in German; Baljon (1889), in Dutch; and of B. Jowett, Ellicott, Beet, are specially serviceable, from different points of view; see also CGT and EB.

George G. Findlay


gal’-ba-num (chelbenah; chalbdne):

A gum-resin which occurs in small, round, semitranslucent tears or in brownish yellow masses; has a pleasant aromatic odor and a bitter taste; and is today, at any rate, imported from Persia.

It is derived from certain umbelliferous plants, Ferula galbaniflua and F. rubricaulis. It is mentioned in Ex 30:34 as an ingredient of the holy incense, and also in APC Sirach 24:15: "a pleasant odor .... as galbanum."


gal’-e-ed (gal‘edh): Derived from the Hebrew gal, "a heap of stones," and ‘edh, "witness." The meaning therefore is "cairn" or "heap of witness," corresponding to yeghar-sahddhutha’ in Aramaic (Ge 31:47). It is applied to the cairn raised by Jacob and Laban, beside which they sealed their covenant in a common meal, the memory of which they appealed to the silent cairn to preserve. The ancient custom of associating events with inanimate objects as witnesses is often illustrated in Hebrew history (Jos 4:4 ff, etc.). There may be in this narrative a suggestion of how the name "Gilead" came to be applied to that country.

W. Ewing


gal’-gal-a (Gallgala):

Greek equivalent for Gilgal. The word occurs in APC 1Macc 9:2 in connection with Arbela, in Galilee—"The way to Galgala"—but it is doubtful which Gilgal is meant. Compare Josephus, Ant, XII, xi, 1






gal’-i-le (ha-galil, hagelilah, literally, "the circuit" or "district"; he Galilaia):

1. Galilee of the Nations:

Kedesh, the city of refuge, is described as lying in Galilee, in Mt. Naphtali (Jos 20:7; compare Jos 21:32). The name seems originally to have referred to the territory of Naphtali. Joshua’s victorious campaign in the north (Jos 11), and, subsequently, the triumph of the northern tribes under Deborah and Barak (Jud 4 f) gave Israel supremacy; yet the tribe of Naphtali was not able to drive out all the former inhabitants of the land (Jud 1:33). In the time of Solomon the name applied to a much wider region, including the territory of Asher. In this land lay the cities given by Solomon to Hiram (1Ki 9:11). Cabul here named must be identical with that of Jos 19:27. The Asherites also failed to possess certain cities in their allotted portion, so that the heathen continued to dwell among them. To this state of things, probably, is due the name given in Isa 9:1 to this region, "Galilee of the nations," i.e. a district occupied by a mixed population of Jews and heathen. It may also be referred to in Jos 12:23, where possibly we should read "king of the nations of Galilee" (legalil), instead of "Gilgal" (begilgal). Yet it was within this territory that, according to 2Sa 20:18 (Septuagint) lay the two cities noted for their preservation of ancient Israelite religious customs in their purity—Abel-bethmaacah and Dan.

2. Ancient Boundaries:

There is nothing to guide us as to the northern boundary of Galilee in the earliest times. On the East it was bounded by the upper Jordan and the Sea of Galilee, and on the South by the plain of el-BaTTauf. That all within these limits belonged to Galilee we may be sure. Possibly, however, it included Zebulun, which seems to be reckoned to it in Isa 9:1. In this territory also there were unconquered Canaanite cities (Jud 1,30).

3. Before the Exile:

At the instigation of Asa, king of Judah, Benhadad, son of Tabrimmon of Damascus, moved against Israel, and the cities which he smote all lay within the circle of Galilee (1Ki 15:20). Galilee must have been the arena of conflict between Jehoahaz and Hazael, king of Syria. The cities which the latter captured were recovered from his son Benhadad by Joash, who defeated him three times (2Ki 10:32; 13:22 ). The affliction of Israel nevertheless continued "very bitter," and God saved them by the hand of Jeroboam son of Joash, the great warrior monarch of the Northern Kingdom, under whom Galilee passed completely into the hands of Israel (2Ki 14:25 ff). But the days of Israel’s supremacy in Northern Palestine were nearly over. The beginning of the end came with the invasion of Tiglath-pileser III, who took the chief cities in Galilee, and sent their inhabitants captive to Assyria (2Ki 14:29). Probably, as in the case of the Southern Kingdom, the poorest of the land were left as husbandmen. At any rate there still remained Israelites in the district (2Ch 30:10 f); but the measures taken by the conqueror must have made for the rapid increase of the heathen element.

4. After the Exile:

In post-exilie times Galilee is the name given to the most northerly of the three divisions of Western Palestine. The boundaries are indicated by Josephus (BJ, III, iii, 1). It was divided into Lower and Upper Galilee, and was encompassed by Phoenicia and Syria. It marched with Ptolemais and Mt. Carmel on the West. The mountain, formerly Galliean, now belonged to the Syrians. On the South it adjoined Samaria and Scythopolis (Beisan) as far as the river Jordan. It was bounded on the East by Hippene, Gadara, Gaulonitis and the borders of the kingdom of Agrippa, while the northern frontier was marked by Tyre and the country of the Tyrians. The northern limit of Samaria was Ginea, the modern Jenin, on the south border of Esdraelon. Lower Galilee, therefore, included the great plain, and stretched northward to the plain of er-Rameh—Ramah of Jos 19:36. Josephus mentions Bersabe, the modern Abu-Sheba, and the Talmud, Kephar Chananyah, the modern Kefr ‘Anan, as the northern border; the former being about a mile North of the latter. The plain reaches to the foot of the mountain chain, which, running East and West, forms a natural line of division. Upper Galilee may have included the land as far as the gorge of the LiTany, which, again, would have formed a natural boundary to the N. Josephus, however, speaks of Kedesh as belonging to the Syrians (BJ, II, xviii, 1), situated "between the land of the Tyrians and Galilee" (Ant., XIII, v, 6). This gives a point on the northern frontier in his time; but the rest is left indefinite. Guthe, Sunday and others, followed by Cheyne (EB, under the word), on quite inadequate grounds conclude that certain localities on the East of the Sea of Galilee were reckoned as Galilean.

5. Character of the Galileans:

In the mixed population after the exile the purely Jewish element must have been relatively small. In 165 BC Simon Maccabeus was able to rescue them from their threatening neighbors by carrying the whole community away to Judea (1 Macc 5:14 ff). Josephus tells of the conquest by Aristobulus I of Ituraea (Ant., XIII, xi, 3). He compelled many of them to adopt Jewish religious customs, and to obey the Jewish law. There can be little doubt that Galilee and its people were treated in the same way. While Jewish in their religion, and in their patriotism too, as subsequent history showed, the population of Galilee was composed of strangely mingled elements—Aramaean, Iturean, Phoenician and Greek In the circumstances they could not be expected to prove such sticklers for high orthodoxy as the Judeans. Their mixed origin explains the differences in speech which distinguished them from their brethren in the South, who regarded Galilee and the Galileans with a certain proud contempt (Joh 1:46; 7:52). But a fine type of manhood was developed among the peasant farmers of the two Galilees which, according to Josephus (BJ, III, iii, 2), were "always able to make a strong resistance on all occasions of war; for the Galileans are inured to war from their infancy .... nor hath the country ever been destitute of men of courage." Josephus, himself a Galilean, knew his countrymen well, and on them he mainly relied in the war with Rome. In Galilee also the Messianic hope was cherished with the deepest intensity. When the Messiah appeared, with His own Galilean upbringing, it was from the north-countrymen that He received the warmest welcome, and among them His appeal elicited the most gratifying response.

6. Later History:

In 47 BC, Herod the Great, then a youth of 25, was made military commander of Galilee, and won great applause by the fashion in which he suppressed a band of robbers who had long vexed the country (Ant., XIV, ix, 2). When Herod came to the throne, 37 BC, a period of peace and prosperity for Galilee began, which lasted till the banishment of his son Antipas in 40 AD. The tetrarchy of Galilee was given to the latter at his father’s death, 4 BC. His reign, therefore, covered the whole life of Jesus, with the exception of His infancy. After the banishment of Antipas, Galilee was added to the dominions of Agrippa I, who ruled it till his death in 44 AD. Then followed a period of Roman administration, after which it was given to Agrippa II, who sided with the Romans in the subsequent wars, and held his position till 100 AD. The patriotic people, however, by no means submitted to his guidance. In their heroic struggle for independence, the command of the two Galilees, with Gamala, was entrusted to Josephus, who has left a vivid narrative, well illustrating the splendid courage of his freedom-loving countrymen. But against such an adversary as Rome even their wild bravery could not prevail; and the country soon lay at the feet of the victorious Vespasian, 67 AD. There is no certain knowledge of the part played by Galilee in the rebellion under Hadrian, 132-35 AD.

At the beginning of the Roman period Sepphoris (Cafuriyeh), about 3 miles North of Nazareth, took the leading place. Herod Antipas, however, built a new city on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, which, in honor of the reigning emperor, he called Tiberias. Here he reared his "golden house," and made the city the capital of his tetrarchy. See TIBERIAS. After the fall of Jerusalem, Galilee, which had formerly been held in contempt, became the home of Jewish learning, and its chief seat was found in Tiberias where the Mishna was committed to writing, and the Jerusalem Talmud was composed. Thus a city into which at first no pious Jew would enter, in a province which had long been despised by the leaders of the nation, became the main center of their national and religious life.

7. Cities of Galilee:

Among the more notable cities in Galilee were Kedesh Naphtali, the city of refuge, the ruins of which lie on the heights West of el-Chuleh; Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum, North of the Sea of Galilee; Nazareth, the city of the Savior’s youth and young manhood; Jotapata, the scene of Josephus’ heroic defense against the Romans, which stood at Tell Jefat, North of the plain of Asochis (BJ, III, vii, viii); Cana of Galilee; and Nain, on the northern slope of the mountain now called Little Hermon.

8. General Description:

In physical features Galilee is the most richly diversified and picturesque district in Western Palestine; while in beauty and fertility it is strongly contrasted with the barren uplands of Judah. Cut off from Mt. Lebanon in the North by the tremendous gorge of the Litany, it forms a broad and high plateau, sinking gradually southward until it approaches Cafed, when again it rises, culminating in Jebel Jermuk, the highest summit on the West of the Jordan. From Cafed there is a rapid descent by stony slope and rocky precipice to the shore of the Sea of Galilee. The mountains of which Jebel Jermuk is the Northeast outrunner stretch westward across the country, and drop upon the plain of er-Rameh to the South. Irregular hills and valleys, with breadths of shady woodlands, lie between this plain and that of Asochis (el-Battauf]). The latter is split from the East by the range of Jebel Tor‘an. South of Asochis rise lower hills, in a cup-like hollow among which lies the town of Nazareth. South of the town they sink steeply into the plain of Esdraelon. The isolated form of Tabor stands out on the East, while Carmel bounds the view on the West. The high plateau in the North terminates abruptly at the lip of the upper Jordan valley. As the Jordan runs close to the base of the eastern hills, practically all this valley, with its fine rolling downs, is included in Galilee. The plain of Gennesaret runs along the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee. From the uplands to the West, stretching from Qurun Chattin (the traditional Mount of Beatitudes) to the neighborhood of Tabor, the land lets itself down in a series of broad and fertile terraces, falling at last almost precipitously on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. The descent toward the Mediterranean is much more gradual; and the soil gathered in the longer valleys is deep and rich.

The district may be described as comparatively well watered. The Jordan with its mighty springs is, of course, too low for purposes of irrigation. But there are many perennial streams fed by fountains among the hills. The springs at Jenin are the main sources of the river Kishon, but for the greater part of its course through the plain the bed of that river is far below the surface of the adjoining land. The dews that descend from Lebanon and Hermon are also a perpetual source of moisture and refreshment.

9. Products:

Galilee was famous in ancient times for its rich and fruitful soil, "full of the plantations of trees of all sorts, insomuch that it invites the most slothful to pains in its cultivation by its fruitfulness; accordingly it is all cultivated by its inhabitants, and no part of it lies idle" (BJ, III, iii, 2). See also GENNESARET, LAND OF. The grapes grown in Naphtali were in high repute, as were the pomegranates of Shikmona—the Sykaminos of Josephus—which stood on the shore near Mt. Carmel. The silver sheen of the olive meets the eye in almost every valley; and the olive oil produced in Galilee has always been esteemed of the highest excellence. Its wheat fields also yielded an abundant supply, the wheat of Chorazin being proverbial. The great plain of Esdraelon must also have furnished rich provision. It cannot be doubted that Galilee was largely drawn upon for the gifts in kind which Solomon bestowed upon the king of Tyre (2Ch 2:10). At a much later day the inhabitants of Tyre and Sidon depended upon the produce of Galilee (Ac 12:20).

Galilee was in easy touch with the outside world by means of the roads that traversed her valleys, crossed her ridges and ran out eastward, westward and southward. Thus she was connected with the harbors on the Phoenician seaboard, with Egypt on the South, with Damascus on the Northeast, and with the markets of the East by the great caravan routes (see "Roads" under PALESTINE).

10. Contact with the Outside World:

In the days of Christ the coming and going of the merchantmen, the passing of armies and the movements of the representatives of the Empire, must have made these highways a scene of perpetual activity, touching the dwellers in Galilee with the widening influences of the great world’s life.

11. Population:

The peasant farmers of Galilee, we have seen, were a bold and enterprising race. Encouraged by the fruitfulness of their country, they were industrious cultivators of the soil. Josephus estimates the population at 3,000,000. This may be an exaggeration; but here we have all the conditions necessary for the support of a numerous and prosperous people. This helps us to understand the crowds that gathered round and followed Jesus in this district, where the greater part of His public life was spent. The cities, towns and villages in Galilee are frequently referred to in the Gospels. That the Jewish population in the centuries immediately after Christ was numerous and wealthy is sufficiently proved by the remains from those times, especially the ruins of synagogues, e.g. those at Tell Chum, Kerazeh, Irbid, el-Jish, Kefr Bir‘im, Meiron, etc. Near the last named is shown the tomb of the great Jewish teacher Hillel.

Galilee was not without her own heroic memories. The great battlefields of Megiddo, Gilboa, and the waters of Merom lay within her borders; and among the famous men of the past she could claim Barak, Ibzan, Elon and Tola of the judges; of the prophets, Jonah and Elisha at least; possibly also Hosea who, according to a Jewish tradition, died in Babylon, but was brought to Galilee and buried in Cafed (Neubauer, Geog. der Talmud, 227). When the chief priests and Pharisees said, "Search, and see that out of Galilee ariseth no prophet," it argued strange and inexcusable ignorance on their part (Joh 7:52). Perhaps, however, in this place we should read ho prophetes, "the prophet," i.e. the Messiah. It is significant that 11 out of the 12 apostles were Galileans.

For detailed description of the country, see ISSACHAR; ASHER; ZEBULUN; NAPHTALI; see also GALILEE, SEA OF.

W. Ewing


After the resurrection the disciples "went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them" (Mt 28:16). Here Jesus came to them, declared that all authority in heaven and earth had been given to Him, commanded them to go and make disciples of all nations, concluding with the memorable promise: "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." Probably it was some well-known height not far from the scenes most frequented during the Galilean ministry. Looking from the western shore at the uplands North of the lake, it is not easy to imagine a more appropriate spot for this never-to-be-forgotten interview than Jebel Qan‘-an, a bold headland not far to the East of Cafed, overlooking the land of Gennesaret and the sea, and commanding from its lofty summit a view of about 80 miles in every direction. Of course, there is no certainty.

W. Ewing


(he thalassa tes Galilaias):

1. The Name:

This is the name 5 times given in the New Testament (Mt 4:18; 15:29; Mr 1:16; 7:31; Joh 6:1) to the sheet of water which is elsewhere called "the sea of Tiberias" (Joh 21:1; compare Joh 6:1); "the lake of Gennesaret" (Lu 5:1); "the sea" (Joh 6:16, etc.), and "the lake" (Lu 5:1, etc.). The Old Testament names were "sea of Chinnereth" (yam-kinnereth: Nu 34:11; De 3:17; Jos 13:27; 19:35), and "sea of Chinneroth" (yam-kineroth: Jos 12:3; compare 11:2; 1Ki 15:20). In 1 Macc 11:67 the sea is called "the water of Gennesar" (the Revised Version (British and American) "Gennesareth"). It had begun to be named from the city so recently built on its western shore even in New Testament times (Joh 21:1; 6:1); and by this name, slightly modified, it is known to this day—Bachr Tabariyeh.

2. General Description:

The sea lies in the deep trough of the Jordan valley, almost due East of the Bay of Acre. The surface is 680 ft. below the level of the Mediterranean. It varies in depth from 130 ft. to 148 ft., being deepest along the course of the Jordan (Barrois, PEFS, 1894, 211-20). From the point where the Jordan enters in the North to its exit in the South is about 13 miles. The greatest breadth is in the North, from el-Mejdel to the mouth of Wady Semak being rather over 7 miles. It gradually narrows toward the South, taking the shape of a gigantic pear, with a decided bulge to the West. The water of the lake is clear and sweet. The natives use it for all purposes, esteeming it light and pleasant. They refuse to drink from the Jordan, alleging that "who drinks Jordan drinks fever." Seen from the mountains the broad sheet appears a beautiful blue; so that, in the season of greenery, it is no exaggeration to describe it as a sapphire in a setting of emerald. It lights up the landscape as the eye does the human face; and it is often spoken of as "the eye of Galilee." To one descending from Mt. Tabor and approaching the edge of the great hollow, on a bright spring day, when the land has already assumed its fairest garments, the view of the sea, as it breaks upon the vision in almost its whole extent, is one never to be forgotten. The mountains on the East and on the West rise to about 2,000 ft. The heights of Naphtali, piled up in the North, seem to culminate only in the snowy summit of Great Hermon. If the waters are still, the shining splendors of the mountain may be seen mirrored in the blue depths. Round the greater part of the lake there is a broad pebbly beach, with a sprinkling of small shells. On the sands along the shore from el-Mejdel to ‘Ain et-Tineh these shells are so numerous as to cause a white glister in the sunlight.

The main formation of the surrounding district is limestone. It is overlaid with lava; and here and there around the lake there are outcrops of basalt through the limestone. At eT-Tabgha in the North, at ‘Ain el Fuliyeh, South of el-Mejdel, and on the shore, about 2 miles South of modern Tiberias, there are strong hot springs. These things, together with the frequent, and sometimes terribly destructive, earthquakes, sufficiently attest the volcanic character of the region. The soil on the level parts around the sea is exceedingly fertile. See GENNESARET, LAND OF. Naturally the temperature in the valley is higher than that of the uplands; and here wheat and barley are harvested about a month earlier. Frost is not quite unknown; but no one now alive remembers it to have done more than lay the most delicate fringe of ice around some of the stones on the shore. The fig and the vine are still cultivated with success. Where vegetable gardens are planted they yield plentifully. A few palms are still to be seen. The indigo plant is grown in the plain of Gennesaret. In their season the wild flowers lavish a wealth of lovely colors upon the surrounding slopes; while bright-blossoming oleanders fringe the shore.

Coming westward from the point where the Jordan enters the lake, the mountains approach within a short distance of the sea. On the shore, fully 2 miles from the Jordan, are the ruins of Tell Chum. See CAPERNAUM. About 2 miles farther West are the hot springs of eT-Tabgha. Here a shallow vale breaks northward, bounded on the West by Tell ‘Areimeh. This tell is crowned by an ancient Canaanite settlement. It throws out a rocky promontory into the sea, and beyond this are the ruins of Khan Minyeh, with ‘Ain et-Tineh close under the cliff. Important Roman remains have recently been discovered here. From this point the plain of Gennesaret (el-Ghuweir) sweeps round to el-Mejdel, a distance of about 4 miles. West of this village opens the tremendous gorge, Wady el Chamam, with the famous robbers’ fastnesses in its precipitous sides, and the ruins of Arbela on its southern lip. From the northern parts of the lake the Horns of ChaTTin, the traditional Mount of Beatitudes, may be seen through the rocky jaws of the gorge. South of el-Mejdel the mountains advance to the shore, and the path is cut in the face of the slope, bringing us to the hot spring, ‘Ain el-Fuliyeh, where is a little valley, with gardens and orange grove. The road then crosses a second promontory, and proceeds along the base of the mountain to Tiberias. Here the mountains recede from the shore, leaving a crescent-shaped plain, largely covered with the ruins of the ancient city. The modern town stands at the northern corner of the plain; while at the southern end are the famous hot baths, the ancient Hammath. A narrow ribbon of plain between the mountain and the shore runs to the South end of the lake. There the Jordan, issuing from the sea, almost surrounds the mound on which are the ruins of Kerak, the Tarichea of Josephus Crossing the floor of the valley, past Semakh, which is now a station on the Haifa-Damascus railway, we find a similar strip of plain along the eastern shore. Nearly opposite Tiberias is the stronghold of Chal‘-at el Chocn, possibly the ancient Hippos, with the village of Fik, the ancient Aphek, on the height to the East. To the North of this the waters of the sea almost touch the foot of the steep slope. A herd of swine running headlong down the mountain would here inevitably perish in the lake (Mt 8:32, etc.). Next, we reach the mouth of Wady Semak, in which lie the ruins of Kurseh, probably representing the ancient Gerasa. Northward the plain widens into the marshy breadths of el-BaTeichah, and once more we reach the Jordan, flowing smoothly through the fiat lands to the sea.

3. Storms:

The position of the lake makes it liable to sudden storms, the cool air from the uplands rushing down the gorges with great violence and tossing the waters in tumultuous billows. Such storms are fairly frequent, and as they are attended with danger to small craft, the boatmen are constantly on the alert. Save in very settled conditions they will not venture far from the shore. Occasionally, however, tempests break over the lake, in which a boat could hardly live. Only twice in over 5 years the present writer witnessed such a hurricane. Once it burst from the South. In a few moments the air was thick with mist, through which one could hear the roar of the tortured waters. In about ten minutes the wind fell as suddenly as it had risen. The air cleared, and the wide welter of foam-crested waves attested the fury of the blast. On the second occasion the wind blew from the East, and the phenomena described above were practically repeated.

4. Fish:

The sea contains many varieties of fish in great numbers. The fishing industry was evidently pursued to profit in the days of Christ. Zebedee was able to hire men to assist him (Mr 1:20). In recent years there has been a considerable revival of this industry. See FISHING. Four of the apostles, and these the chief, had been brought up as fishermen on the Sea of Galilee. Peter and Andrew, James and John.

The towns around the lake named in Scripture are treated in separate articles. Some of these it is impossible to identify. Many are the ruins of great and splendid cities on slope and height of which almost nothing is known today. But from their mute testimony we gather that the lake in the valley which is now so quiet was once the center of a busy and prosperous population. We may assume that the cities named in the Gospels were mainly Jewish. Jesus would naturally avoid those in which Greek influences were strong. In most cases they have gone, leaving not even their names with any certainty behind; but His memory abides forever. The lake and mountains are, in main outline, such as His eyes beheld. This it is that lends its highest charm to "the eye of Galilee."

The advent of the railway has stirred afresh the pulses of life in the valley. A steamer plies on the sea between the station at Semakh and Tiberias. Superior buildings are rising outside the ancient walls. Gardens and orchards are being planted. Modern methods of agriculture are being employed in the Jewish colonies, which are rapidly increasing in number. Slowly, perhaps, but surely, the old order is giving place to the new. If freedom and security be enjoyed in reasonable measure, the region will again display its long-hidden treasures of fertility and beauty.

W. Ewing



(1) ro’sh, or rosh (De 32:32 only, "grapes of gall"): Some very bitter plant, the bitterness as in (2) being associated with the idea of poison. De 29:18 margin "rosh, a poisonpus herb"; La 3:5,19; Jer 8:14; 9:15; 23:15, "water of gall," margin "poison"; Ho 10:4, translated "hemlock"; Am 6:12, "Ye have turned justice into gall"; Job 20:16, the "poison of asps": here rosh clearly refers to a different substance from the other references, the points in common being bitterness and poisonous properties. Hemlock (Conium maculatum), colocynth (Citrullus colocynthus) and the poppy (Papaver somniferum) have all been suggested as the original rosh, the last having most support, but in most references the word may represent any bitter poisonous substance. Rosh is associated with la‘anah, "wormwood" (De 29:18; La 3:19; Am 6:12).

(2) mererah (Job 16:13), and merorah (Job 20:14,25), both derived from a root meaning "to be bitter," are applied to the human gall or "bile," but like (1), merorah is once applied to the venom of serpents (Job 20:14). The poison of these animals was supposed to reside in their bile.

(3) chole (Mt 27:34), "They gave him wine to drink mingled with gall"; this is clearly a reference to the Septuagint version of Ps 69:21: "They gave me also gall (chole, Hebrew rosh) for my food; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink." In Mr 15:23, it says, "wine mingled with myrrh." It is well known that the Romans gave wine with frankincense to criminals before their execution to alleviate their sufferings; here the chole or bitter substance used was myrrh (Pliny Ep. xx.18; Sen. Ep. 83).

E. W. G. Masterman


gal’-ant: The translation of ‘addir, "bright," "splendid," "mighty" (Isa 33:21, "Neither shall gallant (’addir) ship pass thereby"); the word is translated "mighty" in Ex 15:10; 1Sa 4:8; Isa 10:34; Zec 11:2 the King James Version. In Isa 33:21, above, it is applied to Yahweh. "glorious (’addir) Lord" the King James Version, the Revised Version (British and American) "Yahweh .... in .... majesty"; compare also Ps 16:3, "the excellent." As a noun it is used in the margin of Na 2:5 as alternative for "worthies," the Revised Version (British and American) "nobles" in Zec 11:2, for "the might "Revised Version" "goodly ones" margin, "glorious"; it is translated "nobles" in Jud 5:13; 2Ch 23:20, etc.




(1) (’attuq, Kethibh; ‘attik, used only in Eze 41:16; 42:3,1; etymology and meaning uncertain; among the more probable suggestions are "pillar," "column," "walk with pillars," "colonnades," "passageway," "porches," "galleries" of "terraces." Cornhill suggests the substitution of kiroth, "walls," to suit the context; others, e.g. Rothstein, would omit it as a dittography or other corruption): A long narrow balcony formed either by pillars or by the receding upper stories of a building. Both kinds are described in Ezekiel’s vision of the Temple restored. They surround the three stories of side chambers around the Temple proper, and also the "building before the separate place which was at the back thereof," and the three-story structure containing rows of chambers in the outer court opposite the side-chambers of the Temple. Those around the Temple proper were apparently supported by pillars, and hence, they did not take away from the width of the 2nd-story and 3rd-story rooms (compare 41:7). On the other hand, the galleries of the outer buildings which were not supported by pillars and therefore not on top of each other, but in terraces, did take away from the upper stories more than from the lowest and middlemost: the upper chambers were shortened or "straitened more than the lowest and the middlemost from the ground."

The lower porches of the outer court were cut off from the view of those of the inner court by a low wall, but in the 3rd story, gallery looked out to gallery across the twenty cubits which belonged to the inner court and the pavement which belonged to the outer court." These "galleries," or ‘attiqim, are one of the few features that distinguish the temple of Ezekiel’s vision from Solomon’s temple. The idea and perhaps the word seem to have been borrowed from the more elaborate architecture of the countries of the Exile, which must have impressed the Jews of Ezekiel’s time very strongly. The building Ezekiel would place in the outer court with its terraces is a perfect Babylonian ziggurat or stage-tower temple (compare Encyclopedia Brit, 11th edition, II, 374, c-d).

(2) (rahaT, probably "lock of hair," So 7:5; rahiT Qere, rachiT, Kethibh, probably "rafters," So 7:11; both words and also the similar word (rehaTim, Ge 30:38; Ex 2:16), translated "troughs," are probably connected with the Aramaic rehaT "to flow," "to run"): Although the King James Version uses "galleries" in So 7:5 and 1:17 margin, the context in each place clearly points to another meaning. In the former of these passages, "the king is held captive in the tresses thereof," there follows a description of the head. In the latter passage the word in question is in parallelism with qoroth batenu, "the beams of our house," and "rafters" the King James Version, or possibly "boards," is suggested.

Nathan Isaacs



See SHIPS AND BOATS, II, 2, (2).


gal’-im (gallim), "heaps"): Probably two distinct places:

(1) A town mentioned among the 11 additional cities of Judah which are in the Septuagint appended to Jos 15:59, and have altogether disappeared from the Hebrew text. It occurs between Karem (‘Ain Kairem) and Baither (Bettir); it is probably the large and flourishing village of Beit Jala, near Bethlehem.

(2) Gallim is mentioned in Isa 10:30; not far from Laishah and Anathoth and certainly North of Jerusalem. It was the home of Palti the son of Laish (1Sa 25:44), and it is by many authorities identified with the Gilgal on the North border of Judah (Jos 15:7), the Geliloth of the parallel passage (Jos 18:17), and the Beth-gilgal of Ne 12:29.

E. W. G. Masterman


gal’-i-o (Gallion): The Roman deputy or proconsul of Achaia, before whom Paul was haled by his Jewish accusers on the apostle’s first visit to Corinth, during his second missionary journey (Ac 18:12-17). The trial was not of long duration. Although Gallio extended his protection to the Jewish religion as one of the religions recognized by the state, he contemptuously rejected the claim of the Jews that their law was binding upon all. In the eyes of the proconsul, the only law universally applicable was that of the Roman code and social morality: under neither was the prisoner chargeable; therefore, without even waiting to hear Paul’s speech in his own defense, he summarily ordered his lictors to clear the court. Even the subsequent treatment meted out to Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, was to him a matter of indifference. The beating of Sosthenes is ascribed by different readings to "Jews" and to "Greeks," but the incident is referred to by the writer of Ac to show that the sympathies of the populace lay with Paul, and that Gallio made no attempt to suppress them. Gallio has often been instanced as typical of one who is careless or indifferent to religion, yet in the account given of him in Acts, he merely displayed an attitude characteristic of the manner in which Roman governors regarded the religious disputes of the time (compare also LYSIAS; FELIX; FESTUS). Trained by his administrative duties to practical thinking and precision of language, he refused to adjudicate the squabbles of what he regarded as an obscure religious sect, whose law was to him a subtle quibbling with "words and names."

According to extra-canonical references, the original name of Gallio was Marcus Annaeus Novatus, but this was changed on his being adopted by the rhetorician, Lucius Junius Gallio. He was born at Cordova, but came to Rome in the reign of Tiberius. He was the brother of the philosopher Seneca, by whom, as also by Statius, reference is made to the affable nature of his character. As Achaia was reconstituted a proconsular province by Claudius in 44 AD, the accession of Gallio to office must have been subsequent to that date, and has been variously placed at 51-53 AD (compare also Knowling in The Expositor’s Greek Testament, II, 389-92).

C. M. Kerr





gam’-a-el (Gamael):

Chief of the family of Ithamar who went up from Babylon with Ezra (APC 1Esdras 8:29);

called Daniel in Ezr 8:2.


ga-ma’-li-el (gamli’el, "reward or recompense of God"; Gamaliel):

(1) The son of Pedahzur, and "prince of the children of Manasseh," chosen to aid in taking the census in the Wilderness (Nu 1:10; 2:20; 7:54,59; 10:23).

(2) A Pharisee who at the meeting of the "council" succeeded in persuading its members to adopt a more reasonable course when they were incensed at the doctrine of Peter and the rest of the apostles and sought to slay them (Ac 5:33-40). That he was well qualified for this task is attested by the fact that he was himself a member of the Sanhedrin, a teacher of the law, and held in high honor among all the people. In his speech he pointed out to his fellow-councilors the dire consequences that might ensue upon any precipitous action on their part. While quoting instances, familiar to his hearers, of past insurrections or seditions that had failed, he reminded them at the same time that if this last under Peter "is of God, ye will not be able to overthrow them; lest haply ye be found even to be fighting against God." As a result of his arguments, the apostles, after being beaten and admonished to speak no longer in the name of Jesus, were released. In the speech which he was permitted by Lysias to deliver from the stairs of the palace after the riot in Jerusalem, Paul referred to Gamaliel as the teacher of his youth, who instructed him rigidly in the Mosaic law (Ac 22:3).

The toleration and liberality displayed by Gamaliel upon the occasion of his speech before the Sanhedrin were all the more remarkable because of their rarity among the Pharisees of the period. Although the strict observance by the Christians of temple worship, and their belief in immortality, a point in dispute between Pharisees and Sadducees, may have had influence over him (Knowling), no credence is to be attached to the view that he definitely favored the apostles or to the tradition that he afterward became a Christian. The high place accorded him in Jewish tradition, and the fact that the title of Rabban, higher even than Rabbi or Master, was first bestowed upon him, testify that he remained a Pharisee to the end. His speech is rather indicative of one who knew the deeper truth in the Old Testament of the universal fatherhood of God, and who recognized that the presence of His power was the. deciding factor in all human enterprise. His social enactments were permeated by the same broad-minded spirit. Thus his legislation on behalf of the poor was formulated so as to include Gentiles as well as Jews. The authenticity of his speech has been questioned by Wendt and others, chiefly on account of the alleged anachronism in regard to Theudas (see THEUDAS); but the internal evidence is against this view (compare Knowling in The Expositor Greek Test., II, 161). It has also been objected by Baur and the Tubingen school that the liberal, peace-loving Gamaliel could not have been the teacher of the fanatical Saul. To this, reply has been made, firstly, that the charges against Stephen of destroying the temple and subverting the laws of Moses were not brought against Peter and the other apostles, and, secondly, that the doctrines of any teacher, however moderate he himself may be, are liable to be carried to extremes by an over-zealous pupil.


Conybeare and Howson, Life and Epistles of Paul, chapter ii; Kitto, Cyclopaedia of Biblical Lit., 1866, article "Gamaliel" (Ginsberg).

C. M. Kerr




1. Children’s Games


2. Sports

3. Games of Chance and Skill

4. Story-Telling

5. Dancing

6. Proverbs

7. Riddles


1. Historical Introduction

2. General References

3. Specific References to Greek Athletics

4. References to the Theater and the Drama


About the amusements of the ancient Israelites we know but little, partly on account of the nature of our literary sources, which are almost exclusively religious, partly because the antiquities thus far discovered yield very little information on this topic as compared with those of some other countries, and partly because of the relatively serious character of the people. Games evidently took a less prominent place in Hebrew life than in that of the Greeks, the Romans and the Egyptians. Still the need for recreation was felt and to a certain extent supplied in ways according with the national temperament. Mere athletics (apart from Greek and Roman influence) were but little cultivated. Simple and natural amusements and exercises, and trials of wit and wisdom, were more to the Hebrew taste. What is known or probably conjectured may be summed up under the following heads: Games of Children; Sports; Games of Chance and Skill; Story-telling; Dancing; Proverbs; Riddles. The amusements of Greece and Rome, which to some extent influenced later Jewish society and especially those which are directly or indirectly referred to in the New Testament, will be theme of the latter part of the article.

I. Israelite Games

1. Children’s Games:

There are two general references to the playing of children: Zec 8:5: "And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof"; and Ge 21:9 margin, where we read of Ishmael "playing" (metscheq). The rendering of our Bibles, "mocking," is open to question. Of specific games and pets there is hardly a mention in the Old Testament. Playing with ball is alluded to in Isa 22:18: "He will .... toss thee like a ball into a large country," but children need not be thought of as the only players. If the balls used in Palestine were like those used by the Egyptians, they were sometimes made of leather or skin stuffed with bran or husks of corn, or of string and rushes covered with leather (compare Wilkinson, Popular Account, I, 198-201; British Museum Guide to the Egyptian Collections, 78). The question of Yahweh to Job (41:5): "Wilt thou play with him (the crocodile) as with a bird? or wilt thou bind him for thy maidens?" suggests that tame birds were petted by Hebrew children, especially by girls. The New Testament has one reference to children’s play, namely, the half-parable about the children in the market-place who would neither dance to the flute as if at a marriage feast nor wail as if at a funeral (Mt 11:16 f parallel Lu 7:32).


There are interesting accounts in Les enfants de Nazareth, by the Abbe Le Camus (60-66; 101-10), of the way in which the children of the modern Nazareth mimic scenes connected with weddings and funerals. That Israelite children had toys (dolls, models of animals, etc.) cannot be doubted in view of the finds in Egypt and elsewhere, but no positive evidence seems to be as yet forthcoming.

2. Sports:

Running was no doubt often practiced, especially in the time of the early monarchy. Saul and Jonathan (2Sa 1:23), Asahel (2Sa 2:18), Ahimaaz (18:23,27) and some of the Gadites in David’s service (1Ch 12:8) were renowned for their speed, which can only have been the result of training and exercise. The same may be said of the feats of those who ran before a king or a prince (1Sa 8:11; 2Sa 15:1; 1Ki 1:5; 18:46). The Psalmist must have watched great runners before he pictured the sun as rejoicing like a strong man to run his course (Ps 19:5; compare also Ec 9:11; Jer 8:6; 23:10). For running in the Greek games, see the latter part of this article.

Archery practice is implied in the story of Jonathan’s touching interview with David (1Sa 20:20,35-38) and in Job’s complaint: "He hath also set me up for his mark. His archers compass me round about" (Job 16:12 f). Only by long practice could the 700 left-handed Benjamite slingers, every one of whom could sling stones at a hair-breadth and not miss (Jud 20:16), and the young David (1Sa 17:49), have attained to the precision of aim for which they are famous.

In Zec 12:3, "I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone," literally, "a stone of burden," Jerome found an allusion to a custom which prevailed widely in Palestine in his day, and has been noticed by a recent traveler, of stone-lifting, i.e. of testing the strength of young men by means of heavy round stones. Some, he says, could raise one of these stones to the knees, others to the waist, others to the shoulders and the head, and a few could lift it above the head. This interpretation is not quite certain (Wright, Comm., 364), but the form of sport described was probably in vogue in Palestine in Biblical times.

High leaping or jumping was probably also practiced (Ps 18:29). The "play" referred to in 2Sa 2:14 ff of 12 Benjamites and 12 servants of David was not a sport but a combat like that of the Horatii and the Curiatii.

3. Games of Chance and Skill:

Dice were known to the ancient Egyptians, and Assyrian dice have been found, made of bronze with points of gold, but there is no trace of them in the Old Testament. Recent research at Ta‘-annek has brought to light many bones which seem to have been used in somewhat the same way as in a game played by the modern Arabs, who call it ka‘ab, the very word they apply to dice. These bones were "the oldest and most primitive form of dice" (Konig after Sellin, RE3, XVIII, 634). The use of dice among the later Jews is attested by the condemnation of dice-players in the Mishna (Sanh., iii. 3). The Syrian soldiers who cast lots for the raiment of Jesus at the cross (Mt 27:35 parallel Mr 15:24; Lu 23:34; Joh 19:24) may have used dice, but that can neither be proved nor disproved.

It has been suggested that the mockery of Jesus before the Sanhedrin described in Mt 26:67 f parallel Mr 14:65; Lu 22:63 f may have been connected with a Greek game in which one of the players held the eyes of another while a third gave him a box on the ear. The last was then asked with what hand he had been struck. A somewhat similar game is represented in an Egyptian tomb picture (Wilkinson, Popular Account, I, 192). This reference, however, though not quite inadmissible, is scarcely probable. Games with boards and men bearing some resemblance to our draughts were in great favor in Egypt (ibid., 190-95), but cannot be proved for the Jews even in New Testament times.

4. Story-Telling:

Listening to stories or recitations has long been a favorite amusement of Orientals (compare Lane, Modern Egyptians, 359-91: "The Thousand and One Nights"), but there seems to be no reference to it in the Bible. There can be no reasonable doubt, however, that the Hebrews, like their neighbors, had story-tellers or reciters, axed heard them with delight. Egyptian tales of great antiquity are well known from the two volumes edited by Professor Petrie in 1895; and there are several non- canonical Jewish tales which combine romance and moral teaching: the Books of Tobit and Judith and perhaps the Story of Ahikar, the last of which, with the help of the Aramaic papyri discovered at Elephantine, can be traced back (in some form) to about 400 BC (Schurer, GJ V4, III, 255). There are also many short stories in the Haggadic portions of the Talmud and the Midrash.

5. Dancing:

Dancing, that is, the expression of joy by rhythmical movements of the limbs to musical accompaniment, is scarcely ever mentioned in the Bible as a social amusement, except in a general way (Jud 16:25,27(?); Job 21:11; Ps 30:11; Ec 3:4; Jer 31:4,13; La 5:15; Mt 11:17; Lu 15:25). There is one exception, the dancing of Salome, the daughter of Herodias, before Herod Antipas and his court (Mt 14:6 parallel Mr 6:22), which was a solo dance, probably of a pantomimic character affected by Roman influence. The other Biblical references to dancing can be grouped under two heads: the dance of public rejoicing, and the dance which was more or less an act of worship. Of the former we have two striking examples in the Old Testament: the dance accompanied by the tambourine with which the maidens of Israel, led by Jephthah’s daughter, met that leader after his victory (Jud 11:34), and the dances of the Israelite women in honor of Saul and David to celebrate the triumph over the Philistines (1Sa 18:6; 21:11; 29:5).

It was probably usual to welcome a king or general with music and dancing. There is a good illustration in a fine Assyrian sculpture in the British Museum which represents a band of 11 instrumentalists taking part in doing homage to a new ruler. Three men at the head of the procession are distinctly dancing (SBOT, "Psalms," English, 226).

The distinctly religious dance is more frequently mentioned. The clear instances of it in the Bible are the dance of the women of Israel at the Red Sea, headed by Miriam with her tambourine (Ex 15:20); the dance of the Israelites round the golden calf (Ex 32:19); the dance of the maidens of Shiloh at an annual feast (Jud 21:19 ); the leaping or limping of the prophets of Baal round their altar on Carmel (1Ki 18:26), and the dancing of David in front of the ark (2Sa 6:14,16 parallel 1Ch 15:29). There are general references in Ps 149:3: "Let them praise his name in the dance"; 150:4: "Praise him with timbrel and dance"; and perhaps in 68:25. The allusions in So 6:13, "the dance of Mahanaim," and in the proper name Abel- meholah, "the meadow of the dance" (1Ki 19:16, etc.), are too uncertain to be utilized. The ritual dance was probably widespread in the ancient East. David’s performance has Egyptian parallels. Seti I, the father of Rameses II, and three other Pharaohs are said to have danced before a deity (Budge, The Book of the Dead, I, xxxv), and Asiatic monuments attest the custom elsewhere. About the methods of dancing practiced by the ancient Hebrews but little is known. Probably the dancers in some cases joined hands and formed a ring, or part of a ring, as in some heathen representations. The description of David’s dance: he "danced before Yahweh with all his might .... leaping and dancing before Yahweh" (2Sa 6:14-16) suggests three features of that particular display and the mode of dancing which it represented: violent exertion, leaping (mephazzez), and whirling round (mekharker). Perhaps the whirling dance of Islam is a modern parallel to the last. Women seem generally to have danced by themselves, one often leading the rest, both in dancing and antiphonal song; so Miriam and the women of Israel, Jephthah’s daughter and her comrades, the women who greeted Saul and David, and, in the Apocrypha, Judith and her sisters after the death of Holofernes (Judith 15:12 f). Once the separation of the sexes is perhaps distinctly referred to (Jer 31:13). In public religious dances they may have occasionally united, as was the case sometimes in the heathen world, but there is no clear evidence to that effect (compare, however, 2Sa 6:20 and Ps 68:25). Of the social dancing of couples in the modern fashion there is no trace. There seems to be some proof that the religious dance lingered among the Jews until the time of Christ and later.

If the Mishna can be trusted (Cukkah, v.4), there was a torch-light dance in the temple in the illuminated court of the women at the Feast of Tabernacles in which men of advanced years and high standing took part. The Gemara to the Jerusalem Talmud adds that a famous dancer on these occasions was Rabbi Simeon or Simon, the son of Gamaliel, who lived in the apostolic age (Josephus, BJ, IV, iii, 9). According to another passage (Ta‘anith 4 8) the daughters of Jerusalem used to dance dressed in white in the vineyards on Tishri the 10th and Abib the 15th. Religious dancing in the modern East is illustrated not only by the dances of the dervishes mentioned above, but also by occasional dances led by the sheikh in honor of a saint (Curtiss, Primitive Semitic Religion Today, 169). Among the later Jews dancing was not unusual at wedding feasts. More than one eminent rabbi is said to have danced before the bride (Kethubboth 17a). Singing and dancing, with lighted torches, are said to be wedding customs of the modern Arabs.


Arts. "Dance" in Smith DB2, HDB, DCG, EB, Jew Encyclopedia (also "Games"); "Tanz" in RE3 and the German Dictionaries of Winer, Riehm, and Guthe (Reigen); Nowack, HA, I, 278 f.

6. Proverbs:

Proverbs (mashal; paroimia) :Proverbs and proverbial expressions seem to have been, to some extent, a means of amusement as well as instruction for the ancient Oriental who delighted in the short, pointed statement of a moral or religious truth, or a prudential maxim, whether of literary or popular origin. Most of these sayings in the Bible belong to the former class, and are couched in poetic form (see PROVERBS; ECCLESIASTES; ECCLESIASTICUS). The others which are shorter and simpler, together with a number of picturesque proverbial phrases, must have recurred continually in daily speech and have added greatly to its vivacity.

The Old Testament supplies the following 10 examples of the popular proverb:

(1) "Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before Yahweh" (Ge 10:9);

(2) "As the man is, so is his strength" (Jud 8:21), only two words in the Hebrew;

(3) "Is Saul also among the prophets?" (1Sa 10:11 f; 19:24);

(4) "Out of the wicked (wicked men) cometh forth wickedness" (1Sa 24:13);

(5) "There are the blind and the lame; he cannot come into the house" (2Sa 5:8);

(6) "Let not him that girdeth on his armor boast himself as he that putteth it off" (1Ki 20:11);

(7) "Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life" (Job 2:4);

(8) "The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth" (Eze 12:22), a scoffing jest rather than a proverb;

(9) "As is the mother, so is her daughter" (Eze 16:44), two words in the Hebrew;

(10) "The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge" (Jer 31:29; Eze 18:2).

In the New Testament we find 10 others:

(1) "Physician, heal thyself" (Lu 4:23); in the Midrash Rabbah on Gen: "Physician heal thine own wound";

(2) "Can the blind guide the blind? shall they not both fall into a pit?" (Lu 6:39);

(3) "With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured unto you" (Mt 7:2 parallel Mr 4:24; Lu 6:38), almost identical with a Jewish proverb, "measure for measure" cited several times in the ancient Midrash, the Mekhilta’;

(4) "One soweth, and another reapeth" (Joh 4:37);

(5) "A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country" (Mt 13:57; Lu 4:24; Joh 4:44; Logion of Oxyrhynchus);

(6) "There are yet four months, and then cometh the harvest" (Joh 4:35), possibly a kind of proverb;

(7) "Wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles (m "vultures") be gathered together" (Mt 24:28 parallel Lu 17:37); perhaps a proverb of which there is a trace also in the reference to the vulture: "Where the slain are, there is she" (Job 39:30);

(8) "It is hard for thee to kick against the goad" (Ac 26:14), a Greek proverb: for proof compare Wetstein’s note;

(9) "The dog turning to his own vomit again, and the sow that had washed to wallowing in the mire" (2Pe 2:22); Wetstein gives rabbinic parallels for the former half, and Greek for the latter;

(10) "Ye .... strain out the gnat, and swallow the camel" (Mt 23:24).

There are also many proverbial phrases which added piquancy to conversation. Exceeding smallness was likened to the eye of a needle (Mt 19:24 parallel Mr 10:25; Lu 18:25), or to a grain of mustard (Mt 13:31 parallel Mr 4:31; Mt 17:20 parallel Lu 17:6), comparisons both found also in the Talmud, the Koran, and modern Arabic sayings. Relative greatness was likened to a camel (Mt 19:24, etc.), in the Talmud to a camel or an elephant. Great number was illustrated by reference to "the sand which is upon the sea-shore" (Ge 22:17 and many other passages); "the dust of the earth" (Ge 13:16, etc.; also an Arabian figure); "the grass of the earth" (Job 5:25; Ps 72:16; compare Ps 92:7), an early Babylonian figure; a swarm of locusts (Na 3:15 and Na 4 other passages), a similitude used also by Sennacherib (RP, n.s. VI, 97), and the stars of heaven (Ge 15:5 and 10 other passages). When complete security was promised or described it was said that not a hair of the head was or should be injured or perish (1Sa 14:45; 2Sa 14:11; 1Ki 1:52; Da 3:27; Lu 21:18; Ac 27:34). Overcoming of difficulties was referred to as the removal of mountains (Mt 17:20; 21:21 parallel Mr 11:23; 1Co 13:2), an expression which has rabbinic parallels. Other proverbial phrases may perhaps be found in the saying about the mote and the beam (Mt 7:3-5), jot or tittle (Mt 5:18 parallel Lu 16:17), and the foolish words of Rehoboam and his young advisers (1Ki 12:10 f). Many old proverbs have no doubt perished. Dukes in his Rabbinische Blumenlese gives 665 proverbs and proverbial expressions from the Talmud and related literature, and modern collections show that proverbial lore is still in great favor in the Biblical Orient.

See also PROVERBS.


In addition to works already mentioned Konig, Stilistik, etc., DCG ("Jesus’ Use of Proverbs"); Murray, DB, article "Proverbs"; Cohen, Ancient Jewish Proverbs, 1911.

7. Riddles:

Riddles (chidhah; ainigma): Riddle-making and riddle-guessing were in favor in the ancient East, both in educated circles and in comparatively common life. There is a tablet in the British Museum (K 4347: Guide to Assyrian and Babylonian Antiquities2, 53) from the library of Ashur-bani-pal which attests the use of riddles not only by the Assyrians of the 7th century BC, but also in a far earlier age, for it contains a Sumer as well as a Semitic text. So it is not surprising that we find a remarkable example in early Israelite history in Samson’s famous riddle: "Out of the eater came forth food, and out of the strong came forth sweetness" (Jud 14:14). The riddle is couched in poetic form, as is also the solution: "What is sweeter than honey? and what is stronger than a lion?" (Jud 14:18), and the comment: "If ye had not plowed with my heifer, ye had not found out my riddle" (same place) . The stipulation of a prize or penalty according to the success or failure of the persons challenged to solve the riddle was a custom met with also among the ancient Greeks and in a later age among the Arabs. In 1Ki 10:1 parallel 2Ch 9:1 the word used of Samson’s riddle (chidhah) is employed of the "hard questions" put to Solomon by the queen of Sheba. The Septuagint seems to have understood the word as "riddle" here also, for it renders "enigmas," and some of the later Jews not only adopted this interpretation, but actually gave riddles said to have been propounded. Of these riddles which, of course, have no direct historic value, but are interesting specimens of riddle lore, one of the best is the following: "Without movement while living, it moves when its head is cut off"; the answer to which is: "a tree" (Jewish Encyclopedia, article "Riddle"; see also for these riddles Wunsche, Die Rathselweisheit bei den Hebraern, 15-23). If Josephus can be trusted, historians of Phoenicia recorded a riddle- contest between Solomon and the Phoenician Hiram in which the latter finally won with the help of a Tyrian named Abdemon (Ant., VIII, v, 3; CAp, 1, 18). In this case, too, defeat involved penalty. The testing of ability by riddles has a striking parallel in the Persian epic, the Shah Nameh, in the trial of the hero Sal by the mobeds or wise men (Wunsche, op. cit., 43-47). Solomon’s fame as an author of riddles and riddle-like sayings is referred to in Sirach 47:15,17 (Hebrew): "With song, and proverbs, dark sayings (chidhah) and figures, thou didst greatly move the nations." Chidhah occurs only once in Pr (1:6): "the words of the wise, and their dark sayings," but the collection contains several examples of what Konig calls "the numerical riddle": Pr 6:16-19; 30:7 ff, 15 f, 18 f, 21 ff, 24-28,29 ff. In each case the riddle is stated first and then the solution. The saying in Pr 26:10: "As an archer that woundeth all, so is he that hireth the fool and he that hireth them that pass by," has been cited as a riddle, and it is certainly obscure enough, but the obscurity may be due to textual corruption. There are several passages in the Old Testament in which the word chidhah seems to be used in the general sense of "mysterious utterance": Nu 12:8; Ps 49:4; 78:2; Da 5:12 (the Aramaic equivalent of chidhah); Da 8:23; Hab 2:6. In Eze 17:1 it describes the parable or allegory of the Two Eagles and the Cedar and the Vine. Sirach has several numerical riddles: 23:16; 25:1 f, 7 f; 26:5 f; 50:25 f; and there are similar sayings in Ab 5 1-11,16-21 (Taylor’s edition). In the Book of Jeremiah (25:26; 51:41; 51:1) are two examples of a cryptic or cipher mode of writing which comes very near the riddle. SHe SHaKH, in the first two passages, represented by the three letters shin, shin, kaph, answering to our sh, sh, k, is meant to be read with the substitution for each letter of the letter as near the beginning of the alphabet as it is near the end, the result being sh = b, sh = b, k = l, that is, B-b-l or Babel/Babylon. In the same way in the last passage the consonants composing the word Lebkamai l, b, k, margin, y, suggest k, s, d, y, margin, that is, Kasdim or Chaldees. This cipher or riddle-writing was called by the Jews ‘At-bash (compare Buxtorf, Lexicon Chaldaicum, etc., I, 131, 137 f, edited by Fischer; and modern commentaries on Jer). The New Testament contains no riddle except the numerical puzzle, Re 13:18 (compare NUMBER; GEMATRIA), and has the Greek equivalent of chidhah only in 1Co 13:12, "for now we see .... darkly," the Revised Version, margin "in a riddle" (Greek en ainigmati). There can be little doubt that riddles enlivened marriage festivals, such as that of Cana. Wunsche (op. cit.) gives some interesting specimens of later Jewish riddles, subsequent indeed to our Lord’s time, but such as might have been in circulation then.


The most important authority is the above-cited monograph of Wunsche. Konig has an interesting paragraph in his Stilistik, Rhetorik, Poetik, etc., 12 f. Compare also Hamburger, RE, II, 966 ff; articles on "Riddle" in Jew Encyclopedia, Smith’s DB, HDB, larger and smaller; Murray’s DB; German Bible Dictionaries of Winer, Riehm2, and Guthe; Rosenmuller, Das alte und neue Morgenland, III. 48 f.

II. The Games of Greece and Rome.

1. Historical Introduction:

This is not the place to give a detailed account of the Greek gymnasia and the elaborate contests for which candidates were prepared in them, or to describe the special forms of sport introduced by the Romans, but these exercises and amusements were so well known in Palestine and throughout the Roman Empire in the time of Christ and the apostles that they cannot be passed over in silence. Some acquaintance with them is absolutely necessary for the interpretation of many passages in the New Testament, especially in the Epistles. Hellenic athletics found their way into Jewish society through the influence of the Greek kingdom ruled over by the Seleucids. Early in the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes (circa 176 BC) a gymnasium, "place of exercise," was built in Jerusalem (1 Macc 1:14; 2 Macc 4:9,12) and frequented by priests (1 Macc 1:14 f), who are spoken of as "making of no account the honors of their fathers, and thinking the glories of the Greeks best of all." After the success of the Maccabean rising Greek games fell into disrepute among the Jewish population of Palestine, and were thenceforth regarded with suspicion by all strict religionists, even the worldly Josephus sharing the general feeling (Ant., XV, viii, 1). Nevertheless Gentilegames must have been familiar to most in Jerusalem and elsewhere during the Herodian rule and the Roman occupation. Herod the Great built a theater and amphitheater in the neighborhood of the city (Josephus, ibid.; for probable sites, see G.A. Smith, Jerusalem, II, 493), and instituted in the name of Caesar games which included Roman as well as Hellenic sports, celebrated every 5 years. There was also a hippodrome or race-course for horses and chariots, bearing considerable resemblance to the Roman circus (Josephus, Ant, XVII, x, 2; BJ, II, iii, 1). Jericho, too, was provided with a theater, an amphitheater and a hippodrome. There was a hippodrome also at Tarichea. In addition there were scattered over Syria many Hellenic and partially Hellenic cities—Schurer (GJV4, II, 108-221) gives the history of 33—Caesarea Stratonis, Caesarea Philippi, the cities of the Decapolis, Tiberias, etc., which would all have had gymnasia and games. In Tarsus, which must have had a large Greek element in its population, Paul must have heard, and perhaps seen, in his childhood, much of the athletic exercises which were constantly in progress, and in later life he must often have been reminded of them, especially at Corinth, near which were celebrated biennially the Isthmia or Isthmian Games which drew visitors from all parts of the Empire, at Caesarea which possessed a theater, an amphitheater and a stadium, and at Ephesus. The custom, indeed, seems to have been almost universal. No provincial city of any importance was without it (Schurer, op. cit., 48), especially after the introduction of games in honor of the Caesars. The early Christians, therefore, whether of Jewish or Gentileorigin, were able to understand, and the latter at any rate to appreciate, references either to the games in general, or to details of their celebration.

2. General References:

The word which described the assembly gathered together at one of the great Grecian games (agon) was also applied to the contests themselves, and then came to be used of any intense effort or conflict. The corresponding verb (agonizomai) had a similar history. Both these words are used figuratively in the Pauline Epistles: the noun in Php 1:30; Col 2:1; 1Th 2:2; 1Ti 6:12; 2Ti 4:7, rendered in the Revised Version (British and American) (except in the second passage), "conflict" or "fight"; the verb in Col 1:29; 4:12; 1Ti 4:10; 6:12; 2Ti 4:7, translated "strive," "fight." In 1Co 9:25; 2Ti 2:5 (where another word is used) there are literal references. The former passage English Revised Version: "Every man that striveth in the games (agonizomenos) is temperate in all things," also alludes to the rigid self-control enforced by long training which the athlete must practice. The training itself is glanced at in the exhortation: "Exercise thyself (gumnaze) unto godliness" (1Ti 4:7), and in the remark which follows: "Bodily exercise (gumnasia) is profitable for a little." It is remarkable that the word gymnasium, or "place of training," which occurs in the Apocrypha (2 Macc 4:9,12) is not met with in the New Testament. The necessity for the observance of rules and regulations is referred to in the words: "And if also a man contend in the games, he is not crowned, except he have contended lawfully" (2Ti 2:5). In all these passages the games will have been more or less in the apostle’s thought (for other possible New Testament references compare Heb 5:14; 10:32; 12:1; 2Pe 2:14).

3. Specific References to Greek Athletics:

In addition to these general references there are many allusions to details, again found mainly in the Pauline Epistles. These may most conveniently be grouped in alphabetical order.

(a) Beast-fight.

The combats of wild animals with one another and with men, which were so popular at Rome toward the close of the Republic and under the Empire, were not unknown in Palestine. Condemned criminals were thrown to wild beasts by Herod the Great in his amphitheater at Jerusalem, "to afford delight to spectators," a proceeding which Josephus (Ant., XV, viii, 1) characterizes as impious. After the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD many Jewish captives were slain in fighting with wild beasts (BJ, VII, ii). This horrible form of sport must have been in the apostle’s mind when he wrote: "I fought with beasts (etheriomachesa) at Ephesus" (1Co 15:32). The reference is best understood as figurative, as in Ignatius on Ro 5:1, where the same word (theriomacheo) is used, and the soldiers are compared to leopards.

(b) Boxing.

This form of sport is directly referred to in 1Co 9:26: "So box I (Revised Version margin, Greek pukteuo), as not beating the air." The allusion is probably continued in 9:27a: "but I buffet (the Revised Version, margin "bruise," Greek hupopiazo) my body."

(c) The Course.

Foot-races and other contests took place in an enclosure 606 feet 9 inches in length, called a stadium. This is once referred to in a passage in the context of that just mentioned, which almost seems based on observation: "They that run in a race-course (RVm, Greek stadion) run all" (1Co 9:24).

(d) Discus Throwing.

The throwing of the discus, a round plate of stone or metal 10 or 12 inches in diameter, which was a prominent feature of Greek athletics and is the subject of a famous statue, a copy of which is in the British Museum, is not mentioned in the New Testament, but is alluded to in 2 Macc 4:14 as one of the amusements indulged in by Hellenizing priests in the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes.

(e) The Foot-race.

The words for "run" and "race" (Greek trecho and dromos) sometimes clearly, and in other cases probably, allude to foot-races at the games. For obvious references compare 1Co 9:24; Heb 12:1; 2Ti 4:7; for possible references see Ac 13:25; 20:24; Ro 9:16; Ga 2:2; 5:7; Php 2:16; 2Th 3:1. The second of these passages (Heb 12:1) alludes to the necessity for the greatest possible reduction of weight, and for steady concentration of effort. All the passages would remind the first readers of the single-course and double-course foot-races of the games.

(f) The Goal.

The goal of the foot-race, a square pillar at the end of the stadium opposite the entrance, which the athlete as far as possible kept in view and the sight of which encouraged him to redouble his exertions, is alluded to once: "I press on toward the goal" (Php 3:14, Greek skopos).

(g) The Herald.

The name and country of each competitor were announced by a herald and also the name, country and father of a victor. There may be an allusion to this custom in 1Co 9:27: "after that I have been a herald (Revised Version margins, Greek kerusso) to others"; compare also 1Ti 2:7; 2Ti 1:11, where the Greek for "preacher" is kerux, "herald."

(h) The Prize.

Successful athletes were rewarded at the great games by a wreath consisting in the apostolic age of wild olive (Olympian), parsley (Nemean), laurel (Pythian), or pine (Isthmian). This is referred to in a general way in Php 3:14, and in 1Co 9:24: "One receiveth the prize" (Greek in both cases brabeion; compare also Col 3:15: "Let the peace of Christ arbitrate (Revised Version margin) in your hearts," where the verb is brabeuo). The wreath (stephanos) is directly alluded to in 1Co 9:25: "They (the athletes) do it to receive a corruptible crown"; 2Ti 2:5: "A man .... is not crowned, except he have contended lawfully"; and 1Pe 5:4: "Ye shall receive the crown of glory that fadeth not away." There may be allusions also in Php 4:1; 1Th 2:19; Heb 2:7,9; Jas 1:12; Re 2:10; 3:11. In the palm-bearing multitude of the Apocalypse (Re 7:9) there is possibly a reference to the carrying of palm-branches by victors at the games. The judges who sat near the goal and who, at Olympia at any rate, had been carefully prepared for their task, may be glanced at in 2Ti 4:8: "The crown .... which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give to me at that day."

(i) Wrestling.

This form of sport, which was in great favor in Greek society from the age of Homer onward, is alluded to once in the New Testament: "Our wrestling (Greek pale) is not against flesh and blood," etc. (Eph 6:12). The exercise made great demands on strength, perseverance and dexterity. There is an indirect allusion in the term palaestra, which first meant "place for wrestling," and then "place for athletic exercises in general" (2 Macc 4:14).

4. References to the Theater and the Drama:

Although there is no direct reference in the New Testament to the intellectual contests in which the Greeks delighted as much as in athletics, the former cannot be entirely ignored. The word "theater" (Greek theatron) occurs 3 times: twice in the sense of "public hall" (Ac 19:29,31); and once with a clear reference to its use as a place of amusement: "We are made a spectacle" (1Co 4:9). "The drama was strongly discountenanced by the strict Jews of Palestine, but was probably encouraged to some extent by some of the Jews of the Diaspora, especially in Asia Minor and Alexandria. Philo is known to have witnessed the representation of a play of Euripides, and the Jewish colony to which he belonged produced a dramatic poet named Ezekiel, who wrote inter alia a play on the Exodus, some fragments of which have been preserved (Schurer, GJV4, II, 60; III, 500 ff). An inscription found not long ago at Miletus shows that part of theater of that city was reserved for Jews (Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East, 446 ff). The readers of the Pauline Epistles, Jews as well as Gentiles, would be generally more or less familiar with theater and the drama. It has been suggested that there is a glimpse of a degraded form of the drama, the mime or mimic play, which was exceedingly popular in the 1st century and afterward, in the mockery of Jesus by the soldiers (Mt 27:27-30 parallel Mr 15:16-19). The "king" seems to have been a favorite character with the comic mime. The mockery of the Jewish king, Agrippa I, by the populace of Alexandria, a few years later, which furnishes a very striking parallel to the incident recorded in the Gospels (Schurer, GJV4, I, 497), is directly connected by Philo with the mimes. The subject is very ably discussed by a German scholar, Hermann Reich, in a learned monograph, Der Konig mit der Dornenkrone (1905). Certainty is, of course, unattainable, but it seems at least fairly probable that the rude Syrian soldiers, who were no doubt in the habit of attending theater, may have been echoing some mimic play in their mock homage to "the king of the Jews."


In addition to works already mentioned see for the whole subject: articles "Games" in Smith, DB2; HDB, large and small; EB; Jewish Encyclopedia; arts. "Spiele" in Winer, RWB, and Riehm2, and especially Konig, "Spiele bei den Hebraern," RE3. On the games of Greece and Rome See articles in Smith’s Dict. of Greek and Roman Antiquities, "Amphitheatrum," "Circus," "Olympia," "Stadium," etc.

William Taylor Smith


gam’-a-dim (gammadhim):

The word occurs only in Eze 27:11, in the King James Version in form "Gammadims," in the English Revised Version "Gammadim." In the American Standard Revised Version, as also in the English Revised Version, margin, it is rendered "valorous men." Some think a proper name is required, but identification is not possible, and the meaning remains doubtful.


ga’-mul (gamul, "weaned"):

The head of the 22nd of the 24 courses of priests inaugurated by David (1Ch 24:17).


gan’-gren (gaggraina, pronounced gan-graina; the King James Version canker):

The name was used by the old Greek physicians for an eating ulcer which corrodes the soft parts and, according to Galen, often ends in mortification. Paul compares the corrupting influence of profane babbling or levity, in connection with subjects which ought to be treated with reverence to this disease (2Ti 2:17). The old English word "canker" is used by 16th-and 17th-century authors as the name of a caterpillar which eats into a bud. In this sense it occurs 18 times in Shakespeare (e.g. Midsummer Night’s Dream, II, ii, 3). The canker-worm mentioned 6 times by Joe and Nahum is probably the young stage of Acridium peregrinum, a species of locust. Cankered in Jas 5:3 the King James Version means "rusted" (Greek katiotai), and is so rendered in the Revised Version (British and American). In Susanna verse 52 Coverdale uses the phrase, "O thou old cankered carle," in Daniel’s address to the elder, where English Versions of the Bible has "waxen old in wickedness." The word is still used in the Scottish dialect and applied to persons who are cross-grained and disagreeable.

Alexander Macalister


The translation of perets, "a breach" (Eze 13:5, "Ye have not gone up into the gaps," the Revised Version, margin "breaches"; Eze 22:30, "I sought for a man among them, that should build up the wall, and stand in the gap before me for the land"). Said of prophets who failed to stand up for the right and to strengthen and preserve the people.


gar: the King James Version for GAS (which see).


gar’-d’-n (gan, gannah, ginnah; kepos): The Arabic jannah (diminutive, jannainah), like the Hebrew gannah, literally, "a covered or hidden place," denotes in the mind of the dweller in the East something more than the ordinary garden. Gardens in Biblical times, such as are frequently referred to in Semitic literature, were usually walled enclosures, as the name indicates (La 2:6 the American Revised Version, margin), in which there were paths winding in and out among shade and fruit trees, canals of running water, fountains, sweet-smelling herbs, aromatic blossoms and convenient arbors in which to sit and enjoy the effect. These gardens are mentioned in Ge 2 and Ge 3; 13:10; So 4:12-16; Ec 2:5,6; Eze 28:13; 31:8,9; 36:35; Joe 2:3. Ancient Babylonian, Assyrian and Egyptian records show the fondness of the rulers of these countries for gardens laid out on a grand scale and planted with the rarest trees and plants. The drawings made by the ancients of their gardens leave no doubt about their general features and their correspondence with Biblical gardens. The Persian word pardec (paradeisos) appears in the later Hebrew writings to denote more extensive gardens or parks. It is translated "orchards" in Ec 2:5 the King James Version; So 4:13.


Such gardens are still common throughout the Levant. They are usually situated on the outskirts of a city (compare Joh 18:1,26; 19:41), except in the case of the more pretentious estates of rich pashas or of the government seats (compare 2Ki 21:18; Es 1:5; 7:7,8; Ne 3:15; 2Ki 25:4; Jer 39:4; 52:7). They are enclosed with walls of mud blocks, as in Damascus, or stone walls capped with thorns, or with hedges of thorny bushes (compare La 2:6 the American Revised Version, margin), or prickly pear. In nearly treeless countries, where there is no rain during 4 or 5 months, at least, of the year, the gardens are often the only spots where trees and other vegetation can flourish, and here the existence of vegetation depends upon the water supply, brought in canals from streams, or raised from wells by more or less crude lifting machines (compare Nu 24:7). Such references as Ge 2:10; Nu 24:6; De 11:10; Isa 1:30; 58:11; So 4:15 indicate that in ancient times they were as dependent upon irrigation in Biblical lands as at present. The planning of their gardens so as to utilize the water supplies has become instinctive with the inhabitants of Palestine and Syria. The writer has seen a group of young Arab boys modeling a garden out of mud and conducting water to irrigate it by channels from a nearby canal, in a manner that a modern engineer would admire. Gardens are cultivated, not only for their fruits and herbs (compare So 6:11; Isa 1:8; 1Ki 21:2) and shade (compare So 6:11; Lu 13:19), but they are planned to serve as dwelling-places during the summer time when the houses are hot and stuffy. That this was an ancient practice is indicated by So 5:2; 6:2; 8:13. A shaded garden, the air laden with the ethereal perfumes of fruits and flowers, accompanied by the music of running water, a couch on which to sit or recline, suggest a condition of bliss dear to the Oriental. Only one who has traveled for days in a dry, glaring desert country and has come upon a spot like the gardens of such a city as Damascus, can realize how near like paradise these gardens can appear. Mohammed pictured such a place as the future abode of his followers

No doubt the remembrances of his visit to Damascus were fresh in his mind when he wrote. El-Jannah is used by the Moslems to signify the "paradise of the faithful."

Gardens were used as places of sacrifice, especially in heathen worship (Isa 1:29; 65:3; 66:17). They sometimes contained burial places (2Ki 21:18,26; Joh 19:41).

Figurative: The destruction of gardens typified desolation (Am 4:9); on the other hand, fruitful gardens figured prosperity (Nu 24:6; Job 8:16; Isa 51:3; 58:11; 61:11; Jer 29:5,28; 31:12; Am 9:14).

James A. Patch


Mention is made of "the king’s garden" in 2Ki 25:4; Jer 39:4; 52:7 (fundamentally the same passage), in connection with the flight of Zedekiah from Jerusalem; and again in Ne 3:15. The last passage shows that the "garden" was at the pool of Siloah (the Revised Version (British and American) "Shelah"), at the mouth of Tyropeon, near the "fountain gate." This would seem to be "the gate between the two walls which was by the king’s garden" of the passages in 2Ki and Jer (compare 2Ch 32:5). On the topography, see JERUSALEM; also Robinson, Palestine, II, 142. Arnold (in Herzog) thinks the garden is probably identical with "the garden of Uzza" of 2Ki 21:18,26.

James Orr


(beth ha-gan):

A place mentioned in describing the flight of Ahaziah, king of Judah, from Jehu (2Ki 9:27). Probably we ought not to translate the Hebrew, but take it as a proper name, BETH-HAGGAN (which see). If he fled southward, the town might possibly be Jenin, EN-GANNIM, which see.


gar’-d’-n-er (kepouros):

"Gardener" occurs once in the English Versions of the Bible (Joh 20:15), the translation of kepos and ouros, "warden" or "keeper." It is likely that the man referred to was the watchman or keeper (Arabic natur; Hebrew notser), corresponding to those mentioned in 2Ki 17:9; 18:8; Job 27:18, etc., and not one who did the manual labor. It is the common practice in Palestine today to set a watchman over a garden during its productive season.



ga’-reb (garebh):

One of David’s "mighty men of the armies" (2Sa 23:38; 1Ch 11:40), an "Ithrite," i.e. a member of one of the families of Kiriath-jearim (1Ch 2:53). Some, however, read ha-yattiri for ha- yithri, thus making him a native of Jattir.

See IRA.


ga’-reb, (garebh):

A hill in the neighborhood of Jerusalem, which was one of the landmarks to which the prophet Jeremiah (31:39) foresaw that the city should extend. The site is unknown. Cheyne (Encyclopedia Biblica) would connect this with the "mountain that lieth before the valley of Hinnom westward" (Jos 15:8), but this is too far South; it is inconceivable that the prophet could have imagined the city extending so far in this direction; most probably the hill was to the North—the one natural direction for the city’s extension—and is now incorporated in the modern suburbs.

E. W. G. Masterman





gar’-land (stemma, "wreath"):

Mentioned only in Ac 14:13, where it is said that the priest of Jupiter brought oxen and garlands unto the gates with which to offer sacrifices unto Barnabas and Paul. The rendering "oxen and garlands," instead of "oxen garlanded," seems to imply that the garlands were for the priests and altar and worshippers themselves, as well as for the victims sacrificed. Only occasionally did the Hebrews use such ornaments for themselves, and that almost altogether in their later history.



gar’-lik (shum, used only in plural shumim; compare Arabic thum):

One of the delights of Egypt for which the Israelites in the Wilderness longed (Nu 11:5); we know from other sources that, though originally a product of Central Asia, garlic was known to the ancient Egyptians. It is the bulb of Allium sativum, Natural Order Liliaceae, and is cultivated all over the Orient. It is eaten cooked in stews; its disagreeable penetrating odor is in evidence in the houses and on the breath of most Orientals. A bulb of garlic, hung over a bed or over the door of a house, is a powerful charm against the evil eye and other malign influences.

E. W. G. Masterman





gar’-mit (garmi):

A gentilic name applied to Keilah in 1Ch 4:19.

The reason for this is not known.


gar’-ner (mazu; apotheke):

"Garners," derived from zawah, "to gather," occurs in Ps 144:13; ‘otsar is similarly translated in Joe 1:17. In the New Testament apotheke is twice translated "garner" (Mt 3:12; Lu 3:17).

The same word is translated "barns" in Mt 6:26; 13:30; Lu 12:18,24.


gar’-nish (tsippah, shiphrah; kosmeo):

The word is used twice in the Old Testament. In 2Ch 3:6, tsippah means "to overlay," or "to plate." Thus, he "garnished" the house or "overlaid" it, "studded" it, with precious stones, and thus adorned and beautified it. In Job 26:13, shiphrah is a feminine noun meaning "fairness," "beauty," "brilliancy." "By his Spirit the heavens are garnished," i.e. the clouds are driven off by the wind or breath of Yahweh, and the sky made bright and clear.

In the New Testament (Mt 12:44; 23:29) the word kosmeo means "set in order," "make ready," "adorn," etc. In Mt 25:7 it is translated "trimmed," and in Re 21:19 "adorned."

J. J. Reeve



See WAR.


gas (Gas):

Named among the "sons of the servants of Solomon" (APC 1Esdras 5:34); not mentioned in the lists of Ezra and Nehemiah.


gash’-mu, gash’-moo (gashmu):

A form of the name GESHEM (which see), found in Ne 6:6 (compare Ne 6:1), "And Gashmu saith it." According to BDB the same termination -u is found in Nabatean proper names.


ga’-tam (ga‘tam):

An Edomite chief, grandson of Esau (Ge 36:11,16; 1Ch 1:36).


gat (Hebrew normally (over 300 times) sha‘ar; occasionally deleth, properly, "gateway" (but compare De 3:5); elsewhere the gateway is pethach (compare especially Ge 19:6); Aramaic tera‘; Greek pulon, pule; the English Revised Version and the King James Version add caph, "threshold," in 1Ch 9:19,22; and the King James Version adds delathayim, "double-door," in Isa 45:1; thura, "door," Ac 3:2):

(1) The usual gateway was provided with double doors, swung on projections that fitted into sockets in the sill and lintel. Ordinarily the material was wood (Ne 2:3,17), but greater strength and protection against fire was given by plating with metal (Ps 107:16; Isa 45:2). Josephus (BJ, V, v, 3) speaks of the solid metal doors of the Beautiful Gate (Ac 3:2) as a very exceptional thing. Some doors were solid slabs of stone, from which the imagery of single jewels (Isa 54:12; Re 21:21) was derived. When closed, the doors were secured with a bar (usually of wood, Na 3:13, but sometimes of metal, 1Ki 4:13; Ps 107:16; Isa 45:2), which fitted into clamps on the doors and sockets in the post, uniting the whole firmly (Jud 16:3). Sometimes, perhaps, a portcullis was used, but Ps 24:7 refers to the enlargement or enrichment of the gates. As the gate was especially subject to attack (Eze 21:15,22), and as to "possess the gate" was to possess the city (Ge 22:17; 24:60), it was protected by a tower (2Sa 18:24,33; 2Ch 14:7; 26:9), often, doubtless, overhanging and with flanking projections. Sometimes an inner gate was added (2Sa 18:24). Unfortunately, Palestine gives us little monumental detail.

(2) As even farm laborers slept in the cities, most of the men passed through the gate every day, and the gate was the place for meeting others (Ru 4:1; 2Sa 15:2) and for assemblages. For the latter purpose "broad" or open places (distinguished from the "streets" in Pr 7:12) were provided (1Ki 22:10; Ne 8:1), and these were the centers of the public life. Here the markets were held (2Ki 7:1), and the special commodities in these gave names to the gates (Ne 3:1,3,18). In particular, the "gate" was the place of the legal tribunals (De 16:18; 21:19; 25:7, etc.), so that a seat "among the elders in the gates" (Pr 31:23) was a high honor, while "oppression in the gates" was a synonym for judicial corruption (Job 31:21; Pr 22:22; Isa 29:21; Am 5:10). The king, in especial, held public audiences in the gate (2Sa 19:8; 1Ki 22:10; Jer 38:7; compare Jer 39:3), and even yet "Sublime Porte" (the French translation of the Turkish for "high gate") is the title of the Court of Constantinople. To the gates, as the place of throngs, prophets and teachers went with their message (1Ki 22:10; Jer 17:19; Pr 1:21; 8:3; 31:31), while on the other hand the gates were the resort of the town good-for-nothings (Ps 69:12).

(3) "Gates" can be used figuratively for the glory of a city (Isa 3:26; 14:31; Jer 14:2; La 1:4; contrast Ps 87:2), but whether the military force, the rulers or the people is in mind cannot be determined. In Mt 16:18 "gates of Hades" (not "hell") may refer to the hosts (or princes) of Satan, but a more likely translation is ‘the gates of the grave (which keep the dead from returning) shall not be stronger than it.’ The meaning in Jud 5:8,11 is very uncertain, and the text may be corrupt.


Burton Scott Easton




The expressions are found in Ezekiel: "Even the gate that looketh toward the east" (43:1); "The gate whose prospect is toward the east" (43:4); but the idea of a gate on the eastern side as the principal entrance to the court of the sanctuary goes back to the days of the tabernacle (Ex 27:13-16). In addition to its use as admitting to the sanctuary enclosure, it may be presumed, in analogy with the general mode of the administration of justice, to have been the place where in earlier times cases were tried which were referred to the jurisdiction of the sanctuary (compare Ex 18:19-22; De 17:8; 19:16,18; Nu 27:2,3, etc.).

1. The Tabernacle:

In Ex 27:13-16 the "gate" by which the congregation entered the tabernacle is carefully described. An embroidered screen of the three sacred colors (blue, purple and scarlet), 20 cubits in width, hung from 4 pillars (really 5 pillars, 5 cubits apart; on the reckoning see TABERNACLE), in the center of the East side of the tabernacle court. This is further alluded to in Nu 4:26, "the screen for the door of the gate of the court."

2. Solomon’s Temple:

Nothing is said of the position of gates in connection with Solomon’s temple, but there was an "inner" (1Ki 6:36), and also an "outer" or "great" court (2Ch 4:9), the latter with doors overlaid with brass, and analogy makes it certain that here also the chief gate (inner or outer court? see COURT) was on the East side. Provision was made by Solomon in his adjoining palace for the administration of justice in a hall or "porch of judgment" (1Ki 7:7), but graver cases were still, apparently, referred for decision to the sanctuary (Jer 26:10). The trial in Jeremiah’s case, however, took place, not at the East gate, but at "the entry of the new gate of Yahweh’s house" (Jer 26:10; compare 36:10), probably Jotham’s "upper gate" (2Ki 15:35).

3. Ezekiel’s Temple:

In Ezekiel’s ideal temple, "the gate whose prospect was toward the east" was that by which the glory of Yahweh went up from the city (Eze 11:23), and by which the prophet in vision saw it return (Eze 43:4).

4. Second Temple:

Nothing is told of an East gate in the temple of Zerubbabel, but it may be assumed that there was one as in the other cases.

5. Herod’s Temple:

The great East gate of the Herodian temple, which followed those above mentioned, was that "Beautiful Gate of the temple" where the miracle of the healing of the lame man was performed (Ac 3:1-10).


W. Shaw Caldecott


bu’-ti-fool (he horaia pule tou hierou):

This gate of Herod’s temple is mentioned in the narrative of the healing of the lame man by Peter and John in Ac 3:2,10. Little dispute exists as to the identification of the Beautiful Gate with the splendid "gate of Nicanor" of the Mishna (Mid., i.4), and "Corinthian Gate" of Josephus (BJ, V, v, 3), but authorities are divided as to whether this gate was situated at the entrance to the women’s court on the East, or was the gate reached by 15 steps, dividing that court from the court of the men. The balance of recent opinion inclines strongly to the former view (compare Kennedy, "Problems of Herod’s Temple," The Expositor Times, XX, 170); others take the opposite view (Waterhouse, in Sacred Sites of the Gospels, 110), or leave the question open (thus G. A. Smith, Jerusalem, II, 212). See TEMPLE, HEROD’S.

The gate itself was of unusual size and splendor. It received the name "Nicanor" from its being the work, or having been constructed at the expense, of an Alexandrian Jew of this name. Lately an ossuary was discovered on Mt. Olivet bearing the Greek inscription: "The bones of Nicanor the Alexandrian, who made the doors."

Its other name, "Corinthian," refers to the costly material of which it was constructed—Corinthian bronze. Josephus gives many interesting particulars about this gate, which, he tells us, greatly excelled in workmanship and value all the others (BJ, V, v, 3). These were plated with gold and silver, but this still more richly and thickly. It was larger than the other gates; was 50 cubits in height (the others 40); its weight was so great that it took 20 men to move it (BJ, VI, vi, 3). Its massiveness and magnificence, therefore, well earned for it the name "Beautiful."

W. Shaw Caldecott


In Ne 2:13 the King James Version, "gate of the valley."



gath (gath; Septuagint Geth, "winepress"):

One of the five chief cities of the Philistines (Jos 13:3; 1Sa 6:17). It was a walled town (2Ch 26:6) and was not taken by Joshua, and, although many conflicts took place between the Israelites and its people, it does not seem to have been captured until the time of David (1Ch 18:1). It was rendered famous as the abode of the giant Goliath whom David slew (1Sa 17:4), and other giants of the same race (2Sa 21:18-22). It was to Gath that the Ashdodites conveyed the ark when smitten with the plague, and Gath was also smitten (1Sa 5:8,9).

It was Gath where David took refuge twice when persecuted by Saul (21:10; 27:2-4). It seems to have been destroyed after being taken by David, for we find Rehoboam restoring it (2Ch 11:8). It was after this reoccupied by the Philistines, for we read that Uzziah took it and razed its walls (2Ch 26:6), but it must have been restored again, for we find Hazael of Damascus capturing it (2Ki 12:17). It seems to have been destroyed before the time of Amos (Am 6:2), and is not further mentioned in the Old Testament or Macc, except in Mic 1:10, where it is referred to in the proverb, "Tell it not in Gath" (compare 2Sa 1:20). Since its destruction occurred, probably, in the middle of the 8th century BC, it is easy to understand why the site has been lost so that it can be fixed only conjecturally. Several sites have been suggested by different explorers and writers, such as: Tell es Safi, Beit Jibrin, Khurbet Jeladiyeh, Khurbet Abu Geith, Jennata and Yebna (see PEFS, 1871, 91; 1875, 42, 144, 194; 1880, 170-71, 211-23; 1886, 200-202).

Tradition in the early centuries AD fixed it at 5 Roman miles North of Eleutheropolis (Beit Jibrin, toward Lydda, which would indicate Tell es Safi as the site, but the Crusaders thought it was at Jamnia (Yebna), where they erected the castle of Ibelin, but the consensus of opinion in modern times fixes upon Tell es Safi as the site, as is to be gathered from the references cited in PEFS above. The Biblical notices of Gath would indicate a place in the Philistine plain or the Shephelah, which was fortified, presumably in a strong position on the border of the Philistine country toward the territory of Judah or Dan. Tell es Safi fits into these conditions fairly well, but without other proof this is not decisive. It is described in SWP, II, 240, as a position of strength on a narrow ridge, with precipitous cliffs on the North and West, connected with the hills by a narrow neck, so that it is thrust out like a bastion, a position easily fortified.

In 1144 Fulke of Anjou erected here a castle called Blanchegarde (Alba Specula). The writer on "Gath and Its Worthies" in PEFS, 1886, 200-204, connects the name Safi with that of the giant Saph (2Sa 21:18), regarding him as a native of Gath, but the most direct evidence from early tradition connecting Tell es Safi with Gath is found in a manuscript said to be in the library of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, which informs us that Catherocastrum was situated on a mountain called Telesaphion or Telesaphy, which is clearly Tell es Safi. Catherocastrum must be the Latin for "camp of Gath" (PEFS, 1906, 305).

H. Porter


gath-he’-fer (gath ha-chepher, "winepress of the pit"):

A town on the boundary of Zebulun (Jos 19:13; the King James Version in error, "Gittah- hapher"), the birthplace of the prophet Jonah (2Ki 14:25). Jerome (Commentary on Jonah) speaks of Geth as an inconsiderable village, about 2 miles from Sepphoris on the Tiberias road, where the tomb of Jonah was shown. Benjamin of Tudela says that Jonah the son of Amittai the prophet was buried "in the mountain" near Sepphoris (Bohn, Early Travels in Palestine, 88). These indications agree with the local tradition which identifies Gath-hepher with el-Meshhed, a village with ancient ruins on a height North of the road as one goes to Tiberias, about 2 miles from Nazareth, and half a mile from Kefr Kennah.

W. Ewing

GATH-RIMMON gath-rim’-un (gath rimmon, "winepress of Rimmon"):

(1) A city in the territory of Da named with Bene-berak and Me-jarkon, in the plain not far from Joppa (Jos 19:45), assigned to the Kohathite Levites (Jos 21:24), reckoned to Ephraim in 1Ch 6:69. Eusebius, Onomasticon locates it 12 miles from Eleutheropolis on the way to Diospolis. This, however, is too far to the South. More probably it is identical with the "Gath" which Eusebius, Onomasticon places between Antipatris and Jamnia. It is not identified.

(2) A town in the territory of Manasseh, West of Jordan, given to the Levites (Jos 21:25). There is nothing to indicate the position of the place, and there is much confusion in the writing of the name: Septuagint Codex Alexandrinus, "Baithsa"; Codex Vaticanus, "Jebatha." In 1Ch 6:70 it is replaced by "Bileam," i.e. IBLEAM (which see).

W. Ewing


gath’-er (’acaph, qabhats; sullego, sunago):

"Gather," transitive "to bring together," "collect," etc., and intransitive "to come together," "assemble," etc., occurs frequently and represents many Hebrew and Greek words. It is the translation of ‘acaph, "to bring together," in Jos 6:9, the King James Version margin "gathering host"; Ps 27:10, the King James Version margin "The Lord will gather me"; compare Nu 12:14,15; Isa 52:12 King James Version margin. The phrases "gather thee unto thy fathers," "gathered unto his fathers," "gathered into the grave," etc., are frequently used for "to die" and "death" (Ge 25:8,17; 49:29,33; De 32:50; 2Ki 22:20; 2Ch 34:28; Job 27:19; compare Jer 8:2), etc.; qabhats, "to take or grasp with the hand," is frequently used of the Divine "gathering" or restoration of Israel (De 30:3,1; Ne 1:9; Ps 106:47; Isa 43:5, etc.; Eze 20:34, etc.; Ho 8:10; Mic 2:12; Ze 3:19,20; Zec 10:8,10); figuratively, Isa 40:11, "He shall gather the lambs with (the Revised Version (British and American) "in") his arm" (compare Ps 27:10 King James Version margin); sometimes it denotes bringing together for punishment or destruction (Mic 4:12), "He hath gathered them as the sheaves to the threshing-floor."

In the New Testament we have sullego, "to lay together," "to collect" (Mt 13:28,29,30,40,41,48); sunago "to lead or bring together," "to gather," "to collect" (Mt 25:26, "seek returns"; Joh 4:36, "fruit unto life eternal"); episunago, "to lead or bring together" (Mt 23:37, "even as a hen gathereth her chickens"); anakephalaioomai, "to sum up under one head," "to recapitulate" (Eph 1:10, "that he might gather together in one all things in Christ," the Revised Version (British and American) "to sum up all things in Christ"; compare Eph 2:14; in Ro 13:9 the passive is translated "be briefly comprehended," the Revised Version (British and American) "summed up").

"To gather," in the sense of "to infer," occurs in Ac 16:10 as the translation of sumbibazo, "to bring together" (here, in mind), "assuredly gathering," the Revised Version (British and American) "concluding" (compare 9:22, "proving").

Gatherer occurs in Am 7:14 as the translation of bolec, from balac, to cultivate figs or sycamores, "a gatherer of sycamore fruit," the Revised Version (British and American) "a dresser of sycomore-trees" ("a nipper of sycomore figs, i.e. helping to cultivate a sort of figs or mulberries produced by the real sycamore tree" (used only by the poorest), which requires nipping in the cultivation, perhaps an occupation of shepherds; Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) vellicans sycamnia).

Gathering is the translation of episunagoge, "leading together unto" (2Th 2:1), "our gathering together unto him"; in 1Co 16:2 we have "gathering" (logia from lego) in the sense of a collection of many, the Revised Version (British and American) "collection," as the King James Version in 1Co 16:1.

"Gather," etc., occurs frequently in Apocrypha, e.g. "will gather us out of all the nations," sunago (Tobit 13:5); "gather them together" (1 Macc 9:7; 10:8); "Gather together our dispersion," episunagage ten diasporan hemon (2 Macc 1:27); "gathered to his fathers" prosetethe pros ton laon autou, the Revised Version (British and American) "people" (Judith 16:22; Bel and the Dragon verse 1, tous pateras; 1 Macc 2:69); "gathering up briefly," the Revised Version (British and American) "gather," suntemno (2 Macc 10:10); "gathering" in the sense of a collection of money (2 Macc 12:43), the Revised Version (British and American) "collection."

Among the changes in the Revised Version (British and American) we have "hold firm" for "gather" (Jer 51:11); "Gather thee together" for "Go one way or other" (Eze 21:16 margin, "Make thyself one"); for "gather blackness" (Na 2:10), "are waxed pale "; for "or gather together" (Job 11:10), "and call unto judgment," margin Hebrew "call an assembly"; for "even as a hen doth gather her brood" (Lu 13:34) "gathereth her own brood"; for "as the partridge sitteth on eggs and hatcheth them not," the American Standard Revised Version has "that sitteth on eggs which she hath not laid," margin "gathereth young which she hath not brought forth," text of the English Revised Version and the King James Version margin (Jer 17:11).

W. L. Walker





golz (Galatai):

Galatia in Asia Minor is literally the Gallia of the East; its inhabitants are called Galli by Roman writers, just as the inhabitants of ancient France are called Galatai by Greek writers. In some manuscripts in 2Ti 4:10, eis Gallian is read for eis Galatian.

The emigration of the Gauls from Europe and their settlement in the central region of the peninsula of Asia Minor are somewhat obscure subjects, but the ancient authorities leave no doubt of the main facts. In 1 Macc 8:2 it is difficult to say whether Judas Maccabeus is referring to the Gauls of Europe or the Gauls of Asia Minor. Both became finally subject to the Romans, and about the same time.

It was in 191 BC that Gallia Cisalpina was reduced to the form of a Roman province, and in 189 BC occurred the defeat of Antiochus, king of Asia. Mommsen argues that the reference is to the Gauls in the North of Italy, from the circumstance that they are mentioned as being under tribute to the Romans, and also from their mention in connection with Spain. Not much, however, can be argued from this, as the notice of them is in a manner rhetorical, and the defeat of Antiochus is mentioned practically in the same connection. In APC 2Macc 8:20 the reference is without doubt to the Asiatic Gauls or Galatians, as they are more commonly called. In the Maccabean period they were restless and fond of war, and often hired themselves out as auxiliaries to the Asiatic kings.

J. Hutchison


ga’-za (‘azzah, "strong"; Septuagint Gaza; Arabic Ghazzeh):

One of the five chief towns of Philistia and probably the oldest, situated near the coast in lat. 31 degrees 30’ and about 40 miles South of Jaffa. It is on a hill rising 60 to 200 ft. above the plain, with sand dunes between it and the sea, which is about 2 1/2 miles distant. The plain around is fertile and wells abound, and, being on the border of the desert between Syria and Egypt and lying in the track of caravans and armies passing from one to the other, it was in ancient times a place of importance. The earliest notices of it are found in the records of Egypt.

Thothmes III refers to it in the account of his expedition to Syria in 1479 BC, and it occurs again in the records of the expedition of Seti I in 1313 BC (Breasted, History of Egypt, 285, 409).

It occurs also in the early catalogue of cities and tribes inhabiting Canaan in the earliest times (Ge 10:19). Joshua reached it in his conquests but did not take it (Jos 10:41; 11:22).

Judah captured it (Jud 1:18) but did not hold it long, for we find it in the hands of the Philistines in the days of Samson, whose exploits have rendered it noteworthy (16:1-3,11,30). The hill to which he carried off the gate of the city was probably the one now called el-Muntar ("watch-tower"), which lies Southeast of the city and may be referred to in 2Ki 18:8, "from the tower of the watchmen to the fortified city," Gaza, with the other chief towns, sent a trespass offering to Yahweh when the ark was returned (1Sa 6:17).

Hezekiah defeated and pursued the Philistines to Gaza, but does not seem to have captured it. It was taken by Sargon in 720 BC, in his war with Egypt, since Khanun, the king of Gaza, joined the Egyptians and was captured at the battle of Raphia (Rawlinson, Ancient Monarchies, II, 142). It was probably destroyed (see Am 1:7). It was certainly dismantled by Alexander the Great in 332, when it dared to resist him. It was then exceedingly strong, verifying its name, and was most bravely defended, so that it took Alexander two months to reduce it. He put to death all the men and sold the women and children as slaves (Grote, History of Greece, XI, 467 ff). It was restored, however, and we learn that Jonathan forced it to submit to him (Josephus, Ant, XIII, v, 5; 1 Macc 11:62), and Alexander Janneus took it and massacred the inhabitants who escaped the horrors of the siege (Josephus, Ant, XIII, xiii, 3). Pompey restored the freedom of Gaza (ibid., XIV, iv, 4), and Gabinius rebuilt it in 57 BC (ibid., XIV, v, 3).

Gaza is mentioned only once in the New Testament (Ac 8:26), in the account of Philip and the eunuch. In the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, it became a center of Greek commerce and culture, and pagan influence was strong, while the church rounded there was struggling for existence. Many martyrs there testified to the faith, until finally, under Theodosius, Christianity gained the supremacy (HGHL, 12th edition, 188). It fell into the hands of the Arabs in 634 AD, and became and has remained a Moslem city since the days of Saladin, who recovered it from the Crusaders in 1187, after the battle of Hattin. It is now a city of some 20,000 inhabitants, among whom are a few hundred Christians.

See also AZZAH.

H. Porter


ga-za’-ra (Gazara, Gazera):

A fortress of great strength in Judea, which figures often in the Maccabean wars. To this place Judas pursued Gorgias (APC 1Macc 4:15). It was fortified by the Greek general Bacchides (APC 1Macc 9:52; Ant, XIII, i, 3). It was captured by Simon Maccabeus, who turned out the inhabitants and purified the city. He built here a palace for himself, and appointed his son John commander of his army (APC 1Macc 13:43 ff). A different account of this occurrence is given in APC 2Macc 10:32 ff, where the capture is attributed to Judas. The narrative here, however, is inspired by antagonism to Simon because he had assumed the high-priesthood.

The fortress is identical with Tell Jezer, the ancient GEZER (which see). It is interesting to note that recent excavations have uncovered the ruins of Simon’s palace (PEFS, 1905, 26).

W. Ewing


ga’-zath-its (‘azzathim):

The inhabitants of GAZA (which see) (Jos 13:3 the King James Version), rendered "Gazites" (Jud 16:2).


ga-zel’ (tsebhi, and feminine tsebhiyah; compare Tabeitha (Ac 9:36), and Arabic zabi; also Arabic ghazal; Dorkas (Ac 9:36); modern Greek zarkadi):

The word "gazelle" does not occur in the King James Version, where tsebhi and tsebhiyah, in the 16 passages where they occur, are uniformly translated "roe" or "roebuck." In the Revised Version (British and American) the treatment is not uniform. We find "gazelle" without comment in De 12:15,22; 14:5; 15:22; 1Ki 4:23. We find "roe," with marginal note "or gazelle," in Pr 6:5; So 2:7,9,17; 4:5; 8:14; Isa 13:14. We find "roe" without comment in 2Sa 2:18; 1Ch 12:8; So 3:5; 7:3. In the last passage cited, So 7:3, while the American Standard Revised Version has no note, the English Revised Version refers to So 4:5, where "gazelle" is graven in the margin. In the opinion of the writer, the rendering should be "gazelle" in all of these passages. It must be acknowledged, however, that the gazelle and the roe-deer are of about the same size, and are sometimes confused with each other. The Greek dorkas may refer to either, and in Syria the roe-deer is sometimes called ghazal or even wa‘l, which is the proper name of the Persian wild goat.

The gazelle is an antelope belonging to the bovine family of the even-toed ruminants. There are more than twenty species of gazelle, all belonging to Asia and Africa. The species found in Syria and Palestine is the Dorcas gazelle (Gazella dorcas). It is 2 ft. high at the shoulders. Both sexes have unbranched, lyrate, ringed horns, which may be a foot long. The general coloration is tawny, but it is creamy white below and on the rump, and has a narrow white line from above the eye to the nostril. Several varieties have been distinguished, but they will not bear elevation to the rank of species, except perhaps Gazelle merilli a form of which a few specimens have been obtained from the Judean hills, having distinctly different horns from those of the common gazelle. The gazelle is found singly or in small groups on the interior plains and the uplands, but not in the high mountains. It is a marvel of lightness and grace, and a herd, when alarmed, makes off with great rapidity over the roughest country (2Sa 2:18; 1Ch 12:8; Pr 6:5; So 8:14). The beauty of the eyes is proverbial. The skin is used for floor coverings, pouches or shoes, and the flesh is eaten, though not highly esteemed.


Alfred Ely Day


ga’-zer (gazer (in pause)).



ga-ze’-ra (Gazera):

(1) A fortress of Judea (APC 1Macc 4:15; 7:45); in the Revised Version (British and American) always GAZARA (which see).

(2) Head of a family of temple-servants who returned with Zerubbabel (APC 1Esdras 5:31) =" Gazzam" in Ezr 2:48 and Ne 7:51.


ga’-zez (gazez, "shearer"):

(1) A son of Ephah, Caleb’s concubine (1Ch 2:46).

(2) A second Gazez is mentioned in the same verse as a son of Haran, another son of Ephah.


gaz’-ing-stok: This obsolete word occurs twice:

(1) in Na 3:6, as the translation of ro’i, "a sight" or "spectacle" (from ra’ah, "to look," "see," also "to look down upon," "despise,"); "I will .... make thee vile, and will set thee as a gazing-stock," as one set up to be gazed at, mocked and despised—a form of punishment in olden times; compare "mocking stock" (2 Macc 7:7), and "laughing-stock" still in use. The Hebrew word occurs only here and in Ge 16:13; 1Sa 16:12; Job 7:8; 33:21, in which places it does not have the same bad meaning; for a similar threatening compare Isa 14:16; Jer 51:37.

(2) In Heb 10:33, it is the translation of theatrizo, "to bring upon the theater," "to be made a spectacle of," "made a gazing stock both by reproaches and afflictions"; compare 1Co 4:9, theatron ginomai, where Paul says the apostles were "made a spectacle unto the world," the King James Version margin "(Greek) theater." The reference in both instances is to the custom of exhibiting criminals, and especially gladiators, men doomed to death, in theaters. "In the morning men are exposed to lions and bears; at mid-day to their spectators; those that kill are exposed to one another; the victor is detained for another slaughter; the conclusion of the fight is death" (Seneca, Ep. vii, quoted by Dr. A. Clarke on 1Co 4:9). We are apt to forget what the first preachers and professors of Christianity had to endure.

W. L. Walker



Inhabitants of Gaza, who were Philistines when the Israelites came into contact with them (Jos 13:3; Jud 16:2), but there was an older stratum of population which occupied the place before the invasion of the Philistines, probably of Amorite stock.


gaz’-am (gazzam, "devouring"):

Head of a family of Nethinim who returned from exile (Ezr 2:48; Ne 7:51; APC 1Esdras 5:31, "Gazera").


ge-ha-ra’-shim (ge’charashim): In 1Ch 4:14, the King James Version renders "valley of Charashim." In Ne 11:35, English Versions of the Bible renders "valley of craftsmen"; here it is named with Lod and Ono. Something of the name perhaps survives in Khirbet Hirsa, East of Lydda.


ge’-ba (gebha‘, "hill"):

(1) A town on the Northeast boundary of the territory of Benjamin (Jos 18:24), given to the Levites (Jos 21:17; 1Ch 6:60). It stood on the northern frontier of the kingdom of Judah, Geba and Beersheba marking respectively the northern and southern limits (2Ki 23:8). In 2Sa 5:25 "Geba" should be altered to "Gibeon," which stands in the corresponding passage, 1Ch 14:16. In Jud 20:10,33; 1Sa 13:3,16, the Hebrew reads "Geba," the translation "Gibeah" being due to confusion of the two names. From 1Sa 14:5 we gather that Geba stood to the South of the great gorge, Wady Suweinit, commanding the pass at Michmash. This was the scene of Jonathan’s daring enterprise against the Philistines, when, accompanied by his armor-bearer, he accomplished an apparently impossible feat, climbing the rocky steeps of the gorge to the North and putting the enemy to flight. There can be no doubt that the modern village of Jeba‘ occupies the ancient site. It stands to the South of Wady Suweinit, looking toward Michmash—modern Mukhmas—with Seneh, the crag on the southern lip of the gorge, in front of it. The distance from Jerusalem is about 6 miles. It was fortified by Asa with materials that his enemy Baasha had used to fortify Ramah against him (1Ki 15:22). It is named by Isaiah in his description of the terrifying march of the Assyrians upon Jerusalem from the North (10:28 ff). It appears among the cities which were reoccupied by Israel after the Exile (Ezr 2:26; Ne 11:31).

(2) (Gaibai): Between a fortress so named and Scythopolis (Beisan), Holofernes pitched his camp (Judith 3:10). On the high road that runs through Jenin, and down the Vale of Jezreel to Beisan, about 2 miles to the South of Sanur, stands the village of Jeba‘, with which this fortress may be identified.

W. Ewing


ge’-bal (gebhal, "border"; Bublos, and Biblos; Byblus, modern Jebeil):

(1) An ancient Phoenician city, situated on a bluff of the foothills of Lebanon, overlooking the Mediterranean. It was one of the principal seaports of Phoenicia, and had a small but good harbor for small ships. It lies in lat. 34 degrees 8’, nearly, and about 4 miles North of the river Adonis (Nahr Ibrahim). It was regarded as a holy city by the ancients. Philo mentions the tradition that it was founded by Kronos, and was sacred to the worship of Beltis and, later, of Adonis, whose rites were celebrated yearly at the river of the same name and at its source in the mountain, at Apheca (see TAMMUZ). Gebal was the center of quite an extensive district, extending from the Eleutherus on the North to the Tamyras on the South, a distance of 60 or 70 miles along the coast. It is mentioned by Jos (13:5) as the land of the Gebalites (which see) (the King James Version "Giblites"), and the Gebalites are also mentioned in 1Ki 5:18 (Hebrew 32) as aiding in the construction of Solomon’s temple. The "elders" and the "wise men" of Gebal are among the workmen employed on Tyrian ships (Eze 27:9 the American Revised Version, margin). The earliest mention of Gebal found in history is in the Tell el-Amarna Letters, which were composed in the first half of the 14th century BC. It had become, in connection with all Phoenicia, a dependency of Egypt in the days of Thothmes III and was under Egyptian governors, but, in the reign of Amenhotep IV (Ikhnaton), the Hittites and Amorites from the North and Khabiri from the South attacked the territory of Gebal, and its governor wrote letters to Amenhotep, calling for help. There are over 60 of these, describing the desperate condition of the city and of its governor, Ribaddi, who was expelled and took refuge in Beirut, but afterward regained his capital only to be besieged and lose all his dependencies, and finally to fall into the hands of the enemy. Gebal afterward became independent, as is shown by the records of Ramses IX (1442-1423 BC) and of Ramses XII, for its king retained the emissaries of the former 17 years in captivity, and treated a trusted agent of the latter with scant civility. Its king at this time was Zakkar-Baal, and kings of Gebal are mentioned in the Assyrian records, one paying tribute to Ashurnazir-pal (circa 887 BC) and another to Sennacherib (705-680). The latter king was Uru-melek, and kings of Gebal are mentioned in connection with other Phoenician cities under Persian rule. The city submitted to Alexander the Great without opposition, and furnished a fleet to aid him in the siege of Tyre (332). Strabo refers to it as a town of note in the days of Pompey (xvi.2,17), and it is frequently mentioned in Phoenician (CIS, 1) and Assyrian inscriptions in the forms Gubal and Gubli (COT, I, 174).

(2) (gebhal; Gobolitis): A district Southeast of the Dead Sea, which is referred to in Ps 83:7 (Hebrew 8) in connection with Moab, Ammon, Amalek and others, as making a covenant together against Israel (compare 1 Macc 5). Robinson (BR, II, 154) found the name Jebal still applied to this region, and Josephus (Ant., II, i, 2) speaks of a Gebalitis as forming part of Idumaea. It is a hilly region, as the modern name signifies, and includes the towns of Shobek and Tolfieh.

H. Porter


ge’-bal-its (ha-gibhlim): Inhabitants of GEBAL (which see). According to the present text of Jos 13:5, "the land of the Gebalites" was given to Israel as part of its future territory. But it was never occupied by the Israelites. Septuagint, however, has a very different reading, indicating an early corruption of the text. Perhaps with many modern scholars it is better to read "to the borders of the Gebalites."

In 1Ki 5:18 the King James Version translates this word "stone-squarers," the King James Version margin gives "Giblites," and the Revised Version (British and American) "Gebalites," as workmen who, with the men of Solomon and of Hiram, fashioned the stones for the temple. Here also the text is doubtful, and some by a slight change would read: "and made a border for them" (i.e. for the stones). In Eze 27:9 the men of Gebal are described as the "calkers" of the ships of Tyre and Sidon.

George Rice Hovey


ge’-ber (gebher, "man," "strong one"):

(1) According to 1Ki 4:13 the King James Version the father of one of the 12 officers who provided food for Solomon and his household (but here the Revised Version (British and American) "Ben-geber"). His district lay to the Northeast of Jordan.

(2) Another, and the last in the list of Solomon’s commissariat officers (1Ki 4:19). His district was also East of the Jordan, but probably to the South of that named in connection with the official of 4:13 (the Revised Version (British and American) "Ben-geber"). According to the rendering of English Versions of the Bible, he is said to have been "the only officer that was in the land." Unless the text, which presents some difficulties, is corrupt, as some suppose, it probably means that this large region was assigned to one official because less able than the others to furnish the required supplies.

Benjamin Reno Downer


ge’-bim (gebhim, "trenches"): A place named only in Isa 10:31. Some would place it at Jebia, identifying it with the Geba of Eusebius, 5 Roman miles from Gophna (modern Jifneh), on the way to Shechem. Its place, however, in the order of names, after Anathoth, seems to point to some position South of that village, to the Northeast of Jerusalem.


gek’-o (the Revised Version (British and American) for ‘anaqah, only in Le 11:30; Septuagint mugale, "shrew mouse" or "field mouse"; the King James Version ferret): Probably a shrew or a field mouse.



ged-a-li’-a (gedhalyah; except in 1Ch 25:3,9 and Jer 38:1, where it is gedhalyahu, "Yah(u) is great"):

(1) Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam (the friend and protector of Jeremiah) and grandson of Shaphan (the scribe in the reign of Josiah) (2Ki 25:22-25; Jer 39:14; 40:5-16; 41:1-18).

1. His Appointment as Governor in Judah:

After the destruction of Jerusalem and the carrying away captive of the Jews to Babylon (586 BC), Gedaliah was appointed by Nebuchadnezzar governor over the poor Jews who had been left in the land to be vinedressers and husbandmen (2Ki 25:12,22). To his charge were committed also some royal princesses (Jer 43:6) and courtiers (Jer 41:16) who had been allowed to remain as unlikely to cause any trouble. Gedaliah fixed his residence at Mizpah, a few miles Northwest of Jerusalem. Here he was joined by Jeremiah (40:6).

2. His Conciliatory Spirit and Wise Rule:

The Jewish soldiers who had escaped capture, having heard that the Chaldeans had departed, and that Gedaliah, one of their own nation, had been appointed governor in Judah, came with Ishmael, Johanan and other officers at their head, to Gedaliah at Mizpah (2Ki 25:23,14; Jer 40:7-10). The governor assured them that they need have no fear of vengeance from their conquerors, and promised them on oath protection and security, if they would remain and cultivate the land and become the peaceful subjects of the king of Babylon. This assurance led to a general gathering around Gedaliah of refugees from all the neighboring countries (Jer 40:11,12). For two months (some think longer) Gedaliah’s beneficent and wise rule did much to consolidate affairs in Judah and to inspire the feeble remnant of his countrymen with heart and hope.

3. His Treacherous Assassination:

But evil spirits were at work against him. Baalis, king of Ammon, had determined upon his life (Jer 40:13-16). The peaceful and popular rule which was being established by the good governor stood in the way of the accomplishment of any plan of conquest he entertained. Baalis found a ready instrument for his murderous design in Ishmael who, as one of royal birth and in the counsels of the king (Jer 41:1), was doubtless jealous of the man who had been chosen governor in preference to himself. Gedaliah was informed by Johanan and the other captains of the plot to assassinate him, and Johanan at a private interview expressed to him a strong desire to go himself and slay Ishmael secretly, declaring that the safety of the Jews depended upon the life of the governor. But Gedaliah refused to allow Johanan to anticipate his enemy, believing, in the generosity of his heart, that Ishmael was not capable of such an act of treachery. He soon found, however, that his confidence had been sadly misplaced. Ishmael, with ten of his companions, came on a visit to him to Mizpah, and after they had been hospitably entertained they fell upon their good host and murdered him, along with all the Jewish and the Chaldean soldiers whom he had with him for order and protection (2Ki 25:25; Jer 41:1-3). They then cast the bodies of their victims into the cistern which Asa had made (Jer 41:9). Ishmael was pursued and overtaken by Johanan, but he succeeded in effecting his escape to the Ammonites (Jer 41:11-15). Then Johanan and the other captains, afraid lest the Chaldeans should avenge upon them the murder of the governor (Jer 41:16-18), and against the earnest entreaties of Jeremiah (chapter 42), fled to Egypt, taking the prophet and the Jewish remnant with them (43:5-7). In memory of the date of Gedaliah’s assassination the Jews kept a fast (which is still retained in the Jewish calendar) on the 3rd day of the 7th month, Tishri (Zec 7:5; 8:19).

4. His Noble Character:

The narratives reveal Gedaliah in a very attractive light, as one who possessed the confidence alike of his own people and their conquerors; a man of rare wisdom and tact, and of upright, transparent character, whose kindly nature and generous disposition would not allow him to think evil of a brother; a man altogether worthy of the esteem in which he was held by succeeding generations of his fellow-countrymen.

(2) (gedhalyahu): Son of Jeduthun, and instrumental leader of the 2nd of the 24 choirs in the Levitical orchestra (1Ch 25:3,1).

(3) A priest of the "sons of Jeshua," in the time of Ezra, who had married a foreign woman (Ezr 10:18).

(4) (gedhalyahu): Son of Pashhur (who beat Jeremiah and put him in the stocks, Jer 20:1-6), and one of the chiefs of Jerusalem who, with the sanction of the king, Zedekiah, took Jeremiah and let him down with cords into a cistern where he sank in the mud (38:1,4-6).

(5) Grandfather of Zephaniah the prophet, and grandson of Hezekiah, probably the king (Ze 1:1).

James Crichton


ged’-ur (Geddour): Head of a family of temple-servants (1 Esdras 5:30), corresponding to Gahar of Ezr 2:47 and Ne 7:49.


ged’-e-on (Heb 11:32 the King James Version).



ge’-der (gedher): A royal city of the Canaanites taken by Joshua along with Lachish, Eglon, Gezer, Debir and Hormah (Jos 12:13 f). It may be the city called "Beth-gader" in 1Ch 2:51, and the birthplace of Baal-hanan, who had charge of David’s olives and sycamores (27:28); unidentified.


ge-de’-ra, ge-de’-ra-thit (ha-gedherah, "the enclosed place"): A town in the Shephelah of Judah, named with Socoh, Azekah, Shaaraim and Adithaim (Jos 15:36). In 1Ch 4:23 the Revised Version (British and American) reads, "the inhabitants of Netaim and Gederah," for the King James Version, "those that dwelt among plants and hedges." It is probably represented by Khirbet Jadireh, about 3 miles Southwest of Gezer. "Gederathite," applied to Jozabad (1Ch 12:4), probably meant an inhabitant of this place.


ge’-der-it, ge-de’-rit (gedheri): Inhabitant of GEDER, which see (1Ch 27:28).


ged’-e-roth, ge-de’-roth (gedheroth): A town in the Shephelah of Judah, named with Kithlish, Beth-dagon, Naamah and Makkedah (Jos 15:41). It is mentioned along with Bethshemesh and Aijalon as taken by the Philistines in the reign of Ahaz (2Ch 28:18). It possibly corresponds with the "Kidron" of 1 Macc 15:39,41; 16:9. Eusebius, Onomasticon places a very large village named Gedrom 10 Roman miles from Lydda on the road to Eleutheropolis. This points to Katrah, Southeast of Yebnah.


ged-e-ro-tha’-im (gedherathayim, "place of enclosures"): Stands as the 15th in a list which professes to give only the names of 14 cities in the Judean Shephelah (Jos 15:36). the King James Version margin suggests that we might read "or" for "and" after Gederah, but this is impossible. Septuagint reads, "and its cattle shelters." Probably, however, the name has arisen by dittography from the preceding GEDERAH (which see).


ge’-dor (gedhor; Codex Vaticanus, Geddor, Codex Alexandrinus, Gedor):

(1) A town in the mountains of Judah, named with Halhul and Beth-zur (Jos 15:58). It seems to be referred to by Eusebius as Gadeira (Onomasticon, under the word), which he identifies with Gaidora (Jerome calls it Gadora), a village in the borders of Jerusalem, near the terebinth. It is probably represented today by Khirbet Jedur, about 7 miles North of Hebron (PEF, III, 313, Sh XXI).

(2) Among the Benjamites who joined David at Ziklag were the sons of Jeroham of Gedor (1Ch 12:7). No trace of this name is found in the territory of Benjamin. It may be identical with (1).

(3) The Simeonites are said to have gone to the entering in of Gedor in search of pasture for their flocks. They smote and expelled the Meunim, "and dwelt in their stead" (1Ch 4:39 ). Here the Septuagint reads Gerar, and this is probably correct.

(4) A family in Judah (1Ch 4:4).

(5) An ancestor of Saul (1Ch 8:31).

W. Ewing


ge-ha’-zi (gechazi, except in 2Ki 4:31; 5:25; 8:4,5, where it is gechazi, perhaps "valley of vision"): The confidential servant of Elisha. Various words are used to denote his relation to his master. He is generally called Elisha’s "boy" (na‘ar), servant or personal attendant; he calls himself (5:25) his master’s servant or slave (‘ebhedh), and if the reference be to him in 4:43 the Revised Version, margin, he receives the designation "minister" (meshareth), or chief servant of Elisha.

1. His Ready Service:

Mention is made of him on three different occasions. He is first brought under notice in the story of the wealthy Shunammite (2Ki 4:8-37) who provided in her house special accommodation for Elisha, which suited his simple tastes, and of which he availed himself as often as he passed that way. By command of his master, Gehazi called the Shunammite, that she might be rewarded by the prophet for her liberal hospitality. Failing to elicit from the lady a desire for any particular favor, and being himself at a loss to know how to repay her kindness, Elisha consulted with his servant, whose quick perception enabled him to indicate to his master the gift that would satisfy the great woman’s heart. When on the death of her child the Shunammite sought out the man of God at Carmel, and in the intensity of her grief laid hold of the prophet’s feet, "Gehazi came near to thrust her away" (2Ki 4:27)—perhaps not so much from want of sympathy with the woman as from a desire to protect his master from what he considered a rude importunity. Then Elisha, who had discovered of himself (2Ki 4:27), from what the woman had said (2Ki 4:28), the cause of her sorrow, directed Gehazi, as a preliminary measure, to go at once to Shunem and lay his staff upon the face of the dead child. Gehazi did so, but the child was "not awaked."

In this narrative Gehazi appears in a favorable light, as a willing, efficient servant, jealous of his master’s honor; a man of quick observation, whose advice was worth asking in practical affairs.

2. His Grievous Sin:

Gehazi, however, reveals himself in a different character in connection with the healing of Naaman (2Ki 5:20-27). As soon as the Syrian general had taken his departure with his retinue from the house of Elisha, the covetous spirit of Gehazi, which had been awakened by the sight of the costly presents the prophet had refused, was no longer able to restrain itself. Running after Naaman, Gehazi begged in the prophet’s name a talent of silver (400 pounds =$ 2,000) and two changes of raiment, alleging, as a specious reason for Elisha’s change of mind, the arrival at his master’s house of two poor scholars of the prophet, who would require help and maintenance. Naaman, glad to have the opportunity he desired of showing his gratitude to Elisha, urged Gehazi to take two talents and sent two servants with him to carry the money and the garments. When they came to the hill in the neighborhood of the prophet’s house, Gehazi dismissed the men and concealed the treasure. Thereafter, with a bold front, as if he had been attending to his ordinary duties, he appeared before his master who at once inquired, "Whence, Gehazi?" (Hebrew). On receiving the ready answer that he had not been anywhere, Elisha, who felt sure that the suspicion he entertained regarding his beloved servant, his very "heart" (2Ki 5:26), was well grounded, sternly rebuked him for the dishonor he had brought upon God’s cause, and called down upon him and his family forever the loathsome disease of the man whose treasures he had obtained by his shameful lie. "And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow."

By this narrative confidence in Gehazi is somewhat unexpectedly and rudely shaken. The active, zealous servant stands confessed a liar and a thief. Gehazi’s sin branched out in different directions. By his falsehood he deceived Naaman and misrepresented Elisha; he not only told a lie, but told a lie about another man, and that man his master and friend. Further, he brought true religion into disrepute; for it was not a time (2Ki 5:26) for a servant of God to allow any commercial idea to be associated with the prophet’s work in the mind of the Syrian general to whom God’s power had been so strikingly manifested and when many for worldly gain pretended to be prophets. But while Gehazi’s sin had ats various ramifications, its one root was covetousness, "the love of money (which) is a root of all kinds of evil" (1Ti 6:10).

3. His Probable Repentance:

Once more Gehazi is mentioned (2Ki 8:1-6) as having been summoned, leper though he was, by King Jehoram to give him an account of all the great things Elisha had done. And when he came to the story of the restoration of the Shunammite’s child to life, the woman herself appeared before the king along with her son, craving to be reinstated in her house and land of which she had been dispossessed during her seven years’ absence from her native country in a time of famine. Gehazi testified to the identity of both mother and son, with the result that the king at once ordered the restoration not only of all her former possessions, but also of all the profits her land had yielded during her sojourn in Philistia.

The appearance and conduct of Gehazi on this occasion give some ground for the hope that he had repented of his sin and could now be trusted to speak the truth; and the pleasure he seemed to take in rehearsing the wonderful deeds of a master who, though kind and indulgent to a stranger, was hard upon him, may even warrant the belief that in his earlier days there was some good thing in him toward his master’s God. If also, as has been indicated above, the word used in 2Ki 4:43 (meshareth) applies to him—the same as is applied to Elisha (1Ki 19:21)—we may be the more readily inclined to see in the history of Gehazi how one besetting sin may prevent a man from taking his natural place in the succession of God’s prophets. Let us hope, however, that though Gehazi became a "lost leader," "just for a handful of silver," he was yet saved by a true repentance from becoming a lost soul.

James Crichton


ga-hen’-a (geenna (see Grimm-Thayer, under the word)): Gehenna is a transliteration from the Aramaic form of the Hebrew ge-hinnom, "valley of Hinnom." This latter form, however, is rare in the Old Testament, the prevailing name being "the valley of the son of Hinnom." Septuagint usually translates; where it transliterates the form is different from Gehenna and varies. In the New Testament the correct form is Gee’nna with the accent on the penult, not Ge’enna. There is no reason to assume that Hinnom is other than a plain patronymic, although it has been proposed to find in it the corruption of the name of an idol (EB, II, 2071). In the New Testament (King James Version margin) Gehenna occurs in Mt 5:22,29,30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15,33; Mr 9:43,15,47; Lu 12:5; Jas 3:6. In all of these it designates the place of eternal punishment of the wicked, generally in connection with the final judgment. It is associated with fire as the source of torment. Both body and soul are cast into it. This is not to be explained on the principle that the New Testament speaks metaphorically of the state after death in terms of the body; it presupposes the resurrection. In the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) Gehenna is rendered by "hell" (see ESCHATOLOGY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT). That "the valley of Hinnom" became the technical designation for the place of final punishment was due to two causes. In the first place the valley had been the seat of the idolatrous worship of Molech, to whom children were immolated by fire (2Ch 28:3; 33:6). Secondly, on account of these practices the place was defiled by King Josiah (2Ki 23:10), and became in consequence associated in prophecy with the judgment to be visited upon the people (Jer 7:32). The fact, also, that the city’s offal was collected there may have helped to render the name synonymous with extreme defilement. Topographically the identification of the valley of Hinnom is still uncertain. It has been in turn identified with the depression on the western and southern side of Jerusalem, with the middle valley, and with the valley to the E. Compare EB, II, 2071; DCG, I, 636; RE3, VI.

Geerhardus Vos


ge-li’-loth (geliloth): This word is used for "districts" or "circuits" perhaps indicating the different parts subject to the several lords of the Philistines (Jos 13:2, the King James Version "borders," the Revised Version (British and American) "regions"); for the quarter of the Jordan valley where the eastern tribes built the altar of Ed (Jos 22:10 f; the King James Version "border of," the Revised Version (British and American) "region about," Jordan); and apparently, for the whole of Philistia (Joe 3:4, the King James Version "coasts of Palestine," the Revised Version (British and American) "regions of Philistia"). But in Jos 18:17, it is clearly used as a place-name. Geliloth lay on the boundary between Judah and Benjamin which passed En-shemesh (probably ‘Ain el-Chod, about 2 miles East of Jerusalem), "and went out to Geliloth, which is over against the ascent of Adummim." From this point it "went down" toward the plain. The place cannot therefore be identified with Gilgal in the Jordan valley. Some point on the road leading from Jericho to Tal‘at ed-Dumm, about 6 miles from Jerusalem, was probably intended, but no identification is possible.

W. Ewing


jem (Pr 26:8, the English Revised Version "a bag of gems,").



ge-mal’-i (gemalli, "camel owner"): Father of the spy Ammiel from the tribe of Da (Nu 13:12), who was one of those sent by Moses to spy out the land of Canaan.





gem-a-ri’-a (gemaryahu, gemaryah, "Yahweh hath accomplished"):

(1) Son of Shaphan the scribe, one of the princes, from whose chamber Baruch read Jeremiah’s prophecies to the people. He, with others, sought to stay Jehoiakim from burning the roll (Jer 36:10,11,12,25).

(2) Son of Hilkiah, one of Zedekiah’s ambassadors to Babylon, by whom Jeremiah sent his letter to the captives (Jer 29:3).





jen’-der (yaladh, ‘abhar; gennao): "Gender" is an abbreviation of "engender." In Job 38:29 yaladh (common for "to bear," "to bring forth") is translated "gender" (after Wycliff), the Revised Version (British and American) "The hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it?" margin "given it birth." In 21:10 we have ‘abhar (either the Piel of ‘abhar, "to pass over," etc., or of a separate word meaning "to bear," "to be fruitful"), translated "gendereth," "Their bull gendereth, and faileth not"; in Le 19:19, rabha’," to lie down with," is used of cattle gendering. In Ga 4:24 the King James Version we have "Mount Sinai, which gendereth (gennoa, "to beget") to bondage," the Revised Version (British and American) "bearing children unto bondage" (like Hagar, Abraham’s bondwoman), and in 2Ti 2:23, which "gender strifes," i.e. beget them.

W. L. Walker



1. The Problems Involved

2. Nature and Importance of the Issue


1. Peculiarities of Matthew’s Genealogy

2. Explanation of the Foregoing

3. Peculiarities of Luke’s Genealogy

4. Explanation of the Foregoing


1. Divergences

2. Correspondence


1. Text of Matthew 1:16

2. General Conclusions


I. Introduction.

1. The Problems Involved:

The genealogy of Jesus as contained in the First and Third Gospels presents three special problems which lie somewhat part from general questions of New Testament criticism:

(1) the construction and purpose of each list taken separately;

(2) the relation of the two lists, in their coincidences and variations, to each other;

(3) the relationship of both lists to the statement concerning the virgin birth of our Lord with which they are directly connected. These questions necessarily involve the conclusion to be arrived at concerning the trustworthiness of the list of names as forming an actual historical connection between Jesus and His ancestors according to the flesh.

2. Nature and Importance of the Issue:

Before these problems are dealt with, it would be well to consider the kind and degree of importance to be attached to the question at issue. As we see it, the only vital point at stake is the balance, sanity and good judgment of the evangelists.

(1) That Jesus had a line of ancestors by His human birth may be taken for granted. The tradition, universal from the earliest times among believers and granted even by the bitterest opponents, that He was connected with the line of David, may also readily be accepted. The exact line through which that connection is traced is, on general principles, of secondary importance. The fact is that, while natural sonship to David on the part of the Messiah was of vital importance to many Jewish inquirers, it failed of any very enthusiastic endorsement on the part of Jesus Himself (see the truly remarkable interview recorded in Mr 12:35-37). The expressions of Paul in this connection will be referred to later; at this point it is sufficient to say that physical kinship to David cannot be insisted upon as the only justification for his words.

(2) If, then, the purpose of the evangelists in having recourse to these lists is worth while, the question of their correctness need not even be raised. Unless some vital issue is involved, the supposition of a special inspiration to go behind lists currently accepted is gratuitous. No such issue seems to be presented here. The Davidic kinship of Jesus, in any sense essential to His Messiahship, is independent of the lists which are used to justify it. This is preliminary to the actual discussion and need not prevent us from giving all due credit to lists which could not have been carelessly compiled nor lightly used.

II. The Genealogies Separately.

1. Peculiarities of Matthew’s Genealogy:

(1) The construction and incorporation of Joseph’s genealogical tree is, in the light of all the facts, the primary consideration.

(2) The artificial division into three groups of fourteen generations each. The apparent defect in this arrangement as it actually stands (the third group lacks one member) is probably traceable to a defect of the Septuagint version of 1Ch 3:11, which is reproduced in the Greek gospel (see Zahn, Introduction to the New Testament, English translation, 564, note 4). This arrangement into groups is the more striking because it makes 14 generations from the captivity to Joseph, where Luke makes 20 or 21, and because the first group of 14 is formed by the omission of three names. It is perfectly clear, therefore, that this artificial grouping is essential to the purpose of the evangelist.

(3) The insertion of the names of brothers, thus following the historical lists and broadening the genealogy by including collateral lines.

(4) The insertion of the names of women—a practice not only foreign but abhorrent to ordinary usage. This peculiarity is the more marked when we notice that these names introduce what would be considered serious blots in the family history of the Davidic house (see Mt 1:5,7).

(5) The principle upon which the division into periods is constructed:

(a) from Abraham to David,

(b) from David to the Captivity,

(c) from the Captivity to Jesus. Attention has repeatedly been called to the fact that this gives a definite historical movement to the genealogy. It involves the origin, the rise to power, the decay and downfall of the house of David (see Allen, ICC, "Matthew," 2; compare Zahn, N T, English translation, I, 535).

2. Explanation of the Foregoing:

Of the many theories which have been constructed to explain the foregoing six peculiarities of the genealogy of Matthew, altogether the most satisfactory is that of Professor Zahn. His contention is that the list was framed not to prove the natural connection of Jesus with the house of David—a fact which no one doubted—but to defend the one vital point where attack had been made, namely, the legitimacy of Jesus’ connection with David. No one seems to have questioned that Jesus was born of Mary and was closely connected with the royal house. The question was whether He was of legitimate birth. It was charged—and the slander which was very early in origin and circumstantial in character obtained an extraordinary hold upon the hostile Jewish mind—that Jesus was the illegitimate offspring of Mary. The Gospel of Mt meets that slander by giving a bird’s-eye view of the movement of the history from Abraham to the Messiah in the form of a genealogy of Joseph, who in the light of all the facts concerning the origin of Jesus marries Mary and gives her the protection of his stainless name and royal lineage. The extraordinary boldness and brilliancy of this apologetic method ought not to be overlooked. The formal charge that Jesus is son of Mary, not of Joseph, is admitted—the slander involved is refuted by bringing Joseph forward as a witness for Mary. Nothing could have been more natural for a man fearless in the confidence of truth; nothing could have been more impossible for one insecure in his hold upon the facts. So far as the genealogy is concerned, just the moment we realize that the purpose is not to prove the natural sonship of Jesus to David, but to epitomize the history, all hesitancy and apprehension concerning the historicity of the successive names disappear. The continuity of blood relationship through these successive generations becomes of no essential importance. Zahn’s explanation (the argument in full should be read by every student), simple in itself, explains all the facts, as a key fits a complicated lock. It explains the choice of a genealogy as a method of epitomizing history and that genealogy Joseph’s, the artificial grouping at the expense of changing the traditional lists, the inclusion of the names of brothers and of women.

3. Peculiarities of Luke’s Genealogy:

(1) The choice of Joseph’s genealogical tree on the part of one who is so deeply interested in Mary.

(2) The reversal of order in going back from Joseph to his ancestors. Godet emphasizes the fact that, in the nature of the case, a genealogy follows the order of succession, each new individual being added to the roll of his family. Luke’s method indicates that his genealogy has been constructed for a special purpose.

(3) The carrying of the line back of the history of the covenant, which begins with Abraham, to Adam, who represents the race in general. This fact, together with another, that the line of Joseph is traced to David through Nathan who was not David’s heir, proves that Luke was not concerned with establishing the Davidic standing of Jesus.

(4) The placing of the genealogy, not at the beginning of the Gospel, but at the beginning of the ministry, between the baptism and the temptation.

(5) The omission of the article before the name of Joseph.

4. Explanation of the Foregoing:

(1) In his comment upon the fourth peculiarity enumerated above, namely, the placing of the genealogy at the beginning of the ministry, Godet (Gospel of Luke, American edition, 126) has this to say: "In crossing the threshold of this new era, the sacred historian casts a general glance over the period which thus reaches its close, and sums it up in this document, which might be called the mortuary register of the earlier humanity." In other words, in connecting the genealogy directly with the ministry, Luke exhibits the fact that his interest in it is historical rather than antiquarian or, so to say, genealogical. As Matthew summarizes the history of the covenant people from the days of Abraham by means of the genealogical register, modified so as to make it graphic by its uniformity, so Luke has written the story of the humanity Jesus, as the Second Adam, came to save, by the register of names summarizing its entire course in the world.

It has recently been commented upon that genealogical lists such as those of Genesis and the New Testament are not infrequently used to convey ideas not strictly germane to the matter of descent or the cognate notion of chronology. For example, the statements as to the longevity of the patriarchs are of historical interest only—they are not and could never have been of value for chronological purposes (see Warfield, "Antiquity and Unity of Human Race," Princeton Review, February, 1911).

(2) In commenting upon the order which Luke adopts, Godet (who has thrown more light upon this portion of the Gospel than anyone else) says: "The ascending form of genealogy can only be that of a private instrument, drawn up from the public document with a view to the particular individual whose name serves as the starting-point of the whole list" (127).

(3) From the fact that the name of Joseph is introduced without an article Godet draws three conclusions:

(a) that this name belongs rather to the sentence introduced by Luke;

(b) that the genealogical document which he consulted began with the name of Heli;

(c) and consequently, that this piece was not originally the genealogy of Jesus or of Joseph, but of Heli (ibid., 128).


(a) The importance of these considerations is twofold. In the first place it indicates that Luke is bringing together two separate documents, one of which contained a statement of the foster-fatherhood of Joseph, while the other contained the genealogy of Heli, between whom and Joseph there existed a relationship which made Luke desirous of connecting them.

(b) In addition, the absence of the article serves to call attention to something exceptional in the relationship of Joseph to the rest of this ancestral line which is brought into connection with his name. To this point we shall recur later. We have an explanation for all the suggested problems except one, and that one, in a sense, the most difficult of all, namely, the choice of Joseph’s genealogy.

III. The Genealogies Compared.

1. Divergences:

In order, however, to discuss this question intelligently, we must enter upon the second stage of our inquiry—as to the relationship between the two lists.

(1) The most notable fact here is of course the wideness of the divergence together with the contrasted and unintelligible fact of minute correspondence. Between Abraham and David the two lists agree. Between David and Joseph there is evident correspondence in two (see Mt 1:12; Lu 3:27), and possible correspondence in four names (that is, if Abiud (Mt 1:13)) and Judah (Lu 3:30) are the same). This initial and greatest difficulty is of material assistance to us because it makes one conclusion certain beyond peradventure. The two lists are not divergent attempts to perform the same task. Whatever difficulties may remain, this difficulty is eliminated at the outset. It is impossible that among a people given to genealogies two lists purporting to give the ancestry of a man in the same line could diverge so widely. There is, therefore, a difference between these lists which includes the purpose for which they were compiled and the meaning which they were intended to convey.

2. Correspondence:

(2) Two of the most striking points in the lists as they stand may be brought into connection and made to explain each other. The two lists coincide in the names of Zerubbabel and Shealtiel—they differ as to the name of Joseph’s father, who is Jacob according to Matthew and Heli according to Luke. As to the second of these two important items this much is clear. Either these two lists are in violent contradiction, or else Joseph was in some sense son of both Jacob and Heli. Now, in connection with this seeming impossibility, turn to the other item. The names of Shealtiel and Zerubbabel belong to the captivity. Their being common to both lists is easily explained by the fact that during that troubled period a number of collateral family branches might be narrowed down to one or two common representatives (see Zahn, op. cit., 535). In the New Testament genealogies Zerubbabel is the son of Shealtiel—according to 1Ch 3:19 he is the nephew of Shealtiel and the son of Pedaiah. He is, therefore, at one and the same time heir and, legally, son of two men and would appear as such on two collateral lists.

Shealtiel himself appears in Mt (1:12) as the son of Jechoniah and in Lu (3:27) as the son of Neri. In 1Ch 3:17 he appears as son of Jechoniah. The name of Neri is peculiar to Lk, so that we cannot check his use of it and discover the actual parentage of Shealtiel. His appearance in two lists with a double reference of parentage is not surprising in view of what we have already seen. Besides this, a reasonable explanation at once appears. In Jer 36:30 it is asserted that Jehoiakim should have "none to sit upon the throne of David," and of his son (Jehoiachin, Jechoniah, Coniah) it is said (Jer 22:30), "Write ye this man childless," etc. It has been rightly pointed out (see HDB, II 557) that this means simply legal proscription, not actual childlessness. It suggests, however, that it might be thought necessary to provide in the genealogy an heir not of their blood for the two disgraced and proscribed members of the royal house, In view of these facts the contradictory references as to Joseph’s parentage present no difficulty.

Joseph may easily have been and undoubtedly was, legally, son and heir of both Jacob and Heli. Godet’s objection to this is based upon the supposition that Heli and Jacob were brothers, which leaves the divergence beyond these two names unexplained. It is evident, however, that the kinship between Jacob and Heli might have been more distant than this supposition calls for.

(3) When we come to explain how it happened that Joseph was connected with both these lines and that Matthew chose one list and Luke the other we are necessarily shut up to conjecture. There is one supposition, however, which is worthy of very careful consideration because it solves so many and such difficult problems. The authorities have been divided as to whether Luke’s genealogy is Joseph’s, as appears, or Mary’s. Godet makes a strong showing for the latter, and, after all has been said per contra, some of his representations remain unshaken (compare Godet and Plummer sub loc.). Most of the difficulties are removed at one stroke, and the known facts harmonized, by the simple supposition that Luke has given us the meeting-point of the lineage both of Joseph and Mary who are akin. This explains the apparent choice of Joseph’s list; the peculiar position of his name in that list; the reversal of the order; the coincidences and discrepancies with reference to Matthew’s; the early tradition of Mary’s Davidic origin; the strange reference in the Talmud (Chaghigha’ 77 4) to Mary as the daughter of Heli; the visit of Mary with Joseph to Bethlehem at the time of the registration; the traditional discrepancy of ages between Joseph and Mary, such that (apparently) Joseph disappears from the scene before Jesus reaches maturity. Against this nothing of real weight can be urged (the kinship with Elisabeth is not such: see Edersheim, LTJM, I, 149) except that it is too simple and too felicitous. Its simplicity and felicitous adjustment to the whole complex situation is precisely its recommendation. And there we may let the matter rest.

IV. The Genealogies and the Virgin Birth.

We have now to deal with the relationship of the genealogies to the virgin-birth statement which forms the vital center of the infancy narratives and to the general question of the Davidic origin of Jesus.


1. Text of Matthew 1:16:

The first part of this question may be most directly approached by a brief consideration of the text of Mt 1:16. The text upon which the Revised Version (British and American) is based reads: "And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ." Beside this there are two readings, one contained in the so-called Ferrar group of manuscripts, and the other in the Sinaitic which, differing among themselves, unite in ascribing the parentage of Jesus to Joseph. This has been seized upon by negative critics (see for list and discussion Machen, Princeton Review, January, 1906, 63; compare Bacon, HDB, article "Genealogy of Jesus Christ," Am. Jour. Theol., January, 1911, who long ago gave in his advocacy to the supposition that the evangelists could easily reconcile the supernatural birth with the actual paternity of Joseph) to support the idea of a primitive Christian tradition that Joseph was the father of Jesus. Of this contention Zahn leaves nothing, and concludes his argument with this statement: "The hope of finding indications in old manuscripts and versions that the authors of lost Gospels or brief writings which may have been worked over in our Mt and Lu regarded Joseph as the physical father of Jesus, should at last be dismissed. An author who knew how to make even the dry material of a genealogy to its least detail contribute to the purpose of his thought concerning the slandered miracle of the Messiah’s birth, cannot at the same time have taken over statements from a genealogy of Joseph or Jesus used by him which directly contradicted his conception of this fact. Any text of Mt which contained such statements would be condemned in advance as one altered against the author’s interest" (op. cit., 567). It is interesting to note that Allen (ICC, "Matthew," 8), starting from the extreme position that the Sinaitic form of statement, of all extant texts, most nearly represents the original, reaches the same conclusion as Zahn, that Matthew’s Gospel from the beginning taught the virgin birth.

2. General Conclusions:

(1) It is clear, therefore, from the general trend as well as from specific statements of both Gospels, that the genealogies and the birth-narratives were not floating traditions which accidentally touched and coalesced in mid-stream, but that they were intended to weld inseparably the two beliefs that Jesus was miraculously conceived and that He was the heir of David. This could be done only on the basis of Joseph’s genealogy, for whatever the lineage of Mary, Joseph was the head of the family, and the Davidic connection of Jesus could only be established by acknowledgment of Him as legal son by Joseph. Upon this basis rests the common belief of the apostolic age (see Zahn, ibid., 567, note references), and in accordance with it all statements (such as those of Paul, Ro 1:3; 2Ti 2:8) must be interpreted.

(2) For it must be remembered that, back of the problem of reconciling the virgin birth and the Davidic origin of Jesus, lay the far deeper problem—to harmonize the incarnation and the Davidic origin. This problem had been presented in shadow and intimation by Jesus Himself in the question: "David himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he his Son?" It is further to be noticed that in the annunciation (Lu 1:32) the promised One is called at once Son of God and Son of David, and that He is the Son of God by virtue of His conception by the Spirit—leaving it evident that He is Son of David by virtue of His birth of Mary. With this should be compared the statement of Paul (Ro 1:3,1): He who was God’s Son was "born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." This is at least most suggestive (see Orr, Virgin Birth of Christ, 119, with note, p. 121), for it indicates that as Paul and Luke were in very close sympathy as to the person of our Lord, so they are in equally close sympathy as to the mystery of His origin. The unanimity of conviction on the part of the early church as to the Davidic origin of Jesus is closely paralleled by its equally firm conviction as to His supernatural derivation. The meeting-point of these two beliefs and the resolution of the mystery of their relationship is in the genealogies in which two widely diverging lines of human ancestry, representing the whole process of history, converge at the point where the new creation from heaven is introduced.


The literature on this subject is very copious. The works referred to in the text will serve to introduce the reader to more extensive investigations. The whole situation is well summarized by Plummer (ICC, "Luke," sub loc.).

Louis Matthews Sweet


je-na-al’-o-ji, jen-a-al’-o-ji:

1. Definition

2. Biblical References

3. Importance of Genealogies

4. Their Historical Value

5. Principles of Interpretation

6. Principles of Compilation

7. Sources

8. Principal Genealogies and Lists


1. Definition:

The Old Testament translates (once, Ne 7:5) the noun yachas; cepher ha-yachas, "book of the genealogy"; also translates a denominate verb in Hithpael, yachas, "sprout" "grow" (compare family "tree"); hithyaches, "genealogy"; the idea is conveyed in other phrases, as cepher toledhoth, "book of the generations," or simply toledhoth, "generations." In the New Testament it transliterates genealogia, "account of descent," 1Ti 1:4; Tit 3:9. In Mt 1:1, biblos geneseos, "book of the generation" of Jesus Christ, is rendered in the American Revised Version, margin "the genealogy of Jesus Christ"; a family register, or register of families, as 1Ch 4:33, etc.; the tracing backward or forward of the line of ancestry of individual, family, tribe, or nation; pedigree. In Timothy and Titus refers probably to the Gnostic (or similar) lists of successive emanations from Deity in the development of created existence.

2. Biblical References:

According to the Old Testament, the genealogical interest dates back to the beginnings of sacred history. It appears in the early genealogical tables of Ge 5; 10; 46, etc.; in Ex 6:14-27, where the sons of Reuben, Simeon and especially Levi, are given; in Nu 1:2; 26:2-51, where the poll of fighting men is made on genealogical principles; in Nu 2:2, where the positions on the march and in camp are determined by tribes and families; in David’s division of priests and Levites into courses and companies (1Ch 6-9); is referred to in the account of Jeroboam’s reign (2Ch 12:15 margin, "the words of Iddo, after the manner of genealogies"); is made prominent in Hezekiah’s reforms when he reckoned the whole nation by genealogies (1Ch 4:41; 2Ch 31:16-19); is seen in Jotham’s reign when the Reubenites and Gadites are reckoned genealogically (1Ch 5:17). Zerubbabel took a census, and settled the returning exiles according to their genealogies (1Ch 3:19-24; 1Ch 9; Ezr 2; Ne 7; 11; 12). With the rigid exclusion of all foreign intermixtures by the leaders of the Restoration (Ezr 10; Ne 10:30; 13:23-31), the genealogical interest naturally deepened until it reached its climax, perhaps in the time of Christ and up to the destruction of Jerusalem. Josephus, in the opening of his Life, states that his own pedigree was registered in the public records. Many families in Christ’s time clearly possessed such lists (Lu 1:5, etc.). The affirmed, reiterated and unquestioned Davidic descent of Christ in the New Testament, with His explicit genealogies (Mt 1:1-17; Lu 3:23-38); Paul’s statement of his own descent; Barnabas’ Levitical descent, are cases in point. Davididae, descendants of David, are found as late as the Roman period. There is a tradition that Herod I destroyed the genealogical lists at Jerusalem to strengthen his own seat, but more probably they persisted until the destruction of Jerusalem.

3. Importance of Genealogies:

Genealogical accuracy, always of interest both to primitive and more highly civilized peoples, was made especially important by the facts that the land was promised to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, that the priesthood was exclusively hereditary, that the royal succession of Judah lay in the Davidic house, that the division and occupation of the land was according to tribes, families and fathers’ houses; and for the Davididae, at least, that the Messiah was to be of the house of David. The exile and return, which fixed indelibly in the Jewish mind the ideas of monotheism, and of the selection and sacred mission of Israel, also fixed and deepened the genealogical idea, prominently so in the various assignments by families, and in the rejection in various ways of those who could not prove their genealogies. But it seems extreme to date, as with many modern critics, its real cultivation from this time. In the importance attached to genealogies the Hebrew resembles many other ancient literatures, notably the Egyptian Greek, and Arabic, but also including Romans, Kelts, Saxons, the earliest history naturally being drawn upon genealogical as well as on annalie lines. A modern tendency to overestimate the likeness and underestimate the unlikeness of the Scripture to its undoubtedly cognate literatures finds in the voluminous artificial genealogical material, which grew up in Arabia after the time of the caliph Omar, an almost exact analogue to the genealogical interest at the time of the return. This, however, is on the assumption of the late date of most of the genealogical material in the older New Testament books, and rests in turn on the assumption that the progress of religious thought and life in Israel was essentially the same as in all other countries; an evolutionary development, practically, if not theoretically, purely naturalistic in its genesis and progress.

4. Their Historical Value:

The direct historical value of the Scripture genealogies is variously estimated. The critically reconstructive school finds them chiefly in the late (priestly) strata of the early books, and dates Chronicles-Ezra-Nehemiah (our fullest sources) about 300 BC, holding it to be a priestly reconstruction of the national history wrought with great freedom by the "Chronicler." Upon this hypothesis the chief value of the genealogies is as a mirror of the mind and ideas of their authors or recorders, a treasury of reflections on the geographical, ethnological and genealogical status as believed in at their time, and a study of the effect of naive and exaggerated patriotism dealing with the supposed facts of national life, or else, in the extreme instance, a highly interesting example of bold and inventive juggling with facts by men with a theory, in this particular case a priestly one, as with the "Chronicler." To more conservative scholars who accept the Old Testament at its face value, the genealogies are a rich mine of historical, personal and ethnographic, as well as religious, information, whose working, however, is much hindered by the inevitable corruption of the text, and by our lack of correlative explanatory information. Much interesting illustrative matter may be looked for from such archaeological explorations as those at Gezer and elsewhere under the Palestine Exploration Society, the names on the pottery throwing light on the name- lists in Chronicles, and the similar discoveries on the supposed site of Ahab’s palace in Samaria, which also illustrate the conflict between Baal and Yahweh worship by the proportion of the proper names compounded by "Baal" or "Jah" (see Macalister, Bible Sidelights from Gezer, 150 ff; PEF, 1905, 243, 328; Harvard Theological Review, 1911). In spite of all such illustrative data, however, the genealogies must necessarily continue to present many insoluble problems. A great desideratum is a careful and systematic study of the whole question by some modern conservative scholar endowed with the patience and insight of the late Lord A.C. Hervey, and equipped with the fruits of the latest discoveries. While much curious and suggestive information may be derived from an intensive study of the names and relationships in the genealogies (although here the student needs to watch his theories), their greatest present value lies in the picture they present of the large-hearted cosmopolitanism, or international brotherliness, in the older ones, notably Ge 10, recognizing so clearly that God hath made of one all nations to dwell on the earth; and, as they progress, in the successive selection and narrowing as their lines converge upon the Messiah.

5. Principles of Interpretation:

In the evaluation and interpretation of the genealogies, certain facts and principles must be held in mind.

(1) Lists of names necessarily suffer more in transmission than other literature, since there is almost no connectional suggestion as to their real form. Divergences in different versions, or in different stages, of the same genealogy are therefore to be looked for, with many tangles hard to unravel, and it is precisely at this point that analytic and constructive criticism needs to proceed most modestly and restrain any possible tendency unduly to theorize.

(2) Frequently in the Scriptural lists names of nations, countries, cities, districts or clans are found mingled with the names of individuals. This is natural, either as the personification of the clan or nation under the name of its chief, or chief progenitor, or as the designation of the individual clan, family or nation, from its location, so common among many nations. Many of the cases where this occurs are so obvious that the rule may not be unsafe to consider all names as probably standing for individuals where the larger geographical or other reference is not unmistakably clear. This is undoubtedly the intent and understanding of those who transmitted and received them.

(3) It is not necessary to assume that the ancestors of various tribes or families are eponymous, even though otherwise unknown. The Scriptural explanation of the formation of tribes by the expansion and division of families is not improbable, and is entitled to a certain presumption of correctness. Furthermore, it is extremely difficult to establish a stopping-point for the application of the eponymous theory; under its spell the sons of Jacob disappear, and Jacob, Isaac and even Abraham become questionable.

(4) The present quite popular similar assumption that personal details in the genealogy stand for details of tribal history, as, for instance, the taking of a concubine means rather an alliance with, or absorption of, an inferior tribe or clan, is a fascinating and far-reaching generalization, but it lacks confirmation, and would make of the Scripture an allegorical enigma in which historical personages and events, personified peoples or countries, and imaginary ancestors are mingled in inextricable confusion.

(5) Scriptural genealogies are often given a regular number of generations by omitting various intermediate steps. The genealogies of Jesus, for instance, cover 42 generations, in 3 subdivisions of 14 each. Other instances are found in the Old Testament, where the regularity or symmetry is clearly intentional. Instance Jacob’s 70 descendants, and the 70 nations of Ge 10. This has in modern eyes an artificial look, but by no means necessarily involves violence done to the facts under the genealogist’s purview, and is readily and creditably accounted for by his conceptions and purposes. The theory that in some cases the requisite number has been built up by the insertion of imaginary names(see Curtis, ICC, "Chronicles," 135) has another aspect, and does not seem necessary to account for the facts, or to have sufficient facts to sustain it. See 21:5, (6) below. It involves a view of the mental and moral equipment and point of view of the Chronicler in particular, which would not seem to leave him many shreds of either historical, or "religious" value, and which a sounder criticism will surely very materially modify.

(6) Much perplexity and confusion is avoided by remembering that other modes of entrance into the family, clan, tribe or nation obtained than that by birth: capture, adoption, the substitution of one clan for another just become extinct, marriage. Hence, "son of," "father of," "begat," have broader technical meanings, indicating adoptive or official connection or "descent," as well as actual consanguinity, nearer or remote, "son" also meaning "grandson," "great-grandson," etc. Instance Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, of the tribe of Judah, styled (1Ch 2:18) a descendant of Hezron and son of Hur, but also, in token of his original descent, called the Kenizzite or "son of Kenaz" (Jos 15:17), etc. Similarly, where in an earlier genealogy a clan or individual is assigned to a certain tribe, and in a later to another, it has been "grafted in." But while these methods of accretion clearly obtained, the nations freely absorbing neighboring or surrounding peoples, families, or persons, families likewise absorbing individuals, as in American Indian, and many other tribes; yet, as in them, the descent and connection by birth constituted the main line, and in any given case has the presumption unless clear facts to the contrary exist.

(7) The repetition of the same name in the same genealogy, as in that of the high priests (1Ch 6:1-15), rouses "suspicion" in some minds, but unnecessarily. It is very natural, and not uncommon, to find grandfathers and grandsons, especially among the Hebrews, receiving the same name (Lu 1:59). This would be especially to be expected in a hereditary caste or office like the priesthood.

(8) The existence of the same name in different genealogies is not uncommon, and neither implies nor should cause confusion.

(9) The omission of one or many links in the succession, often clearly caused by the desire for symmetry, is frequent where the cause is unknown, the writers being careful only to indicate the connection more or less generally, without feeling bound to follow every step. Tribes were divided into families, and families into fathers’ houses; tribe, family and fathers’ house regularly constituting links in a formal genealogy, while between them and the person to be identified any or all links may be omitted. In similar fashion, there is an absence of any care to keep the successive generations absolutely distinct in a formal fashion, son and grandson being designated as alike "son" of the same ancestor. Ge 46:21, for instance, contains grandsons as well as sons of Benjamin, Bela, Becher, Ashbel, Gera, Nanman, Ehi, etc. This would be especially true where the son as well as the father became founder of a house. Some confusion is occasionally caused by the lack of rigid attention to precise terminology, a characteristic of the Hebrew mind. Strictly the tribe, shebheT (in the Priestly Code (P), maTTeh), is the larger subdivision, then the clan, mishpachah, "family," and then the "house" or "fathers’ house," bayith, or beth ‘abh, beth ‘abhoth; but sometimes a "fathers’ house" is a tribe (Nu 17:6), or a clan (1Ch 24:6). In this connection it is to be remembered again that sequence of generations often has to do with families rather than with individuals, and represents the succession to the inheritance or headship, rather than the actual relationship of father and son.

(10) Genealogies are of two forms, the descending, as Ge 10: "The sons of Japheth: Gomer," etc.; "The sons of Gomer: Ashkenaz," etc.; and the ascending, Ezr 7:1 ff: "Ezra, the son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah," etc. The descending are the usual.

(11) Feminine names are occasionally found, where there is anything remarkable about them, as Sarai and Milcah (Ge 11:29), Rebekah (Ge 22:23), etc.; or where any right or property is transmitted through them, as the daughters of Zelophehad, who claimed and were accorded "a possession among the brethren of (their) father" (Nu 26:33; 27:1-11), etc. In such cases as Azubah and Ephrath, successive wives of Caleb (1Ch 2:18-20), many modern critics find tribal history enshrined in this case, "Caleb" or "dog" tribe having removed from Azubah, "deserted" to Ephrathah, Bethlehem, in Northern Judah. But the principle is not, and cannot be, carried Out consistently.

(12) The state of the text is such, especially in Chronicles, that it is not easy, or rather not possible, to construct a complete genealogical table after the modern form. Names and words have dropped out, and other names have been changed, so that the connection is often difficult and sometimes impossible to trace. The different genealogies also represent different stages in the history and, at many places, cannot with any knowledge now at our command be completely adjusted to each other, just as geographical notices at different periods must necessarily be inconsistent.

(13) In the present state of our knowledge, and of the text, and also considering the large and vague chronological methods of the Hebrews, the genealogies can give us comparatively little chronological assistance. The uncertainty as to the actual length of a generation, and the custom of frequently omitting links in the descent, increases the difficulty; so that unless they possess special marks of completeness, or have outstanding historical relationships which determine or corroborate them, or several parallel genealogies confirm each other, they must be used with great caution. Their interest is historical, biographical, successional or hereditary, rather than chronological.

6. Principles of Compilation:

The principal genealogical material of the Old Testament is found in Ge 5; 10; 11; 22; 25; 29; 30; 35; 36; 46; Ex 6; Nu 1; 2; 7; 10; 13; 26; 34; scattered notices in Josh, Ruth, 1 Sam; 2Sa 3; 5; 23; 1Ki 4; 1Ch 1-9; 11; 12; 15; 23-27; 2Ch 23; 29; Ezr 2; 7; 10; Ne 3; 7; 10; 11; 12. The genealogies of our Lord (Mt 1:1-17; Lu 3:23-38) are the only New Testament material. The Old Testament and New Testament genealogies bring the record down from the creation to the birth of Christ. After tracing the descent from Adam to Jacob, incidentally (Ge 10) giving the pedigree of the various nations within their purview, the Hebrew genealogists give the pedigree of the twelve tribes. As was to be expected, those tribes, which in the developing history assumed greater prominence, received the chief attention. Da is carried down but 1 generation, and credited with but 1 descendant; Zebulun 1 generation, 3 sons; Naphtali 1 generation, 4 sons; Issachar 4 generations, 15 descendants; Manasseh 4 generations, 39 descendants; Asher 7 generations, 40 descendants; Reuben 8 (?) generations, 22 descendants; Gad 10 generations, 28 descendants; Ephraim 14 (?) generations, 25 descendants. Levi, perhaps first as the priestly tribe, Judah next as the royal, Benjamin as most closely associated with the others, and all three as the survivors of the exile (although representatives of other tribes shared in the return) are treated with the greatest fullness.

7. Sources:

Chronicles furnishes us the largest amount of genealogical information, where coincident with the older genealogies, clearly deriving its data from them. Its extra-canonical sources are a matter of considerable difference among critics, many holding that the books cited by the Chronicler as his sources ("The Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah," "The Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel," "The History of Samuel the Seer," "The History of Nathan the Prophet," etc., to the number of perhaps 16) are our canonical books, with the addition of a "Midrashic History of Israel," from which he quotes the most freely. But the citations are made with such fullness, vividness, and particularity of reference, that it is hard to believe that he did not have before him extensive extra-canonical documents. This is the impression he clearly seeks to convey. Torrey (AJSL, XXV, 195) considers that he cit, es this array of authority purely "out of his head," for impressiveness’ sake, a theory which leaves the Chronicler no historical value whatever. It is extremely likely that he had before him also oral and written sources that he has not cited, records, private or public lists, pedigrees, etc., freely using them for his later lists and descents. For the post-exilic names and lists, Ezra-Nehemiah also furnish us much material. In this article no attempt is made at an exhaustive treatment, the aim being rather by a number of characteristic examples to give an idea of the quality, methods and problems of the Bible genealogies.

GENEALOGY, 8 part 1

8. Principal Genealogies and Lists:

In the early genealogies the particular strata to which each has been assigned by reconstructive critics is here indicated by J, the Priestly Code (P), etc. The signs "=" or ":" following individual names indicate sonship.

(1) Genesis 4:16-24.—The Cainites (Assigned to P).

Seven generations to Jabal, Jubal and Tubal-cain, explaining the hereditary origin of certain occupations (supposed by many to be a shorter version of chapter 5).

(2) Genesis 4:25,26.—The Sethites (Assigned to J).

(3) Genesis 5:1-32.—The Book of the Generations of Adam (Assigned to the Priestly Code (P), Except 5:29 J).

Brings the genealogy down to Noah, and gives the chronology to the Flood. The numbers in the Hebrew Massoretic Text, the Samaritan Hebrew, and the Septuagint differ, Massoretic Text aggregating 1,656 years, Samaritan 1,307 years, and Septuagint 2,242 years. Some scholars hold this list to be framed upon that of the ten Babylonian kings given in Berosus, ending with Xisuthrus, the Babylonian Noah. An original primitive tradition, from which both lists are derived, the Hebrew being the nearer, is not impossible. Both the "Cainite" list in Ge 4 and this "Sethite" list end with three brothers.

(4) Genesis 10:1-32.—The Generations of the Sons of Noah.

"The Table of Nations" (assigned to the Priestly Code (P), 10:1-7; J, 10:8-19; the Priestly Code (P), 10:20; J, 10:21; the Priestly Code (P), 10:22; J, 10:24-30; the Priestly Code (P), 10:31,32). Found in abridged form in 1Ch 1:5-24.

I. Japheth = Gomer, Magog, Badai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, Tiras.

1. Gomer = Ashkenaz, Riphath (1Ch 1:6, Diphath), Togarmah.

2. Javan = Elisha, Tarshish, Kittim, Dodanim (Rodanim, 1Ch 17, is probably correct, a "d", having been substituted by a copyist for "r").

II. Ham = Cush, Mizraim, Put, Canaan.

1. Cush = Seba, Havilah, Sibtah, Raamah, Sabteca (Nimrod).

2. Mizraim = Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim, Pathrusim, Casluhim (whence the Philis), Caphtorim.

3. Canaan = Zidon (Chronicles, Sidon), Heth; the Jebusite, Amorite, Girgashite, Hivite, Arkite, Sinite, Arvadite, Zemarite, Hittite.

4. Raamah (son of Cush) = Sheba, Dedan.

III. Elam = Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud, Aramaic

1. Aram = Uz, Hul, Gether, Mash (Chronicles, Meshech).

2. Arpachshad = Shelah = Eber = Peleg, Joktan.

3. Joktan (son of Eber) = Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Sheba, Ophir, Havilah, Jobab.

4. Peleg (son of Eber) = Reu = Serug = Nahor = Terah = Abraham.

Nearly all these names are of peoples, cities or districts. That Noah, Shem, Ham, Japheth, Nahor, Terah, Abraham, Nimrod, and probably Peleg, Reu, Serug, represent actual persons the general tenor of the narrative and the general teaching of Scripture clearly indicate, although many critics consider these also as purely eponymous. The others can mostly be more or less clearly identified ethnographically or geographically. This table represents the nations known to the writer, and in general, although not in all particulars, expresses the ethnographical relationships as far as they are now known to modern research. It follows a partly ethnological, partly geographical scheme, the descendants of Japheth in general representing the Aryan stock settled in Asia Minor, Media, Armenia, Greece, and the islands of the Mediterranean; those of Ham representing the Hamitic races in Ethiopia, Egypt, in Southwest Arabia, and Southern Babylonia. Many modern writers hold that in making "Nimrod" the son of "Cush," the Scripture writer has confused "Cush," the son of Ham, with another "Gush," the Cassei, living near Elam, since the later Babylonians and Assyrians were clearly Semitic in language and racial characteristics. Nevertheless the Scripture statement is accordant with early traditions of a Hamitic settlement of the country (Oannes the fish-god coming out of the Red Sea, etc.), and perhaps also with the fact that the earliest language of Babylonia was non-Sem. The sons of Canaan represent the nations and peoples found by the Hebrews in Palestine, the Phoenicians and the Canaanites. Heth is the great Hittite nation, by language and racial type strikingly non-Sem. Among the sons of Shem, Eber is by many considered eponymous or imaginary, but the hypothesis is not necessary. Most Assyriologists deny the connection of Elam with Shem, the later Elamites being non-Sem; the inscriptions, however, show that the earlier inhabitants up to 2300 BC were Semitic Lud must be the Lydians of Asia Minor, whose manners and older names resemble the Semitic Asia Minor presents a mixture of races as manifold as does Palestine. The sons of Joktan are tribes in Western and Southern Arabia. Havilah is given both as a son of Cush, Hamite, and of Joktan, Semite, perhaps because the district was occupied by a mixed race. It would seem, however, that "begat" or "son of" often represents geographical as well as ethnological relations. And where the classification of the Scripture writer does not accord with the present deliverances of archaeology, it must be remembered that at this distance conclusions drawn from ethnology, philology and archaeology, considering the present incomplete state of these sciences, the kaleidoscopic shifting of races, dynasties and tongues through long periods, and our scanty information, are liable to so many sources of error that dogmatism is precarious. The ancient world possessed a much larger amount of international knowledge than was, until recently, supposed. A writer of 300 BC had a closer range and could have had sources of information much more complete than we possess. On the assumption of the Mosaic authorship, that broad, statesmanlike mind, learned in all the knowledge of the Egyptians, and, clearly, profoundly influenced by Babylonian law and literature, may be credited with considerable breadth of vision and many sources of information. Aside from the question of inspiration, this Table of Nations; for breadth of scope, for inclusiveness (though not touching peoples outside of the life of its writer), for genial broadmindedness, is one of the most remarkable documents in any literature.

(5) Genesis 11:10-27.—The Generations of Shem (assigned to P).

From Shem to Abraham. The list is also chronological, but the versions differ, Massoretic Text making 290 years, from Shem to Abraham, Samaritan Hebrew, 940, and Septuagint 1,070. Septuagint inserts Cainan, 130 years, otherwise agreeing with the Samaritan to the birth of Abraham. Arpachshad may be rendered "the territory of Chesed," i.e. of the Chasdim, Chaldeans. Eber therefore is descended from Arpachshad, Abraham, his descendant, coming from Ur-Chasdim.

(6) Genesis 11:23-26; 22:20-24.—The Children of Nahor (11:23-26 P; 22:20-24 J).

Uz, Buz, Kemuel, etc. These descendants of Abraham’s brother probably represent Aramean tribes chiefly East or Northeast of Canaan. Aram may be the ancestor of the Syrians of Damascus. Uz and Buz probably belong to Arabia Petrea, mentioned in Jer 25:23 with the Arabian tribes Dedan and Thema. Chesed in this list probably stands, not for the Chaldeans of Babylonia, but for a related tribe of Northern Syria. In Ge 10:23 (assigned to P) Uz is the son of Aram, and in 10:22 Aram is a son of Shem. On the purely tribal hypothesis, this is either a contradiction, or the later statements represent other tribal relationships or subdivisions. Probably other individuals or tribes are indicated. Chronicles does not have this list, it being a side stream.

(7) Genesis 16:15; 21:1-3; 25 (also 1Ch 1:28-33).—The Sons of Abraham by Sarah, Hagar, Keturah (Ge 16:15 assigned to P; 21:1-3 to J, the Priestly Code (P), J, P; Ge 25:1-6 J; 25:7-11 P; 25:11b J; 25:12-17 P; 25:18 J; 25:19,20 P; 25:21-26a J; 25:26b P; 25:27-34 J).

The descendants of Abraham through Hagar and Ishmael represent the Ishmaelite tribes of Arabia living North and Northwest of the Joktanidae, who chiefly peopled Arabia. Twelve princes are named, possibly all sons of Ishmael, perhaps some of them grandsons. The number has seemed "suspicious" as balancing too exactly the twelve tribes of Israel. But twelve is an approved Semitic number, determining not necessarily the sons born, but the "sons" mentioned. The Arabians generally were frequently given the name Ishmaelites, perhaps because of the greater prominence and closer contact of these northern tribes with the Hebrews. The sons of Keturah seem to have been chiefly Arabian tribes, whose locations are unknown. Midian, of the sons of Keturah, is the well-known and powerful tribe in the Arabian desert near the Aelanitic Gulf, bordered by Edom on the Northwest Sheba and Dedan are also mentioned as Cushites (Ge 10:7). Very likely the tribes extensively intermarried, and could claim descent from both; or were adopted into one or the other family. Sheba was in Southwestern Arabia. Dedan lived near Edom, where the caravan routes to various parts of Arabia converged. Asshurim are of course not Assyrians, but an Arabian tribe, mentioned by the side of Egypt in Minaean inscriptions. While the two sons of Isaac are to be accepted as real persons, their typical character is also unmistakable, the history of the two nations, Israel and Edom, being prefigured in their relations.

(8) Genesis 29:31-30:24; 35:16-26. The Children of Jacob (29:31-35 Assigned to P; 30:1-3a JE; 30:4a P; 30:4b-24 JE; 35:16-22 JE; 35:23-26 P).

The account of the parentage, birth and naming of the founders of the twelve tribes; by Leah: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun (daughter Dinah); by Bilhah: Dan, Naphtali; by Zilpah: Gad, Asher; by Rachel: Joseph, Benjamin. Much modern criticism agrees that these names are purely those of tribes, some of them perhaps derived from persons or places impossible now to trace, but mostly eponymous. Accordingly, these chapters are to be translated as follows. An Arab tribe, Jacob, wanders in Canaan, quarrels with Edom, migrates to Haran, forms alliances with the Aramean clans Rachel, Bilhah, Leah, Zilpah. Rachel and Jacob constitute a new tribe, Joseph. The federation takes the name Jacob. The other allied clans divide into sub-clans, or new clans join them, until Leah has six "sons," Reuben, Simeon, etc.; Zilpah, two; Bilhah, two. Zilpah and Bilhah are "concubines" because inferior members of the federation, or else have a left-handed connection with it. The formation of the new tribe Benjamin broke up the old tribe Rachel, which (who) accordingly "died." Although such are the original facts imbedded in the documents, they are now set in a framework of personal narrative, and were understood as narrative by the first hearers and readers. The history thus constituted is necessarily "an enigma which it is very hard to solve" (Bennett, Genesis, 284), and with almost as many answers as students. For critical purposes it presents a rich field for exploration, analysis and conjecture, but its edificatory value is chiefly found in reading the narratives as personal: a serious and reverent religious romance rounded on facts or legends, whose real value lies in the sidelights it throws on national character and ethical principles, expressed in a naive, vivid, lifelike story, full of suggestion and teaching. This present article, however, proceeds on the Scripture representation of these details and incidents as personal.

The explanations of the names illustrate the Hebrew fondness for assonances, paronomasia, coming from a time when much importance was attached to words and sounds, but need not be considered mere popular etymologies, the Hebrew individual mother being fully capable of them. Neither do they necessarily represent the original etymology, or reason for the name, but may give the pregnant suggestion occurring to the maternal or other imagination.

Leah, "wild cow," is supposed by many to be so called from the "totem" of the "Leah" tribe. Reuben (re’ubhen), original meaning unknown, unless Leah’s emotional explanation explains the name, rather than is explained by it: ra’ah be‘onyi, "hath looked upon my affliction." Superficially it might be re’u ben, "See, a son," as in the American Revised Version, margin. Others see in the second statement: "My husband will love me," still another etymology, ye’ehdbhani, "will love me." The lover of assonances can find more than one. The tribe is not prominent after Deborah’s time. Simeon, considered by some an animal (totem) name, the Arabic sim‘u, cross between hyena and wolf, suggests to the mother (or is suggested by that) its likeness to shama‘, "hear": "Yahweh hath heard." It is not much known after the Conquest. Levi, "adhesion, associate": thought by many a gentilic adjective from Leah, the Leah tribe paragraph excellence; the name is adjectival in form. Leah connects it with yillaweh, "He will join," ‘Now will my husband be joined unto me.’ A similar allusion is found in Nu 18:2,4, there applied to the "joining" of the tribe to Aaron. Judah is associated with the verb hadhah, "praise": "Now will I praise Yahweh." Jacob makes the same suggestion in Ge 49:8; no other plausible suggestion of the origin of the name can be made. The etymology and origin of Bilhah are unknown. Da is associated with danah, "judge": "God hath judged"; no other etymology can be found. Naphtali is derived from niphtal, "wrestle": "I have wrestled," the only discoverable etymology. Zilpah, zilpah, perhaps is "dropping," "drop." Gad, gadh, "fortunate," according to Leah. Gad was the well-known Syrian god of "fortune"; but there is no necessary connection here. Asher, from ‘ashar, "happy," ‘ashsher, "call happy"; so Leah; no connection with Asshur, Assyrian god. Issachar, from sakhar, "hire," "man of hire": "God hath given me mine hire," also because Leah had "hired" Jacob with her son’s mandrakes; a similar allusion in Ge 49, "a servant under taskwork." Wellhausen would read ‘ish-sakhar, "man of (some deity, unknown)." Zebulun, from zebhul, "habitation, dwelling": Leah gives two explanations, the first assigned by critics to Elohist (E) (probably), connecting the name with a root found in Zebediah, Zabdi, etc., "endow": "God hath endowed me with a good dowry"; the second with zabhal, "dwell": "Now will my husband dwell with me." Dinah, like Dan, is from dan, "judge." Supposed by some to be an old tribe of Israel, in some way associated with Dan, possibly a twin division. Rachel is "ewe," hence identified with a "ewe" tribe. Joseph has a twofold suggestion: the first (assigned to E) from acaph, "take away": "God hath taken away my reproach"; the second (assigned to J) from yacaph, "add": "Yahweh will add to me another son." None of these three cases of double explanation would so far exhaust Hebrew maternal imagination as to require the hypothesis of two documents, even though in the last "God" is used in the first suggestion and "Yahweh" in the second. Benjamin is called by Rachel Benoni, "the son of my sorrow," which is supposed to be an old tribal name, perhaps related to Onan, a clan of Judah, or the Benjamite city, Ono, and possibly to the Egyptian On. Benjamin, Jacob’s name for him, "son of the right hand," i.e. of happiness, is understood as "son of the south," because originally the southern section of the Joseph tribe. The attempts to trace these names to tribal origins, local allusions, cognate languages, customs and religions have engaged much research and ingenuity, with results exceedingly diverse.

(9) Genesis 36. The Generations of Esau (P).

I. The Descent of the Edomite Chiefs and Clans from Esau through His Three Wives, the Hittite or Canaanite Adah, the Ishmaelite Basemath, and the Horite Oholibamah (Genesis 36:1-19).

The wives’ names here differ from the other statements: In Ge 26:34 and 28:9:

1. Judith, daughter of Beeri the Hittite.

2. Bashemath, daughter of Elan, the Hittite.

3. Mahalath, daughter of Ishmael, sister of Nebaioth.

In Ge 36:

1. Oholibamah, daughter of Anah, daughter of Zibeon, the Hivite.

2. Adah, daughter of Elon the Hittite.

3. Bashemath, daughter of Ishmael, sister of Nebaioth.

It is not necessary to resort to the hypothesis of different traditions. Bashemath and Adah are clearly identical, Esau perhaps having changed the name; as are Mahalath and the Ishmaelite Basemath, a transcriber’s error being probably responsible for the change. As to Judith and Oholibamah, Anah is probably a man, identical with Beeri (Ge 36:24), the son of Zibeon. Both "Hivite" and "Hittite" are apparently errors for "Horite," the difference being in only one consonant. Or "Hittite" may be used as the larger term embracing "Horite." "Edom" (Ge 36:1,8,19) is a personal name; in Ge 36:9,43 (Hebrew the American Revised Version, margin) it is national, indicating that to the writer Esau was a person, not an eponym. Nowhere are personal characteristics more vividly and unmistakably portrayed than in the accounts of Jacob and Esau. In these Esauite names are but two compounds of "El" (’el), none of "Jah" (yah).

II. The Aboriginal Leaders or Clans in Edom, Partly Subdued by, Partly Allied with, the Esauites (Genesis 36:20-30).

These are descendants of "Seir the Horite" in seven branches, and in sub-clans. "Seir" looks like an eponym or a personification of the country, as no personal details have been preserved. Among these names are no "El" (’el) or "Jah" (yah) compounds, although they are clearly cognate with the Hebrew. Several close similarities to names in Judah are found, especially the Hezronite. Many animal names, "Aiah," "bird of prey," "Aran," "wild goat," etc.

III. Eight Edomite "Kings" before the Hebrew Monarchy (Genesis 36:31-39).

One ‘el compound, "Mehitabel," one ba’al compound. It is to be noted that the "crown" was not hereditary and that the "capital" shifted; the office was elective, or fell into the hands of the local chief who could win it.

IV. A List of Esauite Clan Chiefs; "Dukes" (English Revised), "Chiefs" (American Standard Revised Version); "Sheiks" (Genesis 36:40-43).

Apparently arranged territorially rather than tribally. The names seem used here as either clans or places and should perhaps be read: "the chief of Teman," etc. The original ancestor may have given his name to the clan or district, or obtained it from the district or town.

In general this genealogy of Esau shows the same symmetry and balance which rouses suspicion in some minds: excluding Amalek, the son of the concubine, the tribes number twelve. Amalek and his descendants clearly separated from the other Edomites early and are found historically about Kadesh-barnea, and later roaming from the border of Egypt to North Central Arabia.

(10) Genesis 46:8-27.

(In different form, Nu 26:1-51, and much expanded in parts of 1Ch 2-8; compare Ex 6:14-16). Jacob’s posterity at the descent into Egypt (considered a late addition to P).

A Characteristic Genealogy.

It includes the ideal number of 70 persons, obtained by adding to the 66 mentioned in Ge 46:26, Jacob, Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, the two latter born in Egypt. Septuagint, followed by Stephen (Ac 7:14), reckons 75, adding to Ge 46:20 the names of three grandsons and two great-grandsons of Joseph, obtained from Nu 26:29,35 ff. Some may have been omitted to secure the ideal number so fascinating to the Hebrew mind. It is to be noted that Leah’s male descendants are double those of Zilpah, and Rachel’s double those of Bilhah, showing the ideal (but not the fictitious) character of the list. The design, also, seems to be to include those descendants of Jacob from whom permanent divisions sprang, even though, like Manasseh and Ephraim and probably Hezron and Hamul, born after the migration, but before Jacob’s death. A comparison with the partial parallels also illustrates the corruption of the text, and the difficulty of uniformity in lists of names. The full list follows:

1. Jacob.

2. Leah’s descendants.

A. Reuben = Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, Carmi.

B. Simeon = Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, Shaul.

C. Leui = Gershon, Kohath, Merari.

D. Judah = Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez, Zerah; Perez, Hezron, Hamul.

E. Issachar = Tolah, Puvah, Iob, Shimron.

F. Zebulun = Sered, Elon, Jahleel.

G. Dinah, daughter.

3. Zilpah’s descendants, 16.

A. Gad = Ziphion, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi, Areli.

B. Asher = Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, Beriah, Serah (daughter); Beriah = Heber, Malchiel.

4. Rachel’s descendants, 14.

A. Joseph = Manasseh, Ephraim.

B. Benjamin = Bela, Becher, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rash, Muppim, Huppin, Ard.

5. Bilhah’ s descendants, 7.

A. Da = Hushim.

B. Naphtali = Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, Shillem.

The list differs in many respects from those in Numbers and Chronicles, and presents some chronological and other problems. Without entering upon an exhaustive study, a number of names may be touched on.

Carmi, (2A), like the other names in i, might be a gentilic, "the Carmite," like "the Amorite," etc., especially if these names are those of clans, as they are in Numbers, instead of persons, as the Genesis narrative states. A town, "Bethhaccherem," is mentioned in Jer 6:1. But "the vine-dresser" is also a good rendering.

Hezron (2A). Another Hezron is given as a descendant of Judah. This duplication of names is possible in clans; see instances below, but more likely in persons.

Jemuel (2B). Nemuel in Nu 26:12; 1Ch 4:24, an easy error in transcription, yodh, and nun, being easily confused. In Numbers, Nemuel is also a Reubenite name.

Jamin (or Jachin) (2B) is Jarib in Chronicles.

Ohad (2B). Not in Numbers or Chronicles.

Zohar (2B) is Zerah in Numbers and Chronicles.

Gershon (2C). In 1Ch 6:16 Gershom; identified by some with Gershom, son of Moses, on theory that the priestly family of Gershom originally traced its descent to Moses, but its later members were reckoned, not as priests, but as Levites, thus becoming identified with Levi; precarious; its principal foundation being similarity of name and tribe.

Hezron and Hamul (2D) rouse chronological or exegetical difficulties. Pharez (Ge 33) could not have been old enough at the migration to have two sons; but very possibly Ge 38 is introduced episodically, not chronologically, and therefore its events may have occurred before those of Ge 37. Jacob was 130 years old at the descent, making Judah not 42 but 62, and Pharez old enough for sons. And, as suggested above, the writer may have done with Hezron and Hamul as with Ephraim and Manasseh—included them constructively, they having been born in Egypt, but before Jacob’s death, belonging therefore to the generation of the migration and so reckoned, especially as they rounded permanent tribal divisions.

Puvah (2E). Puah in 1Ch 7:1. In Jud 10:1, centuries later, Puah is father of Tola, an illustration of the descent of fathers’ names.

Iob (2E) is Jashub (Numbers, Chronicles), the latter probably correct. Septuagint has it here. A copyist, no doubt, omitted the "shin," "sh."

Dinah (2G) is thought by some to be a later insertion, on account of the "awkward Hebrew," "with Dinah." Dinah and Serah as unmarried, and no doubt because of other distinguishing facts, now unknown, are the only women descendants mentioned; married women would not be. On the clan theory of the names, the "Dinah" clan must have disappeared in Egypt, not being found in Number.

Ziphion (3A). Zephon in Numbers, perhaps giving its name to the Gadite city of Zaphon (Jos 13:27).

Ezbon (3A). Ozni (Nu 26:16). Possibly Ozni, on Ezbon’s death, took his place, rounding a tribal family, like Hezron and Hamul in Judah. Copyist’s error unlikely.

Arodi (3A). In Nu 26:17 Arod.

Ishvah (3B). Omitted in Numbers; perhaps died childless, or his descendants did not constitute a tribal family.

Beriah (3B). Also an Ephraimite (1Ch 7:23); a Benjaminite (8:13,16); a Levite (23:10,11). The repetition of the name indicates individuals rather than clans; but both the Asherite and Benjamite were heads of families.

Serah (3B), serach, "abundance," not the same name as that of Abraham’s wife, sarah, "princess."

Heber (3B), chebher; in 1Ch 4:18, a clan of Judah; 8:17, of Benjamin. Not the same name as Eber, ‘ebher (5:13; 8:22; and Ge 10:21).

The Sons of Benjamin.

The three lists, Genesis, Numbers, Chronicles, represent marked divergences, illustrating the corruption of perhaps all three texts. This list illustrates the genealogical method of counting all descendants as sons, though of different generations. It gives Benjamin ten "sons." Nu 26:38-40 gives five sons, Naaman and Ard being sons of Bela. The Septuagint of our passage gives only three sons, Bela, Becher, Ashbel. 1Ch 7:6 gives three sons, Bela, Becher, Jediael (Ashbel), and Shuppim and Huppim are Bela’s grandsons. Becher is omitted in 8:1, probably through a copyist’s error, who took bekher we-’ashbel, for "Becher and Ashbel," bekhoro ‘ashbel, "his first-born, Ashbel." Jediael, both by older and newer scholars, is usually, but not with absolute certainty, identified with Ashbel. He may be a later chief. Another explanation is that 7:6 is part of a Zebulunite genealogy which has been transformed into a Benjamite list, Jediael being a remaining Zebulunite "pebble."

Naaman (4B) perhaps appears, by a transcriber’s error in 1Ch 8:2, as Nochach, Nochach for Na‘aman. If Nohah is not Naaman, and not (Keil) Shephupham, or a chief who succeeded him, he may have been one who was born after the migration and not needed to make up the seventy.

Gera (4B) in similar fashion may appear in 1Ch 8:2 as Rapha. If not, Rapha also may be one born after the migration, and did not found a family.

Ehi (4B) is Ahiram (Nu 26:38); Aharah (1Ch 8:1). Ehi probably arises from some copyist omitting the "ram."

Rosh (4B) is not in Numbers or Chronicles. He rounded no family.

Muppim (4B) troubled the scribes greatly. In Nu 26:39 he is Shephupham, though as compounded in his family name it is Shupham. In 1Ch 7:12 he is Shuppim, and it is not made clear whether he is a son, or other descendant, of Benjamin. He is apparently called, with Huppim, a son of Ir (Iri), son of Bela. In 8:8 he is catalogued as a son of Bela, as Shephuphan. In old Hebrew mem ("m") and shin ("sh") closely resemble each other. As the "sh" also appears in the gentilic names, it is probably the correct form. The corrupt state of the Chronicler’s text especially is apparent, and also the fact that "son" may refer to any male descendant.

Huppim (4B) in Nu 26:39 is Hupham; in 1Ch 8:5 is Huram.

Ard (4B) in 1Ch 8:3 is a son of Bela, Addar, the copyist having transposed "d", and "r", or mistaken one for the other. In Septuagint at Ge 46:21 Ard is son of Gera, son of Bela.

Hushim (5A), the same in 1Ch 7:12, is Shuham (Nu 26:42), by transposition of consonants. Another Hushim is a Benjaminite, son of Aher, but Aher may possibly be a corruption of the numeral "one," it being the Chronicler’s frequent habit to add numerals. But see under Da 21:6, (3), p. 1194.

Jahzeel (5B) is Jahziel in 1Ch 7:13.

Guni (5B) in 1Ch 5:15 is also a Gadite name.

Shillem (5B), in 1Ch 7:13, Shallum, the commoner form.

(11) Exodus 6:14-25 (Assigned to P).—Partial List of Heads of Fathers’ Houses of Reuben, Simeon and Levi.

Reuben and Simeon are as in Genesis. Levi follows:

1. Gershon = Libni, Shimei.

2. Kohath.

A. Amram married Jochebed = Aaron, Moses; Aaron married Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab, sister of Nahshon = Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, Ithamar; Eleazar married daughter of Putiel = Phinehas.

B. Izhar = Korah, Nepheg, Zichri; Korah, Assir, Elkanah, Abiasaph.

C. Hebron.

D. Uzziel = Mishael, Elzaphan, Sithri.

3. Merari = Mahli, Mushi.

The interest of the list is partly chronological, but chiefly to illustrate the genealogical place of Aaron and Moses. It probably exhibits the genealogical practice of omitting links, Amaram the father of Moses apparently being several links from Amram the son of Kohath. By Moses’ time the Amramites numbered some 2,000 males (Nu 3:27, etc.). Jochebed (2A) is an instance of Yah in compounds before the Exodus. Putiel (2A) has been considered a partly Egyptian name, Puti or Poti, "devoted to" -El (’el); but probably Hebrew, "afflicted by God." Hebron is often identified with the city. It is also found in 1Ch 2:42,43, as Judahite.

(12) Numbers 1:5-54; 2:3-29; 7:12 ff; 10:4 ff.—The Heads of Houses Representing and Leading the Tribes (Assigned to P).

I. Reuben: Elizur, Son of Shedeur.

II. Simeon: Shelumiel, Son of Zurishaddai.

Shelumiel found in Judith.

III. Judah: Nahshon, Son of Amminadab.

Both found also in Ex 6:23; Ru 4:9-22; 1Ch 2:10-12: Mt 1:4; Lu 3:32 (genealogies of Christ).

IV. Issachar: Nethanel, Son of Zuar.

Nethanel, name of nine persons in Chronicles, Nehemiah, Ezra, same as Nathaniel.

V. Zebulun: Eliab, Son of Helon.

Other Eliabs, Nu 16:1 (Reubenite); 1Sa 16:6 (Jesse’s son, Judah).

VI. Joseph: Ephraim: Elishama, Son of Ammihud.

Other Elishamas: 2Sa 5:16 (son of David); Jer 36:12; 2Ch 17:8. Ammihuds: 2Sa 13:37 m; Nu 34:20,28; 1Ch 9:4 (Judahite).

VII. Joseph: Manasseh: Gamaliel, Son of Pedahzur. New Testament Gamaliel.

VIII. Benjamin: Abidan, Son of Gideoni.

IX. Dan: Ahiezer, Son of Ammishaddai.

Another, 1Ch 12:3 (Benjamite).

X. Asher: Pagiel, Son of Ochran.

XI. Gad: Eliasaph, Son of Deuel.

Another, Nu 3:24 (Levite).

XII. Naphtali: Ahira, Son of Enan.

Seven of these names, Amminadab, Ammihud, Abidan, Ahirah, Ahiezer, Eliab, Elishama, are concededly early. The 5 compounded in Shaddai or Zur are said to be of a type found only in P; 9 of the 24 are compounded in ‘el, said to be a characteristic of late names. The ‘El is postfixed more times, 5, than it is prefixed, 4; also a characteristic of late names. The proportion of compound names is also greater than in the older names; for these and similar reasons (Gray, ICC, "Nu," 6; HPN, 191-211; The Expositor T, September, 1897, 173-90) it is concluded that though several of the names are, and more may be, early, the list is late. But see Ancient Hebrew Tradition, 74, 83 ff, 85 ff, 320. The contention rests largely on the late date of the Priestly Code (P) and of Chronicles. But while fashions in names changed in Hebrew life as elsewhere, in view of the persistence of things oriental, the dating of any particular names is somewhat precarious. They may be anticipations or late survivals of classes of names principally prevalent at the later or earlier date. Two of the names, otherwise unknown, have come to us through Ruth, and indicate a source now unknown to us, from which all the names could have been drawn. The fondness for names in ‘el very likely indicates not a late date but an early one. ‘El is the Divine name appearing in personal names previous to Moses, succeeded by Jab from Moses and Joshua on. The recurrence of ‘el in the time of Ezra and later probably indicates the renewed interest in antiquity as well as the at once wider and narrower outlook brought about by the exile and return. Numerous South Arabian compounds both with the "ilu," "ili" (’el), affixed and prefixed, occur in monuments about 1000 BC (AHT, 81 ff).

(13) Numbers 3:1-37.—The Family of Aaron, with the "Princes" of Levi.

Adds nothing to list in Ex 16:16-25 except the Levite "princes."

I. Gershonites: Eliasaph, Son of Lael.

Also a Benjaminite Eliasaph (Nu 1:14).

II. Kohathites: Elizaphan, Son of Uzziel.

A Zebulunite Elizaphan (Nu 34:25). Five other Uzziels, Benjamite, Levite, Simeonite.

III. Merarites: Zuriel, Son of Abihail.

A Gadire Abihail (1Ch 5:14); also father of Queen Esther; also two women: wife of Abishur (1Ch 2:29); wife of Rehoboam (2Ch 11:18). Four ‘el suffixes, two prefixes.

(14) Numbers 13:4-16.—The Twelve Spies (P).

I. Reuben: Shammua, Son of Jaccur.

Other Shammuas (2Sa 5:14; 1Ch 14:4 (David’s son); Ne 11:17, Levite 12:18, priest). Seven other Zaccurs, Simeonites and Levites.

II. Simeon: Shaphat, Son of Hori.

Four other Shaphats, one Gadite, one Judahite; Elisha’s father. Hori looks like the national name of the Horites; perhaps Hori or an ancestor had been adopted, through marriage or otherwise.

III. Judah: Caleb, Son of Jephunneh, the Kenizzite (Numbers 32:12; Joshua 14:6,14).

Another Caleb, Chelubai, son of Hezron, brother of Jerahmeel (1Ch 2:9). Either as an individual, or as a clan, Caleb seems to be originally of the pre-Israelitish stock in Canaan, absorbed into the tribe of Judah. Perhaps Jephunneh the Kenizzite married a woman of Caleb’s (brother of Jerahmeel) household, and to their firstborn was given the name of Caleb, he becoming head of the house and prince of Judah. Another Jephunneh, an Asherite (1Ch 7:38).

IV. Issachar: Igal, Son of Joseph.

Other Igals: 2Sa 23:36 (one of David’s heroes); 1Ch 3:22. Note the name of another tribe given to a man of Issachar—Joseph (Nu 13:7).

V. Ephraim: Hoshea, Son of Nun;

Hoshea, Joshua’s early name. Others: 1Ch 27:20; King Hoshea, 2Ki 15:30; Ne 10:23; Hebrew name of prophet Hosea.

VI. Benjamin: Palti, Son of Raphu. See 16 IV.

VII. Zebulun: Gaddiel, Son of Sodi.

VIII. Joseph-Manasseh: Gaddi, Son of Susi.

A Gaddi is in 1 Macc 2:2.

IX. Dan: Ammiel, Son of Gemali.

Another Ammiel (2Sa 9:4).

X. Asher: Sethur, Son of Michael.

Nine other Michaels, Gadite, Levite, Issacharite, Benjamite, Manassite, Judahite.

XI. Naphtali: Nahbi, Son of Vophsi.

XII. Gad: Geuel, Son of Machi.

Four names in ‘el. Nine ending with i; unusual number. The antiquity of the list cannot be readily questioned.

(15) Numbers 26:5-62 (P).—The Heads of Houses at the Second Census.

Related to Nu 1 and 2, and closely follows Ge 46. The divergences in individual names have been noted under (10). This list adds to

I. Reuben:

1. Eliab, son of Pallu (also Nu 16:1,12).

2. Dathan, Abiram, Nemuel, sons of Eliab.

II. Manasseh:

1. Machir; also Ge 50:23.

2. Gilead, son of Machir.

3. Iezer (abbreviation for Abiezer), Helek (not in Chronicles), Asriel, Shechem, Shemida, sons of Gilead.

4. Zelophehad, son of Hepher.

5. Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, Tirzah, daughters of Zelophehad.

III. Ephraim:

1. Shuthelah; also 1Ch 7:21.

2. Becher.

3. Tahan (Tahath, 1Ch 7:20).

4. Eran (Elead, 1Ch 7:21).

The names of Manasseh’s grandsons and great-grandsons are puzzling. Gilead is the district except in Jud 11:1,2, where it is the father of Jephthah. Shechem sounds like the Ephraimite town. Hepher reminds of Gath-Hepher. In Jos 17:1,2 the six sons of Gilead are described as sons of Manasseh; loosely, it is probable; they are to be understood as descendants. Perhaps the references may be summarized: The family of Machir, the son of Manasseh, conquered Gilead, and took its name therefrom, either as a family or in the person of a son, Gilead, whose six sons founded clans named from or giving names to certain towns or districts.

The daughters of Zelophehad are noted for the interesting case at law they presented, claiming and receiving the inheritance of their father, which by Gray, ICC, "Nu," is considered not historical but a fictitious instance, for the purpose of raising the question, these daughters being clans, and not persons.

Among the sons of Ephraim, Becher has perhaps been misplaced from verse 38, and possibly displaces Bered (1Ch 7:20) between Shuthelah and Tahath. It is not found here in the Septuagint. It is possible that an alliance between the Becherites and the Ephraimites caused one portion of the former to be counted with Ephraim and another with Benjamin; or that at different times the clan was allied with the two different tribes. An error in transcription is more probable. Another Shuthelah is found later in the line (1Ch 7:21).

(16) Numbers 34:16-28.—Tribal Representatives in the Allotment.

Reuben, Gad, half-Manasseh, omitted because their allotments had already been assigned East of Jordan; Levi, because receiving none. Changing to the order in (10):

I. Reuben: None.

II. Simeon: Shemuel, Son of Ammihud.

Shemuel is Hebrew of Samuel. Another Shemuel is of Issachar, 1Ch 7:2. Samuel the prophet, a Levite.

III. Judah: Caleb, Son of Jephunneh.

IV. Issachar: Paltiel, Son of Azzan.

Another Paltiel, otherwise Palti, David’s wife Michal’s temporary husband (2Sa 3:15). Another Benjamite spy (Nu 13:9).

V. Zebulun: Elizaphan, Son of Parnach.

Another Elizaphan, Kohathite Levite (Ex 6:18,22).

VI. Gad: None.

VII. Asher: Ahihud, Son of Shelomi.

Another Ahihud, Benjamite (1Ch 8:7).

VIII. Joseph-Ephraim: Kemuel, Son of Shiftan.

Another Kemuel, son of Nahor, an Aramean chief (Ge 22:21); also Levite of David’s time (1Ch 27:17).

IX. Joseph-Manasseh: Hanniel, Son of Ephod.

Hanniel, also an Asherite (1Ch 7:39).

X. Benjamin: Elidad, Son of Chislon.

XI. Dan: Bukki, Son of Jogli.

Bukki, abbreviation of Bukkiah; another, in high-priestly line of Phinehas (1Ch 6:5,51).

XII. Naphtali: Pedahel, Son of Ammihud.

A Simeonite Ammihud above.

Seven "El" names, only one "Jah."

(17) Ru 4:20.—The Ancestry of David (Perez: Hezron: Ram: Amminadab: Nahshon: Salmon (Salmah): Boaz: Obed: Jesse: David).

Contained unchanged in 1Ch 2:9-15; also Mt 1:1-6; also Lu 3:32. Some links have been omitted between Obed and Jesse. Salmon might be traced to the ancestor of the Bethlehemite (1Ch 2:51,54), who is, however, of Caleb’s line, not Ram’s; but the lines may mingle.

(18) 2Sa 3:2-5; 5:14,15. David’s children (also in 1Ch 3:1-9; 14:4-7).

I. Born in Hebron: Amnon, Chileab, Absalom, Adonijah, Shephatiah, Ithream.

II. Born in Jerusalem: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, Elishama, Eliada, Eliphelet.

Four names in ‘el, all prefixed. Two in "Jah." Chileab is Daniel in 1Ch 3:1; uncertain which is right, but probably Daniel is a corruption. Chronicles adds Nogah to the Jerusalem sons, probably developed in transcription. 1Ch 3:6-8 has two Eliphelets; 14:6 has Elpalet in place of the first; more probable. This gives David 6 sons in Hebron, and, if both Nogah and Elpalet be correct, 12 in Jerusalem. Eliada is Beeliada in 14:7, perhaps the original form, a relic of the time before the Hebrews turned against the use of Baal, "lord," as applied to Yahweh; in which case Baaliada, "Lord knows," was changed to Eliada, "God knows." 3:6 reads Elishama for Elishua. Japhia is also the name of a king of Lachish in Joshua’s time (Jos 10:3-7).

(19) 2 Samuel 23 (also 1 Chronicals 11:11-41).—David’s Knights.

1. Josheb-bashebeth, the Tahchemonite.

In Chronicles it is Jashobeam, and should read Ishbaal, the writer’s religious horror of Baal leading him to substitute the consonants of bosheth, "shame," as in Mephibosheth, Ishbosheth. Septuagint has Iesebada (Codex Vaticanus), Iessebadal, Isbaam (Codex Alexandrinus), in Chronicles, and Iebosthe (Codex Vaticanus), Iebosthai (Codex Alexandrinus) here. In Chronicles he is a Hachmonite, probably correct. "Adino the Heznite" is probably a corruption for "He wielded his spear" (Chronicles).

2. Eleazar, Son of Dodai, the Ahohite.

Dodo in Chronicles; 8 other Eleazars in the Old Testament. Another Dodo is father of Elhanan.

3. Shammah, Son of Agee, a Hararite.

Omitted by Chronicles. Three other Shammahs, one of them a knight of David. "Harari" may be "mountaineer," or "inhabitant of the village Harar."

4. Abishai, Son of Zeruiah, Brother of Joab.

Abshai (1Ch 18:12 margin). Zeruiah perhaps David’s half-sister (2Sa 17:25). Father never mentioned.

5. Benaiah, Son of Jehoaida of Kabzeel.

Eleven other Old Testament Benaiahs, one of them also a knight. This Benaiah succeeded Joab as commander-in-chief, 4 other Jehoiadas, one Benaiah’s grandson, high in David’s counsel, unless a scribe has inverted the order in 1Ch 27:34, which should then read Benaiah, son of Jehoiada.

6. Asahel, Brother of Joab.

Three other Asahels.

7. Elhanan, Son of Dodo of Bethlehem.

Another Elhanan, slayer of the brother of Goliath (2Sa 21:19; 1Ch 20:5). Perhaps the same.

8. Shammah the Harodite.

Chronicals, Shammoth. From Harod, near Gideon’s well (Jud 7:1).

9. Elika the Harodite.

10. Helez the Paltite.

Paltite perhaps local or family name from Pelet, or Palti.

11. Ira, Son of Ikkesh the Tekoite.

Two others, one a knight. Tekoah, Judaite town, home of Amos, etc.

12. Abiezer the Anathothite.

One other, a Manassite (Jos 17:2). Anathoth an hour Northeast of Jerusalem, Jeremiah’s town.

13. Mebunnai the Hushathite.

Should read, with Chronicles, Sibbecai.

14. Zalmon the Ahohite.

Zalmon, also name of mountain (Jud 9:48). Descendant of Ahoah, Benjamite of Bela’s line. See 1Ch 8:14.

15. Maharai the Netophathite.

From Netophah, town.

16. Heleb, Son of Baanah.

1Ch 11:30, Heled. Three other Bannabs.

17. Ittai, Son of Ribai of Gibeah of the Children of Benjamin.

1Ch 11:31, Ithai. An Ittai of Gath also followed David.

18. Benaiah a Pirathonite.

Pirathon, Amalekite town in Ephraimite territory.

19. Hiddai of the Brooks of Gnash.

Chronicles, Hurai ("d" for "r"). Ga’ash, a Wady in Ephraim.

20. Abi-albon the Arbathite.

Chronicles, Abiel, perhaps corrupted from Abi-Baal; from Beth-arabah, Judah or Benjamin.

21. Azmaveth the Barhumite.

Three others, and a Judaite town, of the same name. Baharumite; Chronicles, Barhumite, a Benjamite town.

22. Eliahba the Shaalbonite.

Shaalbon, a Danite town.

23. The Sons of Jashen (better, Hashem).

Chronicles, "the sons of Hashem the Gizonite." "Sons of" looks like a scribal error, or interpolation, perhaps a repetition of "bni" in "Shaalboni" above.

24. Jonathan, Son of Shammah the Hararite.

Chronicles adds, "the son of Shagee the Hararite." Shagee should perhaps be Agee (2Sa 23:11); but Septuagint indicates Shammah here; both Samuel and Chronicles should read "J., son of Shammah the Ararite."

25. Ahiam, Son of Sharar the Ararite.

Chronicles, Sacar the Hararite. Sacar is supported by Septuagint.

26. Eliphelet, Son of Ahasvai, the Son of the Maacathite.

Chronicles has "Eliphal, son of Ur," and adds "Hepher the Mecherathite." Both texts are corrupt. Chronicles should perhaps read, "Eliphelet the son of ...., the Maacathite, Eliam," etc.

27. Eliham, Son of Ahithophel the Gilonite.

Eliham, possibly father of Bathsheba. Ahithophel, David’s counselor. Gilonite, native of Giloh.

27a. Ahijah the Pelonite (in Chronicals but Not Samuel).

Seven other Ahijahs. Pelonite uncertain, probably a corruption; perhaps inserted by a scribe who could not decipher his "copy," and means "such and such a one," as in 1Sa 21:2.

28. Hezro (Hezrai) the Carmelite.

A scribe confused the Hebrew letters, waw ("w") and yod ("y"). Carmel, near Hebron.

29. Paarai the Arbite.

Chronicles, "Naarai, son of Esbai." Uncertain. Arb, a town of Judah.

30. Igal, Son of Nathan of Zobah.

Chronicles, Joel, brother of Nathan. Igal less common than Joel, hence, more likely to be corrupted; 2 other Igals; 12 other Joels; 5 other Nathans.

30a. Mibhar, Son of Hagri (Chronicles, not Samuel).

Text uncertain as between this and 31.

31. Bani the Gadite (Omitted in Chronicles).

Possibly the Gerarite.

32. Zelek the Ammonite.

Ammon East of Jordan and upper Jabbok.

33. Naharai the Beerothite, Armor-bearer to Joab, Son of Zeruiah.

Beeroth, Benjamite town.

34. Ira the Ithrite.

Ithrites, a family of Kiriath-jearim, Judah.

35. Gareb the Ithrite.

Gareb also a hill West of Jerusalem.

36. Uriah the Hittite.

Bathsheba’s husband; 3 others. From some Hittite town surrounded by Israel at the Conquest.

37. Zabad, Son of Ahlai (Perhaps Dropped out of Samuel), Chronicles.

Chronicles adds 13 others. The filling of vacancies makes the number 37 instead of 30. Two names, perhaps, in ba’al, 5 in yah, 7 in ‘el. As far as guessable, 5 from Judah, 3 from Benjamin, 2 from Ephraim, 1 from Dan, 1 from Issachar, 1 Ammonite, 1 Hittite, 2 (or 4) Hararites, 2 Harodites, 2 Ithrites.

(20) 1 Kings 4:1-19.—Solomon’s "Princes" and Commissaries.

Eleven princes, 12 officers. No mention of their tribal connections; assigned only partly by tribal bounds. 7 yah names, 1 ‘el; 5 of the officers are prefixed ben as if their own names had dropped out.

(21) 1 Chronicals 1-9.—Genealogies, with Geographical and Historical Notices.

By far the largest body of genealogical material, illustrating most fully the problems and difficulties. The estimate of its value depends on the estimate of the Chronicler’s date, purpose, equipment, ethical and mental qualities. He uses freely all previous Old Testament matter, and must have had in hand family or tribal songs, traditions; genealogical registers, as mentioned in Ezr 2:61-69; Ne 7:63-65; local traditions; official genealogies, such as "the genealogies reckoned in the days of Jotham king of Judah, and .... Jeroboam king of Israel" (1Ch 5:17); prophetic, historical and other matter now lost, "the words of Shemaiah .... after the manner of genealogies" (2Ch 12:15), and elsewhere. The results of David’s census seem to have been in his hands (1Ch 27:24). Curtis (ICC, "Chronicles," 528) suggests that his purpose was partly to provide genealogies for contemporary families, implying an accommodating insertion of names "after the manner of genealogies" today. Two main purposes, however, seem clear: the first historical, to give the historical and personal basis and setting to elucidate the Chronicler’s main thesis, that national prosperity depended upon, and national character was measured by, fidelity to the law of God, especially as it centered upon the worship and services of Yahweh’s house. To do this it was necessary to trace the descent of the prominent characters, families, tribes. Hence, the space given to Judah, Levi, Benjamin, the main line of fidelity, the survival of the fittest. The other purpose was to conserve purity of blood in the restored nation, to include all who were entitled and to exclude all who were not. We may also credit him with such regard for his material that he preserved it all (with certain comprehensible exceptions), even though extremely fragmentary here and there. His materials are of many degrees of age. It is thought by some that the antiquity is indicated by the last stage in the descent, the genealogy of Sheshun, e.g. ending with Hezekiah’s time; Heman’s and Asaph’s (1Ch 6,33) in David’s. Name-study and historico-literary criticism seeks still other marks of relative age. The text has suffered much, as lists of names will, from scribal errors. Details of his method will be pointed out in the following analysis. As in this whole article, space forbids exhaustive treatment of the endless textual, critical, historical questions arising. A few illustrative cases only are given.

GENEALOGY, 8 part 2

I. Primeval Genealogies (1 Chronicals 1:1-54).

To show Israel’s place among the nations; follows Genesis closely, omitting only the Cainites; boldly, skillfully compressed, as if the omitted facts were well known.

(1) The ten antediluvian Patriarchs, and Noah’s three sons (1Ch 1:1-4).

Follows Ge 4:5, giving only the names.

(2) Japheth’s descendants (1Ch 1:5-7) (Ge 10:2-4 unchanged).

(3) The Hamites (1Ch 1:8-16) (Ge 10:6-8,13-18 a unchanged).

(4) The Semites (1Ch 1:17-23) (Ge 10:22-29; only scribal changes).

(5) Abram’s descent (1Ch 1:24-27) (Ge 11:10-26 abridged, giving only the Patriarchs).

(6) The sons of Abraham, Keturah, Isaac (1Ch 1:28-34).

Ge 25:1-4,13-16,25,26; 32:28. Reverses the order of Ishmael’s and Keturah’s descendants.

(7) Sons of Esau (1Ch 1:35-52) (Ge 36:4-10).

(8) Kings and sheikhs of Edom (1Ch 1:43,14) (Ge 36:31-43). Scribal changes.

II. Descendants of Jacob (1 Chronicals 2-9).

The tribes arranged chiefly geographically. Judah, as the royal line, is given 100 verses, Levi, as the priestly, 81 verses, Benjamin 50, the other ten 56, Da and Zebulun neglected. His purpose practically confines him to the first three; and these were also the best preserved.

(1) Sons of Israel.

Follows substantially the order in Ge 35. Da is placed before Rachel’s sons. 17 different orders of the tribes in Bible lists.

(2) Genealogies of Judah (1Ch 2:3-4:23).

(a) Descent of Jesse’s sons from Judah (1Ch 2:3-17).

Largely gleaned from the historical books. The sons of Zerah (1Ch 2:6-8) are not found elsewhere. Chelubai is Caleb. Only 7 sons of Jesse are mentioned. Abishai, Joab, Asahel are always designated by their mother’s name, Zeruiah.

(b) Genealogy of Bezalel (1Ch 2:18-20).

The artificer of the tabernacle, hence, greatly interests the Chronicler.

(c) Other descendants of Hezron (1Ch 2:21-24).

(d) The Jerahmeelites (1Ch 2:25-41).

Concededly a very old list of this important clan not found elsewhere. Sheshan (1Ch 2:35), who married his daughter to Jarha, an Egyptian servant, illustrates the introduction of a foreigner into the nation and tribe.

(e) The Calebites (1Ch 2:41-55).

Not elsewhere. The names are largely geographical. A subdivision of the Hezronites. Not Caleb the son of Jephunneh.

(f) David’s descendants (1Ch 3:1-24).

Gives first the sons and their birthplaces, then the kings to Jeconiah and Zedekiah, then the Davidic line from Jeconiah to Zerubbabel, then the grandsons of Zerubbabel and the descendants of Shecaniah. Two other lists of David’s sons (2Sa 5:14-16; 1Ch 14:4-17). Eliphelet and Nogah here are thought to have developed in transcription, with some other changes. Johanan’s name (s. of Josiaih) is given among the kings, though he never reigned. Zedekiah is called son (instead of brother) of Jehoiachin, perhaps a scribal error. "Jah" names extremely numerous. Names of Zerubbabel’s sons are highly symbolic: Meshullam, "Recompensed"; Hananiah, "Jah is gracious"; Shelomith, "Peace"; Hashubah, "Consideration"; Ohel, "Tent," i.e. "Dwelling of Yahweh"; Berechiah, "Jah blesses"; Hasadiah, "Jah is kind"; Jushab-hesed, "Loving-kindness returns"; characteristic of the Exile.

1 Chronicles 3:19-24, beginning with Zerubbabel’s descendants, are obscure, and a battleground of criticism on account of their bearing on the date of Chronicles. There are three possible interpretations:

(1) Following the Hebrew, Zerubbabel’s descendants stop with Pelatiah and Jeshaiah, his grandsons. Then follow three unclassified sets of "sons." No connection is shown between Jeshaiah and these. Then follows Shecaniah’s line with four generations. There are several other instances of unrelated names thus being thrown in. This gives two generations after Zerubbabel.

(2) Still following the Hebrew, assume that Shecaniah after Obadiah is in Zerubbabel’s line. This gives six generations after Zerubbabel.

(3) Following Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) (but the two latter are of very small critical weight), read in verse 21, "Rephaiah his son, Arnan his son," etc.—a very possible change: eleven generations after Zerubbabel.

According to (3), Ch was written at least 253 years (allowing 23 years to a generation; more probable than 30 or 40) after Zerubbabel (515), hence, after 262 BC; (2) makes it after 373; (1) makes it 459, during Ezra’s life. The book’s last recorded event is Cyrus’ decree (538), which indicates the earliest date. The New Testament casts no light here, none of these names appearing in the genealogies in Matthew or Luke. If Septuagint is correct, Keil suggests that it is a later insertion, a critical device too frequently used to nullify inconvenient facts. The passage itself justifies the statement that "there is no shadow of proof that the families enumerated in 1Ch 3:21, latter part, were descendants of Hananiah the son of Zerubbabel." Against this, and the other indications, the admittedly faulty Septuagint furnishes an insufficient basis for so far-reaching a conclusion.

(g) Fragmentary genealogies of families of Judah (1Ch 4:1-23).


(1) "sons" of Judah, four or five successive generations;

(2) sons of Shobal and Hur;

(3) sons of Chelub;

(4) sons of Caleb, son of Jephunneh;

(5) sons of Jehaleel;

(6) sons of Ezra (of course, not the priest-scribe of the return);

(7) sons of "Bethiah the daughter of Pharaoh whom Mered took";

(8) sons of Shimon;

(9) sons of Ishi;

(10) sons of Shelah.

It is hard to trace the law of association here; which fact has its bearing on the discussion under (f) above. Chelub may be another Caleb. 1Ch 4:9-11 give an interesting name-study, where Jabez by prayer transforms into prosperity the omen of his sorrowful name: "Because I bare him with sorrow," a characteristic note. 1Ch 4:21-23 speak of the linenworkers and potters. Similar, even identical, names have been found on pot-handles-in Southern Palestine. (3) Genealogy of Simeon (4:24-43).

(a) Simeon’s sons. Genealogy of Shimei. After Ge 46:10; Ex 6:15; Nu 26:12-14.

(b) Dwelling-places of Simeon. After Jos 19:2-8.

(c) Princes and conquests (1Ch 4:34-43).

Source unknown, but considered old. Gray, however, thinks the names of late formation. Meshobab, Jamlech, Joshah, Amaziah, Joel, Jehu, Josibiah, Seraiah, Asiel, Elioenai, Jaakobah, Jeshohaiah, Asaiah, Adiel, Jesimiel, Benaiah, Ziza, Shiphi, Allon, Jedaiah, Shimri, Shemaiah, Ishi, Pelatiah, Neariah, Rephaiah, Uzziel; many undoubtedly old ones; 11 in yah, 5 in ‘el. Eliothal sounds post-exilic. The section mentions several exploits of Simeon.

(4) East-Jordanic tribes (1Ch 5:1-24).

As in Simeon above, the usual order, deviated from in instances, is

(1) Introductory: Sons and immediate descendants;

(2) Territory;

(3) Princes or Chiefs;

(4) Incidents.

(a) Reuben (1Ch 5:1-10).

Partly follows Gen, Nu; but only as to first generation. Very fragmentary and connections obscure.

(b) Gad (1Ch 5:11-17).

First generation omitted. Chronicler draws from genealogies "in the days of" Jotham and Jeroboam.

(c) Half-Manasseh (1Ch 5:23,14).

The whole tribe is treated of (1Ch 7:14 ). Here only the seats and heads of houses.

(5) Levi (1Ch 6:1-81).

Illustrates more fully the Chronicler’s attitude and methods.

(a) High priests from Levi to Jehozadak (the Exile) (1Ch 6:1-15).

(i) Levi’s sons: Gershon, Kohath, Merari (Ge 46:11; Ex 6:16).

(ii) Kohath’s sons: Amram, Izhar, Hebron, Uzziel (Ex 6:18).

(iii) Amram’s "sons": Aaron, Moses, Miriam (Ex 6:20,23 (except Miriam); Nu 26:59 f).

(iv) High priests from Eleazar. Also (partly) Ezra (7:1-5):

1. Eleazar

2. Phinehas

3. Abishua

4. Bukki

5. Uzzi

6. Zerahiah

7. Meraioth

8. Amariah

9. Ahitub

10. Zadok

11. Ahimaaz

12. Azariah

13. Johnnan

14. Azariah

15. Amariah

16. Ahitub

17. Zadok

18. Shallum

19. Hilkiah

20. Azariah

21. Seraiah

22. Jehozadak

Noteworthy omissions: Eli’s house, Eli, Phinehas, Ahitub, Ahimelech, Abiathar, because set aside for Zadok’s in Solomon’s time; Bukki to Zadok being their contemporaries; but the list also omits Amariah in the reign of Jehoshaphat (perhaps), Jehoiada, Joash’s "power behind the throne," Urijah in Ahaz’ day, Azariah in Hezekiah’s. It has been thought that this was done in the interests of a chronological scheme of the Chronicler, making 23 generations of 40 years from the Exodus to the Captivity, or 920 years. The Hebrew generation, however, was as likely to be 30 as 40 years, and as a matter of fact was nearer 20. The apparent number of generations from Aaron to the Captivity, adding the data from the historical books, is 29, making a generation about 24 years. The reasons for the omission here, as for many others, are not apparent. Outside of Chronicles and Ezra we know nothing of Abishua, Bukki, Uzzi, Zerahiah, Meraioth, the first Amaziah, Johanan, Amariah, Ahitub, Zadok 2, Shallum, Azariah 3. The list touches historical notices in Aaron, Eleazar, Phinehas, Zadok, Ahimaaz, Azariah 2, contemporary of Solomon, perhaps Amariah, contemporary of Jehoshaphat, Azariah, contemporary of Uzziah, Hilkiah, contemporary of Joshua, Seraiah slain by the Chaldeans, and Jehozadak. The recurrence of similar names in close succession is characteristically Jewish (but compare names of popes and kings). It is seen in the list beginning with Jehozadak: Joshua, Joiakim, Eliashib, Joiada, Jonathan, Jaddua, Onias, Simon, Eleazar, Manasseh, Onias, Simon, Onias, Joshua. Also about Christ’s time: Eleazar, Jesus, Annas, Ismael, Eleazar, Simon, Joseph, Jonathan, Theophilus, Simon, although these latter do not succeed in a genealogical line.

(b) The three Levitical clans (1Ch 6:16-19). After Ex 6:17-19; Nu 3:17-20.

(c) Lineal descendants of Gershom: seven, 1Ch 6:20,21; thirteen, 1Ch 6:39-43. See also 1Ch 23:7.

The two lists (1Ch 6:20,21 and 6:39-43) are clearly the same:

Gershom Gershom

Libni Jahath

Zimmah Zimmah

Joah Ethan

Iddo Adaiah

Zerah Zerah

Jeatherai Ethni







Jahath, Zimmah, Zerah are in both. By slight changes Joah, yow’ah, is Ethan, ‘ethan; Iddo, ‘idow, is ‘idaiah, Adaiah; Jeatherai, yª’thriy, is Ethni, ‘ethniy. Shimei may have dropped from one and Libni from the other. Jahath and Shimei have been transposed. In 1Ch 23:7 Libni is Ladan.

(d) Pedigrees of Samuel (1Ch 6:27,28; 33-35). See also 1Sa 1:1; 8:2.

We have three pedigrees of Samuel, all suffering in transcription:

(1) 1Ch 6:22-24,28

(2) 1Ch 6:33-38

(3) 1Sa 1:1; 8:2

Kohath Kohath

Amminadab Izhar

Korah Korah

Assir, Elkanah,

Ebiasaph Ebiasaph

Assir Assir

Tahath Tahath

Uriel Zephaniah

Uzziah Azariah

Shaul Joel

Elkanah Elkanah

Amasai Amasai

Ahimoth Mahath Elkanah Elkanah

Zophai Zuph Zuph

Nahath Thoah Thohu

Eliab Eliel Elihu

Jeroham Jeroham Jeroham

Elkanah Elkanah Elkanah

Samuel Samuel Samuel

Joe (Vashni) and Joe Joel



The text is obscure. Septuagint reads (1Ch 6:26), "Elkanah his (Ahimoth’s) son, Zophai his son." It has Izhar in (1) for Amminadab, as has Hebrew in Ex 6:18,21. Uriel for Zephaniah is unexplainable. Uzziah and Azariah are exchangeable. The other variations are transcriptional. Joe has dropped out of the first list, and the following words, now in 1Sa 8:2, and the Syriac here: "and the second," v-sh-n, have been read "Vashni." 1Sa 1:1 calls Zuph an Ephraimite. The Chronicler’s claiming him (and Samuel) seems to some another instance of Levitical bias and acquisitiveness. The genealogy is also found "clearly artificial," Zuph being a territory, and Toah, Tohu, Nahath, a family. But "Ephraimite" is either merely local, the family having been assigned residence there (Jos 21:5; 1Ch 6:66), or (Hengstenberg, Ewald) because, being thus assigned, it has been incorporated into the tribe. Hannah’s vow to devote him to Yahweh is said (Curtis, Moore, ICC in the place cited.) to show that he was no Levite, in which case no vow was necessary. But Elkanah’s Ephraimite citizenship may have obscured in Hannah’s mind the Levitical descent. In the disorganized times of the Judges an Ephraimite woman may well have been ignorant of, or indifferent to, the Levitical regulation, She, or the author of 1Sa 1:1, must also have forgotten that every male that openeth the womb from any tribe is equally God’s property A mother’s vow to devote her firstborn son to Yahweh, beyond recall or redemption, and to seal his consecration by the significant symbol of the unshaved head, is not hard to imagine in either a Levite or an Ephramite, and equally "unnecessary" in either case. Heman, ending the pedigree (2), was David’s contemporary.

(e) Pedigree of Asaiah the Merarite (1Ch 6:29,30).

Merari: Mahli: Libni; Shimei: Uzzah: Shimea: Haggiah: Asaiah. Hard to adjust or place. Libni and Shimei are elsewhere Gershonites, but the same name is frequently found in different tribes or clans. Information below Mahli is entirely wanting.

(f) Descent of David’s three singers, Heman, Asaph, Ethan (1Ch 6:33-47).

(i) Heman has been given under (d) ; 20 links.

(ii) Asaph: Getshorn: Jahath: Shimei: Zimmah: Ethan: Adaiah: Zerah: Ethni (Jeatherai): Malchijah: Baaseiah: Michael: Shimea: Berechiah: Asaph; 15 links.

(iii) Ethan: Merari: Mushi: Mahli: Shemet: Bani: Amzi: Hilkiah: Amaziah: Hashabiah: Malluch: Abdi: Kishi: Ethan; 12 links.

Hardly anywhere is the Chronicler’s good faith more questioned than in these lists. Finding in his day the three guilds of singers claiming descent from David’s three, and through these from Levi, he fits them out with pedigrees, borrowing names from 1Ch 6:16-20, and filling out with his favorite names, or those of his own invention, or from current lists. To make Asaph contemporary with David, he adds Malchijah, Maaseiah, Michael, Shimei, Berechiah. He helps out Ethan with Bani, Amzi, Hilkiah, Amaziah, Hashabiah, Malluch, Abdi, Kishi. The names added are very frequent in Chronicles and Ezra, not frequent in older writings. Aside from the general objection to this thoroughgoing discredit of Chronicles, and theory of religious development in Israel on which it is based, it may be said:

(1) The Chronicler’s failure to give his three families nearly the same number of links is suspicious, but if he took an old list, as it came to him, it is natural.

(2) The fact that these added names occur many more times in Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah indicates simply that Levitical names occur frequently in a writer and among a people whose interests are Levitical. No one would look among the Roundheads for either classical or aristocratic names.

(3) In no tribe would such names be more likely to recur, naturally or purposely, than in the Levitical.

(4) The Chronicler has inserted among his new names 6 in yah and only 1 in ‘el, and that far down the list.

(5) Of the "added" names Malchijah occurs in Jer 21:1; Masseiah, in 29:21,25; 35:4, in every case priestly or Levitical. Michael occurs in Nu 13:13. Berechiah is the name of the prophet Zechariah’s father. Hilkiah is the name of Joshua’s high priest. Amaziah reigned 800 BC. Bani is mentioned in 2Sa 23:36 (though this is thought to be copied from Chronicles). Shimea is concededly early. Of the 13 "added names" 8 are found elsewhere. Of the others, Amzi, Abdi, Kishi (Kish, Kushaiah) have an early look. Malluch might be late. If Hashabiah is late the author has scattered it well through the history, 1 several generations before David, 3 in David’s time, 1 in Josiah’s, 1 in Ezra’s, 3 in Nehemiah’s, in every case a Levite.

(7) While these "added" names occur more times in Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, than elsewhere, and 5 of the 13 occur nowhere else, it is also true that more than 500 other names also occur only in these three books, and that the total names in these, to say nothing of the "P" portions elsewhere, outnumber the names in the other books about three to one. Other things being equal, three mentions of any common name ought to be found in these books to one in the others. Of all names applied to more than four persons the usual proportion in these books by count is four, to one elsewhere.

(g) Pedigree of Ahimaaz (1Ch 6:50-53). Parallel with 1Ch 6:4-8.

(h) Dwelling-places of Levi.

(6) The six remaining tribes.

(a) Issachar (1Ch 7:1-5).

1 Chronicles 7:1 derived from Ge 46:13; Nu 26:23,14. The rest peculiar to Chronicles. Closes with a record of fighting men, instead of the usual statement of dwelling-places.

(b) Benjamin (1Ch 7:6-13).

A very difficult section. It is considered a Zebulunite genealogy which has been Benjaminized, because

(1) there is a Benjamite list elsewhere;

(2) Benjamin is out of place here, while in 13 out of 17 tribal lists Zebulun comes at this point, and in this list has no other place; (3) the numbers of Benjamin’s sons differ from other Benjamite genealogies;

(4) the names of Bela’s and Becher’s sons are different here;

(5) many names are not Benjamite;

(6) Tarshish, in this list, is a sea-coast name appropriate to Zebulun, but not Benjamin. But (1) it is called Benjamite; (2) doublets are not unknown in Chronicles; (3) Da is also neglected; (4) many Benjamite names are found; (5) both the Zebulunite material and the Benjamite material elsewhere is too scanty for safe conclusions.

(c) Dan, 1Ch 7:12, from Ge 46:23.

Aher (" another") is a copyist’s error or substitute for Dan.

(d) Naphtali, 1Ch 7:13, from Ge 46:24 (transcriptional changes).

(e) Manasseh, East and West (1Ch 7:14-19).

The text of 1Ch 7:14,15 very corrupt. No other notice is found of the sons in 1Ch 7:16,17: Peresh, Sheresh, Ulam, Rakere, Bedan.

(f) Ephraim to Joshua (1Ch 7:20-29).

Contains an interesting personal note in the mourning of Ephraim over his sons Ezer and Elead, and the subsequent birth of Beriah. Interpreted to mean that the clans Ezer and Elead met with disaster, on which the clan Beriah became prominent.

(g) The seats of Joseph’s sons (1Ch 7:28,29).

Hard to say why this has been placed here.

(h) Asher (1Ch 7:30-40).

The earliest names derived from Ge 46:17. Gray considers the others ancient.

(i) Benjamin (1Ch 8:1-40).

(i) Sons of Benjamin. After Ge 46:21, with variations. See (6) (b).

(ii) Descendants of Ehud (1Ch 8:6-28). Text very corrupt, obscure.

(iii) The house of Saul (1Ch 8:29-38); repeated (1Ch 9:35-44).

In this passage two exceptions to the usual treatment of Baal compounds. Ishbaal and Meribbaal here are Ishbosheth and Mephibosheth in S.

(7) The inhabitants of Jerusalem (1Ch 9:1-34).

With variations in Ne 11:1-13. This passage has been thought an interpolation, but it is the Chronicler’s custom to give dwelling-places. Perhaps this and Ne are two independent abridgments of the same document. This probably describes post-exilic conditions. 1Ch 9:1 and 2 here, and Ne 11 seem conclusive on this point. Four classes of returning exiles:

(a) The children of Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, Manasseh.

Constituting "the laity," "Israel."

(b) The priests.

Agreeing with Nehemiah, but abridged.

(c) The Levites. Paralleling Nehemiah, but not exactly.

(d) Nethinim or porters. Fuller than Nehemiah, and different.

(8) The house of Saul (1Ch 9:35-44, repeating 9:29-38).

(22) David’s Knights (1 Chronicals 11:10-47).

Discussed under (19). Adds to the list, Adina, son of Shiza, Reubenite; Hanan, son of Maacah, Joshaphat the Mithnite, Uzziah the Ashterathite, Shama and Jeiel the sons of Hotham the Aroerite, Jediael the son of Shimri, and Joah his brother, the Tizite, Eliel the Mahavite, and Jeribai and Joshaviah, the sons of Elnaam, and Ithmah the Moabite, Eliel, and Obed, and Jaasieh the Mezobaite.

(23) David’s Recruits at Ziklag (1 Chronicals 12-22).

Found only here. Contains 23 names from Benjamin (some may be Judahite); 11 from Gad; 8 from Manasseh; nothing to show that the names are not old.

(24) David’s Musicians and Porters at the Bringing of the Ark (1 Chronicals 15:16-24).

Also 1Ch 16:5,6,37-43. Each division of the Levites represented by a chief musician.

(25) David’s Organization of the Kingdom (1 Chronicals 23-27).

I. The Levites (1 Chronicals 23).

(1) The family of Gershon (1Ch 23:7-11); 9 houses.

(2) The family of Kohath (1Ch 23:12-20); 11 houses.

(3) The family of Merari (1Ch 23:21-23); 4 houses.

II. The Priests (1 Chronicals 24).

24 divisions; 16 divided among descendants of Eleazar, headed by Zadok; 8 among those of Ithamar, headed by Ahimelech (perhaps an error for Abiathar); but perhaps Ahimelech’s. Abiathar, son of Ahimelech, was acting for his father.

(1) Eleazar’s courses: Jehoiarib, Harim, Malchijah, Hakkoz, Joshua, Eliashib, Huppah, Bilgah, Hezer, Aphses, Pethahiah, Jehezekel, Jachin, Gamul, Delaiah, Maaziah.

(2) Ithamar: Jedaiah, Seorim, Mijamin, Abijah, Shecaniah, Jachim, Joshebeab, Immer.

Josephus gives the same names of courses (Ant., VII, xiv, 7; Vita, 1). Several are mentioned in Apocrypha, Talmud, and the New Testament. Jehoiarib, Jedaiah, Harim, Malchijah, Mijarain, Abijah, Shecaniah, Bilgah, Maaziah, are found in one or both of Nehemiah’s lists.

(3) Supplementary list of Levites (1Ch 20-31).

Repeats the Levitical families in 1Ch 23:6-23, omitting the Gershonites, adding to the Kohathites and Merarites.

III. The Singers (1 Chronicals 25).

(1) Their families, classified under the three great groups, descendants of Asaph, Jeduthun (Ethan), Heman.

A curious problem is suggested by the fact that the names in verse 4, beginning with Hanani, with a few very slight changes, read: "Hanan (‘Have mercy’)- iah (‘O Yahweh’); Hanani (~‘Have mercy’); Eli-athah (’Thou art my God’); Giddalti (‘I have magnified’)( and) Romamti (‘exalted’)( thy) Ezer (‘help’); Josh-bekashah (‘In the seat of hardness’); Mallothi (‘I spake of it’); Hothir (‘Gave still’); Mahazioth (‘Visions’)." How, or why, this came among these names, cannot be said.

(2) The 24 courses of 12 singers each, of which courses numbers 1, 3, 5, 7 fell to Asaph; numbers 2, 4, 8, 10, 12, 14 fell to Jeduthun; numbers 6, 9, 11, 13, 15-24 fell to Heman.

IV. Gatekeepers and Other Officers (1 Chronicals 26).

(1) Genealogies and stations of the gatekeepers (1Ch 26:1-19).

(2) Those in charge of the temple treasury (1Ch 26:20-28).

(3) Those in charge of the "outward business."

Subordinate magistrates, tax-collectors, etc.

V. The Army, and David’s Officers (1 Chronicals 27).

(1) The army (1Ch 27:1-15).

12 officers, each commanding 24,000 men, and in charge for one month; chosen from David’s knights.

(2) The tribal princes (1Ch 27:16-24).

After the fashion of Nu 12-15. Gad and Asher are omitted. The 12 are made up by including the Levites and the Aaronites.

(3) The king’s twelve stewards (1Ch 27:25-31).

(4) The king’s court officers (1Ch 27:32-34).

Counselor and scribe: Jonathan, the king’s uncle, otherwise unknown; tutor: Jehiel; counselor: Ahithophel; "the king’s friend" (closest confidant?): Hushai. Possibly two priests are next included: Jehoiada the son of Benaiah, and Abiathar, high priest of the Ithamar branch. But perhaps it should read, "Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada." If two priests are intended, it seems strange that Zadok is not one. The list ends with the commander-in-chief, Joab.

This elaborate organization in every part and branch of the kingdom is looked upon as the Chronicler’s glowing Utopian dream of what must have been, underrating the organizing power of the great soldier and statesman.

(26) Ezra 2:1-63.—The Exiles Who Returned with Zerubbabel.

Paralleled in Ne 7:6-73. 9 "Jah," 4 "El" names in 107.

(1) The Leaders (Ezra 2:2).

(2) Numbers, according to Families (Ezra 2:3-19).

18 of Ezra’s numbers differ from Nehemiah’s.

(3) Numbers according to Localities (Ezra 2:20-35).

10 towns probably Judahite, 7 Benjamite.

(4) The Priests (Ezra 2:39,42).

Only 4 families, representing 3 Davidic courses.

(5) The Levites (Ezra 2:43,14).

Among the singers, only Asaphites.

(6) The Porters (Ezra 2:45).

3 old names, 3 new ones.

(7) The "Nethinim" (Temple-Slaves) (Ezra 2:46-56).

(8) The Children of Solomon’s Servants (Slaves) (Ezra 2:57-59).

(9) Those Who Could Not Prove Their Descent.

(a) General population.

Three families, children of Delaiah, Tobiah, Nekoda.

(b) Priestly families.

Hobaiah, Hakkoz, Barzillai. Hakkoz, the seventh of the Davidic courses, perhaps succeeded later in establishing their right (Ne 3:21).

(27) Ezra 6:1-5.—Ezra’s Genealogy.

An ascending genealogy: Ezra, son of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah, son of Shallum, son of Zadok, son of Ahitub, son of Amaraiah, son of Azariah, son of Meraioth, son of Zerahiah, son of Uzzi, son of Bukki, son of Abishua, son of Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron; 16 links. Follows 1Ch 6:7-10 down to Zadok, then omits 7 to Shallum, besides the 7 omitted in Chronicles.

(28) Ezra 8:1-20.—Numbers and Leaders of Those Who Returned with Zerubbabel.

Numbers much smaller than in Zerubbabel’s list (Ezr 2:1-14). Perhaps 3 new families, Shecaniah, Shelomith, Joah; 7 more leaders. A much smaller proportion of Levites; among them a "man of discretion," perhaps a name, "Ishsecel," of the sons of Mahli, therefore a Merarite, with other Merarites, 39 in all.

(29) Ezra 10:18-44.—Jews Who Had Married Foreign Women.

(1) The Priests (Ezra 10:18-22).

Seventeen in all; members of the high priest’s family, and of the Davidic courses of Immer and Harim, besides the family of Pashhur.

(2) The Levites (Ezra 10:23); 6 in All.

(3) Singers and Porters (Ezra 10:24); 4 in All.

(4) "Israel," "the Laity" (Ezra 10:25-43).

Sixteen families represented; 86 persons. Out of a total of 163 names, 39 yah compounds, 19 ‘el compounds, 8 prefixed.

(30) Nehemiah 3:1-12.—The Leaders in the Repair of the Wall.

Thirty-eight leaders; in 30 instances the father’s name also given. As far as mentioned, all from Judah and Jerusalem.

(31) Nehemiah 7:7-63.—Those Who Returned with Zerubbabel.

Follows Ezr 2:1-63, with transcriptional variations in names and numbers.

(32) Nehemiah 8:4-7.—Levites and Others Who Assisted Ezra in Proclaiming the Law.

(33) Nehemiah 10:1-27.—The Sealers of the Covenant.

Twenty-two priests, 17 Levites, 20 heads of families already mentioned, 24 individuals.

(34) Nehemiah 11:3-36.—Chief Dwellers in Jerusalem and Vicinity.

Parallels in 1Ch 9:9-22. Some omissions and variations; 5 priestly courses given, Joiarib, course number 1; Jedaiah, number 2; Jachin, number 23; Malchijah, number 5; Immer, number 6. 24 "Jah," 6 "El" names out of 82.

(35) Nehemiah 12:1-8.—Priests and Levites Who Went Up with Zerubbabel.

Compare with priests’ lists in Ne 10:2-8 (33), and with priests under Joiakim (Ne 12:12-21 (36)). They are names of families. See Ne 12:12.

(36) Nehemiah 12:10,11.—High Priests from Jeshua to Jaddua.

(1) Jeshua, 538 to 520 BC.

(2) Joiakim.

(3) Eliashib, 446 till after 433.

(4) Joiada, about 420.

(5) Jonathan, Johanan, 405 to 362.

(6) Jaddua, to 323.

This list bears upon the date of Ezra-Nehemiah. Jaddua was high priest when Alexander visited Jerusalem, 335 BC. If the Darius of verse 22 is Darius Nothus (425 to 405 BC), and Jaddua, a young boy, is mentioned as the heir to the high-priesthood, this passage was written before 400. If Jaddua’s actual high-priesthood is meant, and Darius Codomannus (336 to 330 BC) is the Darius here, the date may be about 330. The enumeration of families here is assigned to the time of Joiakim, before 405, and the latest recorded events to the time of the high priest before Jaddua (Ne 12:23; 13:28), hence, before 362. The hypothesis of an addition by some scribe after 350 is possible, but not necessary.

(37) Nehemiah 12:12-21.—Heads of Priestly Families.

(38) Nehemiah 12:22-26.—Levites and Porters under High Priest Johanan.

(39) Nehemiah 12:31-42.—Princes and Priests at Dedication of the Wall.

(40) Matthew 1:1-17.—The Genealogy of Jesus Christ.

(See separate article).

(41) Luke 3:23-38.—The Genealogy of Jesus.

(See separate article).


Commentaries in the place cited., especially on Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Chronicles, Ezra-Nehemiah, especially C. F. Keil, Bible Comm., 1872; E. Bertheau, in Kurzgef. exeget. Handb. zum Altes Testament, 1873; Bible ("Speaker’s") Commentary (Browne, Gen; Clark, Ex; Espin, Nu; Rawlinson, Chronicles, etc.); W. B. Barnes, Cambridge Bible, Chronicles; R. Kittel, Die Bucher der Chronicles; Driver, Westminster Comm., Gen; ICC (Gray, Nu; Moore, Jgs; Curtis, Chronicles, etc.); Pulpit Comm.; W. R. Harvey-Jellie, Ch in Century Bible; S. Oettli, Kgf. Kom., 1889; O. Zoeckler, Lange’s Comm., etc.

Encyclopedia arts., especially HDB, E. L. Curtis, "Genealogies"; SBD, A. C. Hervey, "Genealogies"; EB, S. A. Cook, "Genealogies"; EB, 11th edition, S. A. Cook, "Genealogies"; other encyclopedia arts., under specific books, tribes, names, genealogies.

General works: Gray, Studies in Hebrew Proper Names; Hommel, The Ancient Hebrew Tradition; A.C. Hervey, The Genealogies of our Lord; Sprenger, Das Leben u. d. Lehre d. Mohammad; W.R. Smith, Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia; J. Wellhausen, De Gentibus et Familiis Judaeis; J. Wellhausen, Prolegomena, 1883 (ET), 177-277; McLennan, Studies in Ancient History.

Magazine articles: H.W. Hogg, "Genealogy of Benjamin," JQR, XI, 1899, 96-133, 329-44; M. Berlin, "Notes on Genealogies of Levi, 1Ch 23-26," Jewish Quarterly Review, XII, 1900, 291-98; M. Berlin, "Gershonite and Merarite Genealogies," JQR, XII, 1901, 291 ff; H. W. Hogg, "Ephraimite Genealogy," JQR, XIII, 1900-1901, 147-54; J. Marquart, "Genealogies of Benjamin," JQR, XIV, 1902, 343-51; J. W. Rothstein, Die Genealogie das Konigs Jojachin und seiner Nachkommen in geschichtlicher Beleuchtung, Berlin: Reuther u. Reichold, 1902; R.S. Macalister, "The Royal Potters, 1Ch 4:23," The Expositor Times, XVI, 1905, 379 ff; R. S. Macalister, "The Craftsmen Guild of the Tribe of Judah," PEFS, 1905, 243-53, 328-42; C. C. Torrey, "The Greek versions of Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah," Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, XXV. 1903, 139 ff, and many others.

Philip Wendell Crannell


jen’-er-al, jen’-er-al-i (kullah; paneguris):

(1) General is the translation of sar, "master," "head," "chief"; used once in the King James Version in the sense of commander-in-chief, "the general of the king’s army" (1Ch 27:34), usually in this connection translated "captain," the Revised Version (British and American) "the captain of the king’s host."

(2) As an adjective "general assembly" is the translation of paneguris (whence we have panegyric), "an assembly or convocation of the whole people to celebrate any public festival or solemnity, as the public games or sacrifices, hence, a high festival, public convocation, joyful assembly" (Robinson); the word occurs in the New Testament only in Heb 12:23, "to the general assembly and church of the firstborn; paneguris is Septuagint for mo‘edh (Eze 46:11; Ho 2:11), "solemn assembly" and for ‘atsarah (Am 5:21), with the same meaning. The Greek words translated "and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn" (the King James Version) have been variously arranged and translated; Robinson gives "and to countless throngs (even) the joyful assembly of angels, i.e. as hymning the praises of God around His throne"; compare Re 5:11 f; Ps 148:2; Da 7:10). From both Hebrew and Greek analogies, this is probably correct; similarly, Alford, Delitzsch and others have "festival assembly"; Weymouth translated "to countless hosts of angels, to the great festal gathering and church of the first-born."

(3) Generally, adverb, occurs in Jer 48:38 the King James Version as the translation of kullah (Pual of kalah), "the whole of it," "There shall be lamentation generally (universally) upon all the housetops of Moab," the Revised Version (British and American) "everywhere"; in 2Sa 17:11, ‘acaph, "to be gathered," is translated "to be generally gathered," the Revised Version (British and American) "gathered together."

In Apocrypha we have "general" in the sense of "common," "universal" (Additions to Esther 15:10 margin, koinos; 2 Macc 3:18, pandemon); "in general" (2 Esdras 8:15, "man in general"; Ecclesiasticus 18:1, "all things in general," koinos, the Revised Version (British and American) "in common").

W. L. Walker


jen-er-a’-shun (Latin generatio, from genero, "beget"):

(1) The translation

(a) of dor, "circle," "generation," hence, "age," "period," "cycle": "many generations" (De 32:7);

(b) the people of any particular period or those born about the same time: "Righteous before me in this generation" (Ge 7:1); "four generations" (Job 42:16);

(c) the people of a particular class or sort, with some implied reference to hereditary quality; the wicked (De 32:5; Pr 30:11); the righteous (Ps 14:5; 112:2).

(2) toledhoth, "births," hence

(a) an account of a man and his descendants: "The book of the generations of Adam" (Ge 5:1);

(b) successive families: "The families of the sons of Noah, after their generations" (Ge 10:32);

(c) genealogical divisions: "The children of Reuben .... their generations, by their families" (Nu 1:20); (d) figurative, of the origin and early history of created things: "The generations of the heavens and of the earth" (Ge 2:4).

(3) genea, "a begetting," "birth," "nativity," therefore

(a) the successive members of a genealogy: "All the generations from Abraham unto David" (Mt 1:17);

(b) a race, or class, distinguished by common characteristics, always (in the New Testament) bad: "Faithless and perverse generation" (Mt 17:17);

(c) the people of a period: "This generation shall not pass away" (Lu 21:32);

(d) an age (the average lifetime, 33 years): "Hid for (Greek "from the") ages and (from the) generations" (Col 1:26). The term is also by a figurative transference of thought applied to duration in eternity: "Unto all generations for ever and ever" (Eph 3:21) (Greek "all the generations of the age of the ages").

(4) genesis, "source," "origin": "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ" (Mt 1:1; the American Revised Version, margin "The genealogy of Jesus Christ").

(5) gennema, "offspring," "progeny"; figurative: "O generation of vipers" (Lu 3:7 the King James Version).

(6) genos, "stock," "race," in this case spiritual: "But ye are a chosen generation" (1Pe 2:9; the American Standard Revised Version "an elect race").

Philip Wendell Crannell




1. The Name

2. Survey of Contents

3. Connection with Succeeding Books


1. Unity of the Biblical Text

(1) The Toledhoth

(2) Further Indication of Unity

2. Rejection of the Documentary Theory

(1) In General

(a) Statement of Theory

(b) Reasons Assigned for Divisions

(c) Examination of the Documentary Theory

(i) Style and Peculiarities of Language

(ii) Alleged Connection of Matter

(iii) The Biblico-Theological Data

(iv) Duplicates

(v) Manner in Which the Sources Are Worked Together

(vi) Criticism Carried to Extremes

(2) In View of the Names for God

(a) Error of Hypothesis in Principle

(b) False Basis of Hypothesis

(c) Improbability That Distinction of Divine

Names Is without Significance

(d) Real Purpose in Use of Names for God

(i) Decreasing Use of Yahweh

(ii) Reference to Approach of Man to God, and Departure from Him

(iii) Other Reasons

(iv) Systematic Use in History of Abraham (e) Scantiness of the Materials for Proof

(f) Self-Disintegration of the Critical Position

(g) Different Uses in the Septuagint


1. The Structure of the Prooemium (Genesis 1-2:3)

2. Structure of the 10 Toledhoth


1. History of the Patriarchs (Genesis 12-50)

(1) Unfounded Attacks on the History

(a) From General Dogmatic Principles

(b) From Distance of Time

(c) From Biblical Data

(d) From Comparison with Religion of Arabia

(2) Unsatisfactory Attempts at Explaining the Patriarchal Age

(a) Explanation Based on High Places

(b) The Dating Back of Later Events to Earlier Times

(c) The Patriarchs as heroes eponymi

(d) Different Explanations Combined

(3) Positive Reasons for the Historical Character of Genesis

Individuality of Patriarchs, etc.

2. The Primitive History of Genesis 1-11

(1) Prominence of the Religious Element

(2) Carefulness as Regards Divergent Results of Scientific Research

(3) Frequent Confirmation of the Bible by Science

(4) Superiority of the Bible over Pagan Mythologies Babylonian and Biblical Stories


1. Connection with Mosaic Times

2. Examination of Counter-Arguments

(1) Possibility of Later Additions

(2) "Prophecy after the Event" Idea

(3) Special Passages Alleged to Indicate Later Date

Examination of These


1. Lays Foundation for the Whole of Revelation—Creation, Fall, Man in Image of God, Sin, etc.

2. Preparation for Redemption—Promises and Covenants


I. General Data.

1. The Name:

The first book of Moses is named by the Jews from the first word, namely, bere’shith, i.e. "in the beginning" (compare the Bresith of Origen]). In the Septuagint it is called Genesis, because it recounts the beginnings of the world and of mankind. This name has passed over into the Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) (Liber Genesis). As a matter of fact the name is based only on the beginning of the book.

2. Survey of Contents:

The book reports to us the story of the creation of the world and of the first human beings (Ge 1); of paradise and the fall (Ge 2 f); of mankind down to the Deluge (Ge 4 f; compare Ge 4, Cain and Abel); of the Deluge itself (Ge 6-9); of mankind down to the age of the Patriarchs (Ge 10:1-11:26; compare 11:1 ff, the building of the tower of Babel); of Abraham and his house (Ge 11:27-25:18); of Isaac and his house (Ge 25:19-37:2); of Jacob and of Joseph (Ge 37:2-50:26). In other words, the Book of Genesis treats of the history of the kingdom of God on earth from the time of the creation of the world down to the beginning of Israel’s sojourn in Egypt and to the death of Joseph; and it treats of these subjects in such a way that it narrates in the 1st part (Ge 1:1-11:26) the history of mankind; and in the 2nd part (Ge 11:27-50:26) the history of families; and this latter part is at the same time the beginning of the history of the chosen people, which history itself begins with Ex 1. Though the introduction, Ge 1-11, with its universal character, includes all mankind in the promise given at the beginning of the history of Abraham (12:1-3), it is from the outset distinctly declared that God, even if He did originally set apart one man and his family (Ge 12-50), and after that a single nation (Ex 1 ), nevertheless intends that this particularistic development of the plan of salvation is eventually to include all mankind. The manner in which salvation is developed historically is particularistic, but its purposes are universal.

3. Connection with Succeeding Books:

By the statements just made it has already been indicated in what close connection Genesis stands with the subsequent books of the sacred Scriptures. The history of the chosen people, which begins with Ex 1 ff, at the very outset and with a clear purpose, refers back to the history as found in Genesis (compare Ex 1:1-6,8 with Ge 46:27; 50:24 ff; and see EXODUS, I, 3), although hundreds of years had clasped between these events; which years are ignored, because they were in their details of no importance for the religious history of the people of God. But to Abraham in Ge 12:1-3 the promise had been given, not only that he was to be the father of a mighty nation that would recognize him as their founder, and the earliest history of which is reported in Exodus and the following books of the Pentateuch, but also that the Holy Land had been promised him. In this respect, the Book of Joshua, which gives the story of the capture of this land, is also a continuation of the historical development begun in Genesis. The blessing of God pronounced over Abraham, however, continued to be efficacious also in the later times among the people who had descended from him. In this way Genesis is an introduction to all of the books of the Old Testament that follow it, which in any way have to do with the fate of this people, and originated in its midst as the result of the special relation between God and this people. But in so far as this blessing of God was to extend to all the nations of the earth (Ge 12:3), the promises given can be entirely fulfilled only in Christ, and can expand only in the work and success of Christian missions and in the blessings that are found within Christianity. Accordingly, this book treats first of beginnings and origins, in which, as in a kernel, the entire development of the kingdom of God down to its consummation is contained (compare VI below).

II. Composition of Genesis in General.

1. Unity of the Biblical Text:

(1) The Toledhoth.

The fact that Genesis is characterized by a far-reaching and uniform scheme has, at least in outline, been already indicated (see I, 2 and 3). This impression is confirmed when we examine matters a little more closely and study the plan and structure of the book. After the grand introitus, which reports the creation of the world (1:1-2:3) there follows in the form of 10 pericopes the historical unfolding of that which God has created, which pericopes properly in each case bear the name toledhoth, or "generations." For this word never signifies creation or generation as an act, but always the history of what has already been created or begotten, the history of generations; so that for this reason, 2:4a, where mention is made of the toledhoth of heaven and of earth, cannot possibly be a superscription that has found its way here from 1:1. It is here, as it is in all cases, the superscription to what follows, and it admirably leads over from the history of creation of the heavens and the earth in Ge 1 to the continuation of this subject in the next chapter. The claim of the critics, that the redactor had at this place taken only the superscription from his source P (the priestly narrator, to whom 1-2:3 is ascribed), but that the section of P to which this superscription originally belonged had been suppressed, is all the more monstrous a supposition as 2:4a throughout suits what follows.

Only on the ground of this correct explanation of the term toledhoth can the fact be finally and fully explained, that the toledhoth of Terah contain also the history of Abraham and of Lot; the toledhoth of Isaac contain the history of Jacob and Esau; the toledhoth of Jacob contain the history of Joseph and his brethren. The ten toledhoth are the following: I, Ge 2:4-4:26, the toledhoth of the heavens and the earth; II, 5:1-6:8, the toledhoth of Adam; III, 6:9-9:29, the toledhoth of Noah; IV, 10:1-11:9, the toledhoth of the sons of Noah; V, 11:10-26, the toledhoth of the sons of Shem; VI, 11:27-25:11, the toledhoth of Terah; VII, 25:12-18, the toledhoth of Ishmael; VIII, 25:19-35:29, the toledhoth of Isaac; IX, 36:1-37:1, the toledhoth of Esau (the fact that 36:9, in addition to the instance in verse 1, contains the word toledhoth a second time, is of no importance whatever for our discussion at this stage, as the entire chapter under any circumstances treats in some way of the history of the generations of Esau; see III, 2:9); X, 37:2-50:26, the toledhoth of Jacob. In each instance this superscription covers everything that follows down to the next superscription.

The number 10 is here evidently not an accidental matter. In the articles EXODUS, LEVITICUS, DAY OF ATONEMENT, also in EZEKIEL, it has been shown what role the typical numbers 4, 7, 10 and 12 play in the structure of the whole books and of the individual pericopes. (In the New Testament we meet with the same phenomenon, particularly in the Apocalypse of John; but compare also in Matthew’s Gospel the 3 X 14 generations in Mt 1:1 ff, the 7 parables in 13:1 ff, the 7 woes in 23:13 ff.) In the same way the entire Book of Le naturally falls into 10 pericopes (compare LEVITICUS, II, 2, 1), and Le 19 contains 10 groups, each of 4 (possibly also of 5) commandments; compare possibly also 18:6-18; 20:9-18; see LEVITICUS, II, 2, 21, VI. Further, the number 10, with a greater or less degree of certainty, can be regarded as the basis for the construction of the pericopes: Ex 1:8-7:7; 7:8-13:16 (10 plagues); 13:17-18:27 (see EXODUS, II, 2:1-3); the Decalogue (20:1 ff); the first Book of the Covenant (21:1-23:13; 23:14-19), and the whole pericope 19:1-24:18a, as also 32:1-35:3 (see EXODUS, II, 2, 4, 6). In the Book of Genesis itself compare further the 10 members from Shem to Abraham (11:11-26), as also the pericopes 25:19-35:29; 37:2-50:26 (see III, 2, 8, 10 below), and the 10 nations in Ge 15:19 ff. And just as in the cases cited, in almost every instance, there is to be found a further division into 5 X 2 or 2 X 5 (compare, e.g. the two tables of the Decalogue); thus, too, in the Book of Genesis in each case, 5 of the 10 pericopes are more closely combined, since I-V (toledhoth of Shem inclusive) stand in a more distant, and VI-X (treating of the toledhoth of Terah, or the history of Abraham) in a closer connection with the kingdom of God; and in so far, too, as the first series of toledhoth bring into the foreground more facts and events, but the second series more individuals and persons. Possibly in this case, we can further unite 2 toledhoth; at any rate I and II (the primitive age), III and IV (Noah and his sons), VII and VIII (Ishmael and Isaac), IX and X (Esau and Jacob) can be thus grouped.

(2) Further Indication of Unity.

In addition to the systematic scheme so transparent in the entire Biblical text of the Book of Genesis, irrespective of any division into literary sources, it is to be noticed further, that in exactly the same way the history of those generations that were rejected from any connection with the kingdom of God is narrated before the history of those that remained in the kingdom of God and continued its development. Cain’s history (4:17 ff) in Jahwist (Jahwist) stands before the history of Seth (4:25 f J; 5:3 ff P); Japheth’s and Ham’s genealogy (10:1 ff P; 10:8 ff P and J) before that of Shem (10:21 ff J and P), although Ham was the youngest of the three sons of Noah (9:24); the further history of Lot (19:29 ff P and J) and of Ishmael’s genealogy (25:12 ff P and J) before that of Isaac (25:19 ff P and J and E); Esau’s descendants (36:1 ff R and P) before the toledhoth of Jacob (37:2 ff P and J and E).

In favor of the unity of the Biblical text we can also mention the fact that the Book of Genesis as a whole, irrespective of all sources, and in view of the history that begins with Ex 1 ff, has a unique character, so that e.g. the intimate communion with God, of the kind which is reported in the beginning of this Book of Genesis (compare, e.g. 3:8; 7:16; 11:5 J; 17:1,22; 35:9,13 P; 18:1 ff; 32:31 J), afterward ceases; and that in Ex, on the other hand, many more miracles are reported than in the Book of Genesis (see EXODUS, III, 2); that Genesis contains rather the history of mankind and of families, while Exodus contains that of the nation (see I, 2 above); that it is only in Exodus that the law is given, while in the history of the period of the patriarchs we find only promises of the Divine grace; that all the different sources ignore the time that elapses between the close of Genesis and the beginning of Exodus; and further, that nowhere else is found anything like the number of references to the names of persons or things as are contained in Genesis (compare, e.g. 2:23; 3:20; 4:1,25, etc., in J; 17:5,15,17-20, etc., in P; 21:9,17,31, etc., in E; 21:6; 27:36, etc., in J and E; 28:19, etc., in R; 49:8,16,19, etc., in the blessing of Jacob); that the changing of the names of Abram and Sarai to Abraham and Sarah from Ge 17:5,15 goes on through all the sources, while before this it is not found in any source. Finally, we would draw attention to the psychologically finely drawn portraits of Biblical persons in Genesis. The fact that the personal pronoun hu’ and the noun na‘ar are used of both masculine and feminine genders is characteristic of Genesis in common with all the books of the Pentateuch, without any difference in this regard being found in the different documents, which fact, as all those cited by us in number 1 above, militates against the division of this book into different sources. Let us now examine more closely the reason assigned for the division into different sources.

2. Rejection of the Documentary Theory:

(1) In General.

(a) Statement of Theory:

Old Testament scholars of the most divergent tendencies are almost unanimous in dividing the Biblical text of Genesis into the sources the Priestly Code (P), Jahwist and Elohist, namely Priestly Codex, Jahwist, and Elohist. To P are attributed the following greater and connected parts: 1:1-2:4a; 5; a part of the story of the Deluge in chapters 6-9; 11:10 ff; 17; 23; 25:12 ff; 35:22b ff; the most of 36. As examples of the parts assigned to J we mention 2:4b-4:26; the rest of the story of the Deluge in chapters 6-9; 11:1 ff; 12 f; 16; 18 f, with the exception of a few verses, which are ascribed to P; chapter 24 and others. Connected parts belonging to the Elohist (E) are claimed to begin with chapters 20 and 21 (with the exception of a number of verses which are attributed to P or J or R), and it is thought that, beginning with chapter 22, E is frequently found in the history of Jacob and of Joseph (25:19-50:26), in part, however, interwoven with J (details will be found under III, in each case under 2). This documentary theory has hitherto been antagonized only by a few individuals, such as Klostermann, Lepsius, Eerdmans, Orr, Wiener, and the author of the present article.

(b) Reasons Assigned for Divisions:

As is well known, theory of separation of certain books of the Old Testament into different sources began originally with the Book of Genesis. The use made of the two names of God, namely Yahweh (Yahweh) and Elohim, caused Astruc to conclude that two principal sources had been used in the composition of the book, although other data were also used in vindication of theory; and since the days of Ilgen the conviction gained ground that there was a second Elohist (now called E), in contradistinction to the first (now called the Priestly Code (P), to whom, e.g., Ge 1 is ascribed). This second Elohist, it was claimed, also made use of the name Elohim, as did the first, but in other respects he shows greater similarity to the Jahwist. These sources were eventually traced through the entire Pentateuch and into later books, and for this reason are discussed in detail in the article PENTATEUCH. In this article we must confine ourselves to the Book of Genesis, and limit the discussion to some leading points. In addition to the names for God (see under 2), it is claimed that certain contradictions and duplicate accounts of the same matters compel us to accept different sources. Among these duplicates are found, e.g., Ge 1:1-2:4 a the Priestly Code (P), and 2:4b ff J, containing two stories of creation; Ge 12:9 ff J; 20:1 ff E; 26:1 ff J; with the narrative of how Sarah and Rebekah, the wives of the two patriarchs, were endangered; chapters 15 J and 17 the Priestly Code (P), with a double account of how God concluded His covenant with Abraham; 21:22 ff E and 26:12 ff J, the stories of Abimelech; chapters 16 J and 21 E, the Hagar episodes; 28:10 ff J and E and 35:1 ff E and the Priestly Code (P), the narratives concerning Bethel, and in the history of Joseph the mention made of the Midianites E, and of the Ishmaelites J, who took Joseph to Egypt (37:25 ff; 39:1); the intervention of Reuben E, or Judah J, for Joseph, etc. In addition a peculiar style, as also distinct theological views, is claimed for each of these sources. Thus there found in P a great deal of statistical and systematic material, as in 5:1 ff; 11:10 ff; 25:12 ff; 36:6 ff (the genealogies of Adam, Shem, Ishmael, Esau); P is said to show a certain preference for fixed schemes and for repetitions in his narratives. He rejects all sacrifices earlier than the Mosaic period, because according to this source the Lord did not reveal himself as Yahweh previous to Ex 6:1 ff. Again, it is claimed that the Elohist (E) describes God as speaking to men from heaven, or through a dream, and through an angel, while according to J Yahweh is said to have conversed with mankind personally. In regard to the peculiarities of language used by the different sources, it is impossible in this place to enumerate the different expressions, and we must refer for this subject to the different Introductions to the Old Testament, and to the commentaries and other literature. A few examples are to be found under (c) below, in connection with the discussion of the critical hypothesis. Finally, as another reason for the division of Genesis into different sources, it is claimed that the different parts of the sources, when taken together, can be united into a smooth and connected story. The documents, it is said, have in many cases been taken over word for word and have been united and interwoven in an entirely external manner, so that it is still possible to separate them and often to do this even down to parts of a sentence or to the very words.

(c) Examination of the Documentary Theory:

(i) Style and Peculiarities of Language:

It is self-evident that certain expressions will be repeated in historical, in legal, and in other sections similar in content; but this is not enough to prove that there have been different sources. Whenever J brings genealogies or accounts that are no less systematic than those of P (compare Ge 4:17 ff; 10:8 ff; 22:20-24); or accounts and repetitions occur in the story of the Deluge (Ge 7:2,7; 7:4,12,17; 8:6; 7:4; 8:8,10,12), this is not enough to make the division into sources plausible. In reference to the linguistic peculiarities, it must be noted that the data cited to prove this point seldom agree. Thus, e.g. the verb bara’," create," in Ge 1:1 is used to prove that this was written by the Priestly Code (P), but the word is found also in 6:7 in J. The same is the case with the word rekhush, "possession," which in 12:5; 13:6; 36:7 is regarded as characteristic of the Priestly Code (P), but in 14:11 f, 16,21 is found in an unknown source, and in 15:14 in J. In 12:5; 13:12a; 16:3; 17:8 it is said that ‘erets kena‘an, "land of Canaan," is a proof that this was written by P; but in chapters 42; 44 f; 47; 50 we find this expression in Jahwist and Elohist, in Nu 32:32 in J (R) ; compare also Nu 33:40 (PR) where Nu 21:1-3 (JE) is quoted; shiphchah, "maid servant," is claimed as a characteristic word of J in contrast to E (compare 16:1 ff); but in 16:3; 29:24,29 we find this word not only in P but in 20:14; 30:4,7,18; in E Min, "kind," is counted among the marks of P (compare e.g. 1:11 ff), but in De 14:13,14,18 we find it in Deuteronomy; rather remarkably, too, in the latest find on the Deluge made by Hilprecht and by him ascribed to 2100 BC. Compare on this subject my book, Wider den Bann der Quellenscheidung, and Orr, POT, chapter vii, section vi, and chapter x, section i; perhaps, too, the Concordance of Mandelkern under the different words. Even in the cases when the characteristic peculiarities claimed for the sources are correct, if the problem before us consisted only in the discovery of special words and expressions in the different sources, then by an analogous process, we could dissect and sever almost any modern work of literature. Particularly as far as the pieces are concerned, which are assigned to the Priestly Code (P), it must be stated that Ge 1 and 23 are, as far as style and language are concerned, different throughout. Ge 1 is entirely unique in the entire Old Testament. Ge 23 has been copied directly from life, which is pictured with exceptional fidelity, and for this reason cannot be claimed for any special source. The fact that the story of the introduction of circumcision in Ge 17 in many particulars shows similarities to the terminology of the law is entirely natural: The same is true when the chronological accounts refer one date to another and when they show a certain typical character, as is, e.g., the case also in the chronological parts of any modern history of Israel. On the other hand, the method of P in its narratives, both in matter and in form, becomes similar to that of Jahwist and Elohist, just as soon as we have to deal with larger sections; compare Ge 28:1 ff; 35:9 ff; 47:5 ff, and all the more in Exodus and Numbers.

Against the claim that P had an independent existence, we must mention the fact of the unevenness of the narratives, which, by the side of the fuller accounts in Ge 1; 17 and 23, of the genealogies and the story of the Deluge, would, according to the critics, have reported only a few disrupted notices about the patriarchs; compare for this in the story of Abraham, 11:27,31 f; 12:4b f; 13:6a 11b, 12a; 16:1a, 3,15 f; 19:29; 21:1b, 2b-5; 25:7-11a; and in its later parts P would become still more incomprehensible on the assumption of the critics (see III below). No author could have written thus; at any rate he would not have been used by anybody, nor would there have been such care evinced in preserving his writings.

(i) Alleged Connection of Matter:

The claim that the different sources, as they have been separated by critics, constitute a compact and connected whole is absolutely the work of imagination, and is in conflict with the facts in almost every instance. This hypothesis cannot be consistently applied, even in the case of the characteristic examples cited to prove the correctness of the documentary theory, such as the story of the Deluge (see III, 2, in each case under (2)).

(ii) The Biblico-Theological Data:

The different Biblical and theological data, which are said to be characteristic in proof of the separation into sources, are also misleading. Thus God in J communes with mankind only in the beginning (Ge 2 f; 16 ff; 11:5; 18 f), but not afterward. In the beginning He does this also, according to the Priestly Code (P), whose conception of God, it is generally claimed, was entirely transcendental (compare Ge 17:1,22; 35:9,13). The mediatorship of the Angel of Yahweh is found not only in E, (Ge 21:17, ‘Elohim), but also in J (Ge 16:7,9-11). In 22:11 in E, the angel of Yahweh (not of the ‘Elohim) calls from heaven; theophanies in the night or during sleep are found also in J (compare Ge 15:12 ff; 26:24; 28:13-16; 32:27). In the case of the Priestly Code (P), the cult theory, according to which it is claimed that this source does not mention any sacrifices before Ex 6:1 ff, is untenable. If it is a fact that theocracy, as it were, really began only in Ex 6, then it would be impossible that P would contain anything of the cults before Ex 6; but we have in P the introduction of the circumcision in Ge 17; of the Sabbath in 2:1 ff; and the prohibition against eating blood in 9:1 ff; and in addition the drink offerings mentioned in 35:14, which verse stands between 35:13 and 15, and, ascribed to the Priestly Code (P), is only in the interests of this theory attributed to the redactor. If then theory here outlined is not tenable as far as P is concerned, it would, on the other hand, be all the more remarkable that in the story of the Deluge the distinction between the clean and the unclean (7:2 ff.8) is found in J, as also the savor of the sacrifice, with the term reach ha-nichoach, which occurs so often in P (compare Ge 8:21 with Nu 15:3,7,10,13 f, 24; 18:17); that the sacrifices are mentioned in Ge 8:20 ff, and the number 7 in connection with the animals and days in 7:4; 8:8,10,12 (compare in the Priestly Code (P), e.g. Le 8:33; 13:5 f, 21,26 f, 31,33,10,54; 14:8 f, 38 f; 14:7,51; 16:14 f; Nu 28:11; 29:8, etc.); further, that the emphasis is laid on the 40 days in Ge 7:4,12,17; 8:6 (compare in the Priestly Code (P), Ex 24:1-8; Le 12:2-4; Nu 13:25; 14:34), all of which are ascribed, not as we should expect, to the Levitical the Priestly Code (P), but to the prophetical J. The document the Priestly Code (P), which, according to a large number of critics, was written during the Exile (see e.g. LEVITICUS, III, 1, or EZEKIEL, sec. II, 2) in a most surprising manner, instead of giving prominence to the person of the high priest, would then have declared that kings were to be the greatest blessings to come to the seed of Abraham (Ge 17:6,16); and while, on the critical assumption, we should have the right to expect the author to favor particularistic tendencies, he, by bringing in the history of all mankind in Ge 1-11, and in the extension of circumcision to strangers (17:12,23), would have displayed a phenomenal universality. The strongest counter-argument against all such minor and incorrect data of a Biblical and a theological character will always be found in the uniform religious and ethical spirit and world of thought that pervade all these sources, as also in the unity in the accounts of the different patriarchs, who are pictured in such a masterly, psychological and consistent manner, and who could never be the result of an accidental working together and interweaving of different and independent sources (see III below).

(iii) Duplicates:

In regard to what is to be thought of the different duplicates and contradictions, see below under III, 2, in each case under (2).

(iv) Manner in Which the Sources Are Worked Together:

But it is also impossible that these sources could have been worked together in the manner in which the critics claim that this was done. The more arbitrarily and carelessly the redactors are thought to have gone to work in many places in removing contradictions, the more incomprehensible it becomes that they at other places report faithfully such contradictions and permit these to stand side by side, or, rather, have placed them thus. And even if they are thought not to have smoothed over the difficulties anywhere, and out of reverence for their sources, not to have omitted or changed any of these reports, we certainly would have a right to think that even if they would have perchance placed side by side narratives with such enormous contradictions as there are claimed to be, e.g. in the story of the Deluge in P and J, they certainly would not have woven these together. If, notwithstanding, they still did this without harmonizing them, why are we asked to believe that at other places they omitted matters of the greatest importance (see III, 2, 3)? Further, J and E would have worked their materials together so closely at different places that a separation between the two would be an impossibility, something that is acknowledged as a fact by many Old Testament students; yet, notwithstanding, the contradictions, e.g. in the history of Joseph, have been allowed to stand side by side in consecutive verses, or have even intentionally been placed thus (compare, e.g. Ge 37:25 ff). Then, too, it is in the nature of things unthinkable that three originally independent sources for the history of Israel should have constituted separate currents down to the period after Moses, and that they could yet be dovetailed, often sentence by sentence, in the manner claimed by the critics. In conclusion, the entire hypothesis suffers shipwreck through those passages which combine the peculiarities of the different sources, as e.g. in Ge 20:18, which on the one hand constitutes the necessary conclusion to the preceding story from E (compare 20:17), and on the other hand contains the name Yahweh; or in 22:14 ff, which contains the real purpose of the story of the sacrificing of Isaac from E, but throughout also shows the characteristic marks of J; or in 39:1, where the so-called private person into whose house Joseph has been brought, according to J, is more exactly described as the chief of the body-guard, as this is done by E, in 40:2,4. And when the critics in this passage appeal to the help of the redactor (editor), this is evidently only an ill-concealed example of a "begging of the question." In chapter 34, and especially in chapter 14, we have a considerable number of larger sections that contain the characteristics of two or even all three sources, and which accordingly furnish ample evidence for protesting against the whole documentary theory.

(v) Criticism Carried to Extremes:

All the difficulties that have been mentioned grow into enormous proportions when we take into consideration the following facts: To operate with the three sources J, E and P seems to be rather an easy process; but if we accept the principles that underlie this separation into sources, it is an impossibility to limit ourselves to these three sources, as a goodly number of Old Testament scholars would like to do, as Strack, Kittel, Oettli, Dillmann, Driver. The stories of the danger that attended the wives of the Patriarchs, as these are found in Ge 12:9 ff and in 26:1 ff, are ascribed to J, and the story as found in Ge 20:1 ff to E. But evidently two sources are not enough in these cases, seeing that similar stories are always regarded as a proof that there have been different authors. Accordingly, we must claim three authors, unless it should turn out that these three stories have an altogether different signification, in which case they report three actual occurrences and may have been reported by one and the same author. The same use is made of the laughter in connection with the name Isaac in Ge 17:17; 18:12; 21:6, namely, to substantiate the claim for three sources, P and J and E. But since 21:9 E; 26:8 J also contain references to this, and as in 21:6 JE, in addition to the passage cited above, there is also a second reference of this kind, then, in consistency, the critics would be compelled to accept six sources instead of three (Sievers accepts at least 5, Gunkel 4); or all of these references point to one and the same author who took pleasure in repeating such references. As a consequence, in some critical circles scholars have reached the conclusion that there are also such further sources as J1 and Later additions to J, as also E1 and Later additions to E (compare Budde, Baudissin, Cornill, Holzinger, Kautzsch, Kuenen, Sellin). But Sievers has already discovered five subordinate sources of J, six of the Priestly Code (P), and three of E, making a total of fourteen independent sources that he thinks can yet be separated accurately (not taking into consideration some remnants of J, E and P that can no longer be distinguished from others). Gunkel believes that the narratives in Genesis were originally independent and separate stories, which can to a great extent yet be distinguished in their original form. But if J and E and P from this standpoint are no longer authors but are themselves, in fact, reduced to the rank of collectors and editors, then it is absurd to speak any more of distinct linguistic peculiarities, or of certain theological ideas, or of intentional uses made of certain names of God in J and E and the Priestly Code (P), not to say anything of the connection between these sources, except perhaps in rare cases. Here the foundations of the documentary theory have been undermined by the critics themselves, without Sievers or Gunkel or the other less radical scholars intending to do such a thing. The manner in which these sources are said to have been worked together naturally becomes meaningless in view of such hypotheses. The modern methods of dividing between the sources, if consistently applied, will end in splitting the Biblical text into atoms; and this result, toward which the development of Old Testament criticism is inevitably leading, will some day cause a sane reaction; for through these methods scholars have deprived themselves of the possibility of explaining the blessed influence which these Scriptures, so accidentally compiled according to their view, have achieved through thousands of years. The success of the Bible text, regarded merely from a historical point of view, becomes for the critic a riddle that defies all solutions, even if all dogmatical considerations are ignored.

(2) In View of the Names for God.

(a) Error of Hypothesis in Principle:

The names of God, Yahweh and Elohim, constituted for Astruc the starting-point for the division of Genesis into different sources (see (1) above). Two chief sources, based on the two names for God, could perhaps as a theory and in themselves be regarded as acceptable. If we add that in Ex 6:1 ff, in the Priestly Code (P), we are told that God had not revealed Himself before the days of Moses by the name of Yahweh, but only as "God Almighty," it seems to be the correct thing to separate the text, which reports concerning the times before Moses and which in parts contains the name Yahweh, into two sources, one with Yahweh and the other with Elohim. But just as soon as we conclude that the use made of the two names of God proves that there were three and not two sources, as is done from Ge 20 on, the conclusive ground for the division falls away. The second Elohist (E), whom Ilgen was the first to propose (see (1) above), in principle and a priori discredits the whole hypothesis. This new source from the very outset covers all the passages that cannot be ascribed to the Yahweh or the Elohist portions; whatever portions contain the name Elohim, as P does, and which nevertheless are prophetical in character after the manner of J, and accordingly cannot be made to fit in either the Jahwistic or the Elohistic source, seek a refuge in this third source. Even before we have done as much as look at the text, we can say that according to this method everything can be proved. And when critics go so far as to divide J and E and P into many subparts, it becomes all the more impossible to make the names for God a basis for this division into sources. Consistently we could perhaps in this case separate a Yahweh source, an Elohim source, a ha-’Elohim source, an ‘El Shadday source, an ‘Adhonay source, a Mal’akh Yahweh source, a Mal’akh ‘Elohim source, etc., but unfortunately these characteristics of the sources come into conflict in a thousand cases with the others that are claimed to prove that there are different sources in the Book of Genesis.

(b) False Basis of Hypothesis:

But the basis of the whole hypothesis itself, namely, Ex 6:1 ff P; is falsely regarded as such. If Yahweh had really been unknown before the days of Moses, as Ex 6:1 ff P is claimed to prove, how could J then, in so important and decisive a point in the history of the religious development of Israel, have told such an entirely different story? Or if, on the other hand, Yahweh was already known before the time of Moses, as we must conclude according to J, how was it possible for P all at once to invent a new view? This is all the more incredible since it is this author and none other who already makes use of the word Yahweh in the composition of the name of the mother of Moses, namely Jochebed (compare Ex 6:20 and Nu 26:59). In addition, we do not find at all in Ex 6:1 ff that God had before this revealed Himself as ‘Elohim, but as ‘El Shadday, so that this would be a reason for claiming not an ‘Elohim but an ‘El Shadday source for P on the basis of this passage (compare 17:1; 28:3; 35:11; 48:3 P—43:14 E! compare also 49:25 in the blessing of Jacob). Finally, it is not at all possible to separate Ex 6:1 ff P from that which immediately precedes, which is taken from JE and employs the name Yahweh; for according to the text of P we do not know who Moses and who Aaron really were, and yet these two are in Ex 6:1 ff regarded as well-known persons. The new revelation of God in Ex 6:1 ff (P) by the side of 3:1 ff (JE and E) is also entirely defensible and rests on a good foundation; for Moses after the failure of Ex 5 needed such a renewed encouragement (see EXODUS, sec. II, 2, 1). If this is the case, then the revelation of the name of Yahweh in Ex 6:1 ff cannot mean that that name had before this not been known at all, but means that it had only been relatively unknown, i.e. that in the fullest and most perfect sense God became known only as Yahweh, while before this He had revealed His character only from certain sides, but especially as to His Almighty Power.

(c) Improbability That Distinction of Divine Names Is without Significance:

In view of the importance which among oriental nations is assigned to names, it is absolutely unthinkable that the two names Yahweh and Elohim had originally been used without any reference to their different meanings. The almost total omission of the name Yahweh in later times or the substitution of the name Elohim for it in Psalms 42-83 is doubtless based in part on the reluctance which gradually arose in Israel to use the name at all; but this cannot be shown as probable for older times, in which it is claimed that E was written. In the case of P the rule, according to which the name Elohim is said to have been used for the pre-Mosaic period, and the reason for the omission of Yahweh would have been an entirely different one. Then, too, it would be entirely inexplicable why J should have avoided the use of the name Elohim. The word Elohim is connected with a root that signifies "to fear," and characterizes God from the side of His power, as this is, e.g., seen at once in Ge 1. Yahweh is splendidly interpreted in Ex 3:14 ff; and the word is connected with the archaic form hawah for hayah, "to be," and the word characterizes God as the being who at all times continues to be the God of the Covenant, and who, according to Ge 2:4-3:24, can manifestly be none other than the Creator of the universe in Ge 1:1-2:3, even if from Ge 12 on He, for the time being, enters into a special relation to Abraham, his family and his people, and by the use of the combined names Yahweh-Elohim is declared to be identical with the God who created the world, as e.g. this is also done in the section Ex 7:8-13:16, where, in the 10 plagues, Yahweh’s omnipotent power is revealed (compare EXODUS, II, 2, 2); and in 9:30 it is charged against-Pharaoh and his courtiers, that they did not yet fear Yahweh-Elohim, i.e. the God of the Covenant, who at the same time is the God of the universe (compare also 1Ki 18:21,37,39; Jon 4:6).

(d) Real Purpose in Use of Names for God:

But now it is further possible to show clearly, in connection with a number of passages, that the different names for God are in Genesis selected with a perfect consciousness of the difference in their meanings, and that accordingly the choice of these names does not justify the division of the book into various sources.

(i) Decreasing Use of Yahweh:

The fact that the toledhoth of Terah, of Isaac, and of Jacob begin with the name Yahweh but end without this name. In the history of Abraham are to be noted the following passages: Ge 12:1,4,7,8,17; 13:4,10,13,14,18; 14:22; 15:1,2,8; 16:2,5-7,9,10,11,13; 17:1; in the history of Isaac: 25:21,22,23; 26:2,12,22,24,25,28,29; and in the toledhoth of Jacob 38:7,10; 39:2,3,1. In these passages the beginnings are regularly made with the name Yahweh, although with decreasing frequency before the name Elohim is used, and notwithstanding that in all these sections certain selections from P and E must also be considered in addition to J. Beginning with Ge 12, in which the story of the selection of Abraham is narrated, we accordingly find emphasized, at the commencement of the history of each patriarch, this fact that it is Yahweh, the God of the Covenant, who is determining these things. Beginning with Ge 40 and down to about Ex 2 we find the opposite to be the case, although J is strongly represented in this section, and we no longer find the name Yahweh (except in one passage in the blessing of Jacob, which passage has been taken from another source, and hence is of no value for the distinction of the sources J, E and P; this is the remarkable passage Ge 49:18). In the same way the story of Abraham (Ge 25:1-11) closes without mention being made of the name of Yahweh, which name is otherwise found in all of these histories, except in Ge 23 (see below). The toledhoth of Isaac, too, use the name Yahweh for the last time in 32:10;

and from this passage down to Ge 37:2 the name is not found. It is accordingly clear that in the history of the patriarchs there is a gradual decrease in the number of times in which the name Yahweh occurs, and in each case the decrease is more marked; and this is most noticeable and clearest in the history of Joseph, manifestly in order to make all the more prominent the fact that the revelation of God, beginning with Ex 3:1 ff, is that of Yahweh. These facts alone make the division of this text into three sources J, E and P impossible.

(ii) Reference to Approach of Man to God, and Departure from Him:

The fact, further, that the approach of an individual to God or his departure from God could find its expression in the different uses made of the names of God is seen in the following. In connection with Ishmael and Lot the name Yahweh can be used only so long as these men stood in connection with the kingdom of God through their relation to Abraham (compare Ge 16:7,9,10,11,13 and 13:10; 19:13 f, 16), but only the name Elohim can be used as soon as they sever this connection (compare Ge 21:12,17,19,20 and 19:29). On the other hand, [’Elohim] is used in the beginning of the history of the Gentile Abimelech (Ge 20:3,6,11,13,17; 21:22 f); while afterward, when he has come into closer relations to the patriarchs, the name Yahweh is substituted (Ge 26:28,29). A similar progress is found in separate narratives of the patriarchs themselves, since in Ge 22:1 ff and chapter 28 the knowledge of Elohim is changed into that of Yahweh (compare 22:1,3,1 with 22:11,14,15,16, and 28:12 with 28:13,16).

(iii) Other Reasons:

[’Elohim] can, further, in many cases be explained on the basis of an implied or expressed contrast, generally over against men (compare Ge 22:8,12; in the second of these two passages the fear of God is placed in contrast to godlessness); Ge 30:2; 31:50; 32:2 f; compare with 32:4 and 8; 32:29; 35:5; or on the basis of an accommodation to the standpoint of the person addressed, as in 3:1-5 (serpent); 20:3,6,11,13,17; 23:6; 39:9 (Gentiles); or on the basis of grammar, as in 23:6; 32:3; 28:17,22; because the composition with the proper name Yahweh could never express the indefinite article (a prince of God, a camp of God, a Bethel or house of prayer); or finally in consequence of the connection with earlier passages (compare 5:1 ff with chapter 1; 21:2,4; 28:3 ff; 35:9 ff with chapter 17). A comparison of these passages shows that, of course, different reasons may have induced the author to select the name Elohim, e.g. 23:6; 28:12; 32:12.

(iv) Systematic Use in History of Abraham:

That the names for God are systematically used is finally attested by the fact that in the history of Abraham, after the extensive use of the name Yahweh in its beginning (see above), this name is afterward found combined with a large number of other and different names; so that in each case it is Yahweh of whom all further accounts speak, and yet the name of Yahweh is explained, supplemented and made clear for the consciousness of believers by the new appellations, while the full revelation of His being indeed begins only in Ex 3 and 6:1 ff, at which place the different rays of His character that appeared in earlier times are combined in one brilliant light. The facts in the case are the following. In the story of Abraham, with which an epoch of fundamental importance in the history of revelation begins, we find Yahweh alone in Ge 12 f. With the exception of chapter 23, where a characteristic appellation of God is not found, and 25:1-11, where we can claim a decadence in the conception of the Divinity (concerning 23:6; 25:11; see above, the name of Yahweh is retained in all of these stories, as these have been marked out (III, 2, 6); but beginning with chapter 14 they do not at all use any longer only one name for God. We here cite only those passages where, in each ease, for the first time a new name for God is added, namely, 14:18, ‘El ‘Elyon; 14:19, Creator of heaven and of earth; 15:2, ‘Adhonay; 16:7, the Angel of Yahweh; 16:13, the God that seeth; 17:1, ‘El Shadday; 17:3, ‘Elohim; 17:18, ha-’Elohim; chapters 18 f, special relation to the three men (compare 18:2 and 19:1); 18:25, the Judge of the whole earth; 20:13, ‘Elohim constructed as a plural; 21:17, the Angel of God; 24:3, the God of heaven and the God of the earth; 24:12, the God of Abraham.

(e) Scantiness of the Materials for Proof:

If we add, finally, that to prove the hypothesis we are limited to the meager materials found in Ge 1:1 through Ex 6:1 if; that in this comparatively small number of chapters Ge 40 to Ex 2 cannot be utilized in this discussion (see above under (d); that all those passages, in which J and E are inseparably united must be ignored in this discussion; that all other passages in which J and E are often and rapidly interchanged from the very outset are suspiciously akin to begging the question; that Ge 20:18, which with its "Yahweh" is ascribed to R, is absolutely needed as the conclusion of the preceding Elohim story; that in 21:33 with its "Yahweh" (Yahweh) in the Jahwist (Jahwist), on the other hand, the opening Elohim story from E, which is necessary for an explanation of the dwelling of Abraham in the south country, precedes; that the angel of Yahweh (22:11) is found in E; that 2:4-3:24 from J has besides Yahweh the name Elohim, and in 3:1b-5 only Elohim (see above); that in 17:1; 21:1 P Yahweh is found; that 5:29, which is ascribed to J, is surrounded by portions of the Priestly Code (P), and contains the name Yahweh, and would be a torso, but in connection with chapter 5 the Priestly Code (P), in reality is in its proper place, as is the intervening remark (5:24 P); that, on the other hand, in 4:25; 6:2,4; 7:9; 9:27; 39:9 Elohim is found—in view of all these facts it is impossible to see how a greater confusion than this could result from the hypothesis of a division of the sources on the basis of the use made of the names of God. And then, too, it is from the very outset an impossibility, that in the Book of Genesis alone such an arbitrary selection of the names for God should have been made and nowhere else.

(f) Self-Disintegration of the Critical Position:

The modern critics, leaving out of consideration entirely their further dissection of the text, themselves destroy the foundation upon which this hypothesis was originally constructed, when Sievers demands for Ge 1 (from P) an original Yahweh Elohim in the place of the Elohim now found there; and when others in Ge 18 f J claim an original Elohim; and when in 17:1-21:1 the name Yahweh is said to have been intentionally selected by P.

(g) Different Uses in the Septuagint:

Naturally it is not possible to discuss all the pertinent passages at this place. Even if, in many cases, it is doubtful what the reasons were for the selection of the names for God, and even if these reasons cannot be determined with our present helps, we must probably, nevertheless, not forget that the Septuagint in its translation of Genesis in 49 passages, according to Eerdman’s reckoning, and still more according to Wiener’s, departs from the use of the names for God from the Hebrew original. Accordingly, then, a division of Genesis into different sources on the basis of the different names for God cannot be carried out, and the argument from this use, instead of proving the documentary theory, has been utilized against it.


III. The Structure of the Individual Pericopes.

In this division of the article, there is always to be found (under 1) a consideration of the unity of the Biblical text and (under 2) the rejection of the customary division into different sources.

The conviction of the unity of the text of Genesis and of the impossibility of dividing it according to different sources is strongly confirmed and strengthened by the examination of the different pericopes. Here, too, we find the division on the basis of the typical numbers 4,7,10,12. It is true that in certain cases we should be able to divide in a different way; but at times the intention of the author to divide according to these numbers practically compels acceptance on our part, so that it would be almost impossible to ignore this matter without detriment, especially since we were compelled to accept the same fact in connection with the articles EXODUS (II); LEVITICUS (II, 2); DAY OF ATONEMENT (I, 2, 1), and aIso EZEKIEL (I, 2, 2). But more important than these numbers, concerning the importance or unimportance of which there could possibly be some controversy, are the fundamental religious and ethical ideas which run through and control the larger pericopes of the [toledhoth] of Terah, Isaac and Jacob in such a way that it is impossible to regard this as merely the work of a redactor, and we are compelled to consider the book as the product of a single writer.

1. The Structure of the Prooemium (Genesis 1-2:3):

The structure of the proemium (Ge 1:1-2:3) is generally ascribed to P. Following the introduction (Ge 1:1,2; creation of chaos), we have the creation of the seven days with the Sabbath as a conclusion. The first and the second three days correspond to each other (1st day, the light; 4th day, the lights; 2nd day, the air and water by the separation of the waters above and the waters below; 5th day, the animals of the air and of the water; 3rd day, the dry land and the vegetation; 6th day, the land animals and man; compare also in this connection that there are two works on each day). We find Exodus also divided according to the number seven (see EXODUS, II, 1; compare also Ex 24:18 b through 31:18; see EXODUS, II, 2, 5, where we have also the sevenfold reference to the Sabbath idea in Ex, and that, too, repeatedly at the close of different sections, just as we find this here in Genesis); and in Le compare chapters 23; 25; 27; see LEVITICUS, II, 2, 2; the VIII, IX, and appendix; and in Ge 4:17 ff J; 5:1-24 P; 6:9-9:29; 36:1-37 I (see under 2, 1,2,3,1).

2. Structure of the Ten Toledhoth:

The ten toledhoth are found in Ge 2:4-50:26.

1. The Toledhoth of the Heavens and the Earth (Genesis 2:4-4:26):

(1) The Biblical Text.

(a) Ge 2:4-25, Paradise and the first human beings;

(b) 3:1-24, the Fall;

(c) 4:1-16, Cain and Abel;

(d) 4:17-26, the Cainites, in seven members (see under 1 above) and Seth. The number 4 appears also in 5:1-6:8 (see under 2); 10:1-11:9 (see under 4); and especially 11:27-25:11 (under 6). Evidently (a) and (b), (c) and (d) are still more closely connected.

(2) Rejection of the Division into Sources (Ge 1:1-2:4 a P and 2:4b through 4:26 J).

Ch 2 does not contain a new account of creation with a different order in the works of creation. This section speaks of animals and plants, not for their own sakes, but only on account of their connection with man. The creation of the woman is only a further development of Ge 1. While formerly the critics divided this section into 2:4-4:26 J, they now cut it up into J1 and j2 (see under II, 2, 1 (c) (because, they say, the tree of life is mentioned only in 2:9 and 3:23, while in 2:17 and 3:3 ff the Divine command is restricted to the tree of knowledge of good and evil. But it is impossible to see why there should be a contradiction here, and just as little can we see why the two trees standing in the midst of the garden should no~t both have had their significance (compare 2:9; 3:3). It is further asserted that a division of J is demanded by the fact that the one part of J knows of the Fall (6:9 ff), and the other does not know of such a break in the development of mankind (4:17 ff). But the civilization attained by the Cainites could certainly have passed over also to the Sethites (see also 6:2); and through Noah and his sons have been continued after the Deluge. Then, too, the fact that Cain built a city (4:17), and the fact that he became a fugitive and a wanderer (4:12), are not mutually exclusive; just as the beginnings made with agriculture (4:12) are perfectly consistent with the second fact.

2. The Toledhoth of Adam (Ge 5:1-6:8):

(1) The Biblical Text.

(a) Ge 5:1-24, seven generations from Adam to Lamech (see under 1, and Jude 1:14);

(b) Ge 5:25-32, four generations from the oldest of men, Methuselah, down to the sons of Noah;

(c) 6:1-4, intermingling of the sons of God and the sons of men; (d) 6:5-8, corruption of all mankind. Evidently at this place (a) and (b), (c) and (d) correspond with each other.

(2) Rejection of the Division into Sources (Genesis 5 P with the Exception of 5:29 (see II, 2, 2 (e)); 5:29; 6:1-8 J).

Genesis 6:7 J presupposes chapter 1 P; as, on the other hand, the fact that the generations that, according to chapter 5 the Priestly Code (P), had in the meanwhile been born, die, presupposes the advent of sin, concerning which only J had reported in chapter 3. In the case of the Priestly Code (P), however, in 1:31 it is said that everything was very good.

3. The Toledhoth of Noah (Genesis 6:9-9:29):

(1) The Biblical Text.

Seven sections (see 1 above) viz:

(a) Ge 6:9-22, the building of the ark;

(b) 7:1-9, entering the ark;

(c) 7:10-24, the increase of the Flood;

(d) 8:1-14, the decrease of the Flood;

(e) 8:15-19, leaving the ark;

(f) 8:22-9:17, declaration of a covenant relation between God and Noah;

(g) 9:18-29, transfer of the Divine blessing upon Shem.

(2) Rejection of the Division into Sources (Genesis 7:1-5,7-10,12,16b, 17,22 f; 8:2b, 3a, 6-12,13b, 20-22; 9:20-27 J, the Rest from P).

In all the sources are found the ideas that the Deluge was the punishment of God for sin; further, the deliverance of the righteous Noah and his wife and three sons Shem, Ham and Japheth and their wives; the deliverance of the different kinds of animals; the announcement of the covenant relations between God and mankind after the Deluge; the designation of the Deluge with the term mabbul and of the ark with tebhah. In the Babylonian account, which without a doubt stands in some connection with the Biblical, are found certain measurements of the ark, which in the Bible are only in the Priestly Code (P), as also the story of the sending out of the birds when the flood was decreasing, and of the sacrifices of those who had been delivered, which in the Bible are said to be found only in J; and these facts are a very powerful argument against the division into sources. Further, the Priestly Code (P), in case the critics were right, would have contained nothing of the thanks of Noah for his deliverance, although he was a pious man; and in the case of J we should not be informed what kind of an ark it was into which Noah was directed to go (Ge 7:1 ); nor how he can already in Ge 8:20 build an altar, as he has not yet gone out of the ark; and, further, how the determination of Yahweh, that He would not again curse the earth but would bless it, can be a comfort to him, since only P has reported concerning the blessing (9:1 ff). Even if the distinction is not always clearly made between clean and unclean animals, and different numbers are found in the case of each (6:19 f; 7:14-16 the Priestly Code (P), over against 7:2 f in J), yet this is to be regarded merely as a lack of exactness or, perhaps better, rather as a summary method of procedure. The difficulties are not even made any easier through the separation into sources, since in 7:8 f in J both numbers and the distinction between the two kinds of animals are used indiscriminately. Here, too, in J we find the name Elohim used. The next contradiction that is claimed, namely that the Deluge according to J lasted only 61 days, and is arranged in 40 days (7:4,12,17; 8:6) plus 3 X 7 = 21 days (8:8,10,12), while in P it continues for 1 year and 11 days (7:11,24; 8:3-5,14), is really a self-inflicted agony of the critics. The report of the Bible on the subject is perfectly clear. The rain descends for 40 days (7:12 J); but as in addition also the fountains of the deep are broken up (7:11 P), we find in this fact a reason for believing that they increased still more (7:24 P and 7:17 J). The 40 days in 8:6 J cannot at all be identified with those mentioned in 7:17; for if this were the case the raven would have been sent out at a time when the waters had reached their highest stage, and even according to J the Deluge covered the entire world. In general see above, II, 2, 1 (c).

4. The Toledhoth of the Sons of Noah (Genesis 10:1-11:9):

(1) The Biblical Text.

(a) Ge 10:2-5, the Japhethites;

(b) 10:6-20, the Hamites;

(c) 10:21-32, the Shemites;

(d) 11:1-9, the Babylonian confusion of tongues. Evidently (a) to (c) is to be regarded as in contrast to (d) (compare also 11:1,9 J in addition to 10:32 P).

(2) Rejection of the Division into Sources (Genesis 10:1-7,20,22 f, 31 f the Priestly Code (P), the Rest Belonging to J).

The distribution of Genesis 10 between P and J is actually ridiculous, since in this case J does not speak of Japheth at all, and the genealogy of the Hamites would connect directly with the Priestly Code (P), a phenomenon which must have been repeated in 10:24 ff. The Jewish Midrash, in addition, and possibly correctly, counts 70 peoples (compare 46:27; Ex 1:5; Nu 11:16,25; Lu 10:1).

5. The Toledhoth of Shem (Genesis 11:10-26):

10 generations (see under II, 1).

6. The Toledhoth of Terah (Ge 11:27-25:11):

(1) The Biblical Text.

After the introduction (Ge 11:27-32), theme of the history of Abraham is given in Ge 12:1-4 a (12:1, the promise of the holy land; 12:2, promise of many descendants; 12:3, announcement of the double influence of Abraham on the world; 12:4a, the obedience of Abraham’s faith in his trust upon the Divine promise). In contrast to the first three thoughts which characterize God’s relation to Abraham, the fourth is placed, which emphasizes. Abraham’s relation to God (see under (d)). But both thoughts give complete expression to the intimate communion between God and Abraham. On the basis of these representations, which run through the entire story and thus contribute materially to its unification, this section can also be divided, as one of these after the other comes into the foreground. These four parts (12:4b through 14:24; 15:1-18:15; 18:16-21:34; 22:1-25:11) can each be divided again into four subdivisions, a scheme of division that is found also in Ex 35:4-40:38; Le 11-15; 16 (compare EXODUS, II, 2, 7; LEVITICUS, II, 2, 2, III and IV; DAY OF ATONEMENT, I, 2, 1), and is suggested by De 12-26 (compare also my book, Wider den Bann der Quellenscheidung, the results of the investigation of which work are there reproduced without entering upon the details of the argument).

(a) Ge 12:4 through 14:24, in which the reference to the promised land is placed in the foreground; see 12:1, and the passages and statements in parentheses in the following: (i) 12:4b-8, Abraham’s journey to Canaan (12:5 the Priestly Code (P), 6,7,8 J); (ii) 12:9-13:4, descent to Egypt from Canaan, and return (12:9,10; 13:1-4J); 13:5-18, separation from Lot (13:6 the Priestly Code (P), 7,9 J, 12a the Priestly Code (P), 14 f, 17,18 J); chapter 14, expedition against Chedorlaomer, etc. (Abraham is blessed by the priest-king of the country, and receives as homage from the products of the country bread and wine (14:18 f), while he in return gives tithes (14:20)). The division of this section (12:4b through 14:24) is to be based on the similarity of the closing verses (12:8; 13:4; 13:18).

(b) Ge 15:1-18:15, unfolding of the promise of descendants for Abraham by this announcement that he is to have a son of his own; compare 12:2 and what is placed in parentheses in the following: chapter 15, Yahweh’s covenant with Abraham (15:2,3 JE, 4 J, 5 E, 13,14,16,18 J). The promise is not fulfilled through Eliezer, but only through an actual son (15:3,1); 16:1-16, Hagar gives birth to Ishmael as the son of Abraham. Hagar’s son, too, namely Ishmael, is not the genuine heir, notwithstanding the connection between 16:10 and 12:2 (compare 17:18-20 P); chapter 17 the Priestly Code (P), promise of the birth of Isaac given to Abraham (17:2-17,19,21); 18:1-15, Sarah also hears that Isaac is promised (18:10,12-15).

(c) Ge 18:16-21:34, the double influence of Abraham on the world; compare 12:3 and what is in parentheses in the following: 18:16-19:38, the pericope dealing with Sodom; (i) 18:16-33, Abraham’s petition for the deliverance of Sodom; (ii) 19:1-11, the sin of the Sodomites, while Lot shows some of the characteristics of Abraham; (iii) 19:12-28, story of the destruction, in connection with which Lot receives the benefit of his relation to Abraham (19:16,19,21,22); (iv) Lot ceases to be a part of this history after this destruction; 20:1-18, Abraham with Abimelech (20:6,9 E, 18 R, punishment; 20:7,17, intercession); 21:1-21, Ishmael ceases to be part of this history (21:13,18,20 E); 21:22-34, Abraham’s agreement with Abimelech (the latter seeks Abraham’s friendship and fears his enmity, 21:27,23 E).

(d) Ge 22:1-25:11 ff, Abraham’s faith at its culminating point; compare 12:4a and what is in parentheses in the following: (i) 22:1-19, the sacrifice of Isaac (22:2,12 E, 16,18 R); (ii) chapter 23, purchase of the place to bury the dead, which act was the result of his faith in the promised land; (iii) chapter 24 is introduced by 22:20-24, which has no independent character. With the twelve descendants of Nahor compare the twelve sons of Jacob, the twelve of Ishmael (25:12 ff; 17:20), and on the number 12 see Ex 24:18-30:10, under EXODUS, II, 2, 5; Le 1-7 under LEVITICUS, II, 2, 2, i, and under EZEKIEL, I, 2, 2. Ch 24 itself contains the story of how a wife was secured for Isaac from among his relatives (the faith in the success of this plan is transmitted from Abraham to his servant); (iv) 25:1-11, the sons of the concubine of Abraham (J and R) cease to be a part of this history; transfer of the entire inheritance to the son of promise (Jahwist); burial in the ground bought for this purpose (P) (all of these concluding acts stand in close connection with Abraham’s faith). In reference to the force of the names of God in connecting Ge 11:27-25:11, see above under II, 2, 2 (d).

(2) Rejection of the Division into Sources (Genesis 11:27,31 f; 12:4b, 5; 13:6a, 11b, 12a; 16:1a, 3,15 f; 17; 19:29; 21:1b, 2b-5; 23; 25:7-11a P; 14 from an unknown source; 15:6; 20:1-17; 21:8-32; 22:1-13,19 E; 15:1-3; 21:6 JE; 20:18; 22:14-18; 25:6 R; all else belongs to J).

Through the passages ascribed to P breaks are caused in the text of J in Ge 11:28 f; 12:4a (Lot); in chapter 16, where the conclusion is lacking; in 18:1 (the reference of the pronoun); in 24:67 (Sarah’s death); in 25:1 ff (no mention of Abraham’s death). On the other hand P presupposes the text of J in 11:31 f; 12:4b; 16:1b; 19:29. In the case of E we need mention only the abrupt break in 20:1; and, finally, the text of the Priestly Code (P), leaving out of consideration the larger sections (chapters 17 and 23), is entirely too meager to constitute an independent document.

We will here discuss also the so-called duplicates (see under II, 2, 1, a and c). The different stories concerning the danger in which the wives of Abraham and Isaac were involved in Ge 12:9 ff J; 20:1 ff E; 26:1 ff J directly presuppose each other. Thus, in 20:13, the Elohist (E), Abraham regards it as a fact that such situations are often to be met with, and consequently the possibility of an occurrence of such an event could not have appeared so remarkable to an Oriental as it does to a modern critic; chapter 26:1 suggests the story in 12:9 ff. The words used here also show that the three stories in question did not originate independently of each other (compare 26:7; 20:5; 12:19-26:7; 20:11; 12:12-26:10; 20:9; 12:18-26:3; 20:1; 12:10 (gur); see under II, 2, 1, c). The two Ishmael pericopes (chapters 16 J and P and 21 E) differ from each other throughout, and, accordingly, are surely not duplicates. The two stories of the conclusion of a covenant in chapters 15 J and 17 P are both justified, especially since in 17:7 the author speaks of an "establishment" of the covenant which already existed since chapter 15. Ge 17 P and 18:1 ff J are certainly intended to be pendants, so that it is impossible to ascribe them to different authors; compare the analogous beginning of theophanies of Yahweh in 17:1 and 18:1 (even the pronoun referring to Abraham in 18:1 J, unless taken in connection with chapter 17 the Priestly Code (P), is without any context), also the laughing of Abraham and of Sarah (17:17; 18:12 f; see under II, 2, 1 (c)), the prominence given to their age (17:17; 18:11 f), and the designation of the time in 17:11; 18:10,14.

Nor can we quote in favor of a division into sources the passage Ge 21:14 f E, on the ground that Ishmael is described here as being so small that he could be laid upon the shoulder of his mother and then be thrown by her under a shrub, while according to the Biblical text he must have been 15 years of age (16:16; 21:5 P). For the original does not say that he was carried on her shoulders; and in Mt 15:30 it is even said of adults that they were thrown down. On the other hand, also according to E, Ishmael could not have been so small a child, for in Ge 21:18 b he is led by the hand, and according to 21:9 he already mocks Isaac, evidently because the latter was the heir of the promise.

Sarah’s age, too, according to Ge 20 E, does not speak in favor of a division into sources. That she was still a beautiful woman is not claimed here. Evidently Abimelech was anxious only for a closer connection with the powerful Abraham (compare 21:23,17). Then, too, all the sources ascribe an advanced age to Sarah (compare 21:6 J and E; 18:12 f J; 17:17 P).

7. The Toledhoth of Ishmael (Genesis 25:12-18):

Twelve princes descended from Ishmael (see under 6 (d)).

8. The Toledhoth of Isaac (Genesis 25:19-35:29):

The correct conception of the fundamental thought can be gained at once in the beginning of this section (Ge 25:22 f): Yahweh’s oracle to Rebekah, that the older of the twins, with whom she was pregnant, should serve the younger; also in Ro 9:10 ff with reference to Mal 1:2 f; and finally, the constant reference made to Esau in addition to Jacob until the former ceases to be a factor in this history in Ge 36. Accordingly in the end everything is made dependent on the one hand on Jacob’s election, notwithstanding his wrongdoings, on the other hand, on Esau’s rejection notwithstanding his being the firstborn, or in other words, upon the perfectly free grace of God; and all the different sources alike share in this fundamental thought. But in dividing between the different parts of this section, we must particularly draw attention to this, that in all of these parts both thoughts in some way or other find their expression.

(1) The Biblical Text.

Containing 10 parts (see under II, 1), namely

(a) Ge 25:19-26, the birth of Esau and Jacob;

(b) 25:27-34, Esau despises and loses his birthright;

(c) 26:1-35, Isaac receives the blessing of Abraham, which afterward is transmitted to Jacob, while Esau, through his marriage with heathen women, prepares the way for his rejection (26:34 f);

(d) 27:1-40, Jacob steals the blessing of the firstborn;

(e) 27:41-45, Jacob’s flight out of fear of Esau’s vengeance;

(f) 27:46-28:9, Jacob is sent abroad out of fear of his brother’s bad example;

(g) 28:10-32:33, Jacob in a strange land and his fear of Esau, which is overcome in his contest of prayer in Peniel on his return: 28:10-22, the ladder reaching to heaven in Bethel when he went abroad; 29:1-30:43, twenty years with Laban (see 31:38); 31:1-54, Jacob’s departure from Mesopotamia; 32:1-33, his return home;

(h) chapter 33, reconciliation with Esau, who returns to Seir (verse 16; compare 32:4), while Jacob becomes the owner of property in the Holy Land (33:19 f);

(i) 34:1-35:22, Jacob remains in this land, notwithstanding the slaughter made by his sons Simeon and Levi (compare 34:30; 35:5); the new appearance of God in Bethel, with a repetition of the story of the changing of Jacob’s name, with which the story of Jacob’s youth is closed, and which presupposes the episode at Bethel (compare 35:1,6b, 9-15 with 28:10 ff), and which is not in contradiction with the first change in the name of Jacob in chapter 32 (compare the twofold naming of Peter in Joh 1:43 and Mt 16:18). Esau is yet mentioned in Ge 35:1,7, where there is a reference made to Jacob’s flight before him;

(j) 35:23-29, Jacob’s 12 sons as the bearers of the promise; while Esau is mentioned only as participating in Isaac’s burial, but inwardly he has no longer any part in the history of the kingdom of God, as is seen from chapter 36, and in 32:4; 33:16 is already hinted at. In this section, too, evidently there are groups, each of two parts belonging together, namely (a) and (b) describing the earliest youth; (c) and (d) in which Isaac plays a prominent part; (e) and (f) both of which do not exclude but supplement each other in assigning the motives for Jacob’s flight; (g) and (h) Jacob’s flight and reconciliation; (i) and (j) Jacob both according to family and dwelling-place as the recognized heir of the promise.

(2) Rejection of the Division into Sources.

As Ge 25:29 f, 26b; 26:34 f; 27:46-28:9; 29:24,29; 31:18; 35:6a, 9-12,15; 35:22b-29; 36:6-30,40-43 are ascribed to the Priestly Code (P), it is clear that these are in part such ridiculously small extracts, that we should be justified in attributing them to a sensible author. The whole sojourn in Mesopotamia is ignored in the Priestly Code (P), according to the critics, except the brief notices in 29:24,29; 33:18. Further, the parts of the rest of the text cannot in many cases be dispensed with; as, e.g. we do not know in 25:26b who was born; nor in 26:34 f who Esau was; nor in 27:46 who Jacob was; nor in 29:24 who Laban was; nor in 29:24,29 in what connection and for what purposes Leah and Rachel are mentioned. P makes no mention of any promise given to Isaac, which is, however, presupposed in 35:12 and later in Ex 2:24. In Ge 28:1 ff P is most closely connected with J (compare 12:1-3, the blessing of Abraham, and chapter 24). It is, further, impossible to separate the sources E and J in chapter 28 (ladder reaching to heaven); compare 28:10-12,17 f, 20-22 E; 28:13-16 J; 28:19, and the name of God in 28:21 R, and this proposed division actually becomes absurd in chapters 29 f in the story of the birth of Jacob’s children, which are said to be divided between the sources J and E.

9. The Toledhoth of Esau (Genesis 36:1-37:1):

In 7 divisions (see under 1), namely

(a) Ge 36:1-5 R, Esau’s family; the different names for Esau’s wives, as compared with 26:34 f; 28:7-9 the Priestly Code (P), are doubtless based on the fact that oriental women are apt to change their names when they marry; and the fact that these names are without further remark mentioned by the side of the others is rather an argument against the division into sources than for it;

(b) 36:6-8, Esau’s change of abode to Seir, which, according to 32:4; 33:14,16, already took place before Jacob’s return. Only in case that Esau (35:29) would have afterward remained for a longer period in Canaan, could we think of a new separation in this connection. It is more probable that at this place all those data which were of importance in connection with this separation are once more given without any reference to their difference in point of time;

(c) 36:9-14, Esau as the founder of the Edomites (in 36:9 the word [toledhoth] is repeated from verse 1, while the narrative of the descendants of Esau begins only at this later passage in so far as these were from Seir; compare 36:9 with 36:5, and above, under II, 1);

(d) 36:15-19, the leading line of the sons of Esau;

(e) 36:20-30, genealogy of the original inhabitants of the country, mentioned because of their connection with Esau (compare 36:25 with 36:2);

(f) 36:31-39, the elective kingdoms of Edom;

(g) 36:40-43, the Edomites’ chief line of descent, arranged according to localities. We have here accordingly geographical accounts, and not historical or genealogical, as in 36:15 ff, 20 ff (30); compare also 36:40,43, for which reason we find also names of women.

10. The Toledhoth of Jacob (Genesis 37:2-50:26):

(1) The Biblical Text.

The key to the history of Joseph is found in its conclusion, namely, in Ge 50:14-21, in the confession of Joseph, in the light of his past, namely, that God has ended all things well; and in 50:22 ff, in his confidence in the fulfillment of the Divine promise in the lives of those God has chosen; compare also Ps 105:16 ff. According to the two viewpoints in Ge 50:14-26, and without any reference to the sources, this whole pericope (37:2-50:15) is divided into two halves, each of five subdivisions, or a total of ten (see under II, 1). In the exact demonstration of this, not only the contents themselves, but also regard for the different names for God will often render good service, which names, with good effect, are found at the close and in harmony with the fundamental thought of the entire section, namely,

(a) 37:2-39:6a, Joseph enters Potiphar’s house (4 pieces, see under 6, 1, namely 37:2-11, the hatred of the brethren, 37:12-36, selling Joseph, 38:1 ff, the Yahweh-displeasing conduct in the house of Judah, compare 38:7,10, 39:1-6, Yahweh’s pleasure in Joseph, in contrast to;

(b) 39:6b-23, Joseph is cast into prison, but Yahweh was with him (39:21,23);

(c) 40:1-41:52, the exaltation of Joseph, which at the end especially is shown by the naming of Ephraim and Manasseh as caused by God, but which for the present passes by the history of his family (4 pieces, namely, 40:1, interpretation of the dreams of the royal officials, 41:1-36, interpretation of the two dreams of Pharaoh, 41:37-46a, the exaltation of Joseph, 41:46b-52, Joseph’s activity for the good of the country);

(d) 41:55-46:7, Joseph becomes a blessing to his family; compare the promise of God to Jacob in Beersheba to be with him in Egypt in 46:2 ff with 45:6-9 (in four pieces, namely, 41:53-57, the general famine, 42:1-38, the first journey of the brothers of Joseph, 43:14-4:34, the second journey (in four subdivisions,

(i) 43:1-14, the departure,

(ii) 43:14-34, the reception by Joseph,

(iii) 44:1-7, final trial of the brethren,

(iv) 44:18-34, the intercession of Judah); 45:1-46:7, Joseph makes himself known and persuades Jacob to come to Egypt);

(e) 46:8-47:26, Joseph continues to be a blessing to his family and to Egypt (in 4 subdivisions, of which the 4th is placed in contrast to the first 3 exactly as this is done in 10:1-11:9 and 11:27-25:11, namely, (46:8-27, list of the descendants of Jacob, 46:28-34, meeting with Joseph, 47:1-12, Jacob in the presence of Pharaoh, 47:13-26, the Egyptians who have sold themselves and their possessions to Pharaoh laud Joseph as the preserver of their lives). From this point on the attention is now drawn to the future:

(f) 47:27-31, Jacob causes Joseph to take an oath that he will have him buried in Canaan (compare 47:30 J with chapter 23 P) ; in (e) and (f) there is also lacking a designation for God;

(g) chapter 48, Jacob adopts and blesses Ephraim and Manasseh (compare also the emphasis placed on the providential guidance of God in 48:8 f, 11,15 f, especially 48:16 and 20 ff);

(h) 49:1-27, Jacob blesses his 12 sons and prophesies their future fate (here, 49:18, appears the name of Yahweh, which had disappeared since chapter 40; see under II, 2, 2 (d), and other designations for God, 49:24 f);

(i) 49:28-33, Jacob’s death after he had again expressed the wish, in the presence of all his sons, that he should be buried in Canaan;

(j) 50:1-13, the body of Jacob is taken to Canaan. In these 10 pericopes again we can easily find groups of two each, namely, (a) and (b), Joseph’s humiliation (sold, prison); (c) and (d), Joseph becomes a blessing to Egypt and to his family; (g) and (h), blessing of the, grandchildren and the sons of Jacob;

(i) and (j), Jacob s death and burial; here too the name of God is lacking as in (e) and (f).

(2) Rejection of the Division into Sources.

Here, too, the separation of P from the rest of the text as a distinct source is untenable, since in the section from Ge 37:2-46:34, after 37:2, only the following fragments are attributed to this source, namely, 41:46a; 46:6 f (according to some also to 46:27). In the same way P abruptly sets in at 47:5,27b; 49:28b. Further, 48:3 ff knows nothing of Ephraim or Manasseh, of whom P reports nothing, so that 50:13 f are the only verses that could naturally connect with the preceding statements of P. In 47:5 ff P reports entirely in the manner of ordinary narratives, and there is no sign of any systematic arrangement. But the separation between J and E cannot be carried out either. In the first place, when these two sources are actually separated by the critics, innumerable omissions in the story arise, which we cannot at this place catalogue. The contradictions which are claimed to exist here are the products of the critics’ imagination. It is claimed that according to J it is Judah who plays a prominent role, while according to E it is Reuben; but in 37:21 Reuben is mentioned by J, and the role played by Judah in chapter 38 J is anything but creditable. Why cannot both of these brethren have played a prominent role, as this was also the case with Simeon (42:24,36; 43:14) and Benjamin (42:13,10,32 ff, 36,38; 43:3 ff; 44; 45:14)? Just as little are the Midianites in 37:28,36 E and the Ishmaelites of 37:25,27,28; 39:1 J mutually exclusive or contradictory, since the Midianites in the Gideon story, too, in Jud 7 f; 8:24 are called Ishmaelites (compare in the German the name Prager for traveling musicians, whether they are from Prague or not). In J it is further claimed that Joseph’s master was a private gentleman (Ge 39:1 ), while in E he was the captain of the bodyguard (Ge 40:3 f). But in this instance the documentary theory can operate only when it calls in the assistance of R in Ge 39:1. The fact that in chapter 39:1 the name of the nationality is added to that of the office, is explained on the ground of the contrast to the Ishmaelites who sold Joseph. Finally, it is claimed to have been caused by the combination of the different sources in such a way that Benjamin in 43:8,29; 44:30,31,33 J is described as a boy, but in 46:21, R or the Priestly Code (P), as the father of ten children. But evidently the author of chapter 46 has in view the number 70 (compare verse 27; see Ex 1:5; Nu 11:16,25; Lu 10:1; Ex 15:27; Jud 12:13; and in Ge 10 above, under 4,2); and for this reason, e.g. in Ge 46:17, he mentions only one grand-daughter of Jacob; and for this he mentions all of the descendants of Jacob, even those who were born later in Egypt, but who already, as it were, had come to Egypt in the loins of their fathers, according to the view of the author. It certainly would be remarkable if no more grandchildren had been born to Jacob in Egypt, since Nu 26 does not mention a single son of any of the sons of Jacob later than those reported in Ge 46. In 46:27 Joseph’s sons, too, who were born in Egypt, are included in the list, entirely in harmony with De 10:22. For such an arrangement and adjustment of a genealogy compare the 3 X 14 generations in Mt 1. From this point of view no conclusions, as far as the documentary theory is concerned, can be drawn from the ten sons of Benjamin.


IV. The Historical Character.

1. History of the Patriarchs: (Genesis 12-50):

(1) Unfounded Attacks upon the History.

(a) From General Dogmatic Principles:

In order to disprove the historical character of the patriarchs, the critics are accustomed to operate largely with general dogmatic principles, such as this, that no nation knows who its original founder was. In answer to this it can be said that the history of Israel is and was from the beginning to the end unique, and cannot be judged by the average principles of historiography. But it is then claimed that Abraham’s entire life appears to be only one continuous trial of faith, which was centered on the one promise of the true heir, but that this is in reality a psychological impossibility. Over against this claim we can in reply cite contrary facts from the history of several thousands of years; and that, too, in the experience of those very men who were most prominent in religious development, such as Paul and Luther.

(b) From Distance of Time:

Secondly, critics emphasize the long period of time that elapsed between these events themselves and their first records, especially if these records can be accredited to so late a period as the 9th or the 8th century BC. In consequence of this, it is claimed that much of the contents of Genesis is myth or fable; and Gunkel even resolves the whole book into a set of unconnected little myths and fables. Over against this claim we can again appeal to the universal feeling in this matter. I do not think that it can be made plausible, that in any race fables and myths came in the course of time more and more to be accepted as actual facts, so that perchance we should now be willing to accept as historical truths the stories of the Nibelungenlied or Red Riding Hood. But this, according to the critics, must have been the case in Israel. Prophets accepted the story of the destruction of the two cities in the Jordan valley, as recorded in Ge 19, as correct (compare Am 4:11; Isa 1:9; 3:9; Ho 11:8); also Abraham as a historical person (Isa 29:22; 41:8; 51:1; Mic 7:20; Jer 33:26; Eze 33:24; and possibly Mal 2:15); then Isaac (Am 7:9,16; Jer 33:26); also Jacob (Ho 12:3 ff; Am 9:8; Jer 33:26); also Joseph (Am 5:6,15); and these prophets evidently thought that these events and persons were regarded as historical by the people in general. In the New Testament we can cite, for Abraham, Mt 3:9; Ga 3; 4:21 ff; Ro 4:9 ff; 9:7 ff; Heb 7:1 ff; 11:8 ff; Jas 2:21 ff, and especially the words of Jesus in Mt 8:11; Lu 16:22 ff; Joh 8:52 ff; finally in Mt 22:31 f, the whole argument for the resurrection of the dead is without a foundation if the patriarchs are not historical personages. Over against this, there was no period in the history of Israel in which it can be shown that these stories of Genesis Were regarded only as myths. If these events were actual occurrences, then those things which the patriarchs experienced were so unique that these experiences were not forgotten for a long time. Then, too, we can also refer to the strength of the memory of those nations that were not accustomed to have written records of their history.

(c) From Biblical Data:

Finally, the attempt has been made to discover in the Bible itself a pre-Mosaic stage in its ideas of man concerning God, which is claimed to contradict the higher development of Divine ideas in the patriarchs, for which purpose the critics appeal to Eze 23:3,1; 20:7 ff; Jos 24:14 ff. But at these places it is evident that the idolatry of the people is pictured as apostasy. And when in Ex 6:2 ff the name of Yahweh is as a matter of fact represented as something new, it is nevertheless a fact that in these very passages the revelation given is connected with the history of the patriarchs. The same is true of Ex 3:1 ff. The whole hypothesis that the religion before the days of Moses was polytheistic has not been derived from the Bible, but is interpreted into it, and ends in doing violence to the facts there recorded (compare my book, Die Entwicklung der alttestamentlichen Gottesidee in vorexilischer Zeit).

(d) From Comparison with Religion of Arabia:

The critics further compare the pre-Mosaic religion of Israel with the low grade of religion in Arabia in the 5th century after Christ; but in order to do this, they must isolate Israel entirely, since all the surrounding nations at the time of the Tell el-Amarna Lettershad attained to an altogether different and higher stage of religious development and civilization.

(2) Unsatisfactory Attempts at Explaining the Patriarchal Age.

(a) Explanation Based on High Places:

In denying the historical character of the account of the patriarchs in Genesis, the critics are forced to contrive some scheme in explanation of the existence of these stories, but in doing this they make some bad breaks. Thus, e.g., they say that the Israelites when they entered Canaan found there the high places of the heathen peoples; and since if they wanted to make use of these in the service of Yahweh they must first declare them legitimate places of worship, this was done by inventing the history of the patriarchs, who long before this are said to have already consecrated all these places to the Yahweh worship. But how is it possible on this supposition to explain the story of Joseph, which transpired in Egypt? Then, too, the reasons for the origin of the other stories of the patriarchs would be enshrouded in a remarkable mystery and would be of very inferior character. Again, it is nowhere declared in the passages of Genesis that here come into consideration that they are reporting the beginnings of a permanent cult when they give an account of how God appeared to the patriarchs or when they erected altars in His honor. And, finally, while it is indeed true that the cult localities of the patriarchs are in part identical with those of later times (compare Bethel, Beersheba)—and this is from the outset probable, because certain places, such as hills, trees, water, etc., as it were, of themselves were suitable for purposes of the cult—yet such an identification of earlier and later localities does not cover all cases. And can we imagine that a prophetical method of writing history would have had any occasion in this manner to declare the worship of calves in Bethel a legitimate service?

(b) The Dating Back of Later Events to Earlier Times:

But we are further told that the pre-prophetic condition of affairs in Israel was in general dated back into the primitive period, and this was done in such a way that the character of Abraham was regarded as reproducing ideal Israel, and the character of Jacob the empirical Israel in the past; something that certainly is from the outset an odd speculation of too much learning! If this explanation is correct, what shall we then do with Isaac and Joseph? And why is the whole story of the condition of civilization pictured in Genesis so entirely different from that of later times? And is Abraham really a perfect ideal? Is he not rather, notwithstanding his mighty faith, a human being of flesh and blood, who can even doubt (Ge 15:2 f; 17:17); who can make use of sinful means to realize the promise (Ge 16, Hagar); who tells a falsehood, although for the best of purposes, namely, to protect his wife (Ge 12:9 ), and for this reason must accept the rebuke of the heathen Abimelech (Ge 20:9 f)? In addition, Abraham is married to his half-sister (Ge 20:12), which, according to De 27:22; Le 18:9,11; 20:17, is forbidden with the penalty of death for the transgressor. In the same way Jacob, according to Ge 29 f, has two sisters as wives, which is also declared by Le 18:18 to be a crime.

(c) The Patriarchs as heroes eponymi:

In the third place, it is said that the people have in the persons of the patriarchs made for themselves eponymous heroes. But why did they make so many at one time? In addition, Abraham cannot possibly be regarded as such a hero as Jacob or Israel is, and in exceptional cases also Isaac and Joseph (Am 7:9,16; 5:6,15). It is not correct to place genealogies like those in Ge 10:1 ff; 25:1 ff, 13 ff on a level with the stories concerning the patriarchs. In the latter case we are dealing with individualities of pronounced character, who in the experiences of their lives represent great fundamental principles and laws in the kingdom of God—Abraham, the principle of the grace of God, to which faith on the part of man is the counterpart; Jacob, the principle of Divine election; Joseph, that of the providential guidance of life; while Isaac, it is true, when he becomes prominent in the history, evinces no independent character, but merely follows in the footsteps of Abraham (compare 26:1 ff, 3 ff, 15,18,24 ff), but is in this very imitative life pictured in an excellent way.

(d) Different Explanations Combined:

If we combine two or more of these different and unsatisfactory attempts at an explanation of the history of the patriarchs, we must become all the more distrustful, because the outcome of this combination is such an inharmonious scheme.

(3) Positive Reasons for the Historical Character of Genesis.

The individuality of the patriarchs as well as their significance in the entire development of the history of the kingdom of God, and their different missions individually; further, the truthful portraiture of their method of living, which had not yet reached the stage of permanent settlement; and, finally, the fact that the prophets, the New Testament and above all Jesus Himself regard their historical character as something self-evident (see (1b) above), make the conviction a certainty, that we must insist upon their being historical personages; especially, too, because the attacks on this view (see (1) above), as also the efforts to explain these narratives on other grounds (see (2) above), must be pronounced to be failures. To this we must add the following: If Moses were the founder of the religion of Israel, it would scarcely have been possible that a theory would have been invented and have found acceptance that robs Moses of this honor by the invention of the story of the patriarchs. Rather the opposite would be the case. Besides, this older revelation of God is absolutely necessary in order to make Moses’ work and success intelligible and possible. For he himself expressly declares that his work is based on the promises of God given to the fathers. Through this connection with the older revelation it was possible for Moses to win the attention and the confidence of the people (compare Ex 2:24; 3:6,13 ff; 4:5; 6:3,1; 15:2; 32:13 f; 33:1; compare also my book, Die Entwicklung der alttestamentlichen Gottesidee in vorexilischer Zeit, 117 ff; and Strack, Genesis, 93 ff).

Individuality of Patriarchs:

In so far as the history of the patriarchs contains miracles, they are in perfect harmony with the entire character of sacred history (compare EXODUS, III, 2); and as far as the number of miracles is concerned, there are in fact fewer reported in the days of the patriarchs than in the times of Moses.. On the view that the history of the patriarchs, which is earlier than the period of Moses, was an invention and not history, the opposite condition of affairs could be expected. Leaving out of consideration the unsatisfactory instances cited under V, 2, below, there is to be found also in the Book of Genesis absolutely no reference to indicate events of a later period, which would throw a doubt on the historical character of what is here reported. In every direction (e.g. in connection with theophanies and the cult worship), there is a noticeable progress to be seen in going from Genesis to Exodus, a fact which again is an important argument for the historical reliability of the contents of both books. Finally, we add the following. Ch 14 (the Chedorlaomer and the Melchizedek episodes) has through recent archaeological researches been brilliantly confirmed as far as the names are concerned, as also in reference to the political conditions of the times, the general historical situation and the chronology. In the same way the religious conditions of Egypt, as described in Ge 12, and in the entire history of Joseph, are so faithfully pictured that it is absolutely impossible to regard these accounts as the work of imagination. These accounts must be the outcome, on the part of the author, of a personal knowledge of these things and conditions, as they are absolutely correct, even to the details of the coloring.

2. The Primitive History of Genesis 1-11:

(1) Prominence of the Religious Element.

In the primitive history as recorded in the opening chapters of Genesis we must yet emphasize, more than is done elsewhere, that the chief interest for the Christian is found in the religious and moral teachings of this account; and that these teachings remain unshaken, even when chronological, historical, archaeological, physical, geographical or philological sciences would tempt us to reach negative conclusions. It is a wise thing, from the outset, not to be too timid in this direction, and to concede considerable liberty in this matter, when we remember that it is not the purpose of the Bible to give us scientific knowledge in scientific forms, but to furnish us with religious and ethical thoughts in a language which a childlike mind, that is open to Divine things, can understand.

(2) Carefulness as Regards Divergent Results of Scientific Research.

On the other hand, it is right over against the so-called "results" of these different sciences to be very critical and skeptical, since in very many cases science retracts today what with a flourish of trumpets it declared yesterday to be a "sure" result of investigations; e.g. as far as the chronology is concerned, the natural and the historical sciences often base their computations on purely arbitrary figures, or on those which are constructed entirely upon conclusions of analogy, and are far from conclusive, if perchance the history of the earth or of mankind has not at all times developed at the same pace, i.e. has moved upward and downward, as e.g. a child in its earlier years will always learn more rapidly than at any later period of its life.

(3) Frequent Confirmation of the Bible by Science.

But finally the Holy Scriptures, the statements of which at this period are often regarded slightingly by theologians, are regarded much more highly by men of science. This is done, e.g., by such scientists as Reinke and K.E. von Baer, who declare that Moses, because of his story of the creation, was a man of unsurpassed and unsurpassable scientific thought; or when many geological facts point to such an event as the Deluge in the history of the earth. The history of languages, as a whole and in its details, also furnishes many proofs for the correctness of Ge 10, and that chapter has further been confirmed in a most surprising manner by many other discoveries (compare the existence of Babel at a period earlier than Nineveh, and the colonizing of Assur by Babel). Then facts like the following can be explained only on the presupposition that the reports in Genesis are correct, as when a Dutchman in the 17th century built an ark after the measurements given in Genesis and found the vessel in every particular adapted to its purposes; and when today we again hear specialists who declare that the modern ocean sailing vessel is being more and more constructed according to the relative proportions of the ark.

(4) Superiority of the Bible over Heathen Mythologies.

Finally, the similarity of the Biblical and the Babylonian accounts of the creation and the Deluge, as these have been discovered by learned research (and we confine ourselves to these two most important reports)—although this similarity has been misinterpreted and declared to be hostile to the historical reliability and the originality of Ge 1 and Ge 6-9—does not prove what critics claim that it does. Even if we acknowledge that the contents of these stories were extant in Babylon long before the days of Moses, and that these facts have been drawn from this source by Israel, there yet can be no question that the value of these accounts, the fact that they are saturated with a monotheistic and ethical spirit, is found only in Israel and has been breathed into them only by Israel. For the inner value of a story does not depend upon its antiquity, but upon its spirit. But even this conception of the matter, which is shared by most theologians, cannot satisfy us. When we remember how Babylonian mythology is honeycombed by the grossest superstition and heathenism, and that our ethical feelings are often offended by it in the most terrible manner, it is really not possible to see how such a system could have had any attraction for Israel after the Spirit, and how a man who thought as a prophet could have taken over such stories. If Israel has been a pathfinder in the sphere of religion, as is acknowledged on all hands, why do the critics always talk of their borrowing from others? And then, since similar stories are found also among other nations, and as the natural sciences are anything but a unit in hostility to the Biblical narratives, all these factors can find a satisfactory explanation only on the supposition that there existed an original or primitive revelation, and that in Israel this revelation was transmitted in its greater purity, while among the other nations it was emptied of its contents or was perverted. In this way the universality of these stories can be explained, as also the inferiority in character of similar stories among the other nations.

Babylonian and Biblical Stories

The particularly close connection that exists between the Babylonian and the Biblical versions of these stories is in perfect harmony with the fact that it was from Babylon that the dispersion of mankind set in. The purity of the Biblical tradition is further attested by the fact that it reports the actual history of all mankind (see under I, 2), while the mythologies of other nations are restricted nationally and locally, i.e. the beginnings of the history of the individual nations and the beginnings of the history of mankind are identical, and the earliest history is always reported as taking place in the native land of the people reporting it. The fact that in earlier times there prevailed in Babylon too a purer knowledge of God, which, however, steadily degenerated, is proved by many data, and especially by the recently discovered fragment of a Deluge story, according to which the God who destroyed the world by the Flood and the God who delivered the one family is the same God, which is in perfect agreement with the Bible, but is in contradiction to the later Babylonian story. That in earlier times a purer conception of God prevailed, seems to be confirmed also by the experiences of the missionaries. Evolutionism, i.e. the development of a higher conception of God out of a lower, is nothing but an unproved theory, which at every step is contrary to actual facts. Compare also my book, Die Entwicklung der Gottesidee in vorexilischer Zeit, 129 ff, and Schmidt, Die babylonische Religion: Gedanken uber ihre Entwicklung, a dissertation in which the fact that religion naturally degenerates is proved also as far as the Greeks, the Egyptians, the East Indians and the Chinese are concerned.

V: Origin and Authorship of Genesis.

1. Connection with Mosaic Times:

That the Book of Genesis stands in some kind of literary connection with the succeeding books of the Pentateuch is generally acknowledged. But if this is the case, then the question as to the origin and the time of the composition of this whole body of books can be decided only if we take them all into consideration. In this article we have only to consider those facts which are found in Genesis for the solution of this problem. It is self-evident that the conclusion we have reached with reference to the literary unity of the book is of great importance for this question (see under II and III above). The historical character of the book, as demonstrated under IV above, also speaks emphatically for this claim that the literary composition of the book must have taken place when the memory of these events was still trustworthy, and the impression and experiences were still fresh and had not yet faded. Such individualistic and vivid pictures of historical personages as are reported by Genesis, such a faithful adherence to the accounts of the civilization in the different countries and districts and at different times, such detailed accounts of foreign customs, conditions and historical events, could scarcely. have been possible, if the Mosaic age with its powerful new impressions, the period of the Judges, with its characteristic apostasy, or even the division of Israel into two kingdoms, with its dire effects on the external union of the people, had all passed by before these accounts were actually written down. On the other hand, the highly developed prophetic conception of these events, and the skillful plan of the book demand that the author must have been a religious and ethical personality of the first rank. And as, finally, it is scarcely credible that Moses would have failed to provide for a systematic report of the great past of the people, for which account, before this and as long as only family histories were involved, there was no need felt, and as the subsequent books of the Pentateuch, which are acknowledged in a literary way to be connected with Genesis, in many of their parts expressly declare that Moses was their author (compare EXODUS, IV), the Mosaic authorship of this book is as good as proved. This is not to deny that older sources and documents were used in the composition of the book, such as perhaps the genealogical tables or the events recorded in Ge 14, possibly, too, some referring to the history of the times before the Deluge and before Abraham. This is probable; but as all the parts of the book have been worked together into a literary unity (see under II and III above), and as such sources are not expressly mentioned, it is a hopeless task to try to describe these different sources in detail or even to separate them as independent documents, after the manner refuted under II and III above, as a theory and in its particulars. And for the age of Genesis, we can refer to the fact that the personal pronoun here is still used for both genders, masculine and feminine, which is true also of the word na‘ar ("youth"), a peculiarity which is shared also by the other books of the Pentateuch almost throughout.

2. Examination of Counter-Arguments:

(1) Possibility of Later Additions.

In itself it would be possible that from time to time some explanatory and interpreting additions could have been made to the original text, in case we find indications of a later period in some statements of the book. But that in this case these additions could not have been made by any unauthorized persons, but only officially, should, in the case of a book like Genesis, be regarded as self-evident. But in our times this fact must be emphasized all the more, as in our days the most radical ideas obtain in reference to the way in which sacred books were used in former times. And then it must be said that we cannot prove as an absolute certainty that there is a single passage in Genesis that originated in the post-Mosaic period.

(2) "Prophecy after the Event" Idea.

It is self-evident also that the fulfillment of a prophecy is not an evidence of a "prophecy after the event" (vaticinium post evenrum), altogether independently of the fact that in this case Ge 12:1-3, which is still in process of fulfillment, could not have been written down even today (compare on this matter, perhaps, Noah’s prophecy (9:25 ff); or the prediction of the career of Esau (25:23; 27:40); or of Ishmael (16:10 ff; 21:18); or Jacob’s blessing (Ge 49)). The last-mentioned case cannot in any way be interpreted as the product of a later time; compare the curse of Levi in 49:5-8 as compared with the honor bestowed on this tribe already in the Mosaic period (Ex 32:26-29; De 33:8-11), and in the time of the Judges (Jud 17:7-13; 1Sa 2:27 f). Zebulun, too, according to Ge 49:13 is regarded as being settled on the coast, which is not in agreement with historical reality (compare Jos 19:10-16,27). In the same way the curse on Simeon in Ge 49:5-7, which declared that his tribe should be distributed among Israel, was not fulfilled in the time when the people entered Canaan (compare Jos 19:1 and 2Ch 34:6). In Ge 49:10 "Shiloh" cannot refer to the coming of the tabernacle to Shiloh (compare Jos 18:1); for Shiloh is, on the other hand, to be interpreted personally and Messianically. As long as Shiloh was of any importance (compare 1Sa 1 ff), Judah was not in the possession of the scepter; but when this scepter did come into the control of Judah, Shiloh had long since ceased to be of any significance (compare my book, Die messianische Erwartung der vorexilischen Propheten, 360 f).

(3) Special Passages Alleged to Indicate Later Date (Ge 12:6; 13:7; 22:2; 36:31 ff; 13:18; 23:2; 14:14).

In Ge 12:6; 13:7, it is claimed that it is presupposed that at the time of the author there were no longer any Canaanites in the country, so that these verses belong to a much later period than that of Moses. But on this supposition these verses would be altogether superfluous and therefore unintelligible additions. For that in the time of Abraham the Canaanites had not yet been expelled by Israel, was a self-evident matter for every Israelite. As a matter of fact, the statements in both verses can easily be interpreted. Abraham leaves his native country to go into a strange land. When he comes to Canaan, he finds it inhabited by the Canaanites (compare 10:6,15; 9:25 ff). This could have made his faith to fail him. God, accordingly, repeats His promise at this very moment and does so with greater exactness (compare 13:7 with 13:1), and Abraham shows that God can trust his faith (13:7 f). The question whether the Canaanites no longer existed at the time the book was written, has nothing at all to do with the meaning of these verses. The same is true of 13:7, on account of the presence of the Canaanites and of the Perizzites, which latter tribe had probably come in the meanwhile and is not yet mentioned in Ge 10, but is mentioned in 15:20, and which makes the separation of Abraham and Lot only all the more necessary.

That in Ge 22:2 the land of Moriah is mentioned is claimed by the critics to be a proof that this passage was written after the times of David and even of Solomon, because according to 2Ch 3:1 the temple stood on Mt. Moriah. But as in this latter passage one particular mountain is called Moriah, but in Abraham’s time a whole country was so called, it is scarcely possible that Ge 22:2 could have been written at so late a period.

Usually, too, the list of 8 Edomite kings, who ruled before there was a king of Israel, according to Ge 36:31 ff, is cited as a proof that this part was written only after the establishment of the kingdom in Israel, although the time down to the age of Saul would be entirely too long for only eight kings, as already in the Mosaic period there were kings in Edom (Nu 20:14). Then, too, we find in the days of Solomon a hereditary kingdom in Edom (1Ki 11:14), while in Ge 36:31 ff we have to deal with an elective kingdom. Also it would be impossible to understand why this list of kings is carried down only so far and no farther, namely down to the time when there were kings in Israel. This statement can properly be interpreted only in the light of 17:6,16, where the promise is given to Abraham that kings should be found among his descendants (compare also 17:20 with 25:16); and in the light of chapter 14, where Abraham is explicitly brought into connection with kings in a number of ways (with the four kings of the East, whom he conquers; with the five kings of the Jordan valley, whom he assists; with the King’s Vale (14:17), which prepared the way for the Melchizedek episode; and with this Priest-King himself, who blesses him and to whom he gives tithes (14:18 ff); with the king of Sodom, whom he rebukes (14:21 ff)). Accordingly, the statement in 36:31 is not merely a dry historical notice, but is a reference to the blessing of God, which is realized in Israel at a much later time than in the kindred tribe of Esau, and which puts the faith of Israel to a new test. As the death of the last Edomite king is not mentioned (compare 36:39 in contrast to the preceding passage and to 1Ch 1:50 f), but as detailed family data are given, we are doubtless dealing here with living contemporaries of Moses, in whose time already the Edomites possessed a kingdom (Nu 20:14; Jud 11:17), just as this was the case with Amalek (Nu 24:7), with Moab (Nu 21:26; 22:4) and Midian (Nu 31:8). And why would a later writer have mentioned neither Selah (Petra), so important in later times (compare Isa 16:1; Jud 1:36; 2Ki 14:7), nor Ezion-Geber (1Ki 9:26; 2Ch 8:17 f), among the places given in Ge 36:40 ff? In Moses’ time, however, the last-mentioned place was only prairie (Nu 33:35 f).

Just as little is it an argument against the Mosaic times that Hebron is mentioned in Ge 13:18; 23:2, which city, according to Jos 14:15; 15:13, is called Kiriath-arba, a name which Genesis also is acquainted with (compare 23:2), and which in its signification of "city of Arba" points to an originally proper name. Hebron is the older name, which was resumed at a later period, after it had in the meanwhile been supplanted by the Canaanitic name, just as the name of Salem, which occurs already in the Tell el-Amarna Letters, for a period of time gave way to the name of Jebus, but was afterward resumed. That Hebron was an old city and that it existed at a period earlier than the Arba mentioned in Jos 14:15; 15:13, and from whom its later name was derived, can be concluded from Nu 13:22.

Further, the mention of Da in 14:14 does not necessarily favor the view that this chapter did not originate until after Jos 19:47. Jud 18:29, where Leshem or Laish is changed into Da (2Sa 24:6; compare 24:2 and 24:15), does make the existence of another Da probable. Since in Ge 14:2,3,7,17 so many ancient names are mentioned, and as the author is most fully informed as to the conditions of the political complexion of the old nations of that time (14:5-7), it would be incomprehensible if he should not have made use of the ancient names Laish and Leshem. However, if this Da was really meant, we should at most have to deal with a revision, such as that pointed out above. Some other less important arguments against the origin of Genesis from the Mosaic times we can here ignore. The most important argument for the Mosaic origin of the book, in addition to those mentioned under 1, will now be discussed.

VI. Significance.

1. Lays Foundation for the Whole of Revelation:

In the history of the creation the most important feature for us is the fact that the world was created out of nothing (compare Ge 1:1 and the word bara’), which guarantees the absoluteness of God and His perfect control of the entire material world; further, the creation of man, as the crown of all creation, for which all things previously created prepare, and who is to rule over them, but who—most important of all—is created after the image of God in Ge (1:26 f), and whose body has been created by the hand of God and his soul breathed into him by God (2:7). On this fact, too, in the end, is founded the possibility of man’s redemption even after the Fall (5:1,3; compare Col 3:9; Eph 4:24), as also the possibility of the incarnation of Jesus Christ, who also is the image of God (Col 1:15; 2Co 4:4). Then, too, another all-important factor for us is the unity of the human race, for thereby is made possible and can be understood the fact that all men have become subject to sin and all can be the recipients of grace (Ro 5:12 ff; 1Co 15:22 f, 45 f). Also the need of redemption is brought out strongly in the Book of Genesis. Compare in connection with the Fall, the pains that shall attend the birth of a child, the cursing of the land, death (3:15 ff), which finds its first victim in Abel, and the monotonous and emphatic repetition of the formula, "and he died," in Ge 5, as characterizing the dismal fate of mankind, and which finds its expression in the rapid decrease of the length of life in the genealogies and in the ages of the patriarchs (5:1 ff; 11:10 ff; 25:7; 35:28; 47:28; 50:26; Ps 90:10), and in the irresistible and increasing power of death. By the side of this, sin at once assumes its most horrible form (Ge 3, doubt, pride, fear, boldness of Eve and Adam), and is propagated and increases; compare the murder and the despair of Cain (Ge 4:1 ), which is still surpassed by the defiant blasphemy of Lamech (4:23 f); and in the same way, death, which is coming more and more rapidly (see above), is a proof for this, that sin is being more and more intimately interwoven with the human race. Compare further, the corruption of the whole earth, which brings with it as a consequence the judgment of the Deluge (6:5 ff), after the period of grace extending over 120 years had fruitlessly passed by; the lack of reverence on the part of Ham (9:22); the arrogance in connection with the building of the tower of Babel (11:1 ff); the Sodomitic sin in 18:16-19:15; the daughters of Lot (19:30 ff). Still worse is it, that the elect also are not without blame. On Abraham, see IV, 1, 2b; then concerning Noah (9:21) and Lot’s fearful drunkenness (19:32 ff); Isaac’s and Rebekah’s preference for Esau or Jacob (25:28); Jacob’s deceptions of various kinds, his preference for Joseph (37:3); the horrible deeds of Simeon and Levi (34:25 ff; 49:5 ff); Reuben’s incest (35:22; 49:3 f); the cruelty of the brethren of Joseph toward him and his father (chapter 37); finally, Joseph’s pride and his reporting his brethren (37:2,5 ff). In short, wherever we look, we see in Genesis already a proof for the truth of Ro 3:23, "All have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God."

2. Preparation for Redemption:

By the side of this need of salvation there is to be found also the longing for salvation; compare the name of Noah (Ge 5:29), and the word of blessing from the lips of Jacob (Ge 49:18); and, further, the fact that Abraham reaches out after the promised heir in Ge 15-18, and his desire for the possession of the land (12-14; 23; 28:20 ff; 33:19 f); and especially from 47:27 on. And in harmony with this need and this longing for redemption we find above all other things the saving and the promising grace of God. He does not cause the bodily death to follow immediately upon the Fall in Ge 3 (although the beginning of the spiritual death sets in at once with the separation from God); He provides for mankind by Himself making garments for them out of skins (3:21); even the expulsion from Paradise is not merely a punishment; God fears that man might live forever if he should eat from the tree of life (3:22 ff). He sets enmity between the human race and the seed of the serpent, so that at least the possibility of a moral contest yet exists; He strengthens the good in Cain (4:7); He removes the pious Enoch (5:24); He saves Noah and his family and makes a covenant with him (8:21 ff); He gives His promise to Abraham (12:1-3) and makes a covenant with him (chapters 15; 17); He delivers Lot (19:13 ff); He is willing even to preserve Sodom at Abraham’s prayer, if there are as many as 10 just men in the city (18:32); He bestows a blessing on Ishmael also (16:10 ff; 17:20; 21:13 ff), and permits Isaac to bless Esau (27:39 ff); but above all He is with Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. It is indeed true that the thought runs through Genesis that not all men are capable of receiving His grace, and that not all are drawn to the Father. Cain’s sacrifice is not acceptable before God, as was Abel’s; the Cainites with their advance in civilization (4:17 ff), to whom Lamech also belonged, are different from Seth (4:26; 5:1 ff), who continues the line of the elect. Finally, the godly, too, permit themselves to be deceived (6:1 ff), and Noah stands alone in his piety. After that Ham is cursed in his youngest son, Canaan (9:22; compare 10:6); but Shem is blessed to such a degree that his blessing is to extend to Japheth also; cf, further, the elimination from sacred history of Lot (19:29 ff); of Ishmael (25:12 ff), and of Esau (36:1 ff); of Sodom and Gomorrah (chapter 19); then the choice of Jacob in preference to Esau (25:19-37:1); the preference of Ephraim over Manasseh (48:17 ff); the transmission of the Messianic promises to Judah (49:10; compare my book, Messianische Erwartung, 360 f), so that at the close of Genesis we find already the hope of a personal Messiah expressed, in whom also the word (3:15) that was originally spoken to all mankind is to be entirely fulfilled, and in whom also the blessing given to Abraham shall find its significance and realization for the benefit of all mankind (12:3, and see above, 1, 2 and 3). But in the history of Abraham this fact also becomes clear, that in the end this was all grace on the part of God, and faith on the part of man; and because both grace and faith are in Genesis placed and emphasized at the very beginning of the history of mankind, and before the giving of the law (Ex 19 ); then this grace and faith cannot be abrogated through the latter or made ineffective. Not by works but by faith is man saved (compare Ga 3:2; Ro 4; Heb 11:8 ff; Jas 2:21 ff). But the guidance of individuals and of His people by God, the ways which He took with His elect, become clear and intelligible ultimately in the history of Joseph; and all and everything must in the end serve the good of those who are His.


Against the separation into documents we mention, of older works: Havernick, Specielle Einleitung in den Pent; Hengstenberg, Beitrage zur Einleitung, II, III; Keil, Einleitung in das Altes Testament, and his Commentary on Gen; Ewald, Die Komposition der Genesis. Of later works: Orr, Problem of the Old Testament; Eerdmans, Die Komposition der Genesis; Moller, Wider den Bann der Quellenscheidung. Against the evolutionary theory: Orr, Problem of the Old Testament; Wiener, Wiener, Essays in Pentateuchal Criticism and Wiener, Origin of the Pentateuch; Green, Unity of Book of Genesis; Moller, Die Entwicklung der alttestamentlichen Gottesidee in vorexilischer Zeit (here also further lit.). On modern archaeological researches: Orr, Problem of the Old Testament; Jeremias, Das Altes Testament im Lichte des alten Orients; Urquhart, Die neueren Entdeckungen und die Bibel (to be used with caution; the work is reliable in the facts but not careful in its conclusions and in its account of Old Testament criticism). Further, compare the histories of Israel by Kohler, Konig, Kittel, Oettli, Klostermann, Stade, Wellhausen: the Commentaries on Genesis by Keil, Delitzsch, Dillmann, Lange, Strack, Gunkel, Holzinger; the Introductions to the Old Testament by Kuenen, Strack, Baudissin, Konig, Cornill, Driver; the Biblical Theologies by Marti, Smend, Budde, Schulz, Oehler. Finally compare Sievers, Metrische Studien, II: "Die hebraische Genesis."

Wilhelm Moller


ge-ne’-us, ge-ne’-us (Gennaios): Father of Apollonius, one of the Syrian generals who troubled the Jews while Lysias was governor for Antiochus Eupator (2 Macc 12:2). The description is added to distinguish the Apollonius here mentioned from several others of the same name. See APOLLONIUS. There is no need with Luther to take the name simply as an adjective "des edlen Apollonius." The name occurs elsewhere as a proper name.





ge-nes’-a-ret he ge Gennesaret):

1. The Name:

The first syllable of the name Gennesaret is evidently the Hebrew gan, "garden"; while the second may be a proper name. Possibly, however, the name may represent the Hebrew ganne sarim, "princely gardens." It is applied to a district on the Northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee (Mt 14:34; Mr 6:53), now known as el-Ghuweir, "little Ghor." It curves round from el-Mejdel in the South, to ‘Ain et-Tineh, or Khan Minyeh, in the North, a distance of over 3 miles, with an average breadth from the sea to the foot of the mountains of about a mile. The soil is deep, rich loam, of amazing fertility. In the South it is watered by the stream from Wady el-Chamam, the gorge that opens to the West of el-Mejdel.

2. Water:

The middle portion is supplied from ‘Ain el-Madawwerah, a copious fountain near the western edge of the plain, round which a wall has been built, to raise the level of the water; and from the perennial stream, Wady er-Rubadiyeh, which drives a mill before starting on its work of irrigation. Farther North, Wady el-‘Amud brings down much water in the rainy season. The water from ‘Ain et-Tabgha was brought round the promontory at ‘Ain et-Tineh by a conduit cut in the rock. It was used to drive certain mills, and also to refresh the neighboring land. This seems to be the fountain called "Capharnaum" by Josephus (BJ, III, x, 8). This writer extols the productiveness of the plain. He says the "soil is so fruitful that all sorts of trees can grow upon it."

3. Fertility:

The walnut, the palm, the olive and the fig, which usually require diverse conditions, flourish together here. "One may call this place the ambition of nature; .... it is a happy contention of the seasons, as if each of them claimed this country; for it not only nourishes different sorts of autumnal fruit beyond men’s expectation, but preserves them a great while." He says that it supplies grapes and figs through ten months of the year, and other fruits as they ripen together throughout the year (same place) . The fruits of Gennesaret had such high repute among the rabbis that they were not allowed in Jerusalem at the time of the feasts, lest any might be tempted to come merely for their enjoyment (Neubauer, Geog. du Talmud, 45 f).

Centuries of neglect made a sad change in the plain. It was largely overgrown with thorn-bushes, and it yielded one of the finest crops of thistles in the country. Cultivation was confined to the Southwest part; and the rest furnished grazing ground for a tribe of nomads. Recently the German Catholics made extensive purchases, including the village of el-Mejdel. Considerable portions have also passed into the hands of Jews. The land is almost entirely cleared, and it rewards the toil of the husbandman with all its ancient generosity.

W. Ewing


jen’-tilz (goy, plural goyim; ethnos, "people," "nation"): Goy (or Goi) is rendered "Gentiles" in the King James Version in some 30 passages, but much more frequently "heathen," and oftener still, "nation," which latter is the usual rendering in the Revised Version (British and American), but it, is commonly used for a non-Israelitish people, and thus corresponds to the meaning of Gentiles." It occurs, however, in passages referring to the Israelites, as in Ge 12:2; De 32:28; Jos 3:17; 4:1; 10:13; 2Sa 7:23; Isa 1:4; Ze 2:9, but the word (‘am) is the term commonly used for the people of God. In the New Testament ethnos is the word corresponding to goy in the Old Testament and is rendered "Gentiles" by both VSS, while (laos) is the word which corresponds to ‘am. The King James Version also renders Hellenes, "Gentiles" in six passages (Joh 7:35; Ro 2:9,10; 3:9; 1Co 10:32; 12:13), but the Revised Version (British and American) renders "Greeks."

The Gentiles were far less sharply differentiated from the Israelites in Old Testament than in New Testament times. Under Old Testament regulations they were simply non-Israelites, not from the stock of Abraham, but they were not hated or despised for that reason, and were to be treated almost on a plane of equality, except certain tribes in Canaan with regard to whom there were special regulations of non-intercourse. The Gentile stranger enjoyed the hospitality of the Israelite who was commanded to love him (De 10:19), to sympathize with him, "For ye know the heart of the stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt" (Ex 23:9 the King James Version). The Kenites were treated almost as brethren, especially the children of Rechab (Jud 1:16; 5:24; Jer 35). Uriah the Hittite was a trusted warrior of David (2Sa 11); Ittai the Gittite was captain of David’s guard (2Sa 18:2); Araunah the Jebusite was a respected resident of Jerusalem. The Gentiles had the right of asylum in the cities of refuge, the same as the Israelites (Nu 35:15). They might even possess Israelite slaves (Le 25:47), and a Gentileservant must not be defrauded of his wage (De 24:15). They could inherit in Israel even as late as the exile (Eze 47:22,23). They were allowed to offer sacrifices in the temple at Jerusalem, as is distinctly affirmed by Josephus (BJ, II, xvii, 2- 4; Ant, XI, viii, 5; XIII, viii, 2; XVI, ii, 1; XVIII, v, 3; CAp, II, 5), and it is implied in the Levitical law (Le 22:25). Prayers and sacrifices were to be offered for Gentilerulers (Jer 29:7; Baruch 1:10,11; Ezr 6:10; 1 Macc 7:33; Josephus, BJ, II, x, 4). Gifts might be received from them (2 Macc 5:16; Josephus, Ant, XIII, iii, 4; XVI, vi, 4; BJ, V, xiii, 6; CAp, II, 5). But as we approach the Christian era the attitude of the Jews toward the Gentiles changes, until we find, in New Testament times, the most extreme aversion, scorn and hatred. They were regarded as unclean, with whom it was unlawful to have any friendly intercourse. They were the enemies of God and His people, to whom the knowledge of God was denied unless they became proselytes, and even then they could not, as in ancient times, be admitted to full fellowship. Jews were forbidden to counsel them, and if they asked about Divine things they were to be cursed. All children born of mixed marriages were bastards. That is what caused the Jews to be so hated by Greeks and Romans, as we have abundant evidence in the writings of Cicero, Seneca and Tacitus. Something of this is reflected in the New Testament (Joh 18:28; Ac 10:28; 11:3).

If we inquire what the reason of this change was we shall find it in the conditions of the exiled Jews, who suffered the bitterest treatment at the hands of their Gentile captors and who, after their return and establishment in Judea, were in constant conflict with neighboring tribes and especially with the Greek rulers of Syria. The fierce persecution of Antiochus IV, who attempted to blot out their religion and Hellenize the Jews, and the desperate struggle for independence, created in them a burning patriotism and zeal for their faith which culminated in the rigid exclusiveness we see in later times.

H. Porter






jen’-t’-l-nes (‘anah; epieikeia, chrestotes): In 2Sa 22:36 ‘anah, "to bend low," "to condescend," is translated "gentleness," "Thy gentleness hath made me great," the Revised Version, margin "or condescension"; so also Ps 18:35, where the word is ‘anwah "humility," "gentleness," or "condescension." In the New Testament epieikeia ("fairness," "moderation," in Ac 24:4 translated "clemency") is in 2Co 10:1 translated "gentleness," "the meekness and gentleness of Christ" (2 Macc 2:22 "favour," the Revised Version (British and American) "forbearance"); chrestotes, "kindness," "usefulness," is translated "gentleness" in Ga 5:22 the King James Version, the Revised Version (British and American) "kindness"; chrestos is the word translated "kind" (to the unthankful and evil, Lu 6:35), and chrestotes seems to carry in it a similar idea of active kindness.

Gentle occurs in the Old Testament only in the Revised Version (British and American) of Jer 11:19, "I was like a gentle lamb" (kebhes). In the New Testament it is the translation of epios, "mild," "gentle" (1Th 2:7; 2Ti 2:24), and of epieikes, "fitting" "proper," etc. (1Ti 3:3 the Revised Version (British and American); Tit 3:2; Jas 3:17; 1Pe 2:18); also, with article, Php 4:5 (the King James Version "moderation," the Revised Version (British and American) "forbearance"). In 2 Macc 15:12 Onias is said (the King James Version) to be "gentle (praos) in condition," the Revised Version (British and American) "in manner."

W. L. Walker


ge-nu’-bath (genubhath, "theft"): Son of Hadad, the fugitive Edomite prince, born and brought up at the court of Egypt, whither Hadad had fled when David conquered Edom (1Ki 11:20). His mother was a sister of Tahpenes, queen of the Pharaoh who ruled Egypt at that time, and who belonged to the notoriously weak and uninfluential 21st dynasty.





je-ol’-o-ji, The geology of Palestine cannot be discussed intelligently without taking into consideration the surrounding regions. The accompanying map shows, with considerable freedom, the distribution of the superficial strata of Syria, Palestine and Sinai, with parts of Asia Minor, Arabia and Egypt. (Data for this map were obtained from the "Geological Map of Egypt" (1:1,000,000) and from the "Carte geologique internationale de l’Europe" (1:1,500,000).) It will be noted that Crystalline, or Archean, rocks (A) occupy extensive areas in Asia Minor, and that they are found in the South in Sinai, Western Arabia, and Eastern and Southern Egypt. Relatively small areas of Paleozoic rocks (P) adjoin the Crystalline rocks in Sinai and Arabia and East of Caesarea in Asia Minor. A notable area of Paleozoic occurs Southeast of the Dead Sea. This is also adjacent to Crystalline rocks, which could not be indicated on the map on account of their slight superficial extent. Bordering either the Crystalline or the Paleozoic rocks in Egypt, Sinai and Arabia are large areas of Nubian Sandstone (N). The Nubian Sandstone in turn is generally bounded by Upper Cretaceous limestone (C), and the last by Tertiary deposits (T). The Quaternary, or Recent, deposits (R) and also the Eruptive rocks (E) sustain no constant relations to any particular ones of the other formations. The Quaternary follows the great rivers and the seacoasts. The Eruptive rocks usually overlie the others. They occupy extensive areas in Asia Minor, Syria and Arabia.

If we concentrate our attention upon the Crystalline, Cretaceous, and Tertiary, which are the most extensive formations, we find that the Crystalline rocks are abundant in the South and in the North, that the Cretaceous are most widely spread in Palestine and Southern Syria, and the Tertiary in Northern Syria and Egypt. We may believe that the Crystalline areas of the North and South have been land since the end of the Archean age, and that what are now Syria, Palestine and most of Egypt remained sea for a long time afterward. The Paleozoic areas were lifted above the sea and added to the northern and southern land areas during or at the end of the Paleozoic era. The regions in which we find Nubian Sandstone or Upper Cretaceous limestone became land by the end of the Mesozoic era. Finally the Tertiary areas were lifted out of the sea. During the Quaternary period the Nile and the rivers of Mesopotamia have added large areas to the land surface.

1. Crystalline Rocks (A):

The Crystalline rocks consist mainly of granite and crystalline schists, frequently interrupted with dikes of porphyry, diorite and other eruptives. It will be seen by the map that the Crystalline rocks are nowhere adjacent to the Mediterranean, but that they touch the Nile at Acwan, where the river in pouring over these rocks makes the First Cataract, or rather did before the construction of the great dam. Granite quarried at Acwan could be loaded on boats and conveyed to any city on the shores of the Mediterranean, and it is the granite of Acwan of which are composed not only many of the monuments of Egypt, but also the pillars which adorned many temples in Syria and Palestine.

2. Paleozoic Rocks (P):

The Paleozoic rocks of Sinai and Arabia are of Carboniferous age, but do not include any beds of coal. Those East of Caesarea are Devonian. Those Southeast of the Dead Sea are the oldest of all, being of Cambrian age.

3. Triassic and Jurassic Rocks (Jahwist):

Several formations which are well developed in the British Islands, are not found in Palestine, but a small Triassic area is found near the Gulf of Alexandretta, while Jurassic strata are found in the region of Hermon and in Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon. The small scale of the accompanying map makes it impossible to represent accurately the extent of these rocks.

4. Nubian Sandstone (N):

This name was given by Russegger, who in the middle of the 19th century followed and studied this formation from the Sudan to Syria. Wherever the Nubian Sandstone is found in contact with the Upper Cretaceous limestone it underlies the latter conformably. In Lebanon, Anti-Lebanon and Hermon (but not farther South) it is conformably underlaid by Jurassic limestone. It follows, therefore, that its upper strata (the only ones found in the North) must be of Lower or Middle Cretaceous age. In the South, however, the Jurassic limestone is entirely absent. In Western Sinai the Nubian Sandstone rests conformably on Carboniferous limestone, and by the Dead Sea on Cambrian limestone, while at Petra and at many other places it rests unconformably on Crystalline rocks. While the consideration of the age of the Nubian Sandstone presents no difficulty in Lebanon, Anti-Lebanon and Hermon, it is a very different matter in Western Sinai, and by the Dead Sea. Sandstone is generally supposed to be formed more rapidly than most other rocks. It is, therefore, rather staggering to try to conceive of even the 2,000 ft. of sandstone at the Southeast end of the Dead Sea as having been in process of formation from the Cambrian to the Cretaceous. The Nubian Sandstone is commonly brown or reddish, but in places shows great variety of color. The temples and tombs of Petra were all carved in this rock. It is in places very friable, and in others compact and hard. The sands of the Arabian deserts have been in the main derived from it, being carried by the prevailing west winds. Where it is covered by a sheet of eruptive rock (charrah), it is protected from erosion, with the result that the land to the East is not converted into a sandy desert (Hogarth, Penetration of Arabia). It frequently includes strata of clay and shale and thin seams of coal or lignite, and must have been deposited in seas which were at the time relatively shallow.

5. Upper Cretaceous Limestone (C):

This is the principal rock of Palestine, Lebanon, and Anti-Lebanon. Many of its strata are very fossiliferous, and no doubt exists as to its age. It furnishes the best of building stone and is a source of lime. The soils formed from it are fertile, and the mountain sides have been terraced by the patient labor of centuries.

6. Tertiary Rocks (T):

A notable Tertiary fossil is the Nummulite, which occurs in abundance in the rock of the pyramids of Gizeh and in other places. Relatively small masses of Tertiary strata (not shown on the map) are found on the coast at the mouths of the principal streams of Lebanon, showing that while the mass of Lebanon had risen from the sea by the beginning of the Tertiary, the elevation was not complete. The principal river courses had, however, already been formed, and the streams were already carrying into the sea the scourings of the rocks of early Lebanon, which were being laid down to form these Tertiary strata.

7. Quaternary and Recent Strata (R):

These consist mainly of the superficial deposits of the Nile, the Euphrates and other large streams. At various points along the coast of Syria and Palestine are extensive sand dunes. Frequently under the loose sand, or exposed, is found a sandstone which instead of being entirely siliceous, like most sandstones, is partly calcareous, containing from 15 to 25 per cent of calcium-carbonate. This is probably an aeolian formation, i.e. consolidated under the influence of the atmosphere, and not formed under the sea, like most stratified rocks. It is easily worked and is much used for building.

8. Palestine:

It may be gathered from the foregoing statements that the rocks of Palestine are mainly Cretaceous. The Jurassic limestone, which in Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon underlies the Nubian Sandstone, is absent in Palestine, but, at least in Eastern Palestine, as in Lebanon, we find the Upper Cretaceous limestone to be underlaid by the Nubian Sandstone. A striking feature of the geology of Palestine is the Jordan valley fault. At some time, probably at the beginning of the Tertiary period, when Lebanon, Anti-Lebanon, and the Judean hills were being lifted out of the sea, the earth’s crust was rent for at least several hundred miles along a line nearly North and South, or more exactly from a little West of South to a little East of North. This line runs through the Gulf of ‘Aqabah, the Wadi-‘Arabah, the Dead Sea, the Jordan valley, the Sea of Tiberias, the Chuleh, and the valley between Hermon and Anti-Lebanon on the one hand and Lebanon on the other. The resulting disturbance of the strata is most evident in the region of the Dead Sea. There is no evidence that the two walls of the fissure separated from one another, but the East wall slipped up and the West wall down for perhaps 2,000 ft, so that on the East shore of the Dead Sea and in the valleys entering the Jordan, Dead Sea, and ‘Arabah from the East, the Nubian Sandstone is exposed, underlying the Upper Cretaceous limestone, while on the West side, even down to the level of the Dead Sea, 1,290 ft. below the Mediterranean, the Nubian Sandstone is nowhere visible, although it may be presumed to exist there also below the upper limestone. (See the accompanying ideal section, after Lartet, through Judea, the Dead Sea and Moab.) The great fault and the subsidiary faults which accompany it occasioned the outpourings of igneous rock which are abundant along the line of the fault. The numerous hot springs (e.g. Tiberins, Wadi-Yarmuk, Wadi-Zarqa-Ma‘in (Callirrhoe), Wadi-ul-Chisa) may be due to subterranean streams of water coming in contact with deeply buried and still heated masses of igneous rock.

Alfred Ely Day



See GIHON (Apocrypha).


ge-fi’-run (Gephuroun): In 2 Macc 12:13, referring to the capture by Judas of a stronghold East of Jordan, the Revised Version (British and American) reads, "And he also fell upon a certain city Gephyrun, .... it was named Gaspin." There appears to be some confusion in the text. There is nothing to indicate the relation between the two names. the King James Version renders, "He went also about to make a bridge." The name of the city in Josephus (Ant., XII, viii, 5) is EPHRON (which see).


ge’-ra (gera’," grain"): A family name of the tribe of Benjamin, hence, not necessarily a separate individual in (3) and (4) below:

(1) A son of Benjamin (Ge 46:21).

(2) According to 1Ch 8:3,5,7, son of Bela and grandson of Benjamin. The name is repeated (8:5) in the list of Bela’s sons.

(3) Father, or ancestor, of the judge Ehud (Jud 3:15).

(4) Father, or ancestor, of Shimei, the Benjamite, who cursed David when he fled from Absalom (2Sa 16:5; 19:16,18; 1Ki 2:8).


ge’-ra (gerah, "grain" or "kernel"): A weight, the 20th part of a shekel (Ex 30:13; Le 27:25; Nu 3:47; 18:16; Eze 45:12).



ge’-rar (gerar, "circle," "region"; Gerara): A town in the Philistine plain South of Gaza (Ge 10:19), where both Abraham and Isaac’sojourned for a time, and where they came into contact with Abimelech, king of Gerar (Ge 20 and 26, passim). The place has not been fully identified, but the site is probably in one of the branches of Wady Sheri‘a, at a place called Um Jerrar, near the coast Southwest of Gaza and 9 miles from it (SWP, III, 389-90). The site answers fairly well to the statements of Eusebius and Jerome, Eusebius, Onomasticon, that it was 25 (Roman) miles South of Eleutheropolis (Beit Jibrin). It is actually 30 English miles, but distances were not very accurately determined in early times. Gerar was known in the first 5 centuries AD, when it was the seat of a bishopric, and its bishop, Marcian, attended the Council of Chalcedon 451 AD, It was also the seat of a monastery.

The statements in Ge indicate that Gerar belonged to the Philistines, and we are led to infer that Abimelech was king of that people, but it is quite certain that they did not occupy this region until after the time of Abraham, in fact only a short time before the Exodus. It is probable, however, that the writer of Ge would refer to the country as it was known in his day. The town certainly existed in the Philistine period, for it is mentioned in connection with Asa, who defeated the Ethiopian host under Zerar and pursued them in their flight unto Gerar (2Ch 14:13). Besides the locality of Um Jerrar, another place in the vicinity known as Jurf el-Jerrar has been thought by some to be the site of Gerar. Jerrar in Arabic means "jars," and it is doubtful whether it represents the Hebrew Gerar. Jurf means usually "steep declivity," or "precipice," and at the place mentioned many fragments of pottery were found, but this does not necessarily indicate the site of an ancient town. The site of Gerar is discussed in Thomson’s LB, I, 196-99 (ed. 1882); Robinson’s BR, II, 43-44; PEFS, 1871, 84; 1875, 162-64; 1881, 38.

H. Porter


ger’-a-sa, ger’-a-senz (Gerasa; Gerasenon):

1. Country of the Gerasenes:

The town itself is not named in Scripture, and is referred to only in the expression, "country of the Gerasenes" (Mr 5:1; Lu 8:26,37; see Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek, Appendix, 11). This describes the district in which Christ met and healed the demoniac from the tombs, where also took place the destruction of the swine. It was on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, and must have been a locality where the steep edges of the Bashan plateau drop close upon the brink of the lake. This condition is fulfilled only by the district immediately South of Wady Semak, North of Qal ‘at el-Chucn. Here the slopes descend swiftly almost into the sea, and animals, once started on the downward run, could not avoid plunging into the depths. Many ancient tombs are to be seen in the face of the hills. Gerasa itself is probably represented by the ruins of Kurseh on the South side of Wady Semak, just where it opens on the seashore. The ruins of the town are not considerable; but there are remains of a strong wall which must have surrounded the place. Traces of ancient buildings in the vicinity show that there must have been a fairly numerous population in the district.

2. History:

The great and splendid city in the Decapolis is first mentioned as taken after a siege by Alexander Janneus, 85 BC (BJ, I, iv, 8). Josephus names it as marking the eastern limit of Peraea (BJ, III, iii, 3). He calls the inhabitants Syrians, when, at the beginning of the Jewish revolt, the district round Gerasa was laid waste. The Syrians made reprisals, and took many prisoners. With these, however, the Gerasenes dealt mercifully, letting such as wished go free, and escorting them to the border (BJ, II, xviii, 1, 5). Lucius Annius, at the instance of Vespasian, sacked and burned the city, with much slaughter (BJ, IV, ix, 1). From this disaster it appears soon to have recovered, and the period of its greatest prosperity lay, probably, in the 2nd and 3nd centuries of our era. It became the seat of a bishopric, and one of its bishops attended the Council of Chalcedon. Reland (Pal, II, 806) notes certain extant coins of Gerasa, from which it is clear that in the 2nd century it was a center of the worship of Artemis. It was besieged by Baldwin II, in 1121 AD. Mention is made of the strength of the site and the mighty masonry of its walls. William of Tyre calls the city Jarras, and places it 16 miles East of Jordan (Hist, xii, 16). The distance is about 19 miles from the river. It was conquered by the Moslems in the time of Omar (Guy le Strange, Palestine under the Moslems, 462). The sultan of Damascus is said to have fortified it; but there is nothing to show that the Moslems occupied it for any length of time.

3. Description:

Modern Jerash lies on both banks of Wady Jerash, about 6 miles from its confluence with Wady ez-Zerqa (the Jabbok). It is almost 20 miles from Amman (Philadelphia), and 22 from Fahil (Pella). The ruins are wide and imposing and are better preserved than any others on the East of Jordan. They include several splendid temples, theaters, basilica, palaces and baths, with hippodrome and naumachia. The triumphal arch to the South of the city is almost entire. Two paved streets with double colonnades cut through the city at right angles, four massive pedestals still marking the point of intersection. An excellent account of the ruins is given in Thomson’s LB, III, 558 ff.

There is nothing above ground of older date than the 2nd and 3rd centuries of our era; but there is no reason to doubt that the Greek city of Gerasa stood on the same site. The presence of a copious spring of sweet water makes it probable that the site has been occupied from olden time; but no trace remains of any ancient city. Some would identify the place with RAMOTH-GILEAD, which see.

The site is now occupied by a colony of Circassians, and there is reason to fear that, unless something is done to preserve them, many valuable remains of antiquity will perish.

W. Ewing


gur’-ge-senz, gur-ge-senz’:A false reading of "Gadarenes" retained in the King James Version of Mt 8:28.



ger’-i-zim, ge-ri’-zim (har gerizzim):

1. Scriptural References:

Named in the directions for the reading of the law (De 11:29), and in the account of that great ceremony (De 27:12; Jos 8:33 f). Mts. Ebal and Gerizim stood over against each other, and on their sides the peoples were placed, half upon one and half upon the other, while in the vale which separates the mountains stood the ark, with the Levites. Those who stood on Gerizim responded to the blessings, those on Mt. Ebal to the cursings, as these were spoken "with a loud voice" by the Levites. From a spur of Mt. Gerizim Jotham spoke his taunting parable to the men of Shechem (Jud 9:7). The name appears no more in canonical Scripture. In consequence of the dispute which arose over the marriage of Manasseh, who belonged to the high-priestly family, with a daughter of Sanballat the Horonite (Ne 13:28), a temple was built on Gerizim as a rival to that in Jerusalem (circa 432 BC). This was the beginning of the schism which lasts to the present day (Ant., XI, viii, 2, 4). See SAMARITANS. The temple was destroyed by John Hyrcanus circa 110 BC (Ant., XIII, ix, 1; BJ, I, ii, 6).

2. Description:

Mt. Gerizim, the modern Jebel et-Tur, stands on the South, Mt. Ebal on the North, of the narrow pass which cuts through the mountain range, opening a way from the sea to the Jordan. In the throat of this pass to the West, on the South of the vale, and close to the foot of Gerizim, lies the town of Nablus, the ancient Shechem. Here copious fountains rise, filling the valley with beauty and fruitfulness. The sides of the mountain are steep and rocky on East and North; on the West the ascent is more gradual, and here, by means of a system of terraces carried almost to the summit, it is cultivated with great care and success. Its height is 2,849 ft. above the level of the sea, 228 ft. lower than its northern companion.

3. Samaritan Traditions:

Abraham came through the pass and camped near Gerizim at the oak of Moreh (Ge 12:6). According to Samaritan tradition it was on this mountain that he prepared to sacrifice Isaac, and at Salem, not far distant, he met Melchizedek (Ge 14:17 ). The scene of Jacob’s dream is placed at Khirbet Lauzeh on the summit (Ge 28:11 f). In a little hollow West of the ridge, the Samaritans annually celebrate the Passover in accordance with the directions of the Pentateuch. This is done in the open air, their temple having long since disappeared.

4. Antiquities:

The most important remains on the mountain today are those of Justinian’s fortress, built in 533 AD, to protect the church which had been erected in 475 AD. Near the center of the plateau is a bare piece of rock, on which, tradition says, the altar stood in the Samaritan temple. A cup-like hollow in it may have been used for libations. In the western wall of el-Qal‘ah, Justinian’s castle, there are 12 stones under which, it is said, are the stones which Israel took from the bed of the Jordan (Jos 4:20).

Gerizim was certainly "this mountain" pointed to by the woman of Samaria in her conversation with Jesus (Joh 4:20 f); the cliffs of the mountain almost overhanging the Well of Jacob.

For the reason why Gerizim was chosen for the blessing and Ebal for the cursing we are left to conjecture. The directions were fixed by one looking to the East, not, as with us, looking to the North. For one standing in the valley, therefore, Gerizim was on the right hand, "the side of good fortune" (Driver, Deuteronomy on 11:28).

Onom places Ebal and Gerizim much nearer the Jordan valley. This was doubtless to meet the difficulty raised by the long distance from Ai to Shechem. But their nearness to the "oaks of Moreh" (De 11:30) points to this locality, and this is confirmed by Josephus, who speaks of Shechem, the metropolis of the Samaritans, as "a city situated at Mt. Gerizim" (Ant., XI, viii, 6).

Andronicus, appointed governor of Gerizim by Antiochus Epiphanes, is mentioned in 2 Macc 5:23 (the King James Version "Garizim").

W. Ewing


ge’-run (Geron): Not much seems to be gained by translating with the Revised Version, margin "Geron, an Athenian," for "an old man of Athens" in 2 Macc 6:1.


ge-re’-ni-anz (heos ton Gerrenon): The name indicates the southern limit of the territory assigned by Antiochus Eupator to the government of Judas Maccabeus when he "left Hegemonides governor from Ptolemais even unto the Gerrenians" (2 Macc 13:24, the King James Version "Gerrhenians"). It is not easy to say exactly who the Gerrenians were. They were wrongly associated by Grotius with the town Gerrha, and are with more probability connected with the ancient city of Gerar, Southeast of Gaza. One manuscript reads Gerarenon, which could easily be corrupted into Gerrenon, and would place the government of Hegemonides between Ptolemais and Gerar.

J. Hutchison


gur’-shom (gereshom, from garash, "to cast out"; explained, however, in Ex 2:22 and 18:3 as from gur, "For he said, I have been a sojourner in a foreign land"):

(1) Firstborn son of Moses and Zipporah. The only details of his life contained in the Pentateuch are the account of his circumcision (Ex 4:25), and his remaining under the care of Jethro, while Moses was in Egypt leading the Exodus. His descendants were numbered among the tribes of Levi (1Ch 23:14). One of them apparently was the Jonathan who officiated as priest of the idolatrous sanctuary at Dan, and whose descendants held the office until the captivity. The Massoretic Text inserts a suspended nun, "n," in the name of Moses (mosheh), causing it to be lead Manasseh, for the purpose, according to tradition, of disguising the name out of respect for the revered Lawgiver. Another descendant described as a "son" was Shebuel, a ruler over the treasuries of David.

(2) A son of Levi, so called in 1Ch 6:16,17,20,43,12,71 (Hebrew 1,2,5,28,47,56); 15:7; elsewhere GERSHON (which see).

(3) A descendant of Phinehas, the head of a father’s house, who journeyed with Ezra from Babylon to Jerusalem in the reign of Artaxerxes (Ezr 8:2).

Ella Davis Isaacs


gur’-shon, gur’-shon-its (gereshon, written also gereshom): Firstborn of the 3 sons of Levi (Ex 6:16; Nu 3:17; 1Ch 6:1,16; 23:6). He had two sons, Libni, also known as Ladan (1Ch 23:7; 26:21), and Shimei (Ex 6:17; Nu 3:18; 1Ch 6:17,20), and consequently two groups of descendants, enumerated in the census taken in the Wilderness of Sinai (Nu 3:21 ) and that in the Plains of Moab (Nu 26:57). In the distribution of functions among the Levites, the Gershonites were charged with the carrying of the curtains, coverings, screens, hangings, cords and instruments of the tabernacle and the tent of meeting on the journeys in the wilderness, under the supervision of Ithamar the son of Aaron. Their function was thus more exalted than that of the Merarites, who carried the boards, and less so than that of the Kohathites, who carried the most holy utensils and symbols. The Gershonites were given two wagons with four oxen—half as many as the Merarites, according to their service (Nu 7:7). Thirteen cities were assigned to the Gershonites in Northern Palestine by Eleazar and Joshua (Jos 21:6,27-33,6:62,71-76).

Among the Gershonites who achieved distinction in later Biblical times was the family of Asaph, the singers from the time of David to the days of the Second Temple (1Ch 6:31-47; 25:1-7; 15:7,17,19; 16:5,7; 2Ch 25:15; Ezr 2:41; 3:10; Ne 11:17,22; 12:35; 1Ch 9:15). Other Gershonites named are the heads of the fathers’ houses in the days of David in connection with the dividing of the Levites into courses (1Ch 23:7-11); the superintendents of the treasuries of the house of the Lord of the same time (1Ch 26:21,22; 29:8); and, finally, Gershonites are mentioned among those who cleansed the house of the Lord in the days of Hezekiah (2Ch 29:12,13).

Ella Davis Isaacs


gur’-sun (Gerson; 1 Esdras 8:29): Called Gershom in Ezr 8:2.


ge’-rooth kim’-ham (geruth kimham): If the reading geruth is correct, a "lodging-place" or "khan" on the highway to Egypt, may be meant (Jer 41:17). It may have been built by Chimham son of Barzillai; or it may have been named from him as owner of the land on which it stood. But probably with Josephus we should read gidhroth, "hurdles" or "sheep pens" (Ant., X, ix, 5).


gur’-zits (1Sa 27:8 King James Version margin).



ge’-shan (geshan, "firm," "strong"): A descendant of Judah through Caleb (1Ch 2:47). The King James Version has "Gesham," but not in the original 1611 edition.


ge’-shem (geshem, gashmu; Gesam, "rain storm"): An Arabian, probably chief of an Arabian tribe that had either settled in Southern Palestine during the exile in Babylon, or had been settled in or near Samaria by Sargon (Ne 2:19; 6:1,2,6). He was a confederate of Sanballat and Tobiah, and strenuously opposed the building of the wall under Nehemiah. He with the others mocked at the first efforts to build the wall, and afterward repeatedly sought to entice Nehemiah to the plains of Ono. The name also occurs in the form Gashmu, perhaps an Assyrian form of the same name Geshem.

J. J. Reeve


ge’-shur (geshur, "bridge"): An Aramean kingdom (2Sa 15:8) of no great size which lay probably to the South of Maacah, and formed with it the western boundary of the land of Bashan (De 3:14; Jos 12:5; 13:11). The territory of these two probably corresponded roughly with modern Jaulan. It may not have reached quite to the Jordan on the West; in which case the Geshurites literally dwelt "in the midst" of Israel (Jos 13:13), since they were not expatriated by the half-tribe of Manasseh, and they retained their independence. David married Maacah, daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur, who became the mother of Absalom and Tamar (2Sa 3:3). To Talmai Absalom fled for safety after the murder of Amnon (2Sa 13:37 f), and thence Joab brought him back to Jerusalem (2Sa 14:23). The Geshurites and Aram are said to have taken the cities of Jair—i.e. Havvoth-jair—which lay in the land of Gilead (1Ch 2:23). It is possible that "Geshurites" should be read, with Vulgate, Syriac, etc., instead of "Ashurites" in 2Sa 2:9. The only difficulty is that Geshur was an independent kingdom, and there is nothing to show how it was brought under the sway of the son of Saul. In the catalogue of land still to be possessed in Jos 13:2, the King James Version reads "Geshuri," the Revised Version (British and American) "the Geshurites," referring evidently to a district bordering on the Philistines. Both the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) render the same word by "Geshurites" in 1Sa 27:8, where apparently the same territory is indicated as invaded by David. In neither passage is the text above suspicion; in 1Sa 27:8 Septuagint’s Codex Vaticanus omits the name. No satisfactory explanation has been suggested.

W. Ewing


gesh’-u-rits, ge-shoo’-rits (geshuri). See preceding article.


jes’-tur, jes’-tur: The Oriental is rich in gestures by which feelings are expressed and force added to words. Of this we have abundant illustration in the Bible. Almost every available part of the body was employed in gesture. In salutations the whole body was bowed, sometimes to the ground (Ge 18:2; 19:1; 33:7; 42:6; 33:3), falling on the face to the ground and bowing to the ground, 3 times (1Sa 20:41; Ge 23:7; 2Sa 9:8; 18:21; 1Ki 2:19); it was common also to embrace and kiss (Ex 18:7), etc., weeping for joy. Esau "fell on (Jacob’s) neck, and kissed him: and they wept" (Ge 33:4); compare Joseph and his brethren (Ge 45:14,15); David and Jonathan (1Sa 20:41), and the father of the prodigal (Lu 15:20). We have the kiss also in the story of Judas with his Master (Mt 26:49). Bowing the knee was also in Egypt an act of homage to a superior (Ge 41:43); bowing the knee and bowing down were common in prayer and worship (1Ki 19:18; 2Ch 6:13; Ezr 9:5; Isa 45:23); in prayer the head and whole body were also bowed (Ge 24:26; 2Ki 5:18; 2Ch 29:28 f). The rabbins decreed that in prayer "in bowing down, the back must be bent so low that every vertebra becomes conspicuous," and endless questions arose as to what it was lawful to do during prayer (Edersheim). We read also of prayer offered standing (1Sa 1:26; 1Ki 8:22; Mt 6:5; Mr 11:25), lifting up and spreading forth the hands (1Ki 8:22; 2Ch 6:13; Ezr 9:5; Ne 8:6; 1Ti 2:8); "lifting up the hands" was synonymous with prayer (Ps 77:2; 141:2; La 2:19; 1Ti 2:8); falling on the knees in pleading (1Ki 1:13). Reverence for the aged was expressed by rising up in their presence (Le 19:32,5:12). The hand was also laid on the mouth in token of respect (Job 29:9); in token of blessing the right hand was placed on the head (Ge 48:14; compare Ge 49:26; Pr 10:6). The hands were laid on the head of the animal to be sacrificed; on the scapegoat and sin offering as denoting the transference of sin; on the burnt offering, perhaps as representing the offerer (Le 1:4; 16:21). The hands were lifted up in blessing (Le 9:22), in solemn swearing (Ge 14:22; Ex 6:8; De 32:40), in defiance and threatening (2Sa 20:21); extended in pleading (Isa 65:2). Giving the hand or joining hands as a pledge of friendship and fidelity (2Ki 10:15; Pr 11:21) was the origin of the widespread custom of "shaking hands"; "striking hands" signified the clenching of a bargain or agreement (Pr 6:1 the Revised Version British and American)); as a solemn pledge the hand was placed under the thigh of the person to whom it was given (Ge 24:2; 47:29); plucking the hand out of the bosom was a sign of action (Ps 74:11); clapping the hands, of rejoicing (2Ki 11:12; Ps 47:1; 98:8; Isa 55:12), also of ridicule, contempt and rejoicing over one (Job 27:23; La 2:15; Na 3:19). We read of "beckoning with the hand" (Lu 5:7; Joh 13:24), preliminary to speaking (Ac 12:17; 13:16; 19:33; 21:40; 26:1, he "stretched forth his hand"); drooping of the hands indicated failure, weakness or distress (Heb 12:12; compare Isa 35:3; Ecclesiasticus 25:23); washing the hands (publicly) was a declaration of innocence, "of freedom from complicity" (De 21:6,7; Mt 27:24).

The head lifted up was a sign of arrogance or pride (Ps 83:2); of exaltation, or recovery from trouble, etc. (Jud 8:28; Ps 27:6; 110:7; Zec 1:21); to cover the head was a symbol of grief or mourning (2Sa 15:30; Es 6:12; Jer 14:3), also putting the hand on the head (2Sa 13:19; Jer 2:37), or ashes, dust or earth (Jos 7:6; 1Sa 4:12; 2Sa 12; 13:19; Es 4:1); wagging (or shaking) the head expressed contempt or malicious enjoyment (Job 16:4; Ps 64:8; Jer 18:16; La 2:15; with "hissing," compare Mt 27:39; Mr 15:29; compare Ps 22:7; 44:14; 109:25; Jer 48:27).

Uncovering the feet was a sign of grief (2Sa 15:30; Isa 20:2,4); lifting up the heel against one was a symbol of opposition (Ps 41:9; Joh 13:18); shaking the dust from the feet, of freeing from responsibility and of complete rejection (Mt 10:14; Ac 13:51; at Corinth Paul "shook out his raiment," Ac 18:6); strong joyous feeling found (as elsewhere) expression in dancing (Jud 11:34; 21:21; 1Sa 18:6; Jer 31:4,13), before Yahweh (Ex 15:20; 2Sa 6:14,16).

Shooting out the lip was an expression of contempt (Ps 22:7); to incline the ear signified attention (Ps 45:10); rending the garments expressed the sense of horror (as in the presence of disaster, blasphemy, etc.) (Nu 14:6; Jos 7:6; 1Sa 4:12; 2Sa 1:2; 13:19; 15:32; Mt 26:65; Ac 14:14); the smile indicated favor and gave confidence (Job 29:24); lifting up the eyelids was a sign of pride (Pr 30:13); Isaiah speaks also of the "outstretched necks and wanton eyes" of the haughty daughters of Zion, "walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet" (Isa 3:16). The perverse man "winketh with his eyes .... speaketh with his feet ..... maketh signs with his fingers" (Pr 6:13).

It is interesting to note the gestures ascribed in the Gospels to Jesus. The expression of His eyes is often referred to; we read how He "lifted up his eyes on his disciples" before pronouncing the Beatitudes, indicating a loving regard for them (Lu 6:20); how He "looked upon" the young ruler and "loved him," and, with another expressive "look" (round about)—a sad look—said, "How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God" (Mr 10:21,23); how He "looked up to heaven" before He blessed and brake the loaves (Mt 14:19; Mr 6:41; Lu 9:16); also before healing (Mr 7:34); how He "looked round" on His adversaries in the synagogue (Lu 6:10), "with anger, being grieved at the hardening of their heart" (Mr 3:5); how He "turned and looked upon Peter" so that he remembered his boasting and fall, and went out and wept bitterly (Lu 22:61); we read also how He took a little child into His arms and held him up as an example to His disciples (Mr 9:36), and how He "took (little children) in his arms, and blessed them, laying his hands upon them" (Mr 10:16); how He "stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground" when the woman accused of adultery was brought to Him, then "lifted up himself" and spake, again "stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground," till the woman’s accusers had departed one by one, condemned and ashamed, when He again "lifted up himself" and sent the woman away (Joh 8:6 ); how on His way to the tomb of Lazarus, He was agitated, the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) "was troubled," margin "troubled himself." Meyer has "shuddered." Some translation "shook himself" (Joh 11:33).

See, further, ATTITUDES.

W. L. Walker


A great many Hebrew words are in the Old Testament translated "get," "got," etc. The word "get" has two meanings: (1) with the idea of movement, "to go," etc.; (2) with that of acquisition, "to gain," "obtain," etc.

(1) In the first sense the most frequent words are bo’," to come, or go in" (Ge 45:17; 1Sa 22:5, etc.); yalakh "to go on" (Ge 12:1; 22:2; Ex 5:4; Jer 5:5, etc.); yaradh, "to go down" (Ge 42:2; Joe 3:13); ‘alah, "to go up" (Ge 44:17; Isa 40:9; Jer 49:31, etc.). Other words are nudh, "to move off" (Jer 49:30 the King James Version; Da 4:14); nasa’," to remove" (Nu 14:25); yatsa’," to go out" (Ge 19:14; 31:13; Ex 11:8).

(2) In the sense of acquisition, the words most frequently translated "get," etc., are ‘asah, "to do," "to make" (Ge 12:5; 31:1; De 8:17,18); qanah, "to get," "obtain" (Ge 4:1; Pr 4:5,7; Ec 2:7 the King James Version, the Revised Version (British and American) "bought"; Jer 13:1, the Revised Version (British and American) "buy"); matsa’ "to find" (Nu 31:50; 2Sa 20:6); rakhash, "to acquire," "gain" (Ge 31:18; 36:6 the King James Version, the Revised Version (British and American) "gathered"; Ge 46:6).

Getting is the translation of po‘al (Pr 21:6), of qinyan "obtaining" (Ge 31:18; Pr 4:7, the English Revised Version text and the American Standard Revised Version margin "all thou hast gotten"). In the New Testament "get" in the first sense is the translation of exerchomai, "to go out or forth" (Lu 13:31; Ac 7:3; 22:18); of exeimi, "to go out or forth" (Ac 27:43); of katabaino, "to go down" (Ac 10:20); hupago, "to go away or under," "Get .... behind" (Mt 16:23; Lu 4:8 the King James Version, "Get .... hence"; Mt 4:10). The only separate word translated "get" in the second sense is heurisko, "to begin to find" (usually translated "find") (Lu 9:12 the King James Version, "that they may go .... and get victuals").

For "get" the Revised Version (British and American) has "mount" (De 28:43), "buy" (Pr 17:16; Jer 13:1; 19:1); for "get you down" (Joe 3:13), "tread ye," margin "get you down"; "get" for "possess" (Lu 18:12); "get them away" for "gather themselves together" (Ps 104:22); "get us" for "apply" (Ps 90:12); "let us get grain" for "therefore we take up corn for them," and for "that we might buy corn" (Ne 5:2,3); "get you no" for "provide neither" (Mt 10:9); "getteth prudence" for "is prudent," margin "dealeth prudently" (Pr 15:5); "getteth" for "coveteth" (Hab 2:9).

W. L. Walker


ge’-ther (gether): In Ge 10:23 named as one of the 4 sons of Aramaic In 1Ch 1:17 mentioned simply among the sons of Shem.


geth-sem’-a-ne (Gethsemanei (for other spellings and accents see Thayer, under the word); probably from the Aramaic gath shemanim, "oil press"): Mentioned (Mt 26:36; Mr 14:32) as a place (chorion), margin "enclosed piece of ground," to which Jesus and the disciples retired after the last supper; in Joh 18:1 it is described as a "garden" (kepos), while Lu (22:40) simply says "place" (topos). From Joh 18:1 it is evident that it was across the Kidron, and from Lu 22:39, that it was on the Mount of Olives. Very possibly (Lu 21:37; 22:39) it was a spot where Jesus habitually lodged when visiting Jerusalem. The owner—whom conjecture suggests as Mary the mother of Mark—must have given Jesus and His disciples special right of entry to the spot.

Tradition, dating from the 4th century, has fixed on a place some 50 yds. East of the bridge across the Kidron as the site. In this walled-in enclosure once of greater extent, now primly laid out with garden beds, by the owners—the Franciscans—are eight old olive trees supposed to date from the time of our Lord. They are certainly old, they appeared venerable to the traveler Maundrell more than two centuries ago, but that they go back to the time claimed is impossible, for Josephus states (BJ, VI, i, 1) that Titus cut down all the trees in the neighborhood of Jerusalem at the time of the siege. Some 100 yards farther North is the "Grotto of the Agony," a cave or cistern supposed to be the spot "about a stone’s cast" to which our Lord retired (Lu 22:41). The Greeks have a rival garden in the neighborhood, and a little higher up the hill is a large Russian church. The traditional site may be somewhere near the correct one, though one would think too near the public road for retirement, but the contours of the hill slopes must have so much changed their forms in the troubled times of the first and second centuries, and the loose stone walls of such enclosures are of so temporary a character, that it is impossible that the site is exact. Sentiment, repelled by the artificiality of the modern garden, tempts the visitor to look for a more suitable and less artificial spot farther up the valley. There is today a secluded olive grove with a ruined modern olive press amid the trees a half-mile or so farther up the Kidron Valley, which must far more resemble the original Gethsemane than the orthodox site.

E. W. G. Masterman


gu’-el, ge-u’-el (ge’u’el, "majesty of God"): The spy from the tribe of Gad (Nu 13:15), sent by Moses to spy out the land of Canaan.


ge’-zer (gezer): A city of great military importance in ancient times, the site of which has recently been thoroughly explored. The excavations at this spot are the most thorough and extensive of any in Palestine, and have not only done much to confirm the history of the place, as known from Biblical and other sources, but have also thrown a flood of light upon the general history, civilization and religion of Palestine in pre-Israelite and Israelite times.

1. The Discovery and Position of the Site:

The long-lost site of Gezer was discovered by M. Clermont-Ganneau in 1873, and his suggestion that the modern name for the place, Tell Jezer (or Tell el Jezereh) was a survival of the ancient name was confirmed by his further discovery of three bilingual inscriptions, in Hebrew and Greek, cut on surfaces of rock by a certain Alkios, apparently once the governor of the city; in one of them occurred the expression "the boundary of Gezer."

The natural features and the position of Tell Jezer abundantly explain the extreme importance of Gezer in ancient times. The buried remains crown a narrow hill, running from Northwest to Southeast, about 1,700 ft. long by 300 to 500 ft. broad. The approach is steep on every side, and in early times, before the accumulation around the sides of the rubbish of some millenniums, must have been much more so. The hill stands, like an outpost, projecting into the great plain, and is connected with the low hills behind it, part of the Shephelah, with but a narrow neck. At the foot of the hill runs a great high road from Egypt to Syria; to the North lies the Vale of Aijalon, across which runs the modern carriage road to Jerusalem, and up which ran the great high road, by the Beth-horons, to the platenu North of Jerusalem; to the South lies the Vale of Sorek, where stood Bethshemesh, and along which went a great highway from the country of the Philistines to the hill country of Judah. Today the Jerus-Jaffa railway, after sweeping some miles away in the plain round the whole western and southern sides of the site, passes along this open vale to plunge into the narrow defile—the Wady Isma‘in, which it follows to Jerusalem. From the summit of the Tell, a vast expanse of country is visible between the long blue line of the Mediterranean to the West, and the abrupt and lofty mountains of Judah to the East. That it has been all through history the scene of military contest is fully understood when its strategic position is appreciated; no military leader even today, if holding the highlands of Palestine against invasion, could afford to neglect such an outpost.

2. History of Gezer:

Although the excavation of the site shows that it was occupied by a high civilization and a considerable population at an extremely early period, the first historical mention is in the list of the Palestinian cities captured by Tahutmes III (XVIIIth Dynasty, about 1500 BC). From this time it was probably under Egyptian governors (the Egyptian remains at all periods are considerable), but from the Tell el-Amarna Letters, a century or so later, we learn that Egyptian influence was then on the wane. Three of these famous clay tablets are dated from Gezer itself and are written in the name of the governor Yapachi; he was then hard pressed by the Khabiri, and he appealed for help in vain to Egypt. In other letters belonging to this series, there are references to this city. In one, a certain freebooter named Lapaya makes excuses that he had broken into the city. He "has been slandered. Is it an offense that he has entered Gazri and levied the people?" (no. CCXL, Petrie’s translation).

In the well-known "So of Triumph" of Merenptah, who is considered by many to be the Pharaoh of the Exodus, occurs the expression "Gezer is taken." (In connection with this it is interesting to notice that an ivory pectoral with the cartouche of Meren-ptah was unearthed at Gezer.)

In the time of Joshua’s invasion a certain "king of Gezer" named Horam (horam, but in Septuagint Ailam, or Elam) came to the assistance of Lachish against the Israelites, but was slain (Jos 10:33). Gezer was taken, but the Canaanites were not driven out, but remained in servitude (Jos 16:10; Jud 1:29). The city became one of the towns on the southern border of Ephraim (Jos 16:3), but was assigned to the Kohath clan of the Levites (Jos 21:21). In 2Sa 5:25 (the King James Version "Gazer") we read that David chased the Philistines after their defeat in the valley of Rephaim "from Geba until thou come to Gezer," showing that this was on the frontier of the Philistine territory; and in 1Ch 20:4 it states, "There arose war at Gezer with the Philistines; then Sibbecai the Hushathite slew Sippai, of the sons of the giant; and they were subdued." In the corresponding account in 2Sa 21:18 the scene of this event is said to be Gob, which is probably a copyist’s error—g-w-b for g-z-r. According to Josephus (Ant., VIII, vi, 1), at the commencement of Solomon’s reign Gezer was in the hands of the Philistines, which may explain 1Ki 9:16, where it is stated that a certain Pharaoh, whose daughter Solomon married, captured and burnt Gezer and gave the site to his daughter. Solomon rebuilt it (9:17). There are no further references to Gezer during the later Jewish monarchy, but there are several during the Maccabean period. Judas pursued Gorgias to "Gazara and into the plains of Idumaea and Azotis and Jamnia" (1 Macc 4:15); Bacchides, after his defeat by Jonathan, "fortified also the city of Bethsura, and Gazara, and the tower, and put forces in them and provision of victuals" (1 Macc 9:52 the King James Version); a little later Simon "camped against Gazara and besieged it round about; he made also an engine of war, and set it by, the city and battered a certain tower, and took it" (1 Macc 13:43 the King James Version), after which he purified it (1 Macc 13:47,48). From Josephus (Ant., XIII, viii, 2) we gather that Antiochus had taken Gezer from the Jews.

The governor, Alkios, who made the bilingual inscriptions, may come in about this time or a little later; the rock inscriptions, of which half a dozen are now known, give no information regarding their date.

In the period of the Crusades this site, under the name "Mount Gisart," was a crusading fort and gave its name to a family. Here King Baldwin IV gained a victory over Saladin in 1177, and in 1191 the latter monarch camped here while conducting some fruitless negotiations with King Richard Coeur de Lion. In 1495 a skirmish occurred here between the governor of Jerusalem and certain turbulent Bedouin. The history of Gezer, as known, is thus one of battles and sieges extending over at least 3,000 years; from the archaeological remains we may infer that its history was similar for at least 1,000 years earlier.

3. History of the Excavations:

In 1904 the Palestine Exploration Fund of England obtained a "permit" for the excavation of Tell Jezer. The whole site was the private property of certain Europeans, whose agent, living much of the time on the Tell itself, was himself deeply interested in the excavations, so that unusually favorable conditions obtained for the work. Mr. (now Professor) R. A. Stewart Macalister, M.A., was sent out, and for 3 years (1904-7) he instituted an examination of the hidden remains in the mound, after a manner, till then, unexampled in Palestine exploration. His ambition was to turn over every cubic foot of soil down to the original rock, so that nothing of importance could be overlooked. As at the expiration of the original "permit" much remained unexplored, application was made to the authorities for a second one, and, at the end of 1907, Mr. Macalister embarked on a further 2 years of digging. Altogether he worked for the greater part of 5 years, except for necessary interruptions of the work due to unfavorable weather. Some two-thirds of the total accumulated debris on the mound was ransacked, and besides this, many hundreds of tombs, caves and other antiquarian remains in the neighborhood were thoroughly explored.

4. Chief Results of the Explorations:

It was found that the original bare rock surface of the hill was crowned with buried remains, in some parts 20 and 30 ft. deep, made up of the debris of all the cities which had stood on the site during three or four thousand years; on the part excavated there were no remains so late as the commencement of the Christian era, the Gezer of that time, and the crusading fort, being built on a neighboring site. The earliest inhabitants were Troglodytes living in the many caves which riddled the hill surface; they were apparently a non-Sem race, and there was some evidence that they at least knew of cremation. These, or a race soon after—the earliest Semites—enclosed the hilltop with high earth rampart faced with rough stones—the earliest "walls" going back at least before 3000 BC. At an early period—probably about 3000 BC—a race with a relatively high civilization fortified the whole hilltop with a powerful and remarkably well-built wall, 14 ft. thick, with narrow towers of short projection at intervals of 90 ft. At a point on the South side of this was unearthed a very remarkable, massive, brick gateway (all the other walls and buildings are of stone), with towers on each side still standing to the height of 16 ft., but evidently once much higher. This gate showed a strong Egyptian influence at work long before the first historic reference (XVIIIth Dynasty), for both gateway and wall to which it belonged had been ruined at an early date, the former indeed, after its destruction, was overlaid by the buildings of a city, which from its datable objects—scarabs, etc.—must have belonged to the time of Amenhotep III, i.e. as early as 1500 BC.

The later wall, built, we may conclude, soon after the ruin of the former, and therefore about 1500 BC, was also a powerful construction and must have existed considerably over a thousand years, down, indeed, till 100 BC at least, when Gezer disappears from history as a fortitled site. These walls enclosed a larger area than either of the previous ones; they show signs of destruction and repairs, and Mr. Macalister is of the opinion that some of the extensive repairs—in one place a gap of 150 ft.—and the 28 inserted towers are the work of Solomon (1Ki 9:17). This wall must have existed in use through all we know of Gezer from Bible sources. When, from the ruined remains, we reconstruct in imagination these mighty ramparts, we need not wonder that the’ Hebrews, fresh from long wanderings in the wilderness, found it no easy task to capture cities so fortified as was this (Nu 13:28; De 1:28).

The foundations of a powerful building, which were found inserted in a gap in the southern walls, turned out conclusively to be the palace of Simon Maccabeus—who captured the city (1 Macc 13:43)—a graffito being found upon one of its stones running thus:


which seems to mean, "Pamphras, may he bring down (fire) on the palace of Simon."

Within the city walls the foundations of some seven or eight cities of various successive periods were found, superimposed one above the other. The city’s best days appear to have been shortly before the time of Joshua; the next, perhaps, at the time of the Judges. With the period to which we should probably assign the arrival of the Hebrews, there is a great increase in the population, the hitherto inviolate environs of the "temple" being encroached upon by private dwellings: an interesting commentary on Jos 16:10.

The great "High Place" which was uncovered is one of unique interest, and its discovery has thrown a flood of light upon the religion of the early Canaanites, that religion—"the worship of Baal and Ashteroth"—which was the great rival of the purer religion of Israel. This [Ba‘al] temple, or bamoth, consisted of a row of 8 matstsebhoth or rude stone pillars ranging in height from 5 ft. 5 inches to 10 ft. 9 inches (see HIGH PLACE; PILLAR), together with a curious trough which may have been a socket for the ‘Asherah (see ASHERAH), or some kind of altar. The area around these pillars had a kind of rough floor of consolidated earth under which were found a number of large jars containing infant bones, considered to be the remains of infant sacrifice. In close proximity to this "temple" was a double cave, the construction of which strongly suggested that it had been arranged for the giving of oracles. This high place had been used for very many centuries; the matstsebhoth were not all of one period but had gradually been increased from one to seven, and an eighth of a more definitely sculptured form—as a simulacrum priapi—had been added some time later. In the accumulated rubbish around these pillars were found enormous numbers of small stone phallic images, together with pottery plaques of Astarte, made with rude exaggeration of the sexual organs.


Another monument of great interest—and high antiquity—was the great rock-cut tunnel. It is about 23 ft. high, and 13 ft. wide, and descends by 80 steps, 94 1/2 ft. through the solid rock, to a cave in which there is a spring. It is very similar to the great tunnel known as "Warren’s tunnel and shaft" which was clearly constructed by the early Jebusites to reach from within the city’s walls to the fountain of Gihon (see SILOAM; ZION). This Gezer tunnel must date at least to 2000 BC; it is evident from the nature of the accumulated debris which blocked its mouth that it was actually abandoned about 1400 BC. Its antiquity is confirmed by the fact that it was evidently excavated with flint knives.

At a much later period in history, in that of the Maccabees, the water supply of the city, in time of siege, at any rate, was largely dependent on an enormous open cistern which Mr. Macalister cleared of earth and found capable of containing 2,000,000 gallons of water. Among the smaller "finds" which throw light upon the Bible history may be mentioned two much broken, cuneiform tablets, both referring to land contracts, which, from the names of the eponyms, can be dated to 651 and 649 BC respectively. They therefore belong to the time of the last, and one of the greatest, of the Assyrian monarchs, Ahurbanipal, the "noble Osnappar" of Ezr 4:10, and they show that he was not only a great conqueror, but that in Palestine he had an organized government and that legal civil business was transacted in the language of Assyria.

The illumination of Old Testament history which the excavations of Gezer have afforded can here be only hinted at, but references to it will occur in many of the articles in other parts of this Encyclopedia.


In Bible Side-Lights from the Mound of Gezer Professor R. A. S. Macalister has described in a poplar form with illustrations some of his most remarkable discoveries; while in the Memoirs of the Excavations at Gezer (1912), published by the Palestine Exploration Fund, Professor Macalister deals with the subject exhaustively.

E. W. G. Masterman





gost (nephesh; pneuma) :"Ghost," the middle-English word for "breath," "spirit," appears in the King James Version as the translation of nephesh ("breath," "the breath of life," animal soul or spirit, the vital principle, hence, "life"), in two places of the Old Testament, namely, Job 11:20, "the giving up of the ghost" (so the Revised Version (British and American)), and Jer 15:9, "She hath given up the ghost"; gawa‘, "to gasp out, "expire" (die), is also several times so translated (Ge 25:8,17; 35:29; 49:33; Job 3:11; 10:18; 13:19; 14:10; La 1:19). In Apocrypha (Tobit 14:11) psuche is translated in the same way as nephesh in the Old Testament, and in 2 Macc 3:31, en eschate pnoe is rendered "give up the ghost," the Revised Version (British and American) "quite at the last gasp."

In the New Testament "to give up the ghost" is the translation of ekpneo, "to breathe out" (Mr 15:37,39; Lu 23:46; so the Revised Version (British and American)); of ekpsucho, "to breathe out," "expire" (Ac 5:5,10; 12:23); in Mt 27:50, apheken to pneuma, and in Joh 19:30, paredoken to pneuma, are rendered respectively, "yielded" and "gave up the ghost," the Revised Version (British and American) "yielded up his spirit," "gave up his spirit."

"The Holy Ghost" is also frequent in the King James Version; in the American Standard Revised Version it is invariably changed to "Holy Spirit," in the English Revised Version sometimes only, chiefly in the Gospels.


W. L. Walker




gi’-a (giach): An unidentified place on the route followed by Abner in his flight, pursued by Joab (2Sa 2:24). Septuagint renders Gai, corresponding to the Hebrew ge, "valley." The form giach may be due to corruption of the text.


ji’-ants The word appears in the King James Version as the translation of the Hebrew words nephilim (Ge 6:4; Nu 13:33); repha’im (De 2:11,20; 3:11,13; Jos 12:4, etc.); rapha’ (1Ch 20:4,6,8), or raphah (2Sa 21:16,18,20,22); in one instance of gibbor, literally, "mighty one" (Job 16:14).

In the first two cases the Revised Version (British and American) changes "giants" into the Hebrew words "Nephilim," nephilim, and "Rephaim," repha’im, respectively (see these words). The "Nephilim of Ge 6:4 are not to be confounded with the "mighty men" subsequently described as the offspring of the unlawful marriages, of "the sons of God" and "the daughters of men." It is told that they overspread the earth prior to these unhallowed unions. That the word, whatever its etymology, bears the sense of men of immense stature is evident from the later passages; Nu 13:33. The same is true of the "Rephaim," as shown by the instance of Og (De 3:11; Jos 12:4). There is no doubt about the meaning of the word in the ease of the giants mentioned in 2Sa 21 and 1Ch 20.


James Orr




gib’-ar (gibbar, "hero"):, In Ezr 2:20 the "children of Gibbar" are mentioned among those who returned with Zerubbabel. The parallel passage (Ne 7:25) has "children of Gibeon."


gib’-e-thon (gibbethon): A city in the territory of Da in the plain named with Eltekeh and Baalath (Jos 19:44), and assigned to the Kohathite Levites (Jos 21:23). Later we find it in the hands of the Philistines; and it was while besieging the city that Nadab was slain by Baasha (1Ki 15:27). After 25 years Omri, the general of Baasha, was here made king of the army when news reached them of Zimri s regicide (1Ki 16:15 ). It may possibly be identified with Kibbiah, which lies about 16 miles Southeast of Jaffa; but no certain identification is possible.

W. Ewing


gib’-e-a (gibh‘a’," hill"): A grandson of Caleb (1Ch 2:49). His father was Sheva, whose mother was Maacah, Caleb’s concubine (1Ch 2:48).


gib’-e-a (gibh‘ah, "hill"): The Hebrew word denotes generally an eminence or hill, in distinction from har, which is used for mountain, or mountain range. It occurs, however, in two instances, as a place-name. Under GEBA (which see) we have seen that Geba, Gibeah, and Gibeon are liable to be confused. This arises from their resemblance in form and meaning.

(1) An unidentified city in the territory of Judah (Jos 15:57). It is named in the group containing Carmel, Ziph and Kain; it is therefore probably to be sought to the Southeast of Hebron. It may be one of the two villages mentioned by Eusebius, Onomasticon (s.v. "Gabathon"), Gabaa and Gabatha; in the East of the Daroma. It is probably identical with Gibeah mentioned in 2Ch 13:2.

(2) A city described as belonging to Benjamin (Jos 18:28; Jud 19:14) Gibeah of Benjamin (1Sa 13:2,15; 14:16), Gibeah of the children of Benjamin (2Sa 23:29), Gibeah of Saul (1Sa 11:4; Isa 10:29), and possibly, also, Gibeah of God (1Sa 10:5 margin); see GIBEATH, 4.

1. History:

The narrative in which it first appears is one of extraordinary and tragic interest, casting priceless light on the conditions prevailing in those days when "there was no king in Israel" (Jud 19 ). A Levite sojourning on the farther side of Mt. Ephraim was deserted by his concubine who returned to her father’s house in Beth-lehem-judah. Thither he went to persuade her to return. Hospitably entertained by her father, he tarried till the afternoon of the fifth day. The evening was nigh when they came over against Jebus—Jerusalem—but, rejecting his servant’s suggestion that they should lodge in this "city of a stranger"—i.e. the Jebusite—the Levite pressed on, and when they were near to Gibeah the sun set. They entered the city and sat down in the street. The laws of hospitality today do not compel the entertainment of strangers who arrive after sunset. But it may have been through disregard of all law that they were left unbefriended. An old man from Mt. Ephraim took pity on them, invited them to his house, and made himself responsible for their necessities. Then follows the horrible story of outrage upon the Levite’s concubine; the way in which he made known his wrongs to Israel; and the terrible revenge exacted from the Benjamites, who would not give up to justice the miscreants of Gibeah.

Gibeah was the home of Saul, the first king of Israel, and thither he returned after his election at Mizpah (1Sa 10:26). From Gibeah he summoned Israel to assemble for the relief of Jabesh-gilead, which was threatened by Nahash the Ammonite (1Sa 11:4 ). In the wars of Saul with the Philistines, Gibeah seems to have played a conspicuous part (1Sa 13:15). Here were exposed the bodies of the seven sons of Saul, slain by David’s orders, to appease the Gibeonites, furnishing the occasion for Rizpah’s pathetic vigil (2Sa 21:1 ). Gibeah is mentioned in the description of the Assyrian advance on Jerusalem (Isa 10:29).

2. Identification:

The site now generally accepted as that of Gibeah is on Teleil el-Ful, an artificial mound about 4 miles North of Jerusalem, a short distance East of the high road to Shechem. A little way North of Teleil el-Ful, the high road bifurcates, one branch turning eastward to Jeba‘, i.e. Geba (which should be read instead of "Gibeah" in Jud 20:31); the other continuing northward to Bethel. Not far from the parting of the ways, on the road to Jeba‘ lies erRam, corresponding to Ramah (Jud 19:13). At Gibeah, about 30 furlongs from Jerusalem, Titus encamped for the night on his advance against the city from the North Teleil el-Ful quite satisfactorily suits all the data here indicated.

The words in Jud 20:33 rendered by the King James Version "the meadows of Gibeah," the Revised Version (British and American) "Maareh-geba"—simply transliterating—and the Revised Version, margin "the meadow of Geba" (or Gibeah), by a slight emendation of the text, read "from the west of Gibeah," which is certainly correct.

W. Ewing


gib’e-ath (gibh‘ath): This is the status constructus of the foregoing (Gibeah). It is found in several compound place-names.

(1) Gibeath-ha-araloth (gibh‘ath ha‘araloth). English Versions of the Bible tanslations literally, "hill of the foreskins"; but the margins suggest the proper name. Here the Israelites were circumcised after the passage of the Jordan (Jos 5:3). The place was therefore between that river and Jericho.

(2) Gibeath Phinehas (gibh‘ath pinechac), the burial place of Eleazar the son of Aaron in Mt. Ephraim (Jos 24:33 the King James Version "a hill that pertained to Phinehas," the Revised Version (British and American) "the hill of Phinehas," the Revised Version, margin "Gibeah of Phinehas"). Conder would identify it with ‘Awertah in the plain of Makhneh, not far from Nablus, where "the Samaritans show the tombs of Phinehas and Eleazar, Abishuah and Ithamar" (Tent Work, 41 f). The "tomb of Eleazar" is 18 ft. long, plastered all over and shaded by a splendid terebinth." Guerin places it at Jibia, 3 miles North of Qaryat el-‘Anab (Judee, III, 37 f; Samarie, 106 ff). There is no certainty.

(3) Gibeath hammoreh (gibh‘ath hamoreh), a hill on the North side of the valley from the camp of Gideon, beside. which lay the Midianites (Jud 7:1, English Versions of the Bible "the hill of Moreh"; the Hebrew is literally, "hill of the teacher"). It is probably identical with Jebel Duchy, which rises on the North of the Vale of Jezreel. Moore (Judges, 200) mistakenly calls the mountain Nabi Dachi. This is, of course, the name of the "prophet" whose shrine crowns the hill.


(4) Gibeath ha-Elohim (gibh‘ath ha-’elohim), the place where Saul, after leaving Samuel, met the company of prophets, and prophesied with them (1Sa 10:5,10). It is defined as the place "where is the garrison (or pillar) of the Philistines." This may be intended to distinguish it from GIBEAH (2), with which it is often identified. In this case it may be represented by the modern Ramallah, about 10 miles North of Jerusalem.

See also TABOR.

(5) Gibeath ha-Hachilah (1Sa 23:19; 26:1) is identical with HACHILAH (which see).

(6) Gibeath Ammah (2Sa 2:24) is identical with AMMAH (which see).

(7) Gibeath Gareb (Jer 31:39) is identical with GAREB (which see).

W. Ewing


(Jos 18:28).

See GIBEAH (2).





gib’-e-un (gibh‘on): One of the royal cities of the Hivites (Jos 9:7). It was a greater city than Ai; and its inhabitants were reputed mighty men (Jos 10:2). It fell within the territory allotted to Benjamin (Jos 18:25), and was one of the cities given to the Levites (Jos 21:17).

1. The Gibeonites:

By a stratagem the Gibeonites secured for themselves and their allies in Chephirah, Beeroth and Kirjath-jearim immunity from attack by the Israelites. Terrified by the fate of Jericho and Ai, a company disguised as ambassadors from a far country, their garments and shoes worn, and their provisions moldy as from the length of their journey, went to Joshua at Gilgal, and persuaded him and the princes of Israel to make a covenant with them. Three days later the deception was discovered and the wrath of the congregation of Israel aroused. In virtue of the covenant their lives were secured; but for their duplicity Joshua cursed them, and condemned them to be bondsmen, "hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God" (Jos 9:23), "for the congregation and for the altar of the Lord" (Jos 9:27 the King James Version). This points to their employment in the sanctuary; and possibly may shed some light on the massacre of the Gibeonites by Saul (2Sa 21:1 f). The rest of the Canaanites resented the defection of the Hivites which so greatly weakened the forces for defense, and, headed by Adoni-zedek of Jerusalem, they assembled to wreak vengeance on Gibeon. The threatened city appealed to Joshua, who made a swift night march, fell suddenly upon the confederates, routed them, and "chased them by the way of the ascent of Beth-horon, and smote them to Azekah, and unto Makkedah" (Jos 10:1 ).

A three years’ famine in the days of David was attributed to God’s anger at the unexpiated crime of Saul in slaying the Gibeonites. He did this "in his zeal for .... Israel and Judah," who may have fretted at the inconvenience of having the Gibeonites among them. The latter believed that Saul’s desire was to destroy them utterly. When David tried to arrange matters with them they stood upon their ancient rights, claiming life for life. They would take no rights blood money: they demanded blood from the family of the slayer of their people. This demand David could not resist, and handed over to them seven sons of Saul (2Sa 21:1 ).

2. The Champions:

The army of Ishbosheth under Abner, and that of David under Joab, met at the pool of Gibeon. An attempt to settle the quarrel, by means of 12 champions on either side, failed, as each man slew his fellow, and the 24 perished side by side. A "sore battle" ensued in which Abner was beaten; he was pursued by the fleet-footed Asahel, brother of Joab, whom he slew.


Possibly we should read "Gibeon" instead of "Geba" in 2Sa 5:25, as in the parallel passage, 1Ch 14:16 (HDB, under the word) From Baal-perazim David was to make a circuit and fall upon the Philistines who were encamped in the plan of Rephaim West of Jerusalem. Perhaps, however, we should read "Gibeah" in both places. Cheyne (EB, under the word) thinks the hill town of Baal-perazim may be intended.

3. Murder of Amasa:

When, after the death of Absalom and the suppression of his rebellion, Bichri raised the standard of revolt, Amasa was sent to call out the men of Judah against him. Tarrying longer than the time appointed, there was danger lest Bichri might have opportunity to strengthen his position; so David dispatched Abishai and the troops that were with him to attack Bichri at once. Joab went with this expedition. Obviously he could never be content with a second place. The force of Amasa was met at "the great stone of Gibeon." There Joab treacherously slew that unsuspecting general, and, himself assuming command, stamped out the rebellion with his accustomed thoroughness (2Sa 20:4 )." The great stone" appears to have been well known, and may have possessed some religious character.

4. The Sanctuary:

Gibeon was the seat of an ancient sanctuary, called in 1Ki 3:4 "the great high place." Here, according to 2Ch 1:3, was the tabernacle made in the wilderness—but see 1Ki 8:4. It was the scene of Solomon’s great sacrifice after which he slept in the sanctuary and dreamed his famous dream (1Ki 3:4; 9:2; 2Ch 1:3,13, etc.).

By "the great waters that are in Gibeon" Johanan overtook Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and freed the captives he had taken from Mizpah (Jer 41:11 ). Among those who returned with Zerubbabel were 95 "children of Gibeon" (Ne 7:25; compare Ne 3:7). At Gibeon Cestius Gallus ancamped when marching against Jerusalem from Antipatris (BJ, II, xix, 1).

5. Identification and Description:

The ancient city is represented by the modern village el-Jib. It is fully 5 miles Northwest of Jerusalem, and about a mile North of Neby Samwil on a double knoll, with terraced slopes, but rocky and precipitous to the East. The village stands amid striking remains of antiquity. About a hundred paces from the village to the East is a large reservoir with a spring. Lower down, among the olives, are the remains of another and larger reservoir, which collected the overflow from the first. This is probably the "pool" of 2Sa 2:13, and "the great waters" of Jer 41:12. El-Jib stands in the midst of a rich upland plain not far South of the great pass which goes down by way of the Beth-horons into the vale of Aijalon.

W. Ewing


gib’-e-un-its. Inhabitants of GIBEON (which see).





gi-dal’-ti (giddalti, "I magnify (God)"): A son of Heman (1Ch 25:4,29), one of David’s musicians.


gid’-el (giddel, "very great," "stout"):

(1) The name of the head of a family of Nethinim (Ezr 2:47 = Ne 7:49 = APC 1Esdras 5:30 (here as Cathua)).

(2) The name of the head of a family of Solomon’s servants (Ezr 2:56 = Ne 7:58 = APC 1Esdras 5:33 (here Isdael)).


gid’-e-un (gidh‘on, "cutter down," "feller" or "hewer"):

1. His Family and Home:

Also named Jerubbaal (Jud 6:32) and Jerubbesheth (2Sa 11:21), youngest son of Joash, of the clan of Abiezer in the tribe of Manasseh. His home was at Ophrah, and his family an obscure one. He became the chief leader of Manasseh and the fifth recorded judge of Israel. The record of his life is found in Jud 6-8.

Joash was an idolater, and sacrifices to Baal were common among the entire clan. Gideon seems to have held this worship in contempt, and to have pondered deeply the causes of Israel’s reverses and the injuries wrought upon his own family by the hand of the Midianites.

2. The Midianite Oppression:

The Midianites under Zebah and Zalmunna, their two greatest chiefs, accompanied by other wild tribes of the eastern desert, had gradually encroached on the territory of Israel in Central Palestine. They came first as marauders and pillagers at the time of the harvests, but later they forcibly took possession of lands, and thus inflicted permanent injury and loss, especially upon Manasseh and Ephraim. The conflicts became so numerous, the appropriation of land so flagrant, that the matter of sustenance became a serious problem (Jud 6:4). The multitude of these desert hordes and the cruelty of their depredation rendered defense difficult, and, lacking in the split of national unity, the Israelites were driven to dens, caves and rocky strongholds for safety (Jud 6:2). After seven years of such invasion and suffering Gideon comes upon the scene.

3. The Call of Gideon:

It is probable that Gideon had already distinguished himself in resistance to the Midianites (Jud 6:12), but he now receives Divine commission to assume the leadership. Having taken his own little harvest to a secret place for threshing, that it might escape the greed of the Midianites, he is surprised while at work by a visit from the Lord in the form of an angel. However this scene (Jud 6:11 ) and its miraculous incidents may be interpreted, there can be no question of the divineness of Gideon’s call or that the voice which spoke to him was the voice of God. Neither the brooding over the death of his brothers at Tabor (Jud 8:18) nor the patriotic impulses dwelling within him can account for his assumption of leadership. Nor did he become leader at the demand of the people. He evidently had scarcely thought of himself as his country’s deliverer. The call not only came to him as a surprise, but found him distrustful both of himself (Jud 6:15) and of his people (Jud 6:13). It found him too without inclination for the task, and only his conviction that the command was of God persuaded him to assume leadership. This gives the note of accuracy to the essential facts of the story. Gideon’s demand for a sign (Jud 6:17) being answered, the food offered the messenger having been consumed by fire at the touch of his staff, Gideon acknowledged the Divine commission of his visitor, and at the place of visitation built an altar to Yahweh (Jud 6:19 ).

4. His First Commission:

The call and first commission of Gideon are closely joined. He is at once commanded to destroy the altars of Baal set up by his father at Ophrah, to build an altar to Yahweh at the same place and thereon to offer one of his father’s bullocks as a sacrifice (Jud 6:25 f). There is no reason to look on this as a second version of Gideon’s call. It is rather the beginning of instruction, and is deeply significant of the accuracy of the story, in that it follows the line of all revelation to God’s prophets and reformers to begin their work at home. Taking ten men, under the cover of darkness, Gideon does as commanded (Jud 6:27). The morning revealed his work and visited upon him the wrath of the people of Ophrah. They demand of Joash that he put his son to death. The answer of Joash is an ironical but valid defense of Gideon. Why should the people plead for Baal? A god should be able to plead his own cause (Jud 6:28 ). This defense gained for Gideon the name Jerubbaal (yerubba‘al, i.e. yarebh bo ha-ba‘al, "Let Baal plead," Jud 6:32 the King James Version).

The time intervening between this home scene and the actual campaign against the Midianites cannot definitely be named. It is probable that it took months for Gideon even to rally the people of his own clan. The fact is that all the subsequent events of the story are somewhat confused by what looks like a double narrative in which there are apparent but not vital differences. Without ignoring this fact it is still possible to get a connected account of what actually transpired.

5. Gideon’s Army:

When the allied invaders were in camp on the plain of Jezreel, we find Gideon, having recruited the Abiezrites and sent messengers to the various tribes of Israel (Jud 6:34 f), pitching his camp near the Midianites. The location of the various camps of Gideon is difficult, as is the method of the recruiting of the tribes. For instance, Jud 6:35 seems to be in direct contradiction to 7:23, and both are considered of doubtful origin. There was evidently, however, a preliminary encampment at the place of rallying. While waiting here, Gideon further tested his commission by the dry and wet fleece (6:37 ff) and, convinced of God’s purpose to save Israel by his leadership, he moves his camp to the Southeast edge of the plain of Jezreel nearby the spring of Harod. From his point of vantage here he could look down on the tents of Midian. The account of the reduction of his large army from 32,000 to 300 (7:2 ff) is generally accepted as belonging to a later tradition, Neither of the tests, however, is unnatural, and the first was not unusual. According to the account, Gideon at the Lord’s command first excused all the fearful. This left him with 10,000 men. This number was reduced to 300 by a test of their method of drinking. This test can easily be seen to evidence the eagerness and courage of men for battle (Jos).

6. The Midianites’ Discomfiture and Flight:

Having thus reduced the army and having the assurance that the Lord would deliver to him and his little band the forces of Midian, Gideon, with a servant, went by night to the edge of the camp of his enemy, and there heard the telling and interpretation of a dream which greatly encouraged him and led him to strike an immediate blow (Jud 7:9 ). Again we find a conflict of statement between Jud 7:20 and 7:22, but the conflict is as to detail only. Dividing his men into three equal bands, Gideon arranges that with trumpets, and lights concealed in pitchers, and with the cry, "The sword of Yahweh and of Gideon!" they shall descend and charge the Midianites simultaneously from three sides. This stratagem for concealing his numbers and for terrifying the enemy succeeds, and the Midianites and their allies flee in disorder toward the Jordan (7:18 ff). The rout was complete, and the victory was intensified by the fact that in the darkness the enemy turned their swords against one another. Admitting that we have two narratives (compare 7:24; 8:3 with 8:4 ff) and that there is some difference between them in the details of the attack and the progress of the conflict, there is no need for confusion in the main line of events. One part of the fleeing enemy evidently crossed the Jordan at Succoth, being led by Zebah and Zalmunna. The superior force followed the river farther south, toward the ford of Bethbarah.

7. Death of Oreb and Zeeb

Gideon sent messengers to the men of Ephraim (7:24), probably before the first attack, asking them to intercept the Midianites, should they attempt to escape by the fords in their territory. This they did, defeating the enemy at Beth-barah and slaying the princes Oreb and Zeeb ("the Raven" and "the Wolf"). As proof of their victory and valor they brought the heads of the princes to Gideon and accused him of having discounted their bravery by not calling them earlier into the fight. But Gideon was a master of diplomacy, as well as of strategy, and won the friendship of Ephraim by magnifying their accomplishment in comparison with his own (8:1 ff).

Gideon now pursues Zebah and Zalmunna on the East side of the river. The people on that side are still in great fear of the Midianites and refuse even to feed his army. At Succoth they say to him, "Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in thy hand, that we should give bread unto thine army?" (Jud 8:6). At Penuel he meets with the same refusal (Jud 8:8). Promising to deal with Succoth and Penuel as they deserve when he is through with his present task, Gideon pushes on with his half-famished but courageous men, overtakes the Midianites, defeats them, captures Zebah and Zalmunna, and, returning, punishes, according to his promise, both Succoth and Penuel (Jud 8:7,9,13 ).

8. Death of Zebah and Zalmunna:

Thus was the power of the Midianites and the desert hordes broken in Canaan and a forty years’ peace came to Israel. But the two Kings of Midian must now meet their fate as defeated warriors. They had led their forces at Tabor when the brothers of Gideon perished. So Gideon commands his young son Jether to slay them as though they were not worthy of death at a warrior’s hand (Jud 8:20). The youth fearing the task, Gideon himself put them to death (Jud 8:21).

9. Gideon’s Ephod:

The people clamored to make Gideon king. He refused, being moved possibly by a desire to maintain theocracy. To this end he asks only the jewelry taken as spoil in the battles (Jud 8:24 ), and with it makes an ephod, probably an image of Yahweh, and places it in a house of the Lord at Ophrah. By this act it was later thought that Gideon contributed to a future idolatry of Israel. The narrative properly closes with Jud 8:28.

10. His Death:

The remaining verses containing the account of Gideon’s family and death (Jud 8:30 ) and the record of events immediately subsequent to Gideon’s death (Jud 8:33 ) come from other sources than the original narrators.

C. E. Schenk


gid-e-o’-ni (gidh‘oni): The father of Abidan who was prince of Benjamin, mentioned only in connection with the son (Nu 1:11; 2:22; 7:60,65; 10:24).


gi’-dom (gidh‘om): The limit eastward, from Gibeah toward the wilderness, of the pursuit of Benjamin by Israel (Jud 20:45). No name suggesting this has yet been recovered. It is not mentioned elsewhere.


jer’-e-g’-l (racham; kuknos, in Leviticus, porphurion, in Deuteronomy): The name applied to one of the commonest of the vultures, and not an eagle at all. The word is derived from a Hebrew root, meaning "to love," and was applied to the birds because mated pairs seldom separated. These were smaller birds and inferior to the largest members of the family. They nested on a solid base, lived in pairs, and not only flocked over carrion as larger species permitted, but also ate the vilest offal of all sorts, for which reason they were protected by a death penalty by one of the Pharaohs. Because of this the birds became so frequent and daring around camps, among tent-dwellers, and in cities, that they were commonly called "Pharaoh’s chickens." They are mentioned in the Bible in the lists of abominations found in Le 11:13 and De 14:12 (the King James Version "ossifrage"); De 14:17 the King James Version (the Revised Version (British and American) "vulture").

Gene Stratton-Porter


gift (mattanah, minchah, shochadh; doron, dorea, chairisma): In Ge 25:6; Ex 28:38; Nu 18:6,7,29; Eze 20:26, etc., mattanah, "a gift," is so rendered; minchah, an offering or present, used especially of the "meat offerings," is translated "gift" (2Sa 8:2,6 the King James Version; 2Ch 26:8), in which passages "tribute" is meant, as the Revised Version (British and American); 32:23; Ps 45:12. A few other words occur singly, e.g. ‘eshkar, "a reward" (Ps 72:10); mas’eth, "lifting up" (Es 2:18); nathun is translated "gifts" (Nu 8:19; the Revised Version, margin "Hebrew nethunim, given"); nedheh, nadhan, "impure gifts" (Eze 16:33); nisse’th, "a thing lifted up" (2Sa 19:42); shochadh means "a bribe" (Ex 23:8; De 16:19; 2Ch 19:7; Pr 6:35; 17:8,23; Isa 1:23; Eze 22:12); in each instance the American Standard Revised Version has "bribe" except Pr 6:35, "gifts"; teramah, "a present" (Pr 29:4), may also mean a bribe, the King James Version "he that receiveth gifts," the Revised Version (British and American) "he that exacteth gifts," margin "imposeth tribute, Hebrew a man of offerings."

In the New Testament doron, "a present," "gift" (from didomi, "to give"), is translated "gift" (Mt 2:11; 5:23,14 bis; Mr 7:11 the King James Version; Heb 5:1; Re 11:10, etc., referring chiefly to gifts or offerings to God); dorea, "a free gift" (Joh 4:10; Ac 2:38; Ro 5:15,17; 2Co 9:15; Heb 6:4, etc., referring to the gifts of God); dorema, "a free gift" (Ro 5:16; Jas 1:17, the English Revised Version "boon"); dosis, " giving" (Jas 1:17, "every good gift," the Revised Version, margin "giving"); charisma, "grace," "favor," a benefit or good conferred, is also used of Divine gifts and favors, especially of the supernatural gifts imparted by the Holy Spirit (charismata) enumerated in Ro 12; 1Co 12; the word occurs translated "gift, gifts" (Ro 1:11), "some spiritual gift" (Ro 5:15,16, "free gift"; Ro 6:23, "The gift of God is eternal life," the Revised Version (British and American) "free gift"; 11:29; 1Co 1:7; 7:7; 2Co 1:11; 1Ti 4:14; 2Ti 1:6; 1Pe 4:10); charis, "grace," "favor" (2Co 8:4, the Revised Version (British and American) "grace"); merismos, "distribution," "parting" (Heb 2:4, the Revised Version, margin "distributions"); anathema, "a thing devoted to God," is once (Lu 21:5) used of "the goodly gifts" (the Revised Version (British and American) "offerings") which adorned the Temple at Jerusalem.

In the Revised Version (British and American) "gift" is substituted in the text of Ge 33:11 for blessing, margin Hebrew "blessing"; "boasteth himself of his gifts falsely" (Pr 25:14) for "boasteth himself of a false gift," margin Hebrew "in a gift of falsehood"; "a parting gift" for "presents" (Mic 1:14); "Given to God" for "a gift" (Mr 7:11).

W. L. Walker








gi’-hon (gichon; Geon): One of the four rivers of Eden (Ge 2:13). It is said to compass the Whole land of Cush (Ethiopia), probably a province East of the Tigris. The Gihon is thought by Sayce to be the Kerkha, coming down from Luristan through the province known in the cuneiform texts as Kassi, probably the Cush of the Bible.


Used figuratively of wisdom in Sirach 24:27, "as Gihon (the King James Version Geon) in the days of vintage."


(gichon, gichon (in 1 K), from root gayach "to burst forth"):

(1) See preceding article.

(2) The Nile in Jer 2:18 Septuagint (Geon); in Hebrew shichor (see SHIHOR).

(3) A spring in Jerusalem, evidently sacred, and, for that reason, selected as the scene of Solomon’s coronation (1Ki 1:38). It is without doubt the spring known to the Moslems as ‘Ain Umm edition deraj ("the spring of the steps") and to the Christians as ‘Ain Sitti Miriam ("the spring of the lady Mary"), or commonly as the "Virgin’s Fount." It is the one true spring of Jerusalem, the original source of attraction to the site of the early settlers; it is situated in the Kidron valley on the East side of "Ophel," and due South of the temple area. See JERUSALEM. The water in the present day is brackish and impregnated with sewage. The spring is intermittent in character, "bursting up" at intervals: this feature may account for the name Gihon and for its sacred characters. In New Testament times it was, as it is today, credited with healing virtues. See BETHESDA. Its position is clearly defined in the Old Testament. Manasseh "built an outer wall to the city of David, on the West side of Gihon, in the valley" ( = Nahal, i.e. the Kidron; 2Ch 33:14). From Gihon Hezekiah made his aqueduct (2Ch 32:30), now the Siloam tunnel.


The spring is approached by a steep descent down 30 steps, the water rising deep underground; the condition is due to the vast accumulation of rubbish—the result of the many destructions of the city—which now fills the valley bed. Originally the water ran down the open valley. The water rises from a long deep crack in the rock, partly under the lowest of the steps and to a lesser extent in the mouth of a small cave, 11 1/2 ft. long by 5 ft. wide, into which all the water pours. The village women of Siloam obtain the water at the mouth of the cave, but when the supply is scanty they actually go under the lowest step—where there is a kind of chamber—and fill their vessels there. At the farther end of this cave is the opening leading into the aqueduct down which the water flows to emerge after many windings at the pool of Siloam. The first part of this aqueduct is older than the time of Hezekiah and led originally to the perpendicular shaft, connected with "Warren’s tunnel" described elsewhere (see SILOAM; ZION).

The preeminent position of importance which Gihon held in the eyes of the earlier inhabitants of Jerusalem is shown by the extraordinary number of passages, rock cuttings, walls and aqueducts which exist all about the spring. Walls have been made at different periods to bank up the waters and direct them into the channels provided for them. Of aqueducts, besides the "Siloam aqueduct," two others have been formed. One running from the source at a considerable lower level than that of Hezekiah was followed by the present writer (see PEFS, 1902, 35-38) for 176 ft. It was very winding, following apparently the West side of the Kidron valley. It was a well-cemented channel, about 1 1/2 ft. wide and on an average of 4 1/2 ft. high, roofed in with well-cut stones. There are no certain indications of age, but in the writer’s opinion it is a much later construction than Hezekiah’s aqueduct, though the rock-cut part near the source may be older. It was discovered by the Siloam fellahin, because, through a fault in the dam, all the water of the "Virgin’s Fount" was disappearing down this channel. A third aqueduct has recently been discovered running off at a higher level than the other two. It is a channel deeply cut in the rock with curious trough-like stones all along its floor. It appears to be made for water, but one branch of it actually slopes upward toward its end. The pottery, which is early Hebrew, shows that it is very ancient. The whole accumulated debris around the source is full of pre-Israelite and early Israelite pottery.

E. W. G. Masterman


gil’-a-li, gi-la’-li (gilalay): A musician in the procession at the dedication of the wall, son of a priest (Ne 12:36).


gil-bo’-a (~har hagilboa], "Mount of the Gilboa"): Unless we should read "Gilboa" for "Gilead" in Jud 7:3 (see GILEAD, 2) this mountain is mentioned in Scripture only in connection with the last conflict of Saul with the Philistines, and his disastrous defeat (1Sa 28:4; 31:1,8; 2Sa 1:6,21; 21:12; 1Ch 10:1,8). If Zer‘in be identical with Jezreel—a point upon which Professor R.A.S. Macalister has recently cast some doubt—Saul must have occupied the slopes on the Northwest side of the mountain, near "the fountain which is in Jezreel" (1Sa 29:1). The Philistines attacked from the plain, and the battle went sore against the men of Israel, who broke and fled; and in the flight Jonathan, Abinadab and Malchi- shua, sons of Saul, were slain. Rather than be taken by his lifelong foes, Saul fell upon his sword and died (1Sa 31:1 ).

The modern name of the mountain is Jebel Faqu‘a. It rises on the eastern edge of the plain of Esdraelon, and, running from Zer‘in to the Southeast, it then sweeps southward to join the Samarian uplands. It presents an imposing appearance from the plain, but the highest point, Sheikh Burqan, is not more than 1,696 ft. above sea level. In the higher reaches the range is rugged and barren; but vegetation is plentiful on the lower slopes, especially to the West. The Kishon takes its rise on the mountain. Under the northern cliffs rises ‘Ain Jalud, possibly identical with HAROD, WELL OF, which see. In Jelbun, a village on the western declivity, there is perhaps an echo of the old name.

W. Ewing


gil’-e-ad (ha-gil‘adh, "the Gilead"): The name is explained in Ge 31:46 ff, 51, as derived from Hebrew gal, "a cairn," and ‘edh, "witness," agreeing in meaning with the Aramaic yegharsahadhutha’. The Arabic jilead means "rough," "rugged."

(1) A city named in Ho 6:8; 12:11, possibly to be identified with Gilead near to Mizpah (Jud 10:17). If this is correct, the ancient city may be represented by the modern Jil‘ad, a ruin about 5 miles North of es-Salt.

(2) A mountain named in Jud 7:3. Gideon, ordered to reduce the number of men who were with him, commanded all who were "fearful and trembling" to "return and depart from Mt. Gilead." the Revised Version, margin reads "return and go round about from Mt. Gilead." Gideon and his army lay to the South of the plain of Jezreel on the lower slopes of Gilboa. It has been suggested (Studer, Comm., at the place) that, as the Midianites lay between the men of the northern tribes and their homes, they were told to cross the Jordan, make a detour through Gilead, and thus avoid the enemy. Possibly, however, we should read Gilboa for Gilead; or part of the mountain may have borne the name of Gilead. The last suggestion is favored by the presence of a strong spring under the northern declivity of Gilboa, nearly 2 miles from Zer‘in, possibly to be identified with the Well of Harod. In the modern name, ‘Ain Jalud, there may be an echo of the ancient Gilead.

(3) The name is applied generally to the mountain mass lying between the Yarmuk on the North, and Wady Chesban on the South; the Jordan being the boundary on the West, while on the East it marched with the desert.

1. The Land of Gilead:

Mount Gilead—literally, "Mount of the Gilead"—may refer to some particular height which we have now no means of identifying (Ge 31:23). The name Jebel Jil‘ad is still, indeed, applied to a mountain South of Nahr ez-Zerqa and North of es-Salt; but this does not meet the necessities of the passage as it stands. The same expression in De 3:12 obviously stands for the whole country. This is probably true also in So 4:1. The name Gilead is sometimes used to denote the whole country East of the Jordan (Ge 37:25; Jos 22:9; 2Sa 2:9, etc.). Again, along with Bashan, it indicates the land East of Jordan, as distinguished from the Moab plateau (De 3:10; Jos 13:11; 2Ki 10:33).


In the North Gilead bordered upon Geshur and Maacah (Jos 13:11,13); and here the natural boundary would be formed by the deep gorge of the Yarmuk and Wady esh-Shellaleh. In pre-Israelite times the Jabbok (Nahr ez-Zerqa), which cuts the country in two, divided the kingdom of Sihon from that of Og (De 3:16; Jos 12:2). The frontiers between the tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh cannot be indicated with any certainty. Probably they varied at different times (compare Jos 13:24 ff; 1Ch 5:8,9,11,16). It greatly increases the difficulty that so many of the cities named are still unidentified. But in any case it is clear that the bulk of Gilead fell to Gad, so that Gilead might stand for Gad (Jud 5:17). HAVVOTH-JAIR (which see), "the villages of Jair," lay in Gilead (Jud 10:4). The modern division of the country follows the natural features. From the Yarmuk to Nahr ez-Zerqa is the district of ‘Ajlun; and from the Zerqa to the Arnon is el-Belqa.

3. Geology:

The geological formation is the same as that of Western Palestine, but the underlying sandstone, which does not appear West of the Jordan, forms the base slopes of the chain of Moab and Gilead, and is traceable as far as the Jabbok. It is covered in part by the more recent white marls which form the curious peaks of the foothills immediately above the Jordan valley; but reaches above them to an elevation of 1,000 ft. above the Mediterranean on the South, and forms the bed of the Buqei‘a basin farther East, and 1,000 ft. higher. Above this lies the hard, impervious dolomite limestone which appears in ‘the rugged hills round’ the Jabbok and in Jebel ‘Ajlun, rising on an average 1,500 ft. above the sandstone and forming the bed of the copious springs. It also dips toward the Jordan valley, and the water from the surface of the plateau, sinking down to the surface of their formation, bursts out of the hill slopes on the West in perennial brooks. It was from the ruggedness of this hard limestone that Gilead obtained its name. Above this again is the white chalk of the desert plateau, the same as that found in Samaria and Lower Galilee, with bands of flint or chert in contorted layers, or strewn in pebbles on the surface. Where this formation is deep the country is bare and arid, supplied by cisterns and deep wells. Thus the plateau becomes desert, while the hill slopes abound in streams and springs; and for this reason Western Gilead is a fertile country, and Eastern Gilead is a wilderness (Conder, DB, under the word).

4. Mountains:

The uplands of Gilead may be described as the crumpling of the edge of the great eastern plateau ere it plunges into the Ghor. The average height of the range is about 4,000 ft. above the Jordan valley, or 3,000 ft. above the Mediterranean. The greatest height is toward the South, where it culminates in Jebel Osh‘a (3,597 ft.), to the North of es-Salt. This mountain commands a most spacious view. To the East of it lies the hollow (an old lake bottom) of el-Buqei‘a, fully 1,500 ft. lower. In the North we have Jebel Hakart (3,408 ft.) W, of Reimun. Almost as high (3,430 ft.) is Jebei Kafkafah, about 12 miles to the Northeast. A striking point (2,700 ft.) fully 2 miles Northwest of ‘Ajlun, is crowned by Qal‘at er-Rabad, whence again a view of extraordinary extent is gained.

5. Streams and Products:

The Yarmuk and the Zerqa (see JABBOK) are the main streams, but almost every valley has its perennial brook. While not so rich as the volcanic loam in the North and in and the South, the soil of Gilead amply repays the labor of the husbandman. Of flowers the most plentiful are the phlox, the cistus and the narcissus. Hawthorn, mastic and arbutus abound, while many a glen and slope is shady with shaggy oak woods, and, in the higher reaches, with pines. The streams are fringed with oleander. The monotony of the stony plateau is broken by clumps of the hardy white broom. In the lower ground are found the tamarisk and the lotus, with many a waving cane-brake. The scenery is more beautiful and picturesque than that of any other district of Palestine. The soil is not now cultivated to any great extent; but it furnishes ample pasture for many flocks and herds (So 6:5).

The Ishmaelites from Gilead (Ge 37:25) were carrying "spicery and balm and myrrh." From old time Gilead was famed for its BALM (which see). The loT, translated "myrrh" in the above passage, was probably the gum produced by the Cistus ladaniferus, a flower which still abounds in Gilead.

6. History:

After the conquest, as we have seen, Gilead passed mainly into the hands of Gad. An Ammonite attack was repulsed by the prowess of Jephthah (Jud 11:1 ); and the spite of the Ephraimites was terribly punished (Jud 12:1 ). Gilead at first favored the cause of Ishbosheth (2Sa 2:9), but after the murder of that prince the Gileadites came with the rest of Israel to David (2Sa 5:1). By the conquest of the fortress Rabbah, which the Ammonites had continued to hold, the land passed finally under the power of David (2Sa 12:26 ). David fled to Mahanaim from Absalom, and that rebel prince perished in one of the forests of Gilead (2Sa 17:24; 18:6 ). Joab’s census included Gilead (2Sa 24:6). Solomon had two commissariat districts in Gilead (1Ki 4:13 f, 19). Before Ramoth-gilead, which he sought to win back from the Syrians who had captured it, Ahab received his death wound (1Ki 22:1 ). The Syrians asserted their supremacy in Gilead (2Ki 10:32 f) where Moab and Israel had contended with varying fortune (M S). At length Tiglath-pileser overran the country and transported many of the inhabitants (2Ki 15:29). This seems to have led to a reconquest of the land by heathenism, and return to Gilead was promised to Israel (Zec 10:10).

At a later time the Jewish residents in Gilead were exposed to danger from their heathen neighbors. On their behalf Judas Maccabeus invaded the country and met with striking success (1 Macc 5:9 ff). Alexander Janneus, who had subdued Gilead, was forced to yield it again to the king of Arabia (Ant., XIII, xiv, 2; BJ, I, iv, 3). During the Roman period, especially in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, the land enjoyed great prosperity. Then were built such cities as Gadara and Gerasa, which are still imposing, even in ruins. The appearance of the Moslem armies was the signal for its decay. Attempts were made to recover it for Christianity by Baldwin I (1118 AD) and Baldwin II (1121 AD); and the Crusaders left their mark in such strong-holds as Kal‘at er-Rabad and the castle at es-Salt. With the reassertion of Moslem supremacy a curtain falls over the history of the district; and only in comparatively recent times has it again become known to travelers. The surveys directed by the Palestine Exploration Fund, in so far as they have been carried out, are invaluable. North of the Jabbok are many villages, and a fair amount of cultivation. Es Salt is the only village of any importance in the South. It is famous for its raisins. Its spacious uplands, its wooded and well-watered valleys have been for centuries the pasture-land of the nomads.


Useful information will be found in Merrill, East of the Jordan; Oliphant, Land of Gilead; Thomson, LB; and especially in Conder, Heth and Moab, and in Memoirs of the Survey of Eastern Palestine

W. Ewing



(1) A son of Machir, grandson of Manasseh (Nu 26:29,30).

(2) The father of Jephthah (Jud 11:1,2).

(3) A Gadite, the son of Michael (1Ch 5:14).




See GILEAD (2).



(1) A branch of the tribe of Manasseh (Nu 26:29).

(2) Natives of the district of Gilead (Jud 10:3; 11:1, etc.).


gil’-gal (gilgal, "circle"; Galgala): The article is always with the name except in Jos 5:9. There are three places to which the name is attached:

(1) The first camp of Israel after crossing the Jordan (Jos 4:19; 5:9,10; 9:6; 10:7; 14:6; 15:7; De 11:30). According to Jos 15:7 it lay to the North of the valley of Achor, which formed the border between Judah and Benjamin. Here 12 memorial stones taken from the bed of the river were set up by Joshua, after the miraculous crossing of the Jordan; and here (Jos 5:5 ) the people were circumcised preparatory to their possession of the land, when it is said in Josh, with a play upon the word, "This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you." Whereupon the Passover was celebrated (Jos 5:10) and the manna ceased (Jos 5:12). To Gilgal the ark returned every day after having compassed the city of Jericho during its siege (Jos 6:11). Hither the Gibeonites came to make their treaty (Jos 9:3 ), and again (Jos 10:6) to ask aid against the Amorites. Gilgal was still the headquarters of the Israelites after the battle with the Amorites (Jos 10:15); again after Joshua’s extensive victorious campaign in the hill country of Judea extending to Kadesh-barnea and Gaza (Jos 10:15 ); and still later upon his return from the great battle at the Waters of Merom (Jos 14:6). At the conclusion of the conquest (Jos 18:1), the headquarters were transferred to Shiloh on the summit of the mountain ridge to the West.

Gilgal reappears frequently in subsequent history. Samuel (1Sa 7:16) made it one of the three places where he annually held circuit court, the other places being Bethel and Mizpah. The Septuagint text adds that these were holy places. The place continued as one of special resort for sacrifices (1Sa 10:8; 13:8,9,10; 15:21), while it was here that Samuel hewed Agag to pieces before the Lord (1Sa 15:33), and that Saul was both crowned (1Sa 11:14,15) and rejected as king. It was at Gilgal, also (2Sa 19:15), that the people assembled to welcome David as he returned from his exile beyond Jordan during Absalom’s rebellion. The early prophets refer to Gilgal as a center of idolatry in their day (Ho 4:15; 9:15; 12:11; Am 4:4; 5:5). Micah (6:5) represents Gilgal as at the other end of the Dead Sea from Shittim.

In 1874 Conder recognized the name Gilgal as surviving in Barker Jiljuilieh, a pool beside a tamarisk tree 3 miles East of old Jericho. The pool measures 100 ft. by 84, and is surrounded with a wall of roughly hewn stones. North of the pool Bliss discovered lines of masonry 300 yds. long, representing probably the foundations of an ancient monastery. South of the pool there are numerous mounds scattered over an area of one-third of a square mile, the largest being 50 feet in diameter, and 10 feet in height. On excavation some pottery and glass were found. These ruins are probably those of early Christian occupation, and according to Conder there is nothing against their marking the original site. Up to the Middle Ages the 12 stones of Joshua were referred to by tradition.

(2) According to 2Ki 2:1; 4:38, Elisha for a time made his headquarters at Gilgal, a place in the mountains not far from Bethel identified by Conder as Jiljilia, standing on a high hill on the North side of the Wady el-Jib. It is lower than Bethel, but the phrase in 2Ki 2:2, "they went down to Beth-el," may refer to their initial descent into the wady. It could not have been said that they went down from Gilgal to Bethel in the Jordan valley. The place seems to be referred to in Neb 12:29 as Beth-gilgal.

(3) Gilgal of the nations: In Jos 12:23 Gilgal is mentioned as a royal city associated with Dor, evidently upon the maritime plain. Dor is identified with Tantura, while Conder identifies this Gilgal with Jiljuilieh, 30 miles South of Dor and 4 miles North of Anti-patris.

George Frederick Wright


gi’-lo (giloh): A town in the hill country of Judah mentioned along with Jattir, Socoh, Debir, Eshtemoa, etc. (Jos 15:51). Ahithophel came from here (2Sa 15:12) and is called the Gilonite (2Sa 23:34). Driver infers from this last that the original form was Gilon, not Giloh. Probably the ruins Kb. Jala, in the hills 3 miles Northwest of Hulhul, mark the site (PEF, III, 313, Sh XXI).


gi’-lo-nit. See preceding article.


ge’-mel, gim’-el ("g"): The 3rd letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and used as such to designate the 3rd part of Ps 119; transliterated in this Encyclopedia with the dagesh as "g", and without the dagesh as "gh" (aspirated "g"). It came also to be used for the number three (3), and with the dieresis for 3,000. For name, etc., see ALPHABET.


gim’-zo (gimzo; Gamzo): A town of Judah on the border of the Philistine plain, captured by the Philistines in the days of Ahaz (2Ch 28:18). It is the modern Jimzu, a small mud village about 3 1/2 miles Southeast of Ludd (Lydda), on the old mule road from there to Jerusalem (Robinson, BR, II, 248-49; . SWP, Il, 297).


jin (moqesh, pach): A noose of hair or wire for snaring wild birds alive. There are over half a dozen traps and net devices indicated by different terms in the Bible. The gin was of horse-hair for small birds and wire for larger ones. It is mentioned in Am 3:5: "Can a bird fall in a snare upon the earth, where no gin is set for him? shall a snare spring up from the ground, and have taken nothing at all?" Job writing in mental and physical discomfort on the ash heap included all methods mentioned in one outburst:

"For he is cast into a net by his own feet.

And he walketh upon the toils.

A gin shall take him by the heel,

And a snare shall lay hold on him,

A noose is hid for him in the ground.

And a trap for him in the way" (Job 18:8 ).

Gene Stratton-Porter


gi’-nath (ginath): Father of Tibni, the unsuccessful rival of Omri (1Ki 16:21,22).


gin-e-tho’-i, gin’-e-thon (the King James Version Ginnetho), (ginnethoy, and ginnethon): The head of a priestly family. Ginnethoi (Ginnetho) is found in Ne 12:4, and Ginnethon in 10:6; 12:16.





gur’-ga-shit (girgashi; Gergesaios; also punctuated (?) Girgasite (Ge 10:16 the King James Version)): A son of (the land of) Canaan (Ge 10:16), and accordingly enumerated along with the Canaanite’ in the list of tribes or nationalities inhabiting that country (Ge 15:21; De 7:1; Jos 3:10; 24:11; Ne 9:8). It has been supposed that the name survived in that of "the Gergesenes," the King James Version (the Revised Version (British and American) "the Gadarenes"), of Mt 8:28, on the East side of the Sea of Galilee; Josephus (Ant., I, vi, 2), however, states that nothing was known about it. The inscriptions of the Egyptian king, Ramses II, mention the Qarqish who sent help to the Hittites in their war with Egypt; but Qarqish was more probably in Asia Minor than in Syria. Pinches (The Old Testament in the Light of the Historical Records, 324) would identify the Girgashites with the Kirkishati of an Assyrian tablet; the latter people, however, seem to have lived to the East of the Tigris, and it may be that, as in the case of the Hittites, a colony of the Qarqish, from Asia Minor, was established in Palestine.

A. H. Sayce


gurl: Twice in the Old Testament as the rendering of yaldah (Joe 3:3; Zec 8:5), in both cases in association with boys. Same word rendered "damsel" in Ge 34:4.






gish’-pa (the King James Version Gispa; gishpa’): An officer of the Nethinim (Ne 11:21). A comparison with Ezr 2:43 makes it probable that he is to be identified with Hasupha, and quite possible that this word is a corruption of Hasupha.


git-a-he’-fer (gittah chepher): the King James Version (Jos 19:13) for Gath-hepher. Gittah is correctly Gath with the Hebrew letter, he ("h") locale, meaning "toward Gath."


git’-a-im (gittayim): The town to which the Beerothites tied, and where they lived as gerim, or protected strangers (2Sa 4:3). The place need not have been beyond the boundaries of Benjamin, so it may be identical with Gittaim of Ne 11:33, which was occupied by Benjamites after the exile. It is named with Hazor and Ramah; but so far the site has not been discovered.


git’-its (gittim, plural of gittiy): The inhabitants of Gath. They are mentioned along with the inhabitants of the other chief Philistine cities in Jos 13:3. It would seem that numbers of them emigrated to Judah, for we find 600 of them acting as a bodyguard to David with Ittai at their head (2Sa 15:18 ff; 18:2). Obed-edom, to whom David entrusted the ark when he was frustrated in bringing it into the city of David, was a Gittite (2Sa 6:11 f; 1Ch 13:13). The Gittites seem to have been remarkable for their great stature (2Sa 21:19; 1Ch 20:5 ).





(nathan, yahabh, sum; didomi): "Give" is a very common word in the Old Testament. It is most frequently the translation of nathan, "to give" (Ge 1:29; 3:6; Ex 2:9; De 18,20, etc., over 800 instances); nathan is also translated "to give up" (De 23:14; Isa 43:6; Ho 11:8); of yahabh, "to give" (Ge 30:1; 1Ch 16:28 the King James Version). In Ps 55:22 we have the perfect with suffix, "Cast thy burden upon Yahweh," margin "what he hath given thee"; elsewhere it is the imperative "Give!" (the King James Version in Gen, "Go to"); sum, "to put," "place" (Nu 6:26; Pr 8:29); rum, "to lift up," "exalt" (2Ch 30:24; 35:7,8,9, "to give to"); shubh, "to cause to turn back" (Le 25:51,52; 2Ki 17:3, "to give again"); various other words are in single instances translated "give."

In the New Testament, the common word is didomi, "to give" (Mt 4:9; Joh 1:12; Re 1:1; 21:6, etc.); we have also apodidomi, "to give away (from one’s self)" (Mt 12:36; Lu 16:2; Ac 4:33; 19:40; Re 22:12); diadidomi, "to give throughout" (Re 17:13); epididomi, "to give upon or besides" (Mt 7:9,10; Joh 13:26); metadidomi, "to give a share" (Ro 12:8); paradidomi, "to give over to" (Ro 1:28; 1Co 13:3; Ga 2:20, etc.); prodidomi, "to give forth or foremost" (Ro 11:35); aponemo, "to apportion" (1Pe 3:7); doreomai, "to give as a gift" (Mr 15:45, the Revised Version (British and American) "granted"; 2Pe 1:3,4 the King James Version); martureo, "to give testimony or witness" (1 Joh 5:10); pareisphero, "to bring forward therewith" (2Pe 1:5); parecho, "to hold near by" (Col 4:1; 1Ti 6:17); kataphero, "to bear against or down" (Ac 26:10); charizomai, "to grant as a favor" (Lu 7:21; Ac 27:24; Ro 8:32; Ga 3:18; Php 2:9; Phm 1:22 the King James Version). A few other words mostly occurring singly are translated "give."

Of the many changes in the Revised Version (British and American), the following are among the most important: for "Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies," "Thou hast also made mine enemies turn their backs unto me" (2Sa 22:41; Ps 18:40); for "He that made him can make his sword to approach unto him" (Job 40:19), the American Standard Revised Version has "He only that made him giveth him his sword," the English Revised Version, margin "furnished"; for "hasten after another god" (Ps 16:4), the American Standard Revised Version has "give gifts for" (ERVm); for "give" (Ps 29:1,2, etc.), the American Standard Revised Version has "ascribe"; for "give myself unto wine" (Ec 2:3), "cheer my flesh with wine"; for "giveth his life" (Joh 10:11), "layeth down"; "given" is supplied (Ac 19:2), where we read instead of "We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost," "We did not so much as hear whether the Holy Spirit was given," margin "there is a Holy Spirit"; for Christ shall give thee light" (Eph 5:14), "Christ shall shine upon thee"; for "give in charge" (1Ti 5:7), "command"; for "not given to wine" (1Ti 3:3; Tit 1:7), "no brawler," margin "not quarrelsome over wine"; for "she that liveth in pleasure" (1Ti 5:6), "giveth herself to"; for "All scripture is given by inspiration of God" (2Ti 3:16), "Every scripture inspired of God," margin "Every scripture is inspired of God"; for "given to filthy lucre" (Tit 1:7), "greedy of"; in Heb 2:16, the American Standard Revised Version has "For verily not of angels doth he give help," margin "For verily not of angels doth he take hold, but he taketh hold," etc. (compare Isa 41:9; Ecclesiasticus 4:11; 8:9 (in the Greek) the English Revised Version, "not of angels doth he take hold") (the idea is that of taking hold of to lift up or help); in Ecclesiasticus 13:15 for "giving thanks to his name," the Revised Version (British and American) reads "make confession to his name"; for "giving all diligent" (2Pe 1:5), "adding."

The prominence of "give" in the Bible reminds us that God is the great Giver (Jas 1:5), and of the words of the Lord Jesus, "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Ac 20:35), "Freely ye received, freely give" (Mt 10:8).

W. L. Walker


gi’-zon-it: This gentilic name in 1Ch 11:34, "Hashem the Gizonite," is probably an error for "Gunite" (compare Nu 26:48), and the passage should be corrected, after 2Sa 23:32, into "Jashen the Gunite."


giz’-rits (gizri (Kethibh); the King James Version Gezrites): Inhabitants of GEZER, (which see). The Qere reads girzi, Girzites (1Sa 27:8).


ti’-dingz (euaggelizo): "Glad-tidings" occurs in the King James Version in the translation of the verb euaggelizo, "to tell good news" (Lu 1:19; 8:1; Ac 13:32; Ro 10:15); in each instance, except the last, the Revised Version (British and American) translations "good tidings." The verb is also very frequently translated in the King James Version "to preach the gospel," the original meaning of which word (god-spell) is "good news or tidings" (Mt 11:5; Lu 4:18; 7:22; 9:6; 20:1); in the first two passages the Revised Version (British and American) substitutes "good tidings," margin "the gospel"; in the last two instances "the gospel" is retained, the American Revised Version, margin "good tidings"—the gospel or good tidings being the announcement of the near approach of the promised, long-looked-for salvation and kingdom of God; in Ro 1:15; 15:20; 1Co 1:17, etc., the King James Version has "the gospel," namely, that of God’s reconciliation of the world to Himself in Christ; the Revised Version (British and American) in some passages substitutes "good tidings," or gives this in the margin; but "glad tidings" stands only in Ro 10:15.

W. L. Walker


glas (zekhukhith; hualos):

1. History:

Glass is of great antiquity. The story of its discovery by accident, as related by Pliny (NH, xxxvi.65), is apocryphal, but it was natural for the Greeks and Romans to ascribe it to the Phoenicians, since they were the producers of the article as known to them. The Egyptian monuments have revealed to us the manufacture in a time so remote that it must have preceded that of the Phoenicians. A representation of glass-blowing on monuments of the Old Empire, as formerly supposed, is now regarded as doubtful, but undoubted examples of glazed pottery of that age exist. A fragment of blue glass has been found inscribed with the name of Antef III, of the XIth Dynasty, dating from 2000 or more BC (Davis, Ancient Egypt, 324). The oldest dated bottle, or vase, is one bearing the name of Thothmes III, 1500 or more BC, and numerous examples occur of later date. The close connection between Egypt and Syria from the time of Thothmes on must have made glass known in the latter country, and the Phoenicians, so apt in all lines of trade and manufacture, naturally seized on glass-making as a most profitable art and they became very proficient in it. The earliest glass was not very transparent, since they did not know how to free the materials used from impurities. It had a greenish or purplish tinge, and a large part of the examples we have of Phoenician glass exhibit this. But we have many examples of blue, red and yellow varieties which were purposely colored, and others quite opaque and of a whitish color, resembling porcelain (Perrot and Chipiez, Art in Ancient Phoenicia and Its Dependencies). But both they and the Egyptians made excellent transparent glass also, and decorated it with brilliant coloring on the surface (ib; Beni Hasan, Archeol. Survey of Egypt, Pt IV). Layard (Nineveh and Babylon) mentions a vase of transparent glass bearing the name of Sargon (522-505 BC), and glass was early known to the Babylonians.

2. Manufacture:

Phoenicia was the great center, and the quantities found in tombs of Syria and Palestine go to confirm the statement that this was one of the great industries of this people, to which ancient authors testify (Strabo, Geog.; Pliny, NH). Josephus refers to the sand of the Belus as that from which glass was made (BJ, II, x, 2). It seems to have been especially adapted for the purpose, but there are other places on the coast where plenty of suitable sand could be obtained. The potash required was obtained by burning certain marine and other plants, and saltpeter, or niter, was also employed. The manufacture began centuries BC on this coast, and in the 12th century AD a factory is mentioned as still being worked at Tyre, and the manufacture was later carried on at Hebron, even down to recent times (Perrot and Chipiez).

Both the Egyptians and Phoenicians gained such proficiency in making transparent and colored glass that they imitated precious stones with such skill as to deceive the unwary. Necklaces are found composed of a mixture of real brilliants and glass imitations. Cut glass was manufactured in Egypt as early as the XVIIIth Dynasty, and diamonds were made use of in the article Glass composed of different colors in the same piece was made by placing layers of glass wire, of different colors, one above the other and then fusing them so thar they became united in a solid mass without intermingling. Colored designs on the surface were produced by tracing the patterns, while the glass was still warm and plastic, deep enough to receive the threads of colored glass which were imbedded in them. The whole was heated again sufficiently to fuse the threads and attach them to the body. The surface was then made even by perishing. By this process vessels and ornaments of very beautiful design were produced. Many of the specimens, as found, are covered by an exquisite iridescence which is due wholly to the decomposition of the surface by chemical action, from lying buried for centuries in the soil which thus acts upon it. This is often lost in handling by the scaling off of the outer surface.

Glass, in the strict sense, is rarely mentioned in Scripture, but it was certainly known to the Hebrews, and occurs in Job 28:17 (translated "crystal" in the King James Version). Bottles, cups and other vessels in glass must have been in use to some extent. The wine cup of Pr 23:31 and the bottle for tears mentioned in Ps 56:8 were most likely of glass. Tear bottles are found in great quantities in the tombs throughout the land and were undoubtedly connected with funeral rites, the mourners collecting their tears and placing them in these bottles to be buried with the dead. As mourners were hired for the purpose, the number of these bottles would indicate the extent to which the deceased was honored. These were, of course, small, some quite diminutive (see illustration), as also were the vials or pots to contain the ointment for the eyebrows and eyelashes, used to heighten the beauty of the women, which was probably a custom among the Hebrews as well as their neighbors. Rings, bracelets and anklets of glass are very common and were doubtless worn by the Hebrew women (see Isa 3:18 f). In the New Testament the Greek hualos occurs in Re 21:18,21, and the adjective derived from it hualinos in 4:6 and 15:2. In the other passages, where in the King James Version "glass" occurs, the reference is to "looking-glass," or mirror, which was not made of glass, but of bronze, and polished so as to reflect the light similar to glass. The Hebrew word for this is gillayon (Isa 3:23), or mar’ah (Ex 38:8), and the Greek esoptron (1Co 13:12; Jas 1:23; compare The Wisdom of Solomon 7:26; Sirach 12:11).

The composition of the Phoenician glass varies considerably. The analysis shows that, besides the ordinary constituents of silica, lime, lead, potash or soda, other elements are found, some being used for the purpose of coloring, such as manganese to give the purplish or violet hue, cobalt for blue, copper for red, etc. The articles illustrated above are of ordinary transparent glass with an iridescent surface, caused by decomposition, as mentioned above, indicated by the scaly appearance. Numbers 1, 4 and 5 are tear bottles, number 4 being only 1 3/4 inches in height; numbers 2 and 3 are ointment vases which were used for the ointment with which ladies were accustomed to color their eyebrows and eyelashes to enhance their beauty. This custom still prevails in the East. The small ladle by the side of the larger vase is of bronze, used in applying the ointment. This vase is double and 6 3/4 inches high, ornamented with glass wire wound upon it while plastic. The larger vases (numbers 6 and 7) are about 6 inches in height. The hand-mirror ("looking-glass" the King James Version) is bronze, and had originally a polished surface, but is now corroded.

H. Porter


(thalassa hualine; Re 4:6; 15:2): In the vision of heaven in these two apocalyptic passages a "glassy sea" is seen before the throne of God. The pure translucency of the sea is indicated in the former reference by the words, "like unto crystal"; and the fiery element that may symbolize the energy of the Divine holiness is suggested in the latter passage by the trait, "mingled with fire." On the margin of this sea—on the inner side—stood the victorious saints, with harps, singing the song of Moses and of the Lamb (Re 15:2-4). The imagery here points to a relation with the triumphal song in Ex 15, after the deliverance from Pharaoh at the Red Sea. It is not easy to define the symbolism precisely. The sea, reflecting in its crystalline depths the purity and holiness of the Divine character and administration, speaks at the same time of difficulties surmounted, victory obtained and safety assured, the after-glow of the Divine judgments by which this result has been secured still illuminating the glassy expanse that has been crossed.

James Orr


glen’-ing (laqat, ‘alal): The custom of allowing the poor to follow the reapers in the field and glean the fallen spears of grain is strikingly illustrated in the story of Ru (Ru 2:2-23). This custom had back of it one of the early agricultural laws of the Hebrews (Le 19:9; 23:22; De 24:19-21). Breaking this law was a punishable offense. The generosity of the master of the crop determined the value of the gleanings, as the story of Ru well illustrates (Ru 2:16). A reaper could easily impose upon the master by leaving too much for the gleaners, who might be his own children. The old Levitical law no longer holds in the land, but the custom of allowing the poor to glean in the grain fields and vineyards is still practiced by generous landlords in Syria. The writer has seen the reapers, even when they exercised considerable care, drop from their hands frequent spears of wheat. When the reapers have been hirelings they have carelessly left bunches of wheat standing behind rocks or near the boundary walls. The owner usually sends one of his boy or girl helpers to glean these. If he is of a generous disposition, he allows some needy woman to follow after the reapers and benefit by their carelessness. It is the custom in some districts, after the main crop of grapes has been gathered, to remove the watchman and allow free access to the vineyards for gleaning the last grapes.

Gideon touched the local pride of the men of Ephraim when he declared that the glory of their conquest surpassed his, as the gleanings of their vineyards did the whole crop of Abiezer (Jud 8:2). Gleaned is used of a captured enemy in Jud 20:45.

Figurative: Israel, because of her wickedness, will be utterly destroyed, even to a thorough gleaning and destruction of those who first escape (Jer 6:9). The same picture of complete annihilation is given in Jer 49:9,10.

James A. Patch


gled (ra‘ah; gups): A member of the hawk species. It is given among the list of abominations in De 14:13, but not in the Le list (Le 11:14). The kite is substituted. The Arabs might have called one of the buzzards the glede. In England, where specimens of most of these birds appear in migration, the glede is synonymous with kite, and was given the name from glide, to emphasize a gliding motion in flight. See illustration, p. 1235.


glis’-ter-ing (pukh, "dye" (spec. "stibium"), "fair colors"; stilbonta): "‘Glistering stones’ (1Ch 29:2) is better

than the ‘inlaid’ of the Revised Version (British and American); for some kind of colored, brilliant stone seems meant" (HDB, II, 182); compare Isa 54:11 Revised Version, margin. The term is employed in Mr 9:3 to denote the white, lustrous appearance of Christ’s garments at the transfiguration. It occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. For once the Divine effulgence shone through the veil of the humiliation (compare Joh 1:14).


glit’-er, glit’-er-ing (baraq, "lightning"): The word is used in sense of "glittering" in the Old Testament with "sword," "spear" (De 32:41; Job 20:25; Eze 21:10,28; Na 3:3; Hab 3:11). In Eze 21:10 the Revised Version (British and American) changes "glitter" to "as lightning," and in De 32:41 the Revised Version, margin gives, "the lightning of my sword." In Job 39:23, where the word is different (lahabh), the Revised Version (British and American) has "flashing."


glo’-ri-fi: The English word is the equivalent of a number of Hebrew and Greek words whose essential significance is discussed more fully under the word GLORY (which see). The word "glorious" in the phrases "make or render glorious" is used most frequently as a translation of verbs in the original, rather than of genuine adjectives In dealing with the verb it will be sufficient to indicate the following most important uses.

(1) Men may glorify God, that is, give to Him the worship and reverence which are His due (Isa 24:15; 25:3; Ps 22:23; Da 5:23; APC Sirach 43:30; Mt 5:16, and generally in the Synoptic Gospels and in some other passages of the New Testament).

(2) God, Yahweh (Yahweh), glorifies His people, His house, and in the New Testament, His Son, manifesting His approval of them and His interest in them, by His interposition on their behalf (Isa 55:5; Jer 30:19; The Wisdom of Solomon 18:8; Sirach 45:3; Joh 7:39, and often in the Fourth Gospel).

(3) By a usage which is practically confined to the Old Testament, Yahweh glorifies Himself, that is, secures the recognition of His honor and majesty, by His direction of the course of history, or by His interposition in history, either the history of His own people or of the world at large (Le 10:3; Isa 26:15; Eze 28:22; Hag 1:8).

Walter R. Betteridge


glo’-ri-us: The adjective "glorious" is used in the majority of cases as the translation of one of the nouns which are fully discussed in the article GLORY, and the general meaning is the same, for the glorious objects or persons have the quality which is described by the word "glory," that is, they are honorable, dignified, powerful, distinguished, splendid, beautiful or radiant. It is worthy of note that in many passages in the New Testament where the King James Version has "glorious," the Revised Version (British and American) has the noun "glory." So among others in Ro 8:21, the King James Version has "glorious liberty," the Revised Version (British and American) "liberty of the glory of the sons of God." The obsolete use of the word glorious in the sense of "boastful," "vain-glorious," "eager for glory," as it is used in Wycliffe, Tyndale and Bacon, and once or twice in Shakespeare, as in Cymbeline, I, 7, in the first speech of Imogen, "Most miserable is the desire that’s glorious," and in Gower’s Prologue to Pericles, 1,9, "The purchase of it is to make men glorious" occurs at least once in the apocryphal books, Additions to Esther 16:4 the King James Version, "but also lifted up with the glorious words of lewd persons."

Walter R. Betteridge


glo’-ri (substantive):



1. As Applied to External Things

2. As Applied to Yahweh


1. Material Wealth

2. Human Dignity and Majesty

3. "My Soul": the Self

4. Self-Manifestation of God (Yahweh)

(1) Exodus 23:18 ff

(2) Isaiah 6

(3) Psalms 19:1

(4) Sinai and the Temple

(5) Ezekiel’s Visions

(6) Messianic Ideal

(7) Its Ethical Content


1. In the Apocrypha:

(1) As Applied to External Things

(2) As Applied to God

2. In the New Testament:

(1) As Applied to Men

(2) As Applied to God

(3) As Applied to the Saints

(4) As Applied to the Messianic Kingdom

3. Its Ethical Significance


I. Method of Treatment.

In this article we deal, first, with a group of words, translated "glory" in the English Versions of the Bible, and in which the ideas of size, rarity, beauty and adornment are prominent, the emphasis being laid in the first instance in each case upon some external physical characteristic which attracts the attention, and makes the object described by the word significant or prominent.

These are (’addereth) perhaps to be connected with the Assyrian root ‘adaru, meaning "wide," "great"; (hadhar, hadharah), perhaps with root-meaning of "brightness"; (hodh), with essentially the same meaning of "brightness," "light"; (Tehar), Ps 89:44, translated "glory" in the King James Version, in the Revised Version (British and American) rendered "brightness"; (yeqara’), an Aramaic root meaning "rare"; (tiph’arah), with the root-meaning of "beauty "; and finally (tsebhi), perhaps on the basis of the Assyrian cabu, meaning "desire," "desirable."

Secondly, this article will discuss the most common and characteristic word for "glory" in the Old Testament, the Hebrew (kabhodh) including the special phrase "the glory of God" or "the glory of Yahweh." In dealing with the Old Testament usage, attention will also be called to the original Hebrew of the Book of Ecclesiasticus or Wisdom of Jesus, the Son of Sirach, cited in this article as Sir. Thirdly, with the Greek word (doxa) in the Apocrypha and in the New Testament. The nouns kauchema, kauchesis, translated "glory" or "glorying" in the New Testament, will be dealt with in the concluding paragraphs in which the use of the word glory as a verb will briefly be discussed. It will be possible within the limits of this article to give only the main outlines of the subject as illustrated by a few of the most significant references. The lexicons and the commentaries must be consulted for the details.

II. General Use of the Term.

In the first group, as has already been stated, the ideas of beauty, majesty and splendor are prominent. And these qualities are predicated first of all, of things. David determines to make the temple which Solomon is to build "a house of fame and of glory" (1Ch 22:5).

1. As Applied to External Things:

Then, and more commonly, glory belongs to men, and especially to men of prominence, like kings. This glory may consist in wealth, power, portion, or even in the inherent majesty and dignity of character of its possessor. The reference is most frequently, however, to the external manifestations. Physical power is suggested in De 33:17, where "glory" of the King James Version is replaced by "majesty" in the Revised Version (British and American). The king’s glory consists in the multitude of his people (Pr 14:28). The glory and the pomp of the rebellious people shall descend into Sheol (Isa 5:14). Here the reference is clearly to those external things upon which the people depend, and the possession of which is the ground of their confidence.

2. As Applied to Yahweh:

But chiefly glory is the possesion and characteristic of Yahweh, and is given by Him to His people or to anything which is connected with Him. In Isa 60:7 the Lord promises to glorify the house of His glory, and the meaning is clearly that He will impart to His house something of the beauty and majesty which belong to Him. Glory is one of the qualities which are distinctive of Yahweh (1Ch 29:11); and Isaiah, in one of his earliest utterances, uses the word "glory" to describe Yahweh’s self-manifestation in judgment to bring to naught the pride and power of men (Isa 2:10,19,21). The use of the word in Ps 78:61 is not quite certain. The most natural interpretation would perhaps be to refer it to the ark as the symbol of the presence of Yahweh, but in view of the parallel word "strength," it is perhaps better to interpret glory as meaning power, and to suppose that the Psalmist means that Yahweh allowed His power to be temporarily obscured, and Himself to be seemingly humiliated on account of the sin of His people.

III. The Uses of Kabhodh.

The use and significance of kabhodh in the Old Testament and in Sirach: The fundamental idea of this root seems to be "weight," "heaviness," and hence in its primary uses it conveys the idea of some external, physical manifestation of dignity, preeminence or majesty. At least three uses may be distinguished: (1) It defines the wealth or other material possesions which give honor or distinction to a person; (2) the majesty, dignity, splendor or honor of a person; (3) most important of all, it describes the form in which Yahweh (Yahweh) reveals Himself or is the sign and manifestation of His presence.

1. Material Wealth:

In Ge 31:1 (margin "wealth") it describes the flocks and herds which Jacob has acquired; in Ps 49:16 f, as the parallelism indicates, it refers to the wealth of the sinner; and in Isa 10:3 it is said that in the day of desolation the heartless plunderers of the poor shall not know where to leave their ill-gotten gain. This idea is also probably to be found in Hag 2:7, where the parallelism seems to indicate that the glory with which Yahweh will fill the house is the treasure which He will bring into it. See also Sirach 9:11, where the glory of the sinner which is not to be envied is probably his wealth.

2. Human Dignity and Majesty:

It describes the majesty and dignity or honor of men due to their adornment or to their position. In Ge 45:13, Joseph bids his brethren tell their father of his glory in Egypt; according to Ex 28:40, the priestly garments are intended for the glorification of their wearers; in 1Sa 4:21 f, the loss of the ark means, for Israel, the loss of her glory, that which gave her distinction from, and preeminence over, her neighbors; in Isa 22:23 it is said that Eliakim is to be a throne of glory, i.e. the source and manifestation of the splendor and dignity of his father’s house; in Job 19:9 the complaint that God has stripped him of his glory must be taken to refer to his dignity and honor. Reference may also be made to the numerous passages in which the glory of Israel and other nations describes their dignity, majesty or distinction; so we hear of the glory of Ephraim (Ho 9:11), of Moab (Isa 16:14), of Kedar (Isa 21:16). This use is quite common in Sir. Sirach 3:10 f states that the glory of man comes from the honor of his father; the possessor of wisdom shall inherit glory (4:13; 37:26); note also 4:21 with its reference to "a shame that is glory and grace," and 49:5 where the forfeited independence of Judah is described by the terms "power" and "glory."

3. "My Soul": the Self:

Closely related to this use of kabhodh to describe the majesty of men is the group of passages in which the phrase "my glory," in parallelism with nephesh, "soul," "self," or some similar expression, means the man himself in his most characteristic nature. In the blessing of Jacob (Ge 49:6) we read, "Unto their assembly, my glory, be not thou united." Other passages are Ps 4:2; 7:5; 16:9; 30:12; 57:8; 108:1 and perhaps Job 29:20. Some recent interpreters, partly because of the Septuagint rendering in Ge 49:6 (ta hepata mou), "my liver," and partly because of the Assyrian root, kabittu, meaning "temper" or "heart" (see Delitzsch, Assyrisches Handwortebuch, 317a), would read in all these passages kabhedh, literally, "liver" as in La 2:11, and interpret the figure as referring to the emotions as the expression of the self. The arguments in favor of the change are not without weight. Of course on either interpretation the language is highly figurative. It hardly seems necessary to change the reading, especially as the Septuagint renders the passages in the Psalms and in Job by doxa, the ordinary Greek rendering for kabhodh, and it does not seem improbable that in poetry the word kabhodh might be used to describe the man himself indicating that man as such is honorable and glorious, possibly because as in Ps 8:1, he is thought of as having been crowned by his Creator with glory and honor.

Before leaving this use of kabhodh it is necessary to call attention to the fact that in a few cases it is used to describe things, perhaps because these things are thought of as practically personified. The "glory of the forest" (Isa 10:18) is clearly a personification, referring to the majestic force of the Assyrians. We may probably assume a personification also in the case of the glory of Lebanon in Isa 35:2; 60:13, and the nature of the parable in Eze 31 makes it probable that personification is intended in 31:18.

4. Self-manfiestation of God (Yahweh):

But unquestionably the most important use of the word kabhodh is its employment either with the following gen. God or Yahweh, or absolutely, to describe the method or the circumstances of the self-manifestation of God. In discussing this subject we shall deal first of all with the use of the term as connected with actual or historical manifestations of the Deity, and then with its use to describe the characteristic features of the ideal state of the future, or, otherwise stated, the Messianic kingdom.

(1) Exodus 23:18 ff.

The significance of the phrase in its earliest occurrence is by no means clear. Notwithstanding the uncertainty as to the exact documentary connection of the famous passage in Ex 33:18 ff, it seems quite certain that we may claim that this is the earliest historical reference that the Old Testament contains to the glory of Yahweh. "And he (Moses) said, Show me, I pray thee, thy glory. And he (Yahweh) said Thou canst not see my face; .... and it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand until I have passed by: and I will take away my hand, and thou shalt see my back; but my face shall not be seen." The passage in its present form bears unmistakable evidences of the editorial hand, due perhaps, as Baentsch (Hand-kommentar zum Altes Testament, "Ex-Lev-Nu," 279) suggests, to a desire to transform the primitive, concrete, physical theophany into a revelation of the ethical glory of God, but in its basis it belongs to the Jahwist (Jahwist) and is therefore the earliest literary reference to the glory of God in the Old Testament. The glory of Yahweh is clearly a physical manifestation, a form with hands and rear parts, of which Moses is permitted to catch only a passing glimpse, but the implication is clear that he actually does see Yahweh with his physical eyes.

It seems not improbable that in its original form it was related that Moses saw the glory, i.e., the form of Yahweh, and thus that we are to find in this narrative the source for the statement in Nu 12:8, that he (Moses) will behold (or perhaps better rendering the tense as a frequentative), beholds the form of Yahweh (see also the description in Ex 24:9-11). The mention of the cloud (Ex 34:5) as the accompaniment of the manifestation of Yahweh suggests that the form of Yahweh was thought of as being outlined in cloud and flame, and that Yahweh was originally thought of as manifesting Himself in connection with meteorological or more probably volcanic phenomena.

(2) Isaiah 6.

Later the glory of Yahweh and the form of Yahweh are no longer identical terms, but the glory is still the physical manifestation of the Divine presence. This is clear from Isaiah’s account of his great inaugural vision. The prophet sees the enthroned Yahweh with His skirts filling the temple. There is no indication of what it was that he saw or how he recognized that it was Yahweh. The attendant seraphim in addition to the solemn "Holy, Holy, Holy" declare that "the whole earth is full of his glory."

Unquestionably His glory is here regarded as something visible, something, a part of which at least, Isaiah sees. The glory as such has no ethical significance except in so far as it is the method of manifestation of one who is undoubtedly an ethical being. The phraseology suggests that the skirts which fill the temple and the glory which fills the whole earth refer to the phenomena of fire and smoke. Some think that the smoke is caused by the clouds of incense that would fill the temple in connection with the sacrificial observances. But in view of Isaiah’s horror of these observances, this interpretation is very questionable. A more probable interpretation connects the clouds and gloom with the phenomena of a great storm, and even possibly of an earthquake, for it seems highly plausible that the call of Isaiah in the year of the death of King Uzziah coincided with thee great earthquake in the days of Uzziah referred to in Zec 14:5. (It seems at least probable that the references to the darkness and light in Zec 14:6 f may have their origin in the phenomena attendant upon this earthquake. It is probable that the earthquake by which the prophecy of Amos is dated (Am 1:1) is also this same historic earthquake.) The clouds and fire attendant upon this storm or earthquake become the media by which the glory of Yahweh is made known to the youthful prophet, and this glory partly reveals and partly conceals the presence of Yahweh of which, through, and in part by means of, these phenomena, Isaiah is made so vividly conscious.

(3) Psalms 19:1.

This conception of Isaiah that the glory of Yahweh fills the earth is closely related to the thought of Ps 19:1 that "the heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork," the difference being that in the psalm Yahweh’s glory is manifested in the ordinary rather than in the extraordinary phenomena. Parallel thoughts may be found in Ps 8:1; 57:5; 108:5; 113:4. In Ps 29:1,2,3,1, as in Isaiah, the glory of Yahweh is revealed in the extraordinary physical phenomena which the psalm describes. Glory here is a purely external, meteorological thing and is the manifestation of the presence of Yahweh, no matter whether the psalm is regarded, as it usually is, as a description of a thunderstorm, or whether with von Gall and others it is taken as a description of the phenomena which accompany the inauguration of the Messianic kingdom (see Joe 2:30 f the English Revised Version).

(4) Sinai and the Temple.

De 5:24 indicates that in theophany at the time of the giving of the law, the glory and the greatness of Yahweh. consisted in the fire and thick darkness which enveloped the mountain, and out of which Yahweh spoke to the people. Essentially the same idea is expressed in the account of the dedication of Solomon’s temple (1Ki 8:10 f; 2Ch 5:14). The cloud which filled the house of Yahweh, preventing the priests from ministering, is identified with the glory of Yahweh which filled the house. It is noteworthy that in 2Ch 7:1-3 the glory of Yahweh which fills the house manifests itself in the form of the cloud of smoke from the sacrifices which were consumed by the fire coming down from heaven.

(5) Ezekiel’s Visions.

Perhaps the most elaborate description of the glory of Yahweh to be found in the Old Testament is that given by Ezekiel in the various accounts of his visions. It is not easy to interpret his conception, but it seems clear that he does not identify the glory with the stormy clouds, the fire, the cherubim and the chariots. "The appearance of the likeness of the glory of Yahweh" (Eze 1:28) is not applied to all the phenomena which have been described in the preceding verses, but only to the likeness of form which looked like a man above the sapphire throne (1:26). The same idea is indicated in 9:3 which states that "the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon it was"; that is, the glory is something peculiar to Yahweh, and is not quite identical with the phenomena which accompany it. This is true of all his visions. The glory of Yahweh manifests itself with all the accompaniments which he describes with such richness of imagery, but the accompaniments are not the glory. For other descriptions of the glory of Yahweh in Ezekiel, see 3:12,23; 8:4; 10:4,18 ff; 11:22 f.

Very similar to this conception of Ezekiel is that given in those passages of the Pentateuch which are usually assigned to the Priestly Code. When the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron on account of the lack of food, the glory of Yahweh appeared in the cloud as they "looked toward the wilderness" (Ex 16:7,10; compare Ex 24:16). And just as in Ezekiel, the glory is distinguished from its attendant circumstances; for after the completion of the Tent of Meeting, the cloud covers the tent, and the glory of Yahweh fills the tabernacle (Ex 40:34 f; see also Le 9:6,23; Nu 14:21; 16:19,42; 20:6). The same thought is suggested in the references in Sirach 17:13; 45:3.

(6) Messianic Ideal.

These passages just cited stand on the border between the historical and the ideal descriptions of the glory of Yahweh, for whatever may be one’s views as to the historical worth of P’s account of the Exodus and the wilderness sojourn, all must agree in seeing in it really the program or constitution for the ideal state of the future. And in this state the distinguishing characteristic is to be the manifest presence of Yahweh in His sanctuary, and this manifestation is the glory. This is the view of Ezekiel, for whom the essential action in the establishment of the new community is the return of the glory of Yahweh to the house of Yahweh (Eze 43:2,4,5; 44:4). The same thought is expressed very clearly in Isa 4:5 f, which may be rendered on the basis of a slight rearrangement and regrouping of the original, ‘And Yahweh will create over .... Mt. Zion ...., a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over everything the glory (of Yahweh) shall be a canopy and a pavilion, and it shall serve as a shelter from the heat, and a refuge and a covert from the storm and the rain.’ This translation has the advantage that it furnishes an intelligible and characteristic conclusion to the description of the Messianic age which the chapter contains. Isa 11:10, reading with the Revised Version, margin, "and his resting-place shall be glory," has the same thought, for it is clearly the glory of Yahweh that is manifested in the resting-place of the root of Jesse, and this resting-place can be none other than Mt. Zion (compare also Isa 24:23).

The Psalms and Deuteronomy-Isaiah have many passages in which this phase of the thought is brought out. For both books the restoration of the people from captivity is to be accompanied by, or, perhaps better, itself is, a revelation of the glory of Yahweh (Isa 40:5). The children of Israel have been created for the glory of Yahweh, and hence they must be restored that His glory may be made manifest (Isa 43:7). The light of the restored community is to be the glory of Yahweh (Isa 60:1 f). The presence of Yahweh brings grace and glory (Ps 84:11), and His salvation of those that fear Him causes glory to dwell in the land (Ps 85:9). To these and many similar passages in Isa and the Psalms may also be added Sirach 36:14, which refers probably to the manifestation of God in glory in the Messianic kingdom.

(7) Its Ethical Content.

But these passages make it quite evident that "glory" is not always used in the external, literally or figuratively physical sense. It comes to have an ethical significance, and this because, like the holiness with which it is associated in Isa 6, it is connected with Yahweh, who is more and more exclusively viewed as an ethical being. As holiness gradually loses its physical sense of aloofness, apartness, and comes to describe moral purity, so glory, because it is an attribute or expression of Yahweh, comes to have a moral sense. This transformation, as we have seen, is already being made in the present text of Ex 33:18,20, and the connection with holiness in Isa 6 makes it almost certain that Isaiah gave the word an ethical connotation. So the God of glory of Ps 29:3 suggests a moral quality because Yahweh is a moral being. All doubt on this matter disappears when we find the word "glory" used as the term for the essential nature of Yahweh, as we have already found it to be used of man. In Isa 42:8, "I am Yahweh, that is my name; and my glory will I not give to another," the meaning would seem to be, my essential character and power, that is, my glory, I will not share with other gods (compare also Isa 48:11). And in Isa 58:8 the glory must be taken in a figurative sense and refer to Yahweh Himself in His saving grace, who attends His people in advance and in the rear. It hardly seems possible to deny the ethical sense in Eze 39:21, where the manifestation of the glory of Yahweh comes as a result of the execution of His purposes of justice and righteousness upon His people. And in Hab 2:14, the glory of Yahweh which is to be known throughout the earth cannot be limited to any physical, external thing. It is equivalent to the righteous and just will of Yahweh. These passages are sufficient to prove the ethical significance of the word kabhodh, but it may be worth while to quote one more passage and this time from Ps 97 with its wonderful description of the blessings of the righteous rule of Yahweh. It is stated in 97:6 that "the heavens declare his righteousness, and all the peoples have seen his glory." His righteousness may include, as Kirkpatrick suggests, "His faithfulness to His people and His sovereign justice in the punishment of all," or it may refer only to the former of these qualities; but in any case, it is a moral act, and by it the peoples recognize the glory of Yahweh as the supreme moral ruler.

IV. In Apocrypha and New Testament.

"Glory" in the apocryphal books and in the New Testament is almost exclusively the translation of the Greek noun doxa. In all these writings the Old Testament usage seems to be the most important, and it seems to be the fact, if one may judge from the Septuagint and from the original Hebrew of Sir, that the Greek noun doxa, in the great majority of cases, represents the Hebrew kabhodh, so that the underlying thought is Hebrew, even though the words may be Greek

1. In the Apocrypha:

(1) As Applied to External Things.

It will be perhaps a little more convenient to deal with the usage of the Apocrypha separately, following essentially the order that has been adopted for the Old Testament discussion of kabhodh, and bearing in mind that the usage of Sir has been discussed under the Old Testament. The use of the word "glory" to describe the honor, reputation and splendor which belong to men is quite common. In this sense 1 Esdras 1:33 refers to the glory of Josiah, while in The Wisdom of Solomon 10:14 the perpetual glory given by The Wisdom of Solomon to Joseph must be interpreted in the same way. In 2 Macc 5:16,20 glory refers to the beautification and adornment of the temple in a sense like that of tiph’arah in Isa 60:7. In Judith 15:9 "glory" is the translation of the Greek gauriama, and indicates that Judith is the pride of Israel.

(2) As Applied to God.

But the most significant use of doxa in the Apocrypha is that in which it refers to the light and splendor which are regarded as the invariable accompaniments of God. The reference may be to the historic manifestation of God in glory at Mt. Sinai, as in 2 Esdras 3:19, or to the manifestation of God in Israel, which is to be the especial characteristic of the Messianic kingdom. In 1 Esdras 5:61 songs sung to the praise of the Lord, "because his goodness and his glory are forever in all Israel," are based upon the hope that Yahweh is about to establish the Messianic kingdom among the people who have bound themselves to obey His law. In several passages in 2 Esdras the reference seems to be not to the Messianic kingdom in the historical sense, but rather to that kingdom of God which the saints are to inherit after death. This is clearly the thought in 2 Esdras 2:36 and in 7:52; also in 8:51 where the context shows clearly that the reference is to the glory of Paradise, which is the heritage of all those who are like Ezra in their devotion to Yahweh (compare also 2 Esdras 10:50).

But most frequently in the Apocrypha, in a sense which approximates that of the New Testament, the word "glory" refers to the blaze of light and splendor which is the essential expression of the holy majesty of Yahweh. The prayer of Manasseh refers to the unbearable majesty of the glory of Yahweh; while 2 Esdras 8:30, trusting in Yahweh’s glory is equivalent to trusting in Yahweh Himself; and in 16:53 the oath "before God and his glory" is simply before the Lord God Himself. The same thought is expressed in Tobit 12:15; 13:14; The Wisdom of Solomon 7:25. In the So of Three Children, verses 31,33, the glory of Yahweh refers to His self-manifestation in His heavenly kingdom, and this is undoubtedly the significance in the frequently recurring doxologies, "Thine is the glory forever."

2. In the New Testament:

(1) As Applied to Men.

In the New Testament, much the same variety of usage is to be noted as in the Old Testament and the Apocrypha, and it is not easy to trace the exact relationship and order of the various meanings. The ordinary classical use of the word in the sense of "opinion," "judgment," "view," occurs in Hellenistic Greek only in 4 Macc 5:17 (18) on the authority of Thayer.

It is perhaps as convenient to follow generally the order adopted in the preceding discussion. In some places the word refers to the manifestations and insignia of rank and power, as in the familiar phrase, "Solomon in all his glory" (Mt 6:29), or the glory of the kingdoms of the world (Mt 4:8), or the glory of the kings and nations of the earth which shall be brought into the heavenly city (Re 21:24,26). Doxa also defines the praise, honor and dignity of men. This is the meaning in Joh 5:41,44, where Christ distinguishes between His accusers and Himself in that He receives not glory from men, while they receive glory one of another (compare also Joh 7:18). In Eph 3:13, Paul declares that his tribulations for those to whom he is writing are a glory or distinction to them, while in 1Th 2:20 he declares that the Thessalonian Christians are his glory and joy.

(2) As applied to God.

Closely related to this usage is the employment of the word to ascribe honor and praise to God; see Lu 17:18, where only the stranger returned to give glory to God; or Joh 9:24, where the man who had been born blind is bidden to give glory to God; or the phrase "to the glory of God" in Ro 15:7, where the meaning is to secure the honor and praise of God among men. Similar is the use in the frequently recurring doxologies such as, "Glory to God in the highest," "to him," that is, to God, "be glory," etc.

While the foregoing meanings are frequently illustrated in the New Testament, it is undoubtedly true that the characteristic use of the word doxa in the New Testament is in the sense of brightness, brilliance, splendor; and first of all, in the literal sense, referring to the brightness of the heavenly bodies, as in 1Co 15:40 f, or to the supernatural brightness which overcame Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus (Ac 22:11).

(3) As Applied to the Saints.

But the most common use of the word is to describe the brilliance which is the characteristic of all persons who share in the heavenly glory. Moses, Elijah and Jesus Himself have this glory on the Mountain of Transfiguration (Lu 9:31 f). It was the same glory which gave the angel who came out of heaven power to lighten the earth (Re 18:1), and also which shone about the shepherds when the angel appeared unto them (Lu 2:9). Paul refers to this glory, when he speaks of the face of Moses as it appeared after God had spoken with him (2Co 3:7 f). And as in the case of Moses, so here, the source of this glory is God Himself, who is the God of glory (Ac 7:2, and frequently).

(4) As Applied to the Messianic Kingdom.

It is also used to describe the ideal Messianic kingdom of the future. It is applied to Christ to describe His royal majesty when He comes to set up His kingdom. So James and John ask to sit, one on His right hand and one on His left in His glory (Mr 10:37). Christ is to appear in glory with the angels (Mt 16:27 and often), for His condition in the coming age as it was before the incarnation is a condition of glory (Lu 24:26; Joh 17:5,22,24). But not merely the Messiah, but also all His followers shall share in the glory of the Messianic kingdom. This use is so common that it is scarcely necessary to illustrate it by reference. This glory is to be revealed to all Christians in the future (Ro 8:18,21; 9:23; compare also 1Co 2:7; 2Co 4:17).

3. Its Ethical Significance:

In all these cases it has a distinctly ethical signification, for it is the term which is used to describe the essential nature, the perfection of the Deity, and is shared by others because they are made partakers of the Divine nature. So Paul refers to "the glory of the incorruptible God" (Ro 1:23; compare also Eph 1:17 f, and often). And the essential nature of Christ comes to be described in the same way. He has glory as of the only begotten of the Father (Joh 1:14); he shows His glory in the performance of miracles (Joh 2:11); and like the Father, He is the Lord of glory (1Co 2:8).

As a verb in the Old Testament the most common signification of the word "glory" is, to make one’s boast in or of anything, usually of the pious glorying in Yahweh (Yahweh), but occasionally with some other reference, as in Jer 9:23 of man glorying in his riches, might or wisdom. In all these cases it represents the Hebrew hith-hallel. In Ex 8:9 the phrase, "Have thou this glory over me," is the translation of the Hebrew hith-pa’er, and means take to thyself the honor or distinction as regards me. In 2Ki 14:10 it translates the Hebrew hik-kabhedh, "honor thyself," i.e. be satisfied with the home which you have already attained.

In the Apocryphal books it means either "glorify thyself," the middle voice of the verb doxazo, as in Sirach 3:10, where the original Hebrew has hith-kabbedh, or "to exult," "boast over," as in Judith 9:7, where it represents the Greek gauroomai; or "to boast," "take pride in," where it represents, as it does usually in the New Testament, the Greek kauchaomai (Sirach 17:9; 24:1; 38:25; 39:8; 48:4, in the second and fourth of which cases it represents the Hebrew hith-pa’er).

In the New Testament the verb is used 3 times in James, and several times in the Epistles of Paul, and everywhere is used to translate the verb kauchaomai, or, in two cases in James, the same verb is compounded with the preposition kata. In all these cases the meaning is "to take pride in," "to congratulate oneself," upon anything.

In this connection attention may be called to the use of the noun "glorying," once or twice rendered "to glory," where the meaning is either the occasion or ground of glorying, or sometimes the act of glorying. The original has kauchema or kauchesis. This usage occurs in Jas 4:16; Heb 3:6, and several times in the Epistles of Paul.


In addition to the commentaries and works on Biblical theology among which, Briggs, ICC on the Psalms, Scribner, N.Y., 1906, especially the note in I, 66, 67; and Weiss, Biblical Theology of the New Testament, English translation, T. and S. Clark, Edinburgh, 1882-83, may be mentioned especially, the chief works on the subject are von Gall, Die Herrlichkeit Gottes, Giessen, 1900; and Caspari, Die Bedeutungen der Wortsippe k-b-d im Hebraeischen, Leipzig, 1908. The discussions by G. B. Gray and J. Massie in HDB, II, are valuable, and also the brief but significant article by Zenos in the Standard Bible Dictionary, Funk and Wagnalls, N.Y., 1909.

Walter R. Betteridge


glo’-ing, (Isa 35:11).



glut’-’-n, glut’-’-n-us (zalal, "to be lavish"; phagos): "Glutton" (from glut, to swallow greedily) is the translation of zolel from zalal, "to shake or pour out," "to be lavish, a squanderer." In De 21:20, "This our son .... is a glutton, and a drunkard," the word may mean a squanderer or prodigal; the English Revised Version has "a riotous liver." In Pr 23:21, "For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty" (following zole bhasar, "squanderers of flesh," the Revised Version (British and American) "gluttonous eaters of flesh"), "glutton" in the usual sense is intended; "a man gluttonous," "a gluttonous man" (the Revised Version) (phagos, "an eater," "a glutton") was a term applied to Christ in His freedom from asceticism (Mt 11:19; Lu 7:34).

The Revised Version has "idle gluttons" (margin Greek, "bellies") for "slow bellies" (Tit 1:12); "gluttonous" "gluttons," for "riotous" (Pr 23:20; 28:7).

W. L. Walker


nash (charaq; brugmos): "Gnash" is used of grinding or striking together the teeth in rage, pain or misery of disappointment. In the Old Testament it is the translation of charak, a mimetic word, and represents for the most part rage, anger, hatred (Job 16:9, "He gnasheth upon me with his teeth," the Revised Version (British and American) "hath gnashed upon me"; Ps 35:16; 37:12; 112:10, grief; La 2:16, contempt or derision); brucho, "to gnash the teeth in rage," indicates anger, rage, Septuagint for charaq (Ac 7:54, of Stephen, "They gnashed on him with their teeth"). The several instances of brugmos, "gnashing," in the Gospels seem to express disappointment rather than anger (Mt 8:12,"there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth," the Revised Version (British and American) "the weeping and the gnashing of teeth"; Mt 13:42,50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30; Lu 13:28—a vivid representation of the misery of disappointed expectations; compare Ecclesiasticus 30:10, "lest thou shalt gnash thy teeth in the end," gomphiazo, "to have the teeth set on edge"); trizo (Mr 9:18), which means "to give out a creaking, grating sound," "to screak," is used in the New Testament (in the above instance only) to mean "to grate or gnash with the teeth," indicating the effect of a paroxysm, the Revised Version (British and American) "grindeth his teeth."

W. L. Walker


nat (in English Versions of the Bible, only in Mt 23:24, konops. In Ex 8:16, for English Versions of the Bible "lice," one of the plagues of Egypt, kinnim, kinniym, or kinnam, we find in the Revised Version, margin "sand flies" or "fleas" (Gesenius "gnat"; Mandelkern "culex"). For kemo ken (Isa 51:6), English Versions of the Bible "in like manner," Septuagint hosper tauta, Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) sicut haec, the Revised Version, margin has "like gnats" since ken, elsewhere "thus," may here be taken to be a singular of the form kinnim, which occurs in Ex 8): In the New Testament passage, the difference between the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) should be noted. "Strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel" is changed to "strain out the gnat and swallow the camel," the reference being to the inconsistency of the Jewish religious leaders in taking extraordinary pains in some things, as in the preparation of food, while leaving weightier matters unattended to.

In Isa 51:6, the suggestion of the Revised Version, margin, "They that dwell therein shall die like gnats," seems a decided improvement on the "shall die in like manner" of English Versions of the Bible, especially as ken, "thus" (see supra), is a repetition of kemo, whose meaning is practically the same, "in like manner" being the rendering in English Versions of the Bible of kemo ken.

As to the creatures, kinnim, of the Egyptian plague, there is little choice between "lice" of English Versions of the Bible and the others suggested, except as we may be influenced by the Septuagint rendering, skniphes, which may mean "gnats" or "mosquitoes."


Alfred Ely Day





1. Alexandrian Philosophy

2. Zoroastrianism


Chief Points


1. Colossians

2. 1 Corinthians: "Knowledge" at Corinth

3. Pastoral Epistles

4. 1 John

(1) Gnostic Claims

(2) Its Loveless Nature

(3) Docetism

(4) The Antichrist

(5) Its Antinomian Side

5. "To Know the Depths," Revelation


1. God and the World

How Did the World Originate?

2. Evil

(1) Christian Doctrine of Sin (2) Sin and the Moral Law

3. Christ and Redemption

4. Asceticism and Antinomianism



1. Not a Heresy of the Humbler Classes

2. Cerinthus: His Teaching

3. The Gospel of John

4. Various Sects

(1) The Ophites

(2) Valentinus

(3) Basilides

(4) Saturninus

(5) Marcion

5. Relation to the Old Testament

6. The Christian Verities

7. Influence on Theology

8. Truth Underlying Docetism



Gnosticism—except perhaps in 1Ti 6:20, where Paul warns Timothy against "the gnosis, which is falsely so called"—is not directly alluded to in the New Testament. Nevertheless its leaven was actually working, as will immediately be seen, and constituted a most serious peril in the apostolic church. "That strange, obscure movement, partly intellectual, partly fanatical .... in the 2nd century spread with the swiftness of an epidemic over the church from Syria to Gaul" (Law, The Tests of Life, 26). It is therefore of high importance to gain a right conception of the nature of this potent anti-Christian influence. This is not easy. The difficulty in dealing with Gnosticism is that it was not a homogeneous system of either religion or philosophy, but embraced many widely diversified sects holding opinions drawn from a great variety of sources. "The infinitely varied shapes assumed by the systems render it almost impossible to classify them, or even to give an account of their leading ideas, which shall not be open to objection. We might as well try to classify the products of a tropical jungle, or the shapes and hues of the sunset clouds, which change under our view as we look at them" (Orr, The Progress of Dogma, 58).

I. General Definition.

On the general definition of Gnosticism a few authorities may be cited. "Gnosticism," says Dr. Gwatkin, "may be provisionally described as a number of schools of philosophy, oriental in general character, but taking in the idea of a redemption through Christ, and further modified in different sects by a third element, which may be Judaism, Hellenism, or Christianity .... the Gnostics took over only the idea of a redemption through Christ, not the full Christian doctrine, for they made it rather a redemption of the philosophers from matter, than a redemption of mankind from sin" (Early Church History to AD 313, II, 20).

Dr. Orr writes, "Gnosticism may be described generally as the fantastic product of the blending of certain Christian ideas—particularly that of redemption through Christ—with speculation and imaginings derived from a medley of sources (Greek, Jewish, Parsic; philosophies; religions, theosophies, mysteries) in a period when the human mind was in a kind of ferment, and when opinions of every sort were jumbled together in an unimaginable welter. It involves, as the name denotes, a claim to ‘knowledge,’ knowledge of a kind of which the ordinary believer was incapable, and in the possession of which ‘salvation’ in the full sense consisted. This knowledge of which the Gnostic boasted, related to the subjects ordinarily treated of in religious philosophy; Gnosticism was a species of religious philosophy" (The Early Church, 71).

Neander has described Gnosticism as "the first notable attempt to introduce into Christianity the existing elements of mental culture, and to render it more complete on the hitherto rather neglected side of theoretical knowledge; it was an attempt of the mind of the ancient world in its yearning after knowledge, and in its dissatisfaction with the present, to bring within its grasp and to appropriate the treasures of this kind which christianity presented" (Antignostikus, Intro, 199).

Gnosticism accordingly comprehends in itself many previously existing tendencies; it is an amalgam into which quite a number of different elements have been fused. A heretical system of thought, at once subtle, speculative and elaborate, it endeavored to introduce into Christianity a so-called higher knowledge, which was grounded partly on the philosophic creed in which Greeks and Romans had taken refuge consequent on the gradual decay and breaking-up of their own religions, partly, as will be shown, on the philosophies of Plato and of Philo, and still more on the philosophies and theosophies and religions of the East, especially those of Persia and of India.

"For a long time the pagan beliefs had ceased to be taken seriously by thoughtful men and had been displaced by various creeds derived from philosophical speculation. These in themselves were abstract and unsatisfying, but had been partly vitalized by union with theosophies of the East. An attempt was made on the part of this philosophical religion to effect an alliance with Christianity. A section of the church was dissatisfied with the simplicity of the gospel, and sought to advance to something higher by adopting the current speculations ..... The late books of the New Testament are all occupied, more or less, with this movement, which was the more dangerous as it threatened the church from within" (Professor E. Scott, The Apologetic of the New Testament, 14).

Gnosticism, though usually regarded as a heresy, was not really such: it was not the perverting of Christian truth; it came, rather, from outside. Having worked its way into the Christian church, it was then heretical. "Although it became a corrupting influence within the church, it was an alien by birth. While the church yet sojourned within the pale of Judaism, it enjoyed immunity from this plague; but as soon as it broke through these narrow bounds, it found itself in a world where the decaying religions and philosophies of the West were in acute fermentation under the influence of a new and powerful leaven from the East; while the infusion of Christianity itself into this fermenting mass only added to the bewildering multiplicity of Gnostic sects and systems it brought forth" (Law, The Tests of Life, 26).

II. Sources of Gnosticism.

Mansel (in his work on The Gnostic Heresies, 32) sums up the principal sources of Gnosticism in these three, Platonism, the Persian religion, and the Buddhism of India. To Platonism it owed much of its philosophical form and tendencies. From the Dualism of the Per religion it derived its speculations regarding the origin of evil, and much of what it taught about emanations. To Buddhism, he thinks, it owed the doctrine of the antagonism between matter and spirit, and the unreality of derived existence—the germ of Docetism. Mansel also holds that there is the possibility that Gnosticism derived certain of its features from the Kabbala (qabbalah), or secret teaching of the Jews in the two books, the Cepher yetsirah, or Book of Creation, and the Zohar, or Book of Light. An influence of Buddhism on Gnosticism, however, may safely be doubted, as there is no reason to believe that the knowledge of Buddhist doctrine had so early penetrated into the West. The Jewish works named by Mansel are really products of the Middle Ages (Westcott, Introduction to the Study of the Gospels, 144-45). The other sources named were really influential. We notice two—the Alexandrian philosophy and the Parsic dualism.

1. Alexandrian Philosophy:

Alexandrian philosophy endeavored to unite Greek philosophy and Hebrew religion. Philo, the great Jewish commentator of Alexandria, had tried to interpret the ancient Jewish Scriptures by the aid of the Greek philosophy, to expound the Old Testament in terms of Plato’s thought and to discover allegorical meanings where none were intended. In Philo’s teaching there is a sharp line drawn between God and the material world: with him God cannot exert any action upon the world of matter, except through intermediate agency, the Jewish angels and the heathen demons. Philo has much to say in regard to the Logos. His utterances on this subject may be compared with what is said of the attributes of "Wisdom" in chapter 8 of the Book of Prov, and also with the Logos or "Word" of the Gospel of John. With Philo, the Logos is the power of God, or the Divine reason endowed with energy, and embracing within itself all subordinate powers. The Logos is impersonal in its relations to God; and herein is one huge difference between Philo’s conception and that in the gospel. Philo teaches that the Logos is the only firstborn of God, the chief of the angels, the viceroy of God, and representative of man.


According to Philo the creation of the universe was a gradual molding out of matter; hence, arises evil. He also teaches the preexistence of the soul, which is now imprisoned in the flesh. The wise man, therefore, will break the thralldom of the flesh, and will rise by a sort of ecstasy to the immediate vision of God. It will be seen how much of this teaching was assimilated by the various Gnostic sects.

2. Zoroastrianism:

The Zoroastrian or Persian system was based on the assumption that there existed two original and independent powers of good and evil, of light and darkness, Ormuzd (Ahura-Mazda), the wise Lord, and Ahriman (Angra-Mainyu), the wicked spirit. These powers were believed to be equal, and each supreme in his own domain. The earth, which was created by Ormuzd, became the battlefield of the two powers. Ahriman led away the first man and woman from their allegiance to Ormuzd, and so all evils result to mankind.

"In oriental (Persian) dualism," says Professor Bousset, "it is within this material world that the good and the evil powers are at war, and this world beneath the stars is by no means conceived as entirely subject to evil. Gnosticism has combined the two, the Greek opposition between spirit and matter, and the sharp Zoroastrian dualism, which, where the Greek mind conceived of a higher and a lower world, saw instead two hostile worlds standing in contrast to each other like light and darkness. And out of the combination of these two dualisms arose the teaching of Gnosticism with its thoroughgoing pessimism and its fundamental asceticism" ("Gnosticism," in Encyclopedia Brit, 11th edition, XII, 154).

III. Nature of Gnosticism.

"Gnosticism," says Dr. Gwatkin, "is Christianity perverted by learning and speculation" (Early Church History 73). The intellectual pride of the Gnostics refined away the gospel into a philosophy. The clue to the understanding of Gnosticism is given in the word from which it is derived—gnosis, "knowledge." Gnosticism puts knowledge in the place which can only rightly be occupied by Christian faith. To the Gnostic the great question was not the intensely practical one, "What must I do to be saved from sin?" but "What is the origin of evil?" "How is the primitive order of the universe to be restored?" In the knowledge of these and of similar questions, and in the answers given to these questions, there was redemption, as the Gnostic understood it.

"These little Gnostic sects and groups all lived in the conviction that they possessed a secret and mysterious knowledge, in no way accessible to those outside, which was not to be proved or propagated, but believed in by the initiated, and anxiously guarded as a secret. This knowledge of theirs was not based on reflection or scientific inquiry and proof, but on revelation. It was derived directly from the times of primitive Christianity, from the Saviour Himself and His disciples and friends, with whom they claimed to be connected by a secret tradition, or else from later prophets, of whom many sects boasted. It was laid down in wonderful mystic writings, which were in the possession of the various circles.

"In short, Gnosticism in all its various sections, its form and its character, falls under the category of mystic religions, which were so characteristic of the religious life of decadent antiquity. In Gnosticism, as in the other mystic religions, we find the same contrast of the initiated and the uninitiated, the same loose organization, the same kind of petty sectarianism and mystery-mongering. All alike boast a mystic revelation and a deeply veiled wisdom" (Bousset, op. cit., 153).

Chief Points in Gnosticism:

The questions, therefore, with which Gnosticism concerned itself were those of the relation of the finite and the infinite, the origin of the world and of evil, the cause, meaning, purpose and destiny of all things, the reason of the difference in the capacities and in the lot in life of individual men, the method of salvation. The following may be regarded as the chief points in the characteristics of the Gnostic systems:

(1). A claim on the part of the initiated to a special knowledge of the truth, a tendency to regard knowledge as superior to faith, and as the special possession of the more enlightened, for ordinary Christians did not possess this secret and higher doctrine.

(2) The essential separation of matter and spirit, the former of these being essentially evil, and the source from which all evil has arisen.

(3) An attempt at the solution of the problems of creation and of the origin of evil by the conception of a Demiurge, i.e. a Creator or Artificer of the world as distinct from the Supreme Deity, and also by means of emanations extending between God and the visible universe. It should be observed that this conception merely concealed the difficulties of the problem, and did not solve them.

(4) A denial of the true humanity of Christ, a docetic Christology, (which looked upon the earthly life of Christ and especially on His sufferings on the cross as unreal.

(5) The denial of the personality of the Supreme God, and the denial also of the free will of man.

(6) The teaching, on the one hand, of asceticism as the means of attaining to spiritual communion with God, and, on the other hand, of an indifference which led directly to licentiousness.

(7) A syncretistic tendency which combined certain more or less misunderstood Christian doctrines, various elements from oriental and Jewish and other sources.

(8) The Scriptures of the Old Testament were ascribed to the Demiurge or inferior Creator of the world, who was the God of the Jews, but not the true God. Some of these characteristic ideas are more obvious in one, and some of them in others of the Gnostic systems. The relation of these ideas to Christian facts and doctrines is dealt with more particularly below.

IV. Gnosticism in the Christian Church.

In the New Testament and the Apostolic Age.

The germ of Gnosticism in the Christian church made its appearance in the apostolic age, and is referred to by Paul in several of his epistles, notably in that to the Colossians and in the Pastoral Epistles. It is also referred to by the apostles Peter and Jude; references to it are found, besides, in the Apocalypse, the First Epistle of John and the Gospel of John.

1. Colossians:

In col a great deal is said regarding a false teaching, an insidious theosophist doctrine, the teachers of which were alienating the Christians in Colosse from the gospel, and were disseminating their speculations, which led to the worship of angels in contrast to the worship of Christ, to esoteric exclusiveness wholly opposed to the universality of the gospel, and to an asceticism injurious to Christian freedom, and derogatory to the human body as indwelt by the Holy Ghost. These tenets are identical with the more fully developed Gnosticism of the generation succeeding that of the apostles; and at the root of the Colossian false teaching there lay the same error which the Gnostic mind had no way of meeting, namely, that there could be no connection between the highest spiritual agency, that is God, and gross corporeal matter.

From this theoretical basis arose another error—that as sin is inherent in the material substance of the body, therefore the only way by which perfection can be reached is to punish the body by asceticism, so that through the infliction of pain and the mortification of the flesh the region of pure spirit may be reached, and thus man may be etherealized and become like God. This ascetic tendency is wonderfully widespread; it reappears century after century, and shows itself in many forms of religion, not merely in distorted forms of Christianity, but in the Hindu religions, in Buddhism and elsewhere. In the Epistle to the Colossians, accordingly, there are definite references to ascetic practices which were inculcated by the false teachers at Colosse. The very terms which they employed have been preserved, "Touch not," "Taste not," "Handle not." It was in this way that these teachers had "at their own hand" invented a worship different from that of the Christian faith, which endeavored to attain the deliverance of the soul by "the neglecting of the body" (Col 2:21,23 the King James Version). These Gnostic teachers showed these tendencies still more boldly when Paul wrote his First Epistle to Timothy (see below), for he describes them as "forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats" (1Ti 4:3). These ascetic practices were afterward taught by various Gnostic sects, the Encratites, the followers of Saturninus, and others.

These tendencies in the Colossian church Paul set himself to correct in his epistle. The method which he adopts is not so much to demolish error, as to establish the contrary truth, setting before the Colossians the person and work of Christ, Christ the Creator, Christ in whom there dwells not merely some or even much of the fullness of God, but all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; Christ the God of providence, the Upholder of all things, in whom matter and all creatures and all events "consist" and have their being; Christ the Reconciler who has reconciled us unto God through the blood of the cross. In view of truths like these, Colossian error and all other forms of Gnosticism crumble into decay and vanish.


2. 1 Corinthians: "Knowledge" at Corinth:

The Epistle to the Colossians is the first of the Pauline Epistles in which distinctively Gnostic teaching is found in its attack upon the Christian faith. But from incidental notices in epistles of Paul written at an earlier period, it can be seen how congenial was the soil into which Gnostic teaching was about to fall. For even in Corinth when Paul wrote his First Epistle to the church there, there had been a claim on the part of some that they possessed "knowledge," as if others were destitute of it, a claim which the apostle refuses to admit, and meets with stern resistance. They thought themselves "wise," they were given to disputing, they professed that they "all had knowledge" (1Co 8:1), nay, they could "know all mysteries and all knowledge" (1Co 13:2); but this knowledge did not edify them, did not build them up, it only puffed them up (1Co 8:1); it did not make them sympathetic or tender-hearted toward the weak (1Co 8:7-11).

3. Pastoral Epistles:

In 1Ti 6:20,21 Paul speaks of the "knowledge (the gnosis) which is falsely so called; which some professing have erred concerning the faith." In other places in that epistle reference is made to tenets which are exactly those of Gnosticism. In 1:4 the apostle speaks of "fables and endless genealogies, which minister questionings, rather than a dispensation of God which is in faith." Philo had given a great impetus to an allegorizing interpretation of the Old Testament. His writings were well known and were popular in many of the Jewish schools. These fanciful interpretations would hinder the growth of the Christian church; and this allegorizing of Scripture, joined to the teaching of the genealogies of the eons, would leave no place for a Redeemer. In 4:3, as already noted, Paul describes ascetic practices which were regarded by their votaries as most meritorious. To abstain from marriage and from various kinds of food was the teaching of the Essenes and also of the Gnostics. This ascetic teaching was unnatural, as contrary to the constitution of the world, as that has been arranged by a holy and wise Creator, and it is also subversive of Christian liberty. Nothing can be esteemed common or unclean without throwing a reproach upon the Creator.

Antinomian Development.

But another and contrary result also followed from the principles of the sinfulness of matter and of redemption as deliverance from the flesh, namely, that there was an easier way of relief, by treating the soul and the body as separate entities which have nothing in common. Let the soul go its way on the wings of spiritual thought, while the body may indulge its fleshly desires. For, so it was held, as body and soul are entirely distinct in their nature, the spiritual cannot be defiled by anything, however carnal and gross, that the body can do. This was the antinomian development of Gnosticism. Many traces of this are apparent in the Pastoral Epistles and in 2 Peter and Jude. The Gnostics, against whom Paul warns Timothy, were "lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, haughty, rollers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, implacable, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, no lovers of good, traitors, headstrong, puffed-up, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding a form of godliness, but having denied the power thereof" (2Ti 3:2,3,4). Such, too, is the testimony borne regarding them by Ignatius (Law, The Tests of Life, 30):("they give no heed to love, caring not for the widow, the orphan or the afflicted, neither for those who are in bonds, nor for those who are released from bonds, neither for the hungry nor the thirsty." Such persons professed that they knew God, but by their works they denied Him; they were "abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate" (Tit 1:16). They enticed others into sins of impurity (2Ti 3:5,6). They allured others through the lusts of the flesh; and the means by which they succeeded in doing this was that they spoke great swelling words of vanity, and the end was that in their destroying of others they themselves also were surely destroyed (2Pe 2:12,18). They were ungodly men, turning the grace of God into lasciviousness and denying our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ; they gave themselves up to the sins of the flesh, and ran riotously after error in hope of a gain in money; they were sensual men, not having the Spirit (Jude 1:4,8,11,19) The entire Epistle of Jude is directed against this antinomian and licentious development of Gnosticism, and against its terrible permission of an unholy life (see below on the Book of Revelation).

4. 1 John:

In the First Epistle of John there is a distinct polemical purpose. There is no book of the New Testament which is more purposeful in its attack of error. There is "the spirit of error" (1 Joh 4:6), opposing the Spirit of truth. "Many false prophets are gone out into the world" (1 Joh 4:1), and this from the church itself, "They went out from us, but they were not of us" (1 Joh 2:19); and these false prophets are distinctly named "the antichrist" (1 Joh 2:22) and "the liar" (same place), and "the deceiver and the antichrist" (2 Joh 1:7). This peril, against which the apostle writes, and from which he seeks to defend the church, was Gnosticism, as is proved by what is said again and again in the epistle of the characteristics of this insidious and deadly teaching.

(1) Gnostic Claims.

The Gnostic claim to knowledge throws light upon many passages in this epistle. John refers to his opponents’ using such phrases as "I know God," "I abide in Christ," "I am in the light." These lofty claims were made by persons who did not love their brethren on earth, who did not walk in Christ’s footsteps, and who were destitute of love. The apostle therefore describes these lofty claims as false, because those who made them possessed neither love nor obedience.

In contrast to these Gnostic claims—for those who made them were no other than the early Gnostics—John shows how the Christ of history is the Christ of experience: for those to whom he is writing know Christ, who is from the beginning, and they know the Father. "We know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life" (1 Joh 5:20). This knowledge of God and communion with Him are attained, not by Gnostic speculation, but by the obedience of faith, the outcome of which is brotherly love and a life in which the Christian walks even as Christ did (1 Joh 2:6). And thus also obedience and brotherly love are the test of the profession which any man may make that he knows God. "Every one also that doeth righteousness is begotten of him," (1Joh 2:29); "Whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother" (1 Joh 3:10).

(2) Its Loveless Nature.

Gnosticism was distinguished by an unethical, loveless intellectualism. This seems to be the explanation of the false teaching against which this epistle is directed. The apostle describes the dry head-knowledge which left the heart and life untouched by love, and which led men, while they professed to love God, nevertheless to remain destitute of love to their fellow-men. (They did not fold their human brethren to their hearts, they were dead to the fact that where pity dwells, the love of God dwells also. In Gnosticism knowledge was in itself the supreme end and purpose of life, the sum of highest good to which a man could attain, the crown of life. The system was loveless to the core.

(3) Docetism.

Now, when the attempt was made to amalgamate these Gnostic ideas with the Christian faith, the inevitable result was Docetism. Just because God cannot have any immediate contact with matter, therefore the incarnation of Almighty God in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ is inconceivable. From this position it is, of course, only a step to deny that the incarnation and the true human life of Christ ever took place at all.

(4) The Antichrist.

The Antichrist of the First Epistle of John is docetic Gnosticism. The soul of the apostle rushes onward, with glowing zeal for the honor of his Master whom Gnosticism dishonored, to identify personally the historical Jesus with the Divine Being, "the Son of God," "the Word of Life," "the Christ." "Who is the liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, even he that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that confesseth the Son hath the Father also" (1 Joh 2:22,23). It should be noted that the last clause in 1 Joh 2:23, which is printed in italics in the King James Version, is restored in the Revised Version (British and American) to its rightful position in the original text. "Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not Jesus is not of God: and this is the spirit of the antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it cometh; and now it is in the world already" (1 Joh 4:2,3).

(5) Its Antinomian Side.

The antinomian side of Gnosticism is not so directly referred to in the First Epistle of John as Docetism is; but evidences are manifest that the apostle had it clearly before him. "Little children," he writes, "let no man lead you astray: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous: he that doeth sin is of the devil" (1 Joh 3:7,8). And these were the methods by which those deceivers endeavored to lead the members of the church astray. They alleged that sin was a thing indifferent in itself. It made no difference to the spiritual man whether he sinned with his body or not. It is for this reason that the apostle, in opposing those teachers, insists that "sin is lawlessness" (1 Joh 3:4); "All unrighteousness is sin" (1 Joh 5:17); "Whosoever is begotten of God doeth no sin" (1 Joh 3:9); "In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother" (1 Joh 3:10). The whole passage presupposes, as familiar to its readers, a doctrine of moral indifferentism, according to which the status of the ‘spiritual’ man is not to be tested by the commonplace facts of moral conduct" (The Tests of Life, 34).


5. "To Know the Depths": Revelation:

As time advanced, and the later books of the New Testament were written, Gnosticism assumed more of its distinctive peculiarities. "Those who had knowledge" regarded themselves as a superior order of believers. One of their phrases was "to know the depths" (Re 2:24 the King James Version), and this was valued far more highly than love and obedience. "From this language, we may, I think, infer the existence of an Ophite sect, boasting of its peculiar gnosis, before the date of the Apocalypse" (Mansel, The Gnostic Heresies, 105). The claim of the Ophites was that they alone knew "the depths." "Yes," is the apostle’s reply to claims of this kind, "yes, the depths, but not of God, the depths of Satan"; for such is a just description of a teaching which ascribed the origin and the working of evil to God. It is in the light of Gnostic teaching of this sort that the meaning can be seen of the same apostle’s language in his First Epistle, "And this is the message which we have heard from him and announce unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all" (1 Joh 1:5).

The Nicolaitans.

In the Epistles to the Seven Churches in the Apocalypse there are other references to Gnosticism. Who the Nicolaitans were (Re 2:6,15) is not absolutely certain; but it is not unlikely that they were so called because of their having assumed the name of "Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch" (Ac 6:5). The first step to the reception of Gentile believers into the Christian church on an equal footing with the Jews may have been the appointment of Nicolaus as one of the first deacons, for the facts that he was a native of Antioch and a proselyte, show that he had been a heathen by birth. And it is noteworthy to find such a person appointed to office in the church at so very early a period, even before the conversion of the apostle Paul. The Nicolaitans therefore may have distorted in an antinomian sense the doctrine taught by Nicolaus, who in all probability proclaimed the liberty of the gospel, as his fellow-deacon, Stephen, did (Ac 7 throughout). But the liberty claimed by the Nicolaitans was liberty to sin. They are mentioned in the Epistle to Ephesus, and their deeds are characterized as deeds which Christ hates (Re 2:6). Their name occurs again in the Epistle to Pergamum, and there also their doctrine is described as a doctrine which the Lord hates (Re 2:15). Their teaching was one of licentiousness—eating things sacrifical to idols, and committing fornication (Re 2:14). Again in the Epistle to Thyatira, the Gnostics are spoken of as practicing the same evil courses, and as holding a doctrine of "the depths of Satan" (Re 2:20,21,24 the King James Version)—see above. The persons mentioned in the Epistle to Philadelphia were also evidently Gnostics. They are described as being "of the synagogue of Satan" (Re 3:9).

"In the language of Jude, as in that of Peter, which it closely imitates, we may clearly discern a reference to the Gnostic sect of the Nicolaitans mentioned by name in Revelation. The comparison in all these passages, of the error condemned with that of Balaam, is decisive as to the identity of the persons intended. The other characteristics noted by Peter are also repeated by Jude—their denial of the Lord, their profligate lives, their contempt of government, and evil speaking of dignities and of things that they know not, their pollution of the feasts of charity, their great swelling words. The antinomian, no less than the ascetic side of Gnosticism, seems by this time to have fully manifested itself" (Mansel, The Gnostic Heresies, 71).

V. The Christian Antithesis.

The principal points of contrast between Gnosticism and Christian teaching in regard to leading doctrines will now be apparent, and can be briefly summarized.

1. God and the World:

According to the Gnostics, God is thought of as the ultimate, nameless, unknowable Being, of whom they speak as the "Abyss." He is perfect, but the material world is alien to the Divine nature. How then does it come to exist at all? What is the source of its imperfections and evils?

How Did the World Originate?

The Gnostic answer is that the pleroma or fullness of the Deity (see FULLNESS) could flow out in no other way than in emanations or eons or angels, all of which are necessarily imperfect, the highest of these emanations or eons or angels being more spiritual than the grade immediately below it. Of these eons there is a gradation so numerous, that at length the lowest of them is almost wholly corporeal, the spiritual element having been gradually diminished or eliminated, until at last the world of man and of matter is reached, the abode of evil. In this way the gulf is bridged between God and the world of mankind. The highest eons approximate closely to the Divine nature, so spiritual are they and so nearly free from matter. These form the highest hierarchy of angels, and these as well as many other grades of the angelic host are to be worshipped.

In opposition to this view, Christian faith worships God as the free self-sufficient Creator, infinitely good and wise and powerful and holy, the Author of all things, and affirms creation as an incomprehensible fact revealed to faith, and which rises above the grasp of the understanding. "By faith we understand that the worlds have been framed by the word of God, so that what is seen hath not been made out of things which do appear" (Heb 11:3 the King James Version).

2. Evil:

The doctrine of evil follows directly from the above account of the relation of God to the world. According to Gnosticism the manifestation of God is possible only through self-limitation on His part, for in His essence God is the unfathomable Abyss. Through this Divine self-limitation are evolved, first, the Divine powers or attributes, which previously were hidden in the Abyss of His being. These Divine powers (the pleroma) become the principles of all further developments of life. Life continues to be unfolded in such a way that its successive grades sink farther and farther from the purity of God, the life is feebler the nearer they come to matter, with which, at length, they blend. Such, according to Gnosticism, is the origin of evil.

Whenever men are not content with acknowledging evil to be the act of their own free will, which has chosen to forsake its absolute dependence upon God; whenever they go beyond this and seek for another origin of evil, then one of two results follows. They either limit the holiness of God, and find the cause of evil in God Himself, thus annihilating all distinction between good and evil—which is Pantheism; or they limit the power of God by granting the existence of an eternal evil power beyond the control of God—which is Dualism. In avoiding Pantheism, Gnosticism accepted the dualistic solution, ascribing to evil an eternal self-subsistent nature, which is to make it absolute as God Himself is. As absolute self-subsistence can be affirmed of none but God, the eternally self-subsistent evil of Dualism must be God, which it cannot possibly be, because it is not good. Here is the self-contradiction on which Gnosticism was wrecked.

(1) The Christian Doctrine of Sin.

Directly contrary to this is the Christian doctrine, according to which evil is the refusal of the creature-will to lean absolutely and utterly on God, upon His care and love and upholding grace. Sin is that which ought not to be; it has no right to exist at all; it is defiance of God; it is moral transgression; its magnitude cannot be exaggerated. If it could, it would dethrone God. It has defied His righteousness and wisdom and holiness and even His grace. Sin therefore is dealt with by God in two ways, either by direct punishment or by redemption, in which provision is made for its removal by its being borne by the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world.

The Gnostic idea of the origin of evil follows at once from, and is inseparably involved in, their dualistic interpretation of nature. The question "What is sin?" is no mere academic or philosophical discussion, in which one opinion may be as good as another. "Everything in Christianity is connected more or less directly with the great facts of Sin and Redemption; and the plan of Redemption, which is the essence of Christianity, cannot be rightly understood until the doctrine of Sin be adequately recognized and established. Here, certainly, if anywhere, Christian theology must fight pro aris et focis" (Julius Muller, quoted in Dr. Orr’s Sin as a Problem of Today, 6).

(2) Sin and the Moral Law.

The universality of sin, its persistence, its gravity, its power to destroy and to deprave—these are facts which can hardly be exaggerated. To view sin aright, it is impossible to leave out of sight its relation to moral law, to God, and to His kingdom. Sin is the transgression of moral law; it is transgression also against a holy God, of whose character and will moral law is a transcript or reflection. "Sin is transgression against God, the substitution of the creature-will for the will of the Creator; revolt of the creature-will from God" (Sin as a Problem of Today, 7). It is the resolve of the will to make itself independent of God and to renounce His authority. Sin is self-will, false independence, freedom which ends in bondage and misery.

But in Gnosticism sin is something quite different; it is not the act and the disposition of the human will in rebellion against God; it is only a physical fact or quality inherent in the body and in matter everywhere. Redemption therefore does not consist in the work of Christ for us on the cross, and the applying of the benefits of that work by the Holy Spirit of God in the renewal of the moral nature of man. Redemption is simply each man’s efforts to secure emancipation from the flesh—from physical evil.

3. Christ and Redemption:

It is easily seen that a system of this kind had no need of Christ and leaves no place for redemption in the Christian sense of that term. Redemption in this scheme of thought is not deliverance from sin, it is not removal of guilt and renewing of the mind. It is something quite different, and consists in the restoration of the cosmic order and illumination of the mind of the select few through knowledge. Christ is not the Saviour who saves His people from their sins, and who gives them unceasingly, through union with Himself, deliverance from the power of sin. He is only one of the eons, the highest of them. He is an originated being, and not God. There is thus no place in Gnosticism either for the creation of the universe by God, or for the incarnation and work of Christ. Once grant that matter is essentially evil, and there is excluded the possibility of Christ’s having assumed a true human nature, simply for the one reason that the world and human nature are originally and necessarily evil. Thus, as already seen, we are landed in Docetism.

The Christology of the Gnostics accordingly assumed one of two types. "One class of early Gnostics separated the spiritual being Christ from the man Jesus; they supposed that the Christ entered Jesus at the time of His baptism, and left Him at the moment of His crucifixion. Thus the Christ was neither born as a man nor suffered as a man. In this way they obviated the difficulty, insuperable to the Gnostic mind, of conceiving the connection between the highest spiritual agency and gross corporeal matter, which was involved in the Catholic doctrine of the Incarnation and Passion, and which Gnostics of another type more effectually set aside by the doctrine of Docetism, i.e. by assuming that the human body of our Lord was only a phantom body, and not real flesh and blood. Irenaeus represents the former class as teaching that ‘Jesus was the receptacle of the Christ,’ and that the Christ ‘descended upon Him from heaven in the form of a dove, and after He had declared to mankind the nameless Father, entered again into the pleroma imperceptibly and invisibly.’ Here no names are given. But in another passage he ascribes precisely the same doctrine, without however naming the pleroma, to Cerinthus" (Lightfoot, Col, 264). How strenuously this doctrine was combated in apostolic circles has already been shown in speaking of John’s First Epistle.

4. Asecticism and Antinomianism:

The necessary consequence of the Gnostic theory in an ascetic morality which passed over by sure steps into antinomian license has likewise been fully illustrated in the foregoing, and need not be further enlarged on. The whole has its root in a false intellectualism, to which the gospel in its inculcation of humility, faith and dependence upon God’s Spirit for guidance into truth is, in its inmost principle, opposed.

VI. Harnack’s View of Gnosticism.

Harnack’s view of Gnosticism differs from that now given in laying the chief emphasis on its Judeo-Hellenistic side. He describes well how, when Christianity appeared, an extensive spiritualizing or allegorizing of the Old Testament had already taken place. "This spiritualizing was the result of a philosophic view of religion, and this philosophic view was the outcome of a lasting influence of Greek philosophy, and of the Greek spirit generally, upon Judaism. In consequence of this view, all facts and sayings of the Old Testament in which one could not find his way, were allegorized. Nothing was what it seemed, but was only the symbol of something invisible. The history of the Old Testament was here sublimated to a history of the emancipation of reason from passion" (History of Dogma, I, 223). This allegorical interpretation disclosed to the mature mind a wealth of relations, of hints and of intuitions from the Old Testament, which to the uninitiated was only a dry record of fact. This view of the Old Testament gave its readers a strange interest, which proceeded to transfer their ancient Jewish hopes into the world of Greek philosophy, and transformed the result into a metaphysic. When these thinkers entered the Christian church, Christian hopes and terms were added to the already existing Judaic-Greek- Alexandrian compound, and such was Gnosticism. It represented the acute secularizing or Hellenizing of Christianity. The Gnostics "are therefore those Christians, who, in a swift advance, attempted to capture Christianity for Hellenic culture, and Hellenic culture for Christianity, and who gave up the Old Testament in order to facilitate the conclusion of the covenant between the two powers and make it possible to assert the absoluteness of Christianity" (p. 227).

Harnack indeed grants that there were other elements in Gnosticism, but he strongly asserts that the Greek element was the predominating one. In this he seems to us to be in error. Laying the chief emphasis on Hellenism, he fails to give the due and preponderating place to eastern dualism. As already seen, an eastern dualistic theosophy is the chief element in Gnosticism. This eastern source is also acknowledged by Harnack, but only as if it were subsidiary to Hellenism. As he regards it, "Gnosticism was an acute Hellenizing of Christianity" (p. 230).

In regard to the fundamental philosophic doctrines of Gnosticism, the indefinable nature of the Divine primeval Being, the sinfulness of matter, the fullness of God in eons, the Demiurge, etc., Harnack agrees generally with other writers, and adds, "All these are ideas for which we find the way prepared in the philosophy of the time, anticipated by Philo, and represented in neo-Platonism as the great final result of Greek philosophy" (p. 233).

VII. Influence and Development of Gnosticism.

Gnosticism is peculiarly the heresy of the 2nd century, and in itself a proof of the extent to which a knowledge of the Christian faith had, at that early period, penetrated in literary and philosophical circles. Though it is true that Christianity at first influenced chiefly the humbler classes, yet it was not among these persons that the various Gnostic heresies arose.

1. Not a Heresy of the Humbler Classes:

Gnosticism "was a product which did not spring up spontaneously in the minds of the mechanics and slaves and women and children, whom most, like Celsus, suppose to have formed the bulk of the Christian communities, but could only have taken its rise in minds of a more cultured and speculative cast. This, indeed, was its claim—to be a religion of gnosis (knowledge), for the more highly trained or elite. It could only exist at all, therefore, as the result of a Christian ferment which had entered these speculative circles, and was there powerfully at work. Baur rightly appreciates the situation, when he says: ‘Gnosticism gives the clearest proof that Christianity had now come to be one of the most important factors in the history of the time, and it shows especially what a mighty power of attraction the new Christian principles possessed for the highest intellectual life then to be found either in the pagan or in the Jewish world.’ Above all, these systems are a striking witness to the impression produced on the heathen mind by the great Christian idea of redemption. ‘When the Gnostic systems,’ says Neander, ‘describe the movement which was produced in the kingdom of the Demiurge by the appearance of Christ as the manifestation of a new and mighty principle which had entered the precincts of this lower world, they give us to understand how powerful was the impression which the contemplation of the life of Christ and His influence on humanity, had left on the minds of the founders of these systems, making all earlier institutions seem to them as nothing in comparison with Christianity.’ We must beware, therefore, of underestimating either the extent or the intensity of this great intellectual ferment set up by the gospel in the heart of heathenism" (Orr, Neglected Factors, etc., 196).

2. Cerinthus: His Teaching:

The earliest of the Gnostics known to us by name is Cerinthus, the antagonist of the apostle John. It seems to be beyond reasonable doubt that these two encountered each other at Ephesus. Irenaeus relates on the authority of those who heard the story from Polycarp how the apostle and Cerinthus met in the public baths in that city. When John discovered that Cerinthus was in the same building with him, he instantly left, exclaiming that he could not remain while Cerinthus, the enemy of God and of man, was there. From the accounts which have been preserved of Cerinthus and of his teaching, it can be gathered that he taught that the world was created not by the Supreme God, but by an inferior power, and that he also taught a docetic theory of the Incarnation. Caius of Rome, a disciple of Irenaeus, records that Cerinthus held that there would be a millennium of unrestrained sensuality. Dionysius of Alexandria (circa 260 AD) more than confirms this. "Thus so far as they go, the historical data harmonize with the internal evidence of the Epistle (of John) itself, in giving the impression that the different tendencies it combats are such as were naturally combined in one consistently developed Gnostic system, and that the object of its polemic is, throughout, one and the same" (The Tests of Life, 37).

As regards the Gospel of John there is the testimony of Irenaeus, that it was written to oppose that form of Gnosticism which was taught by Cerinthus, and, before him, by the Nicolaitans. The nature of that heresy may be stated in the words of Irenaeus himself:

"A certain Cerinthus," he says, "in Asia, taught that the world was not made by the Supreme God, but by some power altogether separate and distinct from that Sovereign Power which is over the universe, and one ignorant of the God who is over all things. He taught, moreover, that Jesus was not born of a virgin (for this seemed to him to be impossible), but was the son of Joseph and Mary, born after the manner of other men; though preeminent above other men in justice and prudence and wisdom; and that after His baptism the Christ, in the form of a dove, descended upon Him from that Sovereign Power which is over all things; and that He then announced the unknown Father and wrought miracles; but that, at the end, the Christ departed again from Jesus, and that Jesus suffered and was raised from the dead, while the Christ continued impassible, as a spiritual being" (Mansel, The Gnostic Heresies, 74).

3. The Gospel of John:

Such a passage as Joh 19:34,35 seems to refer to docetic Gnosticism, and to be a personal protest against it. After describing the piercing of Christ’s side by the soldier’s spear, and how "straightway there came out blood and water," the apostle adds, "And he that hath seen hath borne witness, and his witness is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye also may believe." There are many other passages which seem to be directed against Docetism, e.g. "The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory)" (1:14); "Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus by the well" (4:6); "Reach hither thy finger, and see my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and put it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing" (20:27).

Cerinthus seems to have taught that the religion of Christ was identical with undiluted Mosaism, including even circumcision and the earthly kingdom of the future. The Cerinthian theory, however, was held under various forms by its adherents, some teachers holding that the God of the Old Testament was, at the best, a subordinate angel of limited power, wisdom and goodness, and that the creation of the world was very imperfect. Others went so far as to identify the God of the Old Testament with Satan. The ethic of systems such as these was antinomian, sometimes even going the length of libertinism.

Generally, the forms under which Gnosticism appeared varied greatly in different periods. Some went farther than others from the Christian faith.

4. Various Sects:

Some communities, such as the Encratites, laid the greatest stress on the necessity for asceticism; other communities were wholly docetic; the Carpocratians taught the philosophy and communism of Plato. One of these teachers, Epiphanes, was honored as a god, and this sect crowned the image of Jesus along with those of Pythagoras, Plato and Aristotle. Further, there were impostors of all varieties: magicians, soothsayers, jugglers, deceivers and hypocrites, "who appeared using mighty words with a host of unintelligible formulas and taking up with scandalous ceremonies in order to rob men of their money" (Harnack, op. cit., 239), and even for viler purposes.

(1) The Ophites.

Gnosticism, before reaching its full development, is chiefly represented by the ophite sects or systems. These were so named from the word ophis, "serpent," to which they paid honor as the symbol of intelligence. They held that the Creator of the world was an ignorant and imperfect being, Ialdaboth, the Son of Chaos; and that it was a meritorious act when the serpent persuaded Adam and Eve to disobey him, There were several of the ophite sects, such as the Cainites, who reversed all the standards of moral judgment, choosing as their heroes the persons whom the Bible condemned, such as Cain, the men of Sodom, Esau and Korah.

(2) Valentinus.

By the time of Justin Martyr (circa 150 AD), Gnosticism had become divided into a variety of sects and schools, Valentinians, Basilideans, Saturninians and Marcionites. In the Valentinian system, Christ and the Holy Spirit were two eons. The Valentinians granted that ordinary Christians were better than the heathen, and that they might look forward to a kind of salvation; even now ordinary Christians occupied a middle position, better than the "hylic" or "psychic," but inferior to the "pneumatic" or "spiritual," as the Gnostics termed themselves.

(3) Basilides.

The Basilideans take their name from Basilides of Alexandria, a man of powerful intellect. He and his son Isidore taught this system, which was afterward considerably modified for the purpose of popular apprehension. The world is continuously evolved from a pansperma or "seed of the world," in which all things were originally potentially contained. It is ruled by two great Archons, who yet subserve the designs of the Supreme. There are no eons, but the highest "light" descends through the successive spheres till it rests on Jesus of Nazareth. The process is complete when the Divine element ("sonship") is all drawn out and restored to God; oblivion then falls on lower intelligences. Many fine sayings are attributed to Basilides, e.g. "I will say anything rather than doubt the goodness of Providence" (Orr, The Early Church, 75).

(4) Saturninus.

The Saturninians were so called from Saturninus, said to be a disciple of Menander, who in turn is said to have been a disciple of Simon Magus. The system of Saturninus is marked both by a strong dualism and by a gloomy asceticism. He is also reported to have been one of the founders of the Encratite heresy, which condemned marriage. Tatian, Justin Martyr’s disciple, became a member of this Gnostic sect, holding, it is alleged, the usual theory of eons, and that there was a Demiurge, who was not the Supreme God.

(5) Marcion.

Marcion, a native of Pontus, taught in Rome circa 140-55 AD. His system differs much from ordinary Gnostic theories, except that he absolutely distinguished between the God of the Old Testament, who is regarded as merely great, harsh, rigorous, and the good God of the New Testament, who is wholly love. He also held to the usual Gnostic dualism and docetism. Marcion’s system has been described as an overstrained Paulinism, as he lays the stress on faith, not on knowledge. Marcion was the author of a book called the Anthitheses, which contrasted the Old Testament with the New Testament. He also drew up a canon of Scripture, which contained only one gospel, namely, Luke in a mutilated state, and ten Epistles of Paul. Marcion was a rigorous ascetic. In the Lord’s Supper he allowed only water to be used instead of wine. The Marcionites refused baptism to married persons. This sect or "church" endured for several centuries.

5. Relation to the Old Testament:

"All the Gnostic systems had one feature in common, namely, that they regarded the Old Testament and the New Testament as revelations of two different Gods, and considered the mission of Christ to proceed from a higher power than the God of the Jewish religion, who was identified with the Demiurge, or Maker of the world. But under this common assumption there was room for two very opposite estimates of the older revelation and of the God whom it reveals. Some of the Gnostic sects regarded the Demiurge as being altogether alien from and opposed to the Supreme God; others considered him merely as a subordinate power, inferior but not hostile to the Supreme God, and acting before the coming of a more perfect revelation, as his unconscious organ" (Mansel, The Gnostic Heresies, 45). "There can be no doubt that the Gnostic propaganda was seriously hindered by the inability to organize and discipline churches, which is characteristic of all philosophic systems of religion" (Harnack, History of Dogma, I, 252). "From about 210 they ceased to be a factor of the historical development, though the church of Constantine and Theodosius was alone really able to suppress them" (ibid., 251).

6. The Christian Verities:

In contrast to Gnosticism the Christian church held fast to these great facts, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, preexistent before the Incarnation, and manifest in the flesh and crucified for us men and for our salvation; that He rose from the dead; that the Old Testament is a true revelation of the one supreme and holy God, the Creator of all things. Dualism, the eternity of matter and its inherent evil, as well as Docetism and oriental mythologies were accordingly rejected as contrary to the Christian faith.

7. Influence on Theology:

During the period of the prevalence of Gnosticism there took place the earlier developments of Christian theology. Gnosticism gave a powerful impetus to the formation of a New Testament canon of Scripture; and to the shaping of the earliest creed.


8. Truth Underlying Docetism:

In the revulsion from Gnosticism and Docetism it should not be forgotten that there is truth to be found even amid the errors of these systems. Docetism was an over-statement of a great truth, an over-statement so large as to destroy the true humanity of our Lord. But the truth in Docetism is that the eternal Christ touches and appeals to and has a definite relationship to and actually influences every human heart; and also, that, to the Christian believer, Christ is more and does more than this; Christ dwells in the believer’s heart by faith, "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col 1:27). "Docetism was not all folly. Rather we may regard it as one primitive form of the assertion of that mystical element which has never been wanting to Christianity from the first days until now, and we may be sure, never will be wanting to it" (Sanday, Christologies Ancient and Modern, 9).

VIII. Modern Gnosticism.

Gnosticism in its ancient form has passed away, but it is interesting to observe how its spirit reappears from time to time in modern days. Gnosticism, as already seen, is not one aspect of thought alone, but many. And in one form or another it is seen again and again. For example, the modern denial of the virgin birth of our Lord is that form of Gnosticism which taught that the man Jesus became Christ only at His baptism, when the Holy Spirit descended upon Him from heaven.

Phases of Gnostic teaching are reproduced in modern pantheistic philosophies and other forms of religious doctrine, which hold that there has been no objective atonement and no resurrection of Christ from the dead. "Basilides with his powerful speculative grasp and all-embracing evolutionary process might be termed the Hegel of the movement; Valentinus with his robe of fantasy and triple fall and redemption was its Schelling; Marcion with his severe practical bent, his doctrine of faith, and his antitheses of the just God and the good, might without straining be termed its Ritschl" (Orr, The Progress of Dogma, 59).

"Fichte said, ‘There were no external realities at all, they were the mere objectivity of the subject or creations of the inward eye’; after Fichte came Schelling, and Schelling said, ‘Then this creating eye is God’s own eye’; and after Schelling came Hegel, and Hegel said that ‘God and man are one, and God all men, and all men God, and the whole universe God eternally thinking in the process of development,’ and that or something like it is Hegelianism. I feel in studying this philosophy, as Baron Humboldt says he felt, when he experienced the first shock of an earthquake. I feel a dreadful sense of restlessness and insecurity. The ground seems to give way beneath, and the earth and the heaven to dissolve, the universe becomes a dream, a myth" (W.B. Robertson, D.D., Martin Luther, German Student Life, etc., 138).

"Philosophy," says Mansel, "striving after a first principle which shall be one and simple and unconditioned and incapable of all further analysis in thought, is naturally tempted to soar above that complex combination of attributes which is implied in our conception of personality, and in endeavoring to simplify and purify our representation of the Divine nature, ends by depriving it of every attribute which can make God the object of any religious feeling or the source of any moral obligation" (The Gnostic Heresies, 11). God is no longer the author and source of goodness and truth and moral law, but the mind is occupied with the metaphysical relation between God and the world, as absolute and relative, cause and effect, principle and consequence, and God becomes identical with the world.

It is easily seen how teaching of this sort strikes at the root of all religion and morality. The personality of God, the personality and free will of man, the existence of moral evil, the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ, the redemption which He accomplished for the world, His resurrection, the whole significance of His person and His work—all is denied. This is the spirit and the meaning of Gnosticism.

Dr. Gwatkin sums up the matter thus: "Gnosticism undermined Christian monotheism by its distinction of the Creator from the Supreme, Christian morals by its opposition of the philosopher to the unlearned, Christian practice by its separation of knowledge from action; and it cut away the very basis of the gospel whenever it explained away its history. In every case it had got hold of truth on one side—the reality of evil in the world, the function of knowledge in religion, the difference between the letter and the spirit; but fragments of truth are not enough for a gospel, which is false if all truth is not summed up in Christ. Therefore, there could be no peace between the Gnostic illuminati and the Christian churches" (Early Church History, II, 68). LITERATURE.

Uhlhorn, The Conflict of Christianity with Heathenism; Neander, Church History, Antignostikus; Reuss, History of Christian Theology in the Apostolic Age; Lightfoot, Notes on Epistles of Paul, Colossians, Philippians; Gwatkin, Early Church History to 313 AD, II; W. Bousset, article "Gnosticism," Encyclopedia Brit, 11th edition; Harnack, History of Dogma, I (English translation); Orr, Neglected Factors in the Study of the Early Progress of Christianity, Sin as a Problem of Today, The Progress of Dogma, The Early Church; Mansel, The Gnostic Heresies; Robert Law, B.D., The Tests of Life.

John Rutherfurd


(halakh, yalakh, bo’, yatsa’; ago, hupago, anabaino, erchomi, aperchomai, poreuomai): "Go" ("went," etc.) occurs very frequently in the English Bible, and is the translation of a great many different Hebrew and Greek terms. As the word implies movement of all kinds, physical and mental, it has naturally many applications.

1. In the Old Testament:

In the Old Testament halakh and yalakh are among the commonest words, meaning "to go" in its original sense of "to walk," but also in the most varied senses, according to the verbal conjugations, etc., the preposition attached, and the words in connection with which the terms stand; halakh and yalakh are often used figuratively (translated "to walk," etc.) for to live, to pursue a way of life, e.g. "to walk ever in his ways" (De 19:9; compare Ps 15:2; 89:30; 1Ki 2:3; 3:3, etc.); to die, "He departed (Hebrew "went") without being desired" (2Ch 21:20); bo’, properly "to go in," "to enter" (e.g. Ge 7:9), is very common, and yatsa’," to go or come out," also occurs frequently; yatsa’, has frequently the meaning "to go forth," e.g. Ge 8:7, "He sent forth a raven, and it went forth." Other frequent words are yaradh, "to go down" (Ge 11:7, etc.); ‘alah, "to go or come up" (Ge 2:6, etc.; Isa 15:5, "go it up," the King James Version) ; used also figuratively, e.g. "to rise up or excel" "Thou excellest them all" (Pr 31:29), "to come up on the nears," to be remembered, "The former things shall not be remembered, nor come into mind" (Isa 65:17; compare Jer 3:16); ‘abhar, "to go or pass over," "to cross" (Ge 41:46, etc.), also used figuratively "to pass away," e.g. "as chaff that passeth away" (Isa 29:5), ‘passeth by transgression’ (Mic 7:18); shubh, "to go again" (Ge 43:2, etc.); saTah and cur, "to go aside," occur several times with the meaning of wrongdoing (e.g. Nu 5:12; De 28:14, the Revised Version (British and American) "turn aside"); nasa’," to remove (Ex 14:15), "Speak unto the children of Israel that they go forward" (Ex 14:19"removed"; Nu 2:24 etc.); ‘azal (Aramaic), "to go away or about" (Ezr 4:23; Da 2:17, etc.). Many other words occur only once or twice, e.g. ‘arach, "to travel" Job (34:8); ‘ashar, "to go straight or right" (Pr 4:14; 9:6, the Revised Version (British and American) "walk"); darakh, "to tread" (Isa 59:8); dadhah, "to go softly" (Ps 42:4; Isa 38:15, the Revised Version, margin "as in solemn procession"); raghal, "to stir" "to move" "I taught Enhraim to go" (Ho 11:3, the Revised Version (British and American) "to walk").

The obsolete expression "go to" (derived from Tyndale) is the translation of yahabh in Ge 11:3,4,7; 38:16; Ex 1:10, "come on," the Revised Version (British and American) "come"; of bo’ (2Ki 5:5 the Revised Version (British and American)), "go now"; na’ (Jud 7:3; Isa 5:5; Jer 18:11, omitted in the Revised Version (British and American)).

2. In the New Testament:

In the New Testament anabaino is "to go up" (Mt 3:16; 5:1, etc.); erchomai, "to go on" (Mt 12:9, etc.); aperchomai, "to go off or away" (Mt 2:22; 4:24, etc.); poreuomai, "to go or pass on" (Mt 2:8,20, etc.); hupago, "to go away" (Mt 5:41; 8:32, etc.). We have also other combinations with different shades of meaning, e.g. huperbaino, "to go over or beyond" (1Th 4:6); eiserchomai, "to go into" (Mt 7:13; 15:11, etc.); proporeuomai, "to go before" (Lu 1:76; Ac 7:40), and other forms; ago (agomen), "Let us go" (Mt 26:46; Joh 14:31, etc.); age is rendered "go to" (Jas 4:13; 5:1), the Revised Version (British and American) "come."

"Go about (to)" the King James Version is the translation of zeteo, "to seek," in Joh 7:19, "Why go ye about to kill me?" the Revised Version (British and American) "Why seek ye?" and Ro 10:3; of peirazo, "to try," "attempt" (Ac 24:6, the Revised Version (British and American) "assayed"), and of peiraomai (26:21, the Revised Version (British and American) "assayed"), of epicheireo "to lay hands on" (Ac 9:29), which remains in the English Revised Version unchanged, the American Standard Revised Version "seeking"; "to let go" is the translation of apoluo "to loose off" or "away" (Lu 14:4, etc.), "to go astray," of planao (Mt 18:12, etc.).

Various other words occurring singly are translated by forms of "go," e.g. phero, "to bear on," the King James Version "Let us go on unto perfection" (Heb 6:1, see below); epiduo, "to go in upon," "Let not the sun go down upon your Wrath" (Eph 4:26).

Among the many changes in the Revised Version (British and American) are the following: For "go," Ex 4:26, "alone"; Le 9:7, "draw near"; Nu 2:31, "set forth"; 16:46, "carry it"; Isa 11:15; 27:4, "march"; Mt 11:4; Joh 8:11, "Go your way"; Lu 17:7, "Come straightway"; 18:25, "enter in"; Joh 21:3 b, "come." "Go" is substituted for "pass" (Ex 12:12), "came" (Ex 13:4), "away" (Ex 19:24), "be put" (Le 6:12), "enter" (Job 34:23), "return" (Ec 1:7), "come" (Mic 4:2; compare Zec 14:18,19), "should be cast" (Mt 5:30); "if I go up" for "I will come up" (Ex 33:5); "make to go forth" for "bring forth" (Ps 37:6); "let them go" for "gave them up" (Ps 81:12). For the phrase, "go a whoring," the American Standard Revised Version has "play the harlot" (Ex 34:15 f, etc., "commit fornication"); for "go about even now" (De 31:21, the American Standard Revised Version), "frame this day"; for "go well" (Pr 30:29), "are stately in their march"; for "suffer us to go" (Mt 8:31), "send us" (a different text); for "not to think of men above that which is written" (1Co 4:6), "not (to go) beyond the things which are written"; for "that no man go beyond" (1Th 4:6), "transgress," margin "overreach"; for "Let us go on unto perfection" (Heb 6:1), the English Revised Version "and press," the American Standard Revised Version "Let us press on unto perfection."

W. L. Walker


god (dorebhan, malmadh; kentron): The goad used by the Syrian farmer is usually a straight branch of oak or other strong wood from which the bark has been stripped, and which has at one end a pointed spike and at the other a flat chisel-shaped iron. The pointed end is to prod the oxen while plowing. The flattened iron at the other end is to scrape off the earth which clogs the plowshare. The ancient goad was probably similar to this instrument. It could do villainous work in the hands of an experienced fighter (Jud 3:31). If 1Sa 13:21 is correctly translated, the goads were kept sharpened by files.

Figurative: "The words of the wise are as goads" (Ec 12:11). The only reference to goads in the New Testament is the familiar passage, "It is hard for thee to kick against the goad" (Ac 26:14). It was as useless for Saul to keep on in the wrong way as for a fractious ox to attempt to leave the furrow. He would surely be brought back with a prick of the goad.

James A. Patch


go’-a, go’-ath (go‘ah; the King James Version; Septuagint reads ex eklekton lithon): A place named in describing the boundaries of Jerusalem as restored in the "days to come" (Jer 31:39). If Gareb is the Northeast hill, then probably Goah is to be identified with the Northwest hill, which is called by Josephus "the camp of the Assyrians" (BJ, V, vii, 3; xii, 2).




1. Names:

The common generic word for "goat" is ‘ez (compare Arabic ‘anz, "she-goat"; aix), used often for "she-goat" (Ge 15:9; Nu 15:27), also with gedhi, "kid," as gedhi ‘izzim, "kid of the goats" (Ge 38:17), also with sa‘ir, "he-goat," as se‘ir ‘izzim, "kid of the goats" or "he-goat," or translated simply "kids," as in 1Ki 20:27, "The children of Israel encamped before them like two little flocks of kids." Next, frequently used is sa‘ir, literally, "hairy" (compare Arabic sha‘r, "hair"; cher, "hedgehog"; Latin hircus, "goat"; hirtus, "hairy"; also German Haar; English "hair"), like ‘ez and ‘attudh used of goats for offerings. The goat which is sent into the wilderness bearing the sins of the people is sa‘ir (Le 16:7-22). The same name is used of devils (Le 17:7; 2Ch 11:15, the Revised Version (British and American) "he-goats") and of satyrs (Isa 13:21; 34:14, the Revised Version, margin "he-goats," the American Standard Revised Version "wild goats"). Compare also se‘irath ‘izzim, "a female from the flock" (Le 4:28; 5:6). The male or leader of the flock is ‘attudh; Arabic ‘atud, "yearling he-goat"; figuratively "chief ones" (Isa 14:9; compare Jer 50:8). A later word for "he-goat," used also figuratively, is tsaphir (2Ch 29:21; Ezr 8:35; Da 8:5,8,21). In Pr 30:31, one of the four things "which are stately in going" is the he-goat, tayish (Arabic tais, "he-goat"), also mentioned in Ge 30:35; 32:14 among the possessions of Laban and Jacob, and in 2Ch 17:11 among the animals given as tribute by the Arabians to Jehoshaphat. In Heb 9:12,13,19; 10:4, we have tragos, the ordinary Greek word for "goat"; in Mt 25:32,33, eriphos, and its diminutive eriphion; in Heb 11:37 derma aigeion, "goatskin," from aix (see supra). "Kid" is gedhi (compare En-gedi (1Sa 23:29), etc.), feminine gedhiyah (So 1:8), but also ‘ez, gedhi ‘izzim, se’-ir ‘izzim, se‘ir ‘izzim, se‘irath ‘izzim, bene ‘izzim, and eriphos. There remain ya‘el (1Sa 24:2; Job 39:1; Ps 104:18), English Versions of the Bible "wild goat"; ya‘alah (Pr 5:19), the King James Version "roe," the Revised Version (British and American) "doe"; ‘aqqo (De 14:5), English Versions of the Bible "wild goat"; and zemer (De 14:5), English Versions of the Bible "chamois."

2. Wild Goats:

The original of our domestic goats is believed to be the Persian wild goat or pasang, Capra aegagrus, which inhabits some of the Greek islands, Asia Minor, Syria, Mesopotamia, Persia, Afghanistan, and Northwestern India. It is called wa’l (compare Hebrew ya‘el) by the Arabs, who in the North apply the same name to its near relative, the Sinaitic ibex, Capra beden. The last, doubtless the "wild goat" (ya‘el) of the Bible, inhabits Southern Palestine, Arabia, Sinai, and Eastern Egypt, and within its range is uniformly called beden by the Arabs. It is thought by the writer that the "chamois" (zemer) of De 14:5 may be the Persian wild goat. The word occurs only in this passage in the list of clean animals. See CHAMOIS; DEER; ZOOLOGY. Wild goats are found only in Southern Europe, Southwestern Asia, and Northeastern Africa. They include the well-known, but now nearly extinct, Alpine ibex, steinbok, or bouquetin, the markhor, and the Himalayan ibex, which has enormous horns. The so-called Rocky Mountain goat is not properly a goat, but is an animal intermediate between goats and antelopes.

3. Domestic Goats:

Domestic goats differ greatly among themselves in the color and length of their hair, in the size and shape of their ears, and in the size and shape of their horns, which are usually larger in the males, but in some breeds may be absent in both sexes. A very constant feature in both wild and domestic goats is the bearded chin of the male. The goats of Palestine and Syria are usually black (So 4:1), though sometimes partly or entirely white or brown. Their hair is usually long, hanging down from their bodies. The horns are commonly curved outward and backward, but in one very handsome breed they extend nearly outward with slight but graceful curves, sometimes attaining a span of 2 ft. or more in the old males. The profile of the face is distinctly convex. They are herded in the largest numbers in the mountainous or hilly districts, and vie with their wild congeners in climbing into apparently impossible places. They feed not only on herbs, but also on shrubs and small trees, to which they are most destructive. They are largely responsible for the deforested condition of Judea and Lebanon. They reach up the trees to the height of a man, holding themselves nearly or quite erect, and even walk out on low branches.

4. Economy:

Apart from the ancient use in sacrifice, which still survives among Moslems, goats are most valuable animals. Their flesh is eaten, and may be had when neither mutton nor beef can be found. Their milk is drunk and made into cheese and semn, a sort of clarified butter much used in cooking. Their hair is woven into tents (So 1:5), carpets, cloaks, sacks, slings, and various camel, horse and mule trappings. Their skins are made into bottles (no’dh; Greek askos; Arabic qirbeh) for water, oil, semn, and other liquids (compare also Heb 11:37).

5. Religious and Figurative:

Just as the kid was often slaughtered for an honored guest (Jud 6:19; 13:19), so the kid or goat was frequently taken for sacrifice (Le 4:23; 9:15; 16:7; Nu 15:24; Ezr 8:35; Eze 45:23; Heb 9:12). A goat was one of the clean animals (seh ‘izzim, De 14:4). In Daniel, the powerful king out of the West is typified as a goat with a single horn (8:5). One of the older goats is the leader of the flock. In some parts of the country the goatherd makes different ones leaders by turns, the leader being trained to keep near the goat-herd and not to eat so long as he wears the bell. In Isa 14:9, ".... stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth," the word translated "chief ones" is ‘attudh, "he-goat." Again, in Jer 50:8, we have "Go forth out of the land of the Chaldeans, and be as the he-goats before the flocks." In Mt 25:32, in the scene of the last judgment, we find "He shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats." It is not infrequent to find a flock including both goats and sheep grazing over the mountains, but they are usually folded separately.

Alfred Ely Day


(’ez): The word for she-goat is used elliptically to mean goats’ hair, which was used in the tabernacle furnishings in the form of curtains (Ex 26:7; 36:14). Goats’ hair was probably used in the Midianite and Israelite camps in much the same way as in the Bedouin camps today (compare Nu 31:20). The tents, tent ropes and rugs are made of spun goats’ hair. The provision sacks which hold wheat, rice, etc., and the saddlebags are made of the same material. A strip of the cloth rolled up furnishes a bolster for the head while sleeping (compare 1Sa 19:13,16). Goats’ hair cloth is admirab1y suited to stand the hard usage of a frequently shifting encampment. The children of Israel appreciated its utility, even for the tabernacle, where to the modern critical eye it would have looked out of place, matched against scarlet and fine linen (Ex 25:4; 35:6,26). The fact that goats’ hair was used is good indication of the comparative crudeness of the tabernacle, when contrasted with present-day furnishings.


James A. Patch


got’-skinz (en aigeiois dermasin): Such skins are mentioned only once (Heb 11:37), where the wearing of goatskins, indicating extreme poverty, is referred to, by implication, as the possible lot of the faithful Christian, even as it had been of others. Ascetics of different religions, especially of the Moslem sects, are frequently seen going about Syria and Palestine today, clad in sheepskins or goatskins, a sign of their renunciation of all things worldly.


gob (gobh): A place mentioned in 2Sa 21:18 f as the scene of two of David’s battles with the Philistines. The name appears here only. In the parallel passage, 1Ch 20:4, it is called Gezer (compare Ant, VII, xii, 2). Certain texts read "Nob" for "Gob," while Syriac and Septuagint read "Gath." The latter is probably correct.


gob’-let (’aggan): A bowl or basin (So 7:2), the only place where the word is used. ‘Aggan is used in the plural in Ex 24:6 and Isa 22:24, and is translated "basins" and "cups." These "basins" were used to hold the blood of the sacrifices and must have been of moderate size. The "cups" were bowl-shaped vessels and belonged evidently to the smaller class of vessels used in a house.

GOD, 1

god (’Elohim, ‘El, [‘Elyon], Shadday, Yahweh; Theos):


1. The Idea in Experience and in Thought

2. Definition of the Idea

3. The Knowledge of God

4. Ethnic Ideas of God

(1) Animism

(2) Fetishism

(3) Idolatry

(4) Polytheism

(5) Henotheism

(6) Pantheism

(7) Deism

(8) Semitic Monolatry

(9) Monotheism


1. The Course of Its Development

2. Forms of Its Manifestation

(1) The Face or Countenance of God

(2) The Voice and Word of God

(3) The Glory of God

(4) The Angel of God

(5) The Spirit of God

(6) The Name of God

(7) Occasional Forms

3. The Names of God

(1) Generic

(2) Attributive

(3) Yahweh

4. Pre-prophetic Conceptions of God

(1) Yahweh Alone Is the God of Israel

(a) His Early Worship

(b) Popular Religion

(c) Polytheistic Tendencies

(i) Coordination

(ii) Assimilation

(iii) Disintegration

(d) No Hebrew Goddesses

(e) Human Sacrifices

(2) Nature and Character of Yahweh

(a) A God of War

(b) His Relation to Nature

(3) Most Distinctive Characteristics of Yahweh

(a) Personality

(b) Law and Judgment

5. The Idea of God in the Prophetic Period

(1) Righteousness

(2) Holiness

(3) Universality

(4) Unity

(5) Creator and Lord

(6) Compassion and Love

6. The Idea of God in Post-exilic Judaism

(1) New Conditions

(2) Divine Attributes

(3) Surviving Limitations

(a) Disappearing Anthropomorphism

(b) Localization

(c) Favoritism

(d) Ceremonial Legalism

(4) Tendencies to Abstractness

(a) Transcendence

(b) Skepticism

(c) Immanence

(5) Logos, Memra’, and Angels


1. Dependence on the Old Testament

2. Gentile Influence

3. Absence of Theistic Proofs

4. Fatherhood of God

(1) In the Teaching of Jesus Christ

(a) Its Relation to Himself

(b) To Believers

(c) To All Men

(2) In Apostolic Teaching

(a) Father of Jesus Christ

(b) Our Father

(c) Universal Father

5. God Is King

(1) The Kingdom of God

(2) Its King

(a) God

(b) Christ

(c) Their Relation

(3) Apostolic Teaching

6. Moral Attributes

(1) Personality

(2) Love

(3) Righteousness and Holiness

7. Metaphysical Attributes

8. The Unity of God

(1) The Divinity of Christ

(2) The Holy Spirit

(3) The Church’s Problem


I. Introduction to the General Idea.

1. The Idea in Experience and in Thought:

Religion gives the idea of God, theology construes and organizes its content, and philosophy establishes its relation to the whole of man’s experience. The logical order of treating it might appear to be, first, to establish its truth by philosophical proofs; secondly, to develop its content into theological propositions; and finally, to observe its development and action in religion. Such has been the more usual order of treatment. But the actual history of the idea has been quite the reverse. Men had the idea of God, and it had proved a creative factor in history, long before reflection upon it issued in its systematic expression as a doctrine. Moreover, men had enunciated the doctrine before they attempted or even felt any need to define its relation to reality. And the logic of history is the truer philosophy. To arrive at the truth of any idea, man must begin with some portion of experience, define its content, relate it to the whole of experience, and so determine its degree of reality.

Religion is as universal as man, and every religion involves some idea of God. Of the various philosophical ideas of God, each has its counterpart and antecedent in some actual religion. Pantheism is the philosophy of the religious consciousness of India. Deism had prevailed for centuries as an actual attitude of men to God, in China, in Judaism and in Islam, before it found expression as a rational theory in the philosophy of the 18th century Theism is but the attempt to define in general terms the Christian conception of God, and of His relation to the world. If pluralism claims a place among the systems of philosophy, it can appeal to the religious consciousness of that large portion of mankind that has hitherto adhered to polytheism.

But all religions do not issue in speculative reconstructions of their content. It is true in a sense that all religion is an unconscious philosophy, because it is the reaction of the whole mind, including the intellect, upon the world of its experience, and, therefore, every idea of God involves some kind of an explanation of the world. But conscious reflection upon their own content emerges only in a few of the more highly developed religions. Brahmanism, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam and Christianity are the only religions that have produced great systems of thought, exhibiting their content in a speculative and rational form. The religions of Greece and Rome were unable to survive the reflective period. They produced no theology which could ally itself to a philosophy, and Greek philosophy was from the beginning to a great extent the denial and supersession of Greek religion.

Biblical literature nearly all represents the spontaneous experience of religion, and contains comparatively little reflection upon that experience. In the Old Testament it is only in Second Isaiah, in the Wisdom literature and in a few Psalms that the human mind may be seen turning back upon itself to ask the meaning of its practical feelings and beliefs. Even here nothing appears of the nature of a philosophy of Theism or of religion, no theology, no organic definition and no ideal reconstruction of the idea of God. It never occurred to any Old Testament writer to offer a proof of the existence of God, or that anyone should need it. Their concern was to bring men to a right relation with God, and they propounded right views of God only in so far as it was necessary for their practical purpose. Even the fool who "hath said in his heart, There is no God" (Ps 14:1; 53:1), and the wicked nations "that forget God" (Ps 9:17) are no theoretical atheists, but wicked and corrupt men, who, in conduct and life, neglect or reject the presence of God.

The New Testament contains more theology, more reflection upon the inward content of the idea of God, and upon its cosmic significance; but here also, no system appears, no coherent and rounded-off doctrine, still less any philosophical construction of the idea on the basis of experience as a whole. The task of exhibiting the Biblical idea of God is, therefore, not that of setting together a number of texts, or of writing the history of a theology, but rather of interpreting the central factor in the life of the Hebrew and Christian communities.

2. Definition of the Idea:

Logically and historically the Biblical idea stands related to a number of other ideas. Attempts have been made to find a definition of so general a nature as to comprehend them all. The older theologians assumed the Christian standpoint, and put into their definitions the conclusions of Christian doctrine and philosophy. Thus, Melanchthon: "God is a spiritual essence, intelligent, eternal, true, good, pure, just, merciful, most free and of infinite power and wisdom." Thomasius more briefly defines God as "the absolute personality." These definitions take no account of the existence of lower religions and ideas of God, nor do they convey much of the concreteness and nearness of God revealed in Christ. A similar recent definition, put forward, however, avowedly of the Christian conception, is that of Professor W. N. Clarke: "God is the personal Spirit, perfectly good, who in holy love creates, sustains and orders all" (Outline of Christian Theology, 66). The rise of comparative religion has shown that "while all religions involve a conscious relation to a being called God, the Divine Being is in different religions conceived in the most different ways; as one and as many, as natural and as spiritual, as like to and manifested in almost every object in the heavens above or earth beneath, in mountains and trees, in animals and men; or, on the contrary, as being incapable of being represented by any finite image whatsoever; and, again, as the God of a family, of a nation, or of humanity" (E. Caird, Evolution of Religion, I, 62). Attempts have therefore been made to find a new kind of definition, such as would include under one category all the ideas of God possessed by the human race. A typical instance of this kind of definition is that of Professor W. Adams Brown: "A god in the religious sense is an unseen being, real or supposed, to whom an individual or a social group is united by voluntary ties of reverence and service" (Christian Theology in Outline, 30). Many similar definitions are given: "A supersensible being or beings" (Lotze, Asia Minor Fairbairn); "a higher power" (Allan Menzies); "spiritual beings" (E.B. Tylor); "a power not ourselves making for righteousness" (Matthew Arnold). This class of definition suffers from a twofold defect. It says too much to include the ideas of the lower religions, and too little to suggest those of the higher. It is not all gods that are "unseen" or "supersensible," or "making for righteousness," but all these qualities may be shared by other beings than gods, and they do not connote that which is essential in the higher ideas of God. Dr. E. Caird, looking for a definition in a germinative principle of the genesis of religion, defines God "as the unity which is presupposed in the difference of the self and not-self, and within which they act and re-act on each other" (op. cit., I, 40, 64). This principle admittedly finds its full realization only in the highest religion, and it may be doubted whether it does justice to the transcendent personality and the love of God as revealed in Jesus Christ. In the lower religions it appears only in fragmentary forms, and it can only be detected in them at all after it has been revealed in the absolute religion. Although this definition may be neither adequate nor true, its method recognizes that there can be only one true idea and definition of God, and yet that all other ideas are more or less true elements of it and approximations to it. The Biblical idea does not stand alone like an island in mid-ocean, but is rather the center of light which radiates out in other religions with varying degrees of purity.

It is not the purpose of this article to deal with the problem of the philosophy of religion, but to give an account of the idea of God at certain stages of its development, and within a limited area of thought. The absence of a final definition will present no practical difficulty, because the denotation of the term God is clear enough; it includes everything that is or has been an object of worship; it is its connotation that remains a problem for speculation.

3. The Knowledge of God:

A third class of definition demands some attention, because it raises a new question, that of the knowledge or truth of any idea whatsoever. Herbert Spencer’s definition may be taken as representative: God is the unknown and unknowable cause of the universe, "an inscrutable power manifested to us through all phenomena" (First Principles, V, 31). This means that there can be no definition of the idea of God, because we can have no idea of Him, no knowledge "in the strict sense of knowing." For the present purpose it might suffice for an answer that ideas of God actually exist; that they can be defined and are more definable, because fuller and more complex, the higher they rise in the scale of religions; that they can be gathered from the folklore and traditions of the lower races, and from the sacred books and creeds of the higher religions. But Spencer’s view means that, in so far as the ideas are definable, they are not true. The more we define, the more fictitious becomes our subject-matter. While nothing is more certain than that God exists, His being is to human thought utterly mysterious and inscrutable. The variety of ideas might seem to support this view. But variety of ideas has been held of every subject that is known, as witness the progress of science. The variety proves nothing.

And the complete abstraction of thought from existence cannot be maintained. Spencer himself does not succeed in doing it. He says a great many things about the "unknowable" which implies an extensive knowledge of Him. The traditional proofs of the "existence" of God have misled the Agnostics. But existence is meaningless except for thought, and a noumenon or first cause that lies hidden in impenetrable mystery behind phenomena cannot be conceived even as a fiction. Spencer’s idea of the Infinite and Absolute are contradictory and unthinkable. An Infinite that stood outside all that is known would not be infinite, and an Absolute out of all relation could not even be imagined. If there is any truth at all in the idea of the Absolute, it must be true to human experience and thought; and the true Infinite must include within itself every possible and actual perfection. In truth, every idea of God that has lived in religion refutes Agnosticism, because they all qualify and interpret experience, and the only question is as to the degree of their adequacy and truth.

A brief enumeration of the leading ideas of God that have lived in religion will serve to place the Biblical idea in its true perspective.

4. Ethnic Ideas of God:

(1) Animism:

Animism is the name of a theory which explains the lowest (and perhaps the earliest) forms of religion, and also the principle of all religion, as the belief in the universal presence of spiritual beings which "are held to affect or control the events of the material world, and man’s life here and hereafter; and, it being considered that they hold intercourse with men, and receive pleasure or displeasure from human actions, the belief in their existence leads naturally, and, it might almost be said, inevitably, sooner or later, to active reverence and propitiation" (E.B. Tylor, Primitive Culture, I, 426-27). According to this view, the world is full of disembodied spirits, regarded as similar to man’s soul, and any or all of these may be treated as gods.

(2) Fetishism:

Fetishism is sometimes used in a general sense for "the view that the fruits of the earth and things in general are divine, or animated by powerful spirits" (J.G. Frazer, Adonis, Attis, Osiris, 234); or it may be used in a more particular sense of the belief that spirits "take up their abode, either temporarily or permanently, in some object, ..... and this object, as endowed with higher power, is then worshipped" (Tiele, Outlines of the History of Religion, 9).

(3) Idolatry:

Idolatry is a term of still more definite significance. It means that the object is at least selected, as being the permanent habitation or symbol of the deity; and, generally, it is marked by some degree of human workmanship, designed to enable it the more adequately to represent the deity. It is not to be supposed that men ever worship mere "stocks and stones," but they address their worship to objects, whether fetishes or idols, as being the abodes or images of their god. It is a natural and common idea that the spirit has a form similar to the visible object in which it dwells. Paul reflected the heathen idea accurately when he said, "We ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and device of man" (Ac 17:29).

(4) Polytheism:

The belief in many gods, and the worship of them, is an attitude of soul compatible with Animism, Fetishism, and Idolatry, or it may be independent of them all. The term Polytheism is more usually employed to designate the worship of a limited number of well-defined deities, whether regarded as pure disembodied spirits, or as residing in the greater objects of Nature, such as planets or mountains, or as symbolized by images "graven by art and device of man." In ancient Greece or modern India the great gods are well defined, named and numerable, and it is clearly understood that, though they may be symbolized by images, they dwell apart in a spiritual realm above the rest of the world.

(5) Henotheism:

There is, however, a tendency, both in individuals and in communities, even where many gods are believed to exist, to set one god above the others, and consequently to confine worship to that god alone. "The monotheistic tendency exists among all peoples, after they have reached a certain level of culture. There is a difference in the degree in which this tendency is emphasized, but whether we turn to Babylonia, Egypt, India, China, or Greece, there are distinct traces of a trend toward concentrating the varied manifestations of Divine powers in a single source" (Jastrow, The Study of Religion, 76). This attitude of mind has been called Henotheism or Monolatry—the worship of one God combined with the belief in the existence of many. This tendency may be governed by metaphysical, or by ethical and personal motives, either by the monistic demands of reason, or by personal attachment to one political or moral rule.

(6) Pantheism:

Where the former principle predominates, Polytheism merges into Pantheism, as is the case in India, where Brahma is not only the supreme, but the sole, being, and all other gods are but forms of his manifestation. But, in India, the vanquished gods have had a very complete revenge upon their vanquisher, for Brahma has become so abstract and remote that worship is mainly given to the other gods, who are forms of his manifestation. Monolatry has been reversed, and modern Hinduism were better described as the belief in one God accompanied by the worship of many.

(7) Deism:

The monistic tendency, by a less thorough application of it, may take the opposite turn toward Deism, and yet produce similar religious conditions. The Supreme Being, who is the ultimate reality and power of the universe, may be conceived in so vague and abstract a manner, may be so remote from the world, that it becomes a practical necessity to interpose between Him and men a number of subordinate and nearer beings as objects of worship. In ancient Greece, Necessity, in China, Tien or Heaven, were the Supreme Beings; but a multiplicity of lower gods were the actual objects of worship. The angels of Zoroastrianism, Judaism and Islam and the saints of Romanism illustrate the same tendency. Pantheism and Deism, though they have had considerable vogue as philosophical theories, have proved unstable and impossible as religions, for they have invariably reverted to some kind of polytheism and idolatry, which seems to indicate that they are false processes of the monistic tendency.

(8) Semitic Monolatry:

The monistic tendency of reason may enlist in its aid many minor causes, such as tribal isolation or national aggrandizement. It is held that many Sere tribes were monolatrists for either or both of these reasons; but the exigencies of intertribal relations in war and commerce soon neutralized their effects, and merged the tribal gods into a territorial pantheon.

(9) Monotheism:

Monotheism, ethical and personal: One further principle may combine with Monism so as to bring about a stable Monotheism, that is the conception of God as standing in moral relations with man. Whenever man reflects upon conduct as moral, he recognizes that there can be only one moral standard and authority, and when God is identified with that moral authority, He inevitably comes to be recognized as supreme and unique. The belief in the existence of other beings called gods may survive for a while; but they are divested of all the attributes of deity when they are seen to be inferior or opposed to the God who rules in conscience. Not only are they not worshipped, but their worship by others comes to be regarded as immoral and wicked. The ethical factor in the monistic conception of God safeguards it from diverging into Pantheism or Deism and thus reverting into Polytheism. For the ethical idea of God necessarily involves His personality, His transcendence as distinct from the world and above it, and also His intimate and permanent relation with man. If He rules in conscience, He can neither be merged in dead nature or abstract being, nor be removed beyond the heavens and the angel host. A thoroughly moralized conception of God emerges first in the Old Testament where it is the prevailing type of thought.

GOD, 2

II. The Idea of God in the Old Testament.

1. Course of Its Development:

Any attempt to write the whole history of the idea of God in the Old Testament would require a preliminary study of the literary and historical character of the documents, which lies beyond the scope of this article and the province of the writer. Yet the Old Testament contains no systematic statement of the doctrine of God, or even a series of statements that need only to be collected into a consistent conception. The Old Testament is the record of a rich and varied life, extending over more than a thousand years, and the ideas that ruled and inspired that life must be largely inferred from the deeds and institutions in which it was realized; nor was it stationary or all at one level. Nothing is more obvious than that revelation in the Old Testament has been progressive, and that the idea of God it conveys has undergone a development. Certain well-marked stages of the development can be easily recognized, without entering upon any detailed criticism. There can be no serious question that the age of the Exodus, as centering around the personality of Moses, witnessed an important new departure in Hebrew religion. The most ancient traditions declare (perhaps not unanimously) that God was then first known to Israel under the personal name Yahweh (Yahweh (YHWH) is the correct form of the word, Yahweh being a composite of the consonants of Yahweh and the vowels of ‘adhonay, or lord. Yahweh is retained here as the more familiar form). The Hebrew people came to regard Him as their Deliverer from Egypt, as their war god who assured them the conquest of Canaan, and He, therefore, became their king, who ruled over their destinies in their new heritage. But the settlement of Yahweh in Canaan, like that of His people, was challenged by the native gods and their peoples. In the 9th century we see the war against Yahweh carried into His own camp, and Baal-worship attempting to set itself up within Israel. His prophets therefore assert the sole right of Yahweh to the worship of His people, and the great prophets of the 8th century base that right upon His moral transcendence. Thus they at once reveal new depths of His moral nature, and set His uniqueness and supremacy on higher grounds. During the exile and afterward, Israel’s outlook broadens by contact with the greater world, and it draws out the logical implications of ethical monotheism into a theology at once more universalistic and abstract. Three fairly well-defined periods thus emerge, corresponding to three stages in the development of the Old Testament idea of God: the pre-prophetic period governed by the Mosaic conception, the prophetic period during which ethical monotheism is firmly established, and the post-exilic period with the rise of abstract monotheism. But even in taking these large and obvious divisions, it is necessary to bear in mind the philosopher’s maxim, that "things are not cut off with a hatchet." The most characteristic ideas of each period may be described within their period; but it should not be assumed that they are altogether absent from other periods; and, in particular, it should not be supposed that ideas, and the life they represent, did not exist before they emerged in the clear witness of history. Mosaism had undoubtedly its antecedents in the life of Israel; but any attempt to define them leads straight into a very morass of conjectures and hypotheses, archaeological, critical and philosophical; and any results that are thus obtained are contributions to comparative religion rather than to theology.

2. Forms of the Manifestation of God:

Religious experience must always have had an inward and subjective aspect, but it is a long and difficult process to translate the objective language of ordinary life for the uses of subjective experience. "Men look outward before they look inward." Hence, we find that men express their consciousness of God in the earliest periods in language borrowed from the visible and objective world. It does not follow that they thought of God in a sensuous way, because they speak of Him in the language of the senses, which alone was available for them. On the other hand, thought is never entirely independent of language, and the degree in which men using sensuous language may think of spiritual facts varies with different persons.

(1) The Face or Countenance of God:

The face or countenance (panim) of God is a natural expression for His presence. The place where God is seen is called Peniel, the face of God (Ge 32:30). The face of Yahweh is His people’s blessing (Nu 6:25). With His face (the Revised Version (British and American) "presence") He brought Israel out of Egypt, and His face (the Revised Version (British and American) "presence") goes with them to Canaan (Ex 33:14). To be alienated from God is to be hid from His face (Ge 4:14), or God hides His face (De 31:17,18; 32:20). In contrast with this idea it is said elsewhere that man cannot see the face of God and live (Ex 33:20; compare De 5:24; Jud 6:22; 13:22). In these later passages, "face" stands for the entire being of God, as distinguished from what man may know of Him. This phrase and its cognates enshrine also that fear of God, which shrinks from His majesty even while approaching Him, which enters into all worship.

(2) The Voice and Word of God:

The voice (qol) and word (dabhar) of God are forms under which His communion with man is conceived from the earliest days to the latest. The idea ranges from that of inarticulate utterance (1Ki 19:12) to the declaration of the entire law of conduct (De 5:22-24), to the message of the prophet (Isa 2:1; Jer 1:2), and the personification of the whole counsel and action of God (Ps 105:19; 147:18,19; Ho 6:5; Isa 40:8).

(3) The Glory of God:

The glory (kabhodh) of God is both a peculiar physical phenomenon and the manifestation of God in His works and providence. In certain passages in Exodus, ascribed to the Priestly Code, the glory is a bright light, "like devouring fire" (24:17); it fills and consecrates the tabernacle (29:43; 40:34,35); and it is reflected as beams of light in the face of Moses (34:29). In Ezekiel, it is a frequent term for the prophet’s vision, a brightness like the appearance of a rainbow (1:28; 10:4; 43:2). In another place, it is identified with all the manifested goodness of God and is accompanied with the proclamation of His name (Ex 33:17-23). Two passages in Isa seem to combine under this term the idea of a physical manifestation with that of God’s effectual presence in the world (3:8; 6:3). God’s presence in creation and history is often expressed in the Psalms as His glory (Ps 19:1; 57:5,11; 63:2; 97:6). Many scholars hold that the idea is found in Isa in its earliest form, and that the physical meaning is quite late. It would, however, be contrary to all analogy, if such phenomena as rainbow and lightning had not first impressed-the primitive mind as manifestations of God.


(4) The Angel of God:

The angel (mal’akh) of God or of Yahweh is a frequent mode of God’s manifestation of Himself in human form, and for occasional purposes. It is a primitive conception, and its exact relation to God, or its likeness to man, is nowhere fixed. In many passages, it is assumed that God and His angel are the same being, and the names are used synonymously (as in Ge 16:7 ff; 22:15,16; Ex 3:2,4; Jud 2:4,5); in other passages the idea blurs into varying degrees of differentiation (Ge 18; 24:40; Ex 23:21; 33:2,3; Jud 13:8,9). But everywhere, it fully represents God as speaking or acting for the time being; and it is to be distinguished from the subordinate and intermediate beings of later angelology. Its identification with the Messiah and the Logos is only true in the sense that these later terms are more definite expressions of the idea of revelation, which the angel represented for primitive thought.

(5) The Spirit of God:

The spirit (ruach) of God in the earlier period is a form of His activity, as it moves warrior and prophet to act and to speak (Jud 6:34; 13:25; 1Sa 10:10), and it is in the prophetic period that it becomes the organ of the communication of God’s thoughts to men.


(6) The Name of God:

The name (shem) of God is the most comprehensive and frequent expression in the Old Testament for His self-manifestation, for His person as it may be known to men. The name is something visible or audible which represents God to men, and which, therefore, may be said to do His deeds, and to stand in His place, in relation to men. God reveals Himself by making known or proclaiming His name (Ex 6:3; 33:19; 34:5,6). His servants derive their authority from His name (Ex 3:13,15; 1Sa 17:45). To worship God is to call upon His name (Ge 12:8; 13:4; 21:33; 26:25; 1Ki 18:24-26), to fear it (De 28:58), to praise it (2Sa 22:50; Ps 7:17; 54:6), to glorify it (Ps 86:9). It is wickedness to take God’s name in vain (Ex 20:7), or to profane and blaspheme it (Le 8:21; 24:16). God’s dwelling-place is the place where He chooses "to cause his name to dwell" (2Sa 7:13; 1Ki 3:2; 5:3,1; 8:16-19; 18:32; De 12:11,21). God’s name defends His people (Ps 20:1; Isa 30:27). For His name’s sake He will not forsake them (1Sa 12:22), and if they perish, His name cannot remain (Jos 7:9). God is known by different names, as expressing various forms of His self-manifestation (Ge 16:13; 17:1; Ex 3:6; 34:6). The name even confers its revelation-value upon the angel (Ex 23:20-23). All God’s names are, therefore, significant for the revelation of His being.

(7) Occasional Forms:

In addition to these more or less fixed forms, God also appears in a variety of exceptional or occasional forms. In Nu 12:6-8, it is said that Moses, unlike others, used to see the form (temunah) of Yahweh. Fire smoke and cloud are frequent forms or symbols of God’s presence (e.g. Ge 15:17; Ex 3:2-4; 19:18; 24:17), and notably "the pillar of cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night" (Ex 13:21 f). According to later ideas, the cloud rested upon the tabernacle (Ex 40:34), and in it God appeared upon the ark (Le 16:2). Extraordinary occurrences or miracles are, in the early period, frequent signs of the power of God (Ex 7 ff; 1Ki 17 ).

The questions of the objectivity of any or all of these forms, and of their relation to the whole Divine essence raise large problems. Old Testament thought had advanced beyond the naive identification of God with natural phenomena, but we should not read into its figurative language the metaphysical distinctions of a Greek-Christian theology.

3. The Names of God:

All the names of God were originally significant of His character, but the derivations, and therefore the original meanings, of several have been lost, and new meanings have been sought for them.

(1) Generic:

One of the oldest and most widely distributed terms for Deity known to the human race is ‘El, with its derivations ‘Elim, ‘Elohim, and ‘Eloah. Like theos, Dens and God, it is a generic term, including every member of the class deity. It may even denote a position of honor and authority among men. Moses was ‘Elohim to Pharaoh (Ex 7:1) and to Aaron (Ex 4:16; compare Jud 5:8; 1Sa 2:25; Ex 21:5,6; 22:7 ff; Ps 58:11; 82:1). It is, therefore, a general term expressing majesty and authority, and it only came to be used as a proper name for Israel’s God in the later period of abstract monotheism when the old proper name Yahweh was held to be too sacred to be uttered. The meaning of the root ‘El, and the exact relation to it, and to one another, of ‘Elohim and ‘Eloah, lie in complete obscurity. By far the most frequent form used by Old Testament writers is the plural ‘Elohiym, but they use it regularly with singular verbs and adjectives to denote a singular idea. Several explanations have been offered of this usage of a plural term to denote a singular idea—that it expresses the fullness and manifoldness of the Divine nature, or that it is a plural of majesty used in the manner of royal persons, or even that it is an early intimation of the Trinity; other cognate expressions are found in Ge 1:26; 3:22; 1Ki 22:19 f; Isa 6:8. These theories are, perhaps, too ingenious to have occurred to the early Hebrew mind, and a more likely explanation is, that they are survivals in language of a polytheistic stage of thought. In the Old Testament they signify only the general notion of Deity.

(2) Attributive:

To distinguish the God of Israel as supreme from others of the class ‘Elohim, certain qualifying appellations are often added. ‘El ‘Elyon designates the God of Israel as the highest, the most high, among the ‘Elohim (Ge 14:18-20); so do Yahweh ‘Elyon (Ps 7:17) and ‘Elyon alone, often in Psalms and in Isa 14:14.

‘El Shadday, or Shadday alone, is a similar term which on the strength of some tradition is translated "God Almighty"; but its derivation and meaning are quite unknown. According to Ex 6:3 it was the usual name for God in patriarchal times, but other traditions in the Pentateuch seem to have no knowledge of this.

Another way of designating God was by His relation to His worshippers, as God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Ge 24:12; Ex 3:6), of Shem (Ge 9:26), of the Hebrews (Ex 3:18), and of Israel (Ge 33:20).

Other names used to express the power and majesty of God are tsur, "Rock" (De 32:18; Isa 30:29), ‘ªbhir (construct from ‘abhir), "the Strong One" (Ge 49:24; Isa 1:24; Ps 132:2); melekh, "King"; ‘adhon, "lord," and ‘adhonay, "my lord" (Ex 23:17; Isa 10:16,33; Ge 18:27; Isa 6:1). Also ba‘al, "proprietor" or "master," may be inferred as a designation once in use, from its appearance in such Hebrew proper names as Jerubbaal and Ishbaal. The last three names describe God as a Master to whom man stands in the relation of a servant, and they tended to fall into disuse as the necessity arose to differentiate the worship of Yahweh from that of the gods of surrounding nations.

A term of uncertain meaning is Yahweh or ‘Elohim tsebha’oth, "Yahweh" or "God of hosts." In Hebrew usage "host" might mean an army of men, or the stars and the angels—which, apart or in conjunction, made up the host of heaven. God of Hosts in early times meant the war god who led the armies of Israel (1Sa 4:4; 2Sa 7:8). In 1Sa 17:45 this title stands in parallelism with "the God of the armies of Israel." So all Israel is called the host of Yahweh (Ex 12:41). In the Prophets, where the term has become a regular appellation, it stands in relation to every form of the power and majesty, physical and moral, of God (e.g. Isa 2:12; 6:3,1; 10:23,13). It stands in parallelism with Isaiah’s peculiar title, the Holy One of Israel (Isa 5:16,24). It has, therefore, been thought that it refers to the host of heaven. In the Prophets it is practically a proper name. Its original meaning may well have been forgotten or dropped, but it does not follow that a new special significance was attached to the word "hosts." The general meaning of the whole term is well expressed by the Septuagint translation, kurios pantokrator, "Lord Omnipotent."

(3) Yahweh (Yahweh).

This is the personal proper name paragraph excellence of Israel’s God, even as Chemosh was that of the god of Moab, and Dagon that of the god of the Philistines. The original meaning and derivation of the word are unknown. The variety of modern theories shows that, etymologically, several derivations are possible, but that the meanings attached to any one of them have to be imported and imposed upon the word. They add nothing to our knowledge. The Hebrews themselves connected the word with hayah, "to be." In Ex 3:14 Yahweh is explained as equivalent to ‘ehyeh, which is a short form of ‘ehyeh ‘asher ‘ehyeh, translated in the Revised Version (British and American) "I am that I am." This has been supposed to mean "self-existence," and to represent God as the Absolute. Such an idea, however, would be a metaphysical abstraction, not only impossible to the time at which the name originated, but alien to the Hebrew mind at any time. And the imperfect ‘ehyeh is more accurately translated "I will be what I will be," a Semitic idiom meaning, "I will be all that is necessary as the occasion will arise," a familiar Old Testament idea (compare Isa 7:4,9; Ps 23). This name was in use from the earliest historical times till after the exile. It is found in the most ancient literature. According to Ex 3:13 f, and especially 6:2,3, it was first introduced by Moses, and was the medium of a new revelation of the God of their fathers to the children of Israel. But in parts of Genesis it is represented as being in use from the earliest times. Theories that derive it from Egypt or Assyria, or that would connect it etymologically with Jove or Zeus, are supported by no evidence. We have to be content either to say that Yahweh was the tribal God of Israel from time immemorial, or to accept a theory that is practically identical with that of Exodus—that it was adopted through Moses from the Midianite tribe into which he married. The Kenites, the tribe of Midianites related to Moses, dwelt in the neighborhood of Sinai, and attached themselves to Israel (Jud 1:16; 4:11). A few passages suggest that Sinai was the original home of Yahweh (Jud 5:4,5; De 33:2). But there is no direct evidence bearing upon the origin of the worship of Yahweh: to us He is known only as the God of Israel.

4. Pre-prophetic Conceptions of Yahweh:

(1) Yahweh alone the God of Israel.

Hebrew theology consists essentially of the doctrine of Yahweh and its implications. The teachers and leaders of the people at all times worship and enjoin the worship of Yahweh alone. "It stands out as a prominent and incontrovertible fact, that down to the reign of Ahab .... no prominent man in Israel, with the doubtful exception of Solomon, known by name and held up for condemnation, worshipped any other god but Yahweh. In every national and tribal crisis, in all times of danger and of war, it is Yahweh and Yahweh alone who is invoked to give victory and deliverance" (Montefiore, Hibbert Lectures (3), 21). This is more evident in what is, without doubt, very early literature, even than in later writings (e.g. Jud 5; De 33; 1Sa 4-6). The isolation of the desert was more favorable to the integrity of Yahweh’s sole worship than the neighborhood of powerful peoples who worshipped many other gods. Yet that early religion of Yahweh can be called monotheistic only in the light of the end it realized, for in the course of its development it had to overcome many limitations.

(a) His Early Worship:

The early worship of Yahweh did not exclude belief in the existence of other gods. As other nations believed in the existence of Yahweh (1Sa 4:8; 2Ki 17:27), so Israel did not doubt the reality of other gods (Jud 11:24; Nu 21:29; Mic 4:5). This limitation involved two others: Yahweh is the God of Israel only; with them alone He makes a COVENANT (which see) (Ge 15:18; Ex 6:4,5; 2Ki 17:34,35), and their worship only He seeks (De 4:32-37; 32:9; Am 3:2). Therefore, He works, and can be worshipped only within a certain geographical area. He may have been associated with His original home in Sinai long after the settlement in Canaan (Jud 5:4; De 33:2; 1Ki 19:8,9), but gradually His home and that of His people became identical (1Sa 26:19; Ho 9:3; Isa 14:2,25). Even after the deportation of the ten tribes, Canaan remains Yahweh’s land (2Ki 17:24-28). Early Israelites are, therefore, more properly described as Monolatrists or Henotheists than as Monotheists. It is characteristic of the religion of Israel (in contrast with, e.g. Greek thought) that it arrived at absolute Monotheism along the line of moral and religious experience, rather than that of rational inference. Even while they shared the common Semitic belief in the reality of other gods, Yahweh alone had for them "the value of God."

(b) Popular Religion:

It is necessary to distinguish between the teaching of the religious leaders and the belief and practice of the people generally. The presence of a higher religion never wholly excludes superstitious practices. The use of Teraphim (Ge 31:30; 1Sa 19:13,16; Ho 3:4), Ephod (Jud 18:17-20; 1Sa 23:6,9; 30:7), Urim and Thummim (1Sa 28:6; 14:40, Septuagint), for the purposes of magic and divination, to obtain oracles from Yahweh, was quite common in Israel. Necromancy was practiced early and late (1Sa 28:7 ff; Isa 8:19; De 18:10. 11). Sorcery and witchcraft were not unknown, but were condemned by the religious leaders (1Sa 28:3). The burial places of ancestors were held in great veneration (Ge 35:20; 50:13; Jos 24:30). But these facts do not prove that Hebrew religion was animistic and polytheistic, any more than similar phenomena in Christian lands would justify such an inference about Christianity.

(c) Polytheistic Tendencies:

Yet the worship of Yahweh maintained and developed its monotheistic principle only by overcoming several hostile tendencies. The Baal-worship of the Canaanites and the cults of other neighboring tribes proved a strong attraction to the mass of Israelites (Jud 2:13; 3:7; 8:33; 10:10; 1Sa 8:8; 12:10; 1Ki 11:5,33; Ho 2:5,17; Eze 20; Ex 20:5; 22:20; 34:16,17). Under the conditions of life in Canaan, the sole worship of Yahweh was in danger of modification by three tendencies, coordination, assimilation, and disintegration.

(i) Coordination:

When the people had settled down in peaceful relations with their neighbors, and began to have commercial and diplomatic transactions with them, it was inevitable that they should render their neighbor’s gods some degree of reverence and worship. Courtesy and friendship demanded as much (compare 2Ki 5:18). When Solomon had contracted many foreign alliances by marriage, he was also bound to admit foreign worship into Jerusalem (1Ki 11:5). But Ahab was the first king who tried to set up the worship of Baal, side by side with that of Yahweh, as the national religion (1Ki 18:19). Elijah’s stand and Jehu’s revolution gave its death blow to Baal-worship and vindicated the sole right of Yahweh to Israel’s allegiance. The prophet was defending the old religion and Ahab was the innovator; but the conflict and its issue brought the monotheistic principle to a new and higher level. The supreme temptation and the choice transformed what had been a natural monolatry into a conscious and moral adherence to Yahweh alone (1Ki 18:21,39).

(ii) Assimilation:

But to repudiate the name of Baal was not necessarily to be rid of the influence of Baal-worship. The ideas of the heathen religions survived in a more subtle way in the worship of Yahweh Himself. The change from the nomad life of the desert to the agricultural conditions of Canaan involved some change in religion. Yahweh, the God of flocks and wars, had to be recognized as the God of the vintage and the harvest. That this development occurred is manifest in the character of the great religious festivals. "Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year. The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep .... and the feast of harvest, the first-fruits of thy labors, which thou sowest in the field: and the feast of ingathering, at the end of the year, when thou gatherest in thy labors out of the field" (Ex 23:14-16). The second and the third obviously, and the first probably, were agricultural feasts, which could have no meaning in the desert. Israel and Yahweh together took possession of Canaan. To doubt that would be to admit the claims of the Baal-worship; but to assert it also involved some danger, because it was to assert certain similarities between Yahweh and the Baalim. When those similarities were embodied in the national festivals, they loomed very large in the eyes and minds of the mass of the people (W.R. Smith, Prophets of Israel, 49-57). The danger was that Israel should regard Yahweh, like the Baals of the country, as a Nature-god, and, by local necessity, a national god, who gave His people the produce of the land and, protected them from their enemies, and in return received frown them such gifts and sacrifices as corresponded to His nature. From the appearance in Israel, and among Yahweh worshippers, of such names as Jerub-baal, Esh-baal (son of Saul) and Beeliada (son of David, 1Ch 14:7), it has been inferred that Yahweh was called Baal, and there is ample evidence that His worship was assimilated to that of the Canaanite Baalim. The bulls raised by Jeroboam (1Ki 12:26 ) were symbols of Yahweh, and in Judah the Canaanite worship was imitated down to the time of Asa (1Ki 14:22-24; 15:12,13). Against this tendency above all, the great prophets of the 8th century contended. Israel worshipped Yahweh as if He were one of the Baalim, and Hosea calls it Baal-worship (Ho 2:8,12,13; compare Am 2:8; Isa 1:10-15).

(iii) Disintegration:

And where Yahweh was conceived as one of the Baalim or Masters of the land, He became, like them, subject to disintegration into a number of local deities. This was probably the gravamen of Jeroboam’s sin in the eyes of the "Deuteronomic" historian. In setting up separate sanctuaries, he divided the worship, and, in effect, the godhead of Yahweh. The localization and naturalization of Yahweh, as well as His assimilation to the Baals, all went together, so that we read that even in Judah the number of gods was according to its cities (Jer 2:28; 11:13). The vindication of Yahweh’s moral supremacy and spiritual unity demanded, among other things, the unification of His worship in Jerusalem (2Ki 23).

(d) No Hebrew Goddesses:

In one respect the religion of Yahweh successfully resisted the influence of the heathen cults. At no time was Yahweh associated with a goddess. Although the corrupt sensual practices that formed a large part of heathen worship also entered into Israel’s worship (see ASHERAH), it never penetrated so far as to modify in this respect the idea of Yahweh.

(e) Human Sacrifices:

It is a difficult question how far human sacrifices at any time found place in the worship of Yahweh. The outstanding instance is that of Jephthah’s daughter, which, though not condemned, is certainly regarded as exceptional (Jud 11:30-40). Perhaps it is rightly regarded as a unique survival. Then the story of the sacrifice of Isaac, while reminiscent of an older practice, represents a more advanced view. Human sacrifice though not demanded, is not abhorrent to Yahweh (Ge 22). A further stage is represented where Ahaz’ sacrifice of his son is condemned as an "abomination of the nations" (2Ki 16:3). The sacrifice of children is emphatically condemned by the prophets as a late and foreign innovation which Yahweh had not commanded (Jer 7:31; Eze 16:20). Other cases, such as the execution of the chiefs of Shittim (Nu 25:4), and of Saul’s sons "before Yahweh" (2Sa 21:9), and the cherem or ban, by which whole communities were devoted to destruction (Jud 21:10; 1Sa 15), while they show a very inadequate idea of the sacredness of human life, are not sacrifices, nor were they demanded by Yahweh’s worship. They were survivals of savage customs connected with tribal unity, which the higher morality of Yahweh’s religion had not yet abolished.

(2) The Nature and Character of Yahweh:

The nature and character of Yahweh are manifested in His activities. The Old Testament makes no statements about the essence of God; we are left to infer it from His action in Nature and history and from His dealing with man.

(a) A God of War:

In this period, His activity is predominantly martial. As Israel’s Deliverer from Egypt, "Yahweh is a man of war" (Ex 15:3). An ancient account of Israel’s journey to Canaan is called "the book of the Wars of Yahweh" (Nu 21:14). By conquest in war He gave His people their land (Jud 5; 2Sa 5:24; De 33:27). He is, therefore, more concerned with men and nations, with the moral, than with the physical world.

(b) His Relation to Nature:

Even His activity in Nature is first connected with His martial character. Earth, stars and rivers come to His battle (Jud 5:4,20,21). The forces of Nature do the bidding of Israel’s Deliverer from Egypt (Ex 8-10; 14:21). He causes sun and moon to stand while He delivers up the Amorites (Jos 10:12). Later, He employs the forces of Nature to chastise His people for infidelity and sin (2Sa 24:15; 1Ki 17:1). Amos declares that His moral rule extends to other nations and that it determines their destinies. In harmony with this idea, great catastrophes like the Deluge (Ge 7) and the overthrow of the Cities of the Plain (Ge 19) are ascribed to His moral will. In the same pragmatic manner the oldest creation narrative describes Him creating man, and as much of the world as He needed (Ge 2), but as yet the idea of a universal cause had not emerged, because the idea of a universe had not been formed. He acts as one of great, but limited, power and knowledge (Ge 11:5-8; 18:20). The more universal conception of Ge 1 belongs to the same stratum of thought as Second Isa. At every stage of the Old Testament the metaphysical perfections of Yahweh follow as an inference from His ethical preeminence.

(3) The Most Distinctive Characteristic of Yahweh:

The most distinctive characteristic of Yahweh, which finally rendered Him and His religion absolutely unique, was the moral factor. In saying that Yahweh was a moral God, it is meant that He acted by free choice, in conformity with ends which He set to Himself, and which He also imposed upon His worshippers as their law of conduct.

(a) Personality:

The most essential condition of a moral nature is found in His vivid personality, which at every stage of His self-revelation shines forth with an intensity that might be called aggressive. Divine personality and spirituality are never expressly asserted or defined in the Old Testament; but nowhere in the history of religion are they more clearly asserted. The modes of their expression are, however, qualified by anthropomorphisms, by limitations, moral and physical. Yahweh’s jealousy (Ex 20:5; De 5:9; 6:15), His wrath and anger (Ex 32:10-12; De 7:4) and His inviolable holiness (Ex 19:21,22; 1Sa 6:19; 2Sa 6:7) appear sometimes to be irrational and immoral; but they are the assertion of His individual nature, of His self-consciousness as He distinguishes Himself from all else, in the moral language of the time, and are the conditions of His having any moral nature whatsoever. Likewise, He dwells in a place and moves from it (Jud 5:5); men may see Him in visible form (Ex 24:10; Nu 12:8); He is always represented as having organs like those of the human body, arms, hands, feet, mouth, eyes and ears. By such sensuous and figurative language alone was it possible for a personal God to make Himself known to men.

(b) Law and Judgment:

The content of Yahweh’s moral nature as revealed in the Old Testament developed with the growth of moral ideas. Though His activity is most prominently martial, it is most permanently judicial, and is exercised through judges, priests and prophets. Torah and mishpaT, "law" and "judgment," from the time of Moses onward, stand, the one for a body of customs that should determine men’s relations to one another, and the other for the decision of individual cases in accordance with those customs, and both were regarded as issuing from Yahweh. The people came to Moses "to inquire of God" when they had a matter in dispute, and he "judged between a man and his neighbor, and made them know the statutes of God, and his laws" (Ex 18:15,16). The judges appear mostly as leaders in war; but it is clear, as their name indicates, that they also gave judgments as between the people (Jud 3:10; 4:4; 10:2,3; 1Sa 7:16). The earliest literary prophets assume the existence of a law which priest and prophet had neglected to administer rightly (Ho 4:6; 8:1,12; Am 2:4). This implied that Yahweh was thought of as actuated and acting by a consistent moral principle, which He also imposed on His people. Their morality may have varied much at different periods, but there is no reason to doubt that the Decalogue, and the moral teaching it involved, emanated substantially from Moses. "He taught them that Yahveh, if a stern, and often wrathful, Deity, was also a God of justice and purity. Linking the moral life to the religious idea, he may have taught them too that murder and theft, adultery and false witness, were abhorred and forbidden by their God" (Montefiore, Hibbert Lectures3, 49). The moral teaching of the Old Testament effected the transition from the national and collective to the individual and personal relation with Yahweh. The most fundamental defect of Hebrew morality was that its application was confined within Israel itself and did little to determine the relation of the Israelites to people of other nations; and this limitation was bound up with Henotheism, the idea that Yahweh was God of Israel alone. "The consequence of this national conception of Yahweh was that there was no religious and moral bond regulating the conduct of the Hebrews with men of other nations. Conduct which between fellow-Hebrews was offensive in Yahweh’s eyes was inoffensive when practiced by a Hebrew toward one who was not a Hebrew (De 23:19 f) ..... In the latter case they were governed purely by considerations of expediency. This ethical limitation is the real explanation of the ‘spoiling of the Egyptians’ "( Ex 11:2,3) (G. Buchanan Gray, The Divine Discipline of Israel, 46, 48).

The first line of advance in the teaching of the prophets was to expand and deepen the moral demands of Yahweh. So they removed at once the ethical and theological limitations of the earlier view. But they were conscious that they were only developing elements already latent in the character and law of Yahweh.

5. The Idea of God in the Prophetic Period:

Two conditions called forth and determined the message of the 8th-century prophets—the degradation of morality and religion at home and the growing danger to Israel and Judah from the all-victorious Assyrian. With one voice the prophets declare and condemn the moral and social iniquity of Israel and Judah (Ho 4:1; Am 4:1; Isa 1:21-23). The worship of Yahweh had been assimilated to the heathen religions around (Am 2:8; Ho 3:1; Isa 30:22). A time of prosperity had produced luxury, license and an easy security, depending upon the external bonds and ceremonies of religion. In the threatening attitude of Assyria, the prophets see the complement of Israel’s unfaithfulness and sin, this the cause and that the instruments of Yahweh’s anger (Isa 10:5,6).

(1) Righteousness:

These circumstances forced into first prominence the righteousness of Yahweh. It was an original attribute that had appeared even in His most martial acts (Jud 5:4; 1Sa 12:7). But the prophet’s interpretation of Israel’s history revealed its content on a larger scale. Yahweh was not like the gods of the heathen, bound to the purposes and fortunes of His people. Their relation was not a natural bond, but a covenant of grace which He freely bestowed upon them, and He demanded as its condition, loyalty to Himself and obedience to His law. Impending calamities were not, as the naturalistic conception implied, due to the impotence of Yahweh against the Assyrian gods (Isa 31:1), but the judgment of God, whereby He applied impartially to the conduct of His people a standard of righteousness, which He both had in Himself and declared in judgment upon them. The prophets did not at first so much transform the idea of righteousness, as assert its application as between the people and Yahweh. But in doing that they also rejected the external views of its realization. It consists not in unlimited gifts or in the costliest oblations. "What doth Yahweh require of thee, but to do justly, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with thy God?" (Mic 6:8). And it tends to become of universal application. Yahweh will deal as a righteous judge with all nations, including Israel, and Israel as the covenant people bears the greater responsibility (Am 1-3). And a righteous judge that metes out even justice to all nations will deal similarly with individuals. The ministry of the prophets produced a vivid consciousness of the personal and individual relation of men to God. The prophets themselves were not members of a class, no order or school or profession, but men impelled by an inner and individual call of God, often against their inclination, to proclaim an unpopular message (Am 7:14,15; Isa 6; Jer 1:6-9; Eze 3:14). Jeremiah and Ezekiel in terms denounced the old idea of collective responsibility (Jer 31:29 ff; Eze 18). Thus in the prophets’ application of the idea of righteousness to their time, two of the limitations adhering to the idea of God, at least in popular religion hitherto, were transcended. Yahweh’s rule is no longer limited to Israel, nor concerned only with the nation as a collective whole, but He deals impartially with every individual and nation alike. Other limitations also disappear. His anger and wrath, that once appeared irrational and unjust, now become the intensity of His righteousness. Nor is it merely forensic and retributive righteousness. It is rather a moral end, a chief good, which He may realize by loving-kindness and mercy and forgiveness as much as by punishment. Hebrew thought knows no opposition between God’s righteousness and His goodness, between justice and mercy. The covenant of righteousness is like the relation of husband to wife, of father to child, one of loving-kindness and everlasting love (Ho 3:1; 11:4; Isa 1:18; 30:18; Mic 7:18; Isa 43:4; 54:8; Jer 31:3 ff, 34; 9:24). The stirring events which showed Yahweh’s independence of Israel revealed the fullness of grace that was always latent in His relation to His people (Ge 33:11; 2Sa 24:14). It was enshrined in the Decalogue (Ex 20:6), and proclaimed with incomparable grandeur in what may be the most ancient Mosaic tradition: "Yah, Yahweh, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth; keeping lovingkindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin" (Ex 34:6,7).

(2) Holiness:

The holiness of Yahweh in the Prophets came to have a meaning closely akin to His righteousness. As an idea more distinctly religious and more exclusively applied to God, it was subject to greater changes of meaning with the development or degradation of religion. It was applied to anything withdrawn from common use to the service of religion—utensils, places, seasons, animals and men. Originally it was so far from the moral meaning it now has that it was used of the "sacred" prostitutes who ministered to the licentiousness of Canaanitish worship (De 23:18). Whether or not the root-idea of the word was "separateness," there is no doubt that it is applied to Yahweh in the Old Testament to express his separateness from men and his sublimity above them. It was not always a moral quality in Yahweh; for He might be unapproachable because of His mere power and terror (1Sa 6:20; Isa 8:13). But in the Prophets, and especially in Isa, it acquires a distinctly moral meaning. In his vision Isaiah hears Yahweh proclaimed as "holy, holy, holy," and he is filled with the sense of his own sin and of that of Israel (Isa 6; compare Isa 1:4; Am 2:7). But even here the term conveys more than moral perfection. Yahweh is already "the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy" (Isa 57:15). It expresses the full Divinity of Yahweh in His uniqueness and self-existence (1Sa 2:2; Am 4:2; Ho 11:9). It would therefore seem to stand in antithesis to righteousness, as expressing those qualities of God, metaphysical and moral, by which He is distinguished and separated from men, while righteousness involves those moral activities and relations which man may share with God. But in the Prophets, God’s entire being is moral and His whole activity is righteous. The meanings of the terms, though not identical, coincide; God’s holiness is realized in righteousness. "God the Holy One is sanctified in righteousness" (Isa 5:16). So Isaiah’s peculiar phrase, "the Holy One of Israel," brings God in His most exalted being into a relation of knowledge and moral reciprocity with Israel.

(3) Universality:

The moralizing of righteousness and holiness universalized Deity.—From Amos downward Yahweh’s moral rule, and therefore His absolute power, were recognized as extending over all the nations surrounding Israel, and the great world-power of Assyria is but the rod of His anger and the instrument of His righteousness (Am 1-2; Isa 10:5; 13:5 ff; 19:1 ). Idolatrous and polytheistic worship of all kinds are condemned. The full inference of Monotheism was only a gradual process, even with the prophets. It is not clear that the 8th-century prophets all denied the existence of other gods, though Isaiah’s term for them, ‘elilim ("things of nought," "no-gods"), points in that direction. At least the monotheistic process had set in. And Yahweh’s control over other nations was not exercised merely from Israel’s point of view. The issue of the judgment upon the two great powers of Egypt and Assyria was to be their conversion to the religion of Yahweh (Isa 19:24,25; compare Isa 2:2-4; Mic 4:1-3). Yet Hebrew universalism never went beyond the idea that all nations should find their share in Yahweh through Israel (Zec 8:23). The nations from the ends of the earth shall come to Yahweh and declare that their fathers’ gods were "lies, even vanity and things wherein there is no profit" (Jer 16:19). It is stated categorically that "Yahweh he is God in heaven above and upon the earth beneath; there is none else" (De 4:39).

(4) Unity:

The unity of God was the leading idea of Josiah’s reformation. Jerusalem was cleansed of every accretion of Baal-worship and of other heathen religions that had established themselves by the side of the worship of Yahweh (2Ki 23:4-8,10-14). The semi-heathen worship of Yahweh in many local shrines, which tended to disintegrate His unity, was swept away (2Ki 23:8,9). The reform was extended to the Northern Kingdom (2Ki 23:15-20), so that Jerusalem should be the sole habitation of Yahweh on earth, and His worship there alone should be the symbol of unity to the whole Hebrew race.

But the monotheistic doctrine is first fully and consciously stated in Second Isa. There is no God but Yahweh: other gods are merely graven images, and their worshippers commit the absurdity of worshipping the work of their own hands (Isa 42:8; 44:8-20). Yahweh manifests His deity in His absolute sovereignty of the world, both of Nature and history. The prophet had seen the rise and fall of Assyria, the coming of Cyrus, the deportation and return of Judah’s exiles, as incidents in the training of Israel for her world-mission to be "a light of the Gentiles" and Yahweh’s "salvation unto the end of the earth" (Isa 42:1-7; 49:1-6). Israel’s world-mission, and the ordering of historical movements to the grand final purpose of universal salvation (Isa 45:23), is the philosophy of history complementary to the doctrine of God’s unity and universal sovereignty.

(5) Creator and Lord:

A further inference is that He is Creator and Lord of the physical universe. Israel’s call and mission is from Yahweh who "created the heavens, and stretched them forth; he that spread abroad the earth and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein" (Isa 42:5; compare Isa 40:12,26; 44:24; 45:18; Ge 1). All the essential factors of Monotheism are here at last exhibited, not in abstract metaphysical terms, but as practical motives of religious life. His counsel and action are His own (Isa 40:13) Nothing is hid from Him; and the future like the past is known to Him (Isa 40:27; 42:9; 44:8; 48:6). Notwithstanding His special association with the temple in Jerusalem, He is "the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity"; the heaven is His throne, and no house or place can contain Him (Isa 57:15; 66:1). No force of history or Nature can withstand His purpose (Isa 41:17-20; 42:13; 43:13). He is "the First and the Last," an "Everlasting God" (Isa 40:28; 41:4; 48:12). Nothing can be likened to Him or compared with Him (Isa 46:5). As the heavens are higher than the earth, so His thoughts and ways transcend those of men (Isa 55:8,9). But anthropomorphic and anthropopathic expressions still abound. Eyes, mouth, ears, nostrils, hands, arms and face are His; He is a man of war (Isa 42:13; 63:1 ); He cries like a travailing woman (Isa 42:14), and feeds His flock like a shepherd (Isa 40:11). Thus, alone could the prophet express His full concrete Divinity.

(6) His compassion and love are expressed in a variety of ways that lead up directly to the New Testament doctrine of Divine Fatherhood. He folds Israel in His arms as a shepherd his lambs (Isa 40:11). Her scattered children are His sons and daughters whom He redeems and restores (Isa 43:5-7). In wrath for a moment He hides His face, but His mercy and kindness are everlasting (Isa 54:8). Greater than a mother’s tenderness is Yahweh’s love for Israel (Isa 49:15; 66:13). "It would be easy to find in the prophet proof-texts for everything which theology asserts regarding God, with the exception perhaps that He is a spirit, by which is meant that He is a particular kind of substance" (A.B. Davidson in Skinner, Isa, II, xxix). But in truth the spirituality and personality of God are more adequately expressed in the living human language of the prophet than in the dead abstractions of metaphysics.

6. Idea of God in Post-exilic Judaism:

Monotheism appears in this period as established beyond question, and in the double sense that Yahweh the God of Israel is one Being, and that beside Him there is no other God. He alone is God of all the earth, and all other beings stand at an infinite distance from Him (Ps 18:31; 24:1 ff; 115:3 ). The generic name God is frequently applied to Him, and the tendency appears to avoid the particular and proper name Yahweh (see especially Psalms 73-89; Job; Ecclesiastes).

(1) New Conditions.

Nothing essentially new appears, but the teaching of the prophets is developed under new influences. And what then was enforced by the few has now become the creed of the many. The teaching of the prophets had been enforced by the experiences of the exile. Israel had been punished for her sins of idolatry, and the faithful among the exiles had learned that Yahweh’s rule extended over many lands and nations. The foreign influences had been more favorable to Monotheism. The gods of Canaan and even of Assyria and Babylonia had been overthrown, and their peoples had given place to the Persians, who, in the religion of Zarathushtra, had advanced nearer to a pure Monotheism than any Gentilerace had done; for although they posited two principles of being, the Good and the Evil, they worshipped only Ahura-Mazda, the Good. When Persia gave way to Greece, the more cultured Greek, the Greek who had ideas to disseminate, and who established schools at Antioch or Alexandria, was a pure Monotheist.

(2) Divine Attributes.

Although we do not yet find anything like a dogmatic account of God’s attributes, the larger outlook upon the universe and the deeper reflection upon man’s individual experience have produced more comprehensive and far-reaching ideas of God’s being and activity. (a) Faith rests upon His eternity and unchangeablehess (Ps 90:1,2; 102:27). His omniscience and omnipresence are expressed with every possible fullness (Ps 139; Job 26:6). His almighty power is at once the confidence of piety, and the rebuke of blasphemy or frowardness (Ps 74:12-17; 104 et passim; Job 36; 37 et passim; Ecclesiasticus 16:17 ff). (b) His most exalted and comprehensive attribute is His holiness; by it He swears as by Himself (Ps 89:35); it expresses His majesty (Ps 99:3,19) and His supreme power (Ps 60:6 ).( c) His righteousness marks all His acts in relation to Israel and the nations around her (Ps 119:137-144; 129:4). (d) That both holiness and righteousness were conceived as moral qualities is reflected in the profound sense of sin which the pious knew (Ps 51) and revealed in the moral demands associated with them; truth, honesty and fidelity are the qualities of those who shall dwell in God’s holy hill (Ps 15); purity, diligence, kindliness, honesty, humility and wisdom are the marks of the righteous man (Pr 10-11). (e) In Job and Proverbs wisdom stands forth as the preeminent quality of the ideal man, combining in itself all moral and intellectual excellences, and wisdom comes from God (Pr 2:6); it is a quality of His nature (Pr 8:22) and a mode of His activity (Pr 3:19; Ps 104:24). In the Hellenistic circles of Alexandria, wisdom was transformed into a philosophical conception, which is at once the principle of God’s sell-revelation and of His creative activity. Philo identifies it with His master-conception, the Logos. "Both Logos and Wisdom mean for Him the reason and mind of God, His image impressed upon the universe, His agent of creation and providence, the mediator through which He communicates Himself to man and the world, and His law imposed upon both the moral and physical universe" (Mansfield Essays, 296). In the Book of Wisdom it is represented as proceeding from God, "a breath of the power of God, and a clear effulgence of the glory of the Almighty .... an unspotted mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness" (7:25,26). In man, it is the author of knowledge, virtue and piety, and in the world it has been the guide and arbiter of its destiny from the beginning (chapters 10-12). (f) But in the more purely Hebrew literature of this period, the moral attribute of God that comes into greatest prominence is His beneficence. Goodness and mercy, faithfulness and loving-kindness, forgiveness and redemption are His willing gifts to Israel. "Like as a father pitieth his children, so Yahweh pitieth them that fear him" (Ps 103:13; 145:8; 103:8; Ecclesiasticus 2:11). To say that God is loving and like a father goes far on the way to the doctrine that He is Love and Father, but not the whole way; for as yet His mercy and grace are manifested only in individual acts, and they are not the natural and necessary outflow of His nature. All these ideas of God meant less for the Jewish than for the Christian mind, because they were yet held subject to several limitations.

(3) Surviving Limitations.

(a) Disappearing Anthropomorphism:

We have evidence of a changed attitude toward anthropomorphisms. God no longer walks on earth, or works under human limitation. Where His eyes or ears or face or hands are spoken of, they are clearly figurative expressions. His activities are universal and invisible, and He dwells on high forevermore. Yet anthropomorphic limitations are not wholly overcome. The idea that He sleeps, though not to be taken literally, implies a defect of His power (Ps 44:23).

(b) Localization:

In the metaphysical attributes, the chief limitation was the idea that God’s dwelling-place on earth was on Mt. Zion in Jerusalem. He was no longer confined within Palestine; His throne is in heaven (Ps 11:4; 103:19), and His glory above the heavens (Ps 113:4); but

"In Judah is God known:

His name is great in Israel.

In Salem also is his tabernacle,

And his dwelling-place in Zion"

(Ps 76:1,2; 110:2; compare Ecclesiasticus 24:8 ff).

That these are no figures of speech is manifested in the yearning of the pious for the temple, and their despair in separation from it (Pss 42; 43; compare 122).

(c) Favoritism:

This involved a moral limitation, the sense of God’s favoritism toward Israel, which sometimes developed into an easy self-righteousness that had no moral basis. God’s action in the world was determined by His favor toward Israel, and His loving acts were confined within the bounds of a narrow nationalism. Other nations are wicked and sinners, adversaries and oppressors, upon whom God is called to execute savage vengeance (Ps 109; 137:7-9). Yet Israel did not wholly forget that it was the servant of Yahweh to proclaim His name among the nations (Ps 96:2,3). Yahweh is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works (Ps 145:9; Ecclesiasticus 18:13; compare Ps 104:14; Zec 14:16, and the Book of Jonah, which is a rebuke to Jewish particularism).

(d) Ceremonial Legalism:

God’s holiness in the hands of the priests tended to become a material and formal quality, which fulfilled itself in established ceremonial, and His righteousness in the hands of the scribes tended to become an external law whose demands were satisfied by a mechanical obedience of works. This external conception of righteousness reacted upon the conception of God’s government of the world. From the earliest times the Hebrew mind had associated suffering with the punishment of sin, and blessedness with the reward of virtue. In the post-exilic age the relation came to be thought of as one of strict correspondence between righteousness and reward and between sin and punishment. Righteousness, both in man and God, was not so much a moral state as a measurable sum of acts, in the one case, of obedience, and in the other, of reward or retribution. Conversely, every calamity and evil that befell men came to be regarded as the direct and equivalent penalty of a sin they had committed. The Book of Job is a somewhat inconclusive protest against this prevalent view.

These were the tendencies that ultimately matured into the narrow externalism of the scribes and Pharisees of our Lord’s time, which had substituted for the personal knowledge and service of God a system of mechanical acts of worship and conduct.

(4) Tendencies to Abstractness:

Behind these defective ideas of God’s attributes stood a more radical defect of the whole religious conception. The purification of the religion of Israel from Polytheism and idolatry, the affirmation of the unity of God and of His spirituality, required His complete separation from the manifoldness of visible existence. It was the only way, until the more adequate idea of a personal or spiritual unity, that embraced the manifold in itself, was developed. But it was an unstable conception, which tended on the one hand to empty the unity of all reality, and on the other to replace it by a new multiplicity which was not a unity. Both tendencies appear in post-exilic Judaism.

(a) Transcendence:

The first effect of distinguishing too sharply between God and all created being was to set Him above and apart from all the world. This tendency had already appeared in Ezekiel, whose visions were rather symbols of God’s presence than actual experiences of God. In Daniel even the visions appear only in dreams. The growth of the Canon of sacred literature as the final record of the law of God, and the rise of the scribes as its professional interpreters, signified that God need not, and would not, speak face to face with man again; and the stricter organization of the priesthood and its sacrificial acts in Jerusalem tended to shut men generally out from access to God, and to reduce worship into a mechanical performance. A symptom of this fact was the disuse of the personal name Yahweh and the substitution for it of more general and abstract terms like God and Lord.

(b) Skepticism:

Not only an exaggerated awe, but also an element of skepticism, entered into the disuse of the proper name, a sense of the inadequacy of any name. In the Wisdom literature, God’s incomprehensibility and remoteness appear for the first time as a conscious search after Him and a difficulty to find Him (Job 16:18-21; 23:3,8,9; Pr 30:2-4). Even the doctrine of immortality developed with the sense of God’s present remoteness and the hope of His future nearness (Ps 17:15; Job 19:25). But Jewish theology was no cold Epicureanism or rationalistic Deism. Men’s religious experiences apprehended God more intimately than their theology professed.

(c) Immanence:

By a "happy inconsistency" (Montefiore) they affirmed His immanence both in Nature (Ps 104; The Wisdom of Solomon 8:1; 12:1,2) and in man’s inner experience (Pr 15:3,11; 1Ch 28:9; 29:17,18). Yet that transcendence was the dominating thought is manifest, most of all, in the formulation of a number of mediating conceptions, which, while they connected God and the world, also revealed the gulf that separated them.

(5) Logos, Memra’ and Angels:

This process of abstraction had gone farthest in Alexandria, where Jewish thought had so far assimilated Platonic philosophy, that Philo and Wisdom conceive God as pure being who could not Himself come into any contact with the material and created world. His action and revelation are therefore mediated by His Powers, His Logos and His Wisdom, which, as personified or hypostatized attributes, become His vicegerents on earth. But in Palestine, too many mediating agencies grew up between God and man. The memra’, or word of God, was not unlike Philo’s Logos. The deified law partly corresponded to Alexandrian Wisdom. The Messiah had already appeared in the Prophets, and now in some circles He was expected as the mediator of God’s special favor to Israel. The most important and significant innovation in this connection was the doctrine of angels. It was not entirely new, and Babylonian and Persian influences may have contributed to its development; but its chief cause lay in the general scheme of thought. Angels became intermediaries of revelation (Zec 1:9,12,19; 3:1 ), the instruments of God’s help (Da 3:28; APC 2Macc 11:6), and of His punishment (Apoc Baruch 21:23). The ancient gods of the nations became their patron angels (Da 10:13-20); but Israel’s hatred of their Gentileenemies often led to their transforming the latter’s deities into demons. Incidentally a temporary solution of the problem of evil was thus found, by shifting all responsibility for evil from Yahweh to the demons. The unity and supremacy of God were maintained by the doubtful method of delegating His manifold, and especially His contradictory, activities to subordinate and partially to hostile spirits, which involved a new Polytheism. The problem of the One and the Many in ultimate reality cannot be solved by merely separating them. Hebrew Monotheism was unstable; it maintained its own truth even partially by affirming contradictories, and it contained in itself the demand for a further development. The few pluralistic phrases in the Old Testament (as Ge 1:26; 3:22; 11:7; Isa 6:8, and ‘Elohim) are not adumbrations of the Trinity, but only philological survivals. But the Messianic hope was an open confession of the incompleteness of the Old Testament revelation of God.

GOD, 3

III. The Idea of God in the New Testament.

1. Dependence on the Old Testament:

The whole of the New Testament presupposes and rests upon the Old Testament. Jesus Christ and His disciples inherited the idea of God revealed in the Old Testament, as it survived in the purer strata of Jewish religion. So much was it to them and their contemporaries a matter of course, that it never occurred to them to proclaim or enforce the idea of God. Nor did they consciously feel the need of amending or changing it. They sought to correct some fallacious deductions made by later Judaism, and, unconsciously, they dropped the cruder anthropomorphisms and limitations of the Old Testament idea. But their point of departure was always the higher teaching of the prophets and Psalms, and their conscious endeavor in presenting God to men was to fulfill the Law and the Prophets (Mt 5:17). All the worthier ideas concerning God evolved in the Old Testament reappear in the New Testament. He is One, supreme, living, personal and spiritual, holy, righteous and merciful. His power and knowledge are all-sufficient, and He is not limited in time or place. Nor can it be said that any distinctly new attributes are ascribed to God in the New Testament. Yet there is a difference. The conception and all its factors are placed in a new relation to man and the universe, whereby their meaning is transformed, enhanced and enriched. The last trace of particularism, with its tendency to Polytheism, disappears. God can no longer bear a proper name to associate Him with Israel, or to distinguish Him from other gods, for He is the God of all the earth, who is no respecter of persons or nations. Two new elements entered men’s religious thought and gradually lifted its whole content to a new plane—Jesus Christ’s experience and manifestation of the Divine Fatherhood, and the growing conviction of the church that Christ Himself was God and the full and final revelation of God.

2. Gentile Influence:

Gr thought may also have influenced New Testament thought, but in a comparatively insignificant and subordinate way. Its content was not taken over bodily as was that of Hebrew thought, and it did not influence the fountain head of New Testament ideas. It did not color the mind and teaching of Jesus Christ. It affected the form rather than matter of New Testament teaching. It appears in the clear-cut distinction between flesh and spirit, mind and body, which emerges in Paul’s Epistles, and so it helped to define more accurately the spirituality of God. The idea of the Logos in John, and the kindred idea of Christ as the image of God in Paul and He, owe something to the influence of the Platonic and Stoic schools. As this is the constructive concept employed in the New Testament to define the religious significance of Christ and His essential relation to God, it modifies the idea of God itself, by introducing a distinction within the unity into its innermost meaning.

3. Absence of Theistic Proofs:

Philosophy never appears in the New Testament on its own account, but only as subservient to Christian experience. In the New Testament as in the Old Testament, the existence of God is taken for granted as the universal basis of all life and thought. Only in three passages of Paul’s, addressed to heathen audiences, do we find anything approaching a natural theology, and these are concerned rather with defining the nature of God, than with proving His existence. When the people of Lystra would have worshipped Paul and Barnabas as heathen gods, the apostle protests that God is not like men, and bases His majesty upon His creatorship of all things (Ac 14:15). He urges the same argument at Athens, and appeals for its confirmation to the evidences of man’s need of God which he had found in Athens itself (Ac 17:23-31). The same natural witness of the soul, face to face with the universe, is again in Romans made the ground of universal responsibility to God (Ac 1:18-21). No formal proof of God’s existence is offered in the New Testament. Nor are the metaphysical attributes of God, His infinity, omnipotence and omniscience, as defined in systematic theology, at all set forth in the New Testament. The ground for these deductions is provided in the religious experience that finds God in Christ all-sufficient.

4. Fatherhood of God:

The fundamental and central idea about God in New Testament teaching is His Fatherhood, and it determines all that follows. In some sense the idea was not unknown to heathen religions. Greeks and Romans acknowledged Father Zeus or Jupiter as the creator and preserver of Nature, and as standing in some special relation to men. In the Old Testament the idea appears frequently, and has a richer content. Not only is God the creator and preserver of Israel, but He deals with her as a father with his child. "Like as a father pitieth his children, so Yahweh pitieth them that fear Him" (Ps 103:13; compare De 1:31; Jer 3:4,19; 31:20; Isa 63:16; Ho 11:1; Mal 3:17). Even His chastisements are "as a man chasteneth his son" (De 8:5; Isa 64:8). The same idea is expressed under the figure of a mother’s tender care (Isa 49:15; 66:13; Ps 27:10), and it is embedded in the covenant relation. But in the Old Testament the idea does not occupy the central and determinative position it has in New Testament, and it is always limited to Israel.

(1) In the Teaching of Jesus Christ:

God is preeminently the Father. It is his customary term for the Supreme Being, and it is noteworthy that Jesus’ usage has never been quite naturalized. We still say "God" where Jesus would have said "the Father." He meant that the essential nature of God, and His relation to men, is best expressed by the attitude and relation of a father to his children; but God is Father in an infinitely higher and more perfect degree than any man. He is "good" and "perfect," the heavenly Father, in contrast with men, who, even as fathers, are evil (Mt 5:48; 7:11). What in them is an ideal imperfectly and intermittently realized, is in Him completely fulfilled. Christ thought not of the physical relation of origin and derivation, but of the personal relation of love and care which a father bestows upon his children. The former relation is indeed implied, for the Father is ever working in the world (Joh 5:17), and all things lie in His power (Lu 22:42). By His preserving power, the least as well as the greatest creature lives (Mt 6:26; 10:29). But it is not the fact of God’s creative, preserving and governing power, so much as the manner of it, that Christ emphasizes. He is absolutely good in all His actions and relations (Mt 7:11; Mr 10:18). To Him men and beasts turn for all they need, and in Him they find safety, rest and peace (Mt 6:26,32; 7:11). His goodness goes forth spontaneously and alights upon all living things, even upon the unjust and His enemies (Mt 5:45). He rewards the obedient (Mt 6:1; 7:21), forgives the disobedient (Mt 6:14; compare Mt 18:35) and restores the prodigal (Lu 15:11 )." Fatherhood is love, original and underived, anticipating and undeserved, forgiving and educating, communicating and drawing to his heart" (Beyschlag, New Testament Theology, I, 82). To the Father, therefore, should men pray for all good things (Mt 6:9), and He is the ideal of all perfection, to which they should seek to attain (Mt 5:48). Such is the general character of God as expressed in His Fatherhood, but it is realized in different ways by those who stand. to Him in different relations.

(a) Its Relation to Himself:

Jesus Christ knows the Father as no one else does, and is related to Him in a unique manner. The idea is central in His teaching, because the fact is fundamental in His experience. On His first personal appearance in history He declares that He must be about His Father’s business (Lu 2:49), and at the last He commends His spirit into His Father’s hands. Throughout His life, His filial consciousness is perfect and unbroken. "I and the Father are one" (Joh 10:30). As He knows the Father, so the Father knows and acknowledges Him. At the opening of His ministry, and again at its climax in the transfiguration, the Father bears witness to His perfect sonship (Mr 1:11; 9:7). It was a relation of mutual love and confidence, unalloyed and infinite. "The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand" (Joh 3:35; 5:20). The Father sent the Son into the world, and entrusted Him with his message and power (Mt 11:27). He gave Him those who believed in Him, to receive His word (Joh 6:37,44,45; 17:6,8). He does the works and speaks the words of the Father who sent Him (Joh 5:36; 8:18,29; 14:24). His dependence upon the Father, and His trust in Him are equally complete (Joh 11:41; 12:27 f; 17). In this perfect union of Christ. with God, unclouded by sin, unbroken by infidelity, God first became for a human life on earth all that He could and would become. Christ’s filial consciousness was in fact and experience the full and final revelation of God. "No one knoweth the Son, save the Father; neither doth any know the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son willeth to reveal him" (Mt 11:27). Not only can we see in Christ what perfect sonship is, but in His filial consciousness the Father Himself is so completely reflected that we may know the perfect Father also. "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father" (Joh 14:9; compare Joh 8:19). Nay, it is more than a reflection: so completely is the mind and will of Christ identified with that of the Father, that they interpenetrate, and the words and works of the Father shine out through Christ. "The words that I say unto you I speak not from myself: but the Father abiding in me doeth his works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me" (Joh 14:10,11). As the Father, so is the Son, for men to honor or to hate (Joh 5:23; 15:23). In the last day, when He comes to execute the judgment which the Father has entrusted to Him, He shall come in the glory of the Father (Mt 16:27; Mr 8:38; Lu 9:26). In all this Jesus is aware that His relation to the Father is unique. What in Him is original and realized, in others can only be an ideal to be gradually realized by His communication. "I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me" (Joh 14:6). He is, therefore, rightly called the "only begotten son" (Joh 3:16), and His contemporaries believed that He made Himself equal to God (Joh 5:18).

(b) To Believers:

Through Christ, His disciples and hearers, too, may know God as their Father. He speaks of "your Father," "your heavenly Father." To them as individuals, it means a personal relation; He is "thy Father" (Mt 6:4,18). Their whole conduct should be determined by the consciousness of the Father’s intimate presence (Mt 6:1,4). To do His will is the ideal of life (Mt 7:21; 12:50). More explicitly, it is to act as He does, to love and forgive as He loves and forgives (Mt 5:45); and, finally, to be perfect as He is perfect (Mt 5:48). Thus do men become sons of their Father who is in heaven. Their peace and safety lay in their knowledge of His constant and all-sufficient care (Mt 6:26,32). The ultimate goal of men’s relation to Christ is that through Him they should come to a relation with the Father like His relation both to the Father and to them, wherein Father, Son, and believers form a social unity (Joh 14:21; 17:23; compare Joh 17:21).

(c) To All Men:

While God’s fatherhood is thus realized and revealed, originally and fully in Christ, derivatively and partially in believers, it also has significance for all men. Every man is born a child of God and heir of His kingdom (Lu 18:16). During childhood, aIl men are objects of His fatherly love and care (Mt 18:10), and it is not His will that one of them should perish (Mt 18:14). Even if they become His enemies, He still bestows His beneficence upon the evil and the unjust (Mt 5:44,45; Lu 6:35). The prodigal son may become unworthy to be called a son, but the father always remains a father. Men may become so far unfaithful that in them the fatherhood is no longer manifest and that their inner spirits own not God, but the devil, as their father (Joh 8:42-44). So their filial relation to God may be broken, but His nature and attitude are not changed. He is the Father absolutely, and as Father is He perfect (Mt 5:48). The essential and universal Divine Fatherhood finds its eternal and continual object in the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father. As a relation with men, it is qualified by their attitude to God; while some by faithlessness make it of no avail, others by obedience become in the reality of their experience sons of their Father in heaven.


(2) In Apostolic Teaching:

In the apostolic teaching , although the Fatherhood of God is not so prominently or so abundantly exhibited as it was by Jesus Christ, it lies at the root of the whole system of salvation there presented. Paul’s central doctrine of justification by faith is but the scholastic form of the parable of the Prodigal Son. John’s one idea, that God is love, is but an abstract statement of His fatherhood. In complete accord with Christ’s teaching, that only through Himself men know the Father and come to Him, the whole apostolic system of grace is mediated through Christ the Son of God, sent because "God so loved the world" (Joh 3:16), that through His death men might be reconciled to God (Ro 5:10; 8:3). He speaks to men through the Son who is the effulgence of His glory, and the very image of His substance (Heb 1:2,3). The central position assigned to Christ involves the central position of the Fatherhood.

As in the teaching of Jesus, so in that of the apostles, we distinguish three different relationships in which the fatherhood is realized in varying degrees:

(a) Father of Jesus Christ:

Primarily He is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ro 15:6; 2Co 1:3). As such He is the source of every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Eph 1:3). Through Christ we have access unto the Father (Eph 2:18).

(b) Our Father:

He is, therefore, God our Father (Ro 1:7; 1Co 1:3). Believers are sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus (Ga 3:26). "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God" (Ro 8:14). These receive the spirit of adoption whereby they cry, Abba, Father (Ro 8:15; Ga 4:6). The figure of adoption has sometimes been understood as implying the denial of man’s natural sonship and God’s essential Fatherhood, but that would be pressing the figure beyond Paul’s purpose.

(c) Universal Father:

The apostles’ teaching, like Christ’s, is that man in sin cannot possess the filial consciousness or know God as Father; but God, in His attitude to man, is always and essentially Father. In the sense of creaturehood and dependence, man in any condition is a son of God (Ac 17:28). And to speak of any other natural sonship which is not also morally realized is meaningless. From God’s standpoint, man even in his sin is a possible son, in the personal and moral sense; and the whole process and power of his awakening to the realization of his sonship issues from the fatherly love of God, who sent His Son and gave the Spirit (Ro 5:5,8). He is "the Father" absolutely, "one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all. But unto each one of us was the grace given according to the measure of the gift of Christ" (Eph 4:6,7).

5. God is King:

After the Divine Fatherhood, the kingdom of God (Mark and Luke) or of heaven (Matthew) is the next ruling conception in the teaching of Jesus. As the doctrine of the Fatherhood sets forth the individual relation of men to God, that of the kingdom defines their collective and social condition, as determined by the rule of the Father.

(1) The Kingdom of God:

Christ adopted and transformed the Old Testament idea of Yahweh’s rule into an inner and spiritual principle of His gospel, without, however, quite detaching it from the external and apocalyptic thought of His time. He adopts the Jewish idea in so far as it involves the enforcing of God’s rule; and in the immediate future He anticipates such a reorganization of social conditions in the manifestation of God’s reign over men and Nature, as will ultimately amount to a regeneration of all things in accordance with the will of God (Mr 9:1; 13:30; Mt 16:28; 19:28). But He eliminated the particularism and favoritism toward the Jews, as well as the non-moral, easy optimism as to their destiny in the kingdom, which obtained in contemporary thought. The blessings of the kingdom are moral and spiritual in their nature, and the conditions of entrance into it are moral too (Mt 8:11; 21:31,43; 23:37,38; Lu 13:29). They are humility, hunger and thirst after righteousness, and the love of mercy, purity and peace (Mt 5:3-10; 18:1,3; compare Mt 20:26-28; 25:34; 7:21; Joh 3:3; Lu 17:20,21). The king of such a kingdom is, therefore, righteous, loving and gracious toward all men; He governs by the inner communion of spirit with spirit and by the loving coordination of the will of His subjects with his own will.

(2) Its King:

But who is the king?

(a) God:

Generally in Mr and Lk, and sometimes in Matthew, it is called the kingdom of God. In several parables, the Father takes the place of king, and it is the Father that gives the kingdom (Lu 12:32). God the Father is therefore the King, and we are entitled to argue from Jesus’ teaching concerning the kingdom to His idea of God. The will of God is the law of the kingdom, and the ideal of the kingdom is, therefore, the character of God.

(b) Christ:

But in some passages Christ reveals the consciousness of his own Kingship. He approves Peter’s confession of his Messiahship, which involves Kingship (Mt 16:16). He speaks of a time in the immediate future when men shall see "the Son of man coming in his kingdom" (Mt 16:28). As judge of all men, He designates Himself king (Mt 25:34; Lu 19:38). He accepts the title king from Pilate (Mt 27:11,12; Mr 15:2; Lu 23:3; Joh 18:37), and claims a kingdom which is not of this world (Joh 18:36). His disciples look to Him for the restoration of the kingdom (Ac 1:6). His kingdom, like that of God, is inner, moral and spiritual.

(c) Their Relation:

But there can be only one moral kingdom, and only one supreme authority in the spiritual realm. The coordination of the two kingships must be found in their relation to the Fatherhood. The two ideas are not antithetical or even independent. They may have been separate and even opposed as Christ found them, but He used them as two points of apperception in the minds of His hearers, by which He communicated to them His one idea of God, as the Father who ruled a spiritual kingdom by love and righteousness, and ordered Nature and history to fulfill His purpose of grace. Men’s prayer should be that the Father’s kingdom may come (Mt 6:9,10). They enter the kingdom by doing the Father’s will (Mt 7:21). It is their Father’s good pleasure to give them the kingdom (Lu 12:32). The Fatherhood is primary, but it carries with it authority, government, law and order, care and provision, to set up and organize a kingdom reflecting a Father’s love and expressing His will.

And as Christ is the revealer and mediator of the Fatherhood, He also is the messenger and bearer of the kingdom. In his person, preaching and works, the kingdom is present to men (Mt 4:17,23; 12:28), and as its king He claims men’s allegiance and obedience (Mt 11:28,29). His sonship constitutes His relation to the kingdom. As son He obeys the Father, depends upon Him, represents Him to men, and is one with Him. And in virtue of this relation, He is the messenger of the kingdom and its principle, and at the same time He shares with the Father its authority and Kingship.

(3) Apostolic Teaching:

In the apostolic writings, the emphasis upon the elements of kingship, authority, law and righteousness is greater than in the gospels. The kingdom is related to God (Col 4:11; 1Th 2:12; 2Th 1:5), and to Christ (Col 1:13; 2Ti 4:1,18; 2Pe 1:11), and to both together (Eph 5:5; compare 1Co 15:24). The phrase "the kingdom of the Son of his love" sums up the idea of the joint kingship, based upon the relation of Father and Son.

6. Moral Attributes:

The nature and character of God are summed up in the twofold relation of Father and King in which He stands to men, and any abstract statements that may be made about Him, any attributes that may be ascribed to Him, are deductions from His royal Fatherhood.

(1) Personality:

That a father and king is a person needs not to be argued, and it is almost tautology to say that a person is a spirit. Christ relates directly the spirituality of God to His Fatherhood. "The true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth: for such doth the Father seek to be his worshippers. God is Spirit" (Joh 4:23,14 margin). Figurative expressions denoting the same truth are the Johannine phrases, ‘God is life’ (1 Joh 5:20), and "God is light" (1 Joh 1:5).

(2) Love:

Love is the most characteristic attribute of Fatherhood. It is the abstract term that most fully expresses the concrete character of God as Father. In John’s theology, it is used to sum up all God’s perfections in one general formula. God is love, and where no love is, there can be no knowledge of God and no realization of Him (1 Joh 4:8,16). With one exception (Lu 11:42), the phrase "the love of God" appears in the teaching of Jesus only as it is represented in the Fourth Gospel. There it expresses the bond of union and communion, issuing from God, that holds together the whole spiritual society, God, Christ and believers (Joh 10; 14:21). Christ’s mission was that of revelation, rather than of interpretation, and what in person and act He represents before men as the living Father, the apostles describe as almighty and universal love. They saw and realized this love first in the Son, and especially in His sacrificial death. It is "the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Ro 8:39). "God commendeth his own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Ro 5:8; compare Eph 2:4). Love was fully made known in Christ’s death (1 Joh 3:16). The whole process of the incarnation and death of Christ was also a sacrifice of God’s and the one supreme manifestation of His nature as love (1 Joh 4:9,10; compare Joh 3:16). The love of God is His fatherly relation to Christ extended to men through Christ. By the Father’s love bestowed upon us, we are called children of God (1 Joh 3:1). Love is not only an emotion of tenderness and beneficence which bestows on men the greatest gifts, but a relation to God which constitutes their entire law of life. It imposes upon men the highest moral demands, and communicates to them the moral energy by which alone they can be met. It is law and grace combined. The love of God is perfected only in those who keep the word of Jesus Christ the Righteous (1 Joh 2:5). "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments" (1 Joh 5:3). It is manifested especially in brotherly love (1 Joh 4:12,20). It cannot dwell with worldliness (1 Joh 2:15) or callous selfishness (1 Joh 3:17). Man derives it from God as he is made the son of God, begotten of Him (1 Joh 4:7).

(3) Righteousness and Holiness:

Righteousness and holiness were familiar ideas to Jesus and His disciples, as elements in the Divine character. They were current in the thought of their time, and they stood foremost in the Old Testament conception. They were therefore adopted in their entirety in the New Testament, but they stand in a different context. They are coordinated with and even subordinated to, the idea of love. As kingship stands to fatherhood, so righteousness and holiness stand to love.

(a) Once we find the phrase "Holy Father" spoken by Jesus (Joh 17:11; compare 1Pe 1:15,16). But generally the idea of holiness is associated with God in His activity through the Holy Spirit, which renews, enlightens, purifies and cleanses the lives of men. Every vestige of artificial, ceremonial, non-moral meaning disappears from the idea of holiness in the New Testament. The sense of separation remains only as separation from sin. So Christ as high priest is "holy, guileless, undefiled, separated from sinners" (Heb 7:26). Where it dwells, no uncleanness must be (1Co 6:19). Holiness is not a legal or abstract morality, but a life made pure and noble by the love of God shed abroad in men’s hearts (Ro 5:5). "The kingdom of God is .... righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Ro 14:17).

(b) Righteousness as a quality of character is practically identical with holiness in the New Testament. It is opposed to sin (Ro 6:13,10) and iniquity (2Co 6:14). It is coupled with goodness and truth as the fruit of the light (Eph 5:9; compare 1Ti 6:11; 2Ti 2:22). It implies a rule or standard of conduct, which in effect is one with the life of love and holiness. It is brought home to men by the conviction of the Holy Spirit (Joh 16:8). In its origin it is the righteousness of God (Mt 6:33; compare Joh 17:25). In Paul’s theology, "the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ unto all them that believe" (Ro 3:22) is the act of God, out of free grace, declaring and treating the sinner as righteous, that he thereby may become righteous, even as "we love, because he first loved us" (1 Joh 4:19). The whole character of God, then, whether we call it love, holiness or righteousness, is revealed in His work of salvation, wherein He goes forth to men in love and mercy, that they may be made citizens of His kingdom, heirs of His righteousness, and participators in His love.

7. Metaphysical Attributes:

The abstract being of God and His metaphysical attributes are implied, but not defined, in the New Testament. His infinity, omnipotence and omniscience are not enunciated in terms, but they are postulated in the whole scheme of salvation which He is carrying to completion. He is Lord of heaven and earth (Mt 11:25). The forces of Nature are at His command (Mt 5:45; 6:30). He can answer every prayer and satisfy every need (Mt 7:7-12). All things are possible to Him (Mr 10:27; 14:36). He created all things (Eph 3:9). All earthly powers are derived from Him (Ro 13:1). By His power, He raised Christ from the dead and subjected to Him "all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion" in heaven and on earth (Eph 1:20,21; compare Mt 28:18). Every power and condition of existence are subordinated to the might of His love unto His saints (Ro 8:38,39). Neither time nor place can limit Him: He is the eternal God (Ro 16:26). His knowledge is as infinite as His power; He knows what the Son and the angels know not (Mr 13:32). He knows the hearts of men (Lu 16:15) and all their needs (Mt 6:8,32). His knowledge is especially manifested in His wisdom by which He works out His purpose of salvation, "the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Eph 3:10,11). The teaching of the New Testament implies that all perfections of power, condition and being cohere in God, and are revealed in His love. They are not developed or established on metaphysical grounds, but they flow out of His perfect fatherhood. Earthly fathers do what good they can for their children, but the Heavenly Father does all things for the best for His children—"to them that love God all things work together for good"—because He is restricted by no limits of power, will or wisdom (Mt 7:11; Ro 8:28).

8. The Unity of God:

It is both assumed through the New Testament and stated categorically that God is one (Mr 12:29; Ro 3:30; Eph 4:6). No truth had sunk more deeply into the Hebrew mind by this time than the unity of God.

(1) The Divinity of Christ:

Yet it is obvious from what has been written, that Jesus Christ claimed a power, authority and position so unique that they can only be adequately described by calling Him God; and the apostolic church both in worship and in doctrine accorded Him that honor. All that they knew of God as now fully and finally revealed was summed up in His person, "for in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (Col 2:9). If they did not call Him God, they recognized and named Him everything that God meant for them.

(2) The Holy Spirit:

Moreover, the Holy Spirit is a third term that represents a Divine person in the experience, thought and language of Christ and His disciples. In the Johannine account of Christ’s teaching, it is probable that the Holy Spirit is identified with the risen Lord Himself (Joh 14:16,17; compare Joh 14:18), and Paul seems also to identify them in at least one passage: "the Lord is the Spirit" (2Co 3:17). But in other places the three names are ranged side by side as representing three distinct persons (Mt 28:19; 2Co 13:14; Eph 4:4-6).

(3) The Church’s Problem:

But how does the unity of God cohere with the Divine status of the Son and the distinct subsistence of the Holy Spirit? Jesus Christ affirmed a unity between Himself and the Father (Joh 10:30), a unity, too, which might be realized in a wider sphere, where the Father, the Son and believers should form one society (Joh 17:21,23), but He reveals no category which would construe the unity of the Godhead in a manifoldness of manifestation. The experience of the first Christians as a rule found Christ so entirely sufficient to all their religious needs, so filled with all the fullness of God, that the tremendous problem which had arisen for thought did not trouble them. Paul expresses his conception of the relation of Christ to God under the figure of the image. Christ "is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation" (Col 1:15; 2Co 4:4). Another writer employs a similar metaphor. Christ is "the effulgence of (God’s) glory, and the very image of his substance" (Heb 1:3). But these figures do not carry us beyond the fact, abundantly evident elsewhere, that Christ in all things represented God because He participated in His being. In the prologue to the Fourth Gospel, the doctrine of the Word is developed for the same purpose. The eternal Reason of God who was ever with Him, and of Him, issues forth as revealed thought, or spoken word, in the person of Jesus Christ, who therefore is the eternal Word of God incarnate. So far and no farther the New Testament goes. Jesus Christ is God revealed; we know nothing of God, but that which is manifest in Him. His love, holiness, righteousness and purpose of grace, ordering and guiding all things to realize the ends of His fatherly love, all this we know in and through Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit takes of Christ’s and declares it to men (Joh 16:14). The problems of the coordination of the One with the Three, of personality with the plurality of consciousness, of the Infinite with the finite, and of the Eternal God with the Word made flesh, were left over for the church to solve. The Holy Spirit was given to teach it all things and guide it into all the truth (Joh 16:13). "And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world" (Mt 28:20).



Harris The Philosophical Basis of Theism; God the Creator and Lord of All; Flint, Theism; Orr, The Christian View of God and the World; E. Caird, The Evolution of Religion; James Ward, The Realm of Ends; Fairbairn, The Philosophy of the Christian Religion; W.N. Clarke, The Christian Doctrine of God; Adeney, The Christian Conception of God; Rocholl, Der Christliche Gottesbegriff ; O. Holtzmann, Der Christliche Gottesglaube, seine Vorgeschichte und Urgeschichte; G. Wobbernim, Der Christliche Gottesglaube in seinem Verhaltnis zur heutigen Philosophie und Naturwissenschaft; Kostlin, article "Gott" in See Hauck-Herzog, Realencyklopadie fur protestantische Theologie und Kirche; R. S. Candlish, Crawford and Scott-Lidgett, books on The Fatherhood of God: Old Testament Theologies by Oehler, Schultz and Davidson; New Testament Theologies by Schmid, B. Weiss, Beyschlag, Holtzmann and Stevens; Wendt, The Teaching of Jesus; sections in systems of Christian Doctrine by Schleiermacher, Darner, Nitzsch, Martensen, Thomasius, Hodge, etc.

T. Rees




In Ge 1:26,27, the truth is declared that God created man in His own "image" (tselem), after His "likeness" (demuth). The two ideas denote the same thing—resemblance to God. The like conception of man, tacit or avowed, underlies all revelation. It is given in Ge 9:6 as the ground of the prohibition of the shedding of man’s blood; is echoed in Ps 8; is reiterated frequently in the New Testament (1Co 11:7; Eph 4:24; Col 3:10; Isa 3:9). The nature of this image of God in man is discussed in other articles—see especially ANTHROPOLOGY. It lies in the nature of the case that the "image" does not consist in bodily form; it can only reside in spiritual qualities, in man’s mental and moral attributes as a self-conscious, rational, personal agent, capable of self-determination and obedience to moral law. This gives man his position of lordship in creation, and invests his being with the sanctity of personality. The image of God, defaced, but not entirely lost through sin, is restored in yet more perfect form in the redemption of Christ. See the full discussion in the writer’s work, God’s Image in Man and Its Defacement; see also Dr. J. Laidlaw, The Bible Doctrine of Man.

James Orr



1. The Phrase "His Name"

2. Classification.


1. ‘Elohim

2. ‘El

3. ‘Eloah

4. ‘Adhon, ‘Adhonay

5. Yahweh (Yahweh)

6. Tsur (Rock)

7. Ka‘dhosh

8. Shadday


1. ‘Abhir

2. ‘El-’Elohe-Yisra’el

3. ‘Elyon

4. Gibbor

5. ‘El-ro’i

6. Tsaddiq

7. Qanna’

8. Yahweh Tsebha’oth

9. "I Am That I Am"

IV. New Testament NAMES OF GOD

1. God

2. Lord

3. Descriptive and Figurative Names


I. Introduction:

To an extent beyond the appreciation of modern and western minds the people of Biblical times and lands valued the name of the person. They always gave to it symbolical or character meaning.

While our modern names are almost exclusively designatory, and intended merely for identification, the Biblical names were also descriptive, and often prophetic. Religious significance nearly always inhered in the name, a parent relating his child to the Deity, or declaring its consecration to the Deity, by joining the name of the Deity with the service which the child should render, or perhaps commemorating in a name the favor of God in the gracious gift of the child, e.g. Nathaniel ("gift of God"); Samuel ("heard of God"); Adonijah ("Yahweh is my Lord"), etc. It seems to us strange that at its birth, the life and character of a child should be forecast by its parents in a name; and this unique custom has been regarded by an unsympathetic criticism as evidence of the origin of such names and their attendant narratives long subsequent to the completed life itself; such names, for example, as Abraham, Sarah, etc. But that this was actually done, and that it was regarded as a matter of course, is proved by the name given to Our Lord at His birth: "Thou shalt call his name Jesus; for it is he that shall save his people" (Mt 1:21). It is not unlikely that the giving of a character name represented the parents’ purpose and fidelity in the child’s training, resulting necessarily in giving to the child’s life that very direction, which the name indicated. A child’s name, therefore, became both a prayer and a consecration, and its realization in character became often a necessary psychological effect. Great honor or dishonor was attached to a name. The Old Testament writings contain many and varied instances of this. Sometimes contempt for certain reprobate men would be most expressively indicated by a change of name, e.g. the change of Esh-baal, "man of Baal," to Ish-bosheth, "man of shame" (2Sa 2:8 ), and the omission of Yahweh from the name of the apostate king, Ahaz (2Ki 15:38, etc.). The name of the last king of Judah was most expressively changed by Nebuchadnezzar from Mattaniah to Zedekiah, to assure his fidelity to his overlord who made him king (2Ki 24:17).


1. The Phrase "His Name":

Since the Scriptures of the Old Testament and New Testament are essentially for purposes of revelation, and since the Hebrews laid such store by names, we should confidently expect them to make the Divine name a medium of revelation of the first importance. People accustomed by long usage to significant character indications in their own names, necessarily would regard the names of the Deity as expressive of His nature. The very phrase "name of Yahweh," or "His name," as applied to the Deity in Biblical usage, is most interesting and suggestive, sometimes expressing comprehensively His revelation in Nature (Ps 8:1; compare 138:2); or marking the place of His worship, where men will call upon His name (De 12:5); or used as a synonym of His various attributes, e.g. faithfulness (Isa 48:9), grace (Ps 23:3), His honor (Ps 79:9), etc. "Accordingly, since the name of God denotes this God Himself as He is revealed, and as He desires to be known by His creatures, when it is said that God will make a name for Himself by His mighty deeds, or that the new world of the future shall be unto Him for a name, we can easily understand that the name of God is often synonymous with the glory of God, and that the expressions for both are combined in the utmost variety of ways, or used alternately" (Schultz, Old Testament Theology, English translation, I, 124-25; compare Ps 72:19; Isa 63:14; also Davidson, Old Testament Theol., 37-38).

2. Classification:

From the important place which the Divine name occupies in revelation, we would expect frequency of occurrence and diversity of form; and this is just that which we find to be true. The many forms or varieties of the name will be considered under the following heads:

(1) Absolute or Personal Names,

(2) Attributive, or Qualifying Names, and

(3) Names of God in the New Testament. Naturally and in course of time attributive names tend to crystallize through frequent use and devotional regard into personal names; e.g. the attributive adjective qadhosh, "holy," becomes the personal, transcendental name for Deity in Job and Isa. For fuller details of each name reference may be made to separate articles.

II. Absolute or Personal Names of God in the Old Testament:

1. ‘Elohim:

The first form of the Divine name in the Bible is ‘Elohim, ordinarily translated "God" (Ge 1:1). This is the most frequently used name in the Old Testament, as its equivalent theos, is in the New Testament, occurring in Ge alone approximately 200 t. It is one of a group of kindred words, to which belong also ‘El and ‘Eloah. (1) Its form is plural, but the construction is uniformly singular, i.e. it governs a singular verb or adjective, unless used of heathen divinities (Ps 96:5; 97:7). It is characteristic of Hebrew that extension, magnitude and dignity, as well as actual multiplicity, are expressed by the plural. It is not reasonable, therefore, to assume that plurality of form indicates primitive Semitic polytheism. On the contrary, historic Hebrew is unquestionably and uniformly monotheistic.

(2) The derivation is quite uncertain. Gesenius, Ewald and others find its origin in ‘ul, "to be strong," from which also are derived ‘ayil, "ram," and ‘elah, "terebinth"; it is then an expanded plural form of ‘el; others trace it to ‘alah, "to terrify," and the singular form is found in the infrequent ‘eloah, which occurs chiefly in poetical books; BDB inclines to the derivation from ‘alah, "to be strong," as the root of the three forms, ‘El, ‘Eloah and ‘Elohim, although admitting that the whole question is involved in uncertainty (for full statement see BDB, under the word ...); a somewhat fanciful suggestion is the Arabic root ‘ul, "to be in front," from which comes the meaning "leader"; and still more fanciful is the suggested connection with the preposition ‘el, signifying God as the "goal" of man’s life and aspiration. The origin must always lie in doubt, since the derivation is prehistoric, and the name, with its kindred words ‘El and ‘Eloah, is common to Semitic languages and religions and beyond the range of Hebrew records.

(3) It is the reasonable conclusion that the meaning is "might" or "power"; that it is common to Semitic language; that the form is plural to express majesty or "all-mightiness," and that it is a generic, rather than a specific personal, name for Deity, as is indicated by its application to those who represent the Deity (Jud 5:8; Ps 82:1) or who are in His presence (1Sa 28:13).

2. ‘Eloah:

The singular form of the preceding name, ‘Eloah, is confined in its use almost exclusively to poetry, or to poetic expression, being characteristic of the Book of Job, occurring oftener in that book than in all other parts of the Old Testament. It is, in fact, found in Job oftener than the elsewhere more ordinary plural ‘Elohim. For derivation and meaning see above under 1 (2). Compare also the Aramaic form, ‘elah, found frequently in Ezra and Daniel.

3. ‘El:

In the group of Semitic languages, the most common word for Deity is El (’el), represented by the Babylonian ilu and the Arabic ‘Allah. It is found throughout the Old Testament, but oftener in Job and Psalms than in all the other books. It occurs seldom in the historical books, and not at all in Lev. The same variety of derivations is attributed to it as to ELOHIM (which see), most probable of which is ‘ul, "to be strong." BDB interprets ‘ul as meaning "to be in front," from which came ‘ayil, "ram" the one in front of the flock, and ‘elah, the prominent "terebinth," deriving [’El] from ‘alah, "to be strong." It occurs in many of the more ancient names; and, like [’Elohim], it is used of pagan gods. It is frequently combined with nouns or adjectives to express the Divine name with reference to particular attributes or phases of His being, as ‘El ‘Elyon, ‘El-Ro’i, etc. (see below under III, "Attributive Names").

4. ‘Adhon, ‘Adhonay:

An attributive name, which in prehistoric Hebrew had already passed over into a generic name of God, is ‘Adhon, ‘Adhonay, the latter formed from the former, being the construct plural, ‘adhone, with the 1st person ending -ay, which has been lengthened to ay and so retained as characteristic of the proper name and distinguishing it from the possessive "my Lord." the King James Version does not distinguish, but renders both as possessive, "my Lord" (Jud 6:15; 13:8), and as personal name (Ps 2:4); the Revised Version (British and American) also, in Ps 16:2, is in doubt, giving "my Lord," possessive, in text and "the Lord" in the margin. ‘Adhonay, as a name of Deity, emphasizes His sovereignty (Ps 2:4; Isa 7:7), and corresponds closely to Kurios of the New Testament. It is frequently combined with Yahweh (Ge 15:8; Isa 7:7, etc.) and with ‘Elohim (Ps 86:12). Its most significant service in Massoretic Text is the use of its vowels to point the unpronounceable tetragrammaton YHWH, indicating that the word "‘Adhonay" should be spoken aloud instead of "Yah-weh." This combination of vowels and consonants gives the transliteration "Yahweh," adopted by the American Standard Revised Version, while the other English Versions of the Bible, since Coverdale, represents the combination by the capitals LORD. Septuagint represents it by Kurios.

5. Yahweh (Yahweh):

The name most distinctive of God as the God of Israel is (Yahweh, a combination of the tetragrammaton (YHWH) with the vowels of ‘Adhonay, transliterated as Yehowah, but read aloud by the Hebrews ‘adhonay). While both derivation and meaning are lost to us in the uncertainties of its ante-Biblical origin, the following inferences seem to be justified by the facts:

(1) This name was common to religions other than Israel’s, according to Friedr. Delitzsch, Hommel, Winckler, and Guthe (EB, under the word), having been found in Babylonian inscriptions. Ammonite, Arabic and Egyptian names appear also to contain it (compare Davidson, Old Testament Theol., 52 f); but while, like ‘Elohim, it was common to primitive Semitic religion, it became Israel’s distinctive name for the Deity.

(2) It was, therefore, not first made known at the call of Moses (Ex 3:13-16; 6:2-8), but, being already known, was at that time given a larger revelation and interpretation: God, to be known to Israel henceforth under the name "Yahweh" and in its fuller significance, was the One sending Moses to deliver Israel; "when I shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said .... I WILL BE THAT I WILL BE .... say .... I WILL BE hath sent me" (Ex 3:13,14 margin). The name is assumed as known in the narrative of Genesis; it also occurs in pre-Mosaic names (Ex 6:20; 1Ch 2:25; 7:8).

(3) The derivation is from the archaic chawah, "to be," better "to become," in Biblical Hebrew hayah; this archaic use of w for y appears also in derivatives of the similar chayah, "to live," e.g. chawwah in Ge 3:20.

(4) It is evident from the interpretative passages (Ex 3; 6) that the form is the fut. of the simple stem (Qal) and not future of the causative (Hiph‘il) stem in the sense "giver of life"—an idea not borne out by any of the occurrences of the word. The fanciful theory that the word is a combination of the future, present and perfect tenses of the verb, signifying "the One who will be, is, and was," is not to be taken seriously (Stier, etc., in Oehler’s Old Testament Theology, in the place cited.).

(5) The meaning may with some confidence be inferred from Origen’s transliteration, Iao, the form in Samaritan, Iabe, the form as combined in Old Testament names, and the evident signification in Ex 3 and other passages, to be that of the simple future, yahweh, "he will be." It does not express causation, nor existence in a metaphysical sense, but the covenant promise of the Divine presence, both at the immediate time and in the Messianic age of the future. And thus it became bound up with the Messianic hope, as in the phrase, "the Day of Yahweh," and consequently both it and the Septuagint translation Kurios were applied by the New Testament as titles of Christ.

(6) It is the personal name of God, as distinguished from such generic or essential names as ‘El, ‘Elohim, Shadday, etc. Characteristic of the Old Testament is its insistence on the possible knowledge of God as a person; and Yahweh is His name as a person. It is illogical, certainly, that the later Hebrews should have shrunk from its pronunciation, in view of the appropriateness of the name and of the Old Testament insistence on the personality of God, who as a person has this name. the American Standard Revised Version quite correctly adopts the transliteration "Yahweh" to emphasize its significance and purpose as a personal name of God revealed.

6. Tsur (Rock):

Five times in the "Song" of Moses (De 32:4,15,18,30,31) the word tsur, "Rock," is used as a title of God. It occurs also in the Psalms, Isa and poetical passages of other books, and also in proper names, Elizur, Zuriel, etc. Once in the King James Version (Isa 44:8) it is translated "God," but "Rock" in the American Standard Revised Version and the American Revised Version, margin. The effort to interpret this title as indicating the animistic origin of Old Testament religion is unnecessary and a pure product of the imagination. It is customary for both Old Testament and New Testament writers to use descriptive names of God: "rock," "fortress," "shield," "light," "bread," etc., and is in harmony with all the rich figurativeness of the Scriptures; the use of the article in many of the cases cited further corroborates the view that the word is intended to be a descriptive title, not the name of a Nature-deity. It presents the idea of God as steadfast: "The appellation of God as tsur, ‘rock,’ ‘safe retreat,’ in Deuteronomy refers to this" (Oehler, Old Testament Theology). It often occurs, in a most striking figure, with the pers. suffix as "my rock," "their rock," to express confidence (Ps 28:1).

7. Kadhosh:

The name (qadhosh, "holy") is found frequently in Isaiah and Psalms, and occasionally in the other prophets. It is characteristic of Isaiah, being found 32 times in that book. It occurs often in the phrase qedhosh yisra’el, "Holy One of Israel." The derivation and meaning remain in doubt, but the customary and most probable derivation is from qadhash, "to be separate," which best explains its use both of man and of the Deity. When used of God it signifies: (1) His transcendence, His separateness above all other beings, His aloneness as compared to other gods; (2) His peculiar relation to His people Israel unto whom He separated Himself, as He did not unto other nations. In the former sense Isaiah used it of His sole deity (40:25), in the latter of His peculiar and unchanging covenant-relation to Israel (43:3; 48:17), strikingly, expressed in the phrase "Holy One of Israel." Qadhosh was rather attributive than personal, but became personal in the use of such absolute theists as Job and Isaiah. It expresses essential Deity, rather than personal revelation.

8. Shadday:

In the patriarchal literature, and in Job particularly, where it is put into the mouths of the patriarchs, this name appears sometimes in the compound ‘el shadday, sometimes alone. While its root meaning also is uncertain, the suggested derivation from shadhadh, "to destroy," "to terrify," seems most probable, signifying the God who is manifested by the terribleness of His mighty acts. "The Storm God," from shadha’," to pour out," has been suggested, but is improbable; and even more so the fanciful she, and day, meaning "who is sufficient." Its use in patriarchal days marks an advance over looser Semitic conceptions to the stricter monotheistic idea of almightiness, and is in accord with the early consciousness of Deity in race or individual as a God of awe, or even terror. Its monotheistic character is in harmony with its use in the Abrahamic times, and is further corroborated by its parallel in Septuagint and New Testament, pantokrator, "all-powerful."

III. Descriptive Names of God in the Old Testament:

It is often difficult to distinguish between the personal and the attributive names of God, the two divisions necessarily shading into each other. Some of the preceding are really attributive, made personal by usage. The following are the most prominent descriptive or attributive names.

1. ‘Abhir:

This name (’abhir), translated in English Versions of the Bible "Mighty One," is always combined with Israel or Jacob; its root is ‘abhar, "to be strong" from which is derived the word ‘ebher, "pinion," used of the strong wing of the eagle (Isa 40:31), figuratively of God in De 32:11. It occurs in Jacob’s blessing (Ge 49:24), in a prayer for the sanctuary (Ps 132:2,5), and in Isa (1:24; 49:26; 60:16), to express the assurance of the Divine strength in behalf of the oppressed in Israel (Isa 1:24), or in behalf of Israel against his oppressors; it is interesting to note that this name was first used by Jacob himself.

2. ‘El-’Elohe-Israel:

The name ‘El is combined with a number of descriptive adjectives to represent God in His various attributes; and these by usage have become names or titles of God. For the remarkable phrase ‘EL-’ELOHE-ISRAEL (Ge 33:20), see separate article

3. ‘Elyon:

This name (‘elyon, "highest") is a derivative of ‘alah, "to go up." It is used of persons or things to indicate their elevation or exaltation: of Israel, favored above other nations (De 26:19), of the aqueduct of "the upper pool" (Isa 7:3), etc. This indicates that its meaning when applied to God is the "Exalted One," who is lifted far above all gods and men. It occurs alone (De 32:8; Ps 18:13), or in combination with other names of God, most frequently with El (Ge 14:18; Ps 78:35), but also with Yahweh (Ps 7:17; 97:9), or with Elohim (Ps 56:2 the King James Version; Ps 78:56). Its early use (Ge 14:18 f) points to a high conception of Deity, an unquestioned monotheism in the beginnings of Hebrew history.

4. Gibbor:

The ancient Hebrews were in constant struggle for their land and their liberties, a struggle most intense and patriotic in the heroic days of Saul and David, and in which there was developed a band of men whose great deeds entitled them to the honorable title "mighty men" of valor (gibborim). These were the knights of David’s "Round Table." In like manner the Hebrew thought of his God as fighting for him, and easily then this title was applied to God as the Mighty Man of war, occurring in David’s psalm of the Ark’s Triumphant Entry (Ps 24:8), in the allegory of the Messiah-King (Ps 45:3), either alone or combined with El (Isa 9:6; Jer 32:18), and sometimes with Yahweh (Isa 42:13).

5. ‘El-Ro’i:

When Hagar was fleeing from Sarah’s persecutions, Yahweh spoke to her in the wilderness of Shur, words of promise and cheer. Whereupon "she called the name of Yahweh that spake unto her, Thou art El roi" (Ge 16:13 margin). In the text the word ro’i, deriv. of ra’ah, "to see," is translated "that seeth," literally, "of sight." This is the only occurrence of this title in the Old Testament.

6. Tsaddiq:

One of the covenant attributes of God, His righteousness, is spoken of so often that it passes from adjective to substantive, from attribute to name, and He is called "Righteous" (tsaddiq), or "the Righteous One." The word is never transliterated but always translated in English Versions of the Bible, although it might just as properly be considered a Divine name as ‘Elyon or Qadhosh. The root tsadhaq, "to be straight" or "right," signifies fidelity to a standard, and is used of God’s fidelity to His own nature and to His covenant-promise (Isa 41:10; 42:6; compare Ho 2:19); it occurs alone (Ps 34:17), with El (De 32:4), with Elohim (Ezr 9:15; Ps 7:9; 116:5), but most frequently with Yahweh (Ps 129:4, etc.). In Ex 9:27 Pharaoh, in acknowledging his sin against Yahweh, calls Him ‘Yahweh the Righteous,’ using the article. The suggestive combination, "Yahweh our Righteousness," is the name given to David’s "righteous Branch" (Jer 23:6) and properly should be taken as a proper noun—the name of the Messiah-King.

7. Kanna:

Frequently in the Pentateuch, most often in the 3 versions of the Commandments (Ex 20:5; 34:14; De 5:9), God is given the title "Jealous" (qanna’), most specifically in the phrase "Yahweh, whose name is Jealous" (Ex 34:14). This word, however, did not bear the evil meaning now associated with it in our usage, but rather signified "righteous zeal," Yahweh’s zeal for His own name or glory (compare Isa 9:7, "the zeal of Yahweh," qin’ah; also Zec 1:14; 8:2).

8. Yahweh Tsebha’-oth:

Connected with the personal and covenant name Yahweh, there is found frequently the word Sabaoth (tsebha’oth, "hosts"). Invariably in the Old Testament it is translated "hosts" (Isa 1:9; Ps 46:7,11, etc.), but in the New Testament it is transliterated twice, both in the Greek and English (Ro 9:29; Jas 5:4). The passage in Roman is a quotation from Isa 1:9 through Septuagint, which does not translate, but transliterates the Hebrew. Origin and meaning are uncertain. It is used of heavenly bodies and earthly forces (Ge 2:1); of the army of Israel (2Sa 8:16); of the Heavenly beings (Ps 103:21; 148:2; Da 4:35). It is probable that the title is intended to include all created agencies and beings, of which Yahweh is maker and leader.

9. "I Am That I Am":

When God appeared to Moses at Sinai, commissioning him to deliver Israel; Moses, being well aware of the difficulty of impressing the people, asked by what name of God he should speak to them: "They shall say to me, What is his name?" Then "God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM .... say .... I AM hath sent me unto you" (Ex 3:14). The name of the Deity given here is similar to Yahweh except that the form is not 3rd person future, as in the usual form, but the 1st person (’ehyeh), since God is here speaking of Himself. The optional reading in the American Revised Version, margin is much to be preferred: "I WILL BE THAT I WILL BE," indicating His covenant pledge to be with and for Israel in all the ages to follow. For further explanation see above, II, 5.

IV. New Testament Names of God.

The variety of names which characterizes the Old Testament is lacking in the New Testament, where we are all but limited to two names, each of which corresponds to several in the Old Testament. The most frequent is the name "God" (Theos) occurring over 1,000 t, and corresponding to El, Elohim, etc., of the Old Testament.

1. God:

It may, as [’Elohim], be used by accommodation of heathen gods; but in its true sense it expresses essential Deity, and as expressive of such it is applied to Christ as to the Father (Joh 20:28; Ro 9:5).

2. Lord:

Five times "Lord" is a translation of despotes (Lu 2:29; Ac 4:24; 2Pe 2:1 the King James Version; Jude 1:4; Re 6:10 the King James Version). In each case there is evident emphasis on sovereignty and correspondence to the ‘Adhon of the Old Testament. The most common Greek word for Lord is Kurios, representing both Yahweh and ‘Adhonai of the Old Testament, and occurring upwards of 600 times. Its use for Yahweh was in the spirit of both the Hebrew scribes, who pointed the consonants of the covenant name with the vowels of Adhonay, the title of dominion, and of the Septuagint, which rendered this combination as Kurios. Consequently quotations from the Old Testament in which Yahweh occurs are rendered by Kurios. It is applied to Christ equally with the Father and the Spirit, showing that the Messianic hopes conveyed by the name Yahweh were for New Testament writers fulfilled in Jesus Christ; and that in Him the long hoped for appearance of Yahweh was realized.

3. Descriptive and Figurative Names:

As in the Old Testament, so in the New Testament various attributive, descriptive or figurative names are found, often corresponding to those in the Old Testament. Some of these are: The "Highest" or "Most High" hupsistos), found in this sense only in Lu (1:32,35,76; 2:14, etc.), and Equivalent to ‘Elyon (see III, 3, above); "Almighty," Pantokrator (2Co 6:18; Re 1:8, etc.), corresponding to Shadday (see II, 8 above; see also ALMIGHTY); "Father," as in the Lord’s Prayer, and elsewhere (Mt 6:9; 11:25; Joh 17:25; 2Co 6:18); "King" (1Ti 1:17); "King of kings" (1Ti 6:15); "King of kings," "Lord of lords" (Re 17:14; 19:16); "Potentate" (1Ti 6:15); "Master" (Kurios, Eph 6:9; 2Pe 2:1; Re 6:10); "Shepherd," "Bishop" (1Pe 2:25).


Theology of Old Testament by various authors: Oehler, Schultz, Davidson; Delitzsch, Psychology of the Old Testament; H.P. Smith, "Theophorous Names of OT" in Old Testament and Semitic Studies; Gray, HPN; "God" in HDB and EB.

Edward Mack




stranj: The word "strange," as used in this connection in the Old Testament, refers to the fact that the god or gods do not belong to Israel, but are the gods which are worshipped by other families or nations. In several cases a more exact translation would give us the "gods of the stranger" or foreigner. So in Ge 35:2,4; Jos 24:2; Jud 10:16; De 31:16; 32:12, etc. In a few passages like De 32:16; Ps 44:20; 81:9; Isa 43:12, the word is an adjective, but the idea is the same: the gods are those which are worshipped by other peoples and hence are forbidden to Israel, which is under obligation to worship Yahweh alone (compare 2 Esdras 1:6).

In the New Testament the phrase occurs only once, in the account of Paul’s experiences in Athens (Ac 17:18), when some of his auditors said, "He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods" (xena daimonia). Here the thought is clearly that by his preaching of Jesus he was regarded as introducing a new divinity, that is one who was strange or foreign to the Athenians and of whom they had never heard before. Like the Romans of this period the Athenians were doubtless interested in, and more or less favorable to, the numerous new cults which were coming to their attention as the result of the constant intercourse with the Orient. See preceding article.

Walter R. Betteridge






god’-es (’elohim, thea): There is no separate word for "goddess" in the Old Testament. In the only instance in which the word occurs in English Versions of the Bible (1Ki 11:5,33), the gender is determined by the noun—"Ashtoreth, the god (goddess) of the Sidonians." In the New Testament the term is applied to Diana of Ephesus (Ac 19:27,35,37).


god’-hed: The word "Godhead" is a simple doublet of the less frequently occurring "Godhood." Both forms stand side by side in the Ancren Riwle (about 1225 AD), and both have survived until today, though not in equally common use. They are representatives of a large class of abstract substantives, formed with the suffix "-head" or "-hood", most of which formerly occurred in both forms almost indifferently, though the majority of them survive only, or very preponderatingly (except in Scottish speech), in the form -hood. The two suffixes appear in Middle English as "-hede" and "-hod", and presuppose in the Anglo-Saxon which lies behind them a feminine "haeda" (which is not actually known) by the side of the masculine had. The Anglo-Saxon word "was originally a distinct substantive, meaning ‘person, personality, sex, condition, quality, rank’ "( Bradley, in A New English Dict. on a Historical Basis, under the word "-hood"), but its use as a suffix early superseded its separate employment. At first "-hede" appears to have been appropriated to adjectives, "-hod" to substantives; but, this distinction breaking down and the forms coming into indiscriminate use, "-hede" grew obsolete, and remains in common use only in one or two special forms, such as "Godhead," "maidenhead" (Bradley, as cited, under the word "-head").

The general elimination of the forms in -head has been followed by a fading consciousness, in the case of the few surviving instances in this form, of the qualitative sense inherent in the suffix. The words accordingly show a tendency to become simple denotatives. Thus, "the Godhead" is frequently employed merely as a somewhat strong synonym of "God" although usually with more or less emphasis upon that in God which makes Him God. One of its established usages is to denote the Divine essence as such, in distinction from the three "hypostases" or "persons" which share its common possession in the doctrine of the Trinity. This usage is old: Bradley (op. cit.) is able to adduce instances from the 13th century. In this usage the word has long held the rank of a technical term, e.g. the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England, 1571, Art. I: "And in the unity of this Godhead, there be three persons" (compare the Irish Articles of 1615, and the Westminster Confession, II, 3); Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q. 6: "There are three persons in the Godhead." Pursuant to the fading of the qualitative sense of the word, there has arisen a tendency, when the qualitative consciousness is vivid, to revive the obsolescent "Godhood," to take its place; and this tendency naturally shows itself especially when the contrast with humanity is expressed. Carlyle, for example (French Revolution, III, Book vi, chapter iv, section 1), speaking of the posthumous reaction against Marat, writes: "Shorter godhood had no divine man"; and Phillips Brooks (Sermons, XIII, 237) speaks of Christ bridging the gulf "between the Godhood and the manhood." "Godhood" seems, indeed, always to have had a tendency to appear in such contrasts, as if the qualitative consciousness were more active in it than in "Godhead." Thus, it seems formerly to have suggested itself almost as inevitably to designate the Divine nature of Christ, as "Godhead" did to designate the common Divine essence of the Trinity. Bradley cites instances from 1563 down. The fundamental meaning of "Godhead" is, nevertheless, no less than that of "Godhood," the state, dignity, condition, quality, of a god, or, as monotheists would say, of God. As manhood is that which makes a man a man, and childhood that which makes a child a child, so Godhead is that which makes God, God. When we ascribe Godhead to a being, therefore, we affirm that all that enters into the idea of God belongs to Him. "Godhead" is thus the Saxon equivalent of the Latin "Divinity," or, as it is now becoming more usual to say, "Deity." Like these terms it is rendered concrete by prefixing the article to it. As "the Divinity," "the Deity," so also "the Godhead" is only another way of saying "God," except that when we say "the Divinity," "the Deity," "the Godhead," we are saying "God" more abstractly and more qualitatively, that is with more emphasis, or at least with a more lively consciousness, of the constitutive qualities which make God the kind of being we call "God."

The word "Godhead" occurs in the King James Version only 3 times (Ac 17:29; Ro 1:20; Col 2:9), and oddly enough it translates in these 3 passages, 3 different, though closely related, Greek words, to theion theiotes, theotes.

To theion means "that which is Divine," concretely, or, shortly, "the Deity." Among the Greeks it was in constant use in the sense of "the Divine Being," and particularly as a general term to designate the Deity apart from reference to a particular god. It is used by Paul (Ac 17:29) in an address made to a heathen audience, and is inserted into a context in which it is flanked by the simple term "God" (ho Theos) on both sides. It is obviously deliberately chosen in order to throw up into emphasis the qualitative idea of God; and this emphasis is still further heightened by the direct contrast into which it is brought with the term "man." "Being, then, the offspring of God, we ought not to think that it is to gold or silver or stone graven by art and device of man that the Godhead is like." In an effort to bring out this qualitative emphasis, the Revised Version, margin suggests that we might substitute for "the Godhead" here the periphrastic rendering, "that which is Divine." But this seems both clumsy and ineffective for its purpose. From the philological standpoint, "the Godhead" is very fair equivalent for to theion, differing as it does from the simple "God" precisely by its qualitative emphasis. It may be doubted, however, whether in the partial loss by "Godhead" of its qualitative force in its current usage, one of its synonyms, "the Divinity" (which is the rendering here of the Rhemish version) or "the Deity," would not better convey Paul’s emphasis to modern readers.

Neither of these terms, "Divinity," "Deity," occurs anywhere in the King James Version, and "Deity" does not occur in the Revised Version (British and American) either; but the Revised Version (British and American) (following the Rhemish version) substitutes "Dignity" for "Godhead" in Ro 1:20. Of the two, "Dignity" was originally of the broader connotation; in the days of heathendom it was applicable to all grades of Divine beings. "Deity" was introduced by the Christian Fathers for the express purpose of providing a stronger word by means of which the uniqueness of the Christians’ God should be emphasized. Perhaps "Divinity" retains even in its English usage something of its traditional weaker connotation, although, of course, in a monotheistic consciousness the two terms coalesce in meaning. There exists a tendency to insist, therefore, on the "Deity" of Christ, rather than his mere "Divinity," in the feeling that "Divinity" might lend itself to the notion that Christ possessed but a secondary or reduced grade of Divine quality. In Ac 17:29 Paul is not discriminating between grades of Divinity, but is preaching monotheism. In this context, then, to theion does not lump together "all that is called God or is worshipped," and declare that all that is in any sense Divine should be esteemed beyond the power of material things worthily to represent. Paul has the idea of God at its height before his mind, and having quickened his hearers’ sense of God’s exaltation by his elevated description of Him, he demands of them whether this Deity can be fitly represented by any art of man working in dead stuff. He uses the term to theion, rather than ho theos, not merely in courteous adoption of his hearers’ own language, but because of its qualitative emphasis. On the whole, the best English translation of it would probably be "the Deity." "The Godhead" has ceased to be sufficiently qualitative: "the Godhood" is not sufficiently current: "the Divine" is not sufficiently personal: "the Divinity" is perhaps not sufficiently strong: "Deity" without the article loses too much of its personal reference to compensate for the gain in qualitativeness: "the Deity" alone seems fairly to reproduce the apostle’s thought.

The Greek term in Ro 1:20 is theiotes, which again, as a term of quality, is not unfairly rendered by "Godhead." What Paul says here is that "the everlasting power and Godhead" of God "are clearly perceived by means of His works." By "Godhead" he clearly means the whole of that by which God is constituted what we mean by "God." By coupling the word with "power," Paul no doubt intimates that his mind is resting especially upon those qualities which enter most intimately into and constitute the exaltation of God; but we must beware of limiting the connotation of the term—all of God’s attributes are glorious. The context shows that the thought of the apostle was moving on much the same lines as in Ac 17:29; here, too, the contrast which determines the emphasis is with "corruptible man," and along with him, with the lower creatures in general (Ro 1:23). How could man think of the Godhead under such similitudes—the Godhead, so clearly manifested in its glory by its works! The substitution for "Godhead" here of its synonym "Divinity" by the Revised Version (British and American) is doubtless due in part to a desire to give distinctive renderings to distinct terms, and in part to a wish to emphasize, more strongly than "Godhead" in its modern usage emphasizes, the qualitative implication which is so strong in theiotes. Perhaps, however, the substitution is not altogether felicitous. "Divinity," in its contrast with "Deity," may have a certain weakness of connotation clinging to it, which would unsuit it to represent theiotes here. It is quite true that the two terms, "Divinity" and "Deity," are the representatives in Latin Patristic writers respectively of the Greek theiotes and theotes. Augustine (The City of God, VII, 1; compare X, 1) tells us that "Deity" was coined by Christian writers as a more accurate rendering of the Greek theotes than the current "Divinity." But it does not follow that because "Deity" more accurately renders theotes, therefore "Divinity" is always the best rendering of theiotes. The stress laid by the Greek Fathers on the employment of theotes to express the "Deity" of the Persons of the Trinity was in sequence to attempts which were being made to ascribe to the Son and the Spirit a reduced "Divinity"; and it was the need the Latin Fathers felt in the same interests which led them to coin "Deity" as a more accurate rendering, as they say, of theotes. Meanwhile theiotes and "Divinity" had done service in the two languages, the former as practically, and the latter as absolutely, the only term in use to express the idea of "Deity." Theotes is very rare in classical Greek, "Deity" non- existent in classical Latin. To represent theiotes uniformly by "Divinity," if any reduced connotation at all clings to "Divinity," would therefore be to represent it often very inadequately. And that is the case in the present passage. What Paul says is clearly made known by God’s works, is His everlasting power and all the other everlasting attributes which form His Godhead and constitute His glory.

It is theotes which occurs in Col 2:9. Here Paul declares that "all the fullness of the Godhead" dwells in Christ "bodily." The phrase "fullness of the Godhead" is an especially emphatic one. It means everything without exception which goes to make up the Godhead, the totality of all that enters into the conception of Godhood. All this, says Paul, dwells in Christ "bodily," that is after such a fashion as to be manifested in connection with a bodily organism. This is the distinction of Christ: in the Father and in the Spirit the whole plenitude of the Godhead dwells also, but not "bodily"; in them it is not manifested in connection with a bodily life. It is the incarnation which Paul has in mind; and he tells us that in the incarnate Son, the fullness of the Godhead dwells. The term chosen to express the Godhead here is the strongest and the most unambiguously decisive which the language affords. Theiotes may mean all that theotes can mean; on monotheistic lips it does mean just what theotes means; but theotes must mean the utmost that either term can mean. The distinction is, not that theotes refers to the essence and theiotes to the attributes; we cannot separate the essence and the attributes. Where the essence is, there the attributes are; they are merely the determinants of the essence. And where the attributes are, there the essence is; it is merely the thing, of the kind of which they are the determinants. The distinction is that theotes emphasizes that it is the highest stretch of Divinity which is in question, while theiotes might possibly be taken as referring to Deity at a lower level. It it not merely such divinity as is shared by all the gods many and lords many of the heathen world, to which "heroes" might aspire, and "demons" attain, all the plenitude of which dwells in Christ as incarnate; but that Deity which is peculiar to the high gods; or, since Paul is writing out of a monotheistic consciousness, that Deity which is the Supreme God alone. All the fullness of supreme Deity dwells in Christ bodily. There is nothing in the God who is over all which is not in Christ. Probably no better rendering of this idea is afforded by our modern English than the term "Godhead," in which the qualitative notion still lurks, though somewhat obscured behind the individualizing implication, and which in any event emphasizes precisely what Paul wishes here to assert—that all that enters into the conception of God, and makes God what we mean by the term "God," dwells in Christ, and is manifested in Him in connection with a bodily organism.

Benjamin B. Warfield


god’-les: This word is not found in the text of the King James Version. It is found, however, in Apocrypha (2 Macc 7:34, "O godless (the Revised Version (British and American) "unholy") man"). the Revised Version (British and American) substitutes the word "godless" for the word "hypocrite" in the following passages: Job 8:13; 13:16; 15:34; 17:8; 20:5; 27:8; 34:30; 36:13; Pr 11:9; Isa 33:14. the Revised Version (British and American) does not seem to be consistent in carrying out the idea of "godless" for "hypocrite," for in Isa 9:17; 10:6; Ps 35:16 this same Hebrew word chaneph is translated "profane." The principal idea lying at the root of the word is that of pollution and profanity; a condition of not merely being without God but assuming an attitude of open and blatant opposition toward God. The godless man is not merely the atheistic, unbelieving or even irreligious, but the openly impious, wicked and profane man. Indeed it can hardly be rightly claimed that the idea of hypocrisy is involved in the meaning of the word, for the "godless" man is not the one who professes one thing and lives another, but the one who openly avows not only his disbelief in, but his open opposition to, God. Doubtless the idea of pollution and defilement is also to be included in the definition of this word; see Jer 3:9; Nu 35:33; Da 11:31.

William Evans


god’-li-nes, god’-li (eusebeia, eusebes, eusebos): In the Old Testament the word rendered "godly" in Ps 4:3; 32:6 (chacidh) is literally, "kind," then "pious" (the Revised Version, margin renders it in the former passage, "one that he favoreth"). Sometimes in both the Old Testament and the New Testament a periphrasis is employed, "of God," "according to God" (e.g. "godly sorrow," 2Co 7:10). Godliness, as denoting character and conduct determined by the principle of love or fear of God in the heart, is the summing up of genuine religion. There can be no true religion without it: only a dead "form" (2Ti 3:5). The term is a favorite one in the Pastoral Epistles. The incarnation is "the mystery of godliness" (1Ti 3:16).

James Orr


(’elohim; theoi):


1. Superhuman Beings (God and Angels)

2. Judges, Rulers

3. Gods of the Nations

4. Superiority of Yahweh to Other Gods

5. Regulations Regarding the Gods of the Nations

6. Israel’s Tendency to Idolatry



The Hebrew plural ‘elohim is generally known as the plural of "majesty" and is the ordinary name for God. The meaning of the plural seems to be "plenitude of powers." It denotes the fullness of those attributes of power which belonged to the Divine Being. Thus it is usually translated in the singular, "God," when referring to the God of Israel. When reference is made to the gods of the other nations the word is translated in the plural, "gods." The heathen nations usually had a plurality of gods. Among the Semites it was customary for one nation or tribe to have its own particular god. Often there were many tribes, or families, or communities, in one nation, each having a particular god. Thus, even among Semites a nation may have many gods and be polytheistic. Among the other nations, Iranian, Hamitic, etc., there were always a number of deities, sometimes a multitude. There are many references to these in the Old Testament. In a few cases where the plural is used, the singular would be better, e.g. Ge 3:5 the King James Version; Ex 32:4,8,23; Ru 1:15 the King James Version; Jud 17:5; 18:24; 1Sa 17:43. This, however, might be disputed.

I. In the Old Testament.

1. Superhuman Beings (God and Angels):

The following are the more important usages of the word in the Old Testament: The translation of Ps 8:5 is disputed. The Septuagint and the King James Version translate it "angels," the Revised Version (British and American) and the American Standard Revised Version, "God," with "angels" in the margin. The Epistle to the He has the word "angels." This seems to be more in keeping with the Old Testament ideas of the relation between God, men and angels. Ge 1:26 has the plural "us," but it is not certain to whom it refers, most probably to the angels or mighty ones which surrounded the throne of God as servants or counselors; compare Job 38:7, and see SONS OF GOD. In Ps 97:7 the expression "worship him, all ye gods," may possibly refer to the gods of the nations, but more probably to the angels or mighty ones.

2. Judges, Rulers:

Judges, rulers, are regarded "either as Divine representatives at sacred places, or as reflecting Divine majesty and power" (see BDB, under the word). Ex 21:6 might better be translated as in the margin, "the judges." These were men appointed to represent God and adjudicate on important matters of law. Septuagint has "Criterion of God." In Ex 22:8 the word is used in the same sense, and 22:9 would also be better translated "the judges"; 22:28 likewise. See also 1Sa 2:25; Ps 82:1,6, where the reference is to those who act as judges.

3. Gods of the Nations:

(1) The ancestors of Israel "beyond the River" had their gods (Jos 24:14 f). While there is no mention of idolatry before the Deluge, the ancestors and kindred of Abraham were idolaters. Ur of the Chaldees was the center for the worship of Sin, the Moon-god. Many others were worshipped in the various cities of Babylon.


(2) The gods of Laban and his family (Ge 31:30,32; 35:2,4) were household gods or teraphim, and were stolen by Rachel and carried off in her flight with Jacob.


(3) Gods of Egypt: For many centuries before the time of Abraham there had been numerous objects of worship in Egypt. Many of these were animals, birds and natural objects. Horus, the hawk, was one of the earliest of all. The cat, the bull, etc., were worshipped at times. The plagues of Egypt were specially directed against these wretched deities (Nu 33:4; Ex 12:12). Yahweh took vengeance on all the gods of Egypt. These terrible events showed that "Yahweh is greater than all gods" (Ex 18:11). He redeemed His people from the nations and its gods (2Sa 7:23). Jeremiah predicted the time when Yahweh should destroy the gods of Egypt (Jer 43:12 f; 46:25).

(4) Of the gods of the Amorites (Jud 6:10) no names are given, but they probably were the same as the gods of the Canaanites.

(5) The gods of the Canaanites were Nature-gods, and their worship was that of the productive and chiefly reproductive powers of Nature. Their service was perhaps the most immoral and degrading of all. The high places and altars of the different Baals, Ashtoreths, etc., were numerous throughout Canaan. These deities were always represented by images and Moses makes frequent reference to them with warnings against this seductive worship (De 7:25; 12:3,10,31; 13:7; 20:18; 29:18; 32:16, etc.).


(6) Gods of the Philis: The champion Goliath cursed David by his gods (1Sa 17:43). Perhaps it would be better rendered "god." Saul’s and his son’s armor was put into the house of their gods (1Ch 10:10).


(7) The two golden calves erected by Jeroboam at Da and Bethel to keep the people from going to Jerusalem to worship are called gods (1Ki 12:28; 2Ch 13:8 f).


(8) The gods of Damascus: Ben-hadad was accustomed to worship in the house of the god Rimmon (2Ki 5:18). No other names are mentioned, but from 2Ch 28:23 it is clear that there were many gods in Syria.


(9) Solomon’s many wives worshipped their own gods, and he provided the means for their worship. Chief among these were Chemosh of Moab and Molech of Ammon (1Ki 11:2,4,8).


(10) The mixed peoples transplanted into Samaria by Sargon had their various gods and mingled their service with that of Yahweh, after being taught by a priest of Yahweh. The names of some of these gods were Succoth-benoth, Nergal, Ashima, Nibhaz, Tartak, Adrammelech (2Ki 17:29,30,31,33). See separate articles.

(11) Of the gods of Seir, which were brought to Jerusalem by Amaziah, the names are not given (2Ch 25:14).

(12) The gods of the nations conquered by Sennacherib and his fathers, namely, Hamoth, Arpad, Sepharvaim, Hena, Ivvah (2Ki 18:33-35; 19:13). Also those conquered by Sennacherib’s fathers, Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, Eden or Telassar (2Ki 19:12; Isa 36:18,19,20; 2Ch 32:13 f).

(13) Gods of Moab are mentioned in Ru 1:15; 1Ki 11:1,7. Possibly Ru 1:15 should be translated "god."


(14) Gods of Babylon: The graven images of her gods referred to in Isa 21:9; 42:17; Bel and Nebo mentioned in Isa 46:1; other gods of silver and gold (Ezr 1:7; Da 4:8,9,18; 5:4,11,14,23).

(15) Nineveh’s gods are merely referred to in Na 1:14. Sennacherib was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god when slain by his sons (2Ki 19:37).

(16) The coastlands or borders and peninsulas of the Aegean Sea had numerous idol gods, shrines and devotees. Isaiah challenges them to prove that they are gods (Isa 41:22 f).

Yahweh was "greater than all gods" (Ex 15:11; 18:11); "God of gods, and Lord of lords" (De 10:14,17); "The Mighty One" (Jos 22:22); "to be feared above all gods" (1Ch 16:25; 2Ch 2:5; Ps 96:4 f);

4. Superiority of Yahweh to Other Gods:

"King above all gods" (Ps 95:3; 97:7,9; 86:8; 135:5; 136:2; 138:1; Jer 10:11; Ze 2:11; Da 2:18,47). Jeremiah advances so far toward a pure and well-defined monotheism that he speaks of all other gods as "not gods." They have no existence to him (Jer 2:11; 5:7; 16:20). A similar position is taken in Isa 41; 43, etc.

5. Regulations Regarding the Gods of the Nations:

The laws of Moses give no uncertain sound concerning them. The Decalogue begins: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Whatever may be the exact meaning of this, it is perfectly clear that Israel was to have nothing to do with any God but Yahweh (Ex 20:3; De 5:7). No images shall be made of them (Ex 20:4,23; 34:17; Le 19:4; De 5:8 f). No mention shall be made of them (Ex 23:13; Jos 23:7). They are not to be worshipped but destroyed (Ex 23:24). They are to make no covenant with the people or their gods would be a snare to them (Ex 23:32; De 6:14; 7:4,25). A curse will follow any defection from Yahweh to them (De 11:28; 28:14 ff; 12:3,10; 13:7; 20:18; 29:17). These gods are an abomination to Yahweh (De 12:31; 20:18; 29:17; 32:37; Eze 7:20; 1Ki 11:5; 2Ki 23:13). They are to be as foreign gods to Israel (1Sa 7:3 f; Jos 24:20,23; Jud 10:16; 2Ch 14:3; 33:15).

6. Israel’s Tendency to Idolatry:

The constant tendency of Israel to go after other gods was first made manifest at Sinai (Ex 32:1,4,8,23,11; 34:15). Hosea says (11:2), "The more the prophets called them, the more they went from them." Ezekiel declares (16:3), "The Amorite was thy father, and thy mother was a Hittite," referring doubtless to the idolatrous taint in the blood of Israel. The tendency manifested itself also at Baal-peor where Israel was led into the licentious rites of the Moabites (Nu 25:2 f). Moses saw the taint in the blood, foresaw the danger and repeatedly warned them (De 17:3; 18:20; 29:26; 30:17; 31:18). Perhaps the most striking passages in De are chapters 13; 28; 30, where are pictured the consequences of going after other gods. Joshua also warns them (23:7), and the history of the period of the Judges is the story of their periodical defection from Yahweh and the punishment resulting therefrom (Jud 2:12,17,19; 5:8; 10:6 f; 1Sa 8:8). Solomon himself gave an impetus in that direction (1Ki 11:5-8). After the disruption, the religion of the Northern Kingdom became very corrupt (1Ki 14:9; 2Ch 13:8 f). The golden calves of Jeroboam opened the door for an inrush of idols and other gods. Ahab’s marriage to Jezebel threatened to wipe out Yahweh-worship and substitute Baal-worship, and, but for the powerful ministry of Elijah and Elisha, might have effected such a result. Partly checked for a time, the evil broke out in other forms, and even the preaching of Amos and Hosea failed to turn the tide of idolatry. The result was the destruction of the kingdom (2Ki 17:7 ff; Jer 3:6-8; 1Ch 5:25). The Southern Kingdom fared better. Other gods were countenanced by Rehoboam, Abijah, Athaliah, Jehoram, Ahaz, Amon, Manasseh, Jehoiakim, etc. Reform movements were attempted by Asa, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah and Josiah, but did not wholly avail. In the reign of Manasseh the nation plunged into the worship of other gods. The ministries of Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc., availed not to stop the tide (2Ch 34:25; Jer 11:13; 5:19; 2Ki 22:17; Jer 1:16; 19:4; 7:6; 13:10; 16:11; 44:5,8). The nation was carried into exile because of its going after other gods (2Ki 22:17; De 29:25 f). The captivity had its desired effect. The Israel that returned and perpetuated the nation never again lapsed into the worship of other gods.

II. In the Apocrypha.

The Apocrypha reiterates much of the Old Testament teaching: the defection of Israel (2 Esdras 1:6); the gods of the nations (Judith 3:8; 8:18); the gods which their fathers worshipped (Judith 5:7 f); the sin of Israel (Additions to Esther 14:7). The Book of The Wisdom of Solomon refers to the "creatures which they supposed to be gods" (12:27; 13:2,3,10; 15:15). Mention is made of the gods of Babylon (Baruch 1:22; 6:6-57 passim; Bel and the Dragon 1:27).

III. In the New Testament.

The expression "gods" occurs in six places in the New Testament:

(1) Jesus, in reply to the Pharisees, who questioned His right to call Himself the son of God, quoted Ps 82:6: "I said, Ye are gods." He argues from this that if God Himself called them gods to whom the word of God came, i.e. the judges who acted as representatives of God in a judicial capacity, could not He who had been sanctified and sent into the world justly call Himself the Son of God? It was an argumentum ad hominem (Joh 10:34-37).

(2) When Paul and Barnabas preached the gospel in Lystra they healed a certain man who had been a cripple from birth. The Lycaonians, seeing the miracle, cried out in their own dialect, "The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men. And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercury" (Ac 14:11 f). Their ascription of deity to the apostles in such times shows their familiarity with the Greek pantheon.

(3) As Paul preached Jesus and the resurrection at Athens the people said he seemed to be a setter forth of strange gods. The conception of only one God seemed to be wholly foreign to them (Ac 17:18).

(4) In 1Co 8:5 Paul speaks of "gods many, and lords many," but the context shows that he did not believe in the existence of any god but one; "We know that no idol is anything in the world."

(5) While at Ephesus, Paul was said to have "persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they are no gods, that are made with hands" (Ac 19:26).

(6) The Galatians had been "in bondage to them that by nature are no gods" (Ga 4:8). Indirect references are also found in Ac 17:16, where Paul observed the city full of idols. Likewise in Ro 1:22 f, 25 ff. Paul refers to the numerous gods of the heathen world. These were idols, birds, four-footed beasts and creeping things. The results of this degrading worship are shown in the verse following.


J. J. Reeve


god’-sped (chairo): "Godspeed" occurs only in 2 Joh 1:10,11 the King James Version as the translation of chairein, the infin. of chairo, and is rendered in the Revised Version (British and American) "greeting." It means "rejoice," "be of good cheer," "be it well with thee"; chaire, chairete, chairein, were common forms of greeting, expressive of good-will and desire for the person’s prosperity, translated in the Gospels, "Hail!" "All Hail!" (Mt 26:49; 27:29; 28:9, etc.); chairein is the Septuagint for shalom (Isa 48:22; 57:21; compare 2 Macc 1:10). "Godspeed" first appears in Tyndale’s version; Wycliffe had "heil!" Rheims "God save you."

In the passage cited Christians are forbidden thus to salute false teachers who might come to them. The injunction does not imply any breach of charity, since it would not be right to wish anyone success in advocating what was believed to be false and harmful. We should be sincere in our greetings; formal courtesy must yield to truth, still courteously, however, and in the spirit of love.

W. L. Walker


go’-el (go’el, "redeemer"): Goel is the participle of the Hebrew word gal’al ("to deliver," "to redeem") which aside from its common usage is frequently employed in connection with Hebrew law, where it is the technical term applied to a person who as the nearest relative of another is placed under certain obligations to him.

(1) If a Jew because of poverty had been obliged to sell himself to a wealthy "stranger or sojourner," it became the duty of his relatives to redeem him. Compare Le 25:47 ff and the article JUBILEE.

(2) The same duty fell upon the nearest kinsman, if his brother, being poor, had been forced to sell some of his property. Compare Le 25:23 ff; Ru 4:4 ff, and the article JUBILEE.

(3) It also devolved upon the nearest relative to marry the ú childless widow of his brother (Ru 3:13; Tobit 3:17).

(4) In Nu 5:5 ff a law is stated which demands that restitution be made to the nearest relative, and after him to the priest, if the injured party has died (Le 6:1 ).

(5) The law of blood-revenge (Blut-Rache) made it the sacred duty of the nearest relative to avenge the blood of his kinsman. He was called the go’el ha-dam, "the avenger of blood." This law was based upon the command given in Ge 9:5 f: "Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed," and was carried out even if an animal had killed a man; in this case, however, the payment of a ransom was permitted (Ex 21:28 ). A clear distinction was made between an accidental and a deliberate murder. In both cases the murderer could find refuge at the altar of the sanctuary; if, however, the investigation revealed presumptuous manslaughter, he was taken from the altar to be put to death (Ex 21:12 ff; 1Ki 1:50; 2:28). In Nu 35:9 ff definite regulations as to the duties of the Goel are given. Six cities were to be appointed as "cities of refuge," three on each side of the Jordan. The congregation has judgment over the murderer. There must be more than one witness to convict a man. If he is found guilty, he is delivered to the Goel; if murder was committed by accident he is permitted to live within the border of the city of refuge; in case the manslayer leaves this city before the death of the high priest, the avenger of blood has a right to slay him. After the death of the high priest the murderer may return to his own city. Ransom cannot be given for the life of a murderer; no expiation can be made for a murder but by the blood of the murderer (De 19:4 ff; Jos 20; 2Sa 14:6 ). According to the law the children of a murderer could not be held responsible for the crime of their father (De 24:16; 2Ki 14:6), but see 2Sa 21:1 ff. The order in which the nearest relative was considered the Goel is given in Le 25:48 f: first a brother, then an uncle or an uncle’s son, and after them any other near relative. This order was observed in connection with (1) above, but probably also in the other cases except (4).

For the figurative use of Goel ("redeemer") see Ps 119:154; Pr 23:11; Job 19:25; Isa 41:14. See also AVENGE; MURDER; REFUGE, CITIES OF.

Arthur L. Breslich


gog (gogh; Goug):

(1) A son of Joel, and descendant of the tribe of Reuben (1Ch 5:4).

(2) The prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal (Eze 38:2 f; 39:1-16). His territory was known as the land of Magog, and he was the chief of those northern hordes who were to make a final onslaught upon Israel while enjoying the blessings of the Messianic age. He has been identified with Gagi, ruler of Sakhi, mentioned by Ashurbanipal, but Professor Sayce thinks the Hebrew name corresponds more closely to Gyges, the Lydian king, the Gugu of the cuneiform inscriptions. According to Ezekiel’s account Gog’s army included in its numbers Persia, Cush, Put, Gomer or the Cimmerians, and Togarmah, from the extreme North. They are represented as a vast mixed horde from the far-off parts of the North, the limits of the horizon, completely armed and equipped for war. They were to come upon the mountains of Israel and cover the land like a cloud. Their purpose is plunder, for the people of Israel are rich and dwell in towns and villages without walls. His coming, which had been prophesied by the seers of Israel, shall be accompanied by a theophany and great convulsions in Nature. A panic shall seize the hosts of Gog, rain, hailstones, pestilence, fire and brimstone shall consume them. Their bodies shall be food for the birds, their weapons shall serve as firewood for seven years and their bones shall be buried East of the Jordan in Hamon-gog and thus not defile the holy land. The fulfillment of this strange prophecy can never be literal. In general it seems to refer to the last and desperate attempts of a dying heathenism to overturn the true religion of Yahweh, or make capital out of it, profiting by its great advantages.

(3) In Re 20:7 Satan is let loose and goes to the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to muster his hosts for the final struggle against God. In Ezekiel the invasion of Gog occurs during the Messianic age, while in Revelation it occurs just at the close of the millennium. In Ezekiel, Gog and Magog are gathered by Yahweh for their destruction; in Re they are gathered by Satan. In both cases the number is vast, the destruction is by supernatural means, and is complete and final.


J. J. Reeve


goi’-yim (goyim): This word, rendered in the King James Version "nations," "heathen," "Gentiles," is commonly translated simply "nations" in the Revised Version (British and American). In Ge 14:1 where the King James Version has "Tidal, king of nations," the Revised Version (British and American) retains in the text the Hebrew "Goiim" as a proper name. Some identify with Gutium. The Hebrew word is similarly retained in Jos 12:23.


go’-ing, go’-ingz: Besides, occasionally, forms of the common words for "go" (see Go), for "going" and "goings," the Hebrew has ‘ashshur (’ashur, ‘ashur), "step," motsa’, totsa’oth, "goings out," "outgoings." The word "goings" is sometimes used literally, as in Nu 33:2, "Moses wrote their goings out" (Hebrew motsa’)." Going up," ma‘aleh, is in many passages rendered in the Revised Version (British and American) (as in Nu 34:4; 2Sa 15:30 the King James Version) "ascent," as e.g. Jos 15:7; Jud 1:36; Ne 12:37 (the American Standard Revised Version only). In Eze 44:5, the American Standard Revised Version substitutes "egress" (way out or place of exit) for "going forth." "The goings out (place of exit; hence, boundary) of it" (Nu 34:4,5,9,12 the King James Version) occurs frequently. The verbal forms bo’, mabho’, also me‘al (Da 6:14), are used of the sunset, "the going down of the sun." Thus Jos 8:29 the Revised Version (British and American), the King James Version "as soon as the sun was down."

In the New Testament, the Revised Version (British and American) substitutes "going out" for "gone out" (sbennumi) (Mt 25:8); "going up" for "ascending" (Lu 19:28); "going in" for "coming in" (Ac 9:28); "going about" for "wandering" (1Ti 5:13); "seeking" for "going about" (Ro 10:3).

Metaphorically: "Goings" is used for a man’s ways or conduct (Ps 17:5, the Revised Version (British and American) "steps"; Ps 40:2; Pr 14:15, etc.). In Ps 17:5 "Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not" becomes in the Revised Version (British and American) "My steps have held fast to thy paths, my feet have not slipped"; Pr 5:21, "He pondereth all his goings," is in the Revised Version (British and American) "He maketh level all his paths," in "weigheth carefully"; conversely, in Ps 37:23, the Revised Version (British and American) has "goings" for "steps"; in Jas 1:11 "goings" for "ways." In the important prophetic passage, Mic 5:2, it is said of the Ruler from Bethlehem, "whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting," the Revised Version (British and American) "are from of old, from everlasting," margin "from ancient days." Of God it is said in Hab 3:6 "His ways are everlasting," the Revised Version (British and American) "His goings were as of old," margin "His ways are everlasting."

W. L. Walker


go’-lan (golan), (Gaulanitis): Golan was a city in the territory allotted to Manasseh in Bashan, the most northerly of the three cities of refuge East of the Jordan (De 4:43; Jos 20:8); assigned with its "suburbs" to the Gershonite Levites (Jos 21:27; 1Ch 6:71). It must have been a great and important city in its day; but the site cannot now be determined with any certainty. It was known to Josephus (Ant., XIII, xv, 3). Near Golan Alexander was ambushed by Obodas, king of the Arabians; and his army, crowded together in a narrow and deep valley, was broken in pieces by the multitude of camels (BJ, I, iv, 4). This incident is located at Gadara in Ant, XIII, xiii, 5. Later, Golan was destroyed by Alexander. It had already given its name to a large district, Gaulonitis (BJ, III, iii, 1, 5; IV, i, 1). It formed the eastern boundary of Galilee. It was part of the tetrarchy of Philip (Ant., XVII, viii, 1; XVIII, iv, 6). The city was known to Eusebius as "a large village," giving its name to the surrounding country (Onomasticon, under the word Gaulon). This country must have corresponded roughly with the modern Jaulan, in which the ancient name is preserved. The boundaries of the province today are Mt. Hermon on the North, Jordan and the Sea of Galilee on the West, Wady Yarmuk on the South, and Nahr ‘Allan on the East. This plateau, which in the North is about 3,000 ft. high, slopes gradually southward to a height of about 1,000 ft. It is entirely volcanic, and there are many cone-like peaks of extinct volcanoes, especially toward the North It affords good pasturage, and has long been a favorite summer grazing-ground of the nomads. Traces of ancient forests remain, but for the most part today it is treeless. To the East of the Sea of Galilee the soil is deep and rich. Splendid crops of wheat are grown here, and olives flourish in the hollows. The country is furrowed by deep valleys that carry the water southwestward into the Sea of Galilee. This region has not yet been subjected to thorough examination, but many important ruins have been found, which tell of a plentiful and prosperous population in times long past. The best description of these, and of the region generally, will be found in Schumacher’s The Jaulan, and Across the Jordan. To him also we owe the excellent maps which carry us eastward to the province of el-Chauran.

Schumacher inclines to the belief that the ancient Golan may be represented by Sahm el-Jaulan, a large village fully 4 miles East of Nahr ‘Allan, and 4 miles Southeast of Tsil. The extensive ruins probably date from early in the Christian era. The buildings are of stone, many of them of Spacious dimensions, while the streets are wide and straight. The inhabitants number not more than 280. The surrounding soil is rich and well watered, bearing excellent crops. The present writer, after personal examination, corroborates Dr. Schumacher’s description. Standing in the open country, it would be seen from afar; and it was easily accessible from all directions.

W. Ewing


gold (zahabh; chrusos):

1. Terms:

No metal has been more frequently mentioned in Old Testament writings than gold, and none has had more terms applied to it. Among these terms the one most used is zahabh. The Arabic equivalent, dhahab, is still the common name for gold throughout Palestine, Syria and Egypt. With zahabh frequently occur other words which, translated, mean "pure" (Ex 25:11), "refined" (1Ch 28:18), "finest" (1Ki 10:18), "beaten" (1Ki 10:17), "Ophir" (Ps 45:9).

Other terms occurring are: paz, "fine gold" (Job 28:17; Ps 19:10; 21:3; 119:127; Pr 8:19; So 5:11,15; Isa 13:12; La 4:2); charuts (Ps 68:13; Pr 3:14; 8:10,19; 16:16; Zec 9:3); kethem, literally, "carved out" (Job 28:16,19; 31:24; Pr 25:12; La 4:1; Da 10:5); ceghor (1Ki 6:20; 7:50; Job 28:15); betser (in the King James Version only: Job 22:24; the Revised Version (British and American) "treasure").

2. Sources:

Sources definitely mentioned in the Old Testament are: Havilah (Ge 2:11,12); Ophir (1Ki 9:28; 10:11; 22:48; 1Ch 29:4; 2Ch 8:18; 9:10; Job 22:24; 28:16; Ps 45:9; Isa 13:12); Sheba (1Ki 10:2,10; 2Ch 9:1,9; Ps 72:15; Isa 60:6; Eze 27:22; 38:13); Arabia (2Ch 9:14). We are not justified in locating any of these places too definitely. They probably all refer to some region of Arabia.

The late origin of the geological formation of Palestine and Syria precludes the possibility of gold being found in any quantities (see METALS), so that the large quantities of gold used by the children of Israel in constructing their holy places was not the product of mines in the country, but was from the spoil taken from the inhabitants of the land (Nu 31:52), or brought with them from Egypt (Ex 3:22). This gold was probably mined in Egypt or India (possibly Arabia), and brought by the great caravan routes through Arabia to Syria, or by sea in the ships of Tyre (1Ki 10:11,22; Eze 27:21,22). There is no doubt about the Egyptian sources. The old workings in the gold-bearing veins of the Egyptian desert and the ruins of the buildings connected with the mining and refining of the precious metal still remain. This region is being reopened with the prospect of its becoming a source of part of the world’s supply. It might be inferred from the extensive spoils in gold taken from the Midianites (£100,000 HDB, under the word) that their country (Northwestern Arabia) produced gold. It is more likely that the Midianites had, in turn, captured most of it from other weaker nations. The tradition that Northwestern Arabia is rich in gold still persists. Every year Moslem pilgrims, returning from Mecca by the Damascus route, bring with them specimens of what is supposed to be gold ore. They secure it from the Arabs at the stopping-places along the route. Samples analyzed by the writer have been iron pyrites only. No gold-bearing rock has yet appeared. Whether these specimens come from the mines mentioned by Burton (The Land of Midian Revisited) is a question.

3. Forms:

Gold formed a part of every household treasure (Ge 13:2; 24:35; De 8:13; 17:17; Jos 22:8; Eze 28:4). It was probably treasured (a) in the form of nuggets (Job 28:6 the Revised Version, margin), (b) in regularly or irregularly shaped slabs or bars (Nu 7:14,20,84,86; Jos 7:21,24; 2Ki 5:5), and (c) in the form of dust (Job 28:6). A specimen of yellow dust, which the owner claimed to have taken from an ancient jar, unearthed in the vicinity of the Hauran, was once brought to the writer’s laboratory. On examination it was found to contain iron pyrites and metallic gold in finely divided state. It was probably part of an ancient household treasure. A common practice was to make gold into jewelry with the dual purpose of ornamentation and of treasuring it. This custom still prevails, especially among the Moslems, who do not let out their money at interest. A poor woman will save her small coins until she has enough to buy a gold bracelet. This she will wear or put away against the day of need (compare Ge 24:22,53). It was weight and not beauty which was noted in the jewels (Ex 3:22; 11:2; 12:35). Gold coinage was unknown in the early Old Testament times.

4. Uses:

(1) The use of gold as the most convenient way of treasuring wealth is mentioned above.

(2) Jewelry took many forms: armlets (Nu 31:50), bracelets (Ge 24:22), chains (Ge 41:42), crescents (Jud 8:26), crowns (2Sa 12:30; 1Ch 20:2), earrings (Ex 32:2,3; Nu 31:50; Jud 8:24,26), rings (Ge 24:22; 41:42; Jas 2:2).

(3) Making and decorating objects in connection with places of worship: In the description of the building of the ark and the tabernacle in Ex 25 ff, we read of the lavish use of gold in overlaying wood and metals, and in shaping candlesticks, dishes, spoons, flagons, bowls, snuffers, curtain clasps, hooks, etc. (one estimate of the value of gold used is £90,000; see HDB). In 1Ki 6 ff; 1Ch 28 f; 2Ch 1 ff are records of still more extensive use of gold in building the temple.

(4) Idols were made of gold (Ex 20:23; 32:4; De 7:25; 29:17; 1Ki 12:28; Ps 115:4; 135:15; Isa 30:22; Re 9:20).

(5) Gold was used for lavish display. Among the fabulous luxuries of Solomon’s court were his gold drinking-vessels (1Ki 10:21), a throne of ivory overlaid with gold (1Ki 10:18), and golden chariot trimmings (1Ch 28:18). Sacred treasure saved from votive offerings or portions dedicated from booty were principally gold (Ex 25:36; Nu 7:14,20,84,86; 31:50,52,54; Jos 6:19,24; 1Sa 6:8,11,15; 2Sa 8:11; 1Ch 18:7,10,11; 22:14,16; Mt 23:17). This treasure was the spoil most sought after by the enemy. It was paid to them as tribute (1Ki 15:15; 2Ki 12:18; 14:14; 16:8; 18:14-16; 23:33,15), or taken as plunder (2Ki 24:13; 25:15).

5. Figurative:

Gold is used to symbolize earthly riches (Job 3:15; 22:24; Isa 2:7; Mt 10:9; Ac 3:6; 20:33; Re 18:12). Finer than gold, which, physically speaking, is considered non-perishable, typifies incorruptibility (Ac 17:29; 1Pe 1:7,18; 3:3; Jas 5:3). Refining of gold is a figure for great purity or a test of (Job 23:10; Pr 17:3; Isa 1:25; Mal 3:2; 1Pe 1:7; Re 3:18). Gold was the most valuable of metals. It stood for anything of great value (Pr 3:14; 8:10,19; 16:16,22; 25:12), hence was most worthy for use in worshipping Yahweh (Ex 25 ff; Re 1:12,13,10, etc.), and the adornment of angels (Re 15:6) or saints (Ps 45:13). The head was called golden as being the most precious part of the body (So 5:11; Da 2:38; compare "the golden bowl," Ec 12:6). "The golden city" meant Babylon (Isa 14:4), as did also "the golden cup," sensuality (Jer 51:7). A crown of gold was synonymous with royal honor (Es 2:17; 6:8; Job 19:9; Re 4:4; 14:14). Wearing of gold typified lavish adornment and worldly luxury (Jer 4:30; 10:4; 1Ti 2:9; 1Pe 3:3; Re 17:4). Comparing men to gold suggested their nobility (La 4:1,2; 2Ti 2:20).

James A. Patch


gold’-’-n: Probably a representation of the sun in Taurus.



gold’-’-n: The translation "golden city" (Isa 14:4) is an attempt to render the received text (madhhebhah), but can hardly be justified. Almost all the ancient versions read (marhebhah), a word which connotes unrest and insolence, fitting the context well.


gold’-’-n num’-ber: Used in the regulation of the ecclesiastical calendar, in the "Metonic cycle" of 19 years, which almost exactly reconciles the natural month and the solar year.

See ASTRONOMY, sec. I, 5.


gold’-smith (tsreph): Goldsmiths are first mentioned in connection with the building of the tabernacle (Ex 31:4; 36:1). Later, goldsmiths’ guilds are mentioned (Ne 3:8,32). The art of refining gold and shaping it into objects was probably introduced into Palestine from Phoenicia (see CRAFTS). Examples of gold work from the earliest Egyptian periods are so numerous in the museums of the world that we do not have to draw on our imaginations to appreciate the wonderful skill of the ancient goldsmiths. their designs and methods were those later used by the Jews. The goldsmiths’ art was divided into

(1) the refining of the impure gold (Job 28:1; Pr 17:3; 25:4; 27:21; Isa 1:25; Mal 3:3);

(2) shaping of objects,

(a) casting idols (Nu 33:52; Ho 13:2),

(b) making graven images (2Ch 34:3,4; Jer 10:14; Na 1:14),

(c) the making of beaten or turned work (Ex 25:18),

(d) plating or overlaying (Ex 25:11; 1Ki 6:20),

(e) soldering (Isa 41:7),

(f) making of wire (Ex 28:6; 39:3).

Most of these processes are carried on in Bible lands today. In Damascus there is a goldsmiths’ quarter where the refining, casting and beating of gold are still carried on, probably in much the same way as in Solomon’s time. Jews are found among the goldsmiths. In Beirut, it is a Jew who is especially skilled in making refiners’ pots. Daily, one can see the gold being refined, cast into lumps, beaten on an anvil, rolled between rollers into thin sheets, cut into narrow strips (wire), and wound on bobbins ready for the weaver. are houses in Damascus and Aleppo still possessing beautiful gold overlaid work on wooden walls and ceilings, the work of goldsmiths of several centuries ago. grazing-ground of the nomads. Traces of ancient forests remain, but for the most part today it is treeless. To the East of the Sea of Galilee the soil is deep and rich. Splendid crops of wheat are grown here, and olives flourish in the hollows. The country is furrowed by deep valleys that carry the water southwestward into the Sea of Galilee. This region has not yet been subjected to thorough examination, but many important ruins have been found, which tell of a plentiful and prosperous population in times long past. The best description of these, and of the region generally, will be found in Schumacher’s The Jaulan, and Across the Jordan. To him also we owe the excellent maps which carry us eastward to the province of el-Chauran.

James A. Patch


gol’-go-tha (Golgotha, from "a skull"): In three references (Mt 27:33; Mr 15:22; Joh 19:17) it is interpreted to mean kraniou topos, "the place of a skull." In Lu 23:33 the King James Version it is called "Calvary," but in the Revised Version (British and American) simply "The skull." From the New Testament we may gather that it was outside the city (Heb 13:12), but close to it (Joh 19:20), apparently near some public thoroughfare (Mt 27:39), coming from the country (Mr 15:21). was a spot visible, from some points, from afar (Mr 15:40; Lu 23:49).

1. The Name:

Four reasons have been suggested for the name Golgotha or "skull":

(1) That it was a spot where skulls were to be found lying about and probably, therefore, a public place of execution. This tradition apparently originates with Jerome (346-420 AD), who refers to (3), to condemn it, and says that "outside the city and without the gate there are places wherein the heads of condemned criminals are cut off and which have obtained the name of Calvary—that is, of the beheaded." This view has been adopted by several later writers. Against it may be urged that there is no shadow of evidence that there was any special place for Jewish executions in the 1st century, and that, if there were, the corpses could have been allowed burial (Mt 27:58; Joh 19:38), in conformity with Jewish law (De 21:23) and with normal custom (Josephus, BJ, IV, v, 2).

(2) That the name was due to the skull-like shape of the hill—a modern popular view. No early or Greek writer suggests such an idea, and there is no evidence from the Gospels that the Crucifixion occurred on a raised place at all. Indeed Epiphanius (4th century) expressly says: "There is nothing to be seen on the place resembling this name; for it is not situated upon a height that it should be called (the place) of a skull, answering to the place of the head in the human body." It is true that the tradition embodied in the name Mons Calvary appears as early as the 4th century, and is materialized in the traditional site of the Crucifixion in the church of the Holy Sepulcher, but that the hill was skull-like in form is quite a modern idea. Guthe combines (2) and (3) and considers that a natural skull-like elevation came to be considered, by some folklore ideas, to be the skull of the first man. One of the strangest ideas is that of the late General Gordon, who thought that the resemblance to a skull lay in the contours of the ground as laid down in the ordinance survey map of Jerusalem.

(3) That the name is due to an ancient pre-Christian tradition that the skull of Adam was found there. The first mention of this is by Origen (185-253 AD), who himself lived in Jerusalem 20 years. He writes: "I have received a tradition to the effect that the body of Adam, the first man, was buried upon the spot where Christ was crucified," etc. This tradition was afterward referred to by Athanasius, Epiphanius, Basil of Caesarea, Chrysostom and other later writers. The tomb and skull of Adam, still pointed out in an excavated chamber below the traditional Calvary, marks the survival of this tradition on the spot. This is by far the most ancient explanation of the name Golgotha and, in spite of the absurdity of the original tradition about Adam, is probably the true one.

(4) The highly improbable theory that the Capitolium of AElia Capitolina (the name given by Hadrian to his new Jerusalem) stood where the Church of the Holy Sepulcher now is, and gave rise to the name Golgotha, is one which involves the idea that the site first received the name Golgotha in the 2nd century, and that all the references in the Gospels were inserted then. This is only mentioned to be dismissed as incompatible with history and common sense.

2. The Site:

With regard to the position of the site of the Crucifixion (with which is bound up the site of the Tomb) the New Testament gives us no indication whatever; indeed, by those who abandon tradition, sites have been suggested on all sides of the city—and West Two views hold the field today:

(1) that the site of the Crucifixion, or at any rate that of the Tomb itself, is included within the precincts of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher; and

(2) that a prominent, rounded, grassy hill above the so-called "Grotto of Jeremiah," Northeast of the Modern Damascus Gate, has at least a very high probability of being the true site. It is impossible here to go into the whole question, which requires minute and long elaboration, but excellent review of the whole evidence may be consulted in "Golgotha and the Holy Sepulcher," by the late Sir Charles W. Wilson, of PEF. Here only a few points can be touched upon.

(1) For the traditional view it may be said that it seems highly improbable that so sacred a spot as this, particularly the empty tomb, could have been entirely forgotten. Although it is true that Jews and Christians were driven out of Jerusalem after the second great revolt (130-33 AD), yet GentileChristians were free to return, and there was no break long enough to account for a site like this being entirely lost. Indeed there are traditions that this site was deliberately defiled by pagan buildings to annoy the Christians. Eusebius, at the time of Constantine, writes as if it were well known that a Temple of Aphrodite lay over the tomb.

He gives an account of the discovery of the spots still venerated as the Golgotha and the Tomb, and of the erection of churches in connection with them (Life of Constantine, III, 25-40). From the time of Constantine there has been no break in the reverence paid to these places. Of the earlier evidence Sir C. Wilson admits (loc. cit.) that "the tradition is so precarious and the evidence is undoubtedly so unsatisfactory as to raise serious doubts."

The topographical difficulties are dealt with in the JERUSALEM. It is difficult for the visitor to Jerusalem sufficiently to realize that the center of gravity of the city has much changed; once it was on the Hill Ophel, and the southern slopes, now bare, were in Christ’s time crammed with houses; in later times, from the 4th century, it was the Church of the Holy Sepulcher round which the city tended to center. There is no insurmountable difficulty in believing that the site of the Crucifixion may be where tradition points out. As Sir C. Wilson says at the end of his book, "No objection urged against the sites (i.e. Golgotha and the Tomb) is of such a convincing nature that it need disturb the minds of those who accept, in all good faith, the authenticity of the places which are hallowed by the prayers of countless pilgrims since the days of Constantine" (loc. cit.).

(2) The so-called "Skull Hill" or "Green Hill" appears to have appealed first to Otto Thenius (1842), but has received its greatest support through the advocacy of the late Col. Conder and of the late Dr. Selah Merrill, U.S.A. consul at Jerusalem. The arguments for this site are mainly:

(a) its conspicuous and elevated position—a position which must impress every reverent pilgrim as strikingly suitable for an imaginary reconstruction of the scene. The very greenness of the hill—it is the first green spot in the neighborhood of the city—may influence the subconsciousness of those who have been brought up from childhood to think of the "green hill far away," as the popular hymn puts it. When, however, we consider the question historically, there is not the slightest reason to expect that the crucifixion of Jesus, one of many hundreds, should have been dramatically located in a setting so consonant with the importance with which the world has since learned to regard the event. There is no evidence whatever that the crucifixion was on a hill, much less on such a conspicuous place.

(b) The supposed resemblance to a human skull strikes many people, but it may be stated without hesitation that the most arresting points of the resemblance, the "eyeholes" and the rounded top, are not ancient; the former are due to artificial excavations going back perhaps a couple of centuries. Probably the whole formation of the hill, the sharp scarp to the South and the 10 or more feet of earth accumulated on the summit are both entirely new conditions since New Testament times.

(c) The nearness of the city walls and the great North road which make the site so appropriate today are quite different conditions from those in New Testament times. It is only if the present North wall can be proved to be on the line of the second wall that the argument holds good. On this see JERUSALEM.

(d) An argument has been based upon a supposed tradition that this spot was the Jewish place of stoning. This so-called tradition is worthless, and not a trace of it can be found outside interested circles, and even if it were the "place of stoning," it would be no argument for its being "Golgotha." To the Oriental, with his great respect for traditional sites, the church of the Holy Sepulcher, covering at once the Tomb, the Calvary, and other sacred spots, will probably always appeal as the appropriate spot: to the western tourist who wishes to visualize in the environs of Jerusalem in an appropriate setting the great world’s tragedy, such a site as this "Skull Hill" must always make the greater appeal to his imagination, and both may find religious satisfaction in their ideas; but cold reason, reviewing the pro’s and con’s, is obliged to say "not proven" to both, with perhaps an admission of the stronger case for the traditional spot.

E. W. G. Masterman


go-li’-ath (golyath; Goliath):

(1) The giant of Gath, and champion of the Philistine army (1Sa 17:4-23; 21:9; 22:10; 2Sa 21:19; 1Ch 20:5 ). He defied the armies of Israel, challenging anyone to meet him in single combat while the two armies faced each other at Ephesdammim. He was slain by the youthful David. Goliath was almost certainly not of Philistine blood, but belonged to one of the races of giants, or aboriginal tribes, such as the Anakim, Avvim, Rephaim, etc. The Avvim had lived at Philistia, and most probably the giant was of that race. His size was most extraordinary. If a cubit was about 21 inches, he was over 11 feet in height; if about 18 inches, he was over 9 feet in height. The enormous weight of his armor would seem to require the larger cubit. This height probably included his full length in armor, helmet and all. In either case he is the largest man known to history. His sword was wielded by David to slay him and afterward carried about in his wanderings, so it could not have been excessively heavy. The story of his encounter with David is graphic, and the boasts of the two champions were perfectly in keeping with single combats in the Orient.

(2) The Goliath of 2Sa 21:19 is another person, and quite probably a son of the first Goliath. He was slain by Elhanan, one of David’s mighty men. The person mentioned in 1Ch 20:5 is called Lachmi, but this is almost certainly due to a corruption of the text. "The brother of Goliath" is the younger Goliath and probably a son of the greater Goliath, who had four sons, giants, one of them having 24 fingers and toes. See ELHANAN; LAHMI.

J. J. Reeve


go’-mer (gomer): Given in Ge 10:2 f; 1Ch 1:5 f as a son of Japheth. The name evidently designates the people called Gimirra by the Assyrians, Kimmerians by the Greeks. They were a barbaric horde of Aryans who in the 7th century BC left their abode in what is now Southern Russia and poured. through the Caucasus into Western Asia, causing serious trouble to the Assyrians and other nations. One division moved eastward toward Media, another westward, where they conquered Cappadocia and made it their special abode. They fought also in other parts of Asia Minor, conquering some portions. The Armenian name for Cappadocia, Gamir, has come from this people. In Eze 38:6 Gomer is mentioned as one of the northern nations.

George Ricker Berry


go’-mer (gomer; Gamer): Wife of Hosea. Hosea married Gomer according to Divine appointment, and this was the beginning of God’s word to him (Ho 1:3; 3:1-4). She was to be a wife of whoredom and they were to have children of whoredom. This need not mean that at the time of marriage she was thus depraved, but she had the evil taint in her blood, had inherited immoral instincts. These soon manifested themselves, and the unfaithful, depraved wife of the prophet went deeper into sin. She seems to have left him and become the slave of her paramour (Ho 3:1). Hosea is now commanded by Yahweh to buy her back, paying the price of the ordinary slave. The prophet keeps her in confinement and without a husband for some time. This experience of the prophet was typical of Israel’s unfaithfulness, of Israel’s exile, and of God bringing her back after the punishment of the exile.


J. J. Reeve.


go-mor’-a (‘amorah; Septuagint and New Testament Gomorra, or Gomorra; Arabic Ghamara, "to overwhelm with water"): One of the CITIES OF THE PLAIN (which see) destroyed by fire from heaven in the time of Abraham and Lot (Ge 19:23-29). It was located probably in the plain South of the Dead Sea, now covered with water. See ARABAH; CITIES OF THE PLAIN; DEAD SEA. De Saulcy, however, with others who place the Cities of the Plain at the North end of the Dead Sea, fixes upon Khumran (or Gumran), marked on the Survey Map of Palestine North of Ras Feshkeh, where there are ruins about a mile from the Dead Sea. But there is nothing to support this view except the faint resemblance of the name and the inconclusive arguments placing the Cities of the Plain at that end of the sea.

George Frederick Wright


good (Tobh, Tubh, yaTabh; agathos, agathon, kalos, kalon): In English "good" is used in various senses, most of which are represented in the Bible.

(1) In the Old Testament the commonest word is Tobh, occurring very frequently and translated in a great variety of ways. Of the different shades of meaning, which frequently run into each other, the following may be distinguished:

(a) Possessing desirable qualities, beneficial, agreeable, e.g. "good for food" (Ge 2:9); "We will do thee good" (Nu 10:29); Who will show us any good?" (Ps 4:6); "good tidings of good" (Isa 52:7).

(b) Moral excellence, piety: "to know good and evil" (Ge 3:22); "that which is right and good" (De 6:18; 1Sa 12:23); "good and bad" (1Ki 3:9, the Revised Version (British and American) "evil"); "Depart from evil and do good" (Ps 37:27); "a good man" (Pr 12:2); compare Isa 5:20; Mic 6:8, etc.

(c) Kind, benevolent: "The men were very good unto us" (1Sa 25:15); "Give thanks unto Yahweh; for he is good" (1Ch 16:34); "the good Yahweh" (2Ch 30:18); "God is good to Israel" (Ps 73:1); "Yahweh is good to all" (Ps 145:9), etc.

(d) Serviceable, adequate, sufficient: "saw the light that it was good" (Ge 1:4; so 1:10,12 etc.); "not good that the man should be alone" (Ge 2:18); in the frequent phrase, "if it seem good" (1Ch 13:2; Es 5:4, etc.), sometimes rendered, "if it please" (Ne 2:5,7; Es 1:19, etc.).

(e) Not small or deficient (full, complete): "a good old age" (Ge 15,15; 25:8); "a good dowry" (Ge 30:20); "good ears," "years," "kine" (Ge 41:24,26,35); "good understanding" (1Sa 25:3); "good trees—"land" (2Ki 3:19,25), etc. (f) Not blemished, fair, honorable: "tender and good" (Ge 18:7); "good kids" (Ge 27:9); "good report" (1Sa 2:24; compare 2Ki 20:3; Jer 24:2); and the renderings "fair" (Ge 26:7, etc.), "beautiful" (2Sa 11:2), "pleasant" (2Ki 2:19), etc.

(g) Pleasure-giving, happy: "glad of heart" (1Ki 8:66; Es 5:9); sometimes in the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) translated "merry" (Jud 16:25; 1Sa 25:36; 2Sa 13:28; Pr 15:15, the Revised Version (British and American) "cheerful"), etc.

Changes that may be noted in the Revised Version (British and American) are such as, "good" for "ready" (Isa 41:7); "I have no good beyond thee" for "My goodness extendeth not to thee" (Ps 16:2); "goodly" for "good" (Ps 45:1); "good" for "goodness" (Ps 107:9); "good" for "well" (Zec 8:15).

Tubh means something good, e.g. "the good of the land" (Ge 45:18,20; De 6:11; Job 21:16, the Revised Version (British and American) "prosperity").

YaTabh, "to do good," occurs several times, as, I will surely do thee good" (Ge 32:12); "to do good" (Le 5:4); "Make your ways and your doings good," the Revised Version (British and American) "amend" (Jer 18:11; Ze 1:12, etc.). Numerous other Hebrew words are rendered "good" in various verbal connections and otherwise, as "to bring good tidings" (2Sa 4:10; Isa 40:9, etc.); "take good heed" (De 2:4; 4:15; Jos 23:11); "make good" (Ex 21:34), etc.; "good will" (ratson, De 33:16; Mal 2:13); "what good?" the Revised Version (British and American) "what advantages?" (kishron, Ec 5:11); "good for nothing," the Revised Version (British and American) "profitable" (tsaleah, Jer 13:10), etc. In Jer 18:4, "as seemed good to the potter," the word is yahsar, which means literally, "right."

(2) In the New Testament the words most frequently translated "good" are agathos and kalos. The former, agathos, denotes good as a quality, physical or moral. Thus, "He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good" (Mt 5:45); "good gifts" (Mt 7:11); "Good Master (the Revised Version (British and American) "Teacher") .... Why callest thou me good? none is good save one" (Mr 10:17 f; Lu 18:18 f; compare Mt 19:16 f); "they that have done good" (Joh 5:29). Sometimes it is equivalent to "kind" (thus Tit 2:5 the Revised Version (British and American)); to agathon is "that which is good" (Lu 6:45; Ro 7:13; 1Th 5:15; 1Pe 3:13), etc.; "that which is honest," the Revised Version (British and American) "honorable "( 2Co 13:7); "meet" (Mt 15:26; Mr 7:27); "worthy," the Revised Version (British and American) "honorable" (Jas 2:7); agathon is "a good thing," as "good things to them that ask him" (Mt 7:11); Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" (Joh 1:46), etc.; agathoergeo (1Ti 6:18), and agathopoieo (Mr 3:4; Ac 14:17), etc., "to do good."

Kalos is properly, "beautiful," "pleasing," "useful," "noble," "worthy" in a moral sense, e.g. "that they may see your good works" (Mt 5:16); "She hath wrought a good work on me" (Mt 26:10; Mr 14,6); "the good shepherd" (Joh 10:11,14); "Many good works have I showed you" (Joh 10:32); "good and acceptable before God" (1Ti 5:4; the Revised Version (British and American) omits "good"); "the good fight" (2Ti 4:7); "good works" (Tit 2:7); "the good word of God" (Heb 6:5). But it is often practically equivalent to agathos, e.g. "good fruit" (Mt 3:10); "good ground" (Mt 13:23); "good seed" (Mt 13:24); but the idea of useful may underlie such expressions; to kalon is properly "that which is beautiful." It occurs in Ro 7:18,21; 1Th 5:21, "Hold fast that which is good." In Ro 7 it seems to be used interchangeably with to agathon. In Ro 5:7, "the good man" (ho agathos) is distinguished from "a righteous man" (dikaios): "For the good man some one would even dare to die" (compare Ro 7:16; Heb 5:14; Jas 4:17); kalos, "well," "pleasantly," is translated "good" (Lu 6:27; Jas 2:3); kalodidaskalos (Tit 2:3), "teachers of good things," the Revised Version (British and American) "of that which is good."

"Good" occurs in the rendering of many other Greek words and phrases, as eudokia, "good pleasure" (Eph 1:9); "good will" (Lu 2:14; Php 1:15); sumphero, "to bear together," "not good to marry" (Mt 19:10), the Revised Version (British and American) "expedient"; philagathos, "a lover of good" (Tit 1:8); chrestologia, "good words" (Ro 16:18, the Revised Version (British and American) "smooth speech," etc.).

The following changes in the Revised Version (British and American) may be noted. In Lu 2:14 for "men of good will" (eudokia) the Revised Version (British and American) reads "in whom he is well pleased," margin "good pleasure among men, Greek men of good pleasure." The meaning is "men to whom God is drawing nigh in goodwill or acceptance"; compare Lu 4:19, "the acceptable year of the Lord"; 4:43, "Preach the good tidings of the kingdom of God." In Mt 11:5; Lu 4:43; 7:22; 1Pe 1:25 and (American Standard Revised Version) Re 14:6 "the gospel" is changed into "good tidings." In Mt 18:8 f; Mr 9:43,15,47; Lu 5:39, good is substituted for "better"; on the last passage in notes "Many authorities read ‘better’ "; in 1Co 9:15 "good .... rather" for "better"; "good" is substituted in Lu 1:19; 8:1 and Ac 13:32 for "glad"; in Ac 6:3 for "honest"; in Heb 13:9 for "a good thing." In 2Th 1:11, all the good pleasure of his goodness" becomes "every desire of goodness" (m "Gr good pleasure of goodness"); in 1Ti 3:2, "good" (kosmios) becomes "orderly." There are many other instances of like changes.


W. L. Walker


What this consisted in was greatly discussed in ancient philosophy. Varro enumerated 288 answers to the question. By Plato "the good" was identified with God.

In the Old Testament while the "good" of the nation consisted in earthly well-being or prosperity (De 28 etc.), that of the individual was to be found only in God Himself (Ps 16:2 the Revised Version (British and American), "I have no good beyond thee"; Ps 41:1-5; 43:5; 73:25-28; Jer 31:33 f; Hab 3:17-19). This implied godly conduct (Mic 6:8, etc.), and led to the experience described as "blessedness" (Ps 1, etc.; Jer 17:7, etc.). It is the "Wisdom" extolled in Pr 1:20; 8:1 f (compare Ecclesiasticus 1:1 f; 5:1 f), elsewhere described as "the fear of Yahweh." That God alone can be the true "good" of man is implied in the fact that man was created in the image of God (Ge 1:27).

In the New Testament the true "good" is placed by Jesus in "the kingdom of God" (Mt 6:33; 13:44 f, etc.). This means nothing earthly merely (Mt 6:19), but heavenly and eternal. It implies the Old Testament conception that God is the true "good"; for to seek the Kingdom supremely means whole-hearted devotion to God as our heavenly Father and to His righteousness. It was also spoken of by Jesus, as sonship to the heavenly Father (Mt 5:45, etc.). This "good" is not something merely to be given to men, but must be sought after and won through taking up a right attitude toward God and our fellows, cherishing the Love that God is, and acting it out in kindness and righteousness, in resemblance to our God and Father (Mt 5:43-48; here Ge 1:27 is implied).

In some of the epistles Christ is represented as the true "good" (Php 3:8 f; Col 3:1-4,11). This is because in Him God was manifested in His Truth and Grace; in Him "the Kingdom" was present; through His cross the world is so reconciled to God that men can find acceptance and rest in Him as their "good"; Christ Himself in the Spirit is our Life; in Him we have "God with us." Having God as our "good," nothing but good, in the truest and highest sense, can come to us. Even the most seemingly adverse things are turned into good "to them that love God" (Ro 8:28).

Our true "good" is found thus in God even in this present life; but its fullness can be realized only in the eternal life beyond. Placing our "good" in God leads to such life in devotion to the "good" that God is, as tends to bring all that is best to this present world. It is men’s failure to do this that is the source of our misery (Jer 2:13, etc.). The ultimate ideal is that God shall be "all in all" (1Co 15:28).

W. L. Walker


good’-li-nes: This word is found in Isa 40:6 as the translation of checedh, commonly translated "mercy," "kindness," etc.: "All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness (beauty, charm, comeliness) thereof is as the flower of the field." The rendering is retained by the English Revised Version and the American Standard Revised Version as appropriate in this place; checedh is frequently translated goodness.’ In Isa 40:6 Septuagint has doxa, "glory" (so also 1Pe 1:24), which also fitly expresses the idea of the passage.


good’-li Tobh; kalos, lampros): In the Old Testament various words are translated "goodly," the most of them occurring only once; Tobh (the common word for "good") is several times translated "goodly," chiefly in the sense of form or appearance e.g "a goodley child" (Ex 2:2); "that goodly mountain" (De 3:25); yapheh ("fair") is similarly translated in Ge 39:6, the Revised Version (British and American) "comely," and mar’oh in 2Sa 23:21. Other words, such as ‘addir imply excellence, honor, etc., e.g. Eze 17:23, "bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar"; hodh, "his goodly horse" (Zec 10:3); others imply beauty, ornament, such as peer "goodly bonnets," the Revised Version (British and American) "headtires" (Ex 39:28); shaphar ("bright," "fair"), "a goodly heritage" (Ps 16:6); once ‘El ("God of might") is employed, the Revised Version (British and American) "cedars of God," margin "goodly cedars" (Ps 80:10); renanim ("joyous soundings or shoutings") is translated in Job 39:13 "goodly wings," probably from the sound made in flying or flapping; the English Revised Version has "The wing of the ostrich rejoiceth," the American Standard Revised Version (wings) "wave proudly." For "goodly castles" (Nu 31:10) the Revised Version (British and American) has "encampments"; "goodly vessels" (2Ch 32:27) for "pleasant jewels"; "goodly" is substituted for "good" (Ps 45:1; So 1:3); "goodly things" for "all the goods" (Ge 24:10); "goodly frame," the American Standard Revised Version for "comely proportion" (Job 41:12).

In the New Testament kalos ("beautiful") is translated "goodly" in Mt 13:45, "goodly pearls" and Lu 21:5 "goodly stones"; lampros ("bright") in Jas 2:2, "goodly apparel," the Revised Version (British and American) "fine clothing," and Re 18:14, "dainty and goodly" the Revised Version (British and American) "dainty and sumptuous." In Heb 11:23, the Revised Version (British and American) ~bstitutes "goodly" for "proper."

"Goodly" occurs in Apocrypha, 1 Esdras 4:18; Judith 8:7 (horaios); 2 Macc 9:16, "goodly gifts," kallistos, the Revised Version (British and American) "goodliest."

W. L. Walker


(peri‘ets hadhar, "the fruit (the King James Version "boughs") of goodly (= beautiful or noble) trees"): One of the four species of plants used in the Feast of Tabernacles (Le 23:40). In the Talmud (Cukkdh 35a) this is explained to be the citron (Citrus medica) known in Hebrew as ‘ethrogh. This tradition is ancient, at least as old as the Maccabees. Josephus (Ant., XIII, xiii, 5) records that Alexander Janneus, while serving at the altar during this feast, was pelted by the infuriated Jews with citrons. This fruit also figures on coins of this period. It is probable that the citron tree (Malum Persica) was imported from Babylon by Jews returning from the captivity. A citron is now carried in the synagogue by every orthodox Jew in one hand, and the lalabh (of myrtle, willow, and palm branch) in the other, on each day of the Feast of Tabernacles.

Originally the "goodly trees" had a much more generic sense, and the term is so interpreted by the Septuagint and Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.)


E. W. G. Masterman


good’-man (’ish; oikodespotes): The word occurs once in the Old Testament and is a translation of the ordinary word for "man," ‘ish (Pr 7:19). "The goodman is not at home," so the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American), but the American Standard Revised Version, more correctly, "The man is not at home"; i.e. the husband is not at home; the Geneva and Douay versions have "My husband is not at home": so Wycliffe; while the Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) has "There is not a man in her house." In the New Testament "goodman" is a translation of oikodespotes. This word occurs 12 times in the Synoptists, and nowhere else. the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) have 3 translations of the word, the American Standard Revised Version 2. In 4 places the King James Version has "goodman" while the American Standard Revised Version has "householder" or "‘master of the house" (Mt 20:11; 24:43; Lu 12:39; 22:11). In all the other places, it is translated "householder" or "master of the house." the Revised Version (British and American) retains "goodman" in Mr 14:14 and Lu 22:11. The word liteerally means "master of the house," or "husband." The adjective is a mark of respect, and is used somewhat as our word "Mr.," an appellative of respect or civility. Relationship by marriage was distinguished by this epithet, as "good-father," "good-sister," both in England and Scotland. Later the adjective lost its distinguishing force and was swallowed up in the word.

J. J. Reeve


good’-nes: This word in the Old Testament is the translation of Tobh (Ex 18:9; Ps 16:2, the Revised Version (British and American) "good"; 23:6), etc.; of Tubh (Ex 33:19; Ps 31:19; Jer 31:14; Ho 3:5), etc.; of checedh (Ex 34:6), "abundant in goodness," the English Revised Version "plenteous in mercy," the American Standard Revised Version "abundant in loving kindness"; "The goodness of God endureth continually," the Revised Version (British and American) "mercy," the American Standard Revised Version "loving kindness" (Ps 52:1), etc.

In the New Testament it is the translation of chrestotes ("usefulness," benignity); "the riches of his goodness" (Ro 2:4; 11:22, thrice); of chrestos ("useful," "benign," "kind," in Lu 6:35); "The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance" (Ro 2:4); of agathosune (found only in the New Testament and Septuagint and writings based thereon), "full of goodness." (Ro 15:14); "gentleness, goodness, faith" (Ga 5:22); "in all goodness and righteousness and truth" (Eph 5:9); "all the good pleasure of his goodness," the Revised Version (British and American) "every desire of goodness." (2Th 1:11).

The thought of God as good and the prominence given to "good" and "goodness" are distinctive features of the Bible. In the passage quoted above from Ga 5:22, "goodness" is one of the fruits of the indwelling Spirit of God, and in that from Eph 5:9 it is described as being, along with righteousness and truth, "the fruit of the light" which Christians had been "made" in Christ. Here, as elsewhere, we are reminded that the Christian life in its truth is likeness to God, the source and perfection of all good. 2Th 1:11 regards God Himself as expressing His goodness in and through us.


W. L. Walker


goodz (rekhush, Tubh; ta huparchonta): In the Old Testament rekhush ("substance") is most frequently translated "goods," as in Ge 14:11,12,16,21, etc.; Tubh is also 3 times so translated in the King James Version (Ge 24:10, the Revised Version (British and American) "goodly things," margin "all the goods"; Ne 9:25, the Revised Version (British and American) "good things"; Job 20:21, the Revised Version (British and American) "prosperity"). Other words, are ‘on (Job 20:10, the Revised Version (British and American) "wealth"); Chayil ("force," Nu 31:9; Ze 1:13, the Revised Version (British and American) "wealth"); Tobh (De 28:11, the Revised Version (British and American) "for good"; Ec 5:11); mela’khah ("work," Ex 22:8,11); nikhcin (Aramaic "riches," Ezr 6:8; 7:26); Qinyan, "getting" (Eze 38:12 f). We have ta huparchonta (literally, "the things existing") in Mt 24:47, "ruler over all his goods," the Revised Version (British and American) "all that he hath," etc. Agathos is translated "goods" in Lu 12:18 f; skeuos ("instrument") in Mt 12:29; Mr 3:27; ta sa ("the things belonging to thee") in Lu 6:30; ousia ("substance") in Lu 15:12, the Revised Version (British and American) "substance"; huparxis ("existence," "substance") in Ac 2:45; plouteo ("to be rich") in Re 3:17, the Revised Version (British and American) "have gotten riches." In the Revised Version (British and American) "goods" stands instead of "carriage" (Jud 18:21), of "stuff" (Lu 17:31), of "good" (1 Joh 3:17). "Goods" was used in the sense of "possessions" generally; frequently in this sense in Apocrypha (1 Esdras 6:32); ta huparchonta (Tobit 1:20); Ecclesiasticus 5:1, "Set not thy heart upon thy goods" (chrema), etc.

W. L. Walker


go’-fer wood (‘atse ghopher): The wood from which Noah’s ark was made (Ge 6:14). Gopher is a word unknown elsewhere in Hebrew or allied languages. Lagarde considered that it was connected with gophrith, meaning "brimstone," or "pitch," while others connect it with kopher, also meaning "pitch"; hence, along both lines, we reach the probability of some resinous wood, and pine, cedar, and cypress have all had their supporters. A more probable explanation is that which connects gopher with the modern Arabic kufa, a name given to the boats made of interwoven willow branches and palm leaves with a coating of bitumen outside, used today on the rivers and canals of Mesopotamia. In the Gilgames story of the flood it is specially mentioned that Noah daubed his ark both inside and out with a kind of bitumen.


E. W. G. Masterman


gor (naghach): "Gore" occurs only three times in the King James Version, namely, Ex 21:28,31 bis, "if an ox gore a man or a woman," etc.; in 21:29,32,36, the King James Version has "push" (with his horn), the Revised Version (British and American) "gore." The same verb in Piel and HithpaeI is elsewhere translated "push" and "pushing" (De 33:17, "He shall push the peoples," the Revised Version, margin "gore"; 1Ki 22:11; Ps 44:5; Eze 34:21; Da 8:4; 11:40, the Revised Version (British and American) "contend," margin "Hebrew push at," as an ox pushes with his horns so should the king fight—a fitting description of warfare).


gor’-jus, gor’-jus-li (mikhlol; lampros): Mikhlol occurs twice in the Old Testament, translated in the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) "most gorgeously" (Eze 23:12); in Eze 38:4, the King James Version translates "all sorts" (of armor), the Revised Version (British and American) "clothed in full armor." Lampros ("shining," "bright"), is only once translated "gorgeous" (Lu 23:11); "Herod .... arrayed him in a gorgeous robe," the Revised Version (British and American) "gorgeous apparel." We have also in Lu 7:25, "They that are gorgeously appareled ([~endoxos, "splendid," "glorious") .... are in kings’ courts." They were scarcely to be looked for among the prophets, or in the new community of Jesus.

W. L. Walker


gor’-jet: Appears only once in the King James Version (1Sa 17:6), being placed in the margin as an alternative to "target (of brass)" in the description of the armor worn by Goliath of Gath. The Hebrew word thus translated (kidhon) really means a "javelin," and is so rendered in the Revised Version (British and American) and the American Standard Revised Version here and in 1Sa 17:45 ("Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a javelin"). See ARMOR, sec. I, 4, (3). Gorget, though so rarely used in Scripture and now displaced in our revised versions, occurs not infrequently and in various senses in English literature. In the meaning of "a piece of armor for the gorge or throat" which seems to have been in the mind of King James’s translators, it is found in early English writers and down to recent times. Spenser has it in Faerie Queene, IV, iii, 12:

"His weasand-pipe it through his gorget cleft";

Scott, Marmion, V, ii:

"Their brigantines and gorgets light";

and Prescott, Ferdinand and Isabella, III, 47: "The gorget gave way and the sword entered his throat."

T. Nicol.


gor’-ji-as (Gorgias): A general in the service of Antiochus Epiphanes (1 Macc 3:38; 2 Macc 8:9). Lysias, who had been left as regent during the absence of Antiochus in Persia, appointed Gorgias to take the command against Judea in 166 BC. In 1 Macc 4:1-24 is recorded a night attack by Gorgias with 5,000 foot and 1,000 horse upon the camp of Judas Maccabeus in the neighborhood of Emmaus, in which Judas was completely victorious. The victory was all the more striking as the force of Judas was considerably smaller in number and had "not armor nor swords to their minds" (1 Macc 4:6). Later on (164 BC) he held a garrison in Jamnia, and gained a victory over the forces of Joseph and Azarias who, envying the glory of Judas and Jonathan, in direct disobedience to the orders of Judas, attacked Gorgias and were defeated.

Jamnia as given in Josephus, Ant, XII, viii, 6, is probably the correct reading for Idumaea in 2 Macc 12:32. The doings of Gorgias in 2 Macc are recorded with some confusion. He was regarded with special hostility by the Jews. In 2 Macc 12:35 he is described as "the accursed man."

J. Hutchinson


gor-ti’-na (Gortunai): A city in Crete, next in importance to Gnossus. It is mentioned in 1 Macc 15:23.



go’-shen (goshen; Gesem):

1. Meaning of Name:

The region where the Hebrews dwelt in Egypt. If the Septuagint reading Gesem be correct, the word, which in its Hebrew form has no known meaning, may mean "cultivated"—comparing the Arabic root jashima, "to labor." Egyptologists have suggested a connection with the Egyptian word qas, meaning "inundated land" because Goshen was apparently the same region, called by the Greeks the "Arabian nome," which had its capital at Phakousa representing the Egyptian Pa-qas (Brugsch, Geog., I, 298), the name of a town, with the determinative for "pouring forth." Van der Hardt, indeed, more than a century ago (see Sayce, Higher Criticism, 235), supposed the two words to be connected. Dr. Naville in 1887 found the word as denoting the vicinity of Pi-sopt (now Saft el Henneh), 6 miles East of Zagazig—in the form Q-s-m. He concludes that this was the site of Phakousa, but the latter is usually placed at Tell el Faqus, about 15 miles South of ZOAN (which see), and this appears to be the situation of the "City of Arabia" which Silvia, about 385 AD, identifies with Gesse or Goshen; for she reached it in her journey from Heroopolis, through Goshen to Tathnis or Taphnis (Daphnai), and to Pelusium.

2. Situation:

It is generally agreed that Goshen was the region East of the Bubastic branch of the Nile; and in Ps 78:12,43, it seems to be clearly identified with the "field (or pastoral plain) of Zoan," which was probably also the "land of Rameses" mentioned (Ge 47:11) as possessed by Jacob’s family (see RAAMSES; ZOAN). Where first mentioned (Ge 45:10), Goshen is promised by Joseph to Jacob as a land fit for flocks, and the Septuagint here reads, "Gesem of Arabia," probably referring to the Arabian nome which took its name from the "desert" which defended the East border of Egypt. In the second notice (Ge 46:28 f), the boundary of the land of Goshen, where Joseph met his father, is called in the Septuagint Heroo(n)-polis, and also (Ge 46:28) "the land of Ramesse(s)"; so that in the 3rd century BC Goshen seems to have been identified with the whole region of the Arabian nome, as far South as Heroopolis which (see PITHOM) lay in Wady Tumeilat. Goshen included pastoral lands (Ge 46:34; 47:1,4,6,27; 50:8) and was still inhabited by the Hebrews at the time of the Exodus (Ex 8:22; 9:26), after which it is unnoticed in the Old Testament. The name, however, applied to other places which were probably "cultivated" lands, including a region in the South of Palestine (Jos 10:41; 11:16), "all the country of Goshen Septuagint Gosom), even unto Gibeon," and a city of Judah (Jos 15:51) in the mountains near Beersheba. These notices seem to show that the word is not of Egyptian origin.

3. Description:

The region thus very clearly indicated was not of any great extent, having an area of only about 900 square miles, including two very different districts. The western half, immediately East of the Bubastic branch of the Nile, stretches from Zoan to Bubastis (at both of which cities records of the Hyksos ruler Apepi have been found), or a distance of about 35 miles North and South. This region is an irrigated plain which is still considered to include some of the best land in Egypt. The description of the land of Rameses (see RAAMSES), in the 14th century BC, shows its fertility; and Silvia says that the land of Goshen was 16 miles from Heroopolis, and that she traveled for two days in it "through vineyards, and balsam plantations, and orchards, and tilled fields, and gardens." The region narrows from about 15 miles near the seashore to about 10 miles between Zagazig and Tell el Kebir on the Southeast of this, a sandy and gravelly desert lies between the Nile plain and the Suez Canal, broadening southward from near Daphnai (Tell Defeneh) to Wady Tumeilat, where it is 40 miles across East and West. South of this valley an equally waterless desert stretches to Suez, and from the Bitter Lakes on the East to the vicinity of Heliopolis (Southeast of Cairo) on the West. Thus, Wady Tumeilat, which is fertilized by the Nile waters (see PI-HAHIROTH), and contains villages and corn fields, is the only natural route for a people driving with their flocks and herds by which the vicinity of the Red Sea can be reached, the road leading from the South end of the "field of Zoan" near Bubastis, and 40 miles eastward to the "edge of the wilderness" (see ETHAM) and the head of the Bitter Lakes. This physical conformation is important in relation to the route of the Israelites (see EXODUS); and Wady Tumeilat may very possibly be intended to be included in Goshen, as the Septuagint translators supposed.

C. R. Conder


go’-shen (goshen):

(1) Mentioned as a country (’erets) in the South of Judah distinct from the "hill country," the Negeb and the Shephelah (Jos 10:41; 11:16). Unidentified.

(2) A town in the Southwest part of the hill country of Judah (Jos 15:51), very probably connected in some way with the district (1).

(3) See preceding article.


gos’-pel (to euaggelion): The word gospel is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word which meant "the story concerning God." In the New Testament the Greek word euaggelion, means "good news." It proclaims tidings of deliverance. The word sometimes stands for the record of the life of our Lord (Mr 1:1), embracing all His teachings, as in Ac 20:24. But the word "gospel" now has a peculiar use, and describes primarily the message which Christianity announces. "Good news" is its significance. It means a gift from God. It is the proclamation of the forgiveness of sins and sonship with God restored through Christ. It means remission of sins and reconciliation with God. The gospel is not only a message of salvation, but also the instrument through which the Holy Spirit works (Ro 1:16).

The gospel differs from the law in being known entirely from revelation. It is proclaimed in all its fullness in the revelation given in the New Testament. It is also found, although obscurely, in the Old Testament. It begins with the prophecy concerning the ‘seed of the woman’ (Ge 3:15), and the promise concerning Abraham, in whom all the nations should be blessed (Ge 12:3; 15:5) and is also indicated in Ac 10:43 and in the argument in Ro 4.

In the New Testament the gospel never means simply a book, but rather the message which Christ and His apostles announced. In some places it is called "the gospel of God," as, for example, Ro 1:1; 1Th 2:2,9; 1Ti 1:11. In others it is called "the gospel of Christ" (Mr 1:1; Ro 1:16; 15:19; 1Co 9:12,18; Ga 1:7). In another it is called "the gospel of the grace of God" (Ac 20:24); in another "the gospel of peace" (Eph 6:15); in another "the gospel of your salvation" (Eph 1:13); and in yet another "the glorious gospel" (2Co 4:4 the King James Version). The gospel is Christ: He is the subject of it, the object of it, and the life of it. It was preached by Him (Mt 4:23; 11:5; Mr 1:14; Lu 4:18 margin), by the apostles (Ac 16:10; Ro 1:15; 2:16; 1Co 9:16) and by the evangelists (Ac 8:25).

We must note the clear antithesis between the law and the gospel. The distinction between the two is important because, as Luther indicates, it contains the substance of all Christian doctrine. "By the law," says he, "nothing else is meant than God’s word and command, directing what to do and what to leave undone, and requiring of us obedience of works. But the gospel is such doctrine of the word of God that neither requires our works nor commands us to do anything, but announces the offered grace of the forgiveness of sin and eternal salvation. Here we do nothing, but only receive what is offered through the word." The gospel, then, is the message of God, the teaching of Christianity, the redemption in and by Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, offered to all mankind. And as the gospel is bound up in the life of Christ, His biography and the record of His works, and the proclamation of what He has to offer, are all gathered into this single word, of which no better definition can be given than that of Melanchthon: "The gospel is the gratuitous promise of the remission of sins for Christ’s sake." To hold tenaciously that in this gospel we have a supernatural revelation is in perfect consistency with the spirit of scientific inquiry. The gospel, as the whole message and doctrine of salvation, and as chiefly efficacious for contrition, faith, justification, renewal and sanctification, deals with facts of revelation and experience.

David H. Bauslin












1. Scope of This Article

2. The Gospels in Church Tradition


1. Nature of the Problem

2. Proposed Solutions

(1) Oral Gospel

(2) Mutual Use

(3) Hypothesis of Sources

(4) Other Sources


1. The Problem not Solely a Literary One

2. Influence of Oral Instruction


1. Range of Apostolic Witness

2. Bearing on Order

3. Time of Happenings


1. Return to Earlier Dating

2. The Material Still Older


1. The Jewish and Christian Messiah

2. Originality of the Christian Conception

3. The Messianic Hope



1. The Ethics of Jesus

2. Jesus as Thinker



I. Introductory.

1. Scope of Article:

The present article is confined to the consideration of the relations and general features of the first 3 Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke)—ordinarily named "the Synoptic Gospels," because, in contrast with the Fourth Gospel, they present, as embodying a common tradition, the same general view of the life and teaching of Jesus during His earthly ministry, and of His death and resurrection. The Fourth Gospel, in itself and in its relation to the Synoptics, with the Johannine literature and theology generally, are treated in special articles.


2. The Gospels in Church Tradition:

The place of the Gospels in church tradition is secure. Eusebius places the 4 Gospels among the books that were never disputed in the church (Historia Ecclesiastica, III, 25). It is acknowledged that by the end of the 2nd century these 4 Gospels, and none else, ascribed to the authors whose names they bear, were in universal circulation and undisputed use throughout the church, stood at the head of church catalogues and of all VSS, were freely used, not only by the Fathers of the church (Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement, Origen, etc.), but by pagans and heretics, and by these also were ascribed to the disciples of Christ as their authors. Justin Martyr, in the middle of the century, freely quotes from "Memoirs of the Apostles," "which are called Gospels," "composed by the apostles and those that followed them" (1 Apol. 66-67; Dial. with Trypho, 10, 100, 103). What these Gospels were is made apparent by the Diatessaron, or Harmony of Four, of his disciple Tatian (circa 170), constructed from the 4 Gospels we possess. The first to mention Matthew and Mark by name is Papias of Hierapolis (circa 120-30; in Euseb., HE, III, 39). Dr. Sanday is disposed to carry back the extracts from Papias to about 100 AD (Fourth Gospel, 151); Dr. Moffatt likewise says, "These explanations of Matthew and Mark must have been in circulation by the end of the 1st century" (Introduction to Lit. of New Testament, 187). The gist of the testimony of Papias is: "Mark, having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately, though he did not record in order, that which was either said or done by Christ"; "Matthew composed the Oracles (Logia) in Hebrew (Aramaic), and each one interpreted them as he was able." Eusebius evidently took what he quotes about Matthew and Mark from Papias to refer to our present Gospels, but a problem arises as to the relation of the Aramaic "Logia" said to be composed by Matthew to our canonical Greek Gospel, which was the only Gospel of Mt known to the early Fathers. There is no ground for the supposition that the Jewish-Christian GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THE HEBREWS (which see) was the original of the Greek Matthew; it was on the other hand derived from it. The Gnostic Marcion used a mutilated Luke. Compare further, below on dating, and for details see special articles on the respective Gospels; also BIBLE; CANON OF THE NEW TESTAMENT.

II. The Synoptic Problem.

1. Nature of the Problem:

Arising from their peculiar nature, there has always been a Synoptic problem, ever since the 3 Gospels appeared together in the Canon of the New Testament. No one could read these Gospels consecutively with attention, without being aware of the resemblances and differences in their contents. Each writer sets forth his own account without reference to the other two, and, with the partial exception of Luke (1:1-4), does not tell his readers anything about the sources of his Gospel. A problem thus arose as to the relations of the three to one another, and the problem, though it approaches a solution, is not yet solved. A history of the Synoptic problem will be found in outline in many recent works; the most elaborate and best is in Zahn’s Introduction, III. In it Zahn briefly indicates what the problem was as it presented itself to the church in the earlier centuries, and gives in detail the history of the discussion from the time of Lessing (1778) to the present day. It is not possible within the limits of this article to refer otherwise than briefly to these discussions, but it may be remarked that, as the discussion went on, large issues were raised; every attempt at solution seemed only to add to the difficulty of finding an adequate one; and at length it was seen that no more complex problem was ever set to literary criticism than that presented by the similarities and differences of the Synoptic Gospels.

2. Proposed Solutions:

Of the hypotheses which seek to account for these resemblances and differences, the following are the most important.

(1) Oral Gospel:

The hypothesis of oral tradition: This theory has rather fallen into disfavor among recent critics. Dr. Stanton, e.g., says, "The relations between the first 3 Gospels cannot be adequately explained simply by the influence of oral tradition" (Gospels as Historical Documents, II, 17; similarly Moffatt, in the work quoted 180 ff). Briefly stated, theory is this. It assumes that each of the evangelists wrote independently of the others, and derived the substance of his writing, not from written sources, but from oral narratives of sayings and doings of Jesus, which, through dint of repetition, had assumed a relatively fixed form. The teaching of the apostles, first given in Jerusalem, repeated in the catechetical schools (compare Lu 1:4, the Revised Version (British and American)), and entrusted to the trained memories of the Christian converts, is held to be sufficient to account for the phenomena of the 3 Gospels. The oral Gospel took its essential form in Palestine, and written editions of it would by and by appear in more or less complete form (Lu 1:1). The first distinguished advocate of the oral hypothesis was Gieseler (1818). It was upheld in Britain by Alford and Westcott, and is today advocated, with modifications, by Dr. A. Wright in his Synopsis of the Gospels in Greek (2nd edition, 1908).

(2) Mutual Use:

As old as Augustine, this hypothesis, which assumes the use of one of the Gospels by the other two, has been frequently advocated by scholars of repute in the history of criticism. There have been many variations of theory. Each of the 3 Gospels has been put first, each second, and each third, and each in turn has been regarded as the source of the others. In fact, all possible permutations (6 in number) have been exhausted. As the hypothesis has few advocates at the present day, it is not necessary to give a minute account of these permutations and combinations. Two of them which may be regarded as finally excluded are

(a) those which put Luke first; and

(b) those which put Mark last (the view of Augustine; in modern times, of F. Baur and the Tubingen school).

(3) Hypothesis of Sources:

This is theory which may be said to hold the field at the present time. The tendency in criticism is toward the acceptance of two main sources for the Synoptic Gospels.

(a) One source is a Gospel like, if not identical with, the canonical Gospel of Mark. As regards this 2nd Gospel there is a consensus of opinion that it is prior to the other two, and the view that the 2nd and 3rd used it as a source is described as the one solid result of literary criticism. Eminent critics of various schools of thought are agreed on this point (compare W.C. Allen, Matthew, Pref. vii; F.C. Burkitt, Gospel History and Its Transmission, 37). It has been shown that most of the contents of Mark have been embodied in the other two, that the order of events in Mark has been largely followed by Matthew and Luke, and that the departures from the style of Mark can be accounted for by the hypothesis of editorial amendment.

(b) The other source (now commonly named Q) is found first by an examination of the matter not contained in the 2nd Gospel, which is common to Matthew and Luke. While there are differences as to the extent and character of the 2nd source, there is something like general agreement as to its existence. It is not agreed as to whether this source contained narratives of events, as well as sayings, or whether it was a book of sayings alone (the former is thought to be the more probable view), nor is it agreed as to whether it contained an account of the Passion week (on the differing views of the extent of Q, see Moffatt, op. cit., 197 ff); but while disagreement exists as to these and other points, the tendency, as said, is to accept a "two-source" theory in some form as the only sufficient account of the phenomena of the Gospels.

(4) Other Sources:

To make the source-theory probable, some account must be taken of other sources beyond the two enumerated above. Both the 1st and the 3rd Gospels contain material not borrowed from these sources. There is the fore-history of Mt 1:2, which belongs to that Gospel alone, with other things likewise recorded by Mt (9:27-34; 12:22; 14:28-33; 17:24 ff, etc.). Then not only has Luke a fore-history (chapters 1; 2), but a large part of his Gospel consists of material found nowhere else (e.g. 7:11-16,36-50; 10:25 ff; parables in chapters 15; 16; 18:1-14, etc.). This Sondergut of Matthew and Luke will be more appropriately treated in the articles which deal with these Gospels respectively. Here it is sufficient to point out that the criticism of the Synoptic Gospels is not complete till it has found a probable source

(a) for what is common to them all,

(b) for what is common to any two of them, and

(c) for what is peculiar to each.

The literature on the subject is so voluminous that only a few references can be given. In addition to those named, the following works may suffice to set forth the present condition of the Synoptic problem: B. Weiss, Introduction to New Testament, and other works; Harnack, Luke the Physician, The Sayings of Jesus, The Ac of the Apostles, Date of the Ac of the Apostles and of the Synoptic Gospels (English translations); Wellhausen, Einleitung in die drei ersten Evangelien, and works on each of the Synoptic Gospels, especially Studies in the Synoptic Problem, edited by Dr. Sanday.

III. Literary Analysis and Oral Tradition.

1. The Problem Not Solely a Literary One:

Looked at merely as a problem of literary analysis, it is scarcely possible to advance farther than has been done in the works of Harnack, of Sanday and his co-adjutors, and of Stanton, referred to above. The work done has been of the most patient and persevering kind. No clue has been neglected, no labor has been spared, and the interrelations of the three Gospels have been almost exhaustively explored. Yet the problem remains unsolved. For it must not be forgotten that the materials of the Synoptic Gospels were in existence before they assumed a written form. Literary analysis is apt to forget this obvious fact, and to proceed by literary comparison alone. The Gospel was confessedly at first and for some years a spoken Gospel, and this fact has to be taken into account in any adequate attempt to understand the phenomena. It is not enough to say with Dr. Stanton that "the relations of the first three Gospels cannot be adequately explained simply by the influence of oral tradition"; for the question arises, Can the relations between the first three Gospels be explained simply by the results of literary analysis, be it as exhaustive and thorough as it may? Let it be granted that literary analysis has accomplished a great deal; that it has almost compelled assent to the two-source hypothesis; that it has finally made good the priority of Mk; that it has made out a probable source consisting mainly of sayings of Jesus, yet many problems remain which literary analysis cannot touch, at least has not touched. There is the problem of the order of events in the Gospels, which is so far followed by all three. How are we to account for that sequence? Is it sufficient to say, as some do, that Mark set the style of the Gospel narrative, and that the others so far followed that style? All Gospels must follow the method set by Mark, so it is affirmed. But if that is the case, how did Matthew and Luke depart from that copy by writing a fore-history? Why did they compile a genealogy? Why did they give so large a space to the sayings of Jesus, and add so much not contained in the Gospel which, on the hypothesis, set the pattern of what a Gospel ought to be? These questions cannot be answered on the hypothesis that the others simply followed a fashion set by Mark. Sometimes the 2nd Gospel is described as if it were suddenly launched on the Christian world; as if no one had ever heard of the story contained in it before Mark wrote it. From the nature of the case, it is obvious that the church had knowledge of many of the facts in the life of Christ, and was in possession of much of His teaching before any of the Gospels were written. So much is plain from the Epistles of Paul. How many facts about Jesus, and how much of His teaching may be gathered from these epistles, we do not inquire at present. But we do learn much from Paul about the historical Jesus.

2. Influence of Oral Instruction:

The Christian church in its earlier form arose out of the teaching, example and influence of the apostles at Jerusalem. It was based on apostolic testimony as to the life, character, teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That testimony told the church what Jesus had done, what He had taught, and of the belief of the apostles as to what He was, and what He continued to be. We read that the early church "continued steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship" (Ac 2:42). The "teaching" consisted of reminiscences of the Lord, of interpretations of the facts about Jesus and of agreements between these and the Old Testament. The first instruction given to the church was oral. Of this fact there can be no doubt. How long oral teaching continued we may not say, but it is likely that it continued as long as the apostles dwelt together at Jerusalem. To them an appeal could constantly be made. There was also the strictly catechetical teaching given to the converts, and this teaching would be given after the manner to which they had been accustomed in their earlier education. It consisted mainly in committing accurately to memory, and in repetition from memory (see CATECHIST; CATECHUMEN). There would thus be a stricter tradition, as it was taught in the catechetical classes, and a looser tradition which consisted of as much as the people could carry with them from the preaching of the apostles at the weekly assemblies. Those, besides, who were present at the day of Pentecost, and others present at the feasts at Jerusalem, who had passed under Christian influence, would carry with them on their return to their homes some knowledge of the life and death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. It may have been a meager Gospel that these carried with them to Antioch, to Rome, or to other cities in which the diaspora dwelt. But that they did carry a Gospel with them is plain, for from their testimony arose the church at Antioch, where the Christians had without question a knowledge of the Gospel, which informed their faith and guided their action.

IV. Order of Events and Time of Happenings in the Synoptic Gospels.

1. Range of Apostolic Witness:

It is known from Ac that the main topic of the preaching of the apostles was the resurrection of the Lord. "With great power gave the apostles their witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus" (Ac 4:33). It is evident, however, that the apostolic witness would not be limited to the events of the Passion week, or to the fact of the resurrection. There would arise a thirst for information regarding the life of Jesus, what He had done, what He had said, what manner of life He had lived, and what teaching He had given. Accounts of Him and of His work would be given by the apostles, and once these accounts were given, they would continue to be given in the same form. Tell a story to a child and he will demand that it be always given in the form in which he first knew it. Hearers of a story are impatient of variations in the subsequent telling of it. Memory is very tenacious and very conservative.

2. Bearing on Order:

It is clear that the first lessons of the apostles were accounts of the Passion week, and of the resurrection. But it went backward to events and incidents in the life of Jesus, and as we read the Synoptic Gospels, we soon see that the order was dictated by the events themselves. They are grouped together for no other reason than that they happened so. Most of the incidents are hung on a geographical thread. In the 2nd Gospel, which seems to preserve most faithfully the traditional order, this is obvious to every attentive reader; but in all the 3 Gospels many of the narratives go in well-established cycles. To take only one illustration, where many might be instanced, the healing of the woman with the issue of blood is represented as occurring in the course of the walk to the house of Jairus (Mr 5:21 ). The only explanation is that this was the actual mode of its happening. Events happened, incidents arose, in the course of the journeys of Jesus and His disciples, words were also spoken, and in the memories of the disciples, when the journey was recalled, there arose also what had happened in the course of the journey. In fact, as we follow the journey through Galilee, to the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, through Samaria, down the valley of the Jordan, through Jericho to Jerusalem, we find that the grouping of the material of the Gospels is determined by the facts. Most of what is recorded happened in the course of the journeys, and was borne in the memories of the disciples in the order of its happening. The order, then, is not arbitrary, nor is it the product of reflection; it is the outcome of the facts. It is true that in pursuance of their several plans, Luke sometimes, Matthew frequently, deserts the order of Mark, but it is noteworthy that they never do so together. As Professor Burkitt says, "Matthew and Luke never agree against Mark in transposing a narrative. Luke sometimes deserts the order of Mark, and Matthew often does so; but in these cases Mark is always supported by the remaining Gospel" (op. cit., 36). In Matthew, after 19:1, the events follow each other quite as in Mark.

3. Time of Happenings:

When one studies the rather kaleidoscopic political geography of Palestine in the first 40 years of our era, he will find many confirmations of the historic situation in the Synoptic Gospels. The birth of Jesus was in the time of Herod the Great, when the whole of Palestine was under one government. After the death of Herod, Palestine was under several rulers. Archelaus had possession of Judea until the year 9 AD. Galilee was under Herod Antipas until the year 37, and the tetrarchy of Philip had a distinct government of its own. About the year 40 Palestine was again under one government under Herod Agrippa. Now it is clear that the events of the Gospels happened while Herod Antipas ruled in Galilee and Peraea, and while Pilate was procurator in Judea (see CHRONOLOGY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, and JESUS CHRIST). Nor is the significance of this environment exhausted by the reference to the time. As Professor Burkitt has shown (op. cit., in his chapter entitled "Jesus in Exile"), in the itinerary recorded in Mr 5, the parts avoided are the dominions of Herod Antipas. It is said in Mr 3:6, "And the Pharisees went out, and straightway with the Herodians took counsel against him, how they might destroy him." The significance of this alliance between the Pharisees and the Herodians is well drawn out by Professor Burkitt in the work cited above. It is simply noted by Mark, and on it the evangelist makes no remark. But the conspiracy had a great effect on the work of Jesus. A little later we find Jesus no more in any of the synagogues. He devotes Himself to the training of the Twelve, and is outside of the dominions of Herod Antipas. It is not to be forgotten that during these months Jesus is an exile from His own land, and it was during that period of exile that the issue of His work became clear to Him, and from the time of the great confession at Caesarea-Philippi He began to tell His disciples of the decease that He should accomplish at Jerusalem (Mt 16:13 ff parallel).

V. Dating of the Synoptic Gospels.

1. Return to Earlier Dating:

The question as to the dates at which the Synoptic Gospels appear in a published form may more suitably be dealt with in connection with the articles on the separate Gospels. It need only be observed here that opinion is tending toward much earlier dates than were common till lately. By all but extreme writers it is now admitted that the first 3 Gospels fall well within the limits of the apostolic age. In the Preface to his work on Luke (1906), Harnack reminded his readers that 10 years before he had told them that "in the criticism of the sources of the oldest Christianity we are in a movement backward to tradition." The dates he formerly favored were, for Mark between 65 and 70 AD, for Matthew between 70 and 75, for Luke between 78 and 23. Harnack’s more recent pronouncement as to the date of Acts, which he states with all the emphasis of italics, "It seems now to be established beyond question that both books of this great historical work were written while Paul was yet alive" (Date of the Ac and the Synoptic Gospels, 124, English translation), must have a determining influence on critical opinion. If Ac were written during the lifetime of Paul (compare Ac 28:30 f), then the 3rd Gospel must have been written earlier. It is likely that Lu had all his material in hand during the imprisonment of Paul at Caesarea. If he made use of the 2nd Gospel, then Mark must have had a still earlier date, and the whole problem of the dating of the Gospels is revolutionized. The essential thing is that the 3 Gospels were probably written and published before the destruction of Jerusalem (70 AD). There is nothing in their contents that makes this view untenable.

2. The Material Still Older:

It is still to be remembered, however, that the materials of which the Gospels are composed existed before they were put into a written form. Every discussion must take note of that fact. The literature of the New Testament presupposes just such accounts of the life of Jesus as we find in the Synoptic Gospels, and readers of the Gospels have a right to rest on their veracity and sufficiency as accounts of Jesus, of what He was, what He said, and what He did. They are their own best witnesses.

VI. The Messianic Idea in Its Bearings on Historicity of the Gospels.

1. The Jewish and the Christian Messiah:

In a striking passage in his Das Evangelium Marci (65, 66), Wellhausen vividly sets forth the significant contrast between the Jewish and the Christian conceptions of the Messiah. We quote the words, notwithstanding the fact that Wellhausen does not regard the passage, Mr 8:31 ff, as historical. With him what is set forth there is not the figure of the historical Jesus, but a picture of the persecuted church.

"The confession of Peter, ‘Thou art the Messiah,’ affords," he says, "the occasion for the setting forth of what up to this time was latent. He has elicited the confession and accepted it. Nevertheless, He accepts it with a correction; a correction that follows as a matter of course. He is not the Messiah who will restore the kingdom of Israel, but another Messiah altogether. Not to set up the kingdom does He go to Jerusalem, but He goes in order to be crucified. Through sorrow and death He goes into glory, and only by this way can others also enter. The kingdom of God is no Judaistic kingdom; the kingdom is destined only for some chosen individuals, for disciples. The thought of the possibility of a metanoia of the people has wholly disappeared. Into the place of a command to repent addressed to all steps the command to follow, and that can be obeyed only by a very few. The conception of following loses now its proper forces and takes a higher meaning. It does not mean what it meant up to this time, namely, to accompany and to follow Him during His lifetime; it overflows that meaning; one is to follow Him even unto death. The following is an imitatio possible only after His death, and this is to be attained only by a very few. One must bear his cross after Him. .... The situation of the oldest congregation and its tone is here foreshadowed by Jesus as He goes to meet his fate."

A similar passage occurs in the Einleitung, which ends with the significant sentence, "All these are noteworthy signs of the time in which He takes His standpoint" (81).

2. Originality of the Christian Conception:

Elsewhere Wellhausen admits that the sections of the Gospels following the scene at Caesarea-Philippi contain what was known as the distinctive Gospel of the apostolic church. But this Gospel owed its origin to the apostolic church itself. It is a question of the highest importance, and the answer cannot be determined by mere literary criticism: Is the Christian conception of the Messiah due to Jesus? or is it due to the reflection of the church? Which is the more probable? It is agreed, Wellhausen being witness, that the Christian conception was subversive of the Jewish outlook, that the two were in contradiction in many ways. One can understand the Christian conception, and its triumph over the Jewish among the Christian people, if it had been set forth by the Master; but it is unintelligible as a something which originated in the congregation itself. The conception of a crucified Messiah, of a suffering Saviour, was a conception which was, during the years of His earthly ministry, in the mind of Jesus alone. It was not in the minds of the disciples, until He had risen from the dead. And it was not in the minds of His contemporaries. But it was the ruling conception in the Jerusalem church as it is in the Epistles of Paul. No: the conception of the suffering Saviour was not the invention of the church, nor did it rise from her thought of her own needs; it was a gift to her from the suffering and risen Lord. Not without a great impulse, nor without a strong source of persuasion, do men displace notions which they have cherished for generations, and substitute notions which are contradictory and subversive of those fiercely and firmly held.

We take these chapters therefore as historical, and as descriptive of the historical Jesus. If we can do so, then the matter is intelligible, not otherwise. It is also to be observed in this relation that the needs of the church are new needs. There is no provision in the New Testament for the needs of the natural man. The critical view often puts the cart before the horse, and this is one illustration of the fact. The needs of the church are the creation of Christ. They are new needs, or needs only imperfectly felt by humanity before Jesus came.

3. The Messianic Hope:

Be the needs of the church as great as they may, they are not creative; they are only responsive to the higher call. Nor is it a possible hypothesis that lies at the basis of the criticism of Wellhausen and of many others. Since the time of Baur it has often been said or assumed that it was the Messianic hope that gave concreteness to Christianity; that through the prevalence of the Messianic hope, Christianity was enabled to enter on its career of victory. This is another case of the husteron proteron. It is the historical Jesus that has given concreteness and definiteness to the Messianic conceptions which were current in His time. Because at the heart of the Christian conception there was this concrete gracious figure, and because of the commanding influence of Jesus Christ, this form of Messianism entered into human life, flourished and endured, and is with us today. Other forms of Messianism have only an antiquarian value. They may be discussed as of literary interest, but their practical significance is as nothing. No doubt Messianic categories were ransacked by the church to see if they could be used in order more fully to set forth the significance of Jesus Christ. But the essence of the matter did not lie in them but in Him, whom they had known, loved and served. It is time that a newer critical assumption should be found than the obsolete, worn-out one that the church invented the Christ. We know a little of the early church, and we know its immaturity and its limitations. We have learned something, too, of the Jews at the time of our Lord, and we note that in the Gospels their limitations have been transcended, their immaturity has been overcome, and how? By the fact of Christ. He is so great that He must be real. VII. The Old Testament in Its Bearing on the Synoptic Gospels.

It is always to be remembered that the Old Testament was the Bible of the early Christians. They accepted it as the Word of God, and as authoritative for the guidance of life and conduct. It is one thing to admit and assert this; it is another thing to say that the story of the Old Testament molded and directed the story of Jesus as it is in the Synoptic Gospels. This has been widely asserted, but without adequate proof. As a matter of fact Christianity, when it accepted the Old Testament as the word of God, interpreted it in a fashion which had not been accented before. It interpreted it in the light of Jesus Christ. Tendencies, facts, meanings, which had been in the Old Testament came into light, and the Bible of the Christians was a Bible which testified of Christ. That on which the Jews laid stress passed into the background, and that which they had neglected came into prominence. This view is set forth by Paul: "Unto this day, whenever Moses is read, a veil lieth upon their heart" (2Co 3:15). Or as it is put in Luke, "O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Behooved it not the Christ to suffer these things, and to enter into his glory?" (24:25 f). In the Christian interpretation stress was laid on meanings which Jewish readers had neglected, and so the church read the Old Testament in the new light, and things formerly hidden leaped into view. So the suffering servant of Yahweh became for them the keystone of the Old Testament, and the ritual sacrifices a