i-ak’-u-bus (’Iakoubos 1 Esdras 9:48): "Akkub" in Ne 8:7.


i-ad’-i-nus (Iadeinos; 1 Esdras 9:48, the King James Version Adinus): Same as Jamin of Ne 8:7.


ib’-har (yibhchar, "He (God) chooses"; in Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Vaticanus, Ebear, in Chronicles, Codex Vaticanus, Baar; Codex Alexandrinus, Iebaar): One of David’s sons, born at Jerusalem; son of a wife and not of a concubine (1Ch 3:6; 2Sa 5:15); otherwise unknown. His name in all three lists follows Solomon’s.’ In the Peshitta, "Juchabar."


i’-bis. In Isa 34:11, yanshoph, which is rendered "owl," apparently indicates the sacred ibis (Ibis religiosa). The Septuagint gives eibis and Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) ibis; the Revised Version, margin "bittern."

See OWL.


ib’-le-am (yibhle‘am); A town in the territory of Issachar which was assigned to Manasseh (Jos 17:11). This tribe, however, failed to expel the inhabitants, so the Canaanites continued to dwell in that land (Jud 1:27). It was on the route by which Ahaziah fled from Jehu. He was overtaken and mortally wounded "at the ascent of Gur, which is by Ibleam" (2Ki 9:27). The name appears as Bileam in 1Ch 6:70; and it probably corresponds to Belmen of Jth. It is now represented by the ruin of Bel‘ameh on the West of the valley through which the road to the south runs, about half a mile from Jenin. In 2Ki 15:10, where it is said that Zechariah the son of Jeroboam was slain by Shallum "before the people," this last phrase, which is awkward in the Hebrew, should be amended to read "in Bileam." Possibly "Gath-rimmon" in Jos 21:25 is a clerical error for "Ibleam."

W. Ewing


ib-ne’-ya (yibhneyah, "Yah buildeth up"): A Benjamite, son of Jeroham (1Ch 9:8).


ib-ni’-ja (yibniyah or yibhneyah, "Yah buildeth up"): A Benjamite, father of Reuel (1Ch 9:8).


ib’-ri (ibhri, "a Hebrew"): A Merarite Levitt, son of Jaaziah (1Ch 24:27).


ib’-sam (yibhsam, "fragrant," the King James Version Jibsam): Descendant of Issachar, family of Tolah (1Ch 7:2).


ib’-zan (ibhtsan): The 10th judge of Israel. His city is given as Bethlehem (whether of Judah or Zebulun is not stated). He judged Israel 7 years, and when he died he was buried in his native place. The only personal details given about him in the Biblical narrative are that he had 30 sons and a like number of daughters. He sent all of his sons "abroad" for wives and brought husbands from "abroad" for all his daughters. The exact meaning of ha-chuts, "abroad," is mere matter of speculation, but the great social importance of the man and, possibly, alliances among tribes, are suggested in the brief narrative (Jud 12:8-10). Jewish tradition identifies Ibzan with Boaz of Bethlehem-Judah (Talmud, Babha’, Bathra’, 91a).

Ella Davis Isaacs


is (qerach): Ice is almost unknown in Palestine and Syria except on the highest mountains. At moderate heights of less than 4,000 ft. a little ice may form during the night in winter, but the warm rays of the sun melt it the next day. A great quantity of snow is packed away in caves in the mountains during the winter, and is thus preserved for use in the summer months. The word is found in the Bible in three places where it describes God’s power. "Out of whose womb came the ice? And the .... frost" (Job 38:29); "By the breath of God ice is given" (Job 37:10); "He casteth forth his ice like morsels" (Ps 147:17).

Figurative: Untrue friends are compared to streams "which are black by reason of the ice" (Job 6:16).

Alfred H. Joy


ik’-a-bod, i’-ka-bod (i-kha-bhodh, "inglorious"; Codex Vaticanus, ouai barchaboth; Codex Alexandrinus, ouai chaboth, Atimos): Son of Phinehas, Eli’s son, slain at the battle of Aphek when the ark was taken. Ichabod was born after his father’s death. His mother gave him this name on her death-bed to indicate that the "glory (had) departed from Israel" (1Sa 4:19 ). He was thus important as a symbol, though little is recorded of him as an individual. His nephew Ahijah was one of those who tarried with Saul and the six hundred at Gibeah just before Jonathan’s brave attack upon the Philistines (1Sa 14:2 f).

Henry Wallace


i-ko’-ni-um (Ikonion, also Eikonion, on inscriptions): Iconium was visited by Paul on his first and on his second missionary journey (Ac 13:51 ff; 16:2 ), and

if the "South Galatian theory" be correct, probably also on his third journey. His sufferings there are referred to in 2Ti 3:11.

1. Topographical Position:

The topographical position of Iconium is clearly indicated in Acts, and the evidence of Ac has been confirmed by recent research. Was Iconium in Phrygia or in Lycaonia, and in what sense can it be said to have belonged to one ethnical division or the other? The majority of our ancient authorities (e.g. Cicero, Strabo, Pliny), writing from the point of view of Roman provincial administration, give Iconium to Lycaonia, of which geography makes it the natural capital. But Xenophon, who marched with Cyrus’ expedition through Phrygia into Lycaonia, calls Iconium the last city of Phrygia. The writer of Ac 14:6 makes the same statement when he represents Paul and Barnabas as fleeing from Iconium to the cities of Lycaonia—implying that the border of Phrygia and Lycaonia passed between Iconium and Lystra, 18 miles to the South. Other ancient authorities who knew the local conditions well speak of Iconium as Phrygian until far into the Roman imperial period. At the neighboring city of Lystra (Ac 14:11), the natives used the "speech of Lycaonia." Two inscriptions in the Phrygian language found at Iconium in 1910 prove that the Phrygian language was in use there for 2 centuries after Paul’s visits, and afford confirmation of the interesting topographical detail in Ac (see Jour. Hell. Stud., 1911, 189).

2. In Apostolic Period:

In the apostolic period, Iconium was one of the chief cities in the southern part of the Roman province Galatia, and it probably belonged to the "Phrygian region" mentioned in Ac 16:6. The emperor Claudius conferred on it the title Claudiconium, which appears on coins of the city and on inscriptions, and was formerly taken as a proof that Claudius raised the city to the rank of a Roman colonia. It was Hadrian who raised the city to colonial rank; this is proved by its new title, Colonia Aelia Hadriana Iconiensium, and by a recently discovered inscription, which belongs to the reign of Hadrian, and which mentions the first duumvir who was appointed in the new colonia. Iconium was still a Hellenic city, but with a strong pro-Roman bias (as proved by its title "Claudian") when Paul visited it.

3. Later History:

About 295 AD, an enlarged province, Pisidia, was formed, with Antioch as capital, and Iconium as a "sort of secondary metropolis." The Byzantine arrangement, familiar to us in the Notitiae Episcopatuum, under which Iconium was the capital of a province Lycaonia, dates from about 372 AD. Iconium, the modern Konia, has always been the main trading center of the Lycaonian Plain. Trade attracted Jews to the ancient Phrygio-Hellenic city (Ac 14:1), as it attracts Greeks and Armenians to the modern Turkish town.

4. Thekla:

Paul’s experiences at Iconium form part of theme of the semi-historical legend of Thekla, on which see Professor Ramsay’s Church in the Roman Empire, 380 ff.


Ramsay Historical Commentary on Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians, 214 ff; Cities of Paul, 317 ff. To the literature referred to in the notes to the latter book (pp. 448 ff) add Ath. Mitth., 1905, 324 ff; Revue de Philologie, 1912, 48 ff; Journal Hellenic Studies, 1911, 188 ff.

W. M. Calder


id’-a-la, i-da’-la (yidh’alah): A town in the territory of Zebulun, named with Shimron and Beth-lehem (Jos 19:15). The Talmud identifies it with Churyeh (Talm Jerusalem on Megh., I, 1). This, Conder thinks, may be represented by the modern Khirbet el-Chuwara to the South of Beit Lachm.


id’-bash (yidhbash, "honeysweet"(?)): A man of Judah, one of the sons of the father of Etam (1Ch 4:3; Septuagint "sons of Etam").



(1) (’iddo (?[~’adhadh, "to be strong"), "hap," "happy" (?), Ezr 8:17): The "chief at the place Casiphia," who provided Ezra with Levites and Nethinim, the head of the Levitical body or school, said to be one of the Nethinim or temple slaves, but perhaps an "and" has slipped out, and it should read: "his brethren and the Nethinim." 1 Esdras 8:45,46 has "Loddeus (the King James Version "Saddeus"), the captain who was in the place of the treasury," keceph meaning silver. Septuagint has "in the place of the silver (en argurio tou topou) .... to his brethren and to the treasurers."

(2) (yiddo, "beloved," or "loving," 1Ch 27:21): Son of Zechariah, and captain of the half-tribe of Manasseh in Gilead, under David.

(3) (yiddo, "beloved," or "loving," Ezr 10:43): One of those who had taken foreign wives. Another reading is Jaddai, the King James Version "Jadau." In 1 Esdras 9:35 "Edos" (the King James Version "Edes").

(4) (‘iddo’," timely," 1Ki 4:14): Father of Abinadab, Solomon’s commissary in Mahanaim in Gilead.

(5) (yiddo, "beloved," or "loving," 1Ch 6:21): A Gershomite Levite, son of Joah, called Adaiah in verse 41; ancestor of Asaph.

(6) (ye‘do (Kethibh ye‘di), or ‘iddo, "decked," "adorned"): Seer (chozeh) and prophet (nabhi), the Chronicler’s "source" for the reign of Solomon (2Ch 9:29): "The visions of Iddo the seer concerning Jeroboam the son of Nebat"; and for the reign of Rehoboam (2Ch 12:15): "The histories of Iddo (‘iddo) the seer, after the manner of (or, "in reckoning") genealogies"; and for the reign of Abijah (2Ch 13:22): "The commentary (midhrash) of the prophet Iddo" (‘iddo). He may have been the prophet who denounced Jeroboam (1Ki 13), who is called by Josephus and Jerome Jadon, or Jaddo. Jerome makes Iddo and Oded the same.

(7) (‘iddo, "timely," Zec 1:1): Grandfather (father, according to Ezra) of the prophet, Zechariah. See also Zec 1:7; Ezr 5:1; 6:14 (‘iddo’). In 1 Esdras 6:1, "Addo."

(8) (‘iddo’," decked," "adorned," Ne 12:4,16): A priest who went up with Zerubbabel (12:4); one of the priestly clans which went up (12:16); perhaps same as (7).

Philip Wendell Crannell


i’-d’-l, i’-d’-l-nes: Both words, adjective and noun, render different Hebrew words (from ‘atsel, "to be lazy," raphah, "to relax," and shaqaT, "to be quiet"). According to the Yahwistic narrative Pharaoh’s retort to the complaints of the Israelites was a charge of indolence (Ex 5:8,17). It was a favorite thought of Hebrew wisdom—practical philosophy of life—that indolence inevitably led to poverty and want (Pr 19:15; Ec 10:18). The "virtuous woman" was one who would not eat the "bread of idleness" (Pr 31:27). In Eze 16:49 for the King James Version "abundance of idleness," the Revised Version (British and American) has "prosperous ease." In the New Testament "idle" generally renders the Greek word argos, literally, "inactive," "useless" (Mt 20:3,6). In Lu 24:11 "idle talk" corresponds to one Greek word which means "empty gossip" or "nonsensical talk."

T. Lewis


i-dol’-a-tri (teraphim, "household idols," "idolatry"; eidololatreia): There is ever in the human mind a craving for visible forms to express religious conceptions, and this tendency does not disappear with the acceptance, or even with the constant recognition, of pure spiritual truths (see IMAGES). Idolatry originally meant the worship of idols, or the worship of false gods by means of idols, but came to mean among the Old Testament Hebrews any worship of false gods, whether by images or otherwise, and finally the worship of Yahweh through visible symbols (Ho 8:5,6; 10:5); and ultimately in the New Testament idolatry came to mean, not only the giving to any creature or human creation the honor or devotion which belonged to God alone, but the giving to any human desire a precedence over God’s will (1Co 10:14; Ga 5:20; Col 3:5; 1Pe 4:3). The neighboring gods of Phoenicia, Canaan, Moab—Baal, Melkart, Astarte, Chemosh, Moloch, etc.—were particularly attractive to Jerusalem, while the old Semitic calf-worship seriously affected the state religion of the Northern Kingdom (see GOLDEN CALF). As early as the Assyrian and Babylonian periods (8th and 7th centuries BC), various deities from the Tigris and Euphrates had intruded themselves—the worship of Tammuz becoming a little later the most popular and seductive of all (Eze 8:14)—while the worship of the sun, moon, stars and signs of the Zodiac became so intensely fascinating that these were introduced even into the temple itself (2Ki 17:16; 21:3-7; 23:4,12; Jer 19:13; Eze 8:16; Am 5:26).

The special enticements to idolatry as offered by these various cults were found in their deification of natural forces and their appeal to primitive human desires, especially the sexual; also through associations produced by intermarriage and through the appeal to patriotism, when the help of some cruel deity was sought in time of war. Baal and Astarte worship, which was especially attractive, was closely associated with fornication and drunkenness (Am 2:7,8; compare 1Ki 14:23 f), and also appealed greatly to magic and soothsaying (e.g. Isa 2:6; 3:2; 8:19).

Sacrifices to the idols were offered by fire (Ho 4:13); libations were poured out (Isa 57:6; Jer 7:18); the first-fruits of the earth and tithes were presented (Ho 2:8); tables of food were set before them (Isa 65:11); the worshippers kissed the idols or threw them kisses (1Ki 19:18; Ho 13:2; Job 31:27); stretched out their hands in adoration (Isa 44:20); knelt or prostrated themselves before them and sometimes danced about the altar, gashing themselves with knives (1Ki 18:26,28; for a fuller summary see EB).

Even earlier than the Babylonian exile the Hebrew prophets taught that Yahweh was not only superior to all other gods, but reigned alone as God, other deities being nonentities (Le 19:4; Isa 2:8,18,20; 19:1,3; 31:7; 44:9-20). The severe satire of this period proves that the former fear of living demons supposed to inhabit the idols had disappeared. These prophets also taught that the temple, ark and sacrifices were not essential to true spiritual worship (e.g. Jer 3:16; Am 5:21-25). These prophecies produced a strong reaction against the previously popular idol-worship, though later indications of this worship are not infrequent (Eze 14:1-8; Isa 42:17). The Maccabean epoch placed national heroism plainly on the side of the one God, Yahweh; and although Greek and Egyptian idols were worshipped in Gaza and Ascalon and other half-heathen communities clear down to the 5th or 6th century of the Christian era, yet in orthodox centers like Jerusalem these were despised and repudiated utterly from the 2nd century BC onward.



Wm. Wake, A Discourse concerning the Nature of Idolatry, 1688; W.R. Smith, Lectures on the Religion of the Semites; E.B. Tylor, Primitive Culture; J.G. Frazer, Golden Bough (3 vols); L.R. Farnell, Evolution of Religion, 1905; Baudissin, Studien zur semitischen Religionsgeschichte; Beathgen, Der Gott Israels u. die Gotter der Heiden, 1888.

Camden M. Cobern


id’-u-el (Idouelos): 1 Esdras 8:43, English versions, margin "ARIEL" (which see).


id-u-me’-a, id-u-me’-anz.



yed-i’-as, i-ed-i’-as, the King James Version Eddias (Ieddias): One who agreed to put away his foreign wife (1 Esdras 9:26); called also "Jezeias."


i-e’-zer, i-e’-zer-its (’i‘ezer, Nu 26:30): Contracted from ABIEZER (Jos 17:2, etc.) (which see).


i’-gal (yigh’al, "he (God) redeems"; Septuagint variously Igal, Gaal, Ieol):

(1) One of the twelve spies sent by Moses from the wilderness of Paran; son of Joseph, tribe of Issachar (Nu 13:7).

(2) One of David’s heroes, son of Nathan of Zobah (2Sa 23:36). In 1Ch 11:38 he is "Joe (yo’el), the brother of Nathan."

(3) Son of Shemaiah of the royal house of David, descendant of Zerubbabel (1Ch 3:22, the King James Version "Igeal").


ig-da-li’-a (yighdalyahu, "Yah is great"): Ancestor of certain persons who had a "chamber" in the temple in Jeremiah’s time (Jer 35:4).


i’-ge-al, i’-je-al (yigh’al, "he (i.e. God) redeems"): A remote descendant of David (1Ch 3:22, the Revised Version (British and American) "Igal").


ig’-no-rans (sheghaghah; agnoia): "Ignorance" is the translation of sheghaghah, "wandering," "going astray" (Le 4:2, etc., "if a soul sin through ignorance," the Revised Version (British and American) "unwittingly," margin "through error"; Le 5:15; Nu 15:24 ff; compare 35:11; Jos 20:3 ff; Ec 5:6; 10:5, "an error"). In the Law sheghaghah means "innocent error," such as had to be taken with consideration in judgment (see passages referred to). "Ignorance" is also expressed by the negative lo’ with yadha‘, "to know" (Isa 56:10; 63:16; Ps 73:22); also by bi-bheli da‘ath, literally, "in want of knowledge" (De 19:4; compare De 4:12; Jos 20:5, translated "unawares," "unwittingly").

In the New Testament the words are agnoia, "absence of knowledge" (Ac 3:17; 17:30; Eph 4:18; 1Pe 1:14); agneoma, "error" (Heb 9:7, the Revised Version margin "Greek: ignorances"); agnosia, "ignorance" (1Pe 2:15), "no knowledge" (1Co 15:34 the Revised Version (British and American)); agnoeo, "to be without knowledge," "ignorant" (Ro 1:13; 10:3; 11:25, etc.), "not knowing" (Ro 2:4, etc.), "understood not" (Mr 9:32, etc.), "ignorantly" (Ac 17:23, the Revised Version (British and American) "in ignorance"; 1Ti 1:13); idiotes, translated "ignorant" (Ac 4:13), "unlearned" (1Co 14:16, the Revised Version margin "him that is without gifts," and so in 1Co 14:23,14), "rude" (2Co 11:6); agrammatos, once only in connection with idiotes (Ac 4:13, "unlearned and ignorant men"); agrammatos corresponds to modern "illiterate" (compare Joh 7:15; Ac 26:24); idiotes originally denoted "the private man" as distinguished from those with a knowledge of affairs, and took on the idea of contempt and scorn. In Philo it denoted the whole congregation of Israel as distinguished from the priests (De Vita Mosis, III 29). With Paul (1Co 14:16,23,24) it seems to denote "plain believers as distinguished from those with special spiritual gifts." In Ac 4:13 it may refer to the want of Jewish learning; certainly it does not mean ignorant in the modern sense.

Paul in Ro 1:18,32 attributes the pre-Christian ignorance of God to "the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness" (but the margin has, with the King James Version, "hold the truth, compare 1Co 7:30, Gr"); many, however (Alford, De Wette, Meyer and others), translation "hold back the truth." A willful ignorance is also referred to in Eph 4:17 f; 2Pe 3:5. But there is also a less blameworthy ignorance. Paul at Athens spoke of "times of ignorance" which God had "overlooked" (Ac 17:30); Paul says of himself that he "obtained mercy, because (he) did it (against Christ) ignorantly in unbelief" (1Ti 1:13); Peter said to the Jews (Ac 3:17) that they and their rulers rejected Christ "in ignorance" (compare 1Co 2:8); and Jesus Himself prayed for those who crucified Him: "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do"; (Lu 23:34); in Heb 5:2 the necessary qualification of a high priest is that he "can bear gently with the ignorant and erring"—those who sin in ignorance or go astray (compare 9:7, "blood, which he offereth for himself, and for the errors of the people," margin "(Greek: ignorances"). Growing light, however, brings with it increasing responsibility, and the "ignorance" that may be "overlooked" at one stage of the history of men and nations may be blameworthy and even criminal at another.

W. L. Walker


i’-im (‘iyim): Same as IYIM (which see).





i’-jon (‘iyon; Septuagint in Kings has Ain, or Nain; in Chronicles Ion; Aion): A town in the territory of Naphtali, first mentioned in connection with the invasion of Ben-hadad, in the reign of Baasha. It was captured along with Da and Abel-beth-maacah (1Ki 15:20; 2Ch 16:4). It shared with these cities a similar fate at the hands of Tiglath-pileser in the reign of Pekah (2Ki 15:29). The name survives in that of Merj A‘yun, "meadow of springs," a rich, oval-shaped plain to the Northwest of Tell el Qady, where the LiTany turns sharply westward to the sea. The ancient city may be represented by Tell Dibbin, an important site to the North of the plain.

W. Ewing


ik’-esh (‘iqqesh, "crooked"): A Tekoite, father of Ira, one of David’s "thirty" (2Sa 23:26; 1Ch 11:28; 27:9).


i’-la-i, i’-li (‘ilay): A mighty man of David (1Ch 11:29); called Zalmon in 2Sa 23:28.


i-li’-a-dun, il’-i-ad-un (Eliadoun, 1 Esdras 5:58; the King James Version Eleadun): Possibly corresponding to Henadad in Ezr 3:9.


il, il-fa’-verd.



i-lu-mi-na’-shun: Heb 10:32 the King James Version, only, "the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated (the Revised Version (British and American) "enlightened"), ye endured a great fight of afflictions." The verb is photizo, rendered in 6:4 by "enlightened" and in both passages (and not elsewhere in the New Testament) being used to describe complete conversion. The verb, indeed, is used in such a technical way that Syriac versions render by "baptized," and it is not perhaps impossible that the author of He had baptism definitely in mind. (In the early church baptism is frequently described as "illumination," e.g. Justin, Apol., i.61.) But this probably would go too far; the most that can be said is that he means the state of mind of a full Christian and not that of a catechumen (compare also Baruch 4:2 the King James Version; Sirach 25:11).

Burton Scott Easton


i-lus’-tri-us (thaumastos): A title of rank and merit attached to the name of Bartacus, the father of Apame (1 Esdras 4:29, the King James Version "the admirable). Instead of "the illustrious" we should possibly read "colonel" (Ant., XI, iii, 5; EB, under the word).



i-lir’-i-kum (Illurikon): A province of the Roman Empire, lying East and Northeast of the Adriatic Sea. In his Epistle to the Romans Paul emphasizes the extent of his missionary activities in the assertion that "from Jerusalem, and round about even unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ" (15:19). An examination of this statement involves three questions: What is the force of the preposition "even unto" (mechri)? What meaning is borne by the word Illyricum? and, At what period of his missionary career did Paul reach the limit here spoken of?

1. Force of "even unto":

In Greek, as in English, the preposition "unto" may either be exclusive or inclusive. In other words, Paul may mean that he has preached throughout Macedonia as far as the Illyrian frontier, or his words may involve a journey within Illyricum itself, extending perhaps to Dyrrhachium (mod. Durazzo) on the Adriatic seaboard, which, though belonging politically to Macedonia, lay in "Greek, Illyria." But since no word is said in the Ac of any extension of Paul’s travels beyond the confines of Macedonia, and since the phrase, "I have fully preached," precludes a reference to a hurried or cursory tour in Illyricum, we should probably take the word "unto" in its exclusive sense, and understand that Paul claims to have evangelized Macedonia as far as the frontier of Illyricum.

2. Meaning of "Illyricum":

What, then, does the word "Illyricum" denote? It is sometimes used, like the Greek terms Illyris and Illyria, to signify a vast area lying between the Danube on the North and Macedonia and Thrace on the South, extending from the Adriatic and the Alps to the Black Sea, and inhabited by a number of warlike and semi-civilized tribes known to the Greeks under the general title of Illyrians (Appian, Illyr. 1; Suetonius, Tiberius, 16); it thus comprised the provinces of Illyricum (in the narrower sense), Pannonia and Moesia, which for certain financial and military purposes formed a single administrative area, together with a strip of coast land between Dalmatia and Epirus and, at a later date, Dacia. Appian (Illyr. 6) even extends the term to include Raetia and Noricum, but in this he appears to be in error. But Illyricum has also a narrower and more precise meaning, denoting a single Roman province, which varied in extent with the advance of the Roman conquest but was finally organized in 10 AD by the emperor Augustus. At first it bore the name superior provincia Illyricum or simply Illyricum; later it came to be known as Dalmatia (Tac. Annals, iv.5; Josephus, BJ, II, xvi; Dio Cassius, xlix.36, etc.). In accordance with Paul’s habitual usage of such terms, together with the fact that he employs a Greek form which is a transliteration of the Latin Illyricum but does not occur in any other extant Greek writer, and the fact that he is here writing to the church at Rome, we may conclude that in Ro 15:19 Illyricum bears its more restricted meaning.

3. Relation to Rome:

The Romans waged two Illyrian wars: in 229-228 BC and in 219 BC, but no province was formed until 167, when, after the fall of the Macedonian power, Illyria received its provincial constitution (Livy, xlv.26). At this time it extended from the Drilo (modern Drin) to Dalmatia, which was gradually subjugated by Roman arms. In 59 BC Julius Caesar received as his province Illyricum and Gaul, and later Octavian and his generals, Asinius Pollio and Statilius Taurus, waged war there with such success that in 27 BC, at the partition of the provinces between Augustus and the Senate, Illyricum was regarded as wholly pacified and was assigned to the latter. Renewed disturbances led, however, to its transference to the emperor in 11 BC. Two years later the province was extended to the Danube, but in 9 AD, at the close of the 2nd Pannonian War, it was divided into two separate provinces, Pannonia and Illyricum (Dalmatia). The latter remained an imperial province, administered by a consular legatus Augusti pro praetore residing at Salonae (modern Spalato), and two legions were stationed there, at Delminium and at Burnum. One of these was removed by Nero, the other by Vespasian, and thenceforward the province was garrisoned only by auxiliary troops. It fell into three judicial circuits (conventus), that of Scardona comprising Liburnia, the northern portion of the province, while those of Salonae and Narona made up the district of Dalmatia in the narrower sense. The land was rugged and mountainous, and civilization progressed but slowly; the Romans, however, organized 5 Roman colonies within the province and a considerable number of municipia.

4. Paul’s Relation to Illyricum:

The extension of Paul’s preaching to the Illyrian frontier must be assigned to his 3rd missionary journey, i.e. to his 2nd visit to Macedonia. His movements during the 1st visit (Ac 16:12-17:15) are too fully recorded to admit of our attributing it to that period, but the account in Ac 20:2 of his second tour is not only very brief, but the words, "when he had gone through those parts," suggest an extensive tour through the province, occupying, according to Ramsay, the summer and autumn of 56 AD.

See also DALMATIA.


A. M. Poinsignon, Quid praecipue apud Romanos adusque Diocletiani tempora Illyricum fuerit (Paris, 1846); Zippe, Die romische Herrschaft in Illyrien bis auf Augustus (Leipzig, 1877); H. Cons, La province romaine de Dalmatie (Paris, 1882); T. Mommsen, CIL, III, pp. 279 ff; T. Mommsen et J. Marquardt, Manuel des antiquites romaines (Fr. T), IX, 171 ff.

M. N. Tod


im’-aj (tselem; eikon): Its usage falls under 3 main heads.

(1) "Image" as object of idolatrous worship (translations about a dozen words, including maccekhah, "molten image" (De 9:12, etc.); matstsebhah, in the King James Version translated "image" or "pillar," in the Revised Version (British and American) always "pillar" (Ex 23:24, etc.); pecel, "graven image" (Ex 20:4, etc.); tselem, "image" (2Ki 11:18, etc.); eikon, "image" (e.g. Re 14:9));

(2) of man as made in the image of God; (3) of Christ as the image of God. Here we are concerned with the last two usages. For "image" in connection with idolatrous practices, see IDOLATRY; IMAGES; PILLAR; TERAPHIM, etc.

I. Man as Made in the Divine Image.

1. In the Old Testament:

To define man’s fundamental relation to God, the priestly writer in Ge uses two words: "image" (tselem) and "likeness" (demuth); once employing both together (Ge 1:26; compare Ge 5:3), but elsewhere one without the other, "image" only in Ge 1:27; 9:6, and "likeness" only in 5:1. The priestly writer alone in the Old Testament uses this expression to describe the nature of man, though the general meaning of the passage Ge 1:26 f is echoed in Ps 8:5-8, and the term itself reappears in Apocrypha (Sirach 17:3; The Wisdom of Solomon 2:23) and in the New Testament (see below).

The idea is important in relation to the Biblical doctrine of man, and has figured prominently in theological discussion. The following are some of the questions that arise:

(1) Is there any distinction to be understood between "image" and "likeness"? Most of the Fathers, and some later theologians, attempt to distinguish between them.

(a) Some have referred "image" to man’s bodily form, and "likeness" to his spiritual nature (Justin Martyr, Irenaeus).

(b) Others, especially the Alexandrian Fathers, understood by the "image" the mental and moral endowments native to man, and by the "likeness" the Divine perfections which man can only gradually acquire by free development and moral conflict (Clement of Alexandria and Origen), or which is conferred on man as a gift of grace.

(c) This became the basis of the later Roman Catholic distinction between the natural gifts of rationality and freedom (= the image), and the supernatural endowments of grace which God bestowed on man after He had created him (the likeness = donum superadditum). The former remained after the Fall, though in an enfeebled state; the latter was lost through sin, but restored by Christ. The early Protestants rejected this distinction, maintaining that supernatural righteousness was part of the true nature and idea of man, i.e. was included in the "image," and not merely externally superadded. Whatever truth these distinctions may or may not contain theologically, they cannot be exegetically inferred from Ge 1:26, where (as is now generally admitted) no real difference is intended.

We have here simply a "duplication of synonyms" (Driver) for the sake of emphasis. The two terms are elsewhere used interchangeably.

(2) What, then, is to be understood by the Divine image? Various answers have been given.

(a) Some of the Fathers (influenced by Philo) supposed that the "image" here = the Logos (called "the image of the invisible God" in Col 1:15), on the pattern of whom man was created. But to read the Logos doctrine into the creation narrative is to ignore the historic order of doctrinal development. (b) That it connotes physical resemblance to God (see (1), (a) above; so in the main Skinner, ICC, in the place cited.). It may be admitted that there is a secondary reference to the Divine dignity of the human body; but this does not touch the essence of the matter, inasmuch as God is not represented as having physical form.

(c) That it consists of dominion over the creatures (Socinian view; so also Gregory of Nyssa, Chrysostom, etc.). This would involve an unwarranted narrowing of the idea. It is true that such "dominion" is closely associated with the image in Ge 1:26 (compare Ps 8:6-8). But the "image of God" must denote primarily man’s relation to his Creator, rather than his relation to the creation. Man’s lordship over Nature is not identical with the image, but is an effect of it.

(d) It is best to take the term as referring to the whole dignity of man, in virtue of his fundamental affinity to God. It implies the possession by man of a free, self-conscious, rational and moral personality, like unto that of God—a nature capable of distinguishing right and wrong, of choosing the right and rejecting the wrong, and of ascending to the heights of spiritual attainment and communion with God. This involves a separation of man from the beast, and his supremacy as the culmination of the creative process.

(3) Does the term imply man’s original perfection, lost through sin? The old Protestant divines maintained that the first man, before the Fall, possessed original righteousness, not only in germ but in developed form, and that this Divine image was destroyed by the Fall. Exegetically considered, this is certainly not taught by the priestly writer, who makes no mention of the Fall, assumes that the image was transmitted from father to son (compare Ge 5:1 with 5:3), and naively speaks of post-diluvian men as created in the image of God (Ge 9:6; compare 1Co 11:7; Jas 3:9). Theologically considered, the idea of the perfect holiness of primitive man is based on an abstract conception of God’s work in creation, which precludes the idea of development, ignores the progressive method of the Divine government and the essential place of effort and growth in human character. It is more in harmony with modern conceptions

(a) to regard man as originally endowed with the power of right choice, rather than with a complete character given from the first; and

(b) to think of the Divine image (though seriously defaced) as continuing even in the sinful state, as man’s inalienable capacity for goodness and his true destination. If the Divine image in man is a self-conscious, rational and ethical personality, it cannot be a merely accidental or transitory attribute, but is an essential constituent of his being.

2. In the New Testament:

Two features may be distinguished in the New Testament doctrine of the Divine image in man:

(1) man’s first creation in Adam,

(2) his second or new creation in Christ.

As to (1), the doctrine of the Old Testament is assumed in the New Testament. Paul makes a special application of it to the question of the relation of husband and wife, which is a relation of subordination on the part of the wife, based on the fact that man alone was created immediately after the Divine image (1Co 11:7). Thus Paul, for the special purpose of his argument, confines the meaning of the image to man’s lordly authority, though to infer that he regards this as exhausting its significance would be quite unwarranted. Man’s affinity to God is implied, though the term "image" is not used, in Paul’s sermon to the Athenians (Ac 17:28 f, man the "offspring" of God). See also Jas 3:9 (it is wrong to curse men, for they are "made after the likeness of God").

(2) More characteristic of the New Testament is the doctrine of the new creation.

(a) The redeemed man is said to be in the image of God (the Father). He is "renewed unto knowledge after the image of him that created him" (Col 3:10), i.e. of God the Creator, not here of Christ or the Logos (as some) (compare Eph 4:24, "after God"). Though there is here an evident reference to Ge 1:26 f, this does not imply that the new creation in Christ is identical with the original creation, but only that the two are analogous. To Paul, the spiritual man in Christ is on a higher level than the natural ("psychical") man as found in Adam (compare especially 1Co 15:44-49), in whom the Divine image consisted (as we have seen) in potential goodness, rather than in full perfection. Redemption is infinitely more than the restoration of man’s primitive state.

(b) The Christian is further said to be gradually transformed into the image of the Son of God. This progressive metamorphosis involves not only moral and spiritual likeness to Christ, but also ultimately the Christian’s future glory, including the glorified body, the "passing through a gradual assimilation of mind and character to an ultimate assimilation of His doxa, the absorption of the splendor of His presence" (Sanday and Headlam, Romans, 218; see Ro 8:29; 1Co 15:49; 2Co 3:18; and compare Php 3:21; 1 Joh 3:2).

II. Christ the Image of God.

In 3 important passages in English Versions of the Bible, the term "image" defines the relation of Christ to God the Father; twice in Paul: "the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God" (2Co 4:4); "who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation" (Col 1:15); and once in He: "who being the effulgence of his glory, and the very image of his substance" (Col 1:3). These statements, taken in their contexts, register the highest reach of the Christology of the Epistles.

1. The Terms:

In the two Pauline passages, the word used is eikon, which was generally the Septuagint rendering of tselem (Vulgate: imago); it is derived from eiko, eoika, "to be like," "resemble," and means that which resembles an object and represents it, as a copy represents the original. In Heb 1:3 the word used is charakter, which is found here only in the New Testament, and is translated in Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) figura, the King James Version "express image," the Revised Version (British and American) "very image," the Revised Version, margin "impress." It is derived from charasso, "to engrave," and has passed through the following meanings:

(1) an engraving instrument (active sense);

(2) the engraved stamp or mark on the instrument (passive sense);

(3) the impress made by the instrument on wax or other object;

(4) hence, generally, the exact image or expression of any person or thing as corresponding to the original, the distinguishing feature, or traits by which a person or thing is known (hence, English words "character," "characteristic"). The word conveys practically the same meaning as eikon; but Westcott distinguishes them by saying that the latter "gives a complete representation, under conditions of earth, of that which it figures," while charakter "conveys representative traits only" (Westcott on Heb 1:3).

2. Meaning as Applied to Christ:

The idea here expressed is closely akin to that of the Logos doctrine in Joh (1:1-18). Like the Logos, the Image in Paul and in He is the Son of God, and is the agent of creation as well as the medium of revelation. "What a word (logos) is to the ear, namely a revelation of what is within, an image is to the eye; and thus in the expression there is only a translation, as it were, of the same fact from one sense to another" (Dorner, System of Ch. D., English translation, III, 178). As Image, Christ is the visible representation and manifestation of the invisible God, the objective expression of the Divine nature, the face of God turned as it were toward the world, the exact likeness of the Father in all things except being the Father. Thus we receive "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2Co 4:6). He is the facsimile of God.

3. To What State Does It Refer?:

Is Christ described as the Image of God in His preincarnate, His incarnate, or else His exalted state? It is best to say that different passages refer to different states, but that if we take the whole trend of New Testament teaching, Christ is seen to be essentially, and in every state, the Image of God.

(a) In Heb 1:3 the reference seems to be to the eternal, preincarnate Son, who is inherently and essentially the expression of the Divine substance. So Paul declares that He subsisted originally in the form of God (en morphe theou huparchon, Php 2:6).

(b) In Joh 1:18; 12:45; 14:9, though the term image is not used, we have the idea of the historical Jesus as a perfect revelation of the character and glory of God.

(c) In the two Pauline passages (2Co 4:4; Col 1:15), the reference is probably to the glorified, exalted Christ; not to His pre-existent Divine nature, nor to His temporal manifestation, but to His "whole Person, in the divine-human state of His present heavenly existence" (Meyer). These passages in their cumulative impressions convey the idea that the Image is an inalienable property of His personality, not to be limited to any stage of His existence.

4. Theological Implications:

Does this involve identity of essence of Father and Son, as in the Homoousion formula of the Nicene Creed? Not necessarily, for man also bears the image of God, even in his sinful state (see I above), a fact which the Arians sought to turn to their advantage. Yet in the light of the context, we must affirm of Christ an absolutely unique kinship with God. In the Col passage, not only are vast cosmic and redemptive functions assigned to Him, but there is said to dwell in Him "all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (1:19; 2:9). In He not only is the Son the final revelation of God to men, the upholder of the universe, and the very image of the Divine nature, but also the effulgence (apaugasma) of God’s glory, and therefore of one nature with Him as the ray is of one essence with the sun (1:1-3). The superiority of the Son is thus not merely one of function but of nature. On the other hand, the figure of the "image" certainly guards against any Sabellian identification of Father and Son, as if they were but modes of the one Person; for we cannot identify the pattern with its copy, nor speak of anyone as an image of himself. And, finally, we must not overlook the affinity of the Logos with man; both are the image of God, though the former in a unique sense. The Logos is at once the prototype of humanity within the Godhead, and the immanent Divine principle within humanity.

5. Relation to Pre-Christian Thought:

Both in Paul and in He we have an echo of the Jewish doctrine of Wisdom, and of Philo’s doctrine of the Logos. In the Alexandrine Book of Wisdom, written probably under Stoic influence, Divine Wisdom is pictorially represented as "an effulgence (apaugasma) from everlasting light, and an unspotted mirror of the working of God, and an image (eikon) of His goodness" (7 26). Philo repeatedly calls the Logos or Divine world-principle the image (eikon, charakter) of God, and also describes it as an effulgence of God. But this use of current Alexandrian terminology and the superficial resemblance of ideas are no proof of conscious borrowing on the part of the apostles. There is this fundamental distinction, that Philo’s Logos is not a self-conscious personality, still less a historical individual, but an allegorical hypostatizing of an abstract idea; whereas in Paul and He, as in John, the Divine archetype is actually realized in a historical person, Jesus Christ, the Son and Revealer of God.

D. Miall Edwards




im’-aj-ri (maskith, "carved figure"): Only in Eze 8:12, "every man in his chambers of imagery," i.e. dark chambers on whose walls were pictures in relief representing all kinds of reptiles and vermin, worshipped by elders of Israel. Some maintain that the cult was of foreign origin, either Egyptian (Bertholet, Commentary on Ezekiel), or Babylonian (Redpath, Westminster Commentary on Ezekiel); others that it was the revival of ancient superstitions of a totemistic kind which had survived in obscure circles in Israel (W.R. Smith, Lectures on the Religion of the Semites, revised edition, 357). The word here rendered "imagery" is elsewhere in the King James Version translated "image" (of stone) (Le 26:1, the Revised Version (British and American) "figured stone"), "pictures" (Nu 33:52, the Revised Version (British and American) "figured stones"; Pr 25:11, the Revised Version (British and American) "network"); twice it means imagination, conceit, i.e. a mental picture (Ps 73:20; Pr 18:11). "Imagery" occurs once in Apocrypha (Sirach 38:27 the King James Version, eis homoiosai zographian, the Revised Version (British and American) "to preserve likeness in his portraiture").

D. Miall Edwards


im’-aj-iz (tselem; eikon):

1. Definition

2. Origin

3. Historical Beginnings and Early Developments

4. Bible References and Palestinian Customs

5. Most Important Technical Terms

(1) Matstsebhah ("pillar")

(2) ‘Asherah ("grove")

(3) Chamman ("sun-image")

6. Obscure Bible References

(1) Golden Calf

Jeroboam’s Calves

(2) Brazen Serpent

(3) Teraphim

(4) Image of Jealousy

(5) Chambers of Imagery

(6) ‘Ephod


1. Definition:

Images, as used here, are visible representations of supposedly supernatural or divine beings or powers. They may be

(1) themselves objects of worship,

(2) pictures, embodiments or dwelling-places (temple, ark, pillar, priests) of deities worshipped,

(3) empowered instruments (amulets, charms, etc.) of object or objects worshipped,

(4) pictures or symbols of deities reverenced though not worshipped.

These images may be shapeless blocks, or symmetrically carved figures, or objects of Nature, such as animals, sun, moon, stars, etc. These visible objects may sometimes be considered, especially by the uninstructed, as deities, while by others in the small community they are thought of as instruments or symbolizations of deity. Even when they are thought of as deities, this does not exclude a sense and apprehension of a spiritual godhead, since visible corporeal beings may have invisible souls and spiritual attributes, and even the stars may be thought of as "seats of celestial spirits." An idol is usually considered as either the deity itself or his permanent tenement; a fetish is an object which has been given a magical or divine power, either because of its having been the temporary home of the deity, or because it has been formed or handled or otherwise spiritually influenced by such deity. The idol is generally communal, the fetish private; the idol is protective, the fetish is usually not for the common good. (See Jevons, Idea of Cod in Early Religions, 1910.) Relics and symbolic figures do not become "images" in the objectionable sense until reverence changes to worship. Until comparatively recent times, the Hebrews seem to have offered no religious objection to "artistic" images, as is proved not only from the description of Solomon’s temple, but also from the discoveries of the highly decorated temple of Yahweh at Syene dating from the 6th century BC, and from ruins of synagogues dating from the pre-Christian and early Christian periods (PEF, January, 1908; The Expositor, December, 1907; Expository Times, January and February, 1908). The Second Commandment was not an attack upon artists and sculptors but upon idolaters. Decoration by means of graven figures was not in ancient times condemned, though, as Josephus shows, by the time of the Seleucids all plastic art was regarded with suspicion. The brazen serpent was probably destroyed in Hezekiah’s time because it had ceased to be an ancient artistic relic and had become an object of worship (see below). So the destruction of the ark and altar and temple, which for so long a time had been the means of holy worship, became at last a prophetic hope (Isa 6:7; Jer 3:6; Am 5:25; Ho 6:6; compare Zec 14:20). While the temple is not naturally thought of as an "image," it was as truly so as any Bethel. An idol was the temple in miniature—a dwelling-place of the god. When an image became the object of worship or a means by which a false god was worshipped, it became antagonistic to the First and Second Commandments respectively.

2. Origin:

The learned author of the article on "Image Worship" in the Encyclopedia Biblica (11th edition) disposes too easily of this question when he suggests that image-worship is "a continuance by adults of their childish games with dolls. .... Idolatrous cults repose largely on make-believe."

Compare the similar statement made from a very different standpoint by the author of Great Is Diana of the Ephesians, or the Original of Idolatry (1695): "All Superstitions are to the People but like several sports to children, which varying in their several seasons yield them pretty entertainment," etc.

No universal institution or custom is founded wholly on superstition. If it does not answer to some real human need, and "if its foundations are not laid broad and deep in the nature of things, it must perish" (J.G. Fraser, Psyche’s Task, 1909, 103; compare Salomon Reinach, Revue des etudes grecques, 1906, 324). Image-worship is too widespread and too natural to humanity, as is proved in modern centuries as well as in the cruder earlier times, to have its basis and source in any mere external and accidental circumstances. All modern research tends to corroborate our belief that this is psychological rather than ecclesiastical in its origin. It is not imposed externally; it comes from within, and naturally accompanies the organic unfoldment of the human animal in his struggle toward self-expression. This is now generally acknowledged to be true of religious feeling and instinct (see especially Rudolf Eueken, Christianity and the New Idealism, 1909, chapter i; I. King, The Development of Religion, 1910); it ought to be counted equally true of religious expression. Neither can the origin of image-worship or even of magical rites be fully explained, as Fraser thinks, by the ordinary laws of association. These associations only become significant because the devoted worshipper already has a body of beliefs and generalizations which make him attentive to the associations which seem to him religiously or magically important. (Jastrow, Aspects of Rel. Belief and Practice in Babylonia and Assyria; compare James H. Leuba, Psychological Origin and Nature of Religion, 1909; Study of Religions, 1911). So animism must be regarded as a philosophy rather than as an original religious faith, since it is based on an "explanation of phenomena rather than an attitude of mind toward the cause of these phenomena" (EB, 11th edition, article "Animism," and compare Hoffding, Philosophy of Religion, 1906, 138). In whatever ways the various image-worshipping cults arose historically—whether from a primitive demonology or from the apotheosis of natural objects, or from symbolism, or a false connection of cause with effect—in any case it had some human need behind it and human nature beneath it. The presence of the image testifies to faith in the supernatural being represented by the image and to a desire to keep the object of worship near. Prayer is easier when the worshipper can see his god or some sacred thing the god has honored (compare M. L’abbe E. Van Drival, De l’origine et des sources de l’idolatrie, Paris, 1860).

3. Historical Beginnings and Early Development:

The first man was not born with a totem-pole in his fist, nor did the earliest historic men possess images. They lacked temples and altars and ephods and idols, as they lacked the fire-stick and potter’s wheel. Religion, which showed itself so strong in the next stage of human life, must have had very firm beginnings in the prehistoric period; but what were its external expressions we do not yet certainly know, except in the methods of burying and caring for the dead. It seems probable that primitive historic man saw in everything that moved an active soul, and that he saw in every extraordinary thing in earth or heaven the expression of a supernatural power. Yet reflective thinking began earlier than Tylor and all the older scientific anthropologists supposed. Those earlier investigators were without extended chronological data, and although ingenuity was exercised in systematizing the beliefs and customs of modern savages, it was necessarily impossible always to determine in this way which were the most primitive cults. Excavations in Babylonia, Egypt and elsewhere have enabled us for the first time to trace with some chronological certainty the religious expressions of earliest historic man. That primitive man was so stupid that he could not tell the difference between men and things, and that therefore totemism or fetishism or a low form of animism was necessarily the first expression of religious thought is a theory which can no longer be held very buoyantly in the face of the new and striking knowledge, material and religious, which is now seen to be incorporated in some of the most ancient myths of mankind. (See e.g. Winekler, Die jungsten Kampfe wider den Panbabylonismus, 1907; Jeremias, The Old Testament in the Light of the Ancient East, 2 volumes, 1911.) The pan-Bab theory, which makes so much use of these texts, is not certain, but the facts upon which theory depends are clear. It is a suggestive fact that among the earliest known deities or symbols of deities mentioned in the most ancient inscriptions are to be found the sun, moon, stars and other great forces of Nature. Out of these conceptions and the mystery of life—which seems to have affected early mankind even more powerfully than ourselves—sprang the earliest known religious language, the myth, which antedated by eons our oldest written texts, since some of these myths appear fully formed in the oldest texts. Rough figures of these solar and stellar deities are found from very early times in Babylonia. So in the earliest Egyptian texts the sun appears as divine and the moon as "the bull among the stars," and rough figures of the gods were carved in human or animal form, or these are represented pictorially by diadems or horns or ostrich feathers, as far back as the IInd Dynasty, while even earlier than this stakes and pillars and heaps of stones are sacred. (See further, HDB, 5th vol, 176 ff; Erman, A Handbook of Egyptian Rel.; Steindorf, Rel. of the Ancient Egyptians, 1905.) These rude and unshaped objects do not testify, as was once supposed, to a lower form of religious development than when sculptured images are found. The shapeless fetish, which not long ago was generally accepted as the earliest form of image, really represents a more advanced stage and higher form of religious expression than the worship of a beautifully or horribly carved image. It has been generally conceded since the days of Robertson Smith that it takes at least as much imagination and reflection to see an expression of deity in imageless matter as in the carved forms. Rude objects untouched by human hand, even in the most highly developed worships, have been most prized. The earliest images were probably natural objects which, because of their peculiar shapes or functions, were thought of either as divine or as made sacred by the touch of deity. Multiplied copies of these objects would naturally be made when worshippers increased or migrations occurred. While images may have been used in the most early cults, yet the highest development of image-worship has occurred among the most civilized peoples. Both deities and idols are less numerous in the early than in the later days of a religion. This is true in India, Assyria, Babylonia, and Egypt, as all experts now agree. Idols are not found among uncivilized peoples, such as the Bushmen, Fuegians, Eskimos, etc. (See e.g. Allen Menzies, History of Rel., 1895.) Images of the gods presuppose a power of discrimination that could only be the result of reflection. The earliest idols known among the Semites were rude stone pillars or unshapen blocks. These, as the fetish, were probably adored, not for themselves, but for the spirit that was supposed to be in them or to have touched them. Deities and idols are multiplied easily, not only by philological, geographical and social causes, but through intertribal and international associations. One thing absolutely proved by recent excavations has been the extent to which the representations of local deities have been modified by the symbolic art of surrounding nations. Babylonia, for example, was influenced by the Syro-Hittite religious art at least as much as by that of Egypt (William Hayes Ward, Cylinders and Other Ancient Oriental Seals, 1909; Clay, Amurru, 1910). Even in adjacent localities the same deity varied greatly in its pictorial representation. See PALESTINE EXPLORATION, and Revue biblique, XIV, 315-48. With the possible exception of one reign in Egypt, during which Ikhnaton refused to allow any deities to be worshipped except the sun discovered and himself, idolatry outside of the Hebrew kingdom was never made a crime against the state until the days of Constantine. Theodosius (392 AD) not only placed sacrifices and divination among the capital crimes, but placed a penalty upon anyone who entered a heathen temple.

4. Bible References and Palestinian Customs:

The dignity of the image in common thought in Bible times may be seen from the fact that man is said to have been made in God’s image (tselem; compare 1Sa 6:5; Nu 33:52), and Christ is said to be "the image of the invisible God" (eikon; compare Col 1:15 with Ro 1:23). The heathen thought of the sun and stars and idols as being images of the gods, but the Hebrews, though Yahweh’s temple was imageless, thought of normal humanity as in some true sense possessing a sacred resemblance to Deity, though early Christians taught that only Christ was the Father s "image" in unique and absolute perfection. See IMAGE. The ordinary words for "image" by a slight change came to mean vermin, carrion, false gods, no gods, carcasses, dung, etc. Heathen gods were undoubtedly accounted real beings by the early Hebrews, and the images of these enemies of Yahweh were doubtless looked upon as possessing an evil associated (?) power. In the earlier Old Testament era, images, idols, and false gods are synonymous; but as early as the 8th century BC Hebrew prophets begin to reach the lofty conception that heathen gods are non-existent, or at least practically so, when compared with the ever-living Yahweh, while the idols are "worthless things" or "non-entities" (Isa 2:8,18,20; 10:10,11; 19:1; 31:7; compare Jer 14:14; Eze 30:13; note the satiric term ‘elilim, as contrasted with the powerful ‘elohim). The many ordinary terms used by the Hebrews for an idol or image mean "copy," simulacrum, "likeness," "representation." These are often, however, so compounded as technically to express a particular form, as "graven" or "carved" image (e.g. Ex 20:4; 2Ch 33:7) of wood or stone, i.e. one cut into shape by a tool; "molten image" (e.g. Ex 32:4; Le 19:4), i.e. one cast out of melted metal (standing image) (Le 26:1 the King James Version, and see below), etc. However, a few of the Old Testament terms and modes of worship are unusual, or have a more difficult technical meaning, or have been given a new interest by new discoveries, and such deserve a more extended notice.

5. Most Important Technical Terms:

(1) Matstsebhah ("pillar"):

matstsebhah: These were upright stone pillars, often mentioned in the Old Testament, sometimes as abodes (Bethels) or symbols of deity—especially as used by the heathen—but also as votive offerings, memorial and grave stones (Ge 28:18; 31:45; 35:14,20; Jos 24:26; 1Sa 7:12). The reverence for these stones is closely connected with that found among all Semitic peoples for obelisks (Ge 33:20; 35:7), cairns (Ge 28:18; Jos 4:6), and circles (Jos 4:3,5,20). Rough stone pillars from time immemorial were used in Semitic worship (Kittel, Hist of the Hebrews, II, 84). They were thought of primitively as dwelling-places of deity, and the stones and the spots where they stood were therefore accounted sacred. From very early times the mystery of life pressed itself upon human attention, and these stones were viewed as phallic images. These images were at first rough and undifferentiated, but became later well defined as male organs. At Tell Zakariyah the end of one is sculptured to represent a human face. Some sort of phallicism underlies all early Semitic religion, the form of which is determined by the attention paid to the date palm, to the breeding of flocks, to astrology, and to social life. This phallicism did not always represent coarse thought, but sometimes a very profound spiritual conception; compare GOLDEN CALF, and note Wiedemann’s statement, in HDB, V, 180 that in Egypt the gods Hu, "Taste," and Sa, "Perception," were created from the blood of the sun-god’s phallus. These images of fertility and reproduction were naturally connected in Canaan with the worship of the Baals or "lords" of each locality, upon whose favor as possessor of the land fertility depended. They were also naturally associated with the cult of Astarte, the female counterpart of all the Baals (see ASTARTE). In the Old Testament the Baalim and Asherim are almost invariably classed together, although the latter were wooden posts dedicated to a particular goddess, while "Baal" was merely a title which could be given to any male Semitic deity, and sometimes even to his female associate. The matstsebhoth were set up in a "high place" (which see), attracting reverence because of its "elevation, isolation and mystery" (Vincent). Originally these pillars were not considered as idols, but were naturally erected to Yahweh (Ge 28:18; 31:45; 35:14; Ex 24:4), and even Isaiah (19:19) and Hosea (3:4) approve them, though pillars dedicated to idols must of course be destroyed (Ex 23:24; 34:13; Jer 43:13; Eze 26:11). Only in late times or by very far-sighted law-givers were the matstsebhoth erected to Yahweh condemned; but after the centralization of the Yahweh-worship in Jerusalem, these pillars were condemned, even when set up in the name of Yahweh, and the older places of worship with their indiscriminate rituals and necessary heathen affiliations were also wisely discarded (Le 26:1; De 16:22; see also GOLDEN CALF Jer 7:18; 44:17,19; but see).

(2) ‘Asherah ("grove"):

‘asherah: Perhaps a goddess (see ASHERAH), but as ordinarily used in the Old Testament, a sacred tree or stump of a tree planted in the earth (De 16:21) or a pole made of wood and set up near the altar (Jud 6:26; 1Ki 16:33; Isa 17:8).

It has been supposed that these were primarily symbols of a goddess Asherah or Ashtoreth (Kuenen, Baethgen), and they were certainly in primitive thought connected with the tree cult and the sacred groves so universally honored by the Semites (see especially W.R. Smith, Religion of the Semites, 169, 437; Stade, Geschichte, 160 ff; Fraser, Golden Bough, II, 56-117; John O’Neill, Night of the Gods, II, 57); but the tree of life is closely connected in texts and pictures with the human organ of generation, and there can be no doubt that there is a phallic meaning connected with this sacred stake or pole, as with the matstsebhoth described above. See references in HDB under "Asherah," and compare Transactions of the Victoria Institute, XXXIX, 234; Winckler, Keilinschriftliches Textbuch zum AT. As these wooden posts from earliest times represented the ideas of fertility and were connected with the mystery of life, they naturally became the signs and symbols in many lands of the local gods and goddesses of fertility.

Astarte was by far the most popular deity of ancient Palestine. See ASHTORETH. The figures of Astarte from the 12th to the 9th century BC, as found at Gezer, have large hips, disclosing an exaggerated idea of fecundity. In close connection with the Astarte sanctuaries in Palestine were found numberless bodies of little children, none over a week old, undoubtedly representing the sacrifice of the firstborn by these Canaanites (R.A.S. Macalister, Excavation of Gezer, 3 vols). These Asherim were erected at the most sacred Hebrew sanctuaries, at Samaria (2Ki 13:6), Bethel (2Ki 23:15), and even in the Temple of Jerusalem (2Ki 23:6). The crowning act of King Josiah’s reformation was to break down these images (2Ki 23:14). As the astrological symbol of Baal was the sun, Astarte is often thought of as the moon-goddess, but her symbol was really Venus. She was, however, sometimes called "Queen of Heaven" (Jer 7:18; 44:17,19; but see Zeitschrift fur alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, VI, 123-30).

(3) Chamman ("sun-image"):

chamman, the King James Version "images," "idols"; the Revised Version (British and American) "sun-images" (Le 26:30; 2Ch 14:5; 34:4,7; Isa 17:8; 27:9; Eze 6:4,6): This worship may originally have come from Babylonia, but the reverence of the sun under the name Baal-hamman had long been common in Palestine before Joshua and the Israelites entered the country. These sun-images were probably obelisks or pillars connected with the worship of some local Baal. The chariot and horses of the sun, mentioned (2Ki 23:11) as having an honored place at the western entrance of the Jerusalem Temple, represented not a local but a foreign cult. In Babylonian temples, sacrifices were made to the sun-chariot, which seems to have had a special significance in time of war (Pinches, HDB, IV, 629; see also CHARIOTS OF THE SUN).

6. Obscure Bible References:

(1) Golden Calf and Jeroboam’s Calves:


(2) Brazen Serpent:

Brazen Serpent (Nu 21:4-9; 2Ki 4).—The serpent, because of its strange, lightning-like power of poisonous attack, its power to shed its skin, and to paralyze its prey, has been the most universally revered of all creatures. Living serpents were kept in Babylonian temples. So the cobra was the guardian of royalty in Egypt, symbolizing the kingly power of life and death. In mythology, the serpent was not always considered a bad demon, enemy of the Creator, but often appears as the emblem of wisdom, especially in connection with health-giving and life-giving gods, such as Ea, savior of mankind from the flood, and special "god of the physicians" in Babylon; Thoth, the god of wisdom in Egypt, who healed the eye of Horus and brought Osiris to life again; Apollo, the embodiment of physical perfection, and his son, Aeseulapius, most famous giver of physical and moral health and curer of disease among the Greeks. Among the Hebrews also a seal (1500-1000 BC) shows a worshipper before a horned serpent raised on a pole (Wm. Hayes Ward). In Phoenician mythology the serpent is also connected with wisdom and long life, and it is found on the oldest Hebrew seals and on late Jewish talismans (Revue biblique internationale, July, 1908, 382-94); at Gezer, in Palestine, a small "brazen serpent" (a cobra) was found in the "cave of oracles," and in early Christian art Jesus the Lord of Life is often represented standing triumphantly upon the serpent or holding it in His fist. In the Hebrew narrative found in Nu 21, the serpent evidently appears as a well-known symbol representing the Divine ability to cure disease, being erected before the eyes of the Israelites to encourage faith and stop the plague. It was not a totem, for the totem belongs to a single family and is never set up for the veneration of other families (Ramsay, Cities of Paul, 39). Hezekiah destroyed it because it was receiving idolatrous worship (2Ki 18:4), though there is no hint that such worship was ever a part of the official temple cult (Benzinger); for if this had been done, the earlier prophets could hardly have remained silent. The above explanation seems preferable to the one formerly offered that the serpent was merely a copy of the disease-bearer, as the images offered by the Philistines were copies of the ulcers that plagued them (1Sa 6:4).

See further NEHUSHTAN.

(3) Teraphim:

Teraphim (teraphim).—These are usually considered household gods, but this does not necessarily include the idea that they were images of ancestors, though this is not improbable (Nowack, Hebrew Archaeology, II, 23; HDB, II, 190); that they were images of Yahweh is a baseless supposition (see Kautzsch, HDB, V, 643). Sometimes they appear in the house (1Sa 19:13,16); sometimes in sanctuaries (Jud 17:5; 18:14); sometimes as carried by travelers and armies (Ge 31:30; Eze 21:21). They are never directly spoken of as objects of worship (yet compare Ge 31:30), but are mentioned in connection with wizardry (2Ki 23:24), and as a means of divination (Eze 21:21; Zec 10:2), perhaps not necessarily inconsistent with Yahweh-worship (Ho 3:4). They were sometimes small and could be easily hidden (Ge 31:34); at other times larger and in some way resembling a human being (1Sa 19:13). Jewish commentators thought the teraphim were in early times mummified human heads which were represented in later centuries by rude images (Moore, Crit. and Exeg. Commentary on Jgs, 1895, 382; see especially Chwolsohn, Die Ssabier u. der Ssabismus, II, 19, 150). Customs of divination by means of such heads were not unknown. In Israel the teraphim were sometimes certainly used in consulting Yahweh (Jud 17:5; 18:14 ), though their use was later officially condemned (2Ki 23:24). The teraphim in the home doubtless correspond in use to the EPHOD (which see) in the sanctuary, and therefore these are frequently connected. Certain small rude images have lately been uncovered in Palestine by Bliss, at Tell el-Hesy, and by Sellin, at Tell Ta‘annuk, which are supposed to be teraphim.

(4) Image of Jealousy:

Image of jealousy (cemel).—It is not certain what this statue was which was set up by the door of the inner gate of the Jerusalem temple (Eze 8:3). It was no doubt some idol, perhaps the image of the Asherah (2Ki 21:7; 23:6), which certainly. had previously been set up in the temple and may have been there again in this day of apostasy. "Jealousy" is not the name of the idol, but it was probably called "image of jealousy" because in a peculiar manner this particular image seems to have been drawing the people from the worship of Yahweh and therefore provoking Him to jealousy.

(5) Chambers of Imagery:

Chambers of imagery (chadhre maskitho).—Does Ezekiel mean that in his heart every man in his chambers of imagery was an idol-worshipper, or does this refer to actual wall decorations in the Jerusalem Temple (Eze 8:11,12)? Most expositors take it literally. W.R. Smith has been followed almost if not quite universally in his supposition that a debased form of vermin-worship is described in the "creeping things and abominable beasts" (Eze 8:10). But while this low and ignorant worship was an ancient cult, it had been banished for centuries from respectable heathen worship, and it seems inconceivable that these Israelites who were of the highest class could have fallen to these depths, or if they had done so that the Tammuz and sun-worship should have been considered so much worse (Eze 8:13,14). To the writer it seems more probable that the references are to Egyptian or Greek mysteries which would be described by a Hebrew just as Ezekiel describes this secret chamber. It is now known that the Greek mysteries experienced a revival at exactly this era, and it was probably this revival which was making itself felt in Jerusalem, for Greek influence was at this time greatly affecting Palestine (see Duruy, Hist of Greece, II, 126-80, 374; Cobern, Commentary on Ezekiel and Daniel, 80-83, 280-82; and separate articles, CHAMBERS OF IMAGERY; IMAGERY).

(6) Ephod:

Ephod (’ephodh).—There is no doubt that this was the name of a vestment or ritual loin cloth of linen worn by common priests and temple servants and on special occasions by the king (1Sa 2:18; 22:18; 2Sa 6:14). The ephod of the high priest was an ornamental waist coat on the front of which was fastened the holy breastplate containing the pocket in which were the Urim and Thummim (Ex 28:6,30; 29:5; 39:2-5; Le 8:28).

There are several passages, however, which have convinced many scholars that another ephod is mentioned which must be an image of Yahweh (see EPHOD). The chief passages relied upon are Jud 8:26,27, where Gideon made an ephod with 1,700 shekels of gold and "set" this in Ophrah, where it became an object of worship. So in Jud 17:4; 18:14-20, 1Sa 23:6,9; 30:7, etc.Micah provides an ephod as well as an image and pillar for his sanctuary; in 1Sa 21:9 the sword of Goliath is preserved behind the ephod; while in various places the will of Yahweh is ascertained, not by putting on the ephod, but by "bringing it near" and "bearing" and "carrying" it (1Sa 23:6,9; 30:7, etc.). On the basis of these passages Kautzsch (HDB, V, 641) concludes most inconsistently that the ephod appears "exclusively as an image of Yahweh." Driver, after an examination of each text, concludes that just in one passage (Jud 8:27) the term "ephod" is certainly used of the gold casing of an image, and that therefore it may also have this meaning in other passages (HDB, I, 725). It does not seem quite certain, however, that a ceremonial vestment heavily ornamented with gold might not have been "set" or "erected" in a holy place where later it might become an object of worship. If this had been an idolatrous image, would Hosea have deplored its loss (Ho 3:4), and would its use not have been forbidden in some Bible passage?

Kautzsch’s view that the ephod meant primarily the garment used to clothe Divine image, which afterward gave its name to the image itself, is a guess unsustained by the Scriptures quoted or, I think, by any archaeological parallel. We conclude that there is no certain proof that this was an image of Yahweh, though was used ritualistically in receiving the oracles of Yahweh (compare Kuenen, Religion of Israel, I, 100; Kittel, Hist of the Hebrews, II, 42; Konig, Die Hauptprobleme, 59-63).



See especially W.R. Smith, Religion of the Semites; E. B. Tylor, Primitive Culture; J. G. Frazer, Golden Bough (3 vols); Baethgen, Beitrage zur sem. Rel.-Gesch.; Kittel, Hist of the Hebrews; Nowack, Hebrew Arch., II; Baudissin, Studien z. sem. Rel.-Gesch. For recent excavations, L.P.H. Vincent, Canaan d’apres l’expl. recente, 1907; R.A.S. Macalister, The Excavation of Gezer (1912); William Hayes Ward, Cylinders and Other Ancient Oriental Seals, 1909.

Camden M. Cobern


i-maj-i-na’-shun (yetser, sheriruth; dianoia): "Imagination" is the translation of yetser, properly "a shaping," hence, "a thought" (Ge 6:5; 8:21; De 31:21; 1Ch 28:9; 29:18). In Isa 26:3 yetser is translated "mind" (King James Version margin "thought" or "imagination"), "whose mind is stayed on thee" (the Revised Version margin "or imagination"); in Ps 103:14 it is "frame"; of sheriruth, "obstinacy," "stubbornness" (De 29:19; Jer 3:17; 7:24; 9:14; 11:8; 13:10; 16:12; 18:12; 23:17); in Ps 81:12 the King James Version it is, "lust," margin "hardness or imaginations"; 3 times of machashebheth, "thought" or "purpose" in the King James Version (Pr 6:18; La 3:60,61); once of dianoia, "mind," "understanding" (Lu 1:51); of logismos, "reasoning" (2Co 10:5); and of dialogismos, "reasoning through" (Ro 1:21 the King James Version).

The Revised Version (British and American) gives "stubbornness" in each instance where sheriruth is in the King James Version translated "imagination"; in Pr 6:18 the American Standard Revised Version has "purposes"; the Revised Version (British and American) has "devices" (La 3:60,61) and "reasonings" (Ro 1:21), "imagination" for "conceit" (Pr 18:11), and (English Revised Version) for "device" (La 3:62).

"Imagination" is frequent in Apocrypha, e.g. Ecclesiasticus 22:18 (dianoema); 37:3 (enthumema, "wicked imagination"); 40:2 (dialogismos, the Revised Version (British and American) "expectation").

W. L. Walker


i-maj’-in (chashabh; meletao): The word most frequently translated "to imagine" in the Old Testament, only in the King James Version and the English Revised Version, not in the American Standard Revised Version, is chashabh, "to bind," "combine," "think" (Job 6:26; Ps 10:2; 21:11; 140:2; Ho 7:15; Na 1:9,11; Zec 7:10; 8:17); we have also haghah in the King James Version and the English Revised Version, but not in the American Standard Revised Version, "to meditate," "mutter," "speak" (Ps 2:1; 38:12); zamam, "to devise" (Ge 11:6 the King James Version); charash, "to grave," "devise" (Pr 12:20 the King James Version); hathath, "to break in upon," to "attack unjustly" (Ps 62:3 the King James Version); meletao, "to meditate" (Ac 4:25).

W. L. Walker


i-mal-ku’-e (Imalkoue; the King James Version Simalcue): An Arabian prince to whom Alexander Balas entrusted the upbringing of his young son Antiochus. Tryphon, who had formerly been on the side of Alexander, persuaded Imalcue to set up the young Antiochus (Antiochus VI) against Demetrius, who had incurred the enmity of his men of war (1 Macc 11:39,40). Antiochus confirmed Jonathan in the high-priesthood and appointed him to be one of the king’s friends (11:57). In Josephus (Ant., XIII, v, 1) the name is given as Malchus.

J. Hutchison


im’-la (yimlah, "fullness"?): Father of the prophet Micaiah (1Ki 22:8,9; 2Ch 18:7,8).


i-mak’-u-lat kon-sep’-shun:

1. Definition:

The historic designation of the Roman Catholic dogma promulgated by Pope Pius IX on December 8, 1854, in the Papal Bull entitled "Ineffabilis Deus." The term is often incorrectly applied, even by those whose intelligence should make such an error impossible, to the VIRGIN BIRTH of Christ (which see).

2. Statement of the Dogma:

The central affirmation of this proclamation, which was read in Peter’s in the presence of over two hundred bishops, is expressed in the following words: It is proclaimed "by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ and the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul and in our own authority, that the doctrine which holds the blessed Virgin Mary to have been, from the first instant of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of Almighty God, in view of the merits of Christ Jesus the Saviour of Mankind, preserved free from all stain of original sin, was revealed by Cod, and is, therefore, to be firmly and constantly believed by all the faithful" (see Schaff, A History of the Creeds of Christendom, II, 211, 212).

3. Objections to the Dogma:

(1) Drawn from Specifically Protestant Principles.

Objections to the dogma are mainly two:

(a) the claim to authority upon which the proclamation rests. There is every reason to believe that one of the major motives to the entire transaction was the wish, on the part of Pius and his advisers, to make an unmistakable assertion of absolute doctrinal authority by the Roman pontiff. To Protestants of all shades of opinion there would be unbearable offense in the wording of the decree, even if assent could be given to the doctrine itself. The whole vital issue of the Reformation is involved in the use by an ecclesiastic of the words "in our own authority" in addition to the words "by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ and the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul."

(b) The tendency to Mariolatry in the entire movement. As we shall see, the ascription of Divine honors to Mary is avoided in the public statement of the dogma and in the defense of it by Roman Catholic writers, but one has but to survey the course of discussion leading up to the publication of 1854, and subsequent to it, to discover a growing tendency to lift Mary out of the realm of human beings and to endow her with Divine attributes and functions. An extended discussion of Mariolatry lies beyond the range of this article (see MARY); it is only necessary to point out the obvious connections (see Roman Catholic Dictionary and church histories, sub loc.).

(2) Drawn from Roman Catholic Principles.

It is far from the truth to suppose that there are no objections to this modern dogma save those which are specifically Protestant. From the viewpoint of the devout Roman Catholic, and for the sake of the prestige of the papacy, this particular dogma seems to have been unfortunately chosen.

(a) It Has No Basis in Scripture.

The only attempt made to provide a Scriptural argument is by using a vague and unsatisfactory parallel between Mary and Eve before the Fall, to be found in the writings of certain church Fathers who did not hold the papal dogma but unconsciously provided a slender and most insecure basis for it (see inacanus). Most Roman Catholic writers are intelligent enough to admit that theory of inspired tradition alone can be appealed to in support of the idea. The ordinary and only tenable argument is that the ecclesiastical promulgation and acceptance of the doctrine prove its apostolic origin (see Catholic Dictionary, sub loc.).

(b) It Weakens the Authority of the Church.

It would almost seem as if the doctrines of ecclesiastical authority and particularly of papal infallibility had, in this unfortunate proclamation, reached a reductio ad obsurdum for the comfort of their foes. Notice with care the historical standing of this dogma:

(i) The acknowledged absence of all positive evidence for apostolic origin and primitive authority (see Catholic Dictionary ut supra).

(ii) The abundant positive evidence that the principal Fathers of the early church did not believe in the sinlessness of Mary (see list of names and references given by H.C. Sheldon, History of the Christian Church, sub loc.).

(iii) The uncertain and equivocal testimony per contra drawn from the early Fathers. They are practically confined to the following: Ephrem Syrus (Carmina, Hymn 27, strophe 8), where he says "Truly it is Thou and Thy mother only who are fair altogether. For in Thee there is no stain and in Thy mother no spot"; Augustine (De Natura et Gratia, cap. 26), "Two were made simple, innocent, perfectly like each other, Mary and Eve," etc. To these may be added the words of Irenaeus: "The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by Mary’s obedience" (Catholic Dictionary, 422). In regard to these three passages it may reasonably be contended that even if these statements necessarily implied the Immaculate Conception of Mary, which they certainly do not, they would still have to be estimated against the many weighty statements which may be brought forward on the other side.

(iv) The prolonged controversy over the doctrine. From the earliest time when the idea of Mary’s miraculous freedom from sin appears, up to the Old Catholic agreement of 1874, devout and faithful Roman Catholics have protested against the addition of this unscriptural dogma to the faith of the church. Bonaventura (Locus Theol., VII, 1) says: "All the saints who have made mention of this matter, with one mouth have asserted that the blessed Virgin was conceived in original sin." With the statement of the Old Catholic agreement we may safely sum up the ecclesiastical situation, even from the viewpoint of those who hold to the doctrinal validity of tradition. Art. X reads: "We reject the New Roman doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as being contrary to the tradition of the first 13 centuries, according to which Christ alone is conceived without sin."

(3) Drawn from General Considerations of Christian Doctrine.

The most serious objections to this offensive and gratuitous dogma are not at all specifically Protestant but, rather, broadly Christian. It is necessary at this point to assure ourselves that we understand (as many Protestants evidently do not) just what is meant by the doctrine as a doctrine. According to the accepted Roman Catholic explanation, Mary, at the supposed stage of her conception when the soul was actually infused into the body waiting for it, received the special grace of God whereby she was delivered from all stain of original sin. The point which Protestants need especially to note is that, according to Roman Catholic ideas, this gracious act of God was performed on the basis of the foreseen merits of Christ’s sacrifice. This tones down the offensiveness of the doctrine in that it does not per se imply the equality of Mary with Christ, but rather the contrary, in so far as the grace bestowed upon her was gained by anticipation from Him. Roman Catholic writers naturally emphasize this fact in recommending the doctrine to Protestant minds. None the less the offense remains. The "Immaculate Conception" necessarily implies the "immaculate life," and on the same basis of supernatural grace, else would the special miracle have occurred in vain and the fall of Adam been repeated in Mary. Hence, a full account of the doctrine would be that Mary was completely and miraculously redeemed at her conception and completely and miraculously kept from sin throughout her whole life. Apart from all questions as to the rightful place of Mary in Christian thought, this idea involves utter doctrinal confusion. It means that Mary never became a true human being and never lived a true human life. Redemption by a miraculous process begun at conception and carried on throughout the life is an utter impossibility, for the Holy Spirit does not work impersonally, and miraculous holiness which is holiness of a purely Divine character, without a free, cooperating human factor, is no human holiness at all. This dogma reads Mary out of the human family, reduces her to an image and makes her life a phantasm. Moreover, the parallels which are adduced in its support are not true parallels at all.

Our Lord’s sinlessness was not mechanically guaranteed by His miraculous conception (see VIRGIN BIRTH) but was His own achievement through the Holy Spirit granted to Him and personally appropriated. The Hallowing of Children at the Font (see Catholic Dictionary, 470a), the sanctifying of those "separated from the womb" (Ga 1:15) to God’s service, does not imply the miraculous guarantee of artificial sinlessness, but such a gracious influence as enables the subject freely cooperating to obtain victory over sin as a controlling principle. Actual sin and need of forgiveness is not pretermitted by such special grace.

We can only say, in conclusion, that every reason, which usually operates in a Christian mind to insure rejection of a false teaching, ought to preclude the possibility of accepting this peculiar dogma which is Scripturally baseless, historically unjustified and doctrinally unsound.


The best simple and reasonably fair-minded discussion of this dogma from the Roman Catholic viewpoint is to be found in the Catholic Dictionary already mentioned, where wide references will be found. For the Protestant view consult any authoritative church history, especially that of Professor H.C. Sheldon where copious references to Patristic literature will be found.

Louis Matthews Sweet


i-man’-u-el (‘immanu’el): The name occurs but 3 times, twice in the Old Testament (Isa 7:14; 8:8), and once in the New Testament (Mt 1:23). It is a Hebrew word signifying "God is with us." The form "Emmanuel" appears in Septuagint (Emmanouel).

1. Isaiah Rebukes Ahaz:

In 735 BC Ahaz was king of Judah. The kingdom of Israel was already tributary to Assyria (2Ki 15:19,20). Pekah, king of Israel, a bold and ambitious usurper, and Rezin, king of Syria, formed an alliance, the dual object of which was, first, to organize a resistance against Assyria, and second, to force Ahaz to cooperate in their designs against the common tyrant. In the event of Ahaz’ refusal, they planned to depose him, and to set the son of Tabeel, a choice of their own, upon the throne of David. To this end they waged war against Judah, advancing as far as Jerusalem itself, but without complete success (Isa 7:1). Ahaz, a weak king, and now panic-stricken, determined to invoke the aid of Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria (2Ki 16:7). This he actually did at a later stage in the war (2Ki 6:9; 15:29). Such a course would involve the loss of national independence and the payment of a heavy tribute. At this period of crisis, Isaiah, gathering his disciples around him (Isa 8:16), is told to deliver a message to the king. Ahaz, though making a show of resistance against the coalition, is in reality neither depending upon the help of Yahweh nor upon the courage of his people. Isaiah, in an effort to calm his fears and prevent the fatal alliance with Assyria, offers him a sign. This method is specially characteristic of this prophet. Fearing to commit himself to the policy of Divine dependence, but with a pretense at religious scruples, "Neither will I tempt Yahweh," the king refuses (Isa 7:12). The prophet then chides him bitterly for his lack of faith, which, he says, not only wearies men, but God also (Isa 7:13).

2. The Sign of "Immanuel":

He then proceeds to give him a sign from God Himself, the sign of "Immanuel" (Isa 7:14). The interpretation of this sign is not clear, even apart from its New Testament application to Christ. The Hebrew word translated "virgin" in English Versions of the Bible means, more correctly, "bride," in the Old English sense of one who is about to become a wife, or is still a young wife. Ps 68:25 English Versions of the Bible gives "damsels."

Isaiah predicts that a young bride shall conceive and bear a son. The miracle of virgin-conception, therefore, is not implied. The use of the definite article before "virgin" (ha-‘almah) does not of itself indicate that the prophet had any particular young woman in his mind, as the Hebrew idiom often uses the definite article indefinitely. The fact that two other children of the prophet, like Hosea’s, bore prophetic and mysterious names, invites the conjecture that the bride referred to was his own wife. The hypothesis of some critics that a woman of the harem of Ahaz became the mother of Hezekiah, and that he was the Immanuel of the prophet’s thought is not feasible. Hezekiah was at least 9 years of age when the prophecy was given (2Ki 16:2).

Immanuel, in the prophetic economy, evidently stands on the same level with Shear-jashub (Isa 7:3) as the embodiment of a great idea, to which Isaiah again appeals in Isa 8:8 (see ISAIAH, VII).

3. Was It a Promise or a Threat?:

The question as to whether the sign given to Ahaz was favorable or not presents many difficulties. Was it a promise of good or a threat of judgment? It is evident that the prophet had first intended an omen of deliverance and blessing (Isa 7:4,7). Did the king’s lack of faith alter the nature of the sign? Isa 7:9, "If ye will not believe," etc., implies that it might have done so. The omission of 7:16, and especially the words "whose two kings thou abhorrest," greatly simplifies this theory, as "the land," singular, would more naturally refer to Judah than to Syria and Ephraim collectively. The omen would then become an easily interpreted threat, referring to the overthrow of Judah rather than that of her enemies. Immanuel should eat curdled milk and honey (7:15), devastation reducing the land from an agricultural to a pastoral one. The obscure nature of the passage as it stands suggests strongly that it has suffered from interpolation. The contrary theory that the sign was a promise and not a prediction of disaster, has much to commend it, though it necessitates greater freedom with the text. The name "Immanuel" implies the faith of the young mother of the child in the early deliverance of her country, and a rebuke to the lack of that quality in Ahaz. It is certain also that Isaiah looked for the destruction of Syria and Ephraim, and that, subsequent to the Assyrian invasion, salvation should come to Judah through the remnant that had been faithful (11:11). The fact that the prophet later gave the name of Maher-shalal-hash-baz to his new-born son, a name of good omen to his country, further strengthens this position. The omission of 7:15,17 would make the sign a prophecy of the failure of the coalition. It is plain, whichever theory be accepted, that something must be eliminated from the passage to insure a consistent reading.

4. Its Relation to the Messianic Hope:

The question now presents itself as to what was the relation of Immanuel to the Messianic prophecies. Should the emphasis be laid upon "a virgin," the son, or the name itself? For traditional interpretation the sign lay in the virgin birth, but the uncertainty of implied virginity in the Hebrew noun makes this interpretation improbable. The identification of the young mother as Zion personified, and of the "son" as the future generation, is suggested by Whitehouse and other scholars. But there is no evidence that the term ‘almah was used at that time for personification. The third alternative makes Immanuel a Messiah in the wider use of the term, as anticipated by Isaiah and his contemporaries. There can be little doubt but that there existed in Judah the Messianic hope of a national saviour (2Sa 7:12). Isaiah is expecting the arrival of one whose character and work shall entitle him to the great names of 9:6. In him should dwell all the fullness of God. He was to be "of the stem of Jesse," the bringer of the Golden Age. The house of David is now beset by enemies, and its reigning representative is weak in faith. The prophet therefore announces the immediate coming of the deliverer. If he had intended the virgin-conception of Christ in the distant future, the sign of "Immanuel" would have possessed no immediate significance, nor would it have been an omen to Ahaz. With regard to the Messianic idea, Mic 5:3 ("until the time that she who travaileth hath brought forth") is of importance as indicating the prevalent thought of the time. Recent evidence shows that even in Babylonia and Egypt there existed expectations of a divinely born and wonderful saviour. To this popular tradition the prophet probably appealed, his hearers being easily able to appreciate the force of oracular language that is to us obscure. There is much to confirm the view, therefore, that the prophecy is Messianic.

5. The Virgin Birth:

The use of the word as it relates to the virgin birth of Christ and the incarnation cannot be dealt with here (see PERSON OF CHRIST). These facts, however, may be noted. The Septuagint (which has parthenos, "virgin") and the Alexandrian Jews interpreted the passage as referring to the virgin birth and the Messianic ministry. This interpretation does not seem to have been sufficiently prominent to explain the rise of the idea of miraculous virgin conception and the large place it has occupied in Christological thought.


Arthur Walwyn Evans


im’-er (’immer):

(1) A priest of David’s time (1Ch 24:14), whose descendants are mentioned in Ezr 2:37; 10:20; Ne 3:29; 7:40; 11:13.

(2) A priest of Jeremiah’s time (Jer 20:1).

(3) A place in Babylonia (Ezr 2:59; Ne 7:61).


i-mor’-tal, im-or-tal’-i-ti (athanasia, 1Co 15:53; 1Ti 6:16, aphtharsia, literally, "incorruption," Ro 2:7; 1Co 15; 2Ti 1:10, aphthartos, literally, "incorruptible," Ro 1:23; 1Co 15:52; 1Ti 1:17):

1. Preliminary—Need of Definition and Distinction

2. Biblical Conception


1. Its Origin

2. Philosophical Arguments

(1) The Soul Spiritual

Soul not Inherently Indestructible

(2) Capacities of Human Nature

(3) The Moral Argument


1. Starting-Point—Man’s Relation to God

Man’s Nature

2. Sin and Death

3. Grace and Redemption—The True Immortality

Deliverance from Sheol

4. Later Jewish Thought


1. Immortality through Christ

(1) Survival of the Soul

(2) Union with Christ in Unseen World

(3) The Resurrection

(4) The Wicked Also Raised

(5) Eternal Life

2. Contrasts


1. Preliminary—Need of Definition and Distinction:

In hardly any subject is it more necessary to be careful in the definition of terms and clear distinction of ideas, especially where the Biblical doctrine is concerned, than in this of "immortality." By "immortality" is frequently meant simply the survival of the soul, or spiritual part of man, after bodily death. It is the assertion of the fact that death does not end all. The soul survives. This is commonly what is meant when we speak of "a future life," "a future state," "a hereafter." Not, however, to dwell on the fact that many peoples have no clear conception of an immaterial "soul" in the modern sense (the Egyptians, e.g. distinguished several parts, the Ka, the Ba, etc., which survived death; often the surviving self is simply a ghostly resemblance of the earthly self, nourished with food, offerings, etc.), there is the more serious consideration that the state into which the surviving part is supposed to enter at death is anything but a state which can be described as "life," or worthy to be dignified with the name "immortality." It is state peculiar to "death" (see DEATH); in most cases, shadowy, inert, feeble, dependent, joyless; a state to be dreaded and shrunk from, not one to be hoped for. If, on the other hand, as in the hope of immortality among the nobler heathen, it is conceived of, as for some, a state of happiness—the clog of the body being shaken off—this yields the idea, which has passed into so much of our modern thinking, of an "immortality of the soul," of an imperishableness of the spiritual part, sometimes supposed to extend backward as well as forward; an inherent indestructibility.

2. Biblical Conception:

It will be seen as we advance, that the Biblical view is different from all of these. The soul, indeed, survives the body; but this disembodied state is never viewed as one of complete "life." For the Bible "immortality" is not merely the survival of the soul, the passing into "Sheol" or "Hades." This is not, in itself considered, "life" or happiness. The "immortality" the Bible contemplates is an immortality of the whole person—body and soul together. It implies, therefore, deliverance from the state of death. It is not a condition simply of future existence, however prolonged, but a state of blessedness, due to redemption and the possession of the "eternal life" in the soul; it includes resurrection and perfected life in both soul and body. The subject must now be considered more particularly in its different aspects.

I. The Natural Belief.

1. Its Origin:

In some sort the belief in the survival of the spirit or self at death is a practically universal phenomenon. To what is it traceable? A favorite hypothesis with anthropologists is that it has its origin in dreams or visions suggesting the continued existence of the dead (compare H. Spencer, Eccles. Instit., chapters i, xiv). Before, however, a dream can suggest the survival of the soul, there must be the idea of the soul, and of this there seems a simpler explanation in the consciousness which even the savage possesses of something within him that thinks, feels and wills, in distinction from his bodily organs. At death this thinking, feeling something disappears, while the body remains. What more natural than to suppose that it persists in some other state apart from the body? (Compare Max Muller, Anthrop. Religion, 281.) Dreams, etc., may help this conviction, but need not create it. It is only as we assume such a deeper root for the belief that we can account for its universality and persistence. Even this, however, while an instinctive presumption, can hardly be called a proof of survival after death, and it does not yield an idea of "immortality" in any worthy sense. It is at most, as already said, a ghostly reduplication of the earthly life that is thus far reached.

2. Philosophical Arguments:

(1) The Soul Spiritual.

The more philosophical arguments that are adduced for the soul’s immortality. (or survival) are not all of equal weight. The argument based on the metaphysical essence of the soul (see Plato’s Phaedo) is not in these days felt to be satisfying. On the other hand, it can be maintained against the materialist on irrefragable grounds that the soul, or thinking spirit, in man is immaterial in Nature, and, where this is granted, there is, or can be, no proof that death, or physical dissolution, destroys this conscious spirit. The presumption is powerfully the other way. Cicero of old argued that death need not even be the suspension of its powers (compare Tusc. Disp. i.20); Butler reasons the matter from analogy (Anal., I, chapter i); modern scientists like J.S. Mill (Three Essays, 201) and Professor Huxley (Life and Letters, I, 217 ff; compare William James, Ingersoll Lecture) concede that immortality cannot be disproved. The denial one hears from various sides more frequently than formerly is therefore not warranted. Still possibility is not certainty, and there is nothing as yet to show that even if the soul survives death, its new state of existence has in it anything desirable.

Soul not Inherently Indestructible

It was hinted that one use which the Greeks made of the metaphysical argument was to prove the indestructibility of the soul—its immortality in the sense of having no beginning and no end. This is not the Christian doctrine. The soul has no such inherent indestructibility. It is dependent on God, as everything else is, for its continued existence. Did He withdraw His sustaining power, it would cease to exist. That it does continue to exist is not doubted, but this must be argued on other grounds.

(2) Capacities of Human Nature.

A much more apprehensible argument for immortality—more strictly, of a future state of existence—is drawn from the rich capacities and possibilities of human nature, for which the earthly life affords so brief and inadequate a sphere of exercise. It is the characteristic of spirit that it has in it an element of infinitude, and aspires to the infinite. The best the world can give can never satisfy it. It has in it the possibility of endless progress, and ever higher satisfaction. It was this consideration which led Kant, with all his theoretical skepticism, to give immortality a place among his "doctrinal beliefs" (see his Critique of Pure Reason, Bohn’s translation, 590-91), and moved J.S. Mill to speak of it as the only hope which gave adequate scope to the human faculties and feelings, "the loftier aspirations being no longer kept down by a sense of the insignificance of human life by the disastrous feeling of ‘not worth while’ "( Three Essays, 249). Yet when these arguments are calmly weighed, they amount to no more than a proof that man is constituted for immortality; they do not afford a guarantee that this destiny might not be forfeited, or if they yield such a guarantee for the good, they hardly do so for the wicked. The belief, in their case, must depend on other considerations.

(3) The Moral Argument.

It is, as Kant also felt, when we enter the moral sphere that immortality, or the continued existence of the soul, becomes a practical certainty to the earnest mind. With moral personality is bound up the idea of moral law and moral responsibility; this, in turn, necessitates the thought of the world as a moral system, and of God as moral Ruler. The world, as we know it, is certainly a scene of moral administration—of probation, of discipline, of reward and penalty—but as obviously a scene of incomplete moral administration. The tangled condition of things in this life can satisfy no one’s sense of justice. Goodness is left to suffer; wickedness outwardly triumphs. The evil-doer’s own conscience proclaims him answerable, and points to future judgment. There is need for a final rectification of what is wrong here. But while a future state seems thus called for, this does not of itself secure eternal existence for the wicked, nor would such existence be "immortality" in the positive sense. In view of the mystery of sin, the lamp of reason grows dim. For further light we must look to revelation. II. The Biblical Doctrine—the Old Testament.

1. Starting-Point—Man’s Relation to God:

The Biblical view of immortality starts from man’s relation to God. Man, as made in the image of God (Ge 1:27), is fitted for the knowledge of God, for fellowship with Him. This implies that man is more than an animal; that he has a life which transcends time. In it already lies the pledge of immortality if man is obedient.

Man’s Nature.

With this corresponds the account given of man’s creation and original state. Man is a being composed of body and soul; both are integral parts of his personality. He was created for life, not for mortality. The warning, "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Ge 2:17), implies that if man continued obedient he would live. But this is not an immortality of the soul only. It is a life in the body (compare Ge 3:22). Its type is such cases as Enoch and Elijah (Ge 5:24; 2Ki 2:11,12; compare Ps 49:15; 73:24).

2. Sin and Death:

The frustration of this original destiny of man comes through sin. Sin entails death (see DEATH). Death in its physical aspect is a separation of soul and body—a breaking up of the unity of man’s personality. In one sense, therefore, it is the destruction of the immortality which was man’s original destiny. It does not, however, imply the extinction of the soul. That survives, but not in a state that can be called "life." It passes into Sheol—the sad, gloomy abode of the dead, in which there is no joy, activity, knowledge of the affairs of earth, or (in the view of Nature) remembrance of God, or praise of His goodness (on this subject, and the Hebrew belief in the future state generally, see ESCHATOLOGY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT; DEATH; SHEOL). This is not future "life"—not "immortality."

It is the part of grace and redemption to restore immortality in the true sense. Had the world been left to develop in sin, no further hope could have come to it. The picture of Sheol would have become ever darker as the idea of retribution grew stronger; it could never become brighter.

3. Grace and Redemption—the True Immortality:

But God’s grace intervened: "Deliver him from going down to the pit, I have found a ransom" (Job 33:24). God’s mercy breaks in on the hopelessness of man’s lot. He gives to man His promises; makes His covenant with man; admits man to His fellowship (Ge 3:15; 4:4; 5:24; 6:8,9; 12:1-3; 15, etc.). In this fellowship the soul was raised again to its true life even on earth. But this held in it also a hope for the future. The promises placed in the forefront as tokens of God’s favors were indeed predominatingly temporal—promises for this life—but within these (the kernel within the shell) was the supreme possession of God Himself (Ps 4:6 f; 16:2). This held in it the hope of redemption and the principle of every good.

Deliverance from Sheol.

Here we reach the core of the Old Testament hope of immortality. Such fellowship as the believer had with God could not be lost, even in Sheol; beyond that was deliverance from Sheol. In their highest moments it was this hope that sustained patriarchs, psalmists, prophets, in their outlook on the future. Doubt might cloud their minds; there might be seasons of darkness and even despair; but it was impossible in moments of strong faith to believe that God would ever really desert them. The eternal God was their dwelling-place; them were everlasting arms (De 33:27; compare Ps 90:1). Their hope of immortality, therefore, was, in principle, the hope not merely of an "immortality of the soul," but likewise of resurrection—of complete deliverance from Sheol. Thus it is clearly in the impassioned outburst of Job (19:25-27; compare 14:13 ff), and in many of the psalms. The hope always clothes itself in the form of complete deliverance from Sheol. Thus in Ps 17:14 f, the wicked have their portion "in this life," but, "As for me, I shall behold thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness" (the American Standard Revised Version "with beholding thy form"); and in Ps 49:14 f, the wicked are "appointed as a flock for Sheol," but "God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol; for he will receive me" (same expression as that regarding Enoch, Ge 5:24; compare Ps 73:24). It will be remembered that when Jesus expounded the declaration, "I am the God of Abraham," etc., it was as a pledge of resurrection (Mt 22:31 f). The idea comes to final expression in the declaration in Da of a resurrection of the just and unjust (12:2). For further development and illustration see ESCHATOLOGY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT.

4. Later Jewish Thought:

Later Jewish thought carried out these ideas of the Old Testament to further issues. A blessed future for the righteous was now accepted, and was definitely connected with the idea of resurrection. The wicked remained in Sheol, now conceived of as a place of retribution. The Gentiles, too, shared this doom.


III. The Christian Hope.

1. Immortality through Christ:

In full consonance with what is revealed in part in the Old Testament is the hope of immortality discovered in the New Testament. The ring of this joyful hope is heard in every part of the apostolic writings. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ," says Peter, "who according to his great mercy begat us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, unto an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you" (1Pe 1:3 f). Paul declares, "Our Saviour Christ Jesus, who .... brought life and immortality (incorruption) to light through the gospel" (2Ti 1:10). In Ro 2:7 he had spoken of those who "by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and incorruption, eternal life." This immortality, it is seen, is part of the eternal life bestowed through Jesus on believers. It is guaranteed by Christ’s own resurrection and life in glory. The nature of this hope of the gospel may now be further analyzed.

(1) Survival of the Soul.

The soul survives the body. A future state for both righteous and wicked is plainly declared by Jesus Himself. "He that believeth on me," He said to Martha, "though he die, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth on me shall never die" (Joh 11:25 f). To His disciples He said, "If I go and prepare a place for you, I come again, and will receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" (Joh 14:3). Compare His words to the penitent thief: "To-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise" (Lu 23:43). The survival of both righteous and wicked is implied in the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Lu 16:19-31). So in many other places (e.g. Mt 5:29 f; 10:28; 11:21-24; 12:41, etc.). The same is the teaching of the epistles. The doctrine of a future judgment depends on and presupposes this truth (Ro 2:5-11; 2Co 5:10, etc.).

(2) Union with Christ in Unseen World.

Death for the redeemed, though a result of sin, does not destroy the soul’s relation to God and to Christ. The eternal life implanted in the soul in time blossoms in its fruition into the life and blessedness of eternity (Ro 8:10 f; Php 1:21; Col 1:27). The soul is, indeed, in an incomplete state till the resurrection. It "waits for our adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body" (Ro 8:23). But its state, though incomplete, is still a happy one. Hades has lost its gloom, and is for it a "Paradise" (Lu 23:43). It dwells in a chamber of the Father’s house (Joh 14:2 f; 17:24). It is to be, even in the unclothed state ("absent from the body"), "at home with the Lord" (2Co 5:8). It is for it an object of desire to be "with Christ" in that state after death (Php 1:21). The pictures in Rev, though highly figurative, indicate a condition of great blessedness (Re 7:9-17).

(3) The Resurrection.

The fullness of the blessedness of immortality implies the resurrection. The resurrection is a cardinal article of Christ’s teaching (Mt 22:29-32; Joh 5:25-29; 11:23-26). He Himself is the Lord of life, and life-giver in the resurrection (Joh 5:21,25,26; 11:25, "I am the resurrection, and the life"). The resurrection of believers is secured by His own resurrection. Jesus died; He rose again (see RESURRECTION). His resurrection carries with it the certainty of the resurrection of all His people. This is the great theme of 1Co 15. As Christ lives, they shall live also (Joh 14:19). The believers who are alive at His Parousia shall be changed (1Co 15:51; 1Th 4:17); those who are dead shall be raised first of all (1Th 4:16). The resurrection body shall be a body like to Christ’s own (Php 3:21)—incorruptible, glorious, powerful, spiritual, immortal (1Co 15:42 ff, 53 f). This is not to be confused with sameness of material particles (1Co 15:37 f), yet there is the connection of a vital bond between the old body and the new. This is the hope of the believer, without which his redemption would not be complete.

(4) The Wicked Also Raised.

The wicked also are raised, not, however, to glory, but for judgment (Joh 5:29; Ac 24:15; Re 20:12-15). The same truth is implied in all passages on the last judgment. Excluded from the blessedness of the righteous, their state is described by both Jesus and His apostles as one of uttermost tribulation and anguish (e.g. Mt 25:46; Mr 9:43-50; Ro 2:8 f). This is not "immortality" or "life," though the continued existence of the soul is implied in it (see PUNISHMENT, EVERLASTING; HELL; RETRIBUTION).

(5) Eternal Life.

The condition of the blessed in their state of immortality is one of unspeakable felicity of both soul and body forever. There are, indeed, degrees of glory—this is carefully and consistently taught (Mt 25:14; Lu 19:12; 1Co 3:10-15; 15:41; Php 3:10-14; 2Ti 4:7; 1Joh 2:28)—but the condition as a whole is one of perfect satisfaction, holiness and blessedness (compare Mt 13:43; 25:34; Ro 2:7,10; Ro 12:3 ff, etc.). The blessedness of this eternal state includes such elements as the following:

(1) restoration to God’s image and likeness to Christ (1Co 15:49; 2Co 3:18; Eph 4:24; Col 3:10; 1 Joh 3:2);

(2) perfect holiness in the possession of God’s Spirit (2Co 7:1; Php 1:6; Re 21:27; 22:4,11);

(3) the unveiled vision of God’s glory (Re 22:4; compare Ps 17:15);

(4) freedom from all sorrow, pain and death (Re 21:3 f);

(5) power of unwearied service (Re 22:3).

2. Contrasts:

The contrast between the Biblical view of immortality and that of heathenism and of the schools will now be obvious. It is not mere future existence; not a bare, abstract immortality of the soul; it is the result of redemption and of renewal by God’s spirit; it embraces the whole personality, soul and body; it is not shared by the unholy; it includes the perfection of rational, moral and spiritual blessedness, in an environment suitable to such glorified existence. As such it is the supreme prize after which every believer is called to strive (Php 3:13 f).


Ingersoll Lectures on Immortality, by Professor William James, Professor Osler, etc.; Salmond, Christian Doctrine of Immortality; Orr, Christian View of God and the World, Lects iv, v, with App. to v; works specified in the article on ESCHATOLOGY.

James Orr


i-mu-ta-bil’-i-ti, i-mu’-ta-b’-l (ametathetos): Occurs in Heb 6:17,18 of the unchangeableness of the Divine counsel. It is the perfection of Yahweh that He changes not in character, will, purpose, aim (Mal 3:6; so of Christ, Heb 13:8).



im’-na (yimna‘): A descendant of Asher (1Ch 7:35).


im’-na (yimnah):

(1) Eldest son of Asher (Ge 46:17, the King James Version "Jimnah"; Nu 26:44, the King James Version "Jimna"; 1Ch 7:30).

(2) A Levite of Hezekiah’s time (2Ch 31:14).


im’-nits (yimni): Descendants of IMNAH (q.v. (1)) (Nu 26:44, the King James Version "Jimnites").


im-part’ (metadidomi, "to share"): "They .... imparted (the King James Version "added") nothing to me" (Ga 2:6); that is, did not propose any correction or addition to my teaching. "That I may impart unto you some spiritual gift" (Ro 1:11) expresses the apostle’s hope that the Roman believers may increase in faith and love through his teaching and influence.

"To impart unto you .... our own souls" (1Th 2:8) meant to spend their utmost strength and to expose their lives in their service.


im-ped’-i-ment: Found in Mr 7:32, "had an impediment in his speech," as a translation of mogilalos, comparative of mogos, "toil" and lalos, "speech," i.e. one who speaks with difficulty. In the Septuagint the word is used as a translation of ‘illem, "dumb" (Isa 35:6).


im-pled’ (Ac 19:38 the King James Version, "Let them impIead one another"): "Implead" means "to sue at law," hence, the Revised Version (British and American) "Let them accuse one another." Court days are kept, let them prosecute the suit in court and not settle matters in riot. egkalein, means "to call in," "to call to account."


im-por’-ta-b’l (dusbastaktos): An obsolete word, meaning "unbearable" (Latin: im, "not," portabilis, "bearable") found in Pr Man, "Thine angry threatening (the Revised Version (British and American) "the anger of thy threatening") toward sinners is importable"; compare Rheims version, Mt 23:4, "heavy burdens and importable"; Chaucer ("Clerk’s Tale" C.T.), "For it were importable though they wolde."


im-por-tu’-ni-ti: Occurs only in Lu 11:8, where it is the rendering of anaideia (Westcott-Hort, anaidia). This Greek word implies an element of impudent insistence rising to the point of shamelessness which the English word "importunity" fails to express, thus weakening the argument of the parable, which is that if by shameless insistence a favor may be won, even from one unwilling and ungracious, still more surely will God answer the earnest prayer of His people. God’s willingness to give exceeds our ability to ask. The parable teaches by way of contrast, not by parallel.

David Foster Estes





im-pos’-i-b’-l (verb adunateo; adjective adunatos): "To be impossible" is the translation of adunateo, "to be powerless," "impotent" (Mt 17:20; Lu 1:37, the Revised Version (British and American) "void of power") adunatos, "powerless," etc., is translated "impossible" Mt 19:26; Mr 10:27; Lu 18:27; Heb 6:4,18; 11:6; "impossible" in Heb 6:4 is in the Revised Version (British and American) transferred to 6:6); anendektos, "not to be received" or "accepted," is also translated "impossible" (Lu 17:1). In several of these passages it is affirmed that "nothing is impossible with God," but, of course, this means nothing that is consistent with the Divine nature, e.g. (as Heb 6:18) it is not possible for God to lie. So, when it is said that nothing is impossible to faith, the same limitation applies and also that of the mind or will of God for us. But much more is possible to a strong faith than a weak faith realizes, or even believes.

W. L. Walker


im’-po-tent (astheneo, adunatos): The verb signifies "to be without strength," and derivatives of it are used in Joh 5:3,7 the King James Version and Ac 4:9 to characterize the paralyzed man at Bethesda and the cripple at the Temple gate. For the same condition of the Lystra lame man the word adunatos is used, which is synonymous. In these cases it is the weakness of disease. In this sense the word is used by Shakespeare (Love’s Labor Lost, V, ii, 864; Hamlet, I, ii, 29). The impotent folk referred to in the Epistle of Jeremy (Baruch 6:28) were those weak and feeble from age and want; compare "impotent and snail-paced beggary" (Richard III, IV, iii, 53).

Alexander Macalister











Original Sin, Atonement, Justification


1. Imputation of Adam’s Sin to His Posterity

2. Imputation of the Sins of His People to Christ

3. Imputation of the Righteousness of Christ to His People


I. Meaning and Use of the Term.

The word "imputation," according to the Scriptural usage, denotes an attributing of something to a person, or a charging of one with anything, or a setting of something to one’s account. This takes place sometimes in a judicial manner, so that the thing imputed becomes a ground of reward or punishment. The word is used in the King James Version a number of times to translate the Hebrew verb chashabh and the Greek verb logizomai. These words, both of which occur frequently in Scripture, and which in a number of instances mean simply "to think," express the above idea. That this is the case is clear also from the other English words used in the King James Version to translate these Hebrew and Greek words, as, for example, "to count," "to reckon," "to esteem." Thus chashabh is translated in the King James Version by the verb "to impute" (Le 7:18; 17:4; 2Sa 19:19); by the verb "to reckon" (2Sa 4:2); by "to count" as something (Le 25:31 English versions). The verb in 1Sa 22:15 is sim. Similarly, logizomai is translated by the verb "to impute" (Ro 4:6,8,11,22,23,24; 2Co 5:19; Jas 2:23); by the verb "to count" (Ro 2:26; 4:3,5); "to account" (Ga 3:6); and by the verb "to reckon" (Ro 4:4,9,10). In the Revised Version (British and American) the word used to render logizomai is the verb "to reckon."

These synonyms of the verb "to impute" bring out the idea of reckoning or charging to one’s account. It makes no difference, so far as the meaning of imputation is concerned, who it is that imputes, whether man (1Sa 22:15) or God (Ps 32:2); it makes no difference what is imputed, whether a good deed for reward (Ps 106:30 f) or a bad deed for punishment (Le 17:4); and it makes no difference whether that which is imputed is something which is personally one’s own prior to the imputation, as in the case above cited, where his own good deed was imputed to Phinehas (Ps 106:30 f), or something which is not personally one’s own prior to the imputation, as where Paul asks that a debt not personally his own be charged to him (Phm 1:18). In all these cases the act of imputation is simply the charging of one with something. It denotes just what we mean by our ordinary use of the term. It does not change the inward state or character of the person to whom something is imputed. When, for example, we say that we impute bad motives to anyone, we do not mean that we make such a one bad; and just so in the Scripture the phrase "to impute iniquity" does not mean to make one personally bad, but simply to lay iniquity to his charge. Hence, when God is said "to impute sin" to anyone, the meaning is that God accounts such a one to be a sinner, and consequently guilty and liable to punishment. Similarly, the non-imputation of sin means simply not to lay it to one’s charge as a ground of punishment (Ps 32:2). In the same manner, when God is said "to impute righteousness" to a person, the meaning is that He judicially accounts such a one to be righteous and entitled to all the rewards of a righteous person (Ro 4:6,11).

II. The Threefold Use of the Term in Theology.

Original Sin, Atonement, Justification:

Three acts of imputation are given special prominence in the Scripture, and are implicated in the Scriptural doctrines of Original Sin, Atonement and Justification, though not usually expressed by the words chashabh and logizomai. Because, however, of its "forensic" or "judicial" meaning, and possibly through its use in the Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) to translate logizomai in Ro 4:8, the term "imputation" has been used in theology in a threefold sense to denote the judicial acts of God by which the guilt of Adam’s sin is imputed to his posterity; by which the sins of Christ’s people are imputed to Him; and by which the righteousness of Christ is imputed to His people. The act of imputation is precisely the same in each case. It is not meant that Adam’s sin was personally the sin of his descendants, but that it was set to their account, so that they share its guilt and penalty. It is not meant that Christ shares personally in the sins of men, but that the guilt of his people’s sin was set to his account, so that He bore its penalty. It is not meant that Christ’s people are made personally holy or inwardly righteous by the imputation of His righteousness to them, but that His righteousness is set to their account, so that they are entitled to all the rewards of that perfect righteousness.

These doctrines have had a place in theology of the Christian church from the earliest Christian centuries, though the doctrine of the imputation of the righteousness of Christ was first fully and clearly stated at the time of and following the Reformation. The first two of these doctrines have been the possession of the entire Christian church, while the third one of them is affirmed by both the Reformed and Lutheran branches of Protestantism.

III. The Scriptural Basis of These Doctrines.

These three doctrines have a basis in the Scripture, and underlie the Scripture doctrines of Original Sin, Atonement, and Justification.

1. Imputation of Adam’s Sin to His Posterity:

The doctrine of the imputation of Adam’s sin to his posterity is implied in the account of the Fall in Ge 2 and 3, taken in connection with the subsequent history of the human race as recorded in Ge and in the rest of the Old Testament. Many ancient and modern interpreters regard this narrative as an allegorical, mythical or symbolical representation in historical form, either of a psychological fact, i.e. of something which takes place in every individual, or of certain general truths concerning sin. By some exegetes, following Kant, it has been held to depict an advance of the race in culture or ethical knowledge (Reuss; against which view compare Budde, Clemen); by others it has been regarded as a symbolical representation of certain truths concerning sin (Oehler, Schultz); by others it has been regarded as historical (Delitzsch). This latter view is the one which accords with the narrative itself. It is evidently intended as historical by its author, and is so regarded by the New Testament writers. It is, moreover, introduced to explain, not an advance of the race, but the entrance of sin into the world, and the connection of certain penal evils with sin. It does this by showing how these evils came upon Adam as a punishment for his disobedience, and the subsequent history shows that his posterity were subjected to the same evils. It is true that the threat of punishment to Adam in case of disobedience was made to him alone, and that the penalties threatened are said to have come only upon him and Eve (Ge 3:16-19). Nevertheless, it is clear from the account of the subsequent history of the race that it actually shared in the punishments inflicted upon Adam, and that this was in consequence of his sin. This implies that in Ge 2:16 f are contained the terms of a covenant in which Adam acted as the representative of the race. If, therefore, the race shares in the penalty of Adam’s sin, it must also share in his guilt or the judicial obligation to suffer punishment. And this is precisely what theology of the entire Christian church has meant by saying that the guilt of Adam’s sin was imputed to his posterity. This is in accordance with God’s method of dealing with men in other recorded instances (Ge 19:15; Ex 20:5; De 1:37; 3:26); and the assertion of the principle of personal responsibility by Ezekiel and Jeremiah against an abuse of the principle of representative responsibility implies a recognition of the latter (Eze 18:2,4; 33:12; Jer 31:29).

The universality of sin and death is not brought into connection with the Fall of Adam by the other Old Testament writers. This is done, however, by Paul. In 1Co 15:21 f, Paul says that the death of all men has its cause in the man Adam in the same way in which the resurrection from the dead has its cause in the man Christ. The death of all men, accordingly, is not brought about by their personal sins, but has come upon all through the disobedience of Adam. Upon what ground this takes place, Paul states in the passage Ro 5:12-21. He introduces the subject of Adam’s relation to the race to illustrate his doctrine of the justification of sinners on the ground of a righteousness which is not personally their own. In order to do this he takes the truth, well known to his readers, that all men are under condemnation on account of Adam’s sin. The comparison is between Adam and Christ, and the specific point of the comparison is imputed sin and imputed righteousness. Hence, in 5:12 Paul does not mean simply to affirm that as Adam sinned and consequently died, so men sin and die. Nor can he mean to say that just as God established a precedent in Adam’s case that death should follow sin, so He acts upon this precedent in the case of all men because all sin, the real ground of the reign of death being the fact that all sin, and the formal ground being this precedent (B. Weiss); nor that the real ground is this precedent and the subordinate ground the fact that all sin (Hunefeld). Neither can Paul intend to say that all men are subject to death because they derive a corrupt nature from Adam (Fritzsche); nor that men are condemned to die because all have sinned (Pfleiderer). Paul’s purpose is to illustrate his doctrine of the way in which men are delivered from sin and death by the way in which they are brought into condemnation. The main thought of the passage is that, just as men are condemned on account of the imputation to them of the guilt of Adam’s sin, so they are justified on account of the imputation to them of the righteousness of Christ. Paul says that it was by one man that sin and death entered into the world, and it was by one man that death passed to all men, because all were implicated in the guilt of that one man’s Sin (5:12). In proof of this the apostle cites the fact that death as a punishment was reigning during a period in which the only possible judicial ground of this fact must have been the imputation of the guilt of that one man’s sin (5:13,14). Hence, there is a precise parallel between Adam and Christ. Just as men are condemned on account of Adam’s disobedience, so they are justified on account of the obedience of Christ (5:18,19). The thought of the passage is imputed sin and imputed righteousness as the ground of condemnation and of justification respectively.

2. Imputation of the Sins of His People to Christ:

That our sins are imputed to Christ is not expressly stated in the Scripture, but is implied in those passages which affirm that Christ "bore our sins," and that our iniquities were "laid upon him" by Yahweh. To bear inquity or sin, though it may sometimes mean to bear it away or remove it, is an expression often applied in Scripture to persons charged with guilt and subjected to the punishment of their own sin (Le 5:17; 7:18; 19:8; 22:9). That the Hebrew verb nasa’ has this meaning is also indicated by its being interchanged with the verb cabhal, which means "to bear as a burden" and is used to denote the bearing of the punishment of sin (Isa 53:11). In the Old Testament sacrificial system, which according to the New Testament is typical of the sacrifice of Christ, the imposition of hands on the head of the victim signified the substitution of it for the offender and the transfer of his guilt to it. This idea is brought out clearly in the case of the two goats on the great Day of Atonement (Le 16). When, therefore, the Servant of Yahweh in Isa 53 is said "to bear iniquity" (53:11), or that "the chastisement of our peace was upon him" (53:5), or that "Yahweh hath laid (literally, "caused to fall") on him the iniquity of us all" (53:6), the idea expressed is that Christ bore the punishment of our sin vicariously, its guilt having been imputed to Him. The thought of the prophecy is, as Delitzsch says, that of vicarious punishment, which implies the idea of the imputation of the guilt of our sins to Christ.

The same idea underlies these expressions when they occur in the New Testament. When Peter wishes to hold up Christ as an example of patience in suffering, he takes up the thought of Isa, and adduces the fact that Christ "his own self bare our sins in his body upon the tree". (1Pe 2:24). The context indicates that Peter had the prophecy of Isa 53 in mind, so that his meaning is, not that Christ carried our sins even up to the cross, but that in His death on the cross Christ bore the punishment of our sin, its guilt having been imputed to Him. The same thought is expressed by the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, where the contrast between the first and second advents of Christ is made to hinge upon the fact that in the first He came to be sacrificed as a sin-bearer, burdened with the guilt of the sin of others, whereas in His second coming He will appear without this burden of imputed or vicarious guilt (Heb 9:28). Paul also gives expression to the same thought when he says that Christ was "made. to be sin on our behalf" (2Co 5:21), and that He became "a curse for us" (Ga 3:13). In the former passage the idea of substitution, although not expressed by the preposition huper which indicates that Christ’s work was for our benefit, is nevertheless clearly implied in the thought that Christ, whose sinlessness is emphasized in the ver, is made sin, and that we sinners become righteous in Him. Paul means that Christ was made to bear the penalty of our sin and that its guilt was imputed to Him in precisely the same way in which we sinners become the righteousness of God in Him, i.e. by the imputation of His righteousness to us. The same thought is expressed in Ga 3:13, where the statement that Christ was made a curse for us means that He was made to endure the curse or penalty of the broken law. In all these passages the underlying thought is that the guilt of our sin was imputed to Christ.

3. Imputation of the Righteousness of Christ to His People:

The righteousness upon the ground of which God justifies the ungodly is, according to Paul, witnessed to in the Old Testament (Ro 3:21). In order to obtain the blessedness which comes from a right relation to God, the pardon or non-imputation of sin is necessary, and this takes place through the "covering" of sin (Ps 32:1,2). The nature of this covering by the vicarious bearing of the penalty of sin is made clear in Isa 53. It is, moreover, the teaching of the Old Testament that the righteousness which God demands is not to be found among men (Ps 130:3; 143:2; Isa 64:6). Accordingly, the prophets speak of a righteousness which is not from man’s works, but which is said to be in Yahweh or to come from Him to His people (Isa 32:16 f; 45:23 ff; 54:17; 58:8; 61:3; Jer 51:10; Ho 10:12). This idea finds its clearest expression in connection with the work of the Messiah in Jer 33:16, where Jerusalem is called "Yahweh our righteousness" because of the coming of the Messianic king, and in Jer 23:6 where the same name is given to the Messiah to express His significance for Israel. Although the idea of the imputation of righteousness is not explicitly asserted in these passages, the idea is not merely that the righteousness spoken of is recognized by Yahweh (Cremer), but that it comes from Him, so that Yahweh, through the work of the Messiah, is the source of His people’s righteousness.

This idea is taken up by Paul, who makes explicit the way in which this righteousness comes to sinners, and who puts the idea of imputed righteousness at the basis of his doctrine of Justification. By the righteousness of Christ Paul means Christ’s legal status, or the merit acquired by all that He did in satisfying the demands of God’s law, including what has been called His active and passive obedience. Notwithstanding the fact that most of the modern expositors of Paul’s doctrine have denied that he teaches the imputation of Christ’s obedience, this doctrine has a basis in the apostle’s teaching. Justification leads to life and final glorification (Ro 5:18; 8:30); and Paul always conceives the obtaining of life as dependent on the fulfillment of the law. If, therefore, Christ secures life for us, it can only be in accordance with this principle. Accordingly, the apostle emphasizes the element of obedience in the death of Christ, and places this act of obedience at the basis of the sinner’s justification (Ro 5:18). He also represents the obedience of the cross as the culminating point of a life of obedience on Christ’s part (Php 2:8). Moreover, Paul affirms that our redemption from all the demands of the law is secured by the fact that Christ was born under law (Ga 4:4). This cannot be restricted to the fact that Christ was under the curse of the law, for He was born under law and the result of this is that we are free from all of its demands. This doctrine is also implied in the apostle’s teaching that Justification is absolutely gracious, taken in connection with the fact that it leads to a complete salvation.

The importance in Paul’s thought of the doctrine of the imputation of the righteousness of Christ to the believer can be seen from the fact that the question how righteousness was to be obtained occupied a central place in his religious consciousness, both before and after his conversion. The apostle’s conversion by the appearance of the risen Christ determined his conception of the true way of obtaining righteousness, since the resurrection of Christ meant for Paul the condemnation of his entire past search for righteousness by works of the law.

That the imputation of the righteousness of Christ to the believer does lie at the basis of Paul’s doctrine of Justification can be further seen from the fact that Justification is absolutely free and unmerited so far as the sinner is concerned (Ro 3:24; 5:15; Ga 5:4; Tit 3:7); its object being one who is ungodly (Ro 4:5); so that it is not by works (Ro 3:20,28; Ga 2:16; 3:11; 5:4; Php 3:9); and yet that it is not a mere pardon of sin, but is a strictly "forensic" or judicial judgment, freeing the sinner from all the claims of the law, and granting him the right to eternal life. This last truth is plain because God’s retributive righteousness lies at the basis of Paul’s doctrine of Justification (Ro 2); is manifested in it (Ro 3:25 f); because Christ’s expiatory work is its ground (Ro 3:25); and because our redemption from the curse of the law rests upon Christ’s having borne it for us, and our redemption from all the demands of the law depends upon their fulfillment by Christ (Ga 3:13; 4:4). Hence, the gracious character of Justification, according to Paul, does not consist in its being merely a gracious pardon without any judicial basis (Ritschl); or in God’s acceptance of a subjective righteousness produced by Him in the sinner (Tobac); or in the acceptance of faith instead of a perfect righteousness (Cremer). The gracious character of Justification consists for Paul in the fact that the righteousness on the ground of which God justifies the ungodly is a righteousness which is graciously provided by God, and which Paul contrasts with his own righteousness which comes from law works (Php 3:9). The sinner, therefore, is pardoned and accepted as a righteous person, not on account of anything in himself, but only on account of what Christ has done for him, which means that the merits of Christ’s suffering and obedience are imputed to the sinner as the ground of his justification.

This truth is explicitly affirmed by Paul, who speaks of God’s imputing righteousness without works, and of righteousness being imputed (Ro 4:6,11). The idea of the imputation of righteousness here is made clear by the context. The one who is declared righteous is said to be "ungodly" (Ro 4:5). Hence, he is righteous only by God’s imputation of righteousness to him. This is also clear from the contrast between imputation according to grace and according to debt (Ro 4:4). He who seeks righteousness by works would be justified as a reward for his works, in antithesis to which, imputation according to grace would be the charging one with a righteousness which he does not possess. Accordingly, at the basis of Justification there is a reckoning to the sinner of an objective righteousness. This same idea is also implied and asserted by Paul in the parallel which he draws between Adam and Christ (Ro 5:18 f). The apostle says that just as men are condemned on account of a sin not their own, so they are justified on account of a righteousness which is not their own. The idea of imputed sin and imputed righteousness, as was said, is the precise point of the parallelism between condemnation in Adam and justification in Christ. This is also the idea which underlies the apostle’s contrast of the Old and New Covenants (2Co 3:9). The New Covenant is described as a "ministry of righteousness," and contrasted with the Old Covenant which is described as a "ministry of condemnation." If, therefore, this last expression does not denote a subjective condition of men under the old dispensation, but their relation to God as objects of His condemnation, righteousness must denote the opposite of this relation to the law, and must depend on God’s judicial acquittal. The same truth is expressed by Paul more concretely by saying that Christ has been "made unto us righteousness from God" (1Co 1:30). Here the concrete mode of expression is chosen because Paul speaks also of Christ being our sanctification and redemption, so that an expression had to be chosen which would cover all of these ideas. One of the clearest statements concerning this objective righteousness is Php 3:9. The apostle here affirms that the righteousness which the believer in Christ obtains is directly opposite to his own righteousness. This latter comes from works of the law, whereas the former comes from God and through faith in Christ. It is, therefore, objective to man, comes to him from God, is connected with the work of Christ, and is mediated by faith in Christ.

The idea clearly stated in this last passage of a righteousness which is objective to the sinner and which comes to him from God, i.e. the idea of a new legal standing given to the believer by God, explains the meaning, in most cases, of the Pauline phrase "righteousness of God." This phrase is used by Paul 9 t: Ro 1:17; 3:5,21 f, 25 f; 10:3 (twice); 2Co 5:21. It denotes the Divine attribute of righteousness in Ro 3:5,25 f. The customary exegesis was to regard the other instances as denoting the righteousness of a sinner which comes to him from God, in accordance with Php 3:9. More recently Haering, following Kolbing in general, has interpreted all these instances as denoting God’s justifying action. But this interpretation is most strained in 2Co 5:21, where we are said to "become the righteousness of God," and in Ro 10:3-6, where the righteousness of God is identified with the righteousness which comes from faith, this latter being contrasted with man’s own inward righteousness. That a righteousness of man which he receives from God is here referred to, is confirmed by the fact that the reason given for the error of the Jews in seeking a righteousness from law works is the fact that the work of Christ has made an end of this method of obtaining righteousness (Ro 10:4). This righteousness, therefore, is one of which man is the possessor. The phrase, however, cannot mean a righteousness which is valid in God’s sight (Luther), although this thought is elsewhere expressed by Paul (Ro 3:20; Ga 3:11). It means a righteousness which comes from God and of which He is the author. This is not, however, by making man inwardly righteous, since all the above passages show the purely objective character of this righteousness. It is the righteousness of Php 3:9; the righteousness which God imputes to the believer in Christ. Thus we "become the righteousness of God" in precisely the same sense in which Christ was "made to be sin" (2Co 5:21). Since Christ was made sin by having the guilt. of our sin imputed to Him so that He bore its penalty, Paul must mean that we "become the righteousness of God" in this same objective sense through the imputation to us of the righteousness of Christ. In the same way, in Ro 10:3, the contrast between God’s righteousness and the Jew’s righteousness by works of the law shows that in each case righteousness denotes a legal status which comes from God by imputation. It is this same imputed righteousness which makes the gospel the power of God unto salvation (Ro 1:17), which has been revealed by the law and the prophets, which is received by faith in Christ by whose expiatory death God’s retributive righteousness has been made manifest (Ro 3:21,22,25,26), and which is represented by Peter as the object of Christian faith (2Pe 1:1).

In two passages Paul affirms that Abraham believed God and "it was imputed to him for righteousness" (Ro 4:3 the King James Version; Ga 3:6). The old Arminian theologians, and some modern exegetes (H. Cremer) assert that Paul means that Abraham’s faith was accepted by God instead of a perfect righteousness as the meritorious ground of his justification. This, however, cannot be the apostle’s meaning. It is diametrically opposed to the context where Paul introduces the case of Abraham for the very purpose of proving that he was justified without any merit on his part; it is opposed to Paul’s idea of the nature of faith which involves the renunciation of all claim to merit, and is a simple resting on Christ from whom all its saving efficacy is derived; and this interpretation is also opposed to Paul’s doctrine of the absolutely gracious character of Justification. The apostle in these passages wishes to illustrate from the case of Abraham the gracious character of Justification, and quotes the untechnical language of Ge 15:6. His meaning is simply that Abraham was justified as a believer in God, and not as one who sought righteousness by works.



Besides the Comm., see works on Old Testament Theology by Dillmann, Davidson, Oehler, Schultz; and on New Testament Theology by H. Holtzmann, B. Weiss, Schmidt; also Chemnitz, De Vocabulo Imputationis, Loc. Theol., 1594, II, 326 ff; J. Martin, The Imputation of Adam’s Sin, 1834, 20-46; Clemen, Die Christliche Lehre yon der Sande, I, 1897, 151-79; Dietzsch, Adam und Christus, 1871; Hunefeld, Ro 5:12-21, 1895; Crawford, The Doctrine of the Holy Scripture Respecting the Atonements, 1876, 33-45, 188-90. Compare also the appropriate sections in the Works on the Scripture doctrine of Justification, and especially on Paul’s doctrine of Justification, e.g. Owen, Justification, 1st American edition, 185-310; Ritschl, Die Christliche Lehre yon der Rechtfertigung und VersShnung, II2, 1882, 303-31; Bohl, Von der Rechtfertigung durch den Glauben, 1890, 115-23; Nosgen, Schriftbeweis fur die evangel. Rechfertigungslehre, 1901, 147-96; Pfleiderer, Die Paulinische Rechtfertigung, ZWT (Hilgenfeld herausg.), 1872, 161-200; Paulinism, English translation, I, 171-86; with which compare Pfleiderer’s later view of Paul’s teachings, 2nd edition, 1890, 178-89; G. Schwarz, Justitia Imputata? 1891; H. Cremer, Paulinische Rechtfertigungslehre, 1900, 329-49; Tobac, Le problame de la justification dans Saint Paul, 1908, 206-25. On Paul’s doctrine of the righteousness of God, of the many monographs the following may be mentioned: Fricke, Der Paulinische Grundbegriff der erortert auf Grund v. Rom. III, 21-26, 1888; Kolbing, Studien zur Paulinische Theologie, TSK, 1895, 7-51; Haring bei Paulus, 1896.

Caspar Wistar Hodge


im’-ra (yimrah): A descendant of Asher (1Ch 7:36).


im’-ri (’imri):

(1) A Judahite (1Ch 9:4).

(2) Father of Zaccur who helped to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem under Nehemiah (Ne 3:2).


A principal thing to notice about this preposition, which in the King James Version represents about 16 Hebrew and as many Greek words and prepositions, is that, in hundreds of cases (especially in the Old Testament, but frequently also in the New Testament) in the Revised Version (British and American) the rendering is changed to more exact forms ("to," "unto," "by," "upon," "at," "with," "among," "for," "throughout," etc.; compare e.g. Ge 6:16; 13:8; 17:7,9,12; 18:1; Ex 8:17; Le 1:9, etc.); while, nearly as often, "in" is substituted for divergent forms of the King James Version (e.g. Ge 2:14; 17:11; 31:54; 40:7; 49:17; Ex 8:14,24; Le 3:17; 4:2, etc.). The chief Greek preposition en, is frequently adhered to as "in" in the Revised Version (British and American) where the King James Version has other forms ("with," "among," etc.; compare "in" for "with" in John’s baptism, Mt 3:11, and parallel; "in the tombs" for "among the tombs," Mr 5:3). In 2Th 2:2, "shaken in mind" in the King James Version is more correctly rendered in the Revised Version (British and American) "shaken from (apo) your mind." There are numerous such instructive changes.

James Orr


(en Kurio): A favorite Pauline expression, denoting that intimate union and fellowship of the Christian with the Lord Jesus Christ which supplies the basis of all Christian relations and conduct, and the distinctive element in which the Christian life has its specific character. Compare the synonymous Pauline phrases, "in Christ," "in Christ Jesus," and the Johannine expressions, "being in Christ," "abiding in Christ." "In the Lord" denotes: (1) the motive, quality, or character of a Christian duty or virtue, as based on union with Christ, e.g. "Free to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord" (1Co 7:39), i.e. provided the marriage be consistent with the Christian life. Compare 1Co 15:58; Php 3:1; 4:1,2,4,10; Eph 6:1,10; Col 3:18, etc.; (2) the ground of Christian unity, fellowship, and brotherly salutation, e.g. Ro 16:2,8,22; 1Co 16:19; Col 4:7; (3) it is often practically synonymous with "Christian" (noun or adjective), "as Christians" or "as a Christian," e.g. "Salute them of the household of Narcissus, that are in the Lord," i.e. that are Christians (Ro 16:11); "I .... the prisoner in the Lord," i.e. the Christian prisoner (Eph 4:1); compare Ro 16:13; 1Co 9:1,2; Eph 6:21 ("faithful minister in the Lord" = faithful Christian minister); Col 4:17 (see Grimm-Thayer, Lex. of New Testament, en, I, 6).

D. Miall Edwards








in’-sens (qeTorah; in Jer 44:21, qiTTer; in Mal 1:11, qaTar, "In every place incense shall be offered unto my name"; the word lebhonah, translated "incense" in several passages in Isa and Jer in the King James Version, is properly "frankincense," and is so rendered in the Revised Version (British and American)): The offering of incense, or burning of aromatic substances, is common in the religious ceremonies of nearly all nations (Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Phoenicians, etc.), and it is natural to find it holding a prominent place in the tabernacle and temple-worship of Israel. The newer critical theory that incense was a late importation into the religion of Israel, and that the altar of incense described in Ex 30:1 ff is a post-exilian invention, rests on presuppositions which are not here admitted, and is in contradiction to the express notices of the altar of incense in 1Ki 6:20,22; 7:48; 9:25; compare 2Ch 4:19 (see discussion of the subject by Delitzsch in Luthardt’s Zeitschrift, 1880, 113 ff). In the denunciation of Eli in 1Sa 2:27 ff, the burning of incense is mentioned as one of the functions of the priesthood (2:28). The "smoke" that filled the temple in Isaiah’s vision (Isa 6:4) may be presumed to be the smoke of incense. The word keTorah itself properly denotes. "smoke." For the altar of incense see the article on that subject, and TABERNACLE and TEMPLE. The incense used in the tabernacle service—called "sweet incense" (keToreth ha-cammim, Ex 25:6, etc.)—was compounded according to a definite prescription of the perfumes, stacte, onycha, galbanum and pure frankincense (Ex 30:34 f), and incense not so compounded was rejected as "strange incense" (keTorah zarah, Ex 30:9). In the offering of incense, burning coals from the altar of burnt offering were borne in a censer and put upon the altar of incense (the "golden altar" before the oracle), then the fragrant incense was sprinkled on the fire (compare Lu 1:9 f). Ample details of the rabbinical rules about incense may be seen in the article "Incense," in DB.


Figuratively, incense was symbolical of ascending prayer. The multitude were praying while Zacharias offered incense (Lu 1:10, thumiama), and in Re 5:8; 8:3 f, the incense in the heavenly temple is connected and even identified (5:8) with "the prayers of the saints."

James Orr





in-kon’-ti-nen-si (akrasia, "without control"): In 1Co 7:5, it evidently refers to lack of control in a particular matter, and signifies unchastity. In Mt 23:25, the Greek word is translated in both the King James Version and the American Standard Revised Version by "excess."


in-ko-rup’-shun (aphtharsia): Occurs in 1Co 15:42,50,53,54, of the resurrection body, and is twice used in the Revised Version (British and American) for the King James Version "immortality" (Ro 2:7; 2Ti 1:10 margin).



in’-kres, (noun), in-kres’ (verb): Employed in the English Bible both as verb and as noun, and in both cases to represent a number of different words in the original. As a verb it is used in the ordinary sense of the term. As a noun it is usually used of plant life, or of the herds and flocks, to denote the fruitage or the offspring; more rarely of money, to denote the interest. As examples of the different terms translated by this word, students who read Hebrew or Greek may compare De 7:22; Pr 16:21; Job 10:16 the King James Version; Job 12:23; Nu 18:30; De 7:13; Eze 22:12 in the Old Testament, and Joh 3:30; 1Co 3:6; Col 2:19; Eph 4:16 in the New Testament.

Russell Benjamin Miller


in’-di-a (hoddu: he Indike): The name occurs in canonical Scripture only in Es 1:1; 8:9, of the country which marked the eastern boundary of the territory of Ahasuerus. The Hebrew word comes from the name of the Indus, Hondu, and denotes, not the peninsula of Hindustan, but the country drained by that great river. This is the meaning also in 1 Esdras 3:2; Additions to Esther 3:2; 16:1. Many have thought that this country is intended by Havilah in Ge 2:11 and that the Indus is the Pishon. The drivers of the elephants (1 Macc 6:37) were doubtless natives of this land. The name in 1 Macc 8:9 is certainly an error. India never formed part of the dominions of Antiochus the Great. It may possibly be a clerical error for "Ionia," as Media is possibly a mistake for Mysia. If the Israelites in early times had no direct relations with India, many characteristic Indian products seem to have found their way into Palestinian markets by way of the Arabian and Syrian trade routes, or by means of the Red Sea fleets (1Ki 10:11,15; Eze 27:15 ff, etc.). Among these may be noted "horns of ivory and ebony," "cassia and calamus," almug (sandalwood), apes and peacocks.

W. Ewing





in-dit’:the King James Version Ps 45:1, "My heart is inditing a good matter"; the Revised Version (British and American) "My heart overfloweth with a goodly matter," is in harmony with rachash, "to bubble up"; compare Septuagint exereuxato, "to pour out." "Indite" in English is becoming obsolete. It may mean "to dictate," "to invite," "to compose." In the latter meaning it is used in the above passage.











in’-fi-del (apistos, "unbelieving," "incredulous"): the King James Version has this word twice: "What part hath he that believeth with an infidel?" (2Co 6:15); "If any provide not for his own, .... is worse than an infidel" (1Ti 5:8). In both passages the English Revised Version and the American Standard Revised Version have "unbeliever" in harmony with numerous other instances of the use of the Greek apistos. The word nowhere corresponds to the modern conception of an infidel, one who denies the existence of God, or repudiates the Christian faith; but always signifies one who has not become a believer in Christ. It was formerly so used in English, and some of the older versions have it in other passages, besides these two. It is not found in the Old Testament, but "infidelity" (incredulity) occurs in 2 Esdras 7:44 (114).

William Owen Carver


in’-fin-it, in-fin’-i-tud:

1. Scripture Use:

The word "infinite" occurs 3 times only in the text of the King James Version (Job 22:5; Ps 147:5; Na 3:9) and once in margin (Na 2:9). In Ps 147:5, "His understanding is infinite" it represents the Hebrew ‘en micpar, "no number"; in the other passages the Hebrew ‘en qets (Job 22:5, of iniquities) and ‘en qetseh (Na 3:9, of strength of Ethiopia and Egypt; the King James Version margin 2:9, of "spoil"), meaning "no end." the Revised Version (British and American), therefore, renders in Job 22:5, "Neither is there any end to thine iniquities," and drops the marginal reference in Na 2:9.

2. Application to God:

Ps 147:5 is thus the only passage in which the term is directly applied to God. It there correctly conveys the idea of absence of all limitation. There is nothing beyond the compass of God’s understanding; or, positively, His understanding embraces everything there is to know. Past, present and future; all things possible and actual; the inmost thoughts and purposes of man, as well as his outward actions, lie bare to God’s knowledge (Heb 4:13; see OMNISCIENCE).

3. Infinity Universally Implied:

While, however, the term is not found, the truth that God is infinite, not only in His understanding, but in His being and all His perfections, natural and moral, is one that pervades all Scripture. It could not be otherwise, if God was unoriginated, exalted above all limits of time, space and creaturehood, and dependent only on Himself. The Biblical writers, certainly, are far from thinking in metaphysical categories, or using such terms as "self-existence," "absoluteness," "unconditioned" yet the ideas for which these terms stand were all of them attributed in their conceptions to God. They did not, e.g. conceive of God as having been born, or as having a beginning, as the Babylonian and Greek gods had, but thought of Him as the ever-existing One (Ps 90:1,2), and free Creator and Disposer of all that exists. This means that God has self-existence, and for the same reason that He is not bound by His own creation. He must be thought of as raised above all creaturely limits, that is, as infinite.

4. Anthropomorphisms:

The anthropomorphisms of the Bible, indeed, are often exceedingly naive, as when Yahweh is said to "go down" to see what is being done (Ge 11:5,7; 18:21), or to "repent" of His actions (Ge 6:6); but these representations stand in contexts which show that the authors knew God to be unlimited in time, space, knowledge and power (compare Ge 6:7, God, Creator of all; 11:8,9, universal Ruler; 18:25, universal Judge; Nu 23:19, incapable of repentance, etc.). Like anthropomorphisms are found in De and the Prophets, where it is not doubted that the higher conceptions existed. In this infinity of God is implied His unsearchableness (Job 11:7; Ps 145:3; Ro 11:33); conversely, the latter attribute implies His infinity.

5. Infinity a Perfection Not a Quantity:

This infinitude of God is displayed in all His attributes—in His eternity, omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence, etc.—on which see the separate articles. As regards the proper conception of infinity, one has chiefly to guard against figuring it under too quantitative an aspect. Quantitative boundlessness is the natural symbol we employ to represent infinity, yet reflection will convince us that it is inadequate as applied to a spiritual magnitude. Infinitude in power, e.g. is not an infinite quantity of power, but the potentiality in God of accomplishing without limit everything that is possible to power. It is a perfection, not a quantity. Still more is this apparent in moral attributes like love, righteousness, truth, holiness. These attributes are not quantities (a quantity can never be truly infinite), but perfections; the infinity is qualitative, consisting in the absence of all defect or limitation in degree, not in amount.

6. Errors Based on Quantitative Conceptions:

The recollection of the fact now stated will free the mind from most of the perplexities that have been raised by metaphysical writers as to the abstract possibility of the co-existence of infinite attributes in God (thus e.g. Mansel); the reconcilability of God’s infinity with His Personality, or with the existence of a finite world; the power of the human mind to conceive infinity, etc. How, it is asked, can the idea of infinity get into our finite minds? It might as well be asked how the mind can take in the idea of the sun’s distance of some 90 million miles from the earth, when the skull that holds the brain is only a few cubic inches in capacity. The idea of a mile is not a mile big, nor is the idea of infinity too large to be thought of by the mind of man. The essence of the power of thought is its capacity for the universal, and it cannot rest till it has apprehended the most universal idea of all the infinite.

James Orr


in-fur’-mi-ti (dawah, chalah, machalah; astheneia): This word is used either in the singular or plural (the latter only in the New Testament) and with somewhat varying signification.

(1) As sickness or bodily disease (Joh 5:5; Mt 8:17; Lu 5:15; 8:2; 1Ti 5:23). In the last instance the affections seem to have been dyspeptic, the discomfort of which might be relieved by alcohol, although the disease would not be cured thereby. It is probable that this condition of body produced a certain slackness in Timothy’s work against which Paul several times cautions him. In Lu 7:21 the Revised Version (British and American) has "diseases," which is a better rendering of the Greek noson, used here, than the King James Version "infirmities."

(2) Imperfections or weaknesses of body (Ro 6:19; 2Co 11:30 the King James Version; 2Co 12:5,9,10 the King James Version; Ga 4:13).

(3) Moral or spiritual weaknesses and defects (Ps 77:10; Ro 8:26; 15:1; Heb 4:15; 5:2; 7:28). In this sense it is often used by the classic English writers, as in Milton’s "the last infirmity of noble minds"; compare Caesar, IV, iii, 86. The infirmity which a man of resolution can keep under by his will (Pr 18:14) may be either moral or physical. In Lu 13:11 the woman’s physical infirmity is ascribed to the influence of an evil spirit.

Alexander Macalister


in-flam’, en-flam’ (dalaq): "To inflame" in the meaning "to excite passion" is found in Isa 5:11, "till wine inflame them." In some the King James Version passages (e.g. Isa 57:5) we find "enflaming" with the same meaning; compare the King James Version Susanna verse 8 and Sirach 28:10 the King James Version (the Revised Version (British and American) "inflame").


in-fla-ma’-shun (dalleqeth; rhigos): Only in De 28:22, was considered by Jewish writers as "burning fever," by Septuagint as a form of ague. Both this and typhoid fever are now, and probably were, among the commonest of the diseases of Palestine. See FEVER. In Le 13:28 the King James Version has "inflammation" as the rendering of tsarebheth, which Septuagint reads charakter, and for which the proper English equivalent is "scar," as in the Revised Version (British and American).


in’-floo-ens-iz (ma‘adhannoth): This word occurs only in Job 38:31 the King James Version, "Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades?" the Revised Version (British and American) "the cluster of the Pleiades," margin "or chain, or sweet influences"; Delitzsch, Dillmann and others render "fetters," that which binds the group together; "influences," if correct, would refer to the seasons, which were believed to be regulated, so far, by the PLEIADES (which see). In The Wisdom of Solomon 7:25, it is said of Wisdom that she is "a pure influence (aporrhoia, the Revised Version (British and American) "effluence") flowing from the glory of the Almighty."

W. L. Walker





in-hab’-it, in-hab’-it-ant (yashabh, "to sit," "remain, "dwell," "inhabit" shakhen, "to settle down" "tabernacle," "dwell"; katoikeo, "to settle," "dwell"): See DWELL. The verb "to inhabit," now used only transitively, had once an intransitive meaning as well. Compare Cowper, Olney Hymns, XIV,

"Who built it, who inhabits there?"

So in 1Ch 5:9 the King James Version, "And eastward he inhabited unto the entering in of the wilderness" (but the Revised Version (British and American) "dwelt"). We have the obsolete inhabiters for "inhabitants" in Re 8:13 the King James Version (but the Revised Version (British and American) "them that dwell") and Re 12:12 the King James Version (but omitted in the Revised Version (British and American)). The rare inhabitress (feminine) is found only in Jer 10:17 margin; "the church called the inhabitress of the gardens" (Bishop Richardson).

D. Miall Edwards


in-her’-i-tans (nahalah, "something inherited," "occupancy," "heirloom," "estate," "portion"): The word is used in its widest application in the Old Testament Scriptures, referring not only to an estate received by a child from its parents, but also to the land received by the children of Israel as a gift from Yahweh. And in the figurative and poetical sense, the expression is applied to the kingdom of God as represented in the consecrated lives of His followers. In a similar sense, the Psalmist is represented as speaking of the Lord as the portion of his inheritance. In addition to the above word, the King James Version translations as inheritance, morashah, "a possession," "heritage" (De 33:4; Eze 33:24); yerushshah, "something occupied," "a patrimony," "possession" (Jud 21:17); cheleq, "smoothness," "allotment" (Ps 16:5); kleronomeo, "to inherit" (Mt 5:5, etc.); kleronomos, "heir" (Mt 21:38, etc.); kleronomia, "heirship," "patrimony, "possession"; or kleros, "an acquisition" "portion," "heritage," from kleroo, "to assign," "to allot," "to obtain an inheritance" (Mt 21:38; Lu 12:13; Ac 7:5; 20:32; 26:18; Ga 3:18; Eph 1:11,14,18; 5:5; Col 1:12; 3:24; Heb 1:4; 9:15; 11:8; 1Pe 1:4).

The Pentateuch distinguishes clearly between real and personal property, the fundamental idea regarding the former being the thought that the land is God’s, given by Him to His children, the people of Israel, and hence, cannot be alienated (Le 25:23,28). In order that there might not be any respecter of persons in the division, the lot was to determine the specific piece to be owned by each family head (Nu 26:52-56; 33:54). In case, through necessity of circumstances, a homestead was sold, the title could pass only temporarily; for in the year of Jubilee every homestead must again return to the original owner or heir (Le 25:25-34). Real estate given to the priesthood must be appraised, and could be redeemed by the payment of the appraised valuation, thus preventing the transfer of real property even in this case (Le 27:14-25). Inheritance was controlled by the following regulations:

(1) The firstborn son inherited a double portion of all the father’s possession (De 21:15-17);

(2) the daughters were entitled to an inheritance, provided there were no sons in the family (Nu 27:8);

(3) in case there were no direct heirs, the brothers or more distant kinsmen were recognized (27:9-11); in no case should an estate pass from one tribe to another.

The above points were made the subject of statutory law at the instance of the daughters of Zelophehad, the entire case being clearly set forth in Nu 27$; 36$.

Frank E. Hirsch


in-ik’-wi-ti (‘awon; anomia): In the Old Testament of the 11 words translated "iniquity," by far the most common and important is ‘awon (about 215 times). Etymologically, it is customary to explain it as meaning literally "crookedness," "perverseness," i.e. evil regarded as that which is not straight or upright, moral distortion (from ‘iwwah, "to bend," "make crooked," "pervert"). Driver, however (following Lagarde), maintains that two roots, distinct in Arabic, have been confused in Hebrew, one equals "to bend," "pervert" (as above), and the other equals "to err," "go astray"; that ‘awon is derived from the latter, and consequently expresses the idea of error, deviation from the right path, rather than that of perversion (Driver, Notes on Sam, 135 note) Whichever etymology is adopted, in actual usage it has three meanings which almost imperceptibly pass into each other:

(1) iniquity,

(2) guilt of iniquity,

(3) punishment of iniquity.

Primarily, it denotes "not an action, but the character of an action" (Oehler), and is so distinguished from "sin" (chaTTa’th). Hence, we have the expression "the iniquity of my sin" (Ps 32:5). Thus the meaning glides into that of "guilt," which might often take the place of "iniquity" as the translation of ‘awon (Ge 15:16; Ex 34:7; Jer 2:22, etc.). From "guilt" it again passes into the meaning of "punishment of guilt," just as Latin piaculum may denote both guilt and its punishment. The transition is all the easier in Hebrew because of the Hebrew sense of the intimate relation of sin and suffering, e.g. Ge 4:13, "My punishment is greater than I can bear"; which is obviously to be preferred to King James Version margin, the Revised Version, margin "Mine iniquity is greater than can be forgiven," for Cain is not so much expressing sorrow for his sin, as complaining of the severity of his punishment; compare 2Ki 7:9 (the Revised Version (British and American) "punishment," the Revised Version margin "iniquity"); Isa 5:18 (where for "iniquity" we might have "punishment of iniquity," as in Le 26:41,43, etc.); Isa 40:2 ("iniquity," the Revised Version margin "punishment"). The phrase "bear iniquity" is a standing expression for bearing its consequences, i.e. its penalty; generally of the sinner bearing the results of his own iniquity (Le 17:16; 20:17,19; Nu 14:34; Eze 44:10, etc.), but sometimes of one bearing the iniquity of another vicariously, and so taking it away (e.g. Eze 4:4 f; 18:19 f). Of special interest in the latter sense are the sufferings of the Servant of Yahweh, who shall "bear the iniquities" of the people (Isa 53:11; compare Isa 53:6).

Other words frequently translated "iniquity" are: ‘awen, literally, "worthlessness," "vanity," hence, "naughtiness," "mischief" (47 times in the King James Version, especially in the phrase "workers of iniquity," Job 4:8; Ps 5:5; 6:8; Pr 10:29, etc.); ‘awel and ‘awlah, literally, "perverseness" (De 32:4; Job 6:29 the King James Version, etc.).

In the New Testament "iniquity" stands for anomia equals properly, "the condition of one without law," "lawlessness" (so translated in 1 Joh 3:4, elsewhere "iniquity," e.g. Mt 7:23), a word which frequently stood for ‘awon in the Septuagint; and adikia, literally, "unrighteousness" (e.g. Lu 13:27).

D. Miall Edwards





in-joo’-ri-us, in-ju’-ri-us (hubristes, "insolent"): In former usage, the word was strongly expressive of insult as well as hurtfulness. So in 1Ti 1:13. In Ro 1:30 the same adjective is translated "insolent" (the King James Version "despiteful").


in’-ju-ri, in’-joo-ri.



ink (deyo, from root meaning "slowly flowing," BDB, 188; melan, "black"): Any fluid substance used with pen or brush to form written characters. In this sense ink is mentioned once in the Hebrew Bible (Jer 36:2) and 3 times in the Greek New Testament (2Co 3:3; 2 Joh 1:12; 3 Joh 1:13), and it is implied in all references to writing on papyrus or on leather. The inference from the "blotting out" of Ex 32:33 and Nu 5:23 that the Hebrew ink was a lamp-black and gum, or some other dry ink, is confirmed by the general usage of antiquity, by the later Jewish prejudice against other inks (OTJC, 71 note) and by a Jewish receipt referring to ink-tablets (Drach, "Notice sur l’encre des Hebreux," Ann. philos. chret., 42, 45, 353). The question is, however, now being put on a wholly new basis by the study of the Elephantine Jewish documents (Meyer, Papyrusfund2, 1912, 15, 21), and above all of the Harvard Ostraca from Samaria which give actual specimens of the ink in Palestine in the time of Ahab (Harvard Theological Review, Jan. 1911, 136-43). It is likely, however, that during the long period of Bible history various inks were used. The official copy of the law in the time of Ptolemy Philadelphus was, according to Josephus (Ant., XII, ii, 11), written in gold, and the vermilion and red paints and dyes mentioned in Jer 22:14; Eze 23:14, and The Wisdom of Solomon 13:14 (milto kai phukei) were probably used also for writing books or coloring incised inscriptions. See literature under WRITING; especially Krauss, Talmud, Arch. 3, 148-53; Gardthausen, Greek Palestine, 1911, I, 202-17, and his bibliographical references passim.

E. C. Richardson


ink’-horn (keceth equals keseth, BDB, 903): This term "inkhorn" occurs 3 times in Eze 9 (9:2,3,11), in the phrase "writer’s inkhorn upon his loins" (or "by his side"). The word is more exactly "implement case," or "writing-case" (calamarium atramentarium, theca calamaria, theca libraria, graphiaria). This may have been the Egyptian palette (Budge, Mummy, 350-52) seen so often in the monuments of all periods, or the later form of pen-case with ink-well attached, which is a modified form adapted for ink carried in fluid form. The Egyptian palette was carried characteristically over the shoulder or under the arm, neither of which methods is strictly "upon the loins." The manner of carrying, therefore, was doubtless in the girdle, as in modern oriental usage (Benzinger, Hebrew Archaeol., 185). A good example of the pen-case and inkwell writing-case (given also in Garucci, Daremberg-Saglio, Gardthausen, etc.) is given from the original in Birt, Die Buchrolle in der Kunst, 220, and is reproduced (a) in this article, together with (b) an Egyptian palette. Whether the form of Ezekiel’s case approached the palette or the ink-well type probably depends on the question of whether dry ink or fluid ink was used in Ezekiel’s time (see INK). Compare Hieronymus at the place, and for literature, see WRITING, and especially Gardthausen, Greek Palestine, 1911, I, 193-94.

E. C. Richardson


(malon; pandocheion, kataluma):

1. Earliest Night Resting-Places:

The Hebrew word malon means literally, a "night resting-place," and might be applied to any spot where caravans (Ge 42:27; 43:21 the King James Version), individuals (Ex 4:24; Jer 9:2), or even armies (Jos 4:3,8; 2Ki 19:23; Isa 10:29) encamped for the night. In the slightly altered form melunah, the same word is used of a nightwatchman’s lodge in a garden (Isa 1:8; 24:20, the King James Version "cottage"). The word in itself does not imply the presence of any building, and in the case of caravans and travelers was doubtless originally, as very often at the present day, only a convenient level bit of ground near some spring, where baggage might be unloaded, animals watered and tethered, and men rest on the bare ground. Nothing in the Old Testament suggests the occupancy of a house in such cases. The nearest approach to such an idea occurs in Jer 41:17 margin, where geruth kimham is translated "the lodging-place of Chimham," but the text is very doubtful and probably refers rather to sheepfolds. We cannot say when buildings were first used, but the need of shelter for caravans traveling in winter, and of protection in dangerous times and districts, would lead to their introduction at an early period in the history of trade.

2. Public Inns:

It is noteworthy that all the indisputable designations of "inn" come in with the Greek period. Josephus (Ant., XV, v, 1; BJ, I, xxi, 7) speaks of "Public inns" under the name of katagogal, while in the Aramaic Jewish writings we meet with ‘ushpiza’, from Latin hospitium, and ‘akhcanya’ from the Greek xenia; the New Testament designation pandocheion has passed into the Aramaic pundheqa’ and the Arabic funduq. All these are used of public inns, and they all correspond to the modern "khan" or "caravanserai." These are to be found on the great trade routes all over the East. In their most elaborate form they have almost the strength of a fortress. They consist of a great quadrangle into which admission is gained through a broad, strong gateway. The quadrangle is enclosed on all sides by a 2-story building, the windows in the case of the lower story opening only to the interior. The upper story is reached by stairways, and has a gangway all around, giving access to the practically bare rooms which are at the disposal of travelers. 3. Their Evil Name:

There is usually a well of good water in the center of the quadrangle, and travelers as a rule bring their own food and often that of their animals (Jud 19:19) with them. There are no fixed payments, and on departure, the arranging of haqq el-khan generally means a disagreeable dispute, as the innkeepers are invariably untruthful, dishonest and oppressive. They have ever been regarded as of infamous character. The Roman laws in many places recognize this. In Mishna, Yebhamoth, xvi. 7 the word of an innkeeper was doubted, and Mishna, ‘Abbodhah Zarah, ii.4 places them in the lowest scale of degradation. The New Testament is quite clear in speaking of "Rahab the harlot" (Heb 11:31; Jas 2:25). The Targum designates her an "innkeeper," while Rashi translates zonah as "a seller of kinds of food," a meaning the word will bear. Chimchi, however, accepts both meanings. This evil repute of public inns, together with the Semitic spirit of hospitality, led the Jews and the early Christians to prefer to recommend the keeping of open house for the entertainment of strangers. In the Jewish Morning Prayers, even in our day, such action is linked with great promises, and the New Testament repeatedly (Heb 13:2; 1Pe 4:9; 3 Joh 1:5) commends hospitality. It is remarkable that both the Talmud (Shab 127a) and the New Testament (Heb 13:2) quote the same passage (Ge 18:3) in recommending it.

The best-known khans in Palestine are Khan Jubb-Yusuf, North of the Lake of Galilee, Khan et-Tujjar, under the shadow of Tabor, Khan el-Lubban (compare Jud 21:19), and Khan Chadrur, midway between Jerusalem and Jericho. This last certainly occupies the site of the inn referred to in Lu 10:34, and it is not without interest that we read in Mishna, Yebhamoth, xvi.7, of another sick man being left at that same inn. See illustration, p. 64.

4. Guest Chambers:

The Greek word kataluma, though implying a "loosing" for the night, seems rather to be connected with the idea of hospitality in a private house than in a public inn. Luke with his usual care distinguishes between this and pandocheion, and his use of the verb kataluo (Lu 9:12; 19:7) makes his meaning clear. In the Septuagint, indeed, malon is sometimes translated kataluma, and it appears in 1Sa 9:22 for lishkah, the King James Version "parlour." It is the word used of the "upper room" where the Last Supper was held (Mr 14:14; Lu 22:11, "guest-chamber"), and of the place of reception in Bethlehem where Joseph and Mary failed to find quarters (Lu 2:7). It thus corresponds to the spare or upper room in a private house or in a village, i.e. to the manzil adjoining the house of the sheikh, where travelers received hospitality and where no payment was expected, except a trifle to the caretaker. In Jerusalem such payments were made by leaving behind the earthenware vessels that had been used, and the skins of the animals that had been slaughtered (Yoma’ 12a).

5. Birth of Christ:

Judging from the word used, and the conditions implied, we are led to believe that Joseph and Mary had at first expected reception in the upper room or manzil at the house of the sheikh of Bethlehem, probably a friend and member of the house of David; that in this they were disappointed, and had to content themselves with the next best, the elevated platform alongside the interior of the stable, and on which those having the care of the animals generally slept. It being now the season when they were in the fields (Lu 2:8), the stable would be empty and clean. There then the Lord Jesus was born and laid in the safest and most convenient place, the nearest empty manger alongside of this elevated platform. Humble though the circumstances were, the family were preserved from all the annoyance and evil associations of a public khan, and all the demands of delicacy and privacy were duly met.

W. M. Christie




in’-o-sens, in’-o-sen-si, in’-o-sent (zakhu, niqqayon, chinnam, chaph, naqi; athoos): the King James Version and the American Standard Revised Version have innocency in Ge 20:5; Ps 26:6; 73:13; Da 6:22; Ho 8:5. In Daniel the Hebrew is zakhu, and the innocence expressed is the absence of the guilt of disloyalty to God. In all the other places the Hebrew is niqqayon, and the innocence expressed is the absence of pollution, Hosea having reference to the pollution of idolatry, and the other passages presenting the cleansing under the figure of washing hands. the King James Version has innocent not fewer than 40 times. In one place (1Ki 2:31) the Hebrew is chinnam, meaning "undeserved," or "without cause," and, accordingly, the American Standard Revised Version, instead of "innocent blood .... shed," has "blood .... shed without cause." In another place (Job 33:9) the Hebrew is chaph, meaning "scraped," or "polished," therefore "clean," and refers to moral purity. In all the other places the Hebrew is naqi, or its cognates, and the idea is doubtless the absence of pollution. In more than half the passages "innocent" is connected with blood, as "blood of the innocent," or simply "innocent blood." In some places there is the idea of the Divine acquittal, or forgiveness, as in Job 9:28: "I know that thou wilt not hold me innocent" (compare Job 10:14, where the same Hebrew word is used). The New Testament has "innocent" twice in connection with blood—"innocent blood," and "innocent of the blood" (Mt 27:4,24).

E. J. Forrester


in’-o-sents, mas’-a-ker,



1. Focus of Narrative—Residence at Nazareth

2. Corollaries from Above Facts

3. Marks of Historicity

I. Meaning and History of the Term.

The conventional, ecclesiastical name given to the slaughter by HEROD, I (which see) of children two years old and under in Bethlehem and its environs at the time of the birth of Christ (Mt 2:16). The accepted title for this event may be traced through Augustine to Cyprian.

Irenaeus (died 202 AD) calls these children "martyrs," and in a very beautiful passage interprets the tragedy which ended their brief lives as a gracious and tender "sending before" into His kingdom by the Lord Himself.

Cyprian (died 258 AD) says: "That it might be manifest that they who are slain for Christ’s sake are innocent, innocent infancy was put to death for his name’s sake" (Ep. lv. 6).

Augustine (born 354 AD), following Cyprian, speaks of the children, formally, as "the Innocents" (Commentary on Ps 43:5).

The ecclesiastical treatment of the incident is remarkable because of the exaggeration which was indulged in as to the extent of the massacre and the number of victims. At an early date the Greek church canonized 14,000, and afterward, by a curious misinterpretation of Re 14:1,3, the number was increased to 144,000.

According to Milman the liturgy of the Church of England retains a reminiscence of this ancient error in the use of Re 14 on Holy Innocents’ Day (see History of Christianity, I, 107, note e). This exaggeration, of which there is no hint in the New Testament, is worthy of note because the most serious general argument against the historicity of the narrative is drawn from the silence of Josephus. As in all probability there could not have been more than twenty children involved (compare Farrar, Life of Christ, I, 45, note), the incident could not have bulked very largely in the series of horrors perpetrated or planned by Herod in the last months of his life (see Farrar, The Herods, 144 f) .

II. Analysis of Narrative with Special Reference to Motive.

In estimating the value of such a narrative from the viewpoint of historicity, the first and most important step is to gauge the motive. Why was the story told? This question is not always easy to answer, but in the present instance there is a very simple and effective test at hand.

1. Focus of Narrative—Residence at Nazareth:

In Matthew’s infancy section (Mt 1$; 2$) there are five quotations from the Old Testament which are set into the narrative of events. These five quotations represent the cardinal and outstanding points of interest. The quotations are placed thus:

(1) at the Virgin Birth (Mt 1:23);

(2) at the birth at Bethlehem (Mt 2:6);

(3) at the visit to Egypt (Mt 2:15);

(4) at the murder of the children (Mt 2:18);

(5) at the Nazareth residence (Mt 2:23).

It will be noticed at once as peculiar and significant that no quotation is attached to the visit of the Magi. This omission is the more noteworthy because in Nu 24:7; Ps 72:15; Isa 60:6, and numerous references to the ingathering of the Gentiles there are such beautiful and appropriate passages to link with the visit of the strangers from the far East. This peculiar omission, on the part of a writer so deeply interested in prophecy and its fulfillment and so keen to seize upon appropriate and suggestive harmonies, in a section constructed with a view to such harmonies, can be explained only on the ground that the visit of the Magi did not, in the writer’s view of events, occupy a critical point of especial interest. Their visit is told, not for its own sake, but because of its connection with the murder of the children and the journey to Egypt. The murder of the children is of interest because it discloses the character of Herod and the perils surrounding the newborn Messiah. It also explains the visit to Egypt and the subsequent residence at Nazareth. The latter is evidently the objective point, because it is given a place by itself and marked by a quotation. Moreover, the one evidence of overstrain in the narrative is in the ambiguous and obscure statement by which the Old Testament is brought into relationship with the Nazareth residence. The center of interest in the entire section which is concerned with Herod and the Magi is the Nazareth residence. The story is told for the express purpose of explaining why the heir of David, who was born at Bethlehem, lived at Nazareth.

This brings the narrative of Matthew into striking relationship with that of Luke. The latter’s concern is to show how it was that the Messiah who lived at Nazareth was born at Bethlehem. We have here one of the undesigned unities which bind together these two narratives which are seemingly so divergent. That Matthew says nothing about a previous residence at Nazareth and that Luke says nothing about a forced return thither may be explained, in accordance with the balance of probabilities, on the ground, either that each evangelist was ignorant of the fact omitted by himself, or that in his condensed and rapid statement he did not see fit to mention it. In any case the harmony immeasurably outweighs the discrepancy.

2. Corollaries from Above Facts:

The fact that the focus of the entire narrative lies in the residence of Jesus at Nazareth effectually disposes of a number of current hypotheses as to its origin.

(1) The idea that it is merely legend told for the purpose of literary embellishment. The dovetailing of what would be the main item into the rest of the narrative and its subordination to secondary features cannot be explained on this hypothesis. The absence of adornment by available passages from the Old Testament alone is conclusive on this point (see Allen, "Matthew," ICC, 14, 15).

(2) The idea that the story is told for the purpose of illustrating the scope of the Messiah’s influence beyond Israel. Here, again, the subordinate position assigned to the story of the Magi together with the absence of Old Testament material is conclusive. Moreover, the history of the Magi is abruptly dropped with the statement of their return home. Interest in them flags as soon as their brief connection with the movement of the history through Herod ceases. And the intensely Hebraic character of Matthew’s infancy section as a whole is incidental evidence pointing in the same direction (compare remarks of the writer, Birth and Infancy of Jesus Christ, 70 f).

(3) The idea that the story is told to emphasize the wonder-element in connection with the birth of Christ. The facts contradict this. In addition to the primary consideration, the subordinate position, there are others of great value. That the Magi were providentially guided to the feet of the Messiah is evidently the firm conviction of the narrator. The striking feature of the story is that with this belief in his mind he keeps so strictly within the limits of the natural order. In Mt 2:9 and 12 only is there apparent exception. Of these the statement in 2:9 is the only one peculiar to this part of the narrative. Two things are to be remembered concerning it: It is clear that the verse cannot be interpreted apart from a clear understanding of the whole astronomical occurrence of which it forms a part.

It is also evident that Mt 2:9 must not be interpreted apart from the context. From the viewpoint of a wonder-tale the writer makes a fatal blunder at the most critical point of his story. The popular notion that the Magi were miraculously led to the Messiah finds no support in the text. The Magi did not come to Bethlehem, but to Jerusalem, asking: "Where is he that is born King of the Jews?" Mt 2:9 comes after this statement and after the conclave called by Herod in which Bethlehem was specified. In view of all this it seems clear that the Magi were led, not miraculously, but in accordance with the genius of their own system, and that the Providential element lay in the striking coincidence of their visit and the birth of Jesus. The interest of the writer was not in the wonder-element, else, infallibly, he would have sharpened its outlines and expurgated all ambiguity as to the nature of the occurrence.

We may now glance at the positive evidence for the historicity of the event.

3. Marks of Historicity:

(1) The centering of the narrative upon the residence of Jesus at Nazareth. This not only brings Luke’s Gospel in support of the center, but groups the story around a point of known interest to the first generation of believers. It is interesting to note that the residence in Egypt has independent backing of a sort. There are in existence two stories, one traced by Origen through Jews of his own day to earlier times, and the other in the Talmud, which connect Jesus with Egypt and attempt to account for His miracles by reference to Egyptian magic (see Plummer, "Matthew," Ex. Comm., 17,18).

(2) The fact that the story of the Magi is told so objectively and with such personal detachment. Both Jews and early Christians had strong views both as to astrology and magic in general (see Plummer, op. cit., 15), but the author of this Gospel tells the story without emphasis and without comment and from the viewpoint of the Magi. His interest is purely historical and matter-of-fact.

(3) The portrait of Herod the Great. So far as Herod is concerned the incident is usually discussed with exclusive reference to the savagery involved. By many it is affirmed that we have here a hostile and unfair portrait. This contention could hardly be sustained even if the question turned entirely upon the point of savagery. But there is far more than savagery in the incident.

(a) In the first place there is this undeniable element of inherent probability in the story. Practically all of Herod’s murders, including those of his beloved wife and his sons, were perpetrated under the sway of one emotion and in obedience to a single motive. They were in practically every instance for the purpose of consolidating or perpetuating his power. He nearly destroyed his own immediate family in the half-mad jealousy that on occasion drove him to the very limits of ferocity, simply because they were accused of plotting against him. The accusations were largely false, but the suspicion doomed those accused. The murder of the Innocents was another crime of the same sort. The old king was obsessed by the fear of a claimant to his petty throne; the Messianic hope of the Jews was a perpetual secret torment, and the murder of the children, in the attempt to reach the child whose advent threatened him, was at once so original in method and so characteristic in purpose as to give an inimitable veri-similitude to the whole narrative. There are also other traits of truth.

(b) Herod’s prompt discovery of the visit of the Magi and their questions is in harmony with what we know of the old ruler’s watchfulness and his elaborate system of espionage.

(c) Characteristic also is the subtlety with which he deals with the whole situation. How striking and vivid, with all its rugged simplicity, is the story of the king’s pretended interest in the quest of the strangers, the solemn conclave of Jewish leaders with himself in the role of earnest inquirer, his urgent request for information that he may worship also, followed by his swift anger (note that ethumothe, "was wroth," verse 16, is not used elsewhere in the New Testament) at being deceived, and the blind but terrible stroke of his questing vengeance.

All these items are so true to the man, to the atmosphere which always surrounded him, and to the historic situation, that we are forced to conclude, either that we have veracious history more or less directly received from one who was an observer of the events described, or the work of an incomparably clever romancer.

Louis Matthews Sweet


in-or’-di-nat ("ill-regulated," hence, "immoderate," "excessive"; Latin in, "not," ordinatus, "set in order"): Only twice in the King James Version. In each case there is no corresponding adjective in the original, but the word was inserted by the translators as being implied in the noun. It disappears in Revised Version: Eze 23:11, "in her inordinate love" (the Revised Version (British and American) "in her doting"); aghabhah, "lust"; Col 3:5 "inordinate affection" (the Revised Version (British and American) "passion"); pathos, a word which in classical Greek may have either a good or a bad sense (any affection or emotion of the mind), but in the New Testament is used only in a bad sense (passion).

D. Miall Edwards


in-kwir’ (sha’al, "to ask," "desire"; zeteo, "to seek"); A form sometimes employed with reference to the practice of divination, as where Saul "inquires of" (or "consults") the witch of Endor as to the issue of the coming battle (1Sa 28:6,7) (see DIVINATION).

In Job 10:6, "to inquire (baqash) after iniquity" signifies to bring to light and punish for it, and Job asks distractedly if God’s time is so short that He is in a hurry to find him guilty and to punish him as if He had only a man’s few days to live.

"To inquire of Yahweh" denotes the consultation of oracle, priest, prophet or Yahweh Himself, as to a certain course of action or as to necessary supplies. (Jud 20:27 the King James Version, "to ask"; 1Ki 22:5; 1Sa 9:9 (darash); 1Sa 10:22 the King James Version; 2Sa 2:1; 5:19,23; Eze 36:37).

"To inquire (baqar) in his temple" (palace) means to find out all that constant fellowship or unbroken intercourse with God can teach (Ps 27:4).

Pr 20:25 warns against rashness in making a vow and afterward considering (baqar, "to make inquiry") as to whether it can be fulfilled or how it may be eluded.

In the King James Version, the translation of several Greek words: diaginosko, "to know thoroughly" (Ac 23:15); epizeteo, "to seek after" (Ac 19:39); suzeteo, "to seek together" (Lu 22:23); exetazo, "to search out" (Mt 10:11).

M. O. Evans


in-kwi-zish’-un (darash, "to follow," "diligently inquire," "question," "search" (De 19:18; Ps 9:12), baqash, "to search out," "to strive after," "inquire" (Es 2:23)): The term refers, as indicated by these passages, first of all to a careful and diligent inquiry necessary to ascertain the truth from witnesses in a court, but may also refer to a careful examination into circumstances or conditions without official authority.


in-skrip’-shun (verb epigrapho, "to write upon," "inscribe"): The word occurs once in English Versions of the Bible in Ac 17:23 of the altar at Athens with the inscription "To an Unknown God." On inscriptions in archaeology, see ARCHAEOLOGY; ASSYRIA; BABYLONIA, etc.


in’-sekts: In English Versions of the Bible, including the marginal notes, we find at least 23 names of insects or words referring to them: ant, bald locust, bee, beetle, cankerworm, caterpillar, creeping thing, cricket, crimson, flea, fly, gnat, grasshopper, honey, hornet, locust, louse, (lice), moth, palmer-worm, sandfly, scarlet-worm, silk-worm. These can be referred to about 12 insects, which, arranged systematically, are: Hymenoptera, ant, bee, hornet; Lepidoptera, clothes-moth, silk-worm; Siphonaptera, flea; Diptera, fly; Rhynchota, louse, scarletworm; Orthoptera, several kinds of grasshoppers and locusts.

The word "worm" refers not only to the scarletworm, but to various larvae of Lepidoptera, Coleoptera, and Diptera. "Creeping things" refers indefinitely to insects, reptiles, and beasts. In the list of 23 names given above honey and bee refer to one insect, as do crimson and scarlet. Sandfly has no place if "lice" be retained in Ex 8:16 ff. Bald locust, beetle, canker-worm, cricket, and palmerworm probably all denote various kinds of grasshoppers and locusts. When the translators of English Versions of the Bible had to do with two or more Hebrew words for which there was only one well-recognized English equivalent, they seem to have been content with that alone, if the two Hebrew words occurred in different passages; e.g. zebhubh, "fly" (Ec 10:1; Isa 7:18), and ‘arobh, "fly" (Ex 8:21 ). On the other hand, they were put to it to find equivalents for the insect names in Le 11:22; Joe 1:4, and elsewhere. For cale’am (Le 11:22) they evidently coined "bald locust," following a statement of the Talmud that it had a smooth head. For gazam and yeleq they imported "palmer-worm" and "canker-worm," two old English names of caterpillars, using "caterpillar" for chasil. The King James Version "beetle" for chargol is absolutely inappropriate, and the Revised Version (British and American) "cricket," while less objectionable, is probably also incorrect. The English language seems to lack appropriate names for different kinds of grasshoppers and locusts, and it is difficult to suggest any names to take the places of those against which these criticisms are directed. See under the names of the respective insects. See also SCORPION and SPIDER, which are not included here because they are not strictly insects.

Alfred Ely Day



1. Meaning of Terms

2. Occurrences in the Bible

3. Consideration of Important Passages

(1) 2 Timothy 3:16

(2) 2 Peter 1:19-21

(3) John 10:34 f

4. Christ’s Declaration That Scripture Must Be Fulfilled

5. His Testimony That God Is Author of Scripture

6. Similar Testimony of His Immediate Followers

7. Their Identification of God and Scripture

8. The "Oracles of God"

9. The Human Element in Scripture

10. Activities of God in Giving Scripture

11. General Problem of Origin: God’s Part

12. How Human Qualities Affected Scripture. Providential Preparation

13. "Inspiration" More than Mere "Providence"

14. Witness of New Testament Writers to Divine Operation

15. "Inspiration" and "Revelation"

16. Scriptures a Divine-Human Book?

17. Scripture of the New Testament Writers Was the Old Testament

18. Inclusion of the New Testament


1. Meaning of Terms:

The word "inspire" and its derivatives seem to have come into Middle English from the French, and have been employed from the first (early in the 14th century) in a considerable number of significations, physical and metaphorical, secular and religious. The derivatives have been multiplied and their applications extended during the procession of the years, until they have acquired a very wide and varied use. Underlying all their use, however, is the constant implication of an influence from without, producing in its object movements and effects beyond its native, or at least its ordinary powers. The noun "inspiration," although already in use in the 14th century, seems not to occur in any but a theological sense until late in the 16th century. The specifically theological sense of all these terms is governed, of course, by their usage in Latin theology; and this rests ultimately on their employment in the Latin Bible. In the Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) Latin Bible the verb inspiro (Ge 2:7; The Wisdom of Solomon 15:11; Ecclesiasticus 4:12; 2Ti 3:16; 2Pe 1:21) and the noun inspiratio (2Sa 22:16; Job 32:8; Ps 18:15; Ac 17:25) both occur 4 or 5 times in somewhat diverse applications. In the development of a theological nomenclature, however, they have acquired (along with other less frequent applications) a technical sense with reference to the Biblical writers or the Biblical books. The Biblical books are called inspired as the Divinely determined products of inspired men; the Biblical writers are called inspired as breathed into by the Holy Spirit, so that the product of their activities transcends human powers and becomes Divinely authoritative. Inspiration is, therefore, usually defined as a supernatural influence exerted on the sacred writers by the Spirit of God, by virtue of which their writings are given Divine trustworthiness.

2. Occurrences in the Bible:

Meanwhile, for English-speaking men, these terms have virtually ceased to be Biblical terms. They naturally passed from the Latin Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) into the English versions made from it (most fully into the Rheims-Douay: Job 32:8; The Wisdom of Solomon 15:11; Ecclesiasticus 4:12; 2Ti 3:16; 2Pe 1:21). But in the development of the English Bible they have found ever-decreasing place. In the English Versions of the Bible of the Apocrypha (both the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American)) "inspired" is retained in The Wisdom of Solomon 15:11; but in the canonical books the nominal form alone occurs in the King James Version and that only twice: Job 32:8, "But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding"; and 2Ti 3:16, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." the Revised Version (British and American) removes the former of these instances, substituting "breath" for "inspiration"; and alters the latter so as to read: "Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness," with a marginal alternative in the form of, "Every scripture is inspired of God and profitable," etc. The word "inspiration" thus disappears from the English Bible, and the word "inspired" is left in it only once, and then, let it be added, by a distinct and even misleading mistranslation.

For the Greek word in this passage—theopneustos—very distinctly does not mean "inspired of God." This phrase is rather the rendering of the Latin, divinitus inspirata, restored from the Wycliff ("Al Scripture of God ynspyrid is ....") and Rhemish ("All Scripture inspired of God is ....") versions of the Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) The Greek word does not even mean, as the King James Version translates it, "given by inspiration of God," although that rendering (inherited from, Tyndale: "All Scripture given by inspiration of God is ...." and its successors; compare Geneva: "The whole Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is ....") has at least to say for itself that it is a somewhat clumsy, perhaps, but not misleading, paraphrase of the Greek term in theological language of the day. The Greek term has, however, nothing to say of inspiring or of inspiration: it speaks only of a "spiring" or "spiration." What it says of Scripture is, not that it is "breathed into by God" or is the product of the Divine "inbreathing" into its human authors, but that it is breathed out by God, "God-breathed," the product of the creative breath of God. In a word, what is declared by this fundamental passage is simply that the Scriptures are a Divine product, without any indication of how God has operated in producing them. No term could have been chosen, however, which would have more emphatically asserted the Divine production of Scripture than that which is here employed. The "breath of God" is in Scripture just the symbol of His almighty power, the bearer of His creative word. "By the word of Yahweh," we read in the significant parallel of Ps 33:6 "were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth." And it is particularly where the operations of God are energetic that this term (whether ruach, or neshamah) is employed to designate them—God’s breath is the irresistible outflow of His power. When Paul declares, then, that "every scripture" or "all scripture" is the product of the Divine breath, "is God-breathed," he asserts with as much energy as he could employ that Scripture is the product of a specifically Divine operation.

3. Consideration of Important Passages:

(1) 2 Timothy 3:16:

In the passage in which Paul makes this energetic assertion of the Divine origin of Scripture he is engaged in explaining the greatness of the advantages which Timothy had enjoyed for learning the saving truth of God. He had had good teachers; and from his very infancy he had been, by his knowledge of the Scriptures, made wise unto salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. The expression, "sacred writings," here employed (1Ti 3:15), is a technical one, not found elsewhere in the New Testament, it is true, but occurring currently in Philo and Josephus to designate that body of authoritative books which constituted the Jewish "Law." It appears here anarthrously because it is set in contrast with the oral teaching which Timothy had enjoyed, as something still better: he had not only had good instructors, but also always "an open Bible," as we should say, in his hand. To enhance yet further the great advantage of the possession of these Sacred Scriptures the apostle adds now a sentence throwing their nature strongly up to view. They are of Divine origin and therefore of the highest value for all holy purposes.

There is room for some difference of opinion as to the exact construction of this declaration. Shall we render "Every Scripture" or "All Scripture"? Shall we render "Every (or all) Scripture is God-breathed and (therefore) profitable," or "Every (or all) Scripture, being God-breathed, is as well profitable"? No doubt both questions are interesting, but for the main matter now engaging our attention they are both indifferent. Whether Paul, looking back at the Sacred Scriptures he had just mentioned, makes the assertion he is about to add, of them distributively, of all their parts, or collectively, of their entire mass, is of no moment: to say that every part of these Sacred Scriptures is God-breathed and to say that the whole of these Sacred Scriptures is God-breathed, is, for the main matter, all one. Nor is the difference great between saying that they are in all their parts, or in their whole extent, God-breathed and therefore profitable, and saying that they are in all their parts, or in their whole extent, because God-breathed as well profitable. In both cases these Sacred Scriptures are declared to owe their value to their Divine origin; and in both cases this their Divine origin is energetically asserted of their entire fabric. On the whole, the preferable construction would seem to be, "Every Scripture, seeing that it is God-breathed, is as well profitable." In that case, what the apostle asserts is that the Sacred Scriptures, in their every several passage—for it is just "passage of Scripture" which "Scripture" in this distributive use of it signifies—is the product of the creative breath of God, and, because of this its Divine origination, is of supreme value for all holy purposes.

It is to be observed that the apostle does not stop here to tell us either what particular books enter into the collection which he calls Sacred Scriptures, or by what precise operations God has produced them. Neither of these subjects entered into the matter he had at the moment in hand. It was the value of the Scriptures, and the source of that value in their Divine origin, which he required at the moment to assert; and these things he asserts, leaving to other occasions any further facts concerning them which it might be well to emphasize. It is also to be observed that the apostle does not tell us here everything for which the Scriptures are made valuable by their Divine origination. He speaks simply to the point immediately in hand, and reminds Timothy of the value which these Scriptures, by virtue of their Divine origin, have for the "man of God." Their spiritual power, as God-breathed, is all that he had occasion here to advert to. Whatever other qualities may accrue to them from their Divine origin, he leaves to other occasions to speak of.

(2) 2 Peter 1:19-21:

What Paul tells us here about the Divine origin of the Scriptures is enforced and extended by a striking passage in 2Pe (1:19-21). Peter is assuring his readers that what had been made known to them of "the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" did not rest on "cunningly devised fables." He offers them the testimony of eyewitnesses of Christ’s glory. And then he intimates that they have better testimony than even that of eyewitnesses. "We have," says he, "the prophetic word" (English Versions of the Bible, unhappily, "the word of prophecy"): and this, he says, is "more sure," and therefore should certainly be heeded. He refers, of course, to the Scriptures. Of what other "prophetic word" could he, over against the testimony of the eyewitnesses of Christ’s "excellent glory" (the King James Version) say that "we have" it, that is, it is in our hands? And he proceeds at once to speak of it plainly as "Scriptural prophecy." You do well, he says, to pay heed to the prophetic word, because we know this first, that "every prophecy of scripture ...." It admits of more question, however, whether by this phrase he means the whole of Scripture, designated according to its character, as prophetic, that is, of Divine origin; or only that portion of Scripture which we discriminate as particularly prophetic, the immediate revelations contained in Scripture. The former is the more likely view, inasmuch as the entirety of Scripture is elsewhere conceived and spoken of as prophetic. In that case, what Peter has to say of this "every prophecy of scripture"—the exact equivalent, it will be observed, in this case of Paul’s "every scripture" (2Ti 3:16)—applies to the whole of Scripture in all its parts. What he says of it is that it does not come "of private interpretation"; that is, it is not the result of human investigation into the nature of things, the product of its writers’ own thinking. This is as much as to say it is of Divine gift. Accordingly, he proceeds at once to make this plain in a supporting clause which contains both the negative and the positive declaration: "For no prophecy ever came (margin: "was brought") by the will of man, but it was as borne by the Holy Spirit that men spoke from God." In this singularly precise and pregnant statement there are several things which require to be carefully observed. There is, first of all, the emphatic denial that prophecy—that is to say, on the hypothesis upon which we are working, Scripture—owes its origin to human initiative: "No prophecy ever was brought—‘came’ is the word used in the English Versions of the Bible text, with ‘was brought’ in the Revised Version margin—by the will of man." Then, there is the equally emphatic assertion that its source lies in God: it was spoken by men, indeed, but the men who spoke it "spake from God." And a remarkable clause is here inserted, and thrown forward in the sentence that stress may fall on it, which tells us how it could be that men, in speaking, should speak not from themselves, but from God: it was "as borne"—it is the same word which was rendered "was brought" above, and might possibly be rendered "brought" here—"by the Holy Spirit" that they spoke. Speaking thus under the determining influence of the Holy Spirit, the things they spoke were not from themselves, but from God.

Here is as direct an assertion of the Divine origin of Scripture as that of 2Ti 3:16. But there is more here than a simple assertion of the Divine origin of Scripture. We are advanced somewhat in our understanding of how God has produced the Scriptures. It was through the instrumentality of men who "spake from him." More specifically, it was through an operation of the Holy Ghost on these men which is described as "bearing" them. The term here used is a very specific one. It is not to be confounded with guiding, or directing, or controlling, or even-leading in the full sense of that word. It goes beyond all such terms, in assigning the effect produced specifically to the active agent. What is "borne" is taken up by the "bearer," and conveyed by the "bearer’s" power, not its own, to the "bearer’s" goal, not its own. The men who spoke from God are here declared, therefore, to have been taken up by the Holy Spirit and brought by His power to the goal of His choosing. The things which they spoke under this operation of the Spirit were therefore His things, not theirs. And that is the reason which is assigned why "the prophetic word" is so sure. Though spoken through the instrumentality of men, it is, by virtue of the fact that these men spoke "as borne by the Holy Spirit," an immediately Divine word. It will be observed that the proximate stress is laid here, not on the spiritual value of Scripture (though that, too, is seen in the background), but on the Divine trustworthiness of Scripture. Because this is the way every prophecy of Scripture "has been brought," it affords a more sure basis of confidence than even the testimony of human eyewitnesses. Of course, if we do not understand by "the prophetic word" here the entirety of Scripture described, according to its character, as revelation, but only that element in Scripture which we call specifically prophecy, then it is directly only of that element in Scripture that these great declarations are made. In any event, however, they are made of the prophetic element in Scripture as written, which was the only form in which the readers of this Epistle possessed it, and which is the thing specifically intimated in the phrase "every prophecy of scripture." These great declarations are made, therefore, at least of large tracts of Scripture; and if the entirety of Scripture is intended by the phrase "the prophetic word," they are made of the whole of Scripture.

(3) John 10:34 f:

How far the supreme trustworthiness of Scripture, thus asserted, extends may be conveyed to us by a passage in one of our Lord’s discourses recorded by John (Joh 10:34-35). The Jews, offended by Jesus’ "making himself God," were in the act to stone Him, when He defended Himself thus: "Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), say ye of him, whom the Father sanctified (margin "consecrated") and sent unto the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?" It may be thought that this defense is inadequate. It certainly is incomplete: Jesus made Himself God (Joh 10:33) in a far higher sense than that in which "Ye are gods" was said of those "unto whom the word of God came": He had just declared in unmistakable terms, "I and the Father are one." But it was quite sufficient for the immediate end in view—to repel the technical charge of blasphemy based on His making Himself God: it is not blasphemy to call one God in any sense in which he may fitly receive that designation; and certainly if it is not blasphemy to call such men as those spoken of in the passage of Scripture adduced gods, because of their official functions, it cannot be blasphemy to call Him God whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world. The point for us to note, however, is merely that Jesus’ defense takes the form of an appeal to Scripture; and it is important to observe how He makes this appeal. In the first place, He adduces the Scriptures as law: "Is it not written in your law?" He demands. The passage of Scripture which He adduces is not written in that portion of Scripture which was more specifically called "the Law," that is to say, the Pentateuch; nor in any portion of Scripture of formally legal contents. It is written in the Book of Pss; and in a particular psalm which is as far as possible from presenting the external characteristics of legal enactment (Ps 82:6). When Jesus adduces this passage, then, as written in the "law" of the Jews, He does it, not because it stands in this psalm, but because it is a part of Scripture at large. In other words, He here ascribes legal authority to the entirety of Scripture, in accordance with a conception common enough among the Jews (compare Joh 12:34), and finding expression in the New Testament occasionally, both on the lips of Jesus Himself, and in the writings of the apostles. Thus, on a later occasion (Joh 15:25), Jesus declares that it is written in the "law" of the Jews, "They hated me without a cause," a clause found in Ps 35:19. And Paul assigns passages both from the Psalms and from Isa to "the Law" (1Co 14:21; Ro 3:19), and can write such a sentence as this (Ga 4:21 f) :"Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? For it is written ...." quoting from the narrative of Gen. We have seen that the entirety of Scripture was conceived as "prophecy"; we now see that the entirety of Scripture was also conceived as "law": these three terms, the law, prophecy, Scripture, were indeed, materially, strict synonyms, as our present passage itself advises us, by varying the formula of adduction in contiguous verses from "law" to "scripture." And what is thus implied in the manner in which Scripture is adduced, is immediately afterward spoken out in the most explicit language, because it forms an essential element in Our Lord’s defense. It might have been enough to say simply, "Is it not written in your law?" But our Lord, determined to drive His appeal to Scripture home, sharpens the point to the utmost by adding with the highest emphasis: "and the scripture cannot be broken." This is the reason why it is worth while to appeal to what is "written in the law," because "the scripture cannot be broken." The word "broken" here is the common one for breaking the law, or the Sabbath, or the like (Joh 5:18; 7:23; Mt 5:19), and the meaning of the declaration is that it is impossible for the Scripture to be annulled, its authority to be withstood, or denied. The movement of thought is to the effect that, because it is impossible for the Scripture—the term is perfectly general and witnesses to the unitary character of Scripture (it is all, for the purpose in hand, of a piece)—to be withstood, therefore this particular Scripture which is cited must be taken as of irrefragable authority. What we have here is, therefore, the strongest possible assertion of the indefectible authority of Scripture; precisely what is true of Scripture is that it "cannot be broken." Now, what is the particular thing in Scripture, for the confirmation of which the indefectible authority of Scripture is thus invoked? It is one of its most casual clauses—more than that, the very form of its expression in one of its most casual clauses. This means, of course, that in the Savior’s view the indefectible authority of Scripture attaches to the very form of expression of its most casual clauses. It belongs to Scripture through and through, down to its most minute particulars, that it is of indefectible authority.

It is sometimes suggested, it is true, that our Lord’s argument here is an argumentum ad hominem, and that His words, therefore, express not His own view of the authority of Scripture, but that of His Jewish opponents. It will scarcely be denied that there is a vein of satire running through our Lord’s defense: that the Jews so readily allowed that corrupt judges might properly be called "gods," but could not endure that He whom the Father had consecrated and sent into the world should call Himself Son of God, was a somewhat pungent fact to throw up into such a high light. But the argument from Scripture is not ad hominem but e concessu; Scripture was common ground with Jesus and His opponents. If proof were needed for so obvious a fact, it would be supplied by the circumstance that this is not an isolated but a representative passage. The conception of Scripture thrown up into such clear view here supplies the ground of all Jesus’ appeals to Scripture, and of all the appeals of the New Testament writers as well. Everywhere, to Him and to them alike, an appeal to Scripture is an appeal to an indefectible authority whose determination is final; both He and they make their appeal indifferently to every part of Scripture, to every element in Scripture, to its most incidental clauses as well as to its most fundamental principles, and to the very form of its expression. This attitude toward Scripture as an authoritative document is, indeed, already intimated by their constant designation of it by the name of Scripture, the Scriptures, that is "the Document," by way of eminence; and by their customary citation of it with the simple formula, "It is written." What is written in this document admits so little of questioning that its authoritativeness required no asserting, but might safely be taken for granted. Both modes of expression belong to the constantly illustrated habitudes of our Lord’s speech. The first words He is recorded as uttering after His manifestation to Israel were an appeal to the unquestionable authority of Scripture; to Satan’s temptations He opposed no other weapon than the final "It is written"! (Mt 4:4,7,10; Lu 4:4,8). And among the last words which He spoke to His disciples before He was received up was a rebuke to them for not understanding that all things "which are written in the law of Moses, and the prophets, and psalms" concerning Him—that is (Lu 24:45) in the entire "Scriptures"—"must needs be" (very emphatic) "fulfilled" (Lu 24:44). "Thus it is written," says He (Lu 24:46), as rendering all doubt absurd. For, as He had explained earlier upon the same day (Lu 24:25 ), it argues only that one is "foolish and slow of heart" if he does not "believe in" (if his faith does not rest securely on, as on a firm foundation) "all" (without limit of subject-matter here) "that the prophets" (explained in Lu 24:27 as equivalent to "all the scriptures") "have spoken."

4. Christ’s Declaration That Scripture Must Be Fulfilled:

The necessity of the fulfillment of all that is written in Scripture, which is so strongly asserted in these last instructions to His disciples, is frequently adverted to by our Lord. He repeatedly explains of occurrences occasionally happening that they have come to pass "that the scripture might be fulfilled" (Mr 14:49; Joh 13:18; 17:12; compare Joh 12:14; Mr 9:12,13). On the basis of Scriptural declarations, therefore, He announces with confidence that given events will certainly occur: "All ye shall be offended (literally, "scandalized") in me this night: for it is written ...."( Mt 26:31; Mr 14:27; compare Lu 20:17). Although holding at His command ample means of escape, He bows before on-coming calamities, for, He asks, how otherwise "should the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?" (Mt 26:54). It is not merely the two disciples with whom He talked on the way to Emmaus (Lu 24:25) whom He rebukes for not trusting themselves more perfectly to the teaching of Scripture. "Ye search the scriptures," he says to the Jews, in the classical passage (Joh 5:39), "because ye think that in them ye have eternal life; and these are they which bear witness of me; and ye will not come to me, that ye may have life!" These words surely were spoken more in sorrow than in scorn: there is no blame implied either for searching the Scriptures or for thinking that eternal life is to be found in Scripture; approval rather. What the Jews are blamed for is that they read with a veil lying upon their hearts which He would fain take away (2Co 3:15 f). "Ye search the scriptures"—that is right: and "even you" (emphatic) "think to have eternal life in them"—that is right, too. But "it is these very Scriptures" (very emphatic) "which are bearing witness" (continuous process) "of me; and" (here is the marvel!) "ye will not come to me and have life!"—that you may, that is, reach the very end you have so properly in view in searching the Scriptures. Their failure is due, not to the Scriptures but to themselves, who read the Scriptures to such little purpose.

5. His Testimony That God Is Author of Scripture:

Quite similarly our Lord often finds occasion to express wonder at the little effect to which Scripture had been read, not because it had been looked into too curiously, but because it had not been looked into earnestly enough, with sufficiently simple and robust trust in its every declaration. "Have ye not read even this scripture?" He demands, as He adduces Ps 118 to show that the rejection of the Messiah was already intimated in Scripture (Mr 12:10; Mt 21:42 varies the expression to the equivalent: "Did ye never read in the scriptures?"). And when the indignant Jews came to Him complaining of the Hosannas with which the children in the Temple were acclaiming Him, and demanding, "Hearest thou what these are saying?" He met them (Mt 21:16) merely with, "Yea: did ye never read, Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings thou has perfected praise?" The underlying thought of these passages is spoken out when He intimates that the source of all error in Divine things is just ignorance of the Scriptures: "Ye do err," He declares to His questioners, on an important occasion, "not knowing the scriptures" (Mt 22:29); or, as it is put, perhaps more forcibly, in interrogative form, in its parallel in another Gospel: "Is it not for this cause that ye err, that ye know not the scriptures?" (Mr 12:24). Clearly, he who rightly knows the Scriptures does not err. The confidence with which Jesus rested on Scripture, in its every declaration, is further illustrated in a passage like Mt 19:4. Certain Pharisees had come to Him with a question on divorce and He met them thus: "Have ye not read, that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh? .... What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." The point to be noted is the explicit reference of Ge 2:24 to God as its author: "He who made them .... said"; "what therefore God hath joined together." Yet this passage does not give us a saying of God’s recorded in Scripture, but just the word of Scripture itself, and can be treated as a declaration of God’s only on the hypothesis that all Scripture is a declaration of God’s. The parallel in Mr (10:5 ff) just as truly, though not as explicitly, assigns the passage to God as its author, citing it as authoritative law and speaking of its enactment as an act of God’s. And it is interesting to observe in passing that Paul, having occasion to quote the same passage (1Co 6:16), also explicitly quotes it as a Divine word: "For, The twain, saith he, shall become one flesh"—the "he" here, in accordance with a usage to be noted later, meaning just "God."

Thus clear is it that Jesus’ occasional adduction of Scripture as an authoritative document rests on an ascription of it to God as its author. His testimony is that whatever stands written in Scripture is a word of God. Nor can we evacuate this testimony of its force on the plea that it represents Jesus only in the days of His flesh, when He may be supposed to have reflected merely the opinions of His day and generation. The view of Scripture He announces was, no doubt, the view of His day and generation as well as His own view. But there is no reason to doubt that it was held by Him, not because it was the current view, but because, in His Divine-human knowledge, He knew it to be true; for, even in His humiliation, He is the faithful and true witness. And in any event we should bear in mind that this was the view of the resurrected as well as of the humiliated Christ. It was after He had suffered and had risen again in the power of His Divine life that He pronounced those foolish and slow of heart who do not believe all that stands written in all the Scriptures (Lu 24:25); and that He laid down the simple "Thus it is written" as the sufficient ground of confident belief (Lu 24:46). Nor can we explain away Jesus’ testimony to the Divine trustworthiness of Scripture by interpreting it as not His own, but that of His followers, placed on His lips in their reports of His words. Not only is it too constant, minute, intimate and in part incidental, and therefore, as it were, hidden, to admit of this interpretation; but it so pervades all our channels of information concerning Jesus’ teaching as to make it certain that it comes actually from Him. It belongs not only to the Jesus of our evangelical records but as well to the Jesus of the earlier sources which underlie our evangelical records, as anyone may assure himself by observing the instances in which Jesus adduces the Scriptures as Divinely authoritative that are recorded in more than one of the Gospels (e.g. "It is written," Mt 4:4,7,10 (Lu 4:4,8,10); Mt 11:10; (Lu 7:27); Mt 21:13 (Lu 19:46; Mr 11:17); Mt 26:31 (Mr 14:21); "the scripture" or "the scriptures," Mt 19:4 (Mr 10:9); Mt 21:42 (Mr 12:10; Lu 20:17); Mt 22:29 (Mr 12:24; Lu 20:37); Mt 26:56 (Mr 14:49; Lu 24:44)). These passages alone would suffice to make clear to us the testimony of Jesus to Scripture as in all its parts and declarations Divinely authoritative.

6. Similar Testimony of His Immediate Followers

The attempt to attribute the testimony of Jesus to His followers has in its favor only the undeniable fact that the testimony of the writers of the New Testament is to precisely the same effect as His. They, too, cursorily Apostles speak of Scripture by that pregnant name and adduce it with the simple "It is written," with the implication that whatever stands written in it is Divinely authoritative. As Jesus’ official life begins with this "It is written" (Mt 4:4), so the evangelical proclamation begins with an "Even as it is written" (Mr 1:2); and as Jesus sought the justification of His work in a solemn "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer, and rise again from the dead the third day" (Lu 24:46 ), so the apostles solemnly justified the Gospel which they preached, detail after detail, by appeal to the Scriptures, "That Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures" and "That he hath been raised on the third day according to the scriptures" (1Co 15:3,4; compare Ac 8:35; 17:3; 26:22, and also Ro 1:17; 3:4,10; 4:17; 11:26; 14:11; 1Co 1:19; 2:9; 3:19; 15:45; Ga 3:10,13; 4:22,27). Wherever they carried the gospel it was as a gospel resting on Scripture that they proclaimed it (Ac 17:2; 18:24,28); and they encouraged themselves to test its truth by the Scriptures (Ac 17:11). The holiness of life they inculcated, they based on Scriptural requirement (1Pe 1:16), and they commended the royal law of love which they taught by Scriptural sanction (Jas 2:8). Every detail of duty was supported by them by an appeal to Scripture (Ac 23:5; Ro 12:19). The circumstances of their lives and the events occasionally occurring about them are referred to Scripture for their significance (Ro 2:26; 8:36; 9:33; 11:8; 15:9,21; 2Co 4:13). As our Lord declared that whatever was written in Scripture must needs be fulfilled (Mt 26:54; Lu 22:37; 24:44), so His followers explained one of the most startling facts which had occurred in their experience by pointing out that "it was needful that the scripture should be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spake before by the mouth of David" (Ac 1:16). Here the ground of this constant appeal to Scripture, so that it is enough that a thing "is contained in scripture" (1Pe 2:6) for it to be of indefectible authority, is plainly enough declared: Scripture must needs be fulfilled, for what is contained in it is the declaration of the Holy Ghost through the human author. What Scripture says, God says; and accordingly we read such remarkable declarations as these: "For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, For this very purpose did I raise thee up" (Ro 9:17); "And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand unto Abraham, .... In thee shall all the nations be blessed" (Ga 3:8). These are not instances of simple personification of Scripture, which is itself a sufficiently remarkable usage (Mr 15:28; Joh 7:38,42; 19:37; Ro 4:3; 10:11; 11:2; Ga 4:30; 1Ti 5:18; Jas 2:23; 4:5 f), vocal with the conviction expressed by James (4:5) that Scripture cannot speak in vain. They indicate a certain confusion in current speech between "Scripture" and "God," the outgrowth of a deep-seated conviction that the word of Scripture is the word of God. It was not "Scripture" that spoke to Pharaoh, or gave his great promise to Abraham, but God. But "Scripture" and "God" lay so close together in the minds of the writers of the New Testament that they could naturally speak of "Scripture" doing what Scripture records God as doing. It was, however, even more natural to them to speak casually of God saying what the Scriptures say; and accordingly we meet with forms of speech such as these: "Wherefore, even as the Holy Spirit saith, Today if ye shall hear His voice," etc. (Heb 3:7, quoting Ps 95:7); "Thou art God .... who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage," etc. (Ac 4:25 the King James Version, quoting Ps 2:1); "He that raised him from the dead .... hath spoken on this wise, I will give you .... because he saith also in another (place) ...."( Ac 13:34, quoting Isa 55:3 and Ps 16:10), and the like. The words put into God’s mouth in each case are not words of God recorded in the Scriptures, but just Scripture words in themselves. When we take the two classes of passages together, in the one of which the Scriptures are spoken of as God, while in the other God is spoken of as if He were the Scriptures, we may perceive how close the identification of the two was in the minds of the writers of the New Testament.

7. Their Identification of God and Scripture:

This identification is strikingly observable in certain catenae of quotations, in which there are brought together a number of passages of Scripture closely connected with one another. The first chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews supplies an example. We may begin with Heb 1:5:"for unto which of the angels said he"—the subject being necessarily "God"—"at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?"—the citation being from Ps 2:7 and very appropriate in the mouth of God—"and again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?"—from 2Sa 7:14, again a declaration of God’s own—"And when he again bringeth in the firstborn into the world he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him"—from De 32:43, Septuagint, or Ps 97:7, in neither of which is God the speaker—"And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire"—from Ps 104:4, where again God is not the speaker but is spoken of in the third person—"but of the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, etc."—from Ps 45:6,7 where again God is not the speaker, but is addressed—"And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning," etc.—from Ps 102:25-27, where again God is not the speaker but is addressed—"But of which of the angels hath he said at any time, Sit thou on my right hand?" etc.—from Ps 110:1, in which God is the speaker. Here we have passages in which God is the speaker and passages in which God is not the speaker, but is addressed or spoken of, indiscriminately assigned to God, because they all have it in common that they are words of Scripture, and as words of Scripture are words of God. Similarly in Ro 15:9 ff we have a series of citations the first of which is introduced by "as it is written," and the next two by "again he saith," and "again," and the last by "and again, Isaiah saith," the first being from Ps 18:49; the second from De 32:43; the third from Ps 117:1; and the last from Isa 11:10. Only the last (the only one here assigned to the human author) is a word of God in the text of the Old Testament.


8. The "Oracles of God":

This view of the Scriptures as a compact mass of words of God occasioned the formation of a designation for them by which this their character was explicitly expressed. This designation is "the sacred oracles," "the oracles of God." It occurs with extraordinary frequency in Philo, who very commonly refers to Scripture as "the sacred oracles" and cites its several passages as each an "oracle." Sharing, as they do, Philo’s conception of the Scriptures as, in all their parts, a word of God, the New Testament writers naturally also speak of them under this designation. The classical passage is Ro 3:2 (compare Heb 5:12; Ac 7:38). Here Paul begins an enumeration of the advantages which belonged to the chosen people above other nations; and, after declaring these advantages to have been great and numerous, he places first among them all their possession of the Scriptures: "What advantage then hath the Jew? or what is the profit of circumcision? Much every way: first of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God." That by "the oracles of God" here are meant just the Holy Scriptures in their entirety, conceived as a direct Divine revelation, and not any portions of them, or elements in them more especially thought of as revelatory, is perfectly clear from the wide contemporary use of this designation in this sense by Philo, and is put beyond question by the presence in the New Testament of habitudes of speech which rest on and grow out of the conception of Scripture embodied in this term. From the point of view of this designation, Scripture is thought of as the living voice of God speaking in all its parts directly to the reader; and, accordingly, it is cited by some such formula as "it is said," and this mode of citing Scripture duly occurs as an alternative to "it is written" (Lu 4:12 replacing "it is written" in Matthew; Heb 3:15; compare Ro 4:18). It is due also to this point of view that Scripture is cited, not as what God or the Holy Spirit "said," but what He "says," the present tense emphasizing the living voice of God speaking in Scriptures to the individual soul (Heb 3:7; Ac 13:35; Heb 1:7,8,10; Ro 15:10). And especially there is due to it the peculiar usage by which Scripture is cited by the simple "saith, without expressed subject, the subject being too well understood, when Scripture is adduced, to require stating; for who could be the speaker of the words of Scripture but God only (Ro 15:10; 1Co 6:16; 2Co 6:2; Ga 3:16; Eph 4:8; 5:14)? The analogies of this pregnant subjectless "saith" are very widespread. It was with it that the ancient Pythagoreans and Platonists and the medieval Aristotelians adduced each their master’s teaching; it was with it that, in certain circles, the judgments of Hadrian’s great jurist Salvius Julianus were cited; African stylists were even accustomed to refer by it to Sallust, their great model. There is a tendency, cropping out occasionally, in the Old Testament, to omit the name of God as superfluous, when He, as the great logical subject always in mind, would be easily understood (compare Job 20:23; 21:17; Ps 114:2; La 4:22). So, too, when the New Testament writers quoted Scripture there was no need to say whose word it was: that lay beyond question in every mind. This usage, accordingly, is a specially striking intimation of the vivid sense which the New Testament writers had of the Divine origin of the Scriptures, and means that in citing them they were acutely conscious that they were citing immediate words of God. How completely the Scriptures were to them just the word of God may be illustrated by a passage like Ga 3:16: "He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ." We have seen our Lord hanging an argument on the very words of Scripture (Joh 10:34); elsewhere His reasoning depends on the particular tense (Mt 22:32) or word (Mt 22:43) used in Scripture. Here Paul’s argument rests similarly on a grammatical form. No doubt. it is the grammatical form of the word which God is recorded as having spoken to Abraham that is in question. But Paul knows what grammatical form God employed in speaking to Abraham only as the Scriptures have transmitted it to him; and, as we have seen, in citing the words of God and the words of Scripture he was not accustomed to make any distinction between them. It is probably the Scriptural word as a Scriptural word, therefore, which he has here in mind: though, of course, it is possible that what he here witnesses to is rather the detailed trustworthiness of the Scriptural record than its direct divinity—if we can separate two things which apparently were not separated in Paul’s mind. This much we can at least say without straining, that the designation of Scripture as "scripture" and its citation by the formula, "It is written," attest primarily its indefectible authority; the designation of it as "oracles" and the adduction of it by the formula, "It says," attest primarily its immediate divinity. Its authority rests on its divinity and its divinity expresses itself in its trustworthiness; and the New Testament writers in all their use of it treat it as what they declare it to be—a God-breathed document, which, because God-breathed, is through and through trustworthy in all its assertions, authoritative in all its declarations, and down to its last particular, the very word of God, His "oracles."

9. The Human Element in Scripture:

That the Scriptures are throughout a Divine book, created by the Divine energy and speaking in their every part with Divine authority directly to the heart of the readers, is the fundamental fact concerning Scripture them which is witnessed by Christ and the sacred writers to whom we owe the New Testament. But the strength and constancy with which they bear witness to this primary fact do not prevent their recognizing by the side of it that the Scriptures have come into being by the agency of men. It would be inexact to say that they recognize a human element in Scripture: they do not parcel Scripture out, assigning portions of it, or elements in it, respectively to God and man. In their view the whole of Scripture in all its parts and in all its elements, down to the least minutiae, in form of expression as well as in substance of teaching, is from God; but the whole of it has been given by God through the instrumentality of men. There is, therefore, in their view, not, indeed, a human element or ingredient in Scripture, and much less human divisions or sections of Scripture, but a human side or aspect to Scripture; and they do not fail to give full recognition to this human side or aspect. In one of the primary passages which has already been before us, their conception is given, if somewhat broad and very succinct, yet clear expression. No ‘prophecy,’ Peter tells us (2Pe 1:21), ‘ever came by the will of man; but as borne by the Holy Ghost, men spake from God.’ Here the whole initiative is assigned to God, and such complete control of the human agents that the product is truly God’s work. The men who speak in this "prophecy of scripture" speak not of themselves or out of themselves, but from "God": they speak only as they are "borne by the Holy Ghost." But it is they, after all, who speak. Scripture is the product of man, but only of man speaking from God and under such a control of the Holy Spirit as that in their speaking they are "borne" by Him. The conception obviously is that the Scriptures have been given by the instrumentality of men; and this conception finds repeated incidental expression throughout the New Testament.

It is this conception, for example, which is expressed when our Lord, quoting Ps 110, declares of its words that "David himself said in the Holy Spirit" (Mr 12:36). There is a certain emphasis here on the words being David’s own words, which is due to the requirements of the argument our Lord was conducting, but which none the less sincerely represents our Lord’s conception of their origin. They are David’s own words which we find in Ps 110, therefore; but they are David’s own words, spoken not of his own motion merely, but "in the Holy Spirit," that is to say—we could not better paraphrase it—"as borne by the Holy Spirit." In other words, they are "God-breathed" words and therefore authoritative in a sense above what any words of David, not spoken in the Holy Spirit, could possibly be. Generalizing the matter, we may say that the words of Scripture are conceived by our Lord and the New Testament writers as the words of their human authors when speaking "in the Holy Spirit," that is to say, by His initiative and under His controlling direction. The conception finds even more precise expression, perhaps, in such a statement as we find—it is Peter who is speaking and it is again a psalm which is cited—in Ac 1:16, "The Holy Spirit spake by the mouth of David." Here the Holy Spirit is adduced, of course, as the real author of what is said (and hence, Peter’s certainty that what is said will be fulfilled); but David’s mouth is expressly designated as the instrument (it is the instrumental preposition that is used) by means of which the Holy Spirit speaks the Scripture in question. He does not speak save through David’s mouth. Accordingly, in Ac 4:25, ‘the Lord that made the heaven and earth,’ acting by His Holy Spirit, is declared to have spoken another psalm ‘through the mouth of .... David,’ His "servant"; and in Mt 13:35 still another psalm is adduced as "spoken through the prophet" (compare Mt 2:5). In the very act of energetically asserting the Divine origin of Scripture the human instrumentality through which it is given is constantly recognized. The New Testament writers have, therefore, no difficulty in assigning Scripture to its human authors, or in discovering in Scripture traits due to its human authorship. They freely quote it by such simple formulas as these: "Moses saith" (Ro 10:19); "Moses said" (Mt 22:24; Mr 10; Ac 3:22); "Moses writeth" (Ro 10:5); "Moses wrote" (Mr 12:19; Lu 20:28); "Isaiah .... saith" (Ro 10:20); "Isaiah said" (Joh 12:39); "Isaiah crieth" (Ro 9:27); "Isaiah hath said before" (Ro 9:29); "said Isaiah the prophet" (Joh 1:23); "did Isaiah prophesy" (Mr 7:6; Mt 15:7); "David saith" (Lu 20:42; Ac 2:25; Ro 11:9); "David said" (Mr 12:36). It is to be noted that when thus Scripture is adduced by the names of its human authors, it is a matter of complete indifference whether the words adduced are comments of these authors or direct words of God recorded by them. As the plainest words of the human authors are assigned to God as their real author, so the most express words of God, repeated by the Scriptural writers, are cited by the names of these human writers (Mt 15:7; Mr 7:6; Ro 10:5 19,20; compare Mr 7:10 from the Decalogue). To say that "Moses" or "David says," is evidently thus only a way of saying that "Scripture says," which is the same as to say that "God says." Such modes of citing Scripture, accordingly, carry us little beyond merely connecting the name, or perhaps we may say the individuality, of the several writers with the portions of Scripture given through each. How it was given through them is left meanwhile, if not without suggestion, yet without specific explanation. We seem safe only in inferring this much: that the gift of Scripture through its human authors took place by a process much more intimate than can be expressed by the term "dictation," and that it took place in a process in which the control of the Holy Spirit was too complete and pervasive to permit the human qualities of the secondary authors in any way to condition the purity of the product as the word of God. The Scriptures, in other words, are conceived by the writers of the New Testament as through and through God’s book, in every part expressive of His mind, given through men after a fashion which does no violence to their nature as men, and constitutes the book also men’s book as well as God’s, in every part expressive of the mind of its human authors.

10. Activities of God in Giving Scripture:

If we attempt to get behind this broad statement and to obtain a more detailed conception of the activities by which God has given the Scriptures, we are thrown back upon somewhat general representations, supported by the analogy of the modes Scripture of God’s working in other spheres of His operation. It is very desirable that we should free ourselves at the outset from influences arising from the current employment of the term "inspiration" to designate this process. This term is not a Biblical term and its etymological implications are not perfectly accordant with the Biblical conception of the modes of the Divine operation in giving the Scriptures. The Biblical writers do not conceive of the Scriptures as a human product breathed into by the Divine Spirit, and thus heightened in its qualities or endowed with new qualities; but as a Divine product produced through the instrumentality of men. They do not conceive of these men, by whose instrumentality Scripture is produced, as working upon their own initiative, though energized by God to greater effort and higher achievement, but as moved by the Divine initiative and borne by the irresistible power of the Spirit of God along ways of His choosing to ends of His appointment. The difference between the two conceptions may not appear great when the mind is fixed exclusively upon the nature of the resulting product. But they are differing conceptions, and look at the production of Scripture from distinct points of view—the human and the Divine; and the involved mental attitudes toward the origin of Scripture are very diverse. The term "inspiration" is too firmly fixed, in both theological and popular usage, as the technical designation of the action of God in giving the Scriptures, to be replaced; and we may be thankful that its native implications lie as close as they do to the Biblical conceptions. Meanwhile, however, it may be justly insisted that it shall receive its definition from the representations of Scripture, and not be permitted to impose upon our thought ideas of the origin of Scripture derived from an analysis of its own implications, etymological or historical. The Scriptural conception of the relation of the Divine Spirit to the human authors in the production of Scripture is better expressed by the figure of "bearing" than by the figure of "inbreathing"; and when our Biblical writers speak of the action of the Spirit of God in this relation as a breathing, they represent it as a "breathing out" of the Scriptures by the Spirit, and not a "breathing into" the Scriptures by Him.

11. General Problem of Origin: God’s Part:

So soon, however, as we seriously endeavor to form for ourselves a clear conception of the precise nature of the Divine action in this "breathing out" of the Scriptures—this "bearing" of the writers of the Scriptures to their appointed goal of the production of a book of Divine trustworthiness and indefectible authority—we become acutely aware of a more deeply lying and much wider problem, apart from which this one of inspiration, technically so called, cannot be profitably considered. This is the general problem of the origin of the Scriptures and the part of God in all that complex of processes by the interaction of which these books, which we call the sacred Scriptures, with all their peculiarities, and all their qualities of whatever sort, have been brought into being. For, of course, these books were not produced suddenly, by some miraculous act—handed down complete out of heaven, as the phrase goes; but, like all other products of time, are the ultimate effect of many processes cooperating through long periods. There is to be considered, for instance, the preparation of the material which forms the subject-matter of these books: in a sacred history, say, for example, to be narrated; or in a religious experience which may serve as a norm for record; or in a logical elaboration of the contents of revelation which may be placed at the service of God’s people; or in the progressive revelation of Divine truth itself, supplying their culminating contents. And there is the preparation of the men to write these books to be considered, a preparation physical, intellectual, spiritual, which must have attended them throughout their whole lives, and, indeed, must have had its beginning in their remote ancestors, and the effect of which was to bring the right men to the right places at the right times, with the right endowments, impulses, acquirements, to write just the books which were designed for them. When "inspiration," technically so called, is superinduced on lines of preparation like these, it takes on quite a different aspect from that which it bears when it is thought of as an isolated action of the Divine Spirit operating out of all relation to historical processes. Representations are sometimes made as if, when God wished to produce sacred books which would incorporate His will—a series of letters like those of Paul, for example—He was reduced to the necessity of going down to earth and painfully scrutinizing the men He found there, seeking anxiously for the one who, on the whole, promised best for His purpose; and then violently forcing the material He wished expressed through him, against his natural bent, and with as little loss from his recalcitrant characteristics as possible. Of course, nothing of the sort took place. If God wished to give His people a series of letters like Paul’s, He prepared a Paul to write them, and the Paul He brought to the task was a Paul who spontaneously would write just such letters.

12. How Human Qualities Affected Scripture. Providential Preparation:

If we bear this in mind, we shall know what estimate to place upon the common representation to the effect that the human characteristics of the writers must, and in point of fact do, condition and qualify the writings produced by them, the implication being that, therefore, we cannot get from mark a pure word of God. As light that passes through the colored glass of a cathedral window, we are told, is light from heaven, but is stained by the tints of the glass through which it passes; so any word of God which is passed through the mind and soul of a man must come out discolored by the personality through which it is given, and just to that degree ceases to be the pure word of God. But what if this personality has itself been formed by God into precisely the personality it is, for the express purpose of communicating to the word given through it just the coloring which it gives it? What if the colors of the stained-glass window have been designed by the architect for the express purpose of giving to the light that floods the cathedral precisely the tone and quality it receives from them? What if the word of God that comes to His people is framed by God into the word of God it is, precisely by means of the qualities of the men formed by Him for the purpose, through which it is given? When we think of God the Lord giving by His Spirit a body of authoritative Scriptures to His people, we must remember that He is the God of providence and of grace as well as of revelation and inspiration, and that He holds all the lines of preparation as fully under His direction as He does the specific operation which we call technically, in the narrow sense, by the name of "inspiration." The production of the Scriptures is, in point of fact, a long process, in the course of which numerous and very varied Divine activities are involved, providential, gracious, miraculous, all of which must be taken into account in any attempt to explain the relation of God to the production of Scripture. When they are all taken into account we can no longer wonder that the resultant Scriptures are constantly spoken of as the pure word of God. We wonder, rather, that an additional operation of God—what we call specifically "inspiration," in its technical sense—was thought necessary. Consider, for example, how a piece of sacred history—say the Book of Chronicles, or the great historical work, Gospel and Acts, of Luke—is brought to the writing. There is first of all the preparation of the history to be written: God the Lord leads the sequence of occurrences through the development He has designed for them that they may convey their lessons to His people: a "teleological" or "etiological" character is inherent in the very course of events. Then He prepares a man, by birth, training, experience, gifts of grace, and, if need be, of revelation, capable of appreciating this historical development and eager to search it out, thrilling in all his being with its lessons and bent upon making them clear and effective to others. When, then, by His providence, God sets this man to work on the writing of this history, will there not be spontaneously written by him the history which it was Divinely intended should be written? Or consider how a psalmist would be prepared to put into moving verse a piece of normative religious experience: how he would be born with just the right quality of religious sensibility, of parents through whom he should receive just the right hereditary bent, and from whom he should get precisely the right religious example and training, in circumstances of life in which his religious tendencies should be developed precisely on right lines; how he would be brought through just the right experiences to quicken in him the precise emotions he would be called upon to express, and finally would be placed in precisely the exigencies which would call out their expression. Or consider the providential preparation of a writer of a didactic epistle—by means of which he should be given the intellectual breadth and acuteness, and be trained in habitudes of reasoning, and placed in the situations which would call out precisely the argumentative presentation of Christian truth which was required of him. When we give due place in our thoughts to the universality of the providential government of God, to the minuteness and completeness of its sway, and to its invariable efficacy, we may be inclined to ask what is needed beyond this mere providential government to secure the production of sacred books which should be in every detail absolutely accordant with the Divine will.

13. "Inspiration" More than Mere "Providence":

The answer is, Nothing is needed beyond mere providence to secure such books—provided only that it does not lie in the Divine purpose that these books should possess qualities which rise above the powers of men to produce, even under the most complete Divine guidance. For providence is guidance; and guidance can bring one only so far as his own power can carry him. If heights are to be scaled above man’s native power to achieve, then something more than guidance, however effective, is necessary. This is the reason for the superinduction, at the end of the long process of the production of Scripture, of the additional Divine operation which we call technically "inspiration." By it, the Spirit of God, flowing confluently in with the providentially and graciously determined work of men, spontaneously producing under the Divine directions the writings appointed to them, gives the product a Divine quality unattainable by human powers alone. Thus, these books become not merely the word of godly men, but the immediate word of God Himself, speaking directly as such to the minds and hearts of every reader. The value of "inspiration" emerges, thus, as twofold. It gives to the books written under its "bearing" a quality which is truly superhuman; a trustworthiness, an authority, a searchingness, a profundity, a profitableness which is altogether Divine. And it speaks this Divine word immediately to each reader’s heart and conscience; so that he does not require to make his way to God, painfully, perhaps even uncertainly, through the words of His servants, the human instruments in writing the Scriptures, but can listen directly to the Divine voice itself speaking immediately in the Scriptural word to him.

14. Witness of New Testament Writers to Divine Operation:

That the writers of the New Testament themselves conceive the Scriptures to have been produced thus by Divine operations extending through the increasing ages and involving a multitude of varied activities, can be made clear by simply attending to the occasional references they make to this or that step in the process. It lies, for example, on the face of their expositions, that they of New Testament looked upon the Biblical history as teleological. Not only do they tell us that to "whatsoever things were written afore-time were written for our learning, that through patience and through comfort of the scriptures we might have hope" (Ro 15:4; compare Ro 4:23,14); they speak also of the course of the historical events themselves as guided for our benefit: "Now these things happened unto them by way of example"—in a typical fashion, in such a way that, as they occurred, a typical character, or predictive reference impressed itself upon them; that is to say, briefly, the history occurred as it did in order to bear a message to us—"and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages are come" (1Co 10:11; compare 1Co 10:6). Accordingly, it has become a commonplace of Biblical exposition that "the history of redemption itself is a typically progressive one" (Kuper), and is "in a manner impregnated with the prophetic element," so as to form a "part of a great plan which stretches from the fall of man to the first consummation of all things in glory; and, in so far as it reveals the mind of God toward man, carries a respect to the future not less than to the present" (P. Fairbairn). It lies equally on the face of the New Testament allusions to the subject that its writers understood that the preparation of men to become vehicles of God’s message to man was not of yesterday, but had its beginnings in the very origin of their being. The call by which Paul, for example, was made an apostle of Jesus Christ was sudden and apparently without antecedents; but it is precisely this Paul who reckons this call as only one step in a long process, the beginnings of which antedated his own existence: "But when it was the good pleasure of God, who separated me, even from my mother’s womb, and called me through his grace, to reveal his Son in me" (Ga 1:15,16; compare Jer 1:5; Isa 49:1,5). The recognition by the writers of the New Testament of the experiences of God’s grace, which had been vouchsafed to them as an integral element in their fitting to be the bearers of His gospel to others, finds such pervasive expression that the only difficulty is to select from the mass the most illustrative passages. Such a statement as Paul gives in the opening verses of 2Co is thoroughly typical. There he represents that he has been afflicted and comforted to the end that he might "be able to comfort them that are in any affliction, through the comfort wherewith" he had himself been "comforted of God." For, he explains, Whether we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or whether we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which worketh in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer" (2Co 1:4-6). It is beyond question, therefore, that the New Testament writers, when they declare the Scriptures to be the product of the Divine breath, and explain this as meaning that the writers of these Scriptures wrote them only as borne by the Holy Spirit in such a fashion that they spoke, not out of themselves, but "from God," are thinking of this operation of the Spirit only as the final act of God in the production of the Scriptures, superinduced upon a long series of processes, providential, gracious, miraculous, by which the matter of Scripture had been prepared for writing, and the men for writing it, and the writing of it had been actually brought to pass. It is this final act in the production of Scripture which is technically called "inspiration"; and inspiration is thus brought before us as, in the minds of the writers of the New Testament, that particular operation of God in the production of Scripture which takes effect at the very point of the writing of Scripture—understanding the term "writing" here as inclusive of all the processes of the actual composition of Scripture, the investigation of documents, the collection of facts, the excogitation of conclusions, the adaptation of exhortations as means to ends and the like—with the effect of giving to the resultant Scripture a specifically supernatural character, and constituting it a Divine, as well as human, book. Obviously the mode of operation of this Divine activity moving to this result is conceived, in full accord with the analogy of the Divine operations in other spheres of its activity, in providence and in grace alike, as confluent with the human activities operative in the case; as, in a word, of the nature of what has come to be known as "immanent action."

15. "Inspiration" and "Revelation":

It will not escape observation that thus "inspiration" is made a mode of "revelation." We are often exhorted, to be sure, to distinguish sharply between "inspiration" and "revelation"; and the exhortation is just when "revelation" is taken in one of its narrower senses, of, say, an external manifestation of God, or of an immediate communication from God in words. But "inspiration" does not differ from "revelation" in these narrowed senses as genus from genus, but as a species of one genus differs from another. That operation of God which we call "inspiration," that is to say, that operation of the Spirit of God by which He "bears" men in the process of composing Scripture, so that they write, not of themselves, but "from God," is one of the modes in which God makes known to men His being, His will, His operations, His purposes. It is as distinctly a mode of revelation as any mode of revelation can be, and therefore it performs the same office which all revelation performs, that is to say, in the express words of Paul, it makes men wise, and makes them wise unto salvation. All "special" or "supernatural" revelation (which is redemptive in its very idea, and occupies a place as a substantial element in God’s redemptive processes) has precisely this for its end; and Scripture, as a mode of the redemptive revelation of God, finds its fundamental purpose just in this: if the "inspiration" by which Scripture is produced renders it trustworthy and authoritative, it renders it trustworthy and authoritative only that it may the better serve to make men wise unto salvation. Scripture is conceived, from the point of view of the writers of the New Testament, not merely as the record of revelations, but as itself a part of the redemptive revelation of God; not merely as the record of the redemptive acts by which God is saving the world, but as itself one of these redemptive acts, having its own part to play in the great work of establishing and building up the kingdom of God. What gives it a place among the redemptive acts of God is its Divine origination, taken in its widest sense, as inclusive of all the Divine operations, providential, gracious and expressly supernatural, by which it has been made just what it is—a body of writings able to make wise unto salvation, and profitable for making the man of God perfect. What gives it its place among the modes of revelation is, however, specifically the culminating one of these Divine operations, which we call "inspiration"; that is to say, the action of the Spirit of God in so "bearing" its human authors in their work of producing Scripture, as that in these Scriptures they speak, not out of themselves, but "from God." It is this act by virtue of which the Scriptures may properly be called "God-breathed."

16. Scriptures a Divine-Human Book?:

It has been customary among a certain school of writers to speak of the Scriptures, because thus "inspired," as a Divine-human book, and to appeal to the analogy of Our Lord’s Divine-human personality to explain their peculiar qualities as such. The expression calls attention to an important fact, and the analogy holds good a certain distance. There are human and Divine sides to Scripture, and, as we cursorily examine it, we may perceive in it, alternately, traits which suggest now the one, now the other factor in its origin. But the analogy with our Lord’ s Divine-human personality may easily be pressed beyond reason. There is no hypostatic union between the Divine and the human in Scripture; we cannot parallel the "inscripturation" of the Holy Spirit and the incarnation of the Son of God. The Scriptures are merely the product of Divine and human forces working together to produce a product in the production of which the human forces work under the initiation and prevalent direction of the Divine: the person of our Lord unites in itself Divine and human natures, each of which retains its distinctness while operating only in relation to the other. Between such diverse things there can exist only a remote analogy; and, in point of fact, the analogy in the present instance amounts to no more than that in both cases Divine and human factors are involved, though very differently. In the one they unite to constitute a Divine-human person, in the other they cooperate to perform a Divine-human work. Even so distant an analogy may enable us, however, to recognize that as, in the case of our Lord’s person, the human nature remains truly human while yet it can never fall into sin or error because it can never act out of relation with the Divine nature into conjunction with which it has been brought; so in the case of the production of Scripture by the conjoint action of human and Divine factors, the human factors have acted as human factors and have left their mark on the product as such, and yet cannot have fallen into that error which we say it is human to fall into, because they have not acted apart from the Divine factors, by themselves, but only under their unerring guidance.

17. Scripture of New Testament Writers Was the Old Testament:

The New Testament testimony is to the Divine origin and qualities of "Scripture"; and "Scripture" to the writers of the New Testament was fundamentally, of course, the Old Testament. In the primary passage, in which we are told that "every" or "all Scripture" is "God breathed," the direct reference is to the "sacred writings" which Timothy had had in knowledge since his infancy, and these were, of course, just the sacred books of the Jews (2Ti 3:16). What is explicit here is implicit in all the allusions to inspired Scriptures in the New Testament. Accordingly, it is frequently said that our entire testimony to the inspiration of Scripture concerns the Old Testament alone. In many ways, however, this is overstated. Our present concern is not with the extent of "Scripture" but with the nature of "Scripture"; and we cannot present here the considerations which justify extending to the New Testament the inspiration which the New Testament writers attribute to the Old Testament. It will not be out of place, however, to point out simply that the New Testament writers obviously themselves made this extension. They do not for an instant imagine themselves, as ministers of a new covenant, less in possession of the Spirit of God than the ministers of the old covenant: they freely recognize, indeed, that they have no sufficiency of themselves, but they know that God has made them sufficient (2Co 3:5,6). They prosecute their work of proclaiming the gospel, therefore, in full confidence that they speak "by the Holy Spirit" (1Pe 1:12), to whom they attribute both the matter and form of their teaching (1Co 2:13). They, therefore, speak with the utmost assurance of their teaching (Ga 1:7,8); and they issue commands with the completest authority (1Th 4:2,14; 2Th 3:6,12), making it, indeed, the test of whether one has the Spirit that he should recognize what they demand as commandments of God (1Co 14:37). It would be strange, indeed, if these high claims were made for their oral teaching and commandments exclusively. In point of fact, they are made explicitly also for their written injunctions. It was "the things" which Paul was "writing," the recognition of which as commands of the Lord, he makes the test of a Spirit-led man (1Co 14:37). It is his "word by this epistle," obedience to which he makes the condition of Christian communion (2Th 3:14). There seems involved in such an attitude toward their own teaching, oral and written, a claim on the part of the New Testament writers to something very much like the "inspiration"which they attribute to the writers of the Old Testament.

18. Inclusion of New Testament:

And all doubt is dispelled when we observe the New Testament writers placing the writings of one another in the same category of "Scripture" with the books of the Old Testament. The same Paul who, in 2Ti 3:16, declared that ‘every’ or ‘all scripture is God-breathed’ had already written in 1Ti 5:18: "For the scripture saith, Thou shall not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn (grain). And, The laborer is worthy of his hire." The first clause here is derived from Deuteronomy and the second from the Gospel of Luke, though both are cited as together constituting, or better, forming part of the "Scripture" which Paul adduces as so authoritative as by its mere citation to end all strife. Who shall say that, in the declaration of the later epistle that "all" or "every" Scripture is God-breathed, Paul did not have Luke, and, along with Luke, whatever other new books he classed with the old under the name of Scripture, in the back of his mind, along with those old books which Timothy had had in his hands from infancy? And the same Peter who declared that every "prophecy of scripture" was the product of men who spoke "from God," being ‘borne’ by the Holy Spirit (2Pe 1:21), in this same epistle (2Pe 3:16), places Paul’s Epistles in the category of Scripture along with whatever other books deserve that name. For Paul, says he, wrote these epistles, not out of his own wisdom, but "according to the wisdom given to him," and though there are some things in them hard to be understood, yet it is only the ignorant and unsteadfast" who wrest these difficult passages—as what else could be expected of men who wrest "also the other Scriptures" (obviously the Old Testament is meant)—"unto their own destruction"? Is it possible to say that Peter could not have had these epistles of Paul also lurking somewhere in the back of his mind, along with "the other scriptures," when he told his readers that every "prophecy of scripture" owes its origin to the prevailing operation of the Holy Ghost? What must be understood in estimating the testimony of the New Testament writers to the inspiration of Scripture is that "Scripture" stood in their minds as the title of a unitary body of books, throughout the gift of God through His Spirit to His people; but that this body of writings was at the same time understood to be a growing aggregate, so that what is said of it applies to the new books which were being added to it as the Spirit gave them, as fully as to the old books which had come down to them from their hoary past. It is a mere matter of detail to determine precisely what new books were thus included by them in the category "Scripture." They tell us some of them themselves. Those who received them from their hands tell us of others. And when we put the two bodies of testimony together we find that they constitute just our New Testament. It is no pressure of the witness of the writers of the New Testament to the inspiration of the Scripture, therefore, to look upon it as covering the entire body of "Scriptures," the new books which they were themselves adding to this aggregate, as well as the old books which they had received as Scripture from the fathers. Whatever can lay claim by just right to the appellation of "Scripture," as employed in its eminent sense by those writers, can by the same just right lay claim to the "inspiration" which they ascribe to this "Scripture."


J. Gerhard, Loci Theolog., Locus I; F. Turretin, Instit. Theol., Locus II; B. de Moor, Commentary in J. Marckii Comp., cap. ii; C. Hodge, Syst. Theol., New York, 1871, I, 151-86; Henry B. Smith, The Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, New York, 1855, new edition, Cincinnati, 1891; A. Kuyper, Encyclopedia der heilige Godgeleerdheid, 1888-89, II, 347 ff, English translation; Encyclopedia of Sacred Theology, New York, 1898, 341-563; also De Schrift her woord Gods, Tiel, 1870; H. Bavinck, Gereformeerde Dogmatiek2, Kampen, 1906, I, 406-527; R. Haldane, The Verbal Inspiration of the Scriptures Established, Edinburgh, 1830; J. T. Beck, Einleitung in das System der christlichen Lehre, Stuttgart, 1838, 2nd edition, 1870; A. G. Rudelbach, "Die Lehre yon der Inspiration der heil. Schrift," Zeitschrift fur die gesammte Lutherische Theologie und Kirche, 1840, 1, 1841, 1, 1842, 1; S. R. L. Gaussen, Theopneustie ou inspiration pleniere des saintes ecritures2, Paris, 1842, English translation by E. N. Kirk, New York, 1842; also Theopneustia; the Plenary Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, David Scott’s translation, reedited and revised by B. W. Carr, with a preface by C. H. Spurgeon, London, 1888; William Lee, The Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, Donellan Lecture, 1852, New York, 1857; James Bannerman, Inspiration: the Infallible Truth and Divine Authority of the Holy Scriptures, Edinburgh, 1865; F. L. Patton, The Inspiration of the Scriptures, Philadelphia, 1869 (reviewing Lee and Bannerman); Charles Elliott, A Treatise on the Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, Edinburgh, 1877; A. A. Hodge and B. B. Warfield, "Inspiration," Presbyterian Review, April, 1881, also tract, Philadelphia, 1881; R. Watts, The Rule of Faith and the Doctrine of Inspiration, Edinburgh, 1885; A. Cave, The Inspiration of the O T Inductively Considered, London, 1888; B. Manly, The Bible Doctrine of Inspiration, New York, 1888; W. Rohnert, Die Inspiration der heiligen Schrift und ihre Bestreiter, Leipzig, 1889; A. W. Dieckhoff, Die Inspiration und Irrthumlosigkeit der heiligen Schrift, Leipzig, 1891; J. Wichelhaus, Die Lehre der heiligen Schrift, Stuttgart, 1892; J. Macgregor, The Revelation and the Record, Edinburgh, 1893; J. Urquhart, The Inspiration and Accuracy of the Holy Scriptures, London, 1895; C. Pesch, De Inspiratione Sacrae Scripturae, Freiburg, 1906; James Orr, Revelation and Inspiration, London, 1910.

Benjamin B. Warfield


in’-stant, in’-stant-li: Derivative from Latin instare. Found in English with various meanings from the 15th century to the present time.

Instant is used once in Isa 29:5 in the sense of immediate time; elsewhere in the sense of urgent, pressing; Lu 23:23, where "were instant" is the King James Version translation of the verb epekeinto; Ro 12:12, where it is involved in the verb proskartereo; compare Ac 6:4. In 2Ti 4:2 it stands for the expressive verb epistethi, "stand to."

Instantly (urgently, steadfastly) is the King James Version rendering of two different Greek phrases, spoudaios, found in Lu 7:4; and en ekteneia, in Ac 26:7. In both cases the American Standard Revised Version renders "earnestly."

Russell Benjamin Miller





in’-stroo-ment (keli; in Greek plural hopla, Ro 6:13): The word in the Old Testament is used for utensils for service, chiefly in connection with the sanctuary (compare Ex 25:9; Nu 4:12,26,32; 1Ki 19:21; 1Ch 9:29; 2Ch 4:16, the King James Version); for weapons of war (1Sa 8:12; 1Ch 12:33,17, etc.); notably for musical instruments. See MUSIC. The members of the body are described by Paul (Ro 6:13) as "instruments" to be used in the service of righteousness, as before they were in the service of unrighteousness.


(shalishim): Thus, the Revised Version (British and American) and the King James Version (1Sa 18:6), the Revised Version margin "triangles" or "three-stringed instruments."



in-su-rek’-shun: The word in Ps 64:2 the King James Version is changed in the Revised Version (British and American) into "tumult"; in Ezr 4:19 (verb) it represents the Aramaic nesa’, to "lift up oneself." In the New Testament stasis, is rendered "insurrection" in Mr 15:7 the King James Version (where compare the verb "made insurrection"), but in Lu 23:19,25 "sedition." the Revised Version (British and American) correctly renders "insurrection" throughout; also in Ac 24:5 "insurrections" for the King James Version "sedition."


in-teg’-ri-ti (tom, tummah): The translation of tom, "simplicity," "soundness," "completeness," rendered also "upright," "perfection." Its original sense appears in the phrase letom (1Ki 22:34; 2Ch 18:33), "A certain man drew his bow at a venture" margin "Hebrew, in his simplicity" (compare 2Sa 15:11, "in their simplicity"). It is translated "integrity" (Ge 20:5,6; 1Ki 9:4; Ps 7:8; 25:21; 26:1,11; 41:12; 78:72; Pr 19:1; 20:7), in all which places it seems to carry the meaning of simplicity, or sincerity of heart and intention, truthfulness, uprightness. In the plural (tummim) it is one of the words on the breastplate of the high priest (Ex 28:30; De 33:8; Ezr 2:63; Ne 7:65), one of the sacred lots, indicating, perhaps, "innocence" or "integrity" Septuagint aletheia). See URIM AND THUMMIM. Another word translated "integrity" is tummah, from tamam, "to complete," "be upright," "perfect," only in Job 2:3,1; 27:5; 31:6; Pr 11:3.

The word "integrity" does not occur in the New Testament, but its equivalents may be seen in "sincerity," "truth," the "pure heart," the "single eye," etc. In the above sense of simplicity of intention it is equivalent to being honest, sincere, genuine, and is fundamental to true character.

W. L. Walker


in-tel’-i-gens (bin): Occurs only once in the King James Version as the translation of bin, "to discriminate" (frequently translated "to understand"), in Da 11:30 the King James Version, "(he shall) have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant," the Revised Version (British and American) renders "have regard unto them." "Intelligence" occurs in 2 Macc 3:9 the King James Version, in the sense of information (so the Revised Version (British and American)).


in-tend’, in-tent’:Early English words derived from Latin and used in the King James Version, sometimes in the Revised Version (British and American), to translate a number of different expressions of the original.

Intend is sometimes used in English in the literal sense of Latin intendere, "to stretch," but in the English Bible it is used only of the direction of the mind toward an object. Sometimes it is used of mere design (mello), Ac 5:35 the King James Version; Ac 20:13; or of desired action (thelo), Lu 14:28 the King James Version; again of a fixed purpose (boulomai), Ac 5:28; 12:4; or, finally, of a declared intention (’amar), Jos 22:33 the King James Version; 2Ch 28:13 the King James Version.

Intent is used only of purpose, and is the translation sometimes of a conjunction (lebha‘abhur), 2Sa 17:14; (lema‘an), 2Ki 10:19; (hina), Eph 3:10; sometimes of an infinitive of purpose, 1Co 10:6; or of a preposition with pronoun (eis touto), Ac 9:21, and sometimes of a substantive (logo), Ac 10:29. This variety of original expressions represented in the English by single terms is an interesting illustration of the extent of interpretation embodied in our English Bible.

Russell Benjamin Miller


in-ter-tes-ta-men’-tal. See BETWEEN THE TESTAMENTS.


in-ter-sesh’-un (pagha‘, "to make intercession"; originally "to strike upon," or "against"; then in a good sense, "to assail anyone with petitions," "to urge," and when on behalf of another, "to intercede" (Ru 1:16; Jer 7:16; 27:18; Job 21:15; Ge 23:8; Isa 53:12; Jer 36:25). A similar idea is found in enteuxis, used as "petition," and in the New Testament "intercession." The English word is derived from Latin intercedo, "to come between," which strangely has the somewhat opposed meanings of "obstruct" and "to interpose on behalf of" a person, and finally "to intercede." The growth of meaning in this word in the various languages is highly suggestive. In the Greek New Testament we find the word in 1Ti 2:1; 4:5; entugchano, is also found in Ro 8:26-34):

Etymology and Meaning of Term


1. Patriarchal Examples

2. Intercessions of Moses

3. The Progress of Religion, Seen in Moses’ Intercessions

4. Intercessory Prayer in Israel’s Later History

5. The Rise of Official Intercession

6. Samuel as an Intercessor in His Functions as Judge, Priest and Prophet

7. Intercession in the Poetic Books

8. The Books of Wisdom

9. The Prophets’ Succession to Moses and Samuel

10. The Priest and Intercession

11. Intercession in the Gospels

12. Intercessory Prayers of the Church

13. Intercession Found in the Epistles



Etymology and Meaning of Term:

The meaning of the word is determined by its use in 1Ti 2:1, "I exhort, therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings, be made for all and men"; where the different kinds of prayers appear to be distinguished. Considerable discussion has arisen on the exact meaning of these words. Augustine refers them to the liturgy of the Eucharist. This seems to be importing the significance of the various parts of the ceremony as observed at a time much later than the date of the passage in question. "Supplications" and "prayers" refer to general and specific petitions; "intercessions" will then have the meaning of a request concerning others.

Intercession is prayer on behalf of another, and naturally arises from the instinct of the human heart—not merely prompted by affection and interest, but recognizing that God’s relation to man is not merely individual, but social. Religion thus involves man’s relations to his fellow-man, just as in man’s social position intercession with one on behalf of another is a common incident, becoming, in the development of society, the function of appointed officials; as in legal and courtly procedure, so in religion, the spontaneous and affectionate prayer to God on behalf of another grows into the regular and orderly service of a duly appointed priesthood. Intercession is thus to be regarded:

(1) as the spontaneous act of man for his fellowman;

(2) the official act of developed sacerdotalism;

(3) the perfecting of the natural movement of humanity, and the typified function of priesthood in the intercession of Christ and the Holy Spirit.

I. Man’s Intercession for His Fellow-Man.

1. Patriarchal Examples:

Many such prayers are recorded in Scripture. The sacrificial act of Noah may have been partly of this nature, for it is followed by a promise of God on behalf of the race and the earth at large (Ge 8:20-22). Such also is Abraham’s prayer for Ishmael (Ge 17:18); Abraham’s prayer for Sodom (Ge 18:23-33); Abraham for Abimelech (Ge 20:17). Jacob’s blessing of Joseph’s sons is of the nature of intercession (Ge 48:8-22). His dying blessing of his sons is hardly to be regarded as intercessory; it is, rather, declarative, although in the case of Joseph it approaches intercession. The absence of distinct intercessory prayer from Abraham to Moses is to be observed, and shows how intensely personal and individual the religious consciousness was still in its undeveloped quality. In Moses, however, the social element finds a further development, and is interesting as taking up the spirit of the Father of the Faithful. Moses is the creator of the national spirit. He lifts religion from its somewhat selfish character in the patriarchal life to the higher and wider plane of a national and racial fellowship.

2. Intercessions of Moses:

The progressive character of the Divine leading of man is found thus in the development of the intercessory spirit, e.g. Moses’ prayer for the removal of plagues (Ex 15:25 f); for water at Rephidim (Ex 17:4); for victory over Amalek (Ex 17:8-16); prayer for the people after the golden calf (Ex 32:11-14,21-34; 33:12 f); after the renewal of the tables of stone (Ex 34:9); at the setting forth and stopping of the Ark (Nu 10:35 f); after the burning at Taberah (Nu 11:2); for the healing of Miriam’s leprosy (Nu 12:13); after the return of the spies (Nu 14:13-19); after the destruction by serpents (Nu 21:7); for direction in the case of the daughters of Zelophehad (Nu 27:5); for a successor (Nu 27:15); recital of his prayer for the people for their entrance into Canaan (De 3:23 f); recital of his prayer for the people after the worship of the golden calf (De 9:18 ); recital of prayers for the rebellious people (De 9:25-29); a command to him who pays his third-year tithes to offer prayer for the nation (De 26:15); Moses’ final blessing of the tribes (De 33).

3. The Progress of Religion, Seen in Moses’ Intercessions:

This extensive series of the intercessory prayers of Moses forms a striking illustration of the growth of religion, represented by the founder of the national life of Israel. It is the history of an official, but it is also the history of a leader whose heart was filled with the intensest patriotism and regard for his fellows. None of these prayers are perfunctory. They are the vivid and passionate utterances of a man full of Divine enthusiasm and human affection. They are real prayers wrung from a great and devout soul on occasions of deep and critical importance. Apart from their importance in the history of Israel, they are a noble record of a great leader of men and servant of God.

4. Intercessory Prayer in Israel’s Later History:

In the history of Joshua we find only the prayer for the people after the sin of Achan (Jos 7:6-9), although the communications from God to Joshua are numerous. A faint intercessory note may be heard in Deborah’s song (Jud 5:31) though it is almost silenced by the stern and warlike tone of the poem. Gideon’s prayer History of seems to reecho something of the words of Moses (Jud 6:13), and accords with the national and religious spirit of the great leader who helped in the formation of the religious life of his people (see Jud 6:24), notwithstanding the evident lower plane on which he stood (Jud 8:27), which may account partially for the apostasy after his death (Jud 8:33 f). Manoah’s prayers (Jud 13) may be noted.

5. The Rise of Official Intercession:

(The satisfaction of Micah at securing a priest for his house, and the subsequent story, belong rather to the history of official intercession (Jud 18; see below), as also the inquiry of the people through Phinehas at Shiloh (Jud 20:27 f), and the people’s mourning and prayer (Jud 21:2 f).)

6. Samuel as an Intercessor in His Functions as Judge, Priest and Prophet:

Samuel is the real successor of Moses, and in connection with his life intercession again appears more distinct and effective. Hannah’s song, though chiefly of thankfulness, is not without the intercessory spirit (1Sa 2:1-11). So also of Samuel’s prayer at Mizpeh (1Sa 7:5), and the recognition by the people of Samuel’s place (1Sa 7:8 f; see also 1Sa 8:6,21; 10:17-25; 12:19) (for the custom of inquiring of the Lord through a seer see 1Sa 9:6-10); Samuel’s prayer for Saul (1Sa 15:11); Saul’s failure to secure inquiry of God, even through intercession (1Sa 28:6); Saul’s final appeal through the witch of Endor (1Sa 28:7-20); David’s prayer to God (2Sa 7:18); David’s Judge, prayer for deliverance of the people from pestilence (2Sa 24:17); Solomon’s prayer for wisdom to govern the people (1Ki 3:5-15); Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the temple (1Ki 8:12-61); Jeroboam’s appeal to the man of God to pray for the healing of his hand (1Ki 13:6); Elijah’s prayer for the widow’s son (1Ki 17:20); Elijah’s prayer for rain (1Ki 18:42); Elisha’s prayer for the widow’s son (2Ki 4:33); Elisha’s prayer for the opening of the young man’s eyes (2Ki 6:17); Hezekiah’s appeal to Isaiah (2Ki 19:4); Hezekiah’s prayer (2Ki 19:14-19); Josiah’s command for prayer concerning the "book that is found" (2Ki 22:13). In Ch we find David’s prayer for his house (1Ch 17:16-27); David’s prayer for deliverance from the plague (1Ch 21:17); David’s prayer for the people and for Solomon at the offering of gifts for the temple (1Ch 29:10-19); Solomon’s prayer at the consecration of the temple (2Ch 6:1-42); Asa’s prayer (2Ch 14:11); Jehoshaphat’s prayer (2Ch 20:5-13); Hezekiah’s prayer for the people who had not prepared to eat the Passover (2Ch 30:18); Josiah’s command for prayer concerning the book (2Ch 34:21). In the Prophets we note Ezra’s prayer (Ezr 9:5-15); Nehemiah’s prayer (Ne 1:5-11); the prayer of the Levites for the nation (Ne 9:4-38).

7. Intercession in the Poetic Books:

The poetic books furnish a few examples of intercessory prayer: Job’s intercession for his children (Job 1:5); Job’s regret at the absence of intercession (Job 16:21); the Lord’s command that Job should pray for his friends (Job 42:8). It is remarkable that the references to the Poetic intercession in the Psalms are few; but it must not be forgotten that the psalm is generally a lyrical expression of an intense subjective condition. This does not seem in the consciousness of Israel to have reached an altruistic development. The Psalms express very powerfully the sense of obligation to God, consciousness of sin, indignation against the sin of others. Occasionally the patriotic spirit leads to prayer for Israel; but only rarely does any deep sense of interest in the welfare of others appear to possess the hearts of Israel’s singers. In Ps 2:12 there is a hint of the intercessory office of the Son, which reflects, perhaps, the growth of the Messianic spirit in the mind of Israel; Ps 20 is intercessional; it is the prayer of a people for their king. In Ps 25:22 we find a prayer for the redemption of Israel, as in Ps 28:9. In Ps 35:13 the Psalmist refers to his intercession for others. But the "prayer returned into mine own bosom," and the final issue of the prayer becomes rather denunciatory than intercessional. The penitence of Ps 51 rises into a note of prayer for the city (51:18). Sometimes (Ps 60, and perhaps Ps 67), the prayer is not individual but for the community, though even there it is hardly intercession. A common necessity makes common prayer. In Ps 69 there is the recognition of the injury that folly and sin may do to others, and a kind of compensatory note of intercession is heard. Ps 72 is regarded by some as the royal father’s prayer for his son and successor, but the reading of the title adopted by the Revised Version (British and American) takes even this psalm from the category of intercession. In Asaph’s Masehil (Ps 74), intercession is more distinct; it is a prayer for the sanctuary and the people in their desolation and calamity. Asaph appears to have caught something of the spirit of Moses, as in Ps 79 he again prays for the deliverance of Jerusalem; while a faint echo of the intercessory plea for the nation is heard in Ethan’s psalm (Ps 89). It sounds faintly in Ps 106. In Ps 122 we seem to breathe a larger and more liberal spirit. It contains the appeal to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (122:6), as if the later thought of Israel had begun to expand beyond the mere limits of personal penitence, or desire for deliverance, or denunciation of the enemy. In one of the Songs of Degrees (Ps 125), there is the somewhat severely ethical prayer: "Do good, O Yahweh, unto those that are good." The yearning for the salvation of man as man has not yet been born. The Christ must come before the fullness of Divine love is shed abroad in the hearts even of the pious. This comparative absence of intercessory prayer from the service-book of Israel, and its collected expressions of spiritual experience, is instructive. We find continued references to those who needed prayer; but for the most part these references are descriptive of their wickedness, or denunciatory of their hostility to the Psalmist. The Book of Psalms is thus a striking commentary on the growth of Israel’s spiritual life. Intense as it is in its perception of God and His claim on human righteousness, it is only when the supreme revelation of Divine love and the regard for universal man has appeared in the person of our Lord that the large and loving spirit which intercession signifies is found in the experience and expressions of the pious.

8. The Books of Wisdom:

In the Wisdom books there is little, if any, reference to intercession. But they deal rather with ethical character, and often on a merely providential and utilitarian basis. It is noticeable that the only reference to pleading a cause is said to be by the Lord Himself as against the injustice of man (Pr 22:23): "Yahweh will plead their (the poor’s) cause." Action on behalf of others does not appear to have been very highly regarded by the current ethics of the Israelite. A kind of negative helpfulness is indicated in Pr 24:28: "Be not a witness against thy neighbor without cause"; and it is significant that the office of advocate was not known among the Jews until they had come under the authority of Rome, when, not knowing the forms of Roman law, they were obliged to secure the aid of a Roman lawyer before the courts. Such practitioners were found in the provinces (Cic. pro Coelio c. 30); Tertullus (Ac 24:1) was such an advocate.

9. The Prophets’ Succession of Moses and Samuel:

In the prophetical books the note of intercession reappears. The prophet, though primarily a messenger from God to man, has also something of the character of the intercessor (see Isaiah’s call, Isa 6). Isa 25$; 26$ exhibit the intercessory characteristics. The request of Hezekiah for the prayers of Isaiah (Isa 37:4), and the answer of the Lord implied in 37:6, recall the constantly recurring service of Moses to the people. Hezekiah himself becomes an intercessor (37:14-21). In Jer 4:10 intercession is mingled with the words of the messenger. The sin of the people hinders such prayers as were offered on their behalf (Jer 7:16; compare Jer 11:14; 14:11). Intercessory prayers are found in Jer 10:23 ff; 14:7 ff, 19-22. The message of Zedekiah requesting Jeremiah’s help is perhaps an instance of seer-inquiry as much as intercession (Jer 21:1 f; compare 1Sa 9:19). In Jer 42:4, the prophet consents to the request of Johanan to seek the Lord on behalf of the people. The Book of La is naturally conceived in a more constantly recurring spirit of intercession. In the prophecies Jeremiah has been the messenger of God to the people. But, after the catastrophe, in his sorrow he appeals to God for mercy upon them (La 2:20; 5:1,19). Ezekiel in the same way is rather the seer of visions and the prophetic representative of God. Yet at times he appeals to God for the people (Eze 9:8; 11:13). In Da we find the intercession of his three friends sought for in order to secure the revelation of the king’s dream (Da 2:17); and Daniel’s prayer for Jerusalem and her people (Da 9:16-19).

In the Minor Prophets intercession rarely appears; even in the graphic pictures of Jonah, though the work itself shows the enlarging of the conception of God’s relation to humanity outside of Israel, the prophet himself exhibits no tenderness and utters no pleas for the city against which he had been sent to prophesy, and receives the implied rebuke from the Lord for his want of sympathy, caring more for the perished gourd than for the vast population of Nineveh, whom the Lord, however, pitied and spared (Jon 4). Even the sublime prayer of Hab 3 has only a suggestion of intercession. Zec 6:13 relieves the general severity of the prophetic message, consisting of the threatenings of judgment, by the gleam of the promise of a royal priest whose office was partially that of an intercessor, though the picture is darkened by the character of the priesthood and the people, whose services had been selfish, without mercy and compassion (Zec 7:4,7). Now the spirit of tenderness, the larger nature, the loving heart, are to be restored to Israel (Zec 8:16-23). Other nations than Israel will share in the mercy of God. In Mal 2:7 we find the priest rebuked for the loss of his intercessory character.

10. The Priest and Intercession:

How far intercession was regarded as a special duty of the priesthood it is not very easy to determine. The priestly office itself was undoubtedly intercessory. In the Priest and offering of the sacrifice even for the individual, and certainly in the national functions, both of the regular and the occasional ceremonies, the priest represented the individual or the community. In Joe 2:17 the priests are distinctly bidden to "weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Yahweh." Mal 1:9 appeals to them for intercession to God, and the graphic scene in 1 Macc 7:33-38 shows the priests interceding on behalf of the people against Nicanor.

11. Intercession in the Gospels:

In the New Testament, all prayer necessarily takes a new form from its relation to our Lord, and in this intercessory prayer shares. At the outset, Christ teaches prayer on behalf of those "which despitefully use you" (Mt 5:44 the King James Version). How completely does this change the entire spirit of prayer! We breathe a new atmosphere of the higher revelation of love. The Lord’s Prayer (Mt 6:9-13) is of this character. Its initial word is social, domestic; prayer is the address of children to the Father. Even though some of the petitions are not original, yet their place in the prayer, and the general tone of the Master’s teaching, exhibit the social and altruistic spirit, not so pervasive of the older dispensation. "Thy kingdom come" leads the Order of petitions, with its essentially intercessory character. The forgiveness of others, which is the measure and plea of our own forgiveness, brings even those who have wronged us upon the same plane as ourselves, and if the plea be genuine, how can we refuse to pray for them? And if for our enemies, then surely for our friends. In Mt 7:11 f, the good things sought of the Father are to be interpreted as among those that if we desire from others we should do to them. And from this spirit the intercessory prayer cannot be absent. We find the spirit of intercession in the pleas of those who sought Christ’s help for their friends, which He was always so quick to recognize: the centurion for his servant (Mt 8:13); the friends of the paralytic (Mt 9:2-6), where the miracle was wrought on the ground of the friends’ faith. Of a similar character are the requests of the woman for her child and the Lord’s response (Mt 15:28); of the man for his lunatic son (Mt 17:14-21). There is the suggestion of the intercessory spirit in the law of trespass, specifically followed by the promise of the answer to the prayer of the two or three, agreed and in fellowship (Mt 18:15-20), with the immediately attached precepts of forgiveness (Mt 18:21-35). A remarkable instance of intercession is recorded in Mt 20:20-23, where the mother of Zebedee’s sons makes a request on behalf of her children; the added expression, "worshipping him," raises the occasion into one of intercessory prayer. our Lord’s rebuke is not to the prayer, but to its lack of wisdom.

It is needless to review the cases in the other Gospels. But the statement of Mr 6:5 f, that Christ could not perform mighty works because of unbelief, sheds a flood of light upon one of the important conditions of successful intercession, when contrasted with the healing conditioned by the faith of others than the healed. One of the most distinct examples of intercessory prayer is that of the Lord’s intercession for Peter (Lu 22:31 f), and for those who crucified Him (Lu 23:34). The place of intercession in the work of Christ is seen clearly in our Lord’s intercessory prayer (see INTERCESSION OF CHRIST), where it is commanded by definite precept and promise of acceptance. The promise of the answer to prayer in the name of Christ is very definite (Joh 16:24). Christ’s high-priestly prayer is the sublimest height of prayer to God and is intercessory throughout (Joh 17); Joh 16:26 does not, as some have held, deny His intercession for His disciples; it only throws open the approach to God Himself.

12. Intercessory Prayers of the Church:

Ac introduces us to the working of the fresh elements which Christ gave to life. Hence, the prayers of the church become Christian prayers, involving the wider outlook on others and on the world at large which Christianity has bestowed on men. The prayer of the assembled believers upon the liberation of the apostles breathes this spirit (Ac 4:24-30). The consecrating prayer for the seven was probably intercessory (Ac 6:6; compare Ac 1:24). How pathetic is the plea of Stephen for his murderers (Ac 7:60)! How natural is intercession (Ac 8:24)! Peter at Joppa (Ac 9:40); the church making prayer with-out ceasing for Peter (Ac 12:5,12); the prayer for Barnabas and Saul at Antioch (Ac 13:3); Paul and Barnabas praying for the churches (Ac 14:23); the church at Antioch commending Paul and Silas to the grace of God (Ac 15:40); Paul and the elders of Ephesus (Ac 20:36), are all examples, more or less defined, of intercessory prayer.

13. Intercession Found in the Epistles:

In the Epistles we may expect to find intercession more distinctly filled with the relation of prayer through Christ. Paul gives us many examples in his Epistles: for the Romans (Ro 1:9); the Spirit’s interceding (8:27); Paul’s prayer for his race (10:1); his request for prayers (15:30); the help that he found from the prayer of his friends (2Co 1:11); prayer for the Corinthian church (2Co 13:7); for the Ephesians (Eph 1:16-23; 3:14-21; see also Eph 6:18; Php 1:3-11,19; Col 1:3,9; 4:3; 1Th 1:2; 5:23,15; 2Th 1:2); a definite command that intercession be made for all men and for kings and those in authority (1Ti 2:1,2); his prayer for Timothy (2Ti 1:3); for Philemon (1:4); and prayer to be offered for the sick by the elders of the church (Jas 5:14-18 see also Heb 13:18-21; 1Joh 5:14 ).

II. Intercession Perfected in Christ’s Office and in the Church.

This review of the intercession of the Scriptures prepares us for the development of a specific office of intercession, perfectly realized in Christ. We have seen Moses complying with the people’s request to represent them before God. In a large and generous spirit the leader of Israel intercedes with God for his nation. It was natural that this striking example of intercessory prayer should be followed by other leaders, and that the gradually developed system of religious worship should furnish the conception of the priest, and especially the high priest, as the intercessor for those who came to the sacrifice. This was particularly the significance of the great Day of Atonement, when after offering for himself, the high priest offered the sacrifice for the whole people. This official act, however, does not do away with the intercessory character of prayer as offered by men. We have seen how it runs through the whole history of Israel. But it is found much more distinctly in the Christian life and apparently in the practice of the Christian assembly itself. Paul continually refers to his own intercessory prayers, and seeks for a similar service on his own behalf from those to whom he writes. Intercession is thus based upon the natural tendency of the heart filled by love and a deep sympathetic sense of relation to others. Christ’s intercessory prayer is the highest example and pattern of this form of prayer. His intercessions for His disciples, for His crucifiers, are recorded, and the sacred record rises to the supreme height in the prayer of Joh 17. In this prayer the following characteristics are to be found:

(1) It is based upon the intimate relation of Jesus to the Father. This gives to such prayer its justification; may it be said, its right.

(2) It follows the completest fulfillment of duty. It is not the mere expression of desire, even for others. It is the crown of effort on their behalf. He has revealed God to His disciples. He has given to them God’s words; therefore He prays for them (Joh 17:6,7-9).

(3) It recognizes the Divine, unbroken relation to the object of the prayer: "I am no more in the world, and these are in the world, and I come to Thee. Holy Father, keep," etc. (17:11).

(4) The supreme end of the prayer is salvation from the evil of the world (17:15).

(5) The wide sweep of the prayer and its chief objects—unity with God, and the presence with Christ, and the indwelling of the Divine love. The prayer is a model for all intercessory prayer.


III. Intercession of the Holy Spirit.

In connection with the subject of intercession, there arises a most interesting question as to whether the Holy Spirit is not presented in Scriptures as an intercessor. The text in which the doctrine seems to be taught is that of Ro 8:26 f: "In like manner the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity: for we know not how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered; and he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God." By far the larger number of expositors have understood by the Spirit, the Holy Spirit. The older commentators, in general, refer to the Holy Spirit. Tholuck, Ewald, Philippi, Meyer, most of the American theologians and English commentators, as Shedd, Alford, Jowett, Wordsworth, interpret it in the same way. Lange and Olshausen refer it to the human spirit. Undoubtedly, the "groanings" have led to the denial of the reference to the Holy Spirit. But the very form of the word translated "helpeth" indicates cooperation, and this must be of something other than the spirit of man himself. The undoubted difficulties of the passage, which are strongly urged by Lange (see Lange’s Commentary on Ro 8:26), must be acknowledged. At the same time the statement seems to be very clear and definite. An explanation has been given that the Holy Spirit is here referred to as dwelling in us, and thus making intercession. The Divine Spirit is said to be a Spirit of supplication (Zec 12:10). The distinction which is made between the intercession of Christ in heaven in His priestly office and that of the Holy Spirit interceding within the souls of believers, referred to by Shedd (see Commentary on Romans), must be carefully used, for if pressed to its extreme it would lead to the materialization and localization of the Divine nature. Moreover, may not the intercession of our Lord be regarded as being partially exemplified in that of the Spirit whom He has declared to be His agent and representative? If Christ dwells in believers by His Spirit, His intercession, especially if subjective in and with their spirits, may properly be described as the intercession of the Holy Ghost.

L. D. Bevan


The general conception of our Lord’s mediatorial office is specially summed up in His intercession in which He appears in His high-priestly office, and also as interceding with the Father on behalf of that humanity whose cause He had espoused.

1. Christ’s Intercession Viewed in Its Priestly Aspect:

The function of priesthood as developed under Judaism involved the position of mediation between man and God. The priest represented man, and on man’s behalf approached God; thus he offered sacrifice, interceded and gave to the offerer whom he represented the benediction and expression of the Divine acceptance. (For the various forms of these offerings, see special articles.) As in sacrifice, so in the work of Christ, we find the proprietary rights of the offerer in the sacrifice. For man, Christ as one with man, and yet in His own personal right, offers Himself (see Ro 5; and compare Ga 4:5 with Heb 2:11). There was also the transfer of guilt and its conditions, typically by laying the hand on the head of the animal, which then bore the sins of the offerer and was presented to God by the priest. The acknowledgment of sin and the surrender to God is completely fulfilled in Christ’s offering of Himself, and His death (compare Le 3:2,8,13; 16:21; with Isa 53:6; 2Co 5:21). our Lord’s intercessory quality in the sacrifice of Himself is not only indicated by the imputation of guilt to Him as representing the sinner, but also in the victory of His life over death, which is then given to man in God’s acceptance of His representative and substitute.

In the Epistle to the Hebrews, the intercessory character of our Lord’s high-priestly office is transferred to the heavenly condition and work of Christ, where the relation of Christ’s work to man’s condition is regarded as being still continued in the heavenly place (see Heb 9:11-28). This entrance into heaven is once for all, and in the person of the high priest the way is open to the very presence of God. From one point of view (Heb 10:12) the priestly service of the Lord was concluded and gathered up into His kingly office (Heb 10:13,14-18). But from another point of view, we ourselves are bidden to enter into the Holiest Place; as if in union with Christ we too become a kingly priesthood (Heb 10:19-22; and compare 1Pe 2:9).

It must not be forgotten, however, that this right of entrance into the most Holy Place is one that depends entirely upon our vital union with Christ, He appears in heaven for us and we with Him, and in this sense He fulfills the second duty of His high-priestly office as intercessor, with the added conception drawn from the legal advocacy of the Roman court. The term translated "Advocate" in 1 Joh 2:2 is parakletos, which in Joh 14:16 is translated "Comforter." The word is of familiar use in Greek for the legal advocate or patronus who appeared on behalf of his client. Thus, in the double sense of priestly and legal representative, our Lord is our intercessor in Heaven.

Of the modes in which Christ carries out His intercessory office, we can have no knowledge except so far as we may fairly deduce them from the phraseology and suggested ideas of Scripture. As high priest, it may surely be right for us to aid our weak faith by assuring ourselves that our Lord pleads for us, while at the same time we must be careful not to deprave our thought concerning the glorified Lord by the metaphors and analogies of earthly relationship.

The intercessory work of Christ may thus be represented: He represents man before God in His perfect nature, His exalted office and His completed work. The Scripture word for this is (Heb 9:24) "to appear before the face of God for us." There is also an active intercession. This is the office of our Lord as advocate or parakletos. That this conveys some relation to the aid which one who has broken the law receives from an advocate cannot be overlooked, and we find Christ’s intercession in this aspect brought into connection with the texts which refer to justification and its allied ideas (see Ro 8:34; 1 Joh 2:1).

2. Christ’s Intercessory Work from the Standpoint of Prayer:

In PRAYERS OF CHRIST (which see), the intercessory character of many of our Lord’s prayers, and especially that of Joh 17, is considered. And it has been impossible for Christian thought to divest itself of the idea that the heavenly intercession of Christ is of the order of prayer. It is impossible for us to know; and even if Christ now prays to the Father, it can be in no way analogous to earthly prayers. The thought of some portion of Christendom distinctly combined prayer in the heavenly work of the Lord. There is danger in extreme views. Scriptural expressions must not be driven too far, and, on the other hand, they must not be emptied of all their contents. Modern Protestant teaching has, in its protest against a merely physical conception of our Lord’s state and occupation in heaven, almost sublimed reality from His intercessory work. In Lutheran teaching the intercession of our Lord was said to be "vocal," "verbal" and "oral." It has been well remarked that such forms of prayer require flesh and blood, and naturally the teachers of the Reformed churches, for the most part, have contented themselves (as for example Hodge, Syst. Theol., II, 593) with the declaration that "the intercession of Christ includes: (1) His appearing before God in our behalf, as the sacrifice for our sins, as our high priest, on the ground of whose work we receive the remission of our sins, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and all needed good; (2) defense against the sentence of the law and the charges of Satan, who is the great accuser; (3) His offering Himself as our surety, not only that the demands of justice shall be shown to be satisfied, but that His people shall be obedient and faithful; (4) the oblation of the persons of the redeemed, sanctifying their prayers, and all their services, rendering them acceptable to God, through the savor of his own merits."

Even this expression of the elements which constitute the intercession of the Lord, cautious and spiritual as it is in its application to Christian thought and worship, must be carefully guarded from a too complete and materialistic use. Without this care, worship and devout thought may become degraded and fall into the mechanical forms by which our Lord’s position of intercessor has been reduced to very little more than an imaginative and spectacular process which goes on in some heavenly place. It must not be forgotten that the metaphorical and symbolic origin of the ideas which constitute Christ’s intercession is always in danger of dominating and materializing the spiritual reality of His intercessional office.

L. D. Bevan


in’-ter-est (neshekh, mashsha’; tokos): The Hebrew word neshekh is from a root which means "to bite"; thus interest is "something bitten off." The other word, mashsa’, means "lending on interest." The Greek term is from the root tikto, "to produce" or "beget," hence, interest is something begotten or produced by money. The Hebrew words are usually translated "usury," but this meant the same as interest, all interest being reckoned as usury.

Long before Abraham’s time money had been loaned at a fixed rate of interest in Babylonia and almost certainly in Egypt. The Code of Hammurabi gives regulations regarding the lending and borrowing of money, the usual interest being 20 percent. Sometimes it was only 11 2/3 and 13 1/3, as shown by contract tablets. In one case, if the loan was not paid in two months, 18 per cent interest would be charged. Corn (grain), dates, onions, etc., were loaned at interest. Thus Moses and Israel would be familiar with commercial loans and interest. In Israel there was no system of credit or commercial loans in Moses’ time and after. A poor man borrowed because he was poor. The law of Moses (Ex 22:25) forbade loaning at interest. There was to be no creditor and no taker of interest among them (Le 25:36,37). De permits them to lend on interest to a foreigner (De 23:19,20), but not to a brother Israelite. That this was considered the proper thing in Israel for centuries is seen in Ps 15:5, while Pr 28:8 implies that it was an unusual thing, interest being generally exacted and profit made. Ezekiel condemns it as a heinous sin (Eze 18:8,13,17) and holds up the ideal of righteousness as not taking interest (22:12). Isa 24:2 implies that it was a business in that age, the lender and borrower being social types. Jeremiah implies that there was not always the best feeling between lenders and borrowers (15:10). According to Ne 5:7,10, rich Jews were lending to others and exacting heavy interest. Nehemiah condemns such conduct and forbids its continuance, citing himself as an example of lending without interest. The lenders restored 1 percent of that exacted.

In the New Testament, references to interest occur in the parable of the Pounds (Lu 19:23) and of the Talents (Mt 25:27). Here the men were expected to put their master’s money out at interest, and condemnation followed the failure to do so. Thus the principle of receiving interest is not condemned in the Old Testament, only it was not to be taken from a brother Israelite. In the New Testament it is distinctly encouraged.

See also USURY.

J. J. Reeve


in-ter-med’-’-l (‘arabh, "to mix up (self) with something," "mingle in," "share," "take interest in"): The word occurs only once (Pr 14:10) in a passage descriptive of "the ultimate solitude of each man’s soul at all times." "The heart knoweth its own bitterness."

"Nor even the tenderest heart, and next our own, Knows half the reasons why we smile and sigh."

(Compare 1Ki 8:38.) Something there is in every sorrow which no one else can share. "And a stranger doth not intermeddle with its joy," not necessarily in an interfering or any offensive way, but simply does not share or take any interest in the other’s joy.

For "intermeddleth with" (Pr 18:1 the King James Version), the Revised Version (British and American) gives "rageth against" (margin "quarrelleth with").

M. O. Evans






1. General Principles:

Is a generic term and may refer to any work of literature. Referred specifically to the sacred Scriptures, the science of interpretation is generally known as hermeneutics, while the practical application of the principles of this science is exegesis. In nearly all cases, interpretation has in mind the thoughts of another, and then, further, these thoughts expressed in another language than that of the interpreter. In this sense it is used in Biblical research. A person has interpreted the thoughts of another when he has in his own mind a correct reproduction or photograph of the thought as it was conceived in the mind of the original writer or speaker. It is accordingly a purely reproductive process, involving no originality of thought on the part of the interpreter. If the latter adds anything of his own it is eisegesis and not exegesis. The moment the Bible student has in his own mind what was in the mind of the author or authors of the Biblical books when these were written, he has interpreted the thought of the Scriptures.

The interpretation of any specimen of literature will depend on the character of the work under consideration. A piece of poetry and a chapter of history will not be interpreted according to the same principles or rules. Particular rules that are legitimate in the explanation of a work of fiction would be entirely out of place in dealing with a record of facts. Accordingly, the rules of the correct interpretation of the Scriptures will depend upon the character of these writings themselves, and the principles which an interpreter will employ in his interpretation of the Scriptures will be in harmony with his ideas of what the Scriptures are as to origin, character, history, etc. In the nature of the case the dogmatical stand of the interpreter will materially influence his hermeneutics and exegesis. In the legitimate sense of the term, every interpreter of the Bible is "prejudiced," i.e. is guided by certain principles which he holds antecedently to his work of interpretation. If the modern advanced critic is right in maintaining that the Biblical books do not differ in kind or character from the religious books of other ancient peoples, such as the Indians or the Persians, then the same principles that he applies in the case of the Rig Veda or the Zend Avesta he will employ also in his exposition of the Scriptures. If, on the other hand, the Bible is for him a unique collection of writings, Divinely inspired and a revelation from the source of all truth, the Bible student will hesitate long before accepting contradictions, errors, mistakes, etc., in the Scriptures.

2. Special Principles:

The Scriptures are a Divine and human product combined. That the holy men of God wrote as they were moved by the Spirit is the claim of the Scriptures themselves. Just where the line of demarcation is to be drawn between the human and the Divine factors in the production of the sacred Scriptures materially affects the principles of interpreting these writings (see INSPIRATION). That the human factor was sufficiently potent to shape the form of thought in the Scriptures is evident on all hands. Paul does not write as Peter does, nor John as James; the individuality of the writer of the different books appears not only in the style, choice of words, etc., but in the whole form of thought also. There are such things as a Pauline, a Johannine and a Petrine type of Christian thought, although there is only one body of Christian truth underlying all types. Insofar as the Bible is exactly like other books, it must be interpreted as we do other works of literature. The Scriptures are written in Hebrew and in Greek, and the principles of forms and of syntax that would apply to the explanation of other works written in these languages and under these circumstances must be applied to the Old Testament and New Testament also. Again, the Bible is written for men, and its thoughts are those of mankind and not of angels or creatures of a different or higher spiritual or intellectual character; and accordingly there is no specifically Biblical logic, or rhetoric, or grammar. The laws of thought and of the interpretation of thought in these matters pertain to the Bible as they do to other writings.

But in regard to the material contents of the Scriptures, matters are different and the principles of interpretation must be different. God is the author of the Scriptures which He has given through human agencies. Hence, the contents of the Scriptures, to a great extent, must be far above the ordinary concepts of the human mind. When John declares that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son to redeem it, the interpreter does not do justice to the writer if he finds in the word "God" only the general philosophical conception of the Deity and not that God who is our Father through Christ; for it was the latter thought that was in the mind of the writer when he penned these words. Thus, too, it is a false interpretation to find in "Our Father" anything but this specifically Biblical conception of God, nor is it possible for anybody but a believing Christian to utter this prayer (Mt 6:9) in the sense which Christ, who taught it to His disciples, intended.

Again, the example of Christ and His disciples in their treatment of the Old Testament teaches the principle that the ipse dixit of a Scriptural passage is to be interpreted as decisive as to its meaning. In the about 400 citations from the Old Testament found in the New Testament, there is not one in which the mere "It is written" is not regarded as settling its meaning. Whatever may be a Bible student’s theory of inspiration, the teachings and the examples of interpretation found in the Scriptures are in perfect. harmony in this matter.

These latter facts, too, show that in the interpretation of the Scriptures principles must be applied that are not applicable in the explanation of other books. As God is the author of the Scriptures He may have had, and, as a matter of fact, in certain cases did have in mind more than the human agents through whom He spoke did themselves understand. The fact that, in the New Testament, persons like Aaron and David, institutions like the law, the sacrificial system, the priesthood and the like, are interpreted as typical of persons and things under the New Covenant shows that the true significance, e.g. of the Levitical system, can be found only when studied in the light of the New Testament fulfillment.

Again, the principle of parallelism, not for illustrative but for argumentative purposes, is a rule that can, in the nature of the case, be applied to the interpretation of the Scriptures alone and not elsewhere. As the Scriptures represent one body of truth, though in a kaleidoscopic variety of forms, a statement on a particular subject in one place can be accepted as in harmony with a statement on the same subject elsewhere. In short, in all of those characteristics in which the Scriptures are unlike other literary productions, the principles of interpretation of the Scriptures must also be unlike those employed in other cases.

3. Historical Data:

Owing chiefly to the dogmatical basis of hermeneutics as a science, there has been a great divergence of views in the history of the church as to the proper methods of interpretation. It is one of the characteristic and instructive features of the New Testament writers that they absolutely refrain from the allegorical method of interpretation current in those times, particularly in the writings of Philo. Not even Ga 4:22, correctly understood, is an exception, since this, if an allegorical interpretation at all, is an argumentum ad hominem. The sober and grammatical method of interpretation in the New Testament writers stands out, too, in bold and creditable contrast to that of the early Christian exegetes, even of Origen. Only the Syrian fathers seemed to be an exception to the fantasies of the allegorical methods. The Middle Ages produced nothing new in this sphere; but the Reformation, with its formal principle that the Bible and the Bible alone is the rule of faith and life, made the correct grammatical interpretation of the Scriptures practically a matter of necessity. In modern times, not at all prolific in scientific discussions of hermeneutical principles and practices, the exegetical methods of different interpreters are chiefly controlled by their views as to the origin and character of the Scriptural books, particularly in regard to their inspiration.


Terry, Biblical Hermeneutics, New York, 1884. Here the literature is fully given, as also in Weidner’s Theological Encyclopedia, I, 266 ff.

G. H. Schodde




in-ter-o-ga’-shun (eperotema): This word is not found at all in the King James Version, and once only in the American Standard Revised Version (1Pe 3:21), where it replaces the word "answer" of the King James Version. This change according to Alford and Bengel is correct. "The interrogation of a good conscience" may refer to the question asked of a convert before baptism (compare Ac 8:37), or the appeal of the convert to God (compare 1 Joh 3:20-21). The opportunity to do this was given in baptism.


in-tret’, in-tret’-i: The two forms are derived from the same verb. In 1611 the spelling was indifferently "intreat" or "entreat." In editions of the King James Version since 1760 "intreat" is used in the sense of "to beg"; "entreat" in the sense of "deal with." As examples of "intreat" see Ex 8:8, "Intreat the Lord" (tsa‘aq); Ru 1:16, "Intreat me not to leave thee" (pagha‘); 2Co 8:4, "praying us with much entreaty" paraklesis). In Ge 25:21 "intreat" is used to indicate the success of a petition. For entreat see Ge 12:16, "He entreated Abraham well"; Ac 27:3, "And Julius courteously entreated Paul" (philanthropos chresamenos, literally, "to use in a philanthropic way"); compare also Jas 3:17, where eupeithes, literally, "easily persuaded," is translated "easy to be entreated."

The Revised Version changes all passages of the King James Version where "intreat" is found to "entreat," with the exception of those mentioned below. The meaning of "entreat" is "to ask," "to beseech," "to supplicate": Job 19:17 reads "and my supplication to the children" (hannothi, the King James Version "though I entreated for the children," the Revised Version, margin "I make supplication"). Jer 15:11 reads, "I will cause the enemy to make supplication" (hiphga’ti), instead, the King James Version "I will cause the enemy to entreat" (the Revised Version margin "I will intercede for thee with the enemy"). 1Ti 5:1 changes the King James Version "intreat" to "exhort." Php 4:3 renders the King James Version "entreat" by "beseech."

Russell Benjamin Miller


in’-werd: A Pauline term, nearly identical with the "hidden man of the heart" (1Pe 3:4). The Greek original, 5 ho eso (also esothen) anthropos (Ro 7:22) is lexigraphically defined "the internal man," i.e. "soul," "conscience." It is the immaterial part of man—mind, spirit—in distinction from the "outward man" which "perishes" (2Co 4:16 the King James Version). As the seat of spiritual influences it is the sphere in which the Holy Spirit does His renewing and saving work (Eph 3:16). The term "inward man" cannot be used interchangeably with "the new man," for it may still be "corrupt," and subject to "vanity" and "alienated from the life of God." Briefly stated, it is mind, soul, spirit—God’s image in man—man’s higher nature, intellectual, moral, and spiritual.

Dwight M. Pratt


A symbolic expression in the Old Testament represented by three Hebrew words: chedher, "chamber," hence, inmost bowels or breast; tuchoth, "the reins"; qerebh, "midst," "middle," hence, heart. Once in the New Testament (esothen, "from within," Lu 11:39). The viscera (heart, liver, kidneys) were supposed by the ancients to be the seat of the mind, feelings, affections: the highest organs of the psyche, "the soul." The term includes the intellect ("wisdom in the inward parts," Job 38:36); the moral nature ("inward part is very wickedness," Ps 5:9); the spiritual ("my law in their inward parts," Jer 31:33). Its adverbial equivalent in Biblical use is "inwardly." INWARD MAN (which see) is identical in meaning.

Dwight M. Pratt


yob (yobh; the King James Version Job): Third son of Issachar (Ge 46:13). In parallel passages (Nu 26:24; 1Ch 7:1) the name is Jashub (yashubh), which the versions in Ge also support as the correct form.


if-de’-ya (yiphdeyah, "Yah redeems"; the King James Version Iphedeiah): A descendant of Benjamin (1Ch 8:25).


if’-ta (yiphtach; the King James Version Jiphtah): An unidentified town in the Shephelah of Judah, named with Libnab, Ether and Ashan (Jos 15:43).


if’-ta-el (yiphtach-’el; the King James Version Jiphtah-el): The valley of Iphtah-el lay on the North border of Zebulun (Jos 19:14,27). Northwest of the plain of el-Battauf stands a steep hill, connected only by a low saddle with the hills on the North. The name Tell Jefat suggests the Jotapata of Josephus (BJ, III, vi, i; vii, i, etc.), and the place answers well to his description. It probably corresponds to the ancient Iphtah-el. In that case the valley is most probably that which begins at Tell Jefat, passes round the South of Jebel Kaukab, and, as Wady ‘Abellin, opens on the plain of Acre.

W. Ewing


ir (‘ir): A descendant of Benjamin (1Ch 7:12), called Iri in 1Ch 7:7.


ir-ha-he’-rez (‘ir haherec, according to the Massoretic Text, Aquila, Theodotion, Septuagint, the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American); according to some Hebrew manuscripts, Symmachus, and the Vulgate, ‘ir ha-cherec): A city of Egypt referred to in Isa 19:18. Jewish quarrels concerning the temple which Onias built in Egypt have most probably been responsible for the altering of the texts of some of the early manuscripts, and it is not now possible to determine absolutely which have been altered and which accord with the original. This difference in manuscripts gives rise to different opinions among authorities here to be noted. Most of the discussion of this name arises from this uncertainty and is hence rather profitless.

The starting-point of any proper discussion of Ir-ha-h is that the words are by Isaiah and that they are prophecy, predictive prophecy. They belong to that portion of the prophecies of Isaiah which by nearly all critics is allowed to the great prophet. Nothing but unfounded speculation or an unwillingness to admit that there is any predictive prophecy can call in question Isaiah’s authorship of these words. Then the sense of the passage in which these words occur imperatively demands that they be accounted predictive prophecy. Isaiah plainly refers to the future, "shall be called"; and makes a definite statement concerning what shall take place in the future (19:18-24). The reality of predictive prophecy may be discussed by those so inclined, but that the intention of the author here was to utter predictive prophecy does not seem to be open to question. For the verification of this prediction by its fulfillment in history we shall inquire concerning:

(1) the times intended: "that day";

(2) the "five cities";

(3) "Ir-ha-heres."

1. The Times Intended: "That Day":

The prophet gives a fairly specific description of "that day." It was at least to begin when "there shall be five cities in the land of Egypt that speak the language of Canaan, and swear to Yahweh of hosts" (Isa 19:18), and "In that day shall there be an altar to Yahweh in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to Yahweh" (Isa 19:19). There was to be also some inroad made upon the heathenism of Egypt by the message of the Lord (Isa 19:21 f), and about that time a deliverer should arise in Egypt (Isa 19:20), and all this should take place before the power of the land of Assyria should pass away (Isa 19:23 f) .

2. The "Five Cities":

The first historical fulfillment of these words is found at the period when Onias built his imitation of the Temple of Jerusalem at the place called by the Greeks Leontopolis (Tell el-Yehudiyeh), and the worship of Yahweh was set up at Elephantine, and the Jews were a great power at Alexandria and at Tahpanhes. While any of these latter three might have contained the "pillar," the "altar" would thus be either at Leontopolis or the other one of the "five cities" which cannot be named with much probability. The great deliverer would seem to be Alexander. Some think that the conversion of the Egyptians indicated in Isa 19:21,22 is furthered, though still not completed, in the Christian invasion of the 1st century, and again in the success of modern Christian missions in Egypt.

3. "Ir-ha-heres":

It will be seen that it does not follow from what has been said that Leontopolis was Ir-ha-h as some seem to think. It is not said by the prophet that the place where was the "altar" was called Ir-ha-h, even if it were certain that the altar was at Leontopolis. Nevertheless, Leontopolis may be Ir-ha-h. The problem is not in the first place the identification of the name, but the determination of which one of the "five cities" was destroyed. The expression "shall be called the city of destruction" seems clearly to indicate that Ir-ha-h is not a name at all, but merely a descriptive appellation of that city which should "be destroyed." It still remains to inquire whether or not this was an independent appellation, or whether, more probably, it bore some relation to the name of that city at the time at which the prophet wrote, a play upon the sound, or the significance of the name or both of these, either through resemblance or contrast. If Gesenius is right, as he seems to be, in the opinion that "in the idiom of Isa Ir-ha-h means simply ‘the city that shall be destroyed,’ " then the original problem of finding which one of the cities was destroyed seems to be the whole problem. Still, in the highly-wrought language of Isaiah and according to the genius of the Hebrew tongue, there is probably a play upon words. It is here that the consideration of the name itself properly comes in and probably guides us rightly. Speculation, by Gesenius, Duhm, Cheyne and others, has proposed various different readings of this name, some of them requiring two or three changes in the text to bring it to its present state. Speculation can always propose readings. On was sometimes called "Heres" and meant "house of the sun," which would be both translated and transliterated into Hebrew ha-cherec and might have ‘ir ("city") prefixed. Naville, through his study of the great Harris papyrus, believed that the old Egyptian city which later was called Leontopolis (Tell el-Yehudiyeh) was immediately connected with On and called "House of Ra," also "House of the Sun." Thus, this name might be both transliterated and translated into the Hebrew ha-cherec and have ‘ir prefixed. The difference between this expression and "Ir-ha-h" which Isaiah used is only the difference between "h" and "ch." So that Ir-ha-h is most probably a predictive prophecy concerning the disaster that was to overtake one of the "five cities," with a play upon the name of the city, and that city is either On, the later Heliopolis, or the ancient sacred city about 4 miles to the North of On, where Onias was to build his temple and which later became Leontopolis (Tellel-Yehudiyeh). No more positive identification of Ir-ha-h is yet possible.

M. G. Kyle


ur-na’-hash, ir-na’-hash (‘ir nachash): A town of Judah of which Tehinnah is called the "father," probably meaning "founder" (1Ch 4:12). English Versions of the Bible margin suggests the translation "city of Nahash."


ur-she’-mesh, ir-she’-mesh (‘ir shemesh, "city of the sun").



i’-ra (‘ira’; Eiras):

(1) A person referred to in 2Sa 20:26 as "priest" (so the Revised Version (British and American) correctly; the King James Version "a chief ruler," the American Standard Revised Version "chief minister") unto David. The translation of the Revised Version (British and American) is the only possible one; but, according to the text, Ira was "a Jairite," and thus of the tribe of Manasseh (Nu 32:41) and not eligible to the priesthood. On the basis of the Peshitta some would correct "Jairite" of 2Sa 20:26 into "Jattirite," referring to Jattir, a priestly city within the territory of Judah (Jos 21:14). Others point to 2Sa 8:18 margin, "David’s sons were priests," as an indication that in David’s time some non-Levites were permitted to serve—in some sense—as priests.

(2) An "Ithrite," or (with a different pointing of the text) a "Jattirite," one of David’s "thirty" (2Sa 23:38 parallel 1Ch 11:40); possibly identical with (1).

(3) Another of David’s "thirty," son of Ikkesh of Tekoa (2Sa 23:26; 1Ch 11:28) and a captain of the temple guard (1Ch 27:9).

F. K. Farr


i’-rad (‘iradh; Septuagint Gaidad): Grandson of Cain and son of Enoch (Ge 4:18).


i’-ram (‘iram; Septuagint variously in Gen): A "chief" of Edom (Ge 36:43 parallel 1Ch 1:54).


i’-ri (‘iri).



i-ri’-ja (yir’iyayh, "Yah sees"): A captain at the gate of Benjamin in Jerusalem, who arrested Jeremiah the prophet on suspicion of intending to desert to the Chaldeans (Jer 37:13,14).

IRON (1)

i’-urn (barzel; sideros): It is generally believed that the art of separating iron from its ores and making it into useful forms was not known much earlier than 1000 BC, and that the making of brass (bronze) antedates it by many centuries, in spite of the frequent Biblical references where brass and iron occur together. This conjecture is based upon the fact that no specimen of worked iron has been found whose antiquity can be vouched for. The want of such instruments, however, can be attributed to the ease with which iron corrodes. Evidence that iron was used is found, for example, in the hieroglyphics of the tomb of Rameses III, where the blades of some of the weapons are painted blue while others are painted red, a distinction believed to be due to the fact that some were made of iron or steel and some of brass. No satisfactory proof has yet been presented that the marvelous sculpturing on the hard Egyptian granite was done with tempered bronze. It seems more likely that steel tools were used. After the discovery of iron, it was evidently a long time in replacing bronze. This was probably due to the difficulties in smelting it. An old mountaineer once described to the writer the process of iron smelting as it was carried on in Mt. Lebanon in past centuries. As a boy he had watched his father, who was a smelter, operate one of the last furnaces to be fired. For each firing, many cords of wood, especially green oak branches, were used, and several days of strenuous pumping at the eight bellows was necessary to supply the air blast. As a result a small lump of wrought iron was removed from the bottom of the furnace after cooling. The iron thus won was carried to Damascus where it was made into steel by workers who kept their methods secret. This process, which has not been worked now for years, was undoubtedly the same as was used by the ancients. It is not at all unlikely that the Lebanon iron, transformed into steel, was what was referred to as "northern iron" in Jer 15:12 (the King James Version). In many districts the piles of slag from the ancient furnaces are still evident.

Aside from the limited supply of iron ore in Mt. Lebanon (compare De 8:9), probably no iron was found in Syria and Palestine. It was brought from Tarshish (Eze 27:12) and Vedan and Jayan (Eze 27:19), and probably Egypt (De 4:20).

The first mention of iron made in the Bible is in Ge 4:22, where Tubal-Cain is mentioned as "the forger of every cutting instrument of brass and iron." It is likely that the Jews learned the art of metallurgy from the Phoenicians (2Ch 2:14) (see CRAFTS). Iron was used in Biblical times much as it is today. For a description of a smith at work see Ecclesiasticus 38:28. Huge city gates, overlaid with strips of iron (Ps 107:16; Isa 45:2), held in place by crude square-headed nails (1Ch 22:3), are still a familiar sight in the larger cities of Palestine and Syria (Ac 12:10). Threshing instruments were made of iron (Am 1:3); so also harrows (2Sa 12:31), axes (ib; 2Ki 6:6; see Ax), branding irons (1Ti 4:2), and other tools (1Ki 6:7). There were iron weapons (Nu 35:16; Job 20:24), armor (2Sa 23:7), horns (1Ki 22:11), fetters (Ps 105:18), chariots (Jos 17:16), yokes (Jer 28:14), breastplates (Re 9:9), pens (chisels) (Job 19:24; Jer 17:1), sheets or plates (Eze 4:3), gods (Da 5:4), weights (1Sa 17:7), bedsteads (De 3:11). Iron was used extensively in building the temple.


Figurative: "The iron furnace" is used metaphorically for affliction, chastisement (De 4:20; Eze 22:18-22). Iron is also employed figuratively to represent barrenness (De 28:23), slavery ("yoke of iron," De 28:48), strength ("bars of iron," Job 40:18), severity ("rod of iron," Ps 2:9), captivity (Ps 107:10), obstinacy ("iron sinew," Isa 48:4), fortitude ("iron pillar," Jer 1:18), moral deterioration (Jer 6:28), political strength (Da 2:33), destructive power ("iron teeth," Da 7:7); the certainty with which a real enemy will ever show his hatred is as the rust returning upon iron (Ecclesiasticus 12:10 the King James Version, the Revised Version (British and American) "brass"); great obstacles ("walls of iron," 2 Macc 11:9).

James A. Patch

IRON (2)

i’-ron (yir’on): One of the fenced cities in the territory of Naphtali, named with Migdal-el and En-hazor (Jos 19:38). It is represented by the modern Yarun, a village with the ruins of a synagogue, at one time used as a monastery, fully 6 miles West of Qedes.


ur’-pe-el, ir’-pe-el (yirpe’el): An unidentified city in Benjamin (Jos 18:27). It may possibly be represented by Rafat, a ruin to the North of el-Jib, the ancient Gibeon.





ir-i-ga’-shun: No equivalent for this word is found in Biblical writings, although the use of irrigation for maintaining vegetable life is frequently implied (Ec 2:5,6; Isa 58:11). To one familiar with the methods of irrigation practiced in Palestine, Syria and Egypt, the passage, "where thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs" (De 11:10), is easily explained. The water is brought in channels to the gardens, where it is distributed in turn to the different square plots bounded by banks of earth, or along the rows of growing vegetables planted on the sides of the trenches. In stony soil the breach in the canal leading to a particular plot is opened and closed with a hoe. Any obstruction in the trench is similarly removed, while in the soft, loamy soil of the coastal plain or in the Nile valley these operations can be done with the foot; a practice still commonly seen.

The remains of the great irrigation works of the ancient Egyptians and Babylonians leave no doubt as to the extent to which they used water to redeem the deserts. In Palestine and Syria there was less need (De 10:7; 11:11) for irrigation. Here there is an annual fall of from 30 to 40 inches, coming principally during the winter. This is sufficient for the main crops. The summer supply of vegetables, as well as the fruit and mulberry trees, requires irrigation. Hardly a drop of many mountain streams is allowed to reach the sea, but is used to water the gardens of the mountain terraces and plains. This supply is now being supplemented by the introduction of thousands of pumps and oil engines for raising the water of the wells sufficiently to run it through the irrigation canals. Where a spring is small, its supply is gathered into a birket, or cistern, and then drawn off through a large outlet into the trenches, sometimes several days being required to fill the cistern. In Ec 2:6, Solomon is made to say, "I made me pools of water, to water therefrom the forest." This passage helps to explain the uses of the so-called Pools of Solomon, South of Jerusalem. In this same district are traces of the ancient terraces which were probably watered from these pools.


James A. Patch


i’-roo (‘iru): Eldest son of Caleb (1Ch 4:15); probably to be read Ir, the syllable "-u" being the conjunction "and" belonging to the following word.


i’-zak:oIT- (Cs:hebrewIt+‘iruIT-/ CS): Eldest son of Caleb (1Ch 4:15); probably to be read Ir, the syllable "-u" being the conjunction "and" belonging to the following word.


1. Root, Forms, Analogues

2. Implication


1. Birth and Place in the Family

2. Relation to the Religious Birthright

3. Significance of Marriage


1. Previous to Marriage

2. Subsequent to Marriage


1. In the Old Testament

2. In the New Testament


I. Name.

1. Root, Forms and Analogues:

This name has the double spelling, yitschaq, and yitschaq (Isaak), corresponding to the two forms in which appears the root meaning "to laugh"—a root that runs through nearly all the Semitic languages. In Hebrew both tsachaq and sachaq have their cognate nouns, and signify, in the simple stem, "to laugh," in the intensive stem, "to jest, play, dance, fondle," and the like. The noun yitshar, meaning "fresh oil," from a root tsahar ("to be bright, conspicuous"), proves that nouns can be built on precisely the model of yitschaq, which would in that case signify "the laughing one," or something similar. Yet Barth (Die Nominalbildung in den semitischen Sprachen, 154, b and c) maintains that all proper names beginning with yodh prefixed to the root are really pure imperfects, i.e. verbal forms with some subject to be understood if not actually present. Hence, Isaac would mean "laughs": either indefinite, "one laughs," or "he laughs," namely, the one understood as the subject. There are some 50 Hebrew names that have a similar form with no accompanying subject. Of these sometimes the meaning of the root is quite obscure, sometimes it is appropriate to any supposable subject. Each is a problem by itself; for the interpretation of any one of them there is little help to be gained from a comparison with the others.

2. Implication:

What subject, then, is to be understood with this imperfect verb yitschaq? Or is no definite subject to be supplied?

(1) ‘El, God, may be supplied: "God laughs." Such an expression might be understood of the Divine benevolence, or of the fearful laughter of scorn for His enemies (Ps 2:4), or, euphemistically, of the Divine wrath, the "terrible glance," as of Moloch, etc. (so Meyer, Israeliten und ihre Nachbarstdmme, 255).

(2) Some human person: "he laughs." So, for example, he himself, namely, the child who receives the name; or, the father; or, the brother (not the mother, which would require titschaq). In the light now of these possibilities we turn to the narratives of Isaac’s birth and career and find the following subjects suggested:

(a) father, Ge 17:17;

(b) indefinite, "one laughs" (not "she laughs," see above), Ge 18:12-15; 21:6; (c) brother, Ge 21:9; (d) himself, Ge 26:8. Of these passages the last two show the verb in the intensive stem in the signification of

(c) "mock" (?), and

(d) "dally."

We find this same verb in these senses in Ge 19:14 and 39:14,17, in the stories of Lot and of Joseph, and it is possible that here also in the story of Isaac it has no more connection with the name Isaac than it has there with the names Lot and Joseph. However, this may be, there is obviously one interpretation of the name Isaac, which, required in two of the passages, is equally appropriate in them all, namely, that with the indefinite subect, "one laughs." Consideration of the sources to which these passages are respectively assigned by the documentary hypothesis tends only to confirm this result.

II. Family and Kindred.

The two things in Isaac’s life that are deemed worthy of extensive treatment in the sacred narrative are his birth and his marriage. His significance, in fact, centers in his transmission of what went before him to what came after him. Hence, his position in his father’s family, his relation to its greatest treasure, the religious birthright, and his marriage with Rebekah are the subjects that require special notice in this connection.

1. Birth and Place in the Family:

The birth of Isaac is represented as peculiar in these respects: the age of his parents, the purity of his lineage, the special Divine promises accompanying. What in Abraham’s life is signalized by the Divine "call" in the from his father’s house, and what in Jacob’s life is brought about by a series of providential interpositions, seems in Isaac’s case to become his by his birth. His mother, who is not merely of the same stock as Abraham but actually his half-sister, is the legal wife. As her issue Isaac is qualified by the laws of inheritance recognized in their native land to become his father’s heir. But Ishmael, according to those laws, has a similarly valid claim (see ABRAHAM, iv, 2), and it is only by express command that Abraham is led to abandon what was apparently both custom and personal preference, to "cast out the bondwoman and her son," and to acquiesce in the arrangement that "in Isaac shall thy seed be called."

2. Relation to the Religious Birthright:

But the birthright of Isaac was of infinitely more importance than the birthright in the family of any other wealthy man of that day. All that limitless blessing with which Abraham set forth under God’s leadership was promised not only to him but to his "seed"; it was limitless in time as well as in scope. To inherit it was of more consequence to Isaac than to inherit any number of servants, flocks or wells of his father’s acquisition. A sense of these relative values seems to have been a part of Isaac’s spiritual endowment, and this, more than anything else related of him, makes him an attractive figure on the pages of Gen.

3. Significance of Marriage:

The raising up of a "seed" to be the bearers of these promises was the prime concern of Isaac’s life. Not by intermarriage with the Canaanites among whom he lived, but by marriage with one of his own people, in whom as much as in himself should be visibly embodied the separateness of the chosen family of God—thus primarily was Isaac to pass on to a generation as pure as his own the heritage of the Divine blessing. Rebekah enters the tent of Isaac as truly the chosen of God as was Abraham himself.

III. Story of Life.

Previous to his marriage Isaac’s life is a part of the story of Abraham; after his marriage it merges into that of his children. It is convenient, therefore, to make his marriage the dividing-line in the narrative of his career.

1. Previous to Marriage:

A child whose coming was heralded by such signal marks of Divine favor as was Isaac’s would be, even apart from other special considerations, a welcome and honored member of the patriarchal household. The covenant-sign of circumcision (which Isaac was the first to receive at the prescribed age of 8 days), the great feast at his weaning, and the disinheritance of Ishmael in his favor, are all of them indications of the unique position that this child held, and prepare the reader to appreciate the depth of feeling involved in the sacrifice of Isaac, the story of which follows thereupon. The age of Isaac at the time of this event is not stated, but the fact that he is able to carry the wood of the offering shows that he had probably attained his full growth. The single question he asks his father and his otherwise unbroken silence combine to exhibit him in a favorable light, as thoughtful, docile and trustful. The Divine interposition to save the lad thus devoted to God constitutes him afresh the bearer of the covenant-promise and justifies its explicit renewal on this occasion. From this point onward the biographer of Isaac evidently has his marriage in view, for the two items that preceded the long 24th chaper, in which Rebekah’s choice and coming are rehearsed, are, first, the brief genealogical paragraph that informs the reader of the development of Nahor’s family just as far as to Rebekah, and second, the chapter that tells of Sarah’s death and burial—an event clearly associated in the minds of all with the marriage of Isaac (see Ge 24:3,16,67). Divine interest in the choice of her who should be the mother of the promised seed is evident in every line of the chapter that dramatizes the betrothal of Isaac and Rebekah. Their first meeting is described at its close with the tender interest in such a scene natural to every descendant of the pair, and Issac is sketched as a man of a meditative turn (Ge 24:63) and an affectionate heart (Ge 24:67).

2. Subsequent to Marriage:

The dismissal of the sons of Abraham’s concubines to the "East-country" is associated with the statement that Isaac inherited all that Abraham had; yet it has been remarked that, besides supplying them with gifts, Abraham was doing them a further kindness in thus emancipating them from continued subjection to Isaac, the future head of the clan. After Abraham’s death we are expressly informed that God "blessed Isaac his son" in fulfillment of previous promise. The section entitled "the toledhoth (generations) of Isaac" extends from Ge 25:19 to 35:29. At the opening of it Isaac is dwelling at Beer-lahai-roi (25:11), then at Gerar (26:1,6) and "the valley of Gerar" (26:17), then at Beer-sheba (26:23; 28:10), all localities in the Negeb or "South-country." But after the long narrative of the fortunes of Jacob and his family, occupying many years, we find Isaac at its close living where his father Abraham had lived, at Hebron.

For 20 years Isaac and Rebekah remained childless; it was only upon the entreaty of Isaac that God granted them their twin sons. A famine was the usual signal for emigration to Egypt (compare Ge 12:10; 42:2); and Isaac also appears to have been on his way thither for the same cause, when, at Gerar, he is forbidden by God to proceed, and occasion is found therein to renew to him the covenant-promise of his inheritance: land, posterity, honor and the Divine presence (Ge 26:1-4).

But Isaac had also received from his father traditions of another sort; he too did not hesitate to say to the men of Gerar that his wife was his sister, with the same intent to save his own life, but without the same justification in fact, as in the case of Abraham’s earlier stratagem. Yet even the discovery by the king of Gerar of this duplicity, and repeated quarrels about water in that dry country, did not suffice to endanger Isaac’s status with the settled inhabitants, for his large household and great resources made him a valuable friend and a dangerous enemy.

The favoritism which Isaac showed for one son and Rebekah for the other culminated in the painful scene when the paternal blessing was by guile obtained for Jacob, and in the subsequent enforced absence of Jacob from his parental home. Esau, too, afforded no comfort to his father and mother, and ere long he also withdrew from his father’s clan. The subsequent reconciliation of the brothers permitted them to unite at length in paying the last honors to Isaac on his decease. Isaac was buried at Hebron where his parents had been buried (Ge 49:31), and where’ his place of sepulture is still honored.

IV. Biblical References.

There is a great contrast between Abraham and Jacob on the one hand, and Isaac on the other, with respect to their prominence in the literature of the nation that traced to them its descent. To be sure, when the patriarchs as a group are to be named, Isaac takes his place in the stereotyped formula of "Abraham, Isaac and Jacob," or "Israel" (so 23 times in the Old Testament, 7 times in the New Testament).

1. In the Old Testament:

But apart from this formula Isaac is referred to in the Old Testament only as follows. During the lifetime of Jacob the names of Abraham and Isaac are repeatedly linked in the same way as are all three subsequently: they form for that age the dynasty of the covenant. But several times Jacob calls Yahweh the God (or, the Fear; see infra) of Isaac, because Isaac is his own immediate predecessor in this chain of the faithful. Isaac is called the "gift" of God to Abraham, in the farewell address of Joshua, just as Jacob and Esau are called God’s "gifts" to Isaac (Jos 24:3 f; compare Koran, Sura 6 84). The "house of Isaac" is used by Amos as a parallel expression for "Israel," and "the high places of Isaac" for "the sanctuaries of Israel" (Am 7:16,9), in the same way as "Jacob" is often used elsewhere Septuagint in Am 7:16 reads "Jacob"). Other references to Isaac are simply as to his father’s son or his children’s father.

2. In the New Testament:

He fares better in the New Testament. For, besides the genealogical references, Isaac’s significance as the first to receive circumcision on the 8th day is remembered (Ac 7:8); his position as first of the elect seed is set forth (Ro 9:7); his begetting of two sons so unlike in their relation to the promise as were Esau and Jacob is remarked (Ro 9:10); the facts of his being heir to the promise, a child of old age, and, though but one, the father of an innumerable progeny, are emphasized in Heb (11:9-12), which also discovers the deeper significance of his sacrifice and restoration to his father (11:17-19; compare Jas 2:21); and in the same context is noticed the faith in God implied in Isaac’s blessing of his sons. But Isaac receives more attention than anywhere else in that famous passage in Ga (4:21-31), in which Paul uses Isaac and his mother as allegorical representations of Christians who are justified by faith in the promise of God, and are the free-born heirs of all the spiritual inheritance implied in that promise. Even Isaac’s persecution by Ishmael has its counterpart in the attitude of the enemies of Paul’s gospel toward him and his doctrines and converts.

V. Views Other than the Historical.

Philo, the chief allegorizer of Scriptural narratives, has little to say of Isaac, whom he calls "the self-instructed nature." But modern critics have dissolved his personality by representing him as the personification of an ethnic group. "All Israel," writes Wellhausen (Prol., 6th edition, 316), "is grouped with the people of Edom under the old name Isaac (Am 7:9,16) .... the material here is not mythical (as in Ge 1-11) but national." And just as Israel plus Edom had little or no significance in national customs or political events, when compared on the one hand with Israel alone (= Jacob), and with Israel plus Edom plus Moab and Ammon (= Abraham) on the other hand; so likewise the figure of Isaac is colorless and his story brief, as compared with the striking figures of Jacob on the one hand and of Abraham on the other hand, and the circumstantial stories of their lives.

Other scholars will have none of this national view, because they believe Isaac to be the name of an ancient deity, the local numen of Beersheba. Stark, whom others have followed, proposes to interpret the phrase translated "the Fear of Isaac" in Ge 31:42,53 as the name of this god used by his worshippers, the Terror Isaac, Isaac the terrible god. For the sense of Isaac in that case see above under I, 2, (1). Meyer (loc. cit.) defends the transfer of the name from a god to the hero of a myth, by comparing the sacrifice of Isaac ("the only story in which Isaac plays an independent role"!) with the Greek myth of Iphigenia’s sacrifice (Hesiod, Euripides, etc.), in which the by-name of a goddess (Iphigenia) identified with Artemis has passed to the intended victim rescued by Artemis from death.

The most recent critical utterances reject both the foregoing views of Isaac as in conflict with the data of Gen. Thus Gunkel (Schriften des Altes Testament, 5te Lieferung, 1910, 41) writes: "Quite clearly the names of Abraham, Isaac, and all the patriarchal women are not tribal names. .... The interpretation of the figures of Ge as nations furnishes by no means a general key." And again: "Against the entire assumption that the principal patriarchal figures are originally gods, is above all to be noted that the names Jacob and Abraham are proved by the Babylonian to be personal names in current use, and at the same time that the sagas about them can in no wise be understood as echoes of original myths. Even Winckler’s more than bold attempt to explain these sagas as original calendar-myths must be pronounced a complete failure." Yet Gunkel and those who share his position are careful to distinguish their own view from that of the "apologetes," and to concede no more than the bare fact that there doubtless were once upon a time persons named Abraham Isaac, etc. For these critics Isaac is simply a name about which have crystallized cycles of folk-stories, that have their parallels in other lands and languages, but have received with a Hebrew name also a local coloring and significance on the lips of successive Hebrew story-tellers, saga-builders and finally collectors and editors; "Everyone who knows the history of sagas is sure that the saga is not able to preserve through the course of so many centuries, a true picture" of the patriarchs.

See also ABRAHAM, end.

J. Oscar Boyd




i-za’-ya, i-zi’-a:

1. Name

2. Personal History

3. Call

4. Literary Genius and Style

5. Traditions concerning His Martyrdom

6. Period

7. Analysis and Contents

8. Isaiah’s Prophecies Chronologically Arranged

9. The Critical Problem

(1) The History of Criticism

(2) The Disintegration of "Deutero-Isaiah"

(3) Recent Views

(4) The Present State of the Question

(5) Reasons for Dissecting the Book

(6) Arguments for One Isaiah

(a) The Circle of Ideas

(b) The Literary Style

(c) Historical References

(d) The Predictire Element

(e) Cyrus a Subject of Prediction


Of all Israel’s celebrated prophets, Isaiah is the king. The writings which bear his name are among the profoundest in all literature. One great theme—salvation by faith—stamps them all. Isaiah is the Paul of the Old Testament.

1. Name:

In Hebrew yesha‘yahu, and yesha‘yah; Greek Esaias; Latin Esaias and Isaias. His name was symbolic of his message. Like "Joshua," it means "Yahweh saves," or "Yahweh is salvation," or "salvation of Yahweh."

2. Personal History:

Isaiah was the son of Amoz (not Amos). He seems to have belonged to a family of some rank, as may be inferred from his easy access to the king (Isa 7:3), and his close intimacy with the priest (Isa 8:2). Tradition says he was the cousin of King Uzziah. He lived in Jerusalem and became court preacher. He was married and had two sons: Shear-jashub, his name signifying "a remnant shall return" (Isa 7:3), and Maher-shalal-hash-baz, "hasting to the spoil, hurrying to the prey," symbolic of Assyria’s mad lust of conquest (Isa 8:3). Jewish tradition, based upon a false interpretation of Isa 7:14, declares he was twice married.

3. Call:

In the year that King Uzziah died, Isaiah, apparently while worshipping in the temple, received a call to the prophetic office (Isa 6). He responded with noteworthy alacrity, and accepted his commission, though he knew from the outset that his task was to be one of fruitless warning and exhortation (6:9-13). Having been reared in Jerusalem, he was well fitted to become the political and religious counselor of the nation, but the experience which prepared him most for his important work was the vision of the majestic and thrice-holy God which he saw in the temple in the death-year of King Uzziah. There is no good reason for doubting that this was his inaugural vision, though some regard it as a vision which came to him after years of experience in preaching and as intended to deepen his spirituality. While this is the only explicit "vision" Isaiah saw, yet his entire book, from first to last, is, as the title (11) suggests, a "vision." His horizon, both political and spiritual, was practically unbounded. In a very true sense, as Delitzsch says, he was "the universal prophet of Israel."

4. Literary Genius and Style:

For versatility of expression and brilliancy of imagery Isaiah had no superior, not even a rival. His style marks the climax of Hebrew literary article Both his periods and Genius and descriptions are most finished and sublime. He is a perfect artist in words. Beauty and strength are characteristic of his entire book. Epigrams and metaphors, particularly of flood, storm and sound (1:13; 5:18,22; 8:8; 10:22; 28:17,20; 30:28,30), interrogation and dialogue (6:8; 10:8,9), antithesis and alliteration (1:18; 3:24; 17:10,12), hyperbole and parable (2:7; 5:1-7; 28:23-29), even paranomasia, or play upon words (5:7; 7:9), characterize Isaiah’s book as the great masterpiece of Hebrew literature. He is also famous for his richness of vocabulary and synonyms. For example, Ezekiel uses 1,535 words; Jeremiah, 1,653; the Psalmists 2,170; while Isaiah uses 2,186. Isaiah was also an orator: Jerome likened him to Demosthenes; and a poet: he frequently elaborates his messages in rhythmic or poetic style (12:1-6; 25:1-5; 26:1-12; 38:10-20; 42:1-4; 49:1-9; 50:4-9; 52:13-53:12; 60-62; 66:5-24); and in several instances slips into elegiac rhythm, e.g. in 37:22-29 there is a fine taunting poem on Sennacherib, and in 14:4-23 another on the king of Babylon. As Driver observes, "Isaiah’s poetical genius is superb."

5. Traditions concerning His Martyrdom:

Nothing definite or historical is known concerning the prophet’s end. Toward the close of the 2nd century AD, however, there was a tradition to the effect that he suffered martyrdom in the heathen reaction which occurred under King Manasseh, because of certain speeches concerning God and the Holy City which his contemporaries alleged were contrary to the law. Indeed the Jewish Mishna explicitly states that Manasseh slew him. Justin Martyr also (150 AD), in his controversial dialogue with the Jew Trypho, reproaches the Jews with this accusation, "whom ye sawed asunder with a wooden saw"; this tradition is further confirmed by a Jewish Apocalypse of the 2nd century AD, entitled, The Ascension of Isaiah, and by Epiphanius in his so-called Lives of the Prophets. It is barely possible that there is an allusion to his martyrdom in Heb 11:37, which reads, "They were stoned, they were sawn asunder," but this is by no means certain. In any case Isaiah probably survived the great catastrophe of the siege of Jerusalem by Sennacherib in 701 BC, and possibly also the death of Hezekiah in 699 BC; for in 2Ch 32:32 it is stated that Isaiah wrote a biography of King Hezekiah. If so, his prophetic activity extended over a period of more than 40 years. Dr. G. A. Smith extends it to "more than 50" (Jerusalem, II, 180; compare Whitehouse, "Isaiah," New Century Bible, I, 72).

6. Period:

According to the title of his book (11), Isaiah prophesied during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. He dates his inaugural vision (6:1) in Uzziah’s death-year, which was approximately 740 BC. This marks, therefore, the beginning of his prophetic ministry. And we know that he was still active as late as the siege of Jerusalem by Sennacherib in 701 BC. Hence, the minimum period of his activity as a prophet was from 740 to 701 BC. As a young man Isaiah witnessed the rapid development of Judah into a strong commercial and military state; for under Uzziah Judah attained a degree of prosperity and strength never before enjoyed since the days of Solomon. Walls, towers, fortifications, a large standing army, a port for commerce on the Red Sea, increased inland trade, tribute from the Ammonites, success in war with the Philistines and the Arabians—all these became Judah’s during Uzziah’s long and prosperous reign of 52 years. But along with power and wealth came also avarice, oppression, religious formality and corruption. The temple revenues indeed were greatly increased, but religion and life were too frequently dissociated; the nation’s progress was altogether material. During the reign of Jotham (740-736 BC), who for several years was probably associated with his father as co-regent, a new power began to appear over the eastern horizon. The Assyrians, with whom Ahab had come in contact at the battle of Karkar in 854 BC, and to whom Jehu had paid tribute in 842 BC, began to manifest anew their characteristic lust of conquest. Tiglathpileser III, who is called "Pul" in 2Ki 15:19 and reigned over Assyria from 745 to 727 BC, turned his attention westward, and in 738 BC reduced Arpad, Calno, Carchemish, Hamath and Damascus, causing them to pay tribute. His presence in the West led Pekah, king of North Israel, and Rezin, king of Damascus, to form an alliance in order to resist further encroachment on the part of Assyria. When Ahaz refused to join their confederacy they resolved to dethrone him and set in his stead the son of Tabeel upon the throne of David (2Ki 16:5; Isa 7:6). The struggle which ensued is commonly known as the Syro-Ephraimitic war (734 BC)—one of the great events in Isaiah’s period. Ahaz in panic sent to Tiglath-pileser for help (2Ki 16:7), who of course responded with alacrity. The result was that the great Assyrian warrior sacked Gaza and carried all of Galilee and Gilead into captivity (734) and finally took Damascus (732 BC). Ahaz was forced to pay dearly for his protection and Judah was brought very low (2Ki 15:29; 16:7-9; 2Ch 28:19; Isa 7:1). The religious as well as the political effect of Ahaz’ policy was decidedly baneful. To please Tiglath-pileser, Ahaz went to Damascus to join in the celebration of his victories, and while there saw a Syrian altar, a pattern of which he sent to Jerusalem and had a copy set up in the temple in place of the brazen altar of Solomon. Thus Ahaz, with all the influence of a king, introduced idolatry into Jerusalem, even causing his sons to pass through the fire (2Ki 16:10-16; 2Ch 28:3).

Hezekiah succeeded Ahaz, beginning to rule at the age of 25 and reigning 29 years (727-699 BC). Isaiah was at least 15 years his senior. The young king inherited from his father a heavy burden. The splendor of Uzziah’s and Jotham’s reigns was rapidly fading before the ever-menacing and avaricious Assyrians. Hezekiah began his reign with reformation. "He removed the high places, and brake the pillars, and cut down the Asherah" (2Ki 18:4,22). He even invited the surviving remnant of North Israel to join in celebrating the Passover (2Ch 30:1). But Israel’s end was drawing near. Hoshea, the vacillating puppet-king of North Israel (730-722 BC), encouraged by Egypt, refused longer to pay Assyria his annual tribute (2Ki 17:4); whereupon Shalmaneser IV, who had succeeded Tiglath-pileser, promptly appeared before the gates of Samaria in 724 BC, and for 3 weary years besieged the city (2Ki 17:5). Finally, the city was captured by Sargon II, who succeeded Shalmaneser IV in 722 BC, and 27,292 of Israel’s choicest people (according to Sargon’s own description) were deported to Assyria, and colonists were brought from Babylon and other adjacent districts and placed in the cities of Samaria (2Ki 17:6,24). Thus the kingdom of North Israel passed into oblivion, and Judah was left ever after quite exposed to the direct ravages, political and religious, of her Assyrio-Babylonian neighbors. In fact Judah herself barely escaped destruction by promising heavy tribute. This was the second great political crisis during Isaiah’s ministry. Other crises were soon to follow. One was the desperate illness of King Hezekiah, who faced assured death in 714 BC. Being childless, he was seriously concerned for the future of the Davidic dynasty. He resorted to prayer, however, and God graciously extended his life 15 years (2Ki 20; Isa 38). His illness occurred during the period of Babylon’s independence under Merodach-baladan, the ever-ambitious, irresistible and uncompromising enemy of Assyria, who for 12 years (721-709 BC) maintained independent supremacy over Babylon. Taking advantage of Hezekiah’s wonderful cure, Merodach seized the opportunity of sending an embassy to Jerusalem to congratulate him on his recovery (712 BC), and at the same time probably sought to form an alliance with Judah to resist Assyrian supremacy (2Ki 20:12 ff; Isa 39). Nothing, however, came of the alliance, for the following year Sargon’s army reappeared in Philistia in order to discipline Ashdod for conspiracy with the king of Egypt (711 BC). The greatest crisis was yet to come. Its story is as follows: Judah and her neighbors groaned more and more under the heavy exactions of Assyria. Accordingly, when Sargon was assassinated and Sennacherib came to the throne in 705 BC, rebellion broke out on all sides. Merodach-baladan, who had been expelled by Sargon in 709 BC, again took Babylon and held it for at least six months in 703 BC. Hezekiah, who was encouraged by Egypt and all Philistia, except Padi of Ekron, the puppet-king of Sargon, refused longer to pay Assyria tribute (2Ki 18:7). Meanwhile a strong pro-Egyptian party had sprung up in Jerusalem. In view of all these circumstances, Sennacherib in 701 BC marched westward with a vast army, sweeping everything before him. Tyre was invested though not taken; on the other hand, Joppa, Eltekeh, Ekron, Ashkelon, Ammon, Moab, and Edom all promptly yielded to his demands. Hezekiah was panic stricken and hastened to bring rich tribute, stripping even the temple and the palace of their treasures to do so (2Ki 18:13-16). But Sennacherib was not satisfied. He overran Judah, capturing, as he tells us in his inscription, 46 walled towns and smaller villages without number, carrying 200,150 of Judah’s population into captivity to Assyria, and demanding as tribute 800 talents of silver and 30 talents of gold, in all, over $1,500,000; he took also, he claims, Hezekiah’s daughters and palace women, seized his male and female singers, and carried away enormous spoil. But the end was not yet. Sennacherib himself, with the bulk of the army, halted in Philistia to reduce Lachish; thence he sent a strong detachment under his commander-in-chief, the Rabshakeh, to besiege Jerusalem (2Ki 18:17-19:8; Isa 36:2-37:8). As he describes this blockade in his own inscription: "I shut up Hezekiah in Jerusalem like a bird in a cage." The Rabshakeh, however, failed to capture the city and returned to Sennacherib, who meanwhile had completely conquered Lachish, and was now warring against Libnab. A second expedition against Jerusalem was planned, but hearing that Tirhakah (at that time the commander-in-chief of Egypt’s forces and only afterward "king of Ethiopia") was approaching, Sennacherib was forced to content himself with sending messengers with a letter to Hezekiah, demanding immediate surrender of the city (2Ki 19:9 ff; Isa 37:9 ). Hezekiah, however, through Isaiah’s influence held out; and in due time, though Sennacherib disposed of Tirhakah’s army without difficulty, his immense host in some mysterious way—by plague or otherwise—was suddenly smitten, and the great Assyrian conqueror was forced to return to Nineveh; possibly because Merodach-baladan had again appeared in Babylonia. Sennacherib never again returned to Palestine, so far as we know, during the subsequent 20 years of his reign, though he did make an independent expedition into North Arabia (691-689 BC). This invasion of Judah by Sennacherib in 701 BC was the great political event in Isaiah’s ministry. Had it not been for the prophet’s statesmanship, Jerusalem might have capitulated. As it was, only a small, insignificantly small, remnant of Judah’s population escaped. Isaiah had at this time been preaching 40 years. How much longer he labored is not known.

7. Analysis and Contents:

There are six general divisions of the book:

(1) Isa 1-12, prophecies concerning Judah and Jerusalem, closing with promises of restoration and a psalm of thanksgiving;

(2) Isa 13-23, oracles of judgment and salvation, for the most part concerning those foreign nations whose fortunes affected Judah and Jerusalem;

(3) Isa 24-27, Yahweh’s world-judgment in the redemption of Israel;

(4) Isa 28-35, a cycle of prophetic warnings against alliance with Egypt, closing with a prophecy concerning Edom and a promise of Israel’s ransom;

(5) Isa 36-39, history, prophecy and song intermingled; serving both as an appendix to Isa 1-35, and as an introduction to Isa 40-66;

(6) Isa 40-66, prophecies of comfort and salvation, and also of the future glory awaiting Israel.

By examining in detail these several divisions we can trace better the prophet’s thought. Thus, Isa 1-12 unfold Judah’s social sins (Isa 1-6), and her political entanglements (Isa 7-12); Isa 1 is an introduction, in which the prophet strikes the chief notes of his entire book: namely, thoughtlessness (1:2-9), formalism in worship (1:10-17), pardon (1:18-23) and judgment (1:24-31). Isa 2-4 contain three distinct pictures of Zion:

(a) her exaltation (2:2-4),

(b) her present idolatry (2:5-4:1), and (c) her eventual purification (4:2-6).

Isa 5 contains an arraignment of Judah and Jerusalem, composed of three parts:

(a) a parable of Yahweh’s vineyard (5:1-7);

(b) a series of six woes pronounced against insatiable greed (5:8-10), dissipation (5:11-17), daring defiance against Yahweh (5:18,19), confusion of moral distinctions (5:20), political self-conceit (5:21), and misdirected heroism (5:22,23); and

(c) an announcement of imminent judgment. The Assyrian is on the way and there will be no escape (5:24-30). Isa 6 recounts the prophet’s inaugural vision and commission. It is really an apologetic, standing as it does after the prophet’s denunciations of his contemporaries. When they tacitly object to his message of threatening and disaster, he is able to reply that, having pronounced "woe" upon himself in the year that King Uzziah died, he had the authority to pronounce woe upon them (6:5). Plainly Isaiah tells them that Judah’s sins are well-nigh hopeless. They are becoming spiritually insensible. They have eyes but they cannot see. Only judgment can, avail: "the righteous judgment of a forgotten God" awaits them. A "holy seed," however, still existed in Israel’s stock (6:13).

Coming to Isa 7-12, Isaiah appears in the role of a practical statesman. He warns Ahaz against political entanglements with Assyria. The section 7:1-9:7 is a prophecy of Immanuel, history and prediction being intermingled.

They describe the Syro-Ephraimitic uprising in 736 BC, when Pekah of North Israel and Rezin of Damascus, in attempting to defend themselves against the Assyrians, demanded that Ahaz of Jerusalem should become their ally. But Ahaz preferred the friendship of Assyria, and refused to enter into alliance with them. And in order to defend himself, he applied to Assyria for assistance, sending ambassadors with many precious treasures, both royal and sacred, to bribe Tiglath-pileser. It was at this juncture that Isaiah, at Yahweh’s bidding, expostulates with Ahaz concerning the fatal step he is about to take, and as a practical statesman warns Ahaz, "the king of No-Faith," that the only path of safety lies in loyalty to Yahweh and keeping clear of foreign alliances; that "God is with us" for salvation; and that no "conspiracy" can possibly be successful unless God too is against us. When, however, the prophet’s message of promise and salvation finds no welcome, he commits it to his disciples, bound up and sealed for future use; assuring his hearers that unto them a child is born and unto them a son is given, in whose day the empire of David will be established upon a basis of justice and righteousness. The Messianic scion is the ground of the prophet’s hope; which hope, though unprecedented, he thus early in his ministry commits, written and sealed, to his inner circle of "disciples."

See, further, IMMANUEL.

The section Isa 9:8-10:4 contains an announcement to North Israel of accumulated wrath and impending ruin, with a refrain (9:12,17,21; 10:4). Here, in an artistic poem composed of four strophes, the prophet describes the great calamities which Yahweh has sent down upon North Israel but which have gone unheeded: foreign invasion (9:8-12), defeat in battle (9:13-17), anarchy (9:18-21), and impending captivity (10:1-4). Yet Yahweh’s judgments have gone unheeded: "For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still." Divine discipline has failed; only judgment remains.

In Isa 10:5-34, Assyria is declared to be an instrument of Yahweh, the rod of Yahweh’s anger. Isa 11-12 predict Israel’s return from exile, including a vision of the Messiah’s reign of ideal peace. For Isaiah’s vision of the nation’s future reached far beyond mere exile. To him the downfall of Assyria was the signal for the commencement of a new era in Israel’s history. Assyria has no future, her downfall is fatal; Judah has a future, her calamities are only disciplinary. An Ideal Prince will be raised up in whose advent all Nature will rejoice, even dumb animals (11:1-10). A second great exodus will take place, for the Lord will set His hand again "the second time" to recover the remnant of His people "from the four corners of the earth" (11:11,12). In that day, "Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim" (11:13). On the contrary, the reunited nation, redeemed and occupying their rightful territory (11:14-16), shall sing a hymn of thanksgiving, proclaiming the salvation of Yahweh to all the earth (Isa 12).

Isaiah 13-23 contain oracles of judgment and salvation, for the most part concerning those foreign nations whose fortunes affected Judah and Jerusalem. They are grouped together by the editor, as similar foreign oracles are in Jer 46-51 and Eze 25-32. Isaiah’s horizon was world-wide. First among the foreign prophecies stands the oracle concerning Babylon (Isa 13:1-14:23), in which he predicts the utter destruction of the city (Isa 13:2-22), and sings a dirge or taunt-song over her fallen king (Isa 14:4-23). The king alluded to is almost beyond doubt an Assyrian (not a Babylonian) monarch of the 8th century; the brief prophecy immediately following in Isa 14:24-27 concerning Assyria tacitly confirms this interpretation. Another brief oracle concerning Babylon (21:1-10) describes the city’s fall as imminent. Both oracles stand or fall together as genuine prophecies of Isaiah. Both seem to have been written in Jerusalem (13:2; 21:9,10). It cannot be said that either is absolutely unrelated in thought and language to Isaiah’s age (14:13; 21:2); each foretells the doom to fall on Babylon (13:19; 21:9) at the hands of the Medes (13:17; 21:2); and each describes the Israelites as already in exile—but not necessarily all Israel.

The section Isa 14:24-27 tells of the certain destruction of the Assyrian.

The passage Isa 14:28-32 is an oracle concerning Philistia.

Isaiah 15-16 are ancient oracles against Moab, whose dirgelike meter resembles that of Isa 13-14. It is composed of two separate prophecies belonging to two different periods in Isaiah’s ministry (16:13,14). The three points of particular interest in the oracle are:

(1) the prophet’s tender sympathy for Moab in her affliction (15:5; 16:11). Isaiah mingles his own tears with those of the Moabites. As Delitzsch says, "There is no prophecy in the Book of Isaiah in which the heart of the prophet is so painfully moved by what his spirit beholds and his mouth must prophecy."

(2) Moab’s pathetic appeal for shelter from her foes; particularly the ground on which she urges it, namely, the Messianic hope that the Davidic dynasty shall always stand and be able to repulse its foes (16:5). The prophecy is an echo of 9:5-7.

(3) The promise that a remnant of Moab, though small, shall be saved (16:14). Wearied of prayer to Chemosh in his high places, the prophet predicts that Moab will seek the living God (16:12).

The passage Isa 17:1-11 is an oracle concerning Damascus and North Israel, in which Isaiah predicts the fate of the two allies—Syria and Ephraim—in the Syro-Ephraimitic war of 734 BC, with a promise that only a scanty remnant will survive (17:6). In 17:12-14, the prophet boldly announces the complete annihilation of Judah’s unnamed foes—the Assyrians.

Isaiah 18 describes Ethiopia as in great excitement, sending ambassadors hither and thither—possibly all the way to Jerusalem—ostensibly seeking aid in making preparations for war. Assyria had already taken Damascus (732 BC) and Samaria (722 BC), and consequently Egypt and Ethiopia were in fear of invasion. Isaiah bids the ambassadors to return home and quietly watch Yahweh thwart Assyria’s self-confident attempt to subjugate Judah; and he adds that when the Ethiopians have seen God’s hand in the coming deliverance of Judah and Jerusalem (701 BC), they will bring a present to Yahweh to His abode in Mount Zion.

Isaiah 19, which is an oracle concerning Egypt, contains both a threat (19:1-17) and a promise (19:18-25), and is one of Isaiah’s most remarkable foreign messages. Egypt is smitten and thereby led to abandon her idols for the worship of Yahweh (19:19-22). Still more remarkable, it is prophesied that in that day Egypt and Assyria will join with Judah in a triple alliance of common worship to Yahweh and of blessing to others (19:23-25). Isaiah’s missionary outlook here is wonderful!

Isaiah 20 describes Sargon’s march against Egypt and Ethiopia, containing a brief symbolic prediction of Assyria’s victory over Egypt and Ethiopia. By donning a captive’s garb for three years, Isaiah attempts to teach the citizens of Jerusalem that the siege of Ashdod was but a means to an end in Sargon’s plan of campaign, and that it was sheer folly for the Egyptian party in Jerusalem, who were ever urging reliance upon Egypt, to look in that direction for help. Isaiah 21:11,12 is a brief oracle concerning Seir or Edom, "the only gentle utterance in the Old Testament upon Israel’s hereditary foe." Edom is in great anxiety. The prophet’s answer is disappointing, though its tone is sympathetic. Isaiah 21:13 ff is a brief oracle concerning Arabia. It contains a sympathetic appeal to the Temanites to give bread and water to the caravans of Dedan, who have been driven by war from their usual route of travel.

Isaiah 22 is concerning the foreign temper within theocracy. It is composed of two parts:

(1) an oracle "of the valley of vision," i.e. Jerusalem (22:1-14); and

(2) a philippic against Shebna, the comptroller of the palace. Isaiah pauses, as it were, in his series of warnings to foreign nations to rebuke the foreign temper of the frivolous inhabitants of Jerusalem, and in particular Shebna, a high official in the government.

The reckless and God-ignoring citizens of the capital are pictured as indulging themselves in hilarious eating and drinking, when the enemy is at that very moment standing before the gates of the city. Shebna, on the other hand, seems to have been an ostentatious foreigner, perhaps a Syrian by birth, quite possibly one of the Egyptian party, whose policy was antagonistic to that of Isaiah and the king. Isaiah’s prediction of Shebna’s fall was evidently fulfilled (36:3; 37:2).

Isaiah 23 is concerning Tyre. In this oracle Isaiah predicts that Tyre shall be laid waste (23:1), her commercial glory humbled (23:9), her colonies become independent of her (23:10), and she herself forgotten for "seventy years" (23:15); but "after the end of seventy years," her trade will revive, her business prosperity will return, and she will dedicate her gains in merchandise as holy to Yahweh (23:18).

The third great section of the Book of Isaiah embraces Isa 24-27, which tell of Yahweh’s world-judgment, issuing in the redemption of Israel. These prophecies stand closely related to Isa 13-23. They express the same tender emotion as that already observed in 15:5; 16:11, and sum up as in one grand finale the prophet’s oracles to Israel’s neighbors. For religious importance they stand second to none in the Book of Isaiah, teaching the necessity of Divine discipline and the glorious redemption awaiting the faithful in Israel. They are a spiritual commentary on the great Assyrian crisis of the 8th century; they are messages of salvation intended, not for declamation, but for meditation, and were probably addressed more particularly to the prophet’s inner circle of "disciples" (8:16). These chapters partake of the nature of apocalypse. Strictly speaking, however, they are prophecy, not apocalypse. No one ascends into heaven or talks with an angel, as in Da 7 and Re 4. They are apocalypse only in the sense that certain things are predicted as sure to come to pass. Isaiah was fond of this kind of prophecy. He frequently lifts his reader out of the sphere of mere history to paint pictures of the far-off, distant future (2:2-4; 4:2-6; 11:6-16; 30:27-33).

In Isa 24 the prophet announces a general judgment of the earth (i.e. the land of Judah), and of "the city" (collective, for Judah’s towns), after which will dawn a better day (24:1-15). The prophet fancies he hears songs of deliverance, but alas! they are premature; more judgment must follow. In Isa 25 the prophet transports himself to the period after the Assyrian catastrophe and, identifying himself with the redeemed, puts into their mouths songs of praise and thanksgiving for their deliverance. Isa 25:6-8 describe Yahweh’s bountiful banquet on Mount Zion to all nations, who, in keeping with 2:2-4, come up to Jerusalem, to celebrate "a feast of fat things," rich and marrowy. While the people are present at the banquet, Yahweh graciously removes their spiritual blindness so that they behold Him as the true dispenser of life and grace. He also abolishes violent death, that is to say, war (compare 2:4) and its sad accompaniment, "tears," so that "the earth" (i.e. the land of Judah) is no longer the battlefield of the nations, but the blessed abode of the redeemed, living in peace and happiness. The prophet’s aim is not political but religious.

In Isa 26:1-19 Judah sings a song over Jerusalem, the impregnable city of God. The prophet, taking again his stand with the redeemed remnant of the nation, vividly portrays their thankful trust in Yahweh, who has been unto them a veritable "Rock of Ages" (26:4 margin). With hope he joyfully exclaims, Let Yahweh’s dead ones live! Let Israel’s dead bodies arise! Yahweh will bring life from the dead! (26:19). This is the first clear statement of the resurrection in the Old Testament. But it is national and restricted to Israel (compare 26:14), and is merely Isaiah’s method of expressing a hope of the return of Israel’s faithful ones from captivity (compare Ho 6:2; Eze 37:1-14; Da 12:2).

In Isa 26:20-27:13 the prophet shows that Israel’s chastisements are salutary. He begins by exhorting his own people, his disciples, to continue a little longer in the solitude of prayer, till God’s wrath has shattered the world-powers (26:20-27:1). He next predicts that the true vineyard of Yahweh will henceforth be safely guarded against the briars and thorns of foreign invasion (27:2-6). And then, after showing that Yahweh’s chastisements of Israel were light compared with His judgments upon other nations (27:7-11), he promises that if Israel will only repent, Yahweh will spare no pains to gather "one by one" the remnant of His people from Assyria and Egypt (compare 11:11); and together they shall once more worship Yahweh in the holy mountain at Jerusalem (27:12,13).

The prophet’s fundamental standpoint in Isa 24-27 is the same as that of 2:2-4 and Isa 13-23. Yet the prophet not infrequently throws himself forward into the remote future, oscillating backward and forward between his own times and those of Israel’s restoration. It is especially noteworthy how he sustains himself in a long and continued transportation of himself to the period of Israel’s redemption. He even studies to identify himself with the new Israel which will emerge out of the present chaos of political events. His visions of Israel’s redemption carry him in ecstasy far away into the remote future, to a time when the nation’s sufferings are all over; so that when he writes down what he saw in vision he describes it as a discipline that is past. For example, in 25:1-8 the prophet, transported to the end of time, celebrates in song what he saw, and describes how the fall of the world-empire is followed by the conversion of the heathen. In 26:8,9 he looks back into the past from the standpoint of the redeemed in the last days, and tells how Israel longingly waited for the manifestation of God’s righteousness which has now taken place, while in 27:7-9 he places himself in the midst of the nation’s sufferings, in full view of their glorious future, and portrays how Yahweh’s dealings with Israel have not been the punishment of wrath, but the discipline of love. This kind of apocalypse, or prophecy, indeed, was to be expected from the very beginning of the group of prophecies, which are introduced with the word "Behold!" Such a manner of introduction is peculiar to Isaiah, and of itself leads us to expect a message which is unique.

The practical religious value of these prophecies to Isaiah’s own age would be very great. In a period of war and repeated foreign invasion, when but few men were left in the land (Isa 24:6,13; 26:18), and Judah’s cities were laid waste and desolate (Isa 24:10,12; 25:2; 26:5; 27:10), and music and gladness were wanting (Isa 24:8), when the nation still clung to their idols (Isa 27:9) and the Assyrians’ work of destruction was still incomplete, other calamities being sure to follow (Isa 24:16), it would certainly be comforting to know that forgiveness was still possible (Isa 27:9), that Yahweh was still the keeper of His vineyard (Isa 27:3,4), that His judgments were to last but for a little moment (Isa 26:20), and that though His people should be scattered, He would soon carefully gather them "one by one" (Isa 27:12,13), and that in company with other nations they would feast together on Mt. Zion as Yahweh’s guests (Isa 25:6,7,10), and that Jerusalem should henceforth become the center of life and religion to all nations (Isa 24:23; 25:6; 27:13). Such faith in Yahweh, such exhortations and such songs and confessions of the redeemed, seen in vision, would be a source of rich spiritual comfort to the few suffering saints in Judah and Jerusalem, and a guiding star to the faithful disciples of the prophet’s most inner circle.

Isaiah 28-35 contain a cycle of prophetic warnings against alliance with Egypt, closing with a prophecy concerning Edom and a promise of Israel’s ransom. As in 5:8-23, the prophet indulges in a series of six woes:

(1) Woe to drunken, scoffing politicians (Isa 28). This is one of the great chapters of Isaiah’s book. In the opening section (28:1-6) the prophet points in warning to the proud drunkards of Ephraim whose crown (Samaria) is rapidly fading. He next turns to the scoffing politicians of Jerusalem, rebuking especially the bibulous priests who stumble in judgment, and the staggering prophets who err in vision (28:7-22); closing with a most instructive parable from agriculture, teaching that God’s judgments are not arbitrary; that as the husbandman does not plow and harrow his fields the whole year round, so God will not punish His people forever; and as the husbandman does not thresh all kinds of grain with equal severity, no more will God discipline His people beyond their deserts (28:23-29).

(2) Woe to formalists in religion (Isa 29:1-14). Isaiah’s second woe is pronounced upon Ariel, the altar-hearth of God, i.e. Jerusalem, the sacrificial center of Israel’s worship. David had first inaugurated the true worship of Yahweh in Zion. But now Zion’s worship has become wholly conventional, formal, and therefore insincere; it is learned by rote (29:13; compare 1:10-15; Mic 6:6-8). Therefore, says Isaiah, Yahweh is forced to do an extraordinary work among them, in order to bring them back to a true knowledge of Himself (Isa 29:14).

(3) Woe to those who hide their plans from God (Isa 29:15-24). What their plans are, which they are devising in secret, the prophet does not yet disclose; but he doubtless alludes to their intrigues with the Egyptians and their purpose to break faith with the Assyrians, to whom they were bound by treaty to pay annual tribute. Isaiah bravely remonstrates with them for supposing that any policy will succeed which excludes the counsel and wisdom of the Holy One. They are but clay; He is the potter. At this point, though somewhat abruptly, Isaiah turns his face toward the Messianic future. In a very little while, he says, Lebanon, which is now overrun by Assyria’s army, shall become a fruitful field, and the blind and deaf and spiritually weak shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.

(4) Woe to the pro-Egyptian party (Isa 30). Isaiah’s fourth woe is directed against the rebellious politicians who stubbornly, and now openly, advocate making a league with Egypt. They have at length succeeded apparently in winning over the king to their side, and an embassy is already on its way to Egypt, bearing across the desert of the exodus rich treasures with which to purchase the friendship of their former oppressors. Isaiah now condemns what he can no longer prevent. Egypt is a Rahab "sitstill," i.e. a mythological sea-monster, menacing in mien but laggard in action. When the crisis comes, she will sit still, causing Israel only shame and confusion.

(5) Woe to those who trust in horses and chariots (Isa 31-32). Isaiah’s fifth woe is a still more vehement denunciation of those who trust in Egypt’s horses and chariots, and disregard the Holy One of Israel. Those who do so forget that the Egyptians are but men and their horses flesh, and that mere flesh cannot avail in a conflict with spirit. Eventually Yahweh means to deliver Jerusalem, if the children of Israel will but turn from their idolatries to Him; and in that day, Assyria will be vanquished. A new era will dawn upon Judah. Society will be regenerated. The renovation will begin at the top. Conscience also will be sharpened, and moral distinctions will no longer be confused (32:1-8). As Delitzsch puts it, "The aristocracy of birth and wealth will be replaced by an aristocracy of character." The careless and indifferent women, too, in that day will no longer menace the social welfare of the state (32:9-14); with the outpouring of Yahweh’s spirit an ideal commonwealth will emerge, in which social righteousness, peace, plenty and security will abound (32:15-20).

(6) Woe to the Assyrian destroyer (Isa 33). Isaiah’s last woe is directed against the treacherous spoiler himself, who has already laid waste the cities of Judah, and is now beginning to lay siege to Jerusalem (701 BC). The prophet prays, and while he prays, behold! the mighty hosts of the Assyrians are routed and the long-besieged but now triumphant inhabitants of Jerusalem rush out like locusts upon the spoil which the vanishing adversary has been forced to leave behind. The destroyer’s plan to reduce Jerusalem has come to naught. The whole earth beholds the spectacle of Assyria’s defeat and is filled with awe and amazement at the mighty work of Yahweh. Only the righteous may henceforth dwell in Jerusalem. their eyes shall behold the Messiah-king in his beauty, reigning no longer like Hezekiah over a limited and restricted territory, but over a land unbounded, whose inhabitants enjoy Yahweh’s peace and protection, and are free from all sin, and therefore from all sickness (33:17-24). With this beautiful picture of the Messianic future, the prophet’s woes find an appropriate conclusion. Isaiah never pronounced a woe without adding a corresponding promise.

In Isa 34-35, the prophet utters a fierce cry for justice against "all the nations," but against Edom in particular. His tone is that of judgment. Edom is guilty of high crimes against Zion (34:8 f), therefore she is doomed to destruction. On the other hand, the scattered ones of Israel shall return from exile and "obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away" (Isa 35).

Isaiah 36-39 contain history, prophecy and song intermingled. These chapters serve both as an appendix to Isa 1-35 and as an introduction to Isa 40-66. In them three important historical events are narrated, in which Isaiah was a prominent factor:

(1) the double attempt of Sennacherib to obtain possession of Jerusalem (Isa 36-37);

(2) Hezekiah’s sickness and recovery (Isa 38);

(3) the embassy of Merodach-baladan (Isa 39).

With certain important omissions and insertions these chapters are duplicated almost verbatim in 2Ki 18:13-20:19. They are introduced with the chronological note, "Now it came to pass in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah." Various attempts have been made to solve the mystery of this date; for, if the author is alluding to the siege of 701 BC, difficulty arises, because that event occurred not in Hezekiah’s "14th" but 26th year, according to the Biblical chronology of his life; or, if with some we date Hezekiah’s accession to the throne of Judah as 720 BC, then the siege of 701 BC occurred, as is evident, in Hezekiah’s 19th year. It is barely possible of course that "the 14th year of king Hezekiah" was the 14th of the "15 years" which were added to his life, but more probably it alludes to the 14th of his reign. On the whole it is better to take the phrase as a general chronological caption for the entire section, with special reference to Isa 38, which tells of Hezekiah’s sickness, which actually fell in his 14th year (714 BC), and which, coupled with Sargon’s expected presence at Ashdod, was the great personal crisis of the king’s life.

Sennacherib made two attempts in 701 BC to reduce Jerusalem: one from Lachish with an army headed by the Rabshakeh (Isa 36:2-37:8), and another from Libnah with a threat conveyed by messengers (Isa 37:9 ). The brief section contained in 2Ki 18:14-16 is omitted from between verses 1 and 2 of Isa 36, because it was not the prophet’s aim at this time to recount the nation’s humiliation. Isaiah’s last "word" concerning Assyria (Isa 37:21-35) is one of the prophet’s grandest predictions. It is composed of three parts:

(1) a taunt-song, in elegiac rhythm, on the inevitable humiliation of Sennacherib (Isa 37:22-29);

(2) a short poem in different rhythm, directed to Hezekiah, in order to encourage his faith (Isa 37:30-32);

(3) a definite prediction, in less elevated style, of the sure deliverance of Jerusalem (Isa 37:33-35). Isaiah’s prediction was literally fulfilled.

The section Isa 38:9-20 contains Hezekiah’s So of Thanksgiving, in which he celebrates his recovery from some mortal sickness. It is a beautiful plaintive "writing"; omitted altogether by the author of the Book of Kings (compare 2Ki 20). Hezekiah was sick in 714 BC. Two years later Merodach-baladan, the veteran arch-enemy of Assyria, having heard of his wonderful recovery, sent letters and a present to congratulate him. Doubtless, also, political motives prompted the recalcitrant Babylonian. But be that as it may, Hezekiah was greatly flattered by the visit of Merodach-baladan’s envoys, and, in a moment of weakness, showed them all his royal treasures. This was an inexcusable blunder, as the sight of his many precious possessions would naturally excite Babylonian cupidity to possess Jerusalem. Isaiah not only solemnly condemned the king’s conduct, but he announced with more than ordinary insight that the days were coming when all the accumulated resources of Jerusalem would be carried away to Babylon (39:3-6; compare Mic 4:10). This final prediction of judgment is the most marvelous of all Isaiah’s minatory utterances, because he distinctly asserts that, not the Assyrians, who were then at the height of their power, but the Babylonians, shall be the instruments of the Divine vengeance in consummating the destruction of Jerusalem. There is absolutely no reason for doubting the genuineness of this prediction. In it, indeed, we have a prophetic basis for Isa 40-66, which follow.

Coming now to Isa 40-66, we have prophecies of comfort, salvation, and of the future glory awaiting Israel. These chapters naturally fall into three sections:

(1) Isa 40-48, announcing deliverance from captivity through Cyrus;

(2) Isa 49-57, describing the sufferings of the "Servant" of Yahweh, this section ending like the former with the refrain, "There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked" (57:21; compare 48:22);

(3) Isa 58-66, announcing the final abolition of all national distinctions and the future glory of the people of God. Isaiah 60 is the characteristic chapter of this section, as Isa 53 is of the second, and Isa 40 of the first.

Entering into greater detail, the first section (Isa 40-48) demonstrates the deity of Yahweh through His unique power to predict. The basis of the comfort which the prophet announces is Israel’s incomparable God (Isa 40). Israel’s all-powerful Yahweh in comparison with other gods is incomparable. In the prologue (Isa 40:1-11) he hears the four voices:

(1) of grace (Isa 40:1,2);

(2) of prophecy (Isa 40:3-5);

(3) of faith (Isa 40:6-8), and

(4) of evangelism (Isa 40:9-11).

Then, after exalting the unique character of Israel’s all-but-forgotten God (Isa 40:12-26), he exhorts them not to suppose that Yahweh is ignorant of, or indifferent to, Israel’s misery. Israel must wait for salvation. They are clamoring for deliverance prematurely. Only wait, he repeats; for with such a God, Israel has no reason to despond (Isa 40:27-31).

In Isa 41 he declares that the supreme proof of Yahweh’s sole deity is His power to predict. He inquires, "Who hath raised up one from the east?" Though the hero is left unnamed, Cyrus is doubtless in the prophet’s mind (compare 44:28; 45:1). He is not, however, already appearing upon the horizon of history as some fancy, but rather predicted as sure to come. The verb tenses which express completed action are perfects of certainty, and are used in precisely the same manner as those in 3:8; 5:13; 21:9. The answer to the inquiry is, "I, Yahweh, the first, and with the last, I am he" (41:4). Israel is Yahweh’s servant. The dialogue continues; but it is no longer between Yahweh and the nations, as in Isa 41:1-7, but between Yahweh and the idols (41:21-29). Addressing the dumb idols, Yahweh is represented as saying, Predict something, if you are real deities. As for myself, I am going to raise up a hero from the north who will subdue all who oppose him. And I announce my purpose now in advance "from the beginning," "beforetime," before there is the slightest ground for thinking that such a hero exists or ever will exist (41:26), in order that the future may verify my prediction, and prove my sole deity. I, Yahweh, alone know the future. In 41:25-29, the prophet even projects himself into the future and speaks from the standpoint of the fulfillment of his prediction. This, as we saw above, was a characteristic of Isaiah in Isa 24-27.

In Isa 42:1-43:13 the prophet announces also a spiritual agent of redemption, namely, Yahweh’s "Servant." Not only a temporal agent (Cyrus) shall be raised up to mediate Israel’s redemption, which is the first step in the process of the universal salvation contemplated, but a spiritual factor. Yahweh’s "Servant" shall be employed in bringing the good tidings of salvation to the exiles and to the Gentiles also. In 42:1-9 the prophet describes this ideal figure and the work he will execute. The glorious future evokes a brief hymn of thanksgiving for the redemption which the prophet beholds in prospect (42:10-17). Israel has long been blind and deaf to Yahweh’s instructions (41:18,19), but now Yahweh is determined to redeem them even at the cost of the most opulent nations of the world, that they may publish His law to all peoples (42:18-43:13).

In Isa 13:14-44:23 forgiveness is made the pledge of deliverance. Yahweh’s determination to redeem Israel is all of grace. Salvation is a gift. Yahweh has blotted out their transgressions for His own sake (43:25). "This passage," Dillmann observes, "marks the highest point of grace in the Old Testament." Gods of wood and stone are nonentities. Those who manufacture idols are blind and dull of heart, and are "feeding on ashes." The section 44:9-20 is a most remorseless exposure of the folly of idolatry.

In Isa 44:24-45:25 the prophet at length names the hero of Israel’s salvation and describes his mission. He is Cyrus. He shall build Jerusalem and lay the foundations of the temple (44:28); he shall also subdue nations and let the exiles go free (45:1,13). He speaks of Cyrus in the most extraordinary, almost extravagant terms. He is Yahweh’s "shepherd" (44:28), he is also Yahweh’s "anointed," i.e. Messiah (45:1), "the man of my counsel" (46:11), whom Yahweh has called by name, and surnamed without his ever knowing Him (45:3,1); the one "whom Yahweh loveth" (48:14), whose right hand Yahweh upholdeth (45:1), and who will perform all Yahweh’s pleasure (44:28); though but "a ravenous bird from the east (46: 11). The vividness with which the prophet speaks of Cyrus leads some to suppose that the latter is already upon the horizon. This, however, is a mistake. Scarcely would a contemporary have spoken in such terms of the real Cyrus of 538 BC. The prophet regards him (i.e. the Cyrus of his own prediction, not the Cyrus of history) as the fulfillment of predictions spoken long before. That is to say, in one and the same context, Cyrus is both predicted and treated as a proof that prediction is being fulfilled (44:24-28; 45:21). Such a phenomenon in prophecy can best be explained by supposing that the prophet projected himself into the future from an earlier age. Most extraordinary of all, in 45:14-17, the prophet soars in imagination until he sees, as a result of Cyrus’ victories, the conquered nations renouncing their idols, and attracted to Yahweh as the Saviour of all mankind (45:22). On any theory of origin, the predictive element in these prophecies is written large.

Isaiah 46-47 describe further the distinctive work of Cyrus, though Cyrus himself is but once referred to. Particular emphasis is laid on the complete collapse of the Babylonian religion; the prophet being apparently more concerned with the humiliation of Babylon’s idols than with the fall of the city itself. Of course the destruction of the city would imply the defeat of her gods, as also the emancipation of Israel. But here again all is in the future; in fact Yahweh’s incomparable superiority and unique deity are proven by His power to predict "the end from the beginning" and bring His prediction to pass (46:10,11).

Isaiah 47 is a dirge over the downfall of the imperial city, strongly resembling the taunt-song over the king of Babylon in 14:4-21.

Isaiah 48 is a hortatory summary and recapitulation of the argument contained in Isa 40-47, the prophet again emphasizing the following points:

(1) Yahweh’s unique power to predict;

(2) that salvation is of grace;

(3) that Cyrus’ advent will be the crowning proof of Yahweh’s abiding presence among His people;

(4) that God’s chastisements were only disciplinary; and

(5) that even now there is hope, if they will but accept of Yahweh’s proffered salvation. Alas! that there is no peace or salvation for the godless (48:20-22). Thus ends the first division of Isaiah’s remarkable "vision" of Israel’s deliverance from captivity through Cyrus.

The second section (Isa 49-57) deals with the spiritual agent of salvation, Yahweh’s suffering "Servant." With Isa 49 the prophet leaves off attempting further to prove the sole deity of Yahweh by means of prediction, and drops entirely his description of Cyrus’ victories and the overthrow of Babylon, in order to set forth in greater detail the character and mission of the suffering "Servant" of Yahweh. Already, in Isa 40-48, he had alluded several times to this unique and somewhat enigmatical personage, speaking of him both collectively and as an individual (41:8-10; 42:1-9,18-22; 43:10; 44:1-5,21-28; 45:4; 48:20-22); but now he defines with greater precision both his prophetic and priestly functions, his equipment for his task, his sufferings and humiliation, and also his final exaltation. Altogether in these prophecies he mentions the "Servant" some 20 t. But there are four distinctively so-called "Servant-Songs" in which the prophet seems to rise above the collective masses of all Israel to at least a personification of the pious within Israel, or better, to a unique Person embodying within himself all that is best in the Israel within Israel. They are the following:

(1) 42:1-9, a poem descriptive of the Servant’s gentle manner and world-wide mission;

(2) 49:1-13, describing the Servant’s mission and spiritual success;

(3) 50:4-11, the Servant’s soliloquy concerning His perfection through suffering; and

(4) 52:13-53:12, the Servant’s vicarious suffering and ultimate exaltation.

In this last of the four "Servant-Songs" we reach the climax of the prophet’s inspired symphony, the acme of Hebrew Messianic hope. The profoundest thoughts in the Old Testament revelation are to be found in this section. It is a vindication of the "Servant," so clear and so true, and wrought out with such pathos and potency, that it holds first place among Messianic predictions. Polycarp called it "the golden passional of the Old Testament." It has been realized in Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 58-66 describe the future glory of the people of God. Having described in Isa 40-48 the temporal agent of Israel’s salvation, Cyrus, and in Isa 49-57 the spiritual agent of their salvation, the "Servant" of Yahweh, the prophet proceeds in this last section to define the conditions on which salvation may be enjoyed. He begins, as before, with a double imperative, "Cry aloud, spare not" (compare 40:1; 49:1).

In Isa 58 he discusses true fasting and faithful Sabbath observance.

In Isa 59 he beseeches Israel to forsake their sins. It is their sins, he urges, which have hidden Yahweh’s face and retarded the nation’s salvation. In 59:9 ff the prophet identifies himself with the people and leads them in their devotions. Yahweh is grieved over Israel’s forlorn condition, and, seeing their helplessness, He arms himself like a warrior to interfere judicially (59:15-19). Israel shall be redeemed. With them as the nucleus of a new nation, Yahweh will enter anew into covenant relation, and put His Spirit upon them, which will abide with them henceforth and forever (59:20-21).

Isaiah 60-61 describe the future blessedness of Zion. The long-looked-for "light" (compare 59:9) begins to dawn: "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of Yahweh is risen upon thee" (60:1). The prophet pauses at this point to paint a picture of the redeemed community. As in 2:3,4, the Gentiles are seen flocking to Zion, which becomes the mistress of the nations. Foreigners build her walls, and her gates are kept open continually without fear of siege. The Gentiles acknowledge that Zion is the spiritual center of the world. Even Israel’s oppressors regard her as "the city of Yahweh," as "an eternal excellency," in which Yahweh sits as its everlasting light (60:10-22).

In Isa 61, which Drummond has called "the program of Christianity," the "Servant" of Yahweh is again introduced, though anonymously, as the herald of salvation (61:1-3). The gospel monologue of the "Servant" is followed by a promise of the restoration and blessedness of Jerusalem (61:4-11). Thus the prophecy moves steadily forward toward its goal in Jesus Christ (compare Lu 4:18-21).

In Isa 62:1-63:6 Zion’s salvation is described as drawing near. The nations will be spectators of the great event. A new name which will better symbolize her true character shall be given to Zion, namely, Hephzibah, "My delight is in her"; for Jerusalem shall no more be called desolate. On the other hand, Zion’s enemies will all be vanquished. In a brief poem of peculiar dramatic beauty (63:1-6), the prophet portrays Yahweh’s vengeance, as a victorious warrior, upon all those who retard Israel’s deliverance. Edom in particular was Israel’s insatiate foe. Hence, the prophet represents Yahweh’s judgment of the nations as taking place on Edom’s unhallowed soil. Yahweh, whose mighty arm has wrought salvation, returns as victor, having slain all of Israel’s foes.

In Isa 63:7-64:12, Yahweh’s "servants" resort to prayer. They appeal to Yahweh as the Begetter and Father of the nations (63:16; 64:8). With this thought of the fatherhood of God imbedded in his language, Isaiah had opened his very first oracle to Judah and Jerusalem (compare 1:2). As the prayer proceeds, the language becomes increasingly tumultuous. The people are thrown into despair because Yahweh seems to have abandoned them altogether (63:19). They recognize that the condition of Jerusalem is desperate. "Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee, is burned with fire; and all our pleasant places are laid waste" (64:11). Such language, however, is the language of fervent prayer and must not be taken with rigid literalness, as 63:18 and 3:8 plainly show.

Finally, in Isa 65-66, Yahweh answers His people’s supplications, distinguishing sharply between His own "servants" and Israel’s apostates. Only His chosen "seed" shall be delivered (65:9). Those who have obdurately provoked Yahweh by sacrificing in gardens (65:3; 66:17), offering libations to Fortune and Destiny (65:11), sitting among the graves to obtain oracles from the dead, and, like the Egyptians, eating swine’s flesh and broth of abominable things which were supposed to possess magical properties, lodging in vaults or crypts in which heathen mysteries were celebrated (65:4), and at the same time fancying that by celebrating such heathen mysteries they are holier than others and thereby disqualified to discharge the ordinary duties of life (65:5)—such Yahweh designs to punish, measuring their work into their bosom and destroying them utterly with the sword (65:7,12). On the other hand, the "servants" of Yahweh Shall inherit His holy mountains. They shall rejoice and sing for joy of heart, and bless themselves in the God of Amen, i.e. in the God of Truth (65:9,14,16). Yahweh will create new heavens and a new earth, men will live and grow old like the patriarchs; they will possess houses and vineyards and enjoy them; for an era of idyllic peace will be ushered in with the coming of the Messianic age, in which even the natures of wild animals will be changed and the most rapacious of wild animals will live together in harmony (65:17-25). Religion will become spiritual and decentralized, mystic cults will disappear, incredulous scoffers will be silenced. Zion’s population will be marvelously multiplied, and the people will be comforted and rejoice (66:1-14). Furthermore, all nations will flock to Zion to behold Yahweh’s glory, and from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, all flesh will come up to worship in Jerusalem (66:15-23).

It is evident that the Book of Isaiah closes, practically as it begins, with a polemic against false worship, and the alternate reward of the righteous and punishment of the wicked. The only essential difference between the prophet’s earlier and later oracles is this: Isaiah, in his riper years, on the basis of nearly half a century’s experience as a preacher, paints a much brighter eschatological picture than was possible in his early ministry. His picture of the Messianic age not only transcends those of his contemporaries in the 8th century BC, but he penetrates regions beyond the spiritual horizon of any and all Old Testament seers. Such language as that contained in Isa 66:1,2, in particular, anticipates the great principle enunciated by Jesus in Joh 4:24, namely, that "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship in spirit and truth." To attempt to date such oracles as these on the basis of internal evidence is an absolute impossibility. Humanly speaking, one age could have produced such revelations quite as easily as another. But no age could have produced them apart from the Divine spirit.


8. Isaiah’s Prophecies Chronologically Arranged:

The editorial arrangement of Isaiah’s prophecies is very suggestive. In the main they stand in chronological order. That is to say, all the dates mentioned are in strict historical sequence; e.g. Isa 6:1, "In the year that king Uzziah died" (740 BC); 7:1, "In the days of Ahaz" (736 ff BC); 14:28, "In the year that king Ahaz died" (727 BC); 20:1, "In the year that Tartan came unto Ashdod, when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him" (711 BC); 36:1, "In the 14th year of king Hezekiah" (701 BC). These points are all in strict chronological order. Taken in groups, also, Isaiah’s great individual messages are likewise arranged in true historical sequence; thus, Isa 1-6 for the most part belong to the last years of Jotham’s reign (740-736 BC); Isa 7-12 to the period of the Syro-Ephraimitic war (734 BC); Isa 20, to the year of Sargon’s siege of Ashdod (711 BC); Isa 28-32, to the invasion of Judah by Sennacherib (701 BC); while the distinctively promissory portions (Isa 40-66), as is natural, conclude the collection. In several minor instances, however, there are notable departures from a rigid chronological order. For example, Isa 6, which describes the prophet’s initial call to preach, follows the rebukes and denunciations of Isa 1-5; but this is probably due to its being used by the prophet as an apologetic. Again, the oracles against foreign nations in Isa 13-23 belong to various dates, being grouped together, in part, at least, because of their subject-matter. Likewise, Isa 38-39, which give an account of Hezekiah’s sickness and Merodach-baladan’s embassy to him upon his recovery (714-712 BC), chronologically precede Isa 36-37, which describe Sennacherib’s investment of Jerusalem (701 BC). This chiastic order, however, in the last instance, is due probably to the desire to make Isa 36-37 (about Sennacherib, king of Assyria) an appropriate conclusion to Isa 1-35 (which say much about Assyria), and, on the other hand, to make Isa 38-39 (about Merodach-baladan of Babylon) a suitable introduction to Isa 40-66 (which speak of Babylon).

The attempt to date Isaiah’s individual messages on the basis of internal criteria alone, is a well-nigh impossible task; and yet no other kind of evidence is available. Often passages stand side by side which point in opposite directions; in fact, certain sections seem to be composed of various fragments dating from different periods, as though prophecies widely separated from each other in time had been fused together. In such cases much weight should be given to those features which point to an early origin, because of the predominatingly predictive character of Isaiah’s writings.

Isaiah always had an eye upon the future. His semi-historical and biographical prophecies are naturally the easiest to date; on the other hand, the form of his Messianic and eschatological discourses is largely due to his own personal temper and psychology, rather than to the historical circumstances of the time. The following is a table of Isaiah’s prophecies chronologically arranged:

The prophet’s standpoint in Isa 40-66 is that of Isaiah himself. For if Isaiah, before 734 BC, in passages confessedly his own, could describe Judah’s cities as already "burned with fire," Zion as deserted as "a booth in a vineyard" (1:7,8), Jerusalem as "ruined," Judah as "fallen" (3:8), and Yahweh’s people as already "gone into captivity" (5:13), surely after all the destruction and devastation wrought on Judah by Assyria in the years 722, 720, 711, and 701 BC, the same prophet with the same poetic license could declare that the temple had been "trodden down" (63:18) and "burned with fire," and all Judah’s pleasant places "laid waste" (64:11); and, in perfect keeping with his former promises, could add that "they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations" (61:4; compare 44:26; 58:12).

Or again, if Isaiah the son of Amoz could comfort Jerusalem with promises of protection when the Assyrian (734 BC) should come like an overflowing river (8:9,10; 10:24,25); and conceive a beautiful parable of comfort like that contained in 28:23-29; and insert among his warnings and exhortations of the gloomy year 702 BC so many precious promises of a brighter future which was sure to follow Sennacherib’s invasion (29:17-24; 30:29-33; 31:8,9); and, in the very midst of the siege of 701 BC, conceive of such marvelous Messianic visions as those in 33:17-24 with which to dispel the dismay of his compatriots, surely the same prophet might be conceived of as seizing the opportunity to comfort those in Zion who survived the great catastrophe of 701 BC. The prophet who had done the one was prepared to do the other.

There was one circumstance of the prophet’s position after 701 BC which was new, and which is too often overlooked, a circumstance which he could not have employed to anything like the same degree as an argument in enforcing his message prior to the Assyrian’s overthrow and the deliverance of Jerusalem. It was this: the fulfillment of former predictions as proof of Yahweh’s deity. From such passages we obtain an idea of the prophet’s true historical position (Isa 42:9; 44:8; 45:21; 46:10; 48:3). Old predictions have already been fulfilled (Isa 6:11-13; 29:8; 30:31; 31:8; 37:7,30), on the basis of which the prophet ventures to predict new and even more astounding things concerning the overthrow of Babylon by Cyrus, and Israel’s deliverance through him from their captors (Isa 43:6). Isaiah’s book is signally full of predictions (Isa 7:8,10 ff; 8:4,8; 9:11,12; 10:26 ff; 14:24-27; 16:14; 17:9,12-14; 20:4-6; 21:16; 22:19 ff; 23:15; 38:5), some of which, written down and sealed, were evidently committed by the prophet to his inner circle of disciples to be used and verified by them in subsequent crises (Isa 8:16). Failure to recognize this element in Isaiah’s book is fatal to a true interpretation of the prophet’s real message.

9. The Critical Problem:

"For about twenty-five centuries" as A. B. Davidson observes (Old Testament Prophecy, 1903, 244), "no one dreamed of doubting that Isaiah the son of Amoz was the author of every part of the book that goes under his name; and those who still maintain the unity of authorship are accustomed to point, with satisfaction, to the unanimity of the Christian church on the matter, till a few German scholars arose, about a century ago, and called in question the unity of this book." Tradition is unanimous in favor of the unity of the book.

(1) The History of Criticism.

The critical disintegration of the book began with Koppe, who in 1780 first doubted the genuineness of Isa 50. Nine years later Doederlein suspected the whole of Isa 40-66. He was followed by Rosenmueller, who was the first to deny to Isaiah the prophecy against Babylon in 13:1-14:23. Eichhorn, at the beginning of the last century, further eliminated the oracle against Tyre in Isa 23, and he, with Gesenius and Ewald, also denied the Isaianic origin of Isa 24-27. Gesenius also ascribed to some unknown prophet Isa 15 and 16. Rosenmueller then went farther, and pronounced against Isa 34 and 35, and not long afterward (1840) Ewald questioned Isa 12 and 33. Thus by the middle of the 19th century some 37 or 38 chapters were rejected as no part of Isaiah’s actual writings. In 1879-80, the celebrated Leipzig professor, Franz Delitzsch, who for years previous had defended the genuineness of the entire book, finally yielded to the modern critical position, and in the new edition of his commentary published in 1889, interpreted Isa 40-66, though with considerable hesitation, as coming from the close of the period of Babylonian exile. About the same time (1888-90), Drs. Driver and G.A. Smith gave popular impetus to similar views in Great Britain. Since 1890, the criticism of Isaiah has been even more trenchant and microscopic than before. Duhm, Stade, Guthe, Hackmann, Cornill and Marti on the Continent, and Cheyne, Whitehouse, Box, Glazebrook, Kennett, Gray, Peake, and others in Great Britain and America have questioned portions which hitherto were supposed to be genuine.

(2) The Disintegration of "Deutero-Isaiah."

Even the unity of Isa 40-66, which were supposed to be the work of the "Second" or "Deutero-Isaiah," is now given up. What prior to 1890 was supposed to be the unique product of some celebrated but anonymous seer who lived in Babylonia about 550 BC is today commonly divided and subdivided and in large part distributed among various writers from Cyrus to Simon (538-164 BC). At first it was thought sufficient to separate Isa 63-66 as a later addition to "Deutero-Isaiah’s" prophecies; but more recently it has become the fashion to distinguish between Isa 40-55, which are claimed to have been written by "Deutero-Isaiah" in Babylonia about 549-538 BC, and Isa 56-66, which are now alleged to have been composed by a "Trito-Isaiah" about 460-445 BC.

(3) Recent Views.

Among the latest to investigate the problem is Professor R.H. Kennett of Cambridge, English, who, in his Schweich Lectures (The Composition of the Book of Isaiah in the Light of History and Archaeology, 1910, 84 ff), sums up the results of investigations as follows:

(a) all of Isa 3; 5; 6; 7; 20 and 31, and large portions of Isa 1; 2; 4; 8; 9; 10; 14; 17; 22 and 23, may be assigned to Isaiah, the son of Amoz;

(b) all of Isa 13; 40 and 47, and large portions of Isa 14; 21; 41; 43; 44; 45; 46 and 48, may be assigned to the time of Cyrus;

(c) all of Isa 15; 36; 37 and 39, and portions of Isa 16 and 38, may be assigned to the period between Nebuchadnezzar and Alexander the Great, but cannot be dated precisely;

(d) the passage 23:1-14 may be assigned to the time of Alexander the Great;

(e) all of Isa 11; 12; 19; 24-27; 29; 30; 32-35; 42; 49-66; and portions of Isa 1; 2; 4; 8; 9; 10; 16; 17; 18; 23; 41; 44; 45; 48 may be assigned to the 2nd century BC (167-140 BC).

Professor C. F. Kent, also (Sermons, Epistles, and Apocalypses of Israel’s Prophets, 1910, 27 ff), makes the following critical observations on Isa 40-66. He says: "The prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah .... afford by far the best approach for the study of the difficult problems presented by Isa 40-66. Isaiah 56-66 are generally recognized as post-exilic. .... In Isa 56 and the following chapters there are repeated references to the temple and its service, indicating that it had already been restored. Moreover, these references are not confined to the latter part of the book. .... The fact, on the one hand, that there are few, if any, allusions to contemporary events in these chapters, and on the other hand, that little or nothing is known of the condition and hopes of the Jews during this period (the closing years of the Babylonian exile) makes the dating of these prophecies possible, although far from certain. .... Also, the assumption that the author of these chapters lived in the Babylonian exile is not supported by a close examination of the prophecies themselves. Possibly their author was one of the few who, like Zerubbabel, had been born in Babylon and later returned to Palestine. He was also dealing with such broad and universal problems that he gives few indications of his date and place of abode; but all the evidence that is found points to Jerusalem as the place where he lived and wrote. .... The prophet’s interest and point of view center throughout in Jerusalem, and he shows himself far more familiar with conditions in Palestine than in distant Babylon. Most of his illustrations are drawn from the agricultural life of Palestine. His vocabulary is also that of a man dwelling in Palestine, and in this respect is in marked contrast with the synonyms employed by Ezekiel, the prophet of the Babylonian exile."

That is to say, two of the most recent investigators of the Book of Isaiah reach conclusions quite at variance with the opinions advocated in 1890, when Delitzsch so reluctantly allowed that Isa 40-66 may have sprung from the period of Babylonian exile. Now, it is found that these last 27 chapters were written after the exile, most probably in Palestine, rather than in Babylonia as originally claimed, and are no longer considered addressed primarily to the suffering exiles in captivity as was formerly urged.

(4) The Present State of the Question.

The present state of the Isaiah question is, to say the least, confusing. Those who deny the integrity of the book may be divided into two groups, which we may call moderates and radicals. Among the moderates may be included Drs. Driver, G.A. Smith, Skinner, Kirkpatrick, Koenig, A.B. Davidson, Barnes and Whitehouse. These all practically agree that the following chapters and verses are not Isaiah’s: 11:10-16; 12; 13:1-14:23; 15:1-16:12; 21:1-10; 24-27; 34-35; 36-39; 40-66. That is to say, some 44 chapters out of the whole number, 66, were not written by Isaiah; or, approximately 800 out of 1,292 verses are not genuine. Among the radicals are Drs. Cheyne, Duhm, Hackmann, Guthe, Marti, Kennett and Gray. These all reject approximately 1,030 verses out of the total 1,292, retaining the following only as the genuine product of Isaiah and his age: 1:2-26; 29-31; 2:6-19; 3:1,5,8,9,12-17; 4:1; 5:1-14,17-29; 6; 7:1-8,22; 9:8-10:9; 10:13,14,27-32; 17:1-14; 18; 20; 22:1-22; 28:1-4,7-22; 29:1-6,9,10,13-15; 30:1-17; 31:1-4. That is, only about 262 verses out of the total 1,292 are allowed to be genuine. This is, we believe, a fair statement of the Isaiah-question as it exists in the hands of divisive critics today.

On the other hand there have been those who have defended and who still defend the essential unity of Isaiah’s entire book, e.g. Strachey (1874), Nagelsbach (1877), Bredenkamp (1887), Douglas (1895), W.H. Cobb (1883-1908), W.H. Green (1892), Vos (1898-99), Thirtle (1907), Margoliouth (1910) and O.T. Allis (1912).

(5) Reasons for Dissecting the Book.

The fundamental axiom of criticism is the dictum that a prophet always spoke out of a definite historical situation to the present needs of the people among whom he lived, and that a definite historical situation shall be pointed out for each prophecy. This fundamental postulate, which on the whole is reasonable and perfectly legitimate if not overworked, underlies all modern criticism of Old Testament prophecy. It is not possible, however, always to trace a mere snatch of sermonic discourse to a definite historical situation apart from its context. Moreover, the prophets often spoke consciously, not only to their own generation, but also to the generations to come. Isaiah in particular commanded, "Bind thou up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples" (8:16); that is, preserve my teachings for the future. Again in 30:8, he says, "Now go, .... inscribe it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever." And also in 42:23, "Who is there among you that will give ear to this? that will hearken and hear for the time to come?"

Certain false presuppositions often govern critics in their disintegration of the book. Only a few examples need be given by way of illustration:

(a) According to some, "the conversion of the heathen" lay quite beyond the horizon of any 8th-century prophet; consequently, Isa 2:2-4 and all similar passages which foretell the conversion of those outside the chosen people are to be relegated to an age subsequent to Isaiah.

(b) To others, "the picture of universal peace" in Isa 11:1-9 is a symptom of late date, and therefore this section and all kindred ones must be deleted.

(c) To others, the thought of "universal judgment" upon "the whole earth" in 14:26 and elsewhere quite transcends Isaiah’s range of thought.

(d) To others still, the apocalyptic character of Isa 24-27 represents a phase of Hebrew thought which prevailed in Israel only after Ezekiel.

(e) Even to those who are considered moderates "the poetic character" of a passage like Isa 12, and the references to a "return" from captivity, as in 11:11-16, and the promises and consolations such as are found in Isa 33 are cited as grounds for assigning these and similar passages to a much later age. Radicals deny in toto the existence of all Messianic passages among Isaiah’s own predictions, relegating all Messianic hope to a much later age.

But to deny to the Isaiah of the 8th century all catholicity of grace, all universalism of salvation or judgment, every highly developed Messianic ideal, every rich note of promise and comfort, all sublime faith in the sacrosanct character of Zion, as some do, is unwarrantably to create a new Isaiah of greatly reduced proportions, a mere preacher of righteousness, a statesman of not very optimistic vein, and the exponent of a cold ethical religion without the warmth and glow of the messages which are actually ascribed to the prophet of the 8th century.

As a last resort, certain critics have appealed to 2Ch 36:22,23 as external evidence that Isa 40-66 existed as a separate collection in the Chronicler’s age. But the evidence obtained from this source is so doubtful that it is well-nigh valueless. For it is not the prediction of Isaiah concerning Cyrus to which the Chronicler points as Jeremiah’s, but the "70 years" of Babylonian supremacy spoken of in 2Ch 36:21, which Jeremiah actually did predict (compare Jer 25:11; 29:10). On the other hand, Isa 40-66 were certainly ascribed to Isaiah as early as 180 BC, for Jesus Ben-Sirach, the author of Ecclesiasticus, speaks of Isaiah as the prophet who "saw by an excellent spirit that which should come to pass at the last, and comforted them that mourned in Zion" (Ecclesiasticus 48:20 ff; compare Isa 40:1 ff). Furthermore, there is absolutely no proof that Isa 1-39, or Isa 40-66, or any other section of Isaiah’s prophecies ever existed by themselves as an independent collection; nor is there any substantial ground for supposing that the promissory and Messianic portions have been systematically interpolated by editors long subsequent to Isaiah’s own time. The earlier prophets presumably did more than merely threaten.

(6) Arguments for One Isaiah.

It is as unreasonable to expect to be able to prove the unity of Isaiah as to suppose that it has been disproved. Internal evidence is indecisive in either case. There are arguments, however, which corroborate a belief that there was but one Isaiah. Here are some of those which might be introduced:

(a) The Circle of Ideas:

The circle of ideas, which are strikingly the same throughout the entire book: For example, take the characteristic name for God, which is almost peculiar to Isaiah, "the Holy One of Israel." This title for Yahweh occurs in the Book of Isaiah a total of 25 times, and only 6 times elsewhere in the Old Testament, one of which is a parallel passage in Kings. This unique epithet, "the Holy One of Israel," interlocks all the various portions with one another and stamps them with the personal imprimatur of him who saw the vision of the majestic God seated upon His throne, high and lifted up, and heard the angelic choirs singing: "Holy, holy, holy, is Yahweh of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory" (6:3). The presence of this Divine title in all the different sections of the book is of more value in identifying Isaiah as the author of all these prophecies than though his name had been inserted at the beginning of every chapter, for the reason that his theology—his conception of God as the Holy One—is woven into the very fiber and texture of the whole book. It occurs 12 times in Isa 1-39, and 13 times in Isa 40-66; and it is simply unscientific to say that the various alleged authors of the disputed portions all employed the same title through imitation (compare 1:4; 5:19,24; 10:20; 12:6; 17:7; 29:19; 30:11,12,15; 31:1; 37:23; also 41:14,16,20; 43:3,14; 45:11; 47:4; 48:17; 49:7; 54:5; 55:5; 60:9,14; elsewhere, only in 2Ki 19:22; Ps 71:22; 78:41; 89:18; Jer 50:29; 51:5).

Another unique idea which occurs with considerable repetition in the Book of Isaiah is the thought of a "highway" (compare 11:16; 35:8; 40:3; 43:19; 49:11; 57:14; 62:10). Another characteristic idea is that of a "remnant" (compare 1:9; 10:20,21,22; 11:11,16; 14:22,30; 15:9; 16:14; 17:3; 21:17; 28:5; 37:31; 46:3; compare 65:8,9). Another striking trait of the book is the position occupied by "Zion" in the prophet’s thoughts (compare 2:3; 4:5; 18:7; 24:23; 28:16; 29:8; 30:19; 31:9; 33:5,20; 34:8; 46:13; 49:14; 51:3,16; 52:1; 59:20; 60:14; 62:1,11; 66:8). Still another is the oft-repeated expression, "pangs of a woman in travail" (compare 13:8; 21:3; 26:17,18; 42:14; 54:1; 66:7). These, and many others less distinctive, psychologically stamp the book with an individuality which it is difficult to account for, if it be broken up into countless fragments and distributed, as some do, over the centuries.

(b) The Literary Style:

As negative evidence, literary style is not a very safe argument; for, as Professor McCurdy says, "In the case of a writer of Isaiah’s environments, style is not a sure criterion of authorship" (History, Prophecy and the Monuments, II, 317, note). Yet it is certainly remarkable that the clause "for the mouth of Yahweh hath spoken it" should be found 3 times in the Book of Isaiah, and nowhere else in the Old Testament (compare 1:20; 40:5; 58:14). And it is noteworthy that the phrase, "streams of water," should occur twice in Isaiah and nowhere else (compare 30:25; 44:4 in the Hebrew). And very peculiar is the tendency on the prophet’s part to emphatic reduplication (compare 2:7,8; 6:3; 8:9; 24:16,23; 40:1; 43:11,25; 48:15; 51:12; 57:19; 62:10). In fact, it is not extravagant to say that Isaiah’s style differs widely from that of every other Old Testament prophet, and is as far removed as possible from that of Ezekiel and the post-exilic prophets.

(c) Historical References:

Take, for example, first, the prophet’s constant reference to Judah and Jerusalem, his country and its capital (Isa 1:7-9; 3:8; 24:19; 25:2; 40:2,9; 62:4); likewise, to the temple and its ritual of worship and sacrifice. In Isa 1:11-15, when all was prosperous, the prophet complained that the people were profuse and formal in their ceremonies and sacrifices; in 43:23,14, on the contrary, when the country had been overrun by the Assyrian and Sennacherib had besieged the city, the prophet reminds them that they had not brought to Yahweh the sheep of their burnt offerings, nor honored Him with their sacrifices; while in 66:1-3,6,20, not only is the existence of the Temple and the observance of the ritual presupposed, but those are sentenced who place their trust in the material temple, and the outward ceremonials of temple-worship. As for the "exile," the prophet’s attitude to it throughout is that of both anticipation and realization. Thus, in 57:1, judgment is only threatened, not yet inflicted: "The righteous is taken away from the evil to come." That is to say, the exile is described as still future. On the other hand, in 3:8, "Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen," which seems to describe the exile as in the past; yet, as everybody admits, these are the words of Isaiah of the 8th century. In 11:11,12, the prophet says, "The Lord will set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people. .... from the four corners of the earth." To interpret such a statement literally and mechanically without regard to 8th-century conditions, or to Isaiah’s manifest attitude to the exile, leads to confusion. No prophet realized so keenly or described so vividly the destiny of the Hebrews.

(d) The Predictive Element:

This is the strongest proof of the unity of the Book of Isaiah. Prediction is the very essence of prophecy (compare De 18:22); Isaiah was preeminently a prophet of the future. With unparalleled suddenness, he repeatedly leaps from despair to hope, from threat to promise, and from the actual to the ideal. What Professor Kent says of "Deutero-Isaiah" may with equal justice be said of Isaiah himself: "While in touch with his own age, the great unknown prophet lives in the atmosphere of the past and the future" (Sermons, Epistles, and Apocalypses of Israel’s Prophets, 28). Isaiah spoke to his own age, but he also addressed himself to the ages to follow. His verb tenses are characteristically futures and prophetic perfects. Of his book A.B. Davidson’s words are particularly true: "If any prophetic book be examined .... it will appear that the ethical and religious teaching is always secondary, and that the essential thing in the book or discourse is the prophet’s outlook into the future" (HDB, article "Prophecy and Prophets," IV, 119).

Isaiah was exceptionally given to predicting: thus (a) before the Syro-Ephraimitic war (734 BC), he predicted that within 65 years Ephraim should be broken to pieces (7:8); and that before the child Maher-shalal-hash-baz should have knowledge to cry, "My father," or "My mother," the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria should be carried away (8:4; compare 7:16). These are, however, but two of numerous predictions, as shown above, among his earlier prophecies (compare 1:27,28; 2:2-4; 6:13; 10:20-23; 11:6-16; 17:14).

(i) Shortly before the downfall of Samaria in 722 BC, Isaiah predicted that Tyre should be forgotten 70 years, and that after the end of 70 years her merchandise should be holiness to Yahweh (23:15,18).

(ii) In like manner prior to the siege of Ashdod in 711 BC, he proclaimed that within 3 years Moab should be brought into contempt (Isa 16:l4), and that within a year all the glory of Kedar should fail (Isa 21:16).

(iii) And not long prior to the siege of Jerusalem by Sennacherib in 701 BC, he predicted that in an instant, suddenly, a multitude of Jerusalem’s foes should be as dust (Isa 29:5); that yet a very little while and Lebanon should be turned into a fruitful field (Isa 29:17); and that Assyria should be dismayed and fall by the sword, but not of men (Isa 30:17,31; 31:8). And more, that for days beyond a year, the careless women of Jerusalem should be troubled (Isa 32:10,16-20); and that the righteous in Zion should see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, and return and come with singing (Isa 33:17 ff; 35:4,10); but that Sennacherib, on the contrary, should hear tidings and return without shooting an arrow into the city (Isa 37:7,26-29,33-35).

In like manner, also, after the siege of Jerusalem by Sennacherib in 701 BC was over, the prophet seems to have continued to predict; and, in order to demonstrate to the suffering and unbelieving remnant about him the deity of Yahweh and the folly of idolatry, pointed to the predictions which he had already made in the earlier years of his ministry, and to the fact that they had been fulfilled. Thus, he says, "Who hath declared it from the beginning, that we may know? and beforetime, that we may say, He is right?" (Isa 41:21-23,16); "Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them" (Isa 42:9,23); "Who among them can declare this, and show us former things (i.e. things to come in the immediate future)? .... I have declared, and I have saved, and I have showed" (Isa 43:9,12); "Who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it ....? And the things that are coming, and that shall come to pass, let them (the idols) declare. .... Have I not declared unto thee of old, and showed it? And ye are my witnesses. .... That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure, even saying of Jerusalem, She shall be built; and of the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid" (Isa 44:7,8,27,28); "It is I, Yahweh, who call thee by thy name, even the God of Israel. .... I have called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me. .... Ask me of the things that are to come. .... I have raised him (Cyrus) up in righteousness, and .... he shall build my city, and he shall let my exiles go free" (45:3,4,11,13); "Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done; .... calling a ravenous bird (Cyrus) from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country; yea, I have spoken, I will also bring it to pass" (Isa 46:10,11); "I have declared the former things from of old, .... and I showed them: suddenly I did them, and they came to pass. .... I have declared it .... from of old; before it came to pass I showed it thee; lest thou shouldest say, Mine idol hath done them" (Isa 48:3,5); "I have showed thee new things from

this time, even hidden things. .... Yea, from of old thine ear was not opened. .... Who among them hath declared these things? .... I, even I, have spoken; yea, I have called him; .... from the beginning I have not spoken in secret" (Isa 48:6-8,14-16). Such predictions are explicit and emphatic.

(e) Cyrus a Subject of Prediction:

From all the above-mentioned explicit and oft-repeated predictions one thing is obvious, namely, that great emphasis is laid by the prophet on prediction throughout the entire Book of Isaiah. And it must be further allowed that "Cyrus" is represented by the author as predicted, from any point of view. The only question is, Does the prophet emphasize the fact that he himself is predicting the coming of Cyrus? or that former predictions concerning Cyrus are now, as the prophet writes, coming to pass before his readers’ eyes? Canon Cheyne’s remark upon this point is instructive. He says: "The editor, who doubtless held the later Jewish theory of prophecy, may have inferred from a number of passages, especially Isa 41:26; 48:3,1.14, that the first appearance of Cyrus had been predicted by an ancient prophet, and observing certain Isaianic elements in the phraseology of these chapters, may have identified the prophet with Isaiah" (Introduction to the Book of Isaiah, 238).

Dr. G.A. Smith likewise allows that Cyrus is the fulfillment of former predictions.

He says: "Nor is it possible to argue, as some have tried to do, that the prophet is predicting these things as if they had already happened. For as part of argument for the unique divinity of the God of Israel, Cyrus, ‘alive and irresistible,’ and already accredited with success, is pointed out as the unmistakable proof that former prophecies of a deliverance for Israel are already coming to pass. Cyrus, in short, is not presented as a prediction, but as a proof that a prediction is being fulfilled" (HDB, article "Isaiah," 493). And further he says: "The chief claim, therefore, which Isa 40 ff make for the God of Israel is His power to direct the history of the world in conformity to a long-predicted and faithfully followed purpose. This claim starts from the proof that Yahweh has long before predicted events now happening or about to happen, with Cyrus as their center. But this is much more than a proof of isolated predictions, though these imply omniscience. It is a declaration of the unity of history sweeping to the high ends which have been already revealed to Israel—an exposition, in short, of the Omnipotence, Consistence, and Faithfulness of the Providence of the One True God" (ibid., 496).

It is obvious, therefore, in any case, whether these chapters are early or late, that Cyrus is the subject of prediction. It really makes little difference at which end of history one takes his stand, whether in the 8th century BC with Isaiah, or in the 6th century BC with "Deutero-Isaiah." Cyrus, to the author of these chapters, is the subject of prediction. In other words, whether indeed the author is really predicting Cyrus in advance of all apparent fulfillment, or Cyrus is the fulfillment of some ancient prediction by another, does not alter the fact that Cyrus was the subject of prediction on the part of somebody. Accordingly, as was stated at the outset, the whole question is, which does the prophet emphasize, (a) the fact that he himself is predicting? or, (b) that former predictions by someone else are now before his eyes coming to pass? The truth is, the prophet seems to live in the atmosphere of the past and the future as well as in the present, all of which are equally vivid to his prophetic mind. This is a peculiar characteristic of Isaiah. It is seen in the account he gives of his inaugural vision (Isa 6), of which Delitzsch remarks that it is "like a prediction in the process of being fulfilled." The same is true of Isa 24-27. There the prophet repeatedly projects himself into the future, and speaks from the standpoint of the fulfillment of his predictions. It is especially true of Isa 40-48. At one time the prophet emphasizes the fact that he is predicting, and a little later he describes his predictions as coming to pass. When, accordingly, a decision is made as to when the author predicted Cyrus, it is more natural to suppose that he was doing so long before Cyrus’ actual appearance. This, in fact, is in keeping with the test of true prophecy contained in De 18:22: "When a prophet speaketh in the name of Yahweh, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which Yahweh hath not spoken; the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously, thou shalt not be afraid of him." Besides, there is a similar explicit prediction in the Old Testament, namely, that of King Josiah, who was foretold by name two centuries before he came (1Ki 13:2; compare 2Ki 23:15,16).

Dr. W. H. Cobb in the Journal of Biblical Literature and Exegesis, 1901, 79, pleads for a "shrinkage of Cyrus," because Cyrus figures only in Isa 40-48, and is then dismissed. Dr. Thirtle, on the other hand, argues that the name "Cyrus" is a mere appellative, being originally not Koresh (Cyrus), but choresh ("workman," "artificer," "imagebreaker"), and that 44:27,28 is a gloss (compare Old Testament Problems, 244-64). But in opposition to these views the present writer prefers to write Cyrus large, and to allow frankly that he is the subject of extraordinary prediction. For the very point of the author’s argument is, that he is predicting events which Yahweh alone is capable of foretelling or bringing to pass; in other words, that prescience is the proof of Yahweh’s deity. Isaiah lived in an age when Yahweh’s secrets were first revealed privately unto His servants the prophets (compare Am 3:7). Political conditions were unsettled and kaleidoscopic, and there was every incentive to predict. That Isaiah actually uttered wonderful predictions. is attested, furthermore, both by Jesus Ben-Sirach in Ecclesiasticus 48:20-25 (written circa 180 BC), and by Josephus in his Ant, XI, i, 1, 2 (dating from circa 100 AD); and these are ancient traditions worthy of credence.

Recently, Mr. Oswald T. Allis, after a thorough and exhaustive critical investigation of "the numerico-climactic structure" of the poem in Isa 44:24-28, concludes that "the most striking and significant features of the poem favor the view that while the utterance was significant in and of itself, it was chiefly significant in view of the exceptional circumstance under which it was spoken, i.e. in view of its early date. The chronological arrangement of the poem assigns the Restoration and Cyrus to the future. The perspective of the poem, together with the abrupt change of person in the 2nd strophe, argues that the future is a remote future. And finally the carefully constructed double climax attaches a significance to the definiteness of the utterance which is most easily accounted for if this future was so remote that a definite disclosure concerning it would be of extraordinary importance." And he further alleges that "it is impossible, if justice is done to the plain declarations of Scripture, to limit the prophetic horizon of the prophet Isaiah to the preexilic period and that .... when the form of the poem is recognized, there is every reason to assign it to a pre-exilic prophet, to Isaiah, since the form of the poem is admirably calculated to emphasize the fact that Cyrus and the Restoration belong to a distant future, and to make it clear that it is just because of this fact that the definitehess of the prophecy, the mention of Cyrus by name, is so remarkable and of such unique significance" (Biblical and Theological Studies, by the members of the Faculty of Princeton Theological Seminary, Centennial Volume, 1912, 628-29).

After all, why should men object to prediction on so large a scale? Unless there is definiteness about any given prediction, and unless it transcends ordinary prognostication, there is no especial value in it. Should it be objected, however, that prediction of so minute a character is "abhorrent to reason," the answer is already at hand; it may be abhorrent to reason, but it is a handmaid to faith. Faith has to do with the future, even as prediction has to do with the future; and the Old Testament is preeminently a book which encourages faith. There is really no valid objection to the prediction of Cyrus. For the one outstanding differentiating characteristic of Israel’s religion is predictive prophecy. The Hebrews certainly predicted the coming of a Messiah. Indeed, the Hebrews were the only people of antiquity whose "Golden Age" lay in the future rather than in the past. Accordingly, to predict the coming of a Cyrus as the human agent of Israel’s salvation is but the reverse side of the same prophet’s picture of the Divine agent, namely, the obedient, Suffering Servant of Yahweh, who would redeem Israel from its sin. Deny to Isaiah the son of Amoz the prediction concerning Cyrus, and it is but logical to go farther and to deny to him the Messianic hope which is usually associated with his name. Deny to Isaiah the son of Amoz the predictions concerning a return from captivity, and the prophecies of his book are robbed of their essential character and unique perspective. Emasculate those portions of the Book of Isaiah which unveil the future, and they are reduced to a mere vaticinium ex eventu, and their religious value as Divine oracles is largely lost.


So much has been written on Isaiah’s prophecies that only a selected list can be given here:

I. Commentaries on Isaiah:

Owen C. Whitehouse, The New Century Bible, 2 volumes, 1905; J. Skinner, The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges, 2 volumes, 1896-98; W.E. Barnes, The Churchman’s Bible, 2 volumes, 1901-3; G.A. Smith, The Expositor’s Bible, 2 volumes, 1888-90; Franz Delitzsch, Clark’s Foreign Theological Library, 2 volumes, 1892; (C. von Orelli, Clark’s Foreign Theological Library, 1895; T.K. Cheyne, The Prophecies of Isaiah, 2 volumes, 1892; G.W. Wade, Westminster Commentaries, 1911; G.H. Box, The Book of Isaiah, 1909; G.B. Gray, International Critical Commentary, I, chapters i-xxvii, 1912; II, chapters xxviii-lxvi, by G.B. Gray and A.S. Peake; J.E. McFadyen, "Book of the Prophecies of Isaiah" (The Bible for Home and School), 1910; G. Campbell Morgan, The Analyzed Bible, 2 volumes, 1910; Alexander Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture, 2 volumes, 1906; H.G. Mitchell, Isaiah: A Study of chapters 1-12, 1897; Nagelsbach in Lange’s Bibelwerk, English edition, 1878; J.A. Alexander, 1865; H. Ewald, English edition, 1876-81; John Calvin, English edition, 1850; R. Lowth, 1778; Vitringa, 1732; W. Gesenius, 1820-21; F. Hitzig, 1833; C.J. Bredenkamp, 1887; A. Dillmann, 1890, as revised by Kittel, 1898; B. Duhm, in Nowack’s Handkommentar zum Altes Testament, 1892; K. Marti, 1900; A. Condamin (Roman Catholic), 1905.

II. Introduction and Criticism:

S.R. Driver, Isaiah, His Life and Times, in "The Men of the Bible Series," 1888; T.K. Cheyne, Introduction to the Book of Isaiah, 1895; W.R. Smith, The Prophets of Israel, 2nd edition, 1896; A.F. Kirkpatrick, The Doctrine of the Prophets, 1892; J.W. Thirtle, Old Testament Problems, 1907; W.E. Barnes, An Examination of Isaiah 24-27, 1891; G. Douglas, Isaiah One and His Book One, 1895; J. Kennedy, A Popular Argument for the Unity of Isaiah, 1891; E. Koenig, The Exiles’ Book of Consolation, 1899; G.C. Workman, The Servant of Yahweh, 1907; M.G. Glazebrook, Studies in the Book of Isaiah, 1910; R.H. Kennett, The Composition of the Book of Isaiah in the Light of History and Archaeology, 1910; R.R. Ottley, Isaiah according to the Septuagint, 1904; Hackmann, Die Zukunftserwartung des Jesaia, 1893; J. Meinhold, Die Jesajaerzahlungen, Jesaja 36-39, 1898; O.T. Allis, "The Transcendence of Yahweh, God of Israel, Isa 44:24-28," in Biblical and Theological Studies, Princeton’s Centennial Commemoration Volume, 1912, 579634; J. Hastings, The Great Texts of the Bible, 1910; C.S. Robinson, The Gospel in Isaiah, 1895; E. Sievers, Metrische Studien, 1901; G.L. Robinson, The Book of Isaiah, 1910; H. Guthe, Das Zukunfisbild des Jesaia, 1885; Feldmann, Der Knecht Gottes, 1907; W. Urwick, The Servant of Yahweh, 1877; K. Cramer, The Historical Background of Isa 56-66, 1905; A.B. Davidson, Old Testament Prophecy, 1903.

III. Articles in Journals and Dictionaries:

W.H Cobb in Journal of Biblical Literature and Exegesis, 1891, II; 1895, I and II; 1898, I; 1901, I; 1908, I; F. Brown, JBL, 1890, I; W. H. Cobb, in the BS, 1882; G. A. Smith, article "Isaiah" in HDB, 1899; T. K. Cheyne, in the EB, 1901, and in the Encyclopedia Brit, 11th edition, 1910; Jas. Robertson, in the Illustrated Bible Dict., 1908; E. Koenig, in the Standard Bible Dict., 1909; A. Klostermann and J. A. Kelso, in The New Sch-Herz, 1910; A. Klostermann in the See Hauck-Herzog, Realencyklopadie fur protestantische Theologie und Kirche, 1900; G. Vos, Presbyterian and Reformed Review, 1898; D.S. Margoliouth, in The Temple Dictionary, 1910; C.A. Briggs, article "Analysis of Isa 40-62" in Harper Memorial Volume.

George L. Robinson




iz’-ka, is’-ka (yickah): Daughter of Haran and sister of Milcah the wife of Nahor (Ge 11:29). Tradition identifies her with Sarai, Abram’s wife; but without sufficient reason.





is’-da-el (Isdael): In 1 Esdras 5:33; called "Giddel" in Ezr 2:56.


(’ish): In the following Hebrew proper names, a prefix meaning "man of," or, collectively, "men of": Ish-bosheth, Ishhod, Ish-tob (but the Revised Version (British and American) correctly "the men of Tob").



ish-bo’-sheth (ish-bosheth, "man of shame"‘ Iesbosthe): Called ‘eshba‘al, "man of Baal" (1Ch 8:33), and yishwi, "man of Yahweh" (?), perhaps for ‘isheyo (1Sa 14:49). Compare ESHBAAL and ISHVI (the King James Version "Ishui"). We probably have the right meaning of the name in Eshbaal and Ishvi, the words Baal and Yahweh being frequently interchanged. The change to Ish-bosheth, "man of shame," in 2 Samuel, where the story of his shameful murder is related, may be better explained as reference to this (see MEPHIBOSHETH, whose name was also changed from Merib-baal for similar reasons), than to find here a suggestion of Baal-worship, but see HPN, 121, where the change is explained as a correction of the scribes, in consequence of prophetic protests.

One of the sons of Saul (1Ch 8:33; 9:39; 1Sa 14:49) who, when his father and brothers were slain in the battle of Gilboa (1Sa 31:1 ), was proclaimed king over Israel by Abner, the captain of Saul’s host, at Mahanaim (2Sa 2:8 ). Ishbosheth was 40 years old at this time and reigned over Israel 2 years (2Sa 2:10). Judah, however, proclaimed David its king. The consequence was war (2Sa 2:12 ). The house of David prevailed against the house of Saul (2Sa 3:1), but the war did not come to a close until Abner, angry on account of the rebuke he suffered from Ish-Bosheth for his unlawful intimacy with Rizpah, Saul’s concubine, joined David (2Sa 3:6 ). David’s condition to return to him Michal, his wife before peace could be made, was fulfilled by Ish-Bosheth (2Sa 3:14 f), but it was not until after Abner’s death that Ish-Bosheth seems to have given up hopes of retaining his power (2Sa 4:1 ). The shameful murder of Ish-Bosheth by his own captains is recorded in 2Sa 4:5 ff. David punished the murderers who had expected reward and buried Ish-Bosheth in the grave of Abner at Hebron (2Sa 4:12 f).

Arthur L. Breslich


ish’-se-kel (’ish sekhel, "man of discretion"): Ezra, at one time in need of ministers for the house of God, sent "unto Iddo the chief at the place Casiphia." "And according to the good hand of our God upon us they brought us a man of discretion (m "Ish-sechel"), of the sons of Mahli, the son of Levi, the son of Israel" (Ezr 8:18). This is the only reference to Ish-sechel.


ish’-tob (’ish Tobh, the American Standard Revised Version "the men of Tob"): A place in Palestine, probably a small kingdom, large enough, however, to supply at least 12,000 men of valor to the children of Ammorn in their struggle against Joab, David’s general (2Sa 10:6,8).

See ISH.





ish’-ba (yishbach): A member of the tribe of Judah, father of Eshtemoa (1Ch 4:17).


ish’-bak (yishbaq): A name in the list of sons of Abraham by Keturah (Ge 25:2 parallel 1Ch 1:32). These names probably represent tribes; the tribe of Ishbak has not been certainly identified.


ish-bi-be’-nob (yishbi bhenobh): One of the four "born to the giant in Gath" who were slain by David and his men (2Sa 21:15-22). Ishbi-benob was slain by Abishai, and David’s life saved by the act (21:16,17).


ish’-hod (’ishehodh, "man of majesty"): A man of the tribe of Manasseh (1Ch 7:18, the King James Version "Ishod").

ISHI (1)

ish’-i (yish‘i, "salutary"):

(1) A Jerahmeelite (1Ch 2:31); the genealogy may denote his membership by blood, or only by adoption, in the tribe of Judah.

(2) A Judahite (1Ch 4:20).

(3) A Simeonite, whose sons led 500 of their tribe against the Amalekites in Mt. Seir (1Ch 4:42).

(4) One of the chiefs of Manasseh East of the Jordan (1Ch 5:24).

ISHI (2)

ish’-i, i’-shi (’ishi, "my husband"; Septuagint ho aner mou): The name symbolic of Yahweh’s relation to Israel which Hosea (2:16) declares shall be used when Baali, "my lord," has become hateful on account of its associations with the worship of the Baals.








ish’-ma (yishma’, from the root yasham, "to lie waste," therefore meaning "desolate"): A brother of Jezreel and Idbash, "the sons of the father of Etam" (1Ch 4:3). They were brothers of Hazzelelponi.


ish’-ma-el (yishma‘e’l, "God heareth," or "God may," "shall hear"; Ismael):

(1) The son of Abraham by Hagar, the Egyptian slave of his wife Sarah. The circumstances connected with his birth reveal what seems to us to be a very strange practice. It was customary among ancient peoples to correct the natural defect of barrenness by substituting a slave woman. In our narrative, this is shown to be authorized and brought about by the legitimate wife with the understanding that the offspring of such a union should be regarded as her own: "It may be that I shall obtain children by her," literally, "that I shall be builded by her" (Ge 16:2).

1. Birth:

The hopes of Sarah were realized, for Hagar gave birth to a son, and yet the outcome was not fully pleasing to Abraham’s wife; there was one serious drawback. As soon as Hagar "saw that she had conceived," her behavior toward her mistress underwent a radical change; she was "despised in her eyes." But for the intervention of the angel of Yahweh, the boy might have been born in Egypt. For, being dealt with hardly (or humbled) by Sarah, the handmaid fled toward that country. On her way she was told by the angel to return to her mistress and submit herself "under her hands." She obeyed, and the child who was to be as "a wild ass among men" was born when his father was 86 years old (Ge 16:7-16).

2. Circumcision:

At the age of 13 years the boy was circumcised (Ge 17:25) in accordance with the Divine command received by Abraham: "Every male among you shall be circumcised" (Ge 17:10). Thus young Ishmael was made a party to the covenant into which God had entered with the lad’s father. The fact that both Abraham and his son were circumcised the same day (Ge 17:26) undoubtedly adds to the importance of Ishmael’s partaking of the holy rite. He was certainly made to understand how much his father loved him and how deeply he was concerned about his spiritual welfare. We may even assume that there was a time when Abraham looked upon Ishmael as the promised seed. His error was made clear to him when God promised him the birth of a son by Sarah. At first this seemed to be incredible, Abraham being 100 years of age and Sarah 90. And yet, how could he disbelieve the word of God? His cherished, though mistaken, belief about Ishmael, his doubts regarding the possibility of Sarah’s motherhood, and the first faint glimmer of the real meaning of God’s promise, all these thoughts found their expression in the fervid wish: "O that Ishmael might live before thee!" (Ge 17:18). Gradually the truth dawned upon the patriarch that God s thoughts are not the thoughts of men, neither their ways His ways. But we have no reason to believe that this entire changing of the mental attitude of Abraham toward Ishmael reacted unfavorably on his future treatment of this son "born of the flesh" (compare Ge 21:11). If there were troubles in store for the boy likened by the angel of Yahweh to a wild ass, it was, in the main, the youngster’s own fault.

3. Banishment:

When Isaac was weaned, Ishmael was about 16 years of age. The weaning was made an occasion for great celebration. But it seems the pleasure of the day was marred by the objectionable behavior of Ishmael. "And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian .... mocking" (Ge 21:9). Her jealous motherly love had quickened her sense of observation and her faculty of reading the character of children. We do not know exactly what the word used in the Hebrew for "mocking" really means. The Septuagint and the Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) render the passage: "When Sarah saw the son of Hagar .... playing with Isaac," and Paul followed a later tradition when he says: "He that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit" (Ga 4:29). Lightfoot (in his notes to the Epistle to the Galatians) says: "At all events the word seems to mean mocking, jeering." At any rate, the fact remains that Sarah objected to the bringing up of the son of promise together with the "mocker," and so both mother and son were banished from the tents of Abraham.

Now there came a most critical time in the life of young Ishmael. Only some bread and a bottle of water were "put on the shoulder" of Hagar by Abraham when he expelled her with her son. Aimlessly, as it seems, the two walked about in the wilderness of Beersheba. The water was soon spent, and with it went all hope and energy. The boy, being faint with thirst and tired out by his constant walking in the fierce heat of the sun, seemed to be dying. So his mother put him rapidly down in the shade of some plant. (We do not share the opinion of some writers that the narrative of Ge 21:8 ff represented Ishmael as a little boy whom his mother had carried about and finally flung in the shade of some shrub. Even if this passage is taken from a different source, it is certainly not in conflict with the rest as to the age of Ishmael.) After this last act of motherly love—what else could she do to help the boy?—she retired to a place at some distance and resignedly expected the death of her son and perhaps her own.

For the 2nd time in her life, she had a marvelous experience. "God heard the voice of the lad" and comforted the unhappy mother most wonderfully. Through His angel He renewed His former promise regarding her son, and then He showed her a well of water. The lad’s life was saved and, growing up, he became in time an archer. He lived in the wilderness of Paran and was married by his mother to an Egyptian wife (Ge 21:21).

4. His Children:

When Abraham died, his exiled son returned to assist his brother to bury their father (Ge 25:9). In the same chapter we find the names of Ishmael’s 12 sons (25:12 ff) and a brief report of his death at the age of 137 years (25:17). According to Ge 28:9 he also had a daughter, Mahalath, whom Esau took for his wife; in Ge 36:3 her name is given as Basemath.

5. Descendants:

The character of Ishmael and his descendants (Arabian nomads or Bedouins) is very accurately and vividly depicted by the angel of Yahweh: "He shall be as a wild ass among men; his hand shall be against every man, and every man’s hand against him" (Ge 16:12). These nomads are, indeed, roaming the wilds of the desert, jealous of their independence, quarrelsome and adventurous. We may well think of their progenitor as of a proud, undaunted and rugged son of the desert, the very counterpart of the poor boy lying half dead from fatigue and exposure under the shrub in the wilderness of Beersheba.

6. In the New Testament:

The person and the history of Ishmael, the son of Abraham, "born after the flesh," is of special interest to the student of the New Testament because Paul uses him, in the Epistle to the Galatians, as a type of those Jews who cling to the paternal religion in such a manner as to be unable to discern the transient character of the Old Testament institutions, and especially those of the Mosaic law. By doing so they could not be made to see the true meaning of the law, and instead of embracing the grace of God as the only means of fulfilling the law, they most bitterly fought the central doctrine of Christianity and even persecuted its advocates. Like Ishmael, they were born of Hagar, the handmaid or slave woman; like him, they were Abraham’s sons only "after the flesh," and their ultimate fate is foreshadowed in the casting out of Hagar and her son. They could not expect to maintain the connection with the true Israel, and even in case they should acclaim Christ their Messiah they were not to be the leaders of the church or the expounders of its teachings (Ga 4:21-28).

(2) The son of Nethaniah (Jer 40:8-41:18; compare 2Ki 25:23-25). It is a dreary story of jealousy and treachery which Jeremiah has recorded in chapters 40, 41 of his book. After the destruction of Jerusalem and the deportation of the better class of Jewish citizens, it was necessary to provide for some sort of a government in the depopulated country. Public order had to be restored and maintained; the crops of the fields were endangered and had to be taken care of. It was thus only common political prudence that dictated to the king of Babylon the setting up of a governor for the remnant of Judah. He chose Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam, for the difficult position. The new officer selected for his place of residence the city of Mizpah, where he was soon joined by Jeremiah. All the captains of the Jewish country forces came to Mizpah with their men and put themselves under Gedaliah’s orders (Jer 40:13). Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama "of the seed royal" (2Ki 25:25) was among their number—all of which must have been rather gratifying to the new governor. But he was destined to be cruelly disappointed. A traitor was among the captains that had gathered around him. Yet the governor might have prevented his dastardly scheme. Johnnan, the son of Kareah, and other loyal captains warned him of the treachery of Ishmael, telling him he was induced by Baalis, the Ammonite king, to assassinate the governor. But the governor’s faith in Ishmael was not to be shaken; he even looked upon Johanan’s report as false and calumnious (Jer 40:16).

About 2 months after the destruction of Jerusalem, Ishmael was ready to strike the mortal blow. With 10 men he came to Mizpah, and there, at a banquet given in his honor, he killed Gedaliah and all the Jews and Chaldeans that were with him. He succeeded in keeping the matter secret, for, 2 days after the horrible deed, he persuaded a party of 80 pious Jews to enter the city and killed all but 10 of them, throwing their bodies into a pit. These men were coming from the ruins of the Temple with the offerings which they had intended to leave at Jerusalem. Now they had found out, to their great distraction, that the city was laid waste and the Temple destroyed. So they passed by Mizpah, their beards shaven, their clothes rent, and with cuts about their persons (Jer 41:5). We may, indeed, ask indignantly, Why this new atrocity? The answer may be found in the fact that Ishmael did not kill all of the men. He spared 10 of them because they promised him some hidden treasures. This shows his motive. He was a desperate man and just then carrying out a desperate undertaking. He killed those peaceful citizens because of their money, and money he needed to realize his plans. They were those of a traitor to his country, inasmuch as he intended to deport the inhabitants of Mizpah to the land of his high confederate, the king of the Ammonites. Among the captives were Jeremiah and the daughters of the Jewish king. But his efforts came to naught. When Johnnan and the other captains were told of Ishmael’s unheard-of actions, they immediately pursued the desperate adventurer and overtook him by the "great waters that are in Gibeon." Unfortunately, they failed to capture Ishmael; for he managed to escape with eight men to the Ammonites.

See, further, GEDALIAH.

(3) A descendant of Benjamin and the son of Azel (1Ch 8:38; compare 9:44).

(4) The father of Zebadiah who was "the ruler of the house of Judah, in all the king’s (Jehoshaphat, 2Ch 19:8) matters" (2Ch 19:11).

(5) The son of Jehohanan, and a "captain of hundreds," who lived at the time of Jehoiada and Joash (2Ch 23:1).

(6) One of the sons of Pashhur the priest. He was one of those men who had married foreign women and were compelled to "put away their wives" (Ezr 10:22).

William Baur



(1) the King James Version "Ismael" (Judith 2:23), the son of Abraham by Hagar.

(2) 1 Esdras 9:22 (King James Version, the Revised Version (British and American) "Ismael"), corresponding to Ishmael in Ezr 10:22. See preceding article.


ish’-ma-el-its (yishme‘e’lim): The supposed descendants of Ishmael, the son of Abraham and Hagar, whom Abraham sent away from him after the birth of Isaac (Ge 21:14-21). The sons of Ishmael are given in Ge 25:13,14; they were twelve in number and gave rise to as many tribes, but the term Ishmaelite has a broader signification, as appears from Ge 37:28. 36, where it is identified with Midianite. From Ge 16:12 it may be inferred that it was applied to the Bedouin of the desert region East of the Jordan generally, for the character there assigned to Ishmael, "His hand shall be against every man, and every man’s hand against him," fits the habits of Bedouin in all ages. Such was the character of the Midianites as described in Jud 7, who are again identified with the Ishmaelites (8:24). These references show that the Ishmaelites were not confined to the descendants of the son of Abraham and Hagar, but refer to the desert tribes in general, like "the children of the east" (Jud 7:12).

H. Porter


ish-ma’-ya (yishma‘yah, "Yah is hearing"):

(1) A man of Gibeon, chief of David’s 30 great warriors, who came to him at Ziklag (1Ch 12:4, the King James Version "Ismaiah").

(2) Chief of the armed contingent of the tribe of Zebulun, which served David in the monthly order of the tribes (1Ch 27:19).


ish’-me-el-its (yishme‘e’li).



ish’-me-ri (yishmeray, from shamar, meaning "to hedge about," i.e. "to guard," and therefore a "guard," "protector"): A descendant of Benjamin, son of Epaal, resident of Jerusalem, one of the "heads of fathers’ houses throughout their generations, chief men" (1Ch 8:18).


i’-shod, ish’-od (‘ishehodh): the King James Version 1Ch 7:18 for ISHHOD (which see).


ish’-pa (yishpah, "firm," "strong"): A man of the tribe of Benjamin, of the house of Beriah (1Ch 8:16).


ish’-pan (yishpan, literally, "he will hide"): Descendant of Benjamin, son of Shashak, one of "the chief men, heads of fathers’ houses"; lived at Jerusalem (1Ch 8:22).


ish’-u-a, is’-u-a (yishwah, literally, "he will level").



ish’-u-i, ish’-u-i (yishwi "level").



ish’-va (yishwah, "even," "level"; the King James Version Ishuah and Isuah): Second son of Asher (Ge 46:17; 1Ch 7:30). As only the families of his brothers Ishvi, etc., are mentioned in Nu 26:44, the supposition is that he left no issue.


ish’-vi (yishwi, "equal"):

(1) The third son of Asher (Ge 46:17; 1Ch 7:30), and founder of the family of the Ishvites (Nu 26:44, the King James Version "Jesuites"), the King James Version "Isui," "Jesui," and "Ishui."

(2) The name is also found among the sons of Saul (1Sa 14:49), the King James Version "Ishui."


i’-land, il

(1) ‘i, "island" or "isle"; the American Standard Revised Version has "coast" or "coast-land" in Isa 20:6; 23:2,6; the Revised Version margin has "coast-lands" in Ge 10:5; Isa 11:11; 24:15; 59:18; Jer 25:22; Eze 39:6; Da 11:18; Ze 2:11; the Revised Version margin has "sea-coast" in Jer 47:4.

(2) plural ‘iyim, the King James Version "wild beasts of the islands," the Revised Version (British and American) "wolves," the Revised Version margin "howling creatures" (Isa 13:22; 34:14; Jer 50:39).

(3) nesion, "small island" (Ac 27:16)

(4) nesos, "island" (Ac 13:6; 27:26; 28:1,7,9,11; Re 1:9; 6:14; 16:20):

Except as noted above, ‘i in the Revised Version (British and American) is translated "isle" or "island." ARVAD (which see), a Phoenician island-city North of Tripoli, Syria, is mentioned in Ge 10:18; 1Ch 1:16; Eze 27:8,11. This and Tyre were the only important islands on the coast, both of them very small. We find references to Kittim or Chittim, Cyprus (Ge 10:4; Nu 24:24; 1Ch 1:7; Isa 23:1,12; Jer 2:10; Eze 27:6; Da 11:30); to Elisha, perhaps Carthage (Ge 10:4; 1Ch 1:7; Eze 27:7); to "isles of the nations" (Ge 10:5; Ze 2:11); to "isles of the sea" (Es 10:1; 11:11; 24:15; Eze 26:18); to "Tarshish and the isles" (Ps 72:10; compare Isa 66:19); to "isle (the Revised Version margin "sea-coast") of Caphtor" (Jer 47:4). Communication with these islands or distant coasts is kept up by the Tyrians (Eze 27:3,15). The Jews were not a maritime people, and in early times their geographical knowledge was very limited. Of 32 Old Testament passages referring to "island" or "isle," 25 are in Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. In the New Testament, besides the passages noted above, and Patmos (Re 1:9), various islands are mentioned by name in connection with the voyages of Paul, e.g. Cyprus, Crete, Lesbos, Samos, Samothrace, Chios, Melita, Sicily (Syracuse, Ac 28:12). "Jackals" is a perfectly possible translation of ‘iyim (the King James Version "wild beasts of the islands," the Revised Version (British and American) "wolves," the Revised Version margin "howling creatures").


Alfred Ely Day


(Ge 10:5): the American Standard Revised Version "isles (margin "coast-lands") of the nations," said of the territories of the sons of Japheth. The reference is to the coasts of the Western Mediterranean, with their islands (compare "isles of the sea," Es 10:1; Eze 26:18, etc.).



is-ma-ki’-a (yicmakhyahu, "Yah will sustain"): One of the "overseers under the hand of Conaniah and Shimei his brother, by the appointment of Hezekiah the king, and Azariah the ruler of the house of God" (2Ch 31:13).





is-ma-e’-rus (Ismaeros): the King James Version "Omaerus" (1 Esdras 9:34), corresponding to Amram in Ezr 10:34.












1. Sources

(1) The Old Testament

(2) Josephus

(3) The Monuments

2. Religious Character of the History


1. Original Home

2. Ethnographical Origin

3. Patriarchal Origins and History

(1) Patriarchal Conditions—Genesis 14

(2) Ideas of God

(3) Descent into Egypt


1. Israel in Egypt

(1) Chronology

(2) Moses

2. Historical Character of the Exodus (1) Egyptian Version of the Exodus

(2) Geographical Matters

(3) The Wilderness Sojourn

(4) Entrance into Canaan


1. General Character of Period

2. The Different Judges

3. Chronology of the Period

4. Loose Organization of the People


1. Samuel

2. The Kingdom of Saul

3. David

4. Solomon

5. Division of the Kingdom

6. Sources of the History of the Kingdom

7. Chronological Matters


1. Contrasts and Vicissitudes of the Kingdoms

2. The Successive Reigns

3. The Literary Prophets


1. Influence of the Exile

2. Daniel

3. Elephantine Papyri


1. Career of Cyrus

2. First Return under Zerubbabel

(1) Building of the Temple

(2) Haggai and Zechariah

3. Ezra and Nehemiah



1. Spread of Hellenism

2. The Hasmoneans


1. Division of Territory

2. Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans

Later Insurrection of Bar-Cochba

3. Spiritual Life of Period

Appearance of Jesus Christ



1. Sources:

The chief and best source from which we can learn who this people was and what was its history is the Bible itself, especially the Old Testament, which tells us the story of this people from its earliest beginnings.

(1) The Old Testament.

The origins of Israel are narrated in Genesis; the establishment of theocracy, in the other books of the Pentateuch; the entrance into Canaan, in the Book of Joshua; the period preceding the kings, in the Book of Judges; the establishment of the monarchy and its development, in the Books of Samuel, and the opening chapters of the Books of Kings, which latter report also the division into two kingdoms and the history of these down to their overthrow. The Books of Chronicles contain, parallel with the books already mentioned, a survey of the historical development from Adam down to the Babylonian captivity, but confine this account to theocratical center of this history and its sphere. Connected with Chronicles are found the small Books of Ezra and Nehemiah, which probably originally constituted a part of Chronicles, but which pass over the Exile and begin at once with the story of the Return. Then, too, these two books contain only certain episodes in the history of the Return, which were of importance for the restoration of the Jewish theocracy, so that the story found in them is anything but complete. With the 5th century BC the Biblical narrative closes entirely. For the succeeding centuries we have nothing but some scattered data; but for the 2nd pre-Christian century we have a new source in the Books of the Maccabees, which give a connected account of the struggles and the rule of the Asmoneans, which reach, however, only from 174 to 135 BC.

The historical value of the Old Testament books is all the greater the nearer the narrator or his sources stand in point of time to the events that are recorded; e.g. the contents of the Books of Kings have in general greater value as historical sources than what is reported in the Books of Chronicles, written at a much later period. Yet it is possible that a later chronicler could have made use of old sources which earlier narrators had failed to employ. This is the actual state of affairs in connection with a considerable number of matters reported by the Biblical chroniclers, which supplement the exceedingly meager extracts furnished by the author of the Books of Kings. Then, further, the books of the prophets possess an extraordinary value as historical sources for the special reason that they furnish illustrations of the historical situation and events from the lips of contemporaries. As an example we can refer to the externally flourishing condition of the kingdom of Judah under King Uzziah, concerning which the Books of Kings report practically nothing, but of which Chronicles give details which are confirmed by the testimony of Isaiah.

(2) Josephus.

A connected account of the history of Israel has been furnished by Flavius Josephus. His work entitled Jewish Antiquities, however, as far as trustworthiness is concerned, is again considerably inferior to the Books of Chronicles, since the later traditions of the Jews to a still greater extent influenced his account. Only in those cases in which he could make use of foreign older sources, such as the Egyptian Manetho or Phoenician authors, does he furnish us with valuable material. Then for the last few centuries preceding his age, he fills out a certain want. Especially is he the best authority for the events which he himself passed through and which he reports in his work on the Jewish Wars, even if he is not free from certain personal prejudices (see JOSEPHUS). For the customs and usages of the later Jewish times the traditions deposited in the Talmud are also to be considered. Much less than to Josephus can any historical value be credited to the Alexandrian Jew, Philo. The foreign authors, e.g. the Greek and the Latin historians, contain data only for the story of the nations surrounding Israel, but not for the early history of Israel itself.

(3) The Monuments.

On the other hand, the early history of Israel has been wonderfully enriched in recent times through the testimonies of the monuments. In Palestine itself the finds in historical data and monuments have been, up to the present time, rather meager. Yet the excavations on the sites of ancient Taanach, Megiddo, Jericho, Gezer and Samaria have brought important material to light, and we have reasons to look for further archaeological and literary finds, which may throw a clear light on many points that have remained dark and uncertain. Also in lands round about Palestine, important documents (the Moabite Stone; Phoenician inscriptions) have already been found. Especially have the discovery and interpretation of the monuments found in Egypt, Assyria and Babylonia very materially advanced our knowledge of the history of Israel. Not only has the connection of the history of this people with universal history been clearly illuminated by these finds, but the history of Israel itself has gained in tangible reality. In some detail matters, traditional ideas have given way to clearer conceptions; e.g. the chronology of the Old Testament, through Assyriological research, has been set on a safer foundation. But all in all, these archaeological discoveries have confirmed the confidence that has been placed in the Biblical historical sources.

2. Religious Character of the History:

It is true that the rules applied to profane history cannot, without modification, be applied to the historical writings of the Hebrews. The Biblical narrators are concerned about something more than the preservation of historical facts and data. Just as little is it their purpose to glorify their people or their rulers, as this is done on the memorial tablets of the Egyptian the Assyrian, and the Babylonian kings. Looked at merely from the standpoint of profane history, there are many omissions in the Old Testament historical books that are found objectionable. Sometimes whole periods are passed over or treated very briefly. Then, too, the political pragmatism, the secular connection in the movements of the nations and historical events, are often scarcely mentioned. The standpoint of the writer is the religious. This appears in the fact that this history begins with the creation of the world and reports primitive traditions concerning the origin of mankind and their earliest history in the light of the revelation of the God of Israel, and that it makes this national history a member in the general historical development of mankind. Nor was this first done by the author of the Pentateuch in its present shape. Already the different documentary sources found combined in the Pentateuch, namely E (Elohist), J (Jahwist) and P (Priestly Code), depict the history of Israel according to the plan which the Creator of the world had with this people. Also, when they narrate the national vicissitudes of Israel, the writers are concerned chiefly to exhibit clearly the providential guidance of God. They give special prominence to those events in which the hand of God manifests itself, and describe with full detail the lives of those agents of whom Yahweh made use in order to guide His people, such as Moses, Samuel, David, Solomon and others. But it is not the glory of these men themselves that the writers aim to describe, but rather their importance for the spiritual and religious greatness of Israel. Let us note in this connection only the extreme brevity with which the politically successful wars of David are reported in 2 Samuel; and how fragmentary are the notices in which the author of the Books of Kings reports the reigns of the different kings; and how briefly he refers for all the other details of these kings to books that, unfortunately, have been lost for us. But, on the other hand, how full are the details when the Bible gives us its account of the early history of a Samuel or of a David, in which the providential guidance and protection of Yahweh appear in such a tangible form; or when it describes the building of the temple by Solomon, so epoch-making for the religious history of Israel, or the activity of such leading prophets as Elijah and Elisha. Much less the deeds of man than the deeds of God in the midst of His people constitute theme of the narrators. These facts explain, too, the phenomenal impartiality, otherwise unknown in ancient literatures, with which the weaknesses and the faults of the ancestors and kings of Israel are reported by the Biblical writers, even in the case of their most revered kings, or with which even the most disgraceful defeats of the people are narrated.

It cannot indeed be denied that this religious and fundamental characteristic is not found to the same degree in all the books and sources. The oldest narratives concerning Jacob, Joseph, the Judges, David and others reveal a naive and childlike naturalness, while in the Books of Chronicles only those things have been admitted which are in harmony with the regular cult. The stories of a Samson, Jephthah, Abimelech, Barak, and others impress us often as the myths or stories of old heroes, such as we find in the traditions of other nations. But the author of the Book of Judges, who wrote the introduction to the work, describes the whole story from the standpoint of edification. And when closely examined, it is found that the religious element is not lacking, even in the primitive and naive Old Testament narrative. This factor was, from the outset, a unique characteristic of the people and its history. To this factor Israel owed its individuality and existence as a separate people among the nations. But in course of time it became more and more conscious of its mission of being the people of Yahweh on earth, and it learned to understand its entire history from this viewpoint. Accordingly, any account of Israel’s history must pay special attention to its religious development. For the significance of this history lies for us in this, that it constitutes the preparation for the highest revelation in Christ Jesus. In its innermost heart and kernel it is the history of the redemption of mankind. This it is that gives to this history its phenomenal character. The persons and the events that constitute this history must not be measured by the standards of everyday life. If in this history we find the providential activities of the living God operative in a unique way, this need not strike us as strange, since also the full fruit of this historical development, namely the appearance of Jesus Christ, transcends by far the ordinary course of human history. On the other hand, this history of Israel is not to be regarded as a purely isolated factor. Modern researches have shown how intimately this history was interwoven with that of other nations. Already, between the religious forms of the Old Testament and those of other Semitic peoples, there have been found many relations. Religious expressions and forms of worship among the Israelites often show in language and in cult a similarity to those of the ancient Canaanites, the Phoenicians, the Syrians, the Babylonians, and the Egyptians. But it is a mistake to believe that the history and the religion of Israel are merely an offspring of the Babylonian. As the Israelites clung tenaciously to their national life, even when they were surrounded by powerful nations, or were even scattered among these nations, as in the Exile, thus too their religion, at least in its official representatives, has been able at all times to preserve a very high originality and independence under the influence of the Divine Spirit, who had filled it.

I. Origins of Israel in Pre-Mosaic Times.

1. Original Home:

The Israelites knew at all times that Canaan was not their original home, but that their ancestors had immigrated into this land. What was their earlier and earliest home? Tradition states that they immigrated from Haran in the upper Euphrates valley. But it is claimed that they came to Haran from Ur of the Chaldees, i.e. from a city in Southern Babylonia, now called Mugheir. This city of Ur, now well known from Babylonian inscriptions, was certainly not the original home of the ancestors of Israel. They rather belonged to a purely Semitic tribe, which had found its way from Northern Arabia into these districts. A striking confirmation of this view is found in a mural picture on the rock-tombs of Benihassan in Upper Egypt. The foreigners, of whom pictures are here given (from the time of the XIIth Dynasty), called Amu, namely Bedouins from Northern Arabia or from the Sinai peninsula, show such indisputable Jewish physiognomies that they must have been closely related to the stock of Abraham. Then, too, the leader of the caravan, Ebsha‘a (Abishua), has a name formed just like that of Abraham. When, in later times, Moses fled to the country of the Midianites, he doubtless was welcomed by such tribal relatives.

2. Ethnographical Origin:

The Israelites at all times laid stress on their ethnographical connection with other nations. They knew that they were intimately related to a group of peoples who have the name of Hebrews. But they traced their origin still farther back to the tribal founder, Shem. Linguistics and ethnology confirm, in general, the closer connection between the Semitic tribes mentioned in Ge 10:21 ff. Undeniable is this connection in the cases of Assur, Aram, and the different Arabian tribes. A narrower group of Semites is called Hebrews. This term is used in Ge in a wider sense of the word than is the case in later times, when it was employed as a synonym for Israel. According to its etymology, the word signified "those beyond," those who live on the other side of the river or have come over from the other side. The river meant is not the Jordan, but the Euphrates. About the same time that the ancestors of Israel were immigrating into Canaan and Egypt, other tribes also emigrated westward and were called, by the Canaanites and by the Egyptians, ‘ibhrim. This term is identical with Chabiri, found in the Tell el-Amarna Letters, in which complaint is made about the inroads of such tribes. The Israelites cannot have been meant here, but related tribes are. Possibly the Egyptian Apriu is the same word.

3. Patriarchal Origins and History:

The Israelites declared that they were descended from a particular family. On account of the patriarchal characcter of their old tribal life, it is not a matter of doubt that, as a fact, the tribe did grow out of a single family. The tribal father, Abraham, was without a doubt the head of the small tribe, which through its large family of children developed into different tribes. Only we must not forget that such a tribe could rapidly be enlarged by receiving into it also serfs and clients (compare Ge 14:14). These last-mentioned also regarded the head of the tribe as their father and considered themselves as his "sons," without really being his descendants. Possibly the tribe that immigrated first to Haran and from there to Canaan was already more numerous than would seem to be the case according to tradition, which takes into consideration only the leading personalities. Secondly, we must remember that the Israelites, because of their patriarchal life, had become accustomed to clothe all the relations of nations to nations in the scheme of the family. In this way such genealogies of nations as are found in Ge 10 and 11 originated. Here peoples, cities and countries have also been placed in the genealogies, without the author himself thinking of individual persons in this connection, who had borne the names, e.g. of Mizraim (Egypt), Gush (Ethiopia), etc., and were actually sons of Ham. The purpose of the genealogy in this form is to express only the closer or more remote relationship or connection to a group of nations. Ge 25:1 ff also is a telling example, showing how independently these groups are united. A new wife (Keturah) does not at this place fit into the family history of Abraham. But the writer still wants to make mention of an Arabian group, which was also related to Israel by blood, but in fact stood more distant from the Israelites than did the Ishmaelites. Out of this systematic further development of the living tradition, however, one difficulty arises. It is not in all places easy, indeed not always possible, to draw the line between what is reliable tradition and what is a freer continuation. But it is a misinterpretation of the historical situation, when the entire history of the patriarchs is declared to be incredible, and when in such sharply defined personalities as Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, and others, only personifications of tribes are found, the later history of which tribes is said to be embodied in the lives of these men; e.g. the name Abraham cannot have been the impersonal name of a tribe or of a god. It is found as the name of a person on old Babylonian tablets (Abu ramu); but originally in the nomadic tribe was doubtless pronounced ‘abhi ram, i.e. "My father (God) is exalted." The same is true of the name Jacob (really Jakob-el); compare Joseph (Joseph-el), Ishmael, and others, which find their analogies in old Arabian names.

(1) Patriarchal Conditions—Genesis 14.

Further, the conditions of life which are presupposed in the history of the Patriarchs are in perfect agreement with those which from the Tell el-Amarna Letters we learn existed in Canaan. While formerly it was maintained that it would have been impossible for a single tribe to force its way into Canaan at that time when the country was thickly populated, it is now known that at that very time when the ancestors of the Israelites entered, similar tribes also found their way into the land, sometimes in a peaceable way, sometimes by force. Egypt for the time being had control of the land, but its supremacy was at no place very strong. And the ‘ibhrim, as did others who forced their way into the country, caused the inhabitants much trouble. Especially does Ge 14, the only episode in which a piece of universal history finds its way into the story of the tribal ancestors, turn out to be a document of great value, which reflects beautifully the condition of affairs in Asia. Such expeditions for conquest in the direction of the Mediterranean lands were undertaken at an early period by Babylonian rulers, Sargon I of Akkad and his son Naram Sin. The latter undertook an expedition to the land of Magan along the exact way of the expedition described in Ge 14, this taking place in the days of Amraphel, i.e. Hammurabi. The fact that the latter was himself under an Elamitic superior is in perfect agreement with the story of the inscriptions, according to which the famous Hammurabi of Babylon had first freed himself from the supremacy of Elam. The fact that Hammurabi, according to accepted chronology, ruled shortly after the year 2000 BC, is also in agreement with Biblical chronology, which places Abraham in this very time. These expeditions into the country Martu, as the Babylonians call Syria, had for their purpose chiefly to secure booty and to levy tribute. That the allied kings themselves took part in this expedition is not probable. These were punitive expeditions undertaken with a small force.

Genesis 14 seems to be a translation of an old cuneiform tablet. As a rule the stories of the patriarchal age for a long time were handed down orally, and naturally were modified to a certain extent. Then, too, scholars have long since discovered different sources, out of which the story in its present form has been compiled. This fact explains some irregularities in the story: e.g. the chronological data of the document the Priestly Code (P), which arranges its contents systematically, do not always harmonize with the order of events as reported by the other two leading documents, the Elohist (E) and the Jahwist (Jahwist), the first of which is perhaps the Ephraimitic and the second the Judaic version of the story. But, under all circumstances, much greater than the difference are the agreements of the sources. They contain the same picture of this period, which certainly has not been modified to glorify the participants. It is easily seen that the situation of the fathers, when they were strangers in the land, was anything but comfortable. A poetical or perfectly fictitious popular account would have told altogether different deeds of heroism of the founder of the people. The weaknesses and the faults of the fathers and mothers in the patriarchal families are not passed over in silence. But the fact that Yahweh, whom they trusted at all times, helped them through and did not suffer them to be destroyed, but in them laid the foundation for the future of His people, is the golden cord that runs through the whole history. And in this the difference between the individual characters finds a sharp expression; e.g. Abraham’s magnanimity and tender feeling of honor in reference to his advantage in worldly matters find their expression in narratives which are ascribed to altogether different sources, as Ge 13:8 ff (Jahwist); 14:22 ff (special source); 23:7 ff (P). In what an altogether different way Jacob insists upon his advantage! This consistency in the way in which the different characters are portrayed must awaken confidence in the historical character of the narratives. Then, too, the harmony with Egyptian manners and customs in the story of Joseph, even in its minutest details, as these have been emphasized particularly by the Egyptologist Ebers, speaks for this historical trustworthiness.

(2) Ideas of God.

Further, the conception of God as held by these fathers was still of a primitive character, but it contains the elements of the later religious development (see ISRAEL, RELIGION OF).

(3) Descent into Egypt.

During a long period of famine the sons of Jacob, through Divine providence, which made use of Joseph as an instrument, found refuge in Egypt, in the marshes of which country along the lower Nile Semitic tribes had not seldom had their temporary abodes. The land of Coshen in the Northeast part of the Delta, Ed. Naville (The Shrine of Saft-el-Henneh and the Land of Goshen, London, 1887) has shown to be the region about Phakusa (Saft-el-Henneh). These regions had at that time not yet been made a part of the strictly organized and governed country of Egypt, and could accordingly still be left to such nomadic tribes. For the sons of Jacob were still wandering shepherds, even if they did, here and there, after the manner of such tribes, change to agricultural pursuits (Ge 26:12). If, as is probable, at that time a dynasty of Semitic Hyksos was ruling in lower Egypt, it is all the more easily understood that kindred tribes of this character were fond of settling along these border districts. On account of the fertility of the amply watered districts, men and animals could increase rapidly, and the virile tribe could, in the course of a few centuries, grow into a powerful nation. One portion of the tribes pastured their flocks back and forth on the prairies; another builded houses for themselves among the Egyptians and engaged in agricultural pursuits and in gardening (Nu 11:5). Egyptian arts and trades also found their way among this people, as also doubtless the art of writing, at least in the case of certain individuals. In this way their sojourning in this country became a fruitful factor in the education of the people. This stay explains in part the fact that the Israelites at all times were more receptive of culture and were more capable than their kinsmen, the Edomites, Ammonites and Moabites, and others in this respect. Moses, like Joseph, had learned all the mysteries of Egyptian wisdom. On the other hand, the sojourn in this old, civilized country was a danger to the religion of the people of Israel. According to the testimony of Jos 24:14; Eze 20:7 ff; 23:8,19, they adopted many heathen customs from their neighbors. It was salutary for them, that the memory of this sojourn was embittered for them by hard oppression.

II. Nationality under Moses.

1. Israel in Egypt:

It is reported in Ex 18 that a new Pharaoh ascended the throne, who knew nothing of Joseph. This doubtless means that a new dynasty came into power, which adopted a new policy in the treatment of the Semitic neighbors. The expulsion of the Hyksos had preceded this, and the opposition to the Semitics had become more acute. The new government developed a strong tendency to expansion in the direction of the Northeast. Under these circumstances it is not surprising that the laws of the empire were vigorously enforced in these border districts and that an end was made to the liberties of the unwelcome shepherd tribes. This led to constantly increasing measures of severity. In this way the people became more and more unhappy and finally were forced to immigrate.

(1) Chronology.

It is still the current conviction that the Pharaoh of the oppression was Rameses II, a king who was extraordinarily ambitious of building, whose long reign is by Eduard Meyer placed as late as 1310 to 1244 BC. His son Merenptah would then be the Pharaoh of the Exodus. But on this supposition, Biblical chronology not only becomes involved in serious difficulties, since then the time of the Judges must be cut down to unduly small proportions, but certain definite data also speak in favor of an earlier date for the Exodus of Israel. Merenptah boasts in an inscription that on an expedition to Syria he destroyed the men of Israel (which name occurs here for the first time on an Egyptian monument). And even the father of Rameses II, namely Seti, mentions Asher among those whom he conquered in Northern Palestine, that is, in the district afterward occupied by this tribe. These data justify the view that the Exodus already took place in the time of the XVIIIth Dynasty, a thing in itself probable, since the energetic rulers of this dynasty naturally have inaugurated a new method of treating this province. The oppression of Israel would then, perhaps, be the work of Thethroes III (according to Meyer, 1501-1447 BC), and the Exodus would take place under his successor, Amenophis II. In harmony with this is the claim of Manetho, who declares that the "Lepers," in whom we recognize the Israelites (see below), were expelled by King Amenophis.

The length of the sojourn of the Israelites in Egypt, according to Ge 15:13 (P), was in round numbers 400 years; more exactly, according to Ex 12:40 f (P), 430 years. But the last-mentioned passage in Septuagint reads, "the sojourn of the sons of Jacob, when they lived in Egypt and in the land of Canaan." (The same reading is found in the Samaritan text, only that the land of Canaan precedes that of Egypt.) Since, according to this source (P), the Patriarchs lived 215 years in Canaan, the sojourn in Egypt would be reduced also 215 years. This is the way in which the synagogue reckons (compare Ga 3:17), as also Josephus (Ant., II, xv, 2). In favor of this shorter period appeal is made to the genealogical lists, which, however, because they are incomplete, cannot decide the matter. In favor of a longer duration of this sojourn we can appeal, not only to Ge 15:13 Septuagint has the same!), but also to the large number of those who left Egypt according to Nu 1 and 26 (P), even if the number of 600,000 men there mentioned, which would presuppose a nation of about two million souls, is based on a later calculation and gives us an impossible conception of the Exodus.

(2) Moses.

While no account has been preserved concerning the sojourn of the Israelites in Egypt, the history of the Exodus itself, which signifies the birth of Israel as a nation, is fully reported. In this crisis Moses is the prophetical mediator through whom the wonderful deed of God is accomplished. All the deeds of God, when interpreted by this prophet, become revelations for the people. Moses himself had no other authority or power than that which was secured for him through his office as the organ of God. He was the human instrument to bring about the synthesis between Israel and Yahweh for all times. He had, in doing this, indeed proclaimed the old God of the fathers, but under the new, or at any rate hitherto to the people unknown, name of Yahweh, which is a characteristic mark of the Mosaic revelations to such an extent, that the more accurate narrators (E and P) begin to make use of this name only from this period of time on. In the name of this absolute sovereign, God, Moses claims liberty for Israel, since this people was Yahweh’s firstborn (Ex 4:22). The contest which Moses carries on in the name of this God with Pharaoh becomes more and more a struggle between this God and the gods of Egypt, whose earthly representative Pharaoh is. The plagues which come over Egypt are all founded on the natural conditions of the country, but they occur in such extraordinary strength and rapidity at Moses’ prediction, and even appear at his command, that they convince the people, and finally Pharaoh himself, of the omnipotence of this God on the soil of this country. In the same way the act of deliverance at the Red Sea can be explained as the cooperation of natural causes, namely wind and tide. But the fact that these elementary. forces, just at this critical time, proved so serviceable to the people of God and destructive to their enemies, shows unmistakably the miraculous activity of God. This the Israelites experienced still further on the journey through the desert, when they were entirely dependent on Divine leadership and care. The outcome of these experiences, and at the same time its grandest demonstration, was the conclusion of the covenant at Mt. Sinai. From this time on Yahweh was Israel’s God and Israel was the people of Yahweh. This God claimed to be the only and absolute ruler over the tribes that were now inwardly united into one nation. From this resulted as a matter of course, that Moses as the recognized organ of this God was not only the authority, who was to decide in all disputes concerning right, but also the one from whom a new and complete order of legal enactments proceeded. Moses became the lawgiver of Israel.

Even if the history of the origin of the Old Testament covenant is unique in character, it is nevertheless profitable to take note of an analogy which is found in a related people and which is adapted to make much in Israel’s history clearer. Mohammed also, after he had at the critical point of his career persuaded his followers to migrate from their homes, soon after, in Medina, concluded a covenant, according to which he, as the recognized speaker of Allah (God), claimed for himself the right to decide in all disputes. He, too, in his capacity as the prophet of God, was consulted as an infallible authority in all questions pertaining to the cult, the civil and the criminal laws, as also in matters pertaining to politics and to war. And his decisions and judgments, uttered in the name of Allah, were written down and afterward collected. This Koran, too, became the basis of sacred law. And by causing the hitherto divided and antagonistic tribes to subject themselves to Allah, Mohammed united these his followers into a religious communion and in this way, too, into a national body. Mohammed has indeed copied the prophecy of earlier times, but the work of Moses was original in character and truly inspired by God.

2. Historical Character of the Exodus:

The historical character of the exodus out of Egypt cannot be a matter of doubt, though some suspect that the entire nation did not take part in the march through the Red Sea, but that certain tribes had before this already migrated toward the East. We must not forget that the song of victory in Ex 15 does not mention a word about Pharaoh’s being himself destroyed in going through the Sea. It is only the late Ps 136:15 that presupposes this as a certainty. That an entire nation cannot emigrate in a single night cannot be maintained in view of the fact that the inhabitants of the same Wady-Tumilat, through which Israel marched, so late as the last century, emigrated in a single night and for similar reasons (compare Sayce, Monuments, 249).

(1) Egyptian Version of the Exodus.

The fact that the Egyptian monuments report nothing of this episode, so disgraceful to that people, is a matter of course, in view of the official character of these accounts and of their policy of passing over in absolute silence all disagreeable facts. And yet in the popular tradition of the people, which Manetho has handed down, there has been preserved some evidence of this event. It is indeed true that what this author reports about the Hyksos (see above) does not belong here, as this people is not, as Josephus thinks, identical with the Israelites. However (Apion, I, xxvi, 5 ff), he narrates a story which may easily be the tradition concerning the exodus of the children of Israel as changed by popular use. King Amenophis, we are told, wanted to see the gods. A seer, who bore the same name, promised that his wish would be gratified under the condition that the country would be cleansed of lepers and all others that were unclean; and it is said that he accordingly drove 80,000 such persons into the stone quarries East of the Nile. As the seer was afraid that these measures would be displeasing to the gods and bring upon the land a subjection of 13 years to the supremacy of foreigners, he gave up to these lepers the former city of the Hyksos, Avaris by name. Here they appointed a priest by the name of Osarsiph, later called Moses, as their chief, who gave them a special body of laws and in these did not spare the sacred animals. He also carried on war against the Egyptians, the Hyksos helping him, and he even governed Egypt for 13 years, after which he and his followers were driven out into Syria. Similar stories are found in Chaeromon, Lysimachus, and others (Apion, I, xxxii, 36; compare Tacitus, History, verses 3-5). When we remember that it is nonsense to permit lepers to work in stone quarries and that the Egyptians also otherwise call the Semites Aatu, i.e. "plague," then this story must be regarded as referring to such a non-Egyptian nation. Hecataeus of Abdera has a report of this matter which is much more like the Biblical story, to the effect, namely, that a plague which had broken out in Egypt led the people to believe that the gods were angry at the Egyptians because they had neglected the religious cult; for which reason they expelled all foreigners. A part of these is said to have migrated under the leadership of Moses to Judea and there to have founded the city of Jerusalem (compare Diodorus Siculus xl.3; compare xxxvi.1).

(2) Geographical Matters.

The Red Sea, through which the Israelites went under the leadership of Moses, is without a doubt the northern extension of this body of water, which in former times reached farther inland than the present Gulf of Suez; compare Edouard Naville, The Store-City of Pithom and the Route of the Exodus, 1885; and The Route of the Exodus, 1891. This savant is entitled to the credit of having identified the station Sukkoth on the basis of the monuments; it is the modern Tell-Mashuta and identical with Pithom, which was the name of the sanctuary at that place. Later the city was called Heroopoils. The route accordingly went through the modern Wadi-Tumilat to the modern Bitter Sea, North of Suez. It is a more difficult task to trace the route geographically on the other side of the Sea. For it is a question whether "the Mountain of Yahweh," which formed the goal of the journey, is to be located on the Sinai peninsula, or in the land of the Edomites, or even on the western coast of Arabia. A.H. Sayce and others reject the traditional location of Sinai on the peninsula named after this mountain, and declare that the Israelites marched directly eastward toward the Gulf of Akaba. The reasons for this are found in the work of Sayce, The Verdict of the Monuments, 263 ff. But even if on this supposition a number of difficulties fall away, there nevertheless are many arguments in favor of the traditional location of Sinai, especially the grandeur of the chain itself, for which a rival worth mentioning has not been discovered in the land of the Edomites or in Northwestern Arabia. The Sinai traveler, E. H. Palmer, has also shown how splendidly the surroundings of the Sinai chain, especially the Jebel Musa with the Ras Sufsafeh, is adapted for the purpose of concluding a covenant.

(3) The Wilderness Sojourn.

The duration of the sojourn in the "desert" is everywhere (as in Am 5:25) given as 40 years. In harmony with this is the fact that only a few of those who had come out of Egypt lived to enter Canaan. The greater part of these 40 years the Israelites seem to have spent at Kadesh. At any rate, there was a sanctuary at that place, at which Moses administered justice, while the different tribes probably were scattered over the prairies and over the tillable districts. The central sanctuary, which Moses established, was the Tabernacle, which contained the Ark of the Covenant, the sanctissimum. This sacred ark with the cherubim above it represents the throne of God, who is thought to be enthroned above the cherubim. The ark itself is, as it were, His footstool. As in Egyptian sanctuaries not infrequently the most sacred laws are deposited beneath the feet of the statue of the gods, thus the sacred fundamental laws of God (the Decalogue), on two tablets, were deposited in this ark. This Ark of the Covenant presupposes an invisible God, who cannot be represented by any image. The other laws and ordinances of Moses covered the entire public and private legislation, given whenever the need for these made it necessary to determine such matters. In giving these laws Moses connected his system with the old traditional principles already current among the tribes. This fact is confirmed by the legal Code of Hammurabi, which contains remarkable parallels, especially to Ex 20-23:19. But Moses has elevated the old traditional laws of the tribes and has given them a more humane character. By putting every enactment in the light of the religion of Yahweh, and by eliminating everything not in harmony with this religion, he has raised the people spiritually and morally to a higher plane.

Among the people, the undercurrents of superstition and of immorality were indeed still strong. At the outset Moses had much to contend with in the opposition of the badly mixed mass of the people. And the fact that he was able for the period of 40 years to hold the leadership of this stubborn people without military force is a phenomenal work, which shows at all hands the wonderful cooperation of Yahweh Himself. However, he did not indeed succeed in raising the entire people to the plane of his knowledge of God and of his faith in God. This generation had to die in the wilderness, because it lacked the sanctified courage to take possession of the land of promise. But the foundation had been laid for theocracy, which must not in any way be identified with a hierarchy.

(4) Entrance into Canaan.

It was Joshua, the successor of Moses, who was enabled to finish the work and to take possession of the land. Not far from Jericho he led the people over the Jordan and captured this city, which had been considered impregnable. After that, with his national army, he conquered the Canaanitish inhabitants in several decisive battles, near Gibeon and at the waters of Merom, and then went back and encamped at Gilgal on the Jordan. After this he advanced with his tribe of Ephraim into the heart of the land, while the southern tribes on their part forced their way into the districts assigned to them. Without reasons this account has been attacked as unreliable, and critics have thought that originally the different tribes, at their own initiative, either peaceably or by force, had occupied their land. But it is entirely natural to suppose that the inhabitants of the country who had allied themselves to resist this occupation by Israel, had first to be made submissive through several decisive defeats, before they would permit the entrance of the tribes of Israel, which entrance accordingly often took place without a serious struggle. That the occupation of the land was not complete is shown in detail in Jud 1. Also in those districts in which Israel had gained the upper hand, they generally did not wage the war of annihilation that Moses had commanded, but were content with making the Canaanites, by the side of whom they settled, bondsmen and subjects. This relation could, in later time, easily be reversed, especially in those cases in which the original inhabitants of the country were in the majority. Then, too, it must be remembered that the latter enjoyed a higher state of civilization than the Israelites. It was accordingly an easy matter for the Israelites to adopt the customs and the ideas of the Canaanites. But if this were done, their religion was also endangered. Together with the sacred "holy places" (bamoth) of the original inhabitants, the altars and the sanctuaries there found also came into possession of the Israelites. Among these there were some that had been sacred to the ancestors of Israel, and with which old memories were associated. As a consequence, it readily occurred that Israel appropriated also old symbols and religious ceremonies, and even the Baals and the Astartes themselves, however little this could be united in principle with the service of Yahweh. But if the Israelites lost their unique religion, then their connection with the kindred tribes and their national independence were soon matters of history. They were readily absorbed by the Canaanites.


III. Period of the Judges.

1. General Character of Period:

In such a period of weakened national and religious life, it could easily happen that Israel would again lose the supremacy that it had won by the sword. It was possible that the Canaanites could again bring into their power larger parts of the land. Also energetic and pushing nomadic tribes, such as the Ammonites, the Moabites, or other warlike peoples, such as the Philistines, could bring the country under subjection, as actually did occur in the period of the Judges. The Book of Judges reports a number of such instances of the subjection of Israel, which did not extend over the whole land, and in part occurred in different sections of the country at the same time. Judah and Simeon, the two tribes in the south, as a rule took no part in these contests, and had their own battles to fight; and the same is true of the tribes East of the Jordan, among whom Northern Manasseh and Ephraim were in closest alliance. After a longer or shorter period of oppression, there followed in each case a revival of the national spirit against such oppression. And in all these cases the popular hero who became the liberator appealed to the religious consciousness that formed a bond of union between all the Israelirish tribes and their common God Yahweh. In however wild a manner the youthful vigor of the people may have found its expression on these occasions, they are nevertheless conscious of the fact that they are waging a holy war, which in every case also ended with the victory over the heathen spirit and false worship that had found their way into Israel. The most precious historical monument from these times is the song of Deborah (Jud 5), which, like a mirror, reflects faithfully the conditions of affairs, and the thoughts of that age.

Judges 17-21 belong to the beginning of this period. The first of these old stories narrates the emigration of a large portion of the tribe of Da to the extreme north of the country and the origin of idolatry in that region (Jud 17$; 18$). But the second story, too, both in form and contents, is, at least in part, very old and its historical value is amply protected against the attacks of modern critics by Ho 9:9; 10:9. This story reports a holy war of revenge against the tribe of Benjamin, which was unwilling to render satisfaction for a nefarious crime that had been committed at Gibeah in its territory. In the feeling of close solidarity and of high responsibility which appears in connection with the punishment of this crime, we still see the influence of the periods of Moses and Joshua.

2. The Different Judges:

First it is narrated of a king of Aram-naharaim that he had oppressed Israel for a period of 8 years (Jud 3:8). This probably means a king of the Mitanni (Sayce, Monuments, 297, 304), who at that time were trying to force their way through Canaan into Egypt. It was Othniel, the Kenazite, belonging to a tribe that was related to Judah, who delivered Israel. A second liberator was the Benjamite Ehud, who delivered the southeastern portion of the country from the servitude of Eglon, the king of the Moabites, by putting the latter to death (Jud 3:12 ). On a greater scale was the decisive battle against the Canaanitish kings in the north, when these had formed an alliance and had subjected Israel for a period of 20 years. At the appeal of Deborah, Barak conquered Sisera, the hostile king and leader of a mighty army of chariots, in the plain of Kishon (Jud 4; 5). In the same region the battle of Gideon was fought with the plundering Bedouin swarms of the Midianites, who had repeatedly oppressed Israel (Jud 6-8). Abimelech, an unworthy son of the God-fearing hero, after the death of his father, had established a local kingdom in Shechem, which stood for only a short time and came to a disgraceful end. Little more than the names are known to us of Tola, of the tribe of Issachar, and of Jair, in Gilead (Jud 10:1 ). More fully is the story of Jephthah told, who delivered the country from the Ammonites coming from the east (Jud 11), with which was also connected a struggle with the jealous Ephraimites (Jud 12); and still more fully are the details reported of the personal contests of the Nazirite Samson, belonging to the tribe of Dan, against the Philistines making their inroads from the south, and who for many years proved to be the most dangerous enemies of Israel.

All these heroes, and a few others not so well known, are called judges, and it is regularly reported how long each of these "judged" Israel. They were not officials in the usual sense of the term, but were liberators of the people, who, at the inspiration of Yahweh, gave the signal for a holy war. After the victory they, as men of Yahweh, then enjoyed distinction, at least in their own tribes; and in so far as it was through their doing that the people had been freed, they were the highest authorities in political, legal, and probably, too, in religious questions. They are called judges in conscious contradistinction from the kingly power, which in Israel was recognized as the exclusive prerogative of Yahweh, so that Gideon declined it as improper when the people wanted to make him king (Jud 8:22 f). The people recognized the Spirit of Yahweh in the fierce energy which came over these men and impelled them to arouse their people out of their disgraceful lethargy. For this reason, too, they could afterward be trusted in making their judicial decisions in harmony with the mind and the Spirit of God, as this had been done already by the prophetess Deborah in the time of oppression. Yet, at least in the case of Samson (notwithstanding Jud 16:31), it is not probable that he ever was engaged in the administration of justice. It is not even reported of him that he fought at the head of the people, but he carried on his contests with the Philistines in behalf of himself individually, even if, as one consecrated of God, he were a witness for the power of God.

3. Chronology of the Period:

The chronology of the period of the Judges exhibits some peculiar difficulties. If we add together the data that are given in succession in the Book of Judges, we get from Jud 3:8-16:31, 4:10 years altogether. But this number is too large to make it harmonize with the 480 years mentioned in 1Ki 6:1. Jewish tradition (e.g. Cedher ‘Olam) accordingly does not include the years of oppression in this sum, but makes them a part of the period of the individual judges. In this way about 111 years are eliminated. But evidently the redactor of the Book of Judges did not share this view. Modern critics are of the opinion that the writer has dovetailed two chronological methods, one of which counted on the basis of periods of forty years each, while the other was more exact and contained odd numbers. In this way we can shorten this period as does the Cedher ‘Olam. At any rate, it is justifiable, and is suggested by Jud 10:7, to regard the oppression by the Ammonites (10:8 ff) and the oppression by the Philistines (13:1 ff) as contemporaneous. And other events, too, which in the course of the narrative are related as following each other, may have taken place at the same time or in a somewhat different sequence, as the author used different sources for the different events. But for this very reason his story deserves to be credited as historical. Such characters as Deborah, Jephthah, Ehud, Gideon, Abimelech and Samson are described as tangible historical realities. Even if, in the case of the last-mentioned, oral tradition has added decorative details to the figure, yet Samson cannot possibly be a mere mythological character, but must have been a national hero characteristic of this period, in whom are represented the abundance of physical and mental peculiarities characteristic of the youthful nation, as also their good-natured indifference and carelessness over against their treacherous enemies.

4. Loose Organization of the People:

The lack of a central political power made itself felt all the more in the period of the Judges, since, because of the scattered condition of the people in the country that had been so minutely parceled out, and because of the weakening of the religious enthusiasm of the preceding age, the deeper unity of heart and mind was absent. It is indeed incorrect to imagine that at this time there was a total lack of governmental authority. A patriarchal organization had been in force from the beginning. The father of the family was the lawful head of those belonging to him: and a larger clan was again subject to an "elder," with far-reaching rights in the administration of law, but also with the duty to protect his subordinates, and in case of want to support them. Unfortunately we are nowhere informed how these elders were chosen or whether their offices were hereditary. Only a very few passages, such as Isa 3:6 f, throw a certain light on the subject. This institution of the elders Moses had already found established and had developed farther (Ex 18:13 ). It was retained in all the periods of Israel’s history. When the people began to live together in larger centers, as a natural consequence bodies of such city elders were established. The tribes, too, had "elders" at their head. But for a united action of the whole nation this arrangement did not suffice; and especially in the case of war the people of Israel felt that they were at a disadvantage compared with their enemies, who had kings to lead them. For this reason the desire for a king steadily grew in Israel. The dictators of the period of the Judges satisfied their needs only for the time being.

IV. The Kingdom: Israel-Judah.

In the time when the Israelites were oppressed by the Philistines the need of a king was especially felt. As Samson had come to his death in servitude, the people themselves thus, at the close of this period of glorious victories, were under the supremacy of a warlike race, which had only in recent times settled on the western coast of Palestine, and from this base was forcing its conquests into the heart of the country.

1. Samuel:

After the most disastrous defeats, during which even the Ark of the Covenant was lost, there arose for the people, indeed, a father and a deliverer in the person of Samuel, who saved them during the most critical period. What his activity meant for the uplift of the people cannot be estimated too highly. He was, above all, during peace the faithful watchman of the most sacred possessions of Israel, a prophet such as the people had not seen since the days of Moses; and he doubtless was the founder of those colonies of prophetical disciples who were in later times so influential in the development of a theocratical spirit in Israel. He guarded the whole nation also with all his power, by giving to them laws and cultivating piety in the land.

2. The Kingdom of Saul:

But as Samuel, too, became old and the people concluded for good reasons that his rule would have no worthy successors, their voice could no longer be silenced, and they demanded a king. Samuel tried in vain to persuade the people to desist from their demand, which to him seemed to be an evidence of distrust in the providence of Yahweh, but was himself compelled, by inspiration of God, to submit to their wishes and anoint the new king, whom Yahweh pointed out to him. It is indeed maintained by the critics that there are several accounts extant in Samuel concerning the selection of Saul to the kingdom, and that these accounts differ in this, that the one regards the kingdom as a blessing and the other as a curse. The first view, which is said to be the older, is claimed to be found in 1Sa 9:1-10,16, and 11; while the second is said to be in 1Sa 8; 10:17-27; 11:12-14. Whatever may be the facts in regard to these sources, this is beyond any doubt, that Samuel, the last real theocratic leader, established the kingdom. But just as little can the fact be doubted, that he took this step with inner reluctance, since in his eyes this innovation meant the discarding of the ideals of the people to which he himself had remained true during his lifetime. The demand of the people was the outgrowth of worldly motives, but Yahweh brought it about, that the "Anointed of Yah" signified an advance in the history of the kingdom of God.

Saul himself, at first, in a vigorous and efficient manner, solved the immediate problems and overcame the enemies of his people. But he soon began to conceive of his kingdom after the manner of heathen kingdoms and did not subject himself to Yahweh and His appointed representative. There soon arose an open conflict between him and Samuel; and the fact that the Spirit of God had departed from him appears in his melancholy state of mind, which urged him on to constantly increasing deeds of violence. That under these circumstances God’s blessing also departed from him is proved by the collapse of his life’s work in his final failures against the Philistines.

3. David:

In contrast with this, David, his successor, the greatest king that Israel ever had, had a correct conception of this royal office, and even in his most brilliant successes did not forget that he was called to rule only as "the servant of Yahweh" (by which name he, next to Moses, is called most often in the Bible). As a gifted ruler, he strengthened his kingdom from within, which, considering the heterogeneous character of the people, was not an easy matter, and extended it without by overpowering jealous neighbors. In this way it was he who became the real founder of a powerful kingdom. The conquest of Jerusalem and its selection as the capital city also are an evidence of his political wisdom. It is indeed true that he, too, had his personal failings and that he made many mistakes, which caused him political troubles, even down to his old age. But his humility at all times made him strong enough again to subject himself to the hand of Yahweh, and this humility was based on the attitude of his spirit toward Yahweh, which shows itself in his Psalms. In this way he really came to be a connecting link between God and his people, and upon this foundation the prophets built further, who prophesied a still closer union of the two under a son of David.

While Saul was a Benjamite, David was of the tribe of Judah, and was for a short time the king of this tribe in Hebron, before the other tribes, becoming tired of the misrule of a descendant of Saul, also voluntarily chose him as their king. He soon after this established as the center of his new kingdom the city of Jerusalem, which really was situated on the territory that had been assigned to Benjamin; and he also set this city apart as the religious center of the people by transferring the Ark of the Covenant to this place. In this way David, through his wisdom and his popular bravery, succeeded in uniting the tribes more firmly under his supremacy, and especially did he bring the tribe of Judah, which down to this time had been more for itself, into closer connection with the others. Israel under David became a prominent kingdom. This position of power was, as a matter of fact, distasteful to their neighbors round about. The Philistines tried to destroy the ambitious kingdom, but were themselves repeatedly and definitely overpowered. But other neighboring people, too, who, notwithstanding the fact that David did not assume an offensive attitude toward them, assumed a hostile attitude toward him, came to feel his superiority. Particularly severe and tedious was the war against the allied Ammonites and Syrians; and although the Edomites, too, regarded this as a favorable time for attacking Israel, this struggle also ended in a complete triumph for David. The surrounding countries became subject to him from the Mediterranean Sea to Hamath (2Sa 8:9), and from the territory of the Lebanon, the inhabitants of which assumed a friendly attitude, to the borders of Egypt, which also recognized the new rule.

4. Solomon:

Solomon, the son of David, developed inwardly the powerful kingdom which he had inherited. To his father he seemed to be the right man for this because of his peaceful temperament and his high mental abilities. He justified the hopes placed in him. Out of love to Yahweh he built the temple on Mt. Zion, regulated the affairs of state and the administration of justice, and by commercial treaties with the Phoenicians (King Hiram) brought about great prosperity in the land. His was the "golden" period in Israel. The culture and civilization, too, of the people were materially advanced by Solomon as he widened their horizon and introduced the literature of Proverbs, which had up to this time been more extensively cultivated by the neighboring people (Edom, Arabia, Egypt). He even developed this literature into a higher type. On the other hand, the brilliant reign of Solomon brought serious dangers to the new kingdom. His liberal-mindedness in the treatment of his foreign wives, in permitting them to retain their heathen worship, probably because he thought that in the end it was the same Divinity which these women worshipped under different form, endangered theocracy with its serious cult and its strict morality. Through this conduct the king necessarily forfeited the sympathy of the most pious Israelites. At the same time, his love for magnificent structures surpassed the measure which was regarded as correct for the "Anointed of Yahweh." Then, too, his efforts, in themselves justifiable, to establish a more perfect organization of the monarchy, produced a great deal of dissatisfaction. Solomon did not understand, as did his father, how to respect the inherited liberty-loving tendencies of his people. The heavy services and taxation, to which the people were compelled to submit, were deeply felt, most of all by the Ephraimites, who at times had exhibited a jealous spirit, and could not forget their lost hegemony.

5. Division of the Kingdom:

So long, indeed, as the wise Solomon and his advisers were at the helm, the various rebellious tendencies could not make themselves felt. But after his death the catastrophe came. His son, Rehoboam, at the Diet in Shechem, at which the Ephraimites placed before him a kind of capitulation before his coronation, showed that he did not at all understand the situation. His domineering attitude brought things to a head, and he must have been glad that at least the tribe of Judah remained faithful to him. The northern tribes chose for their king Jeroboam (I), who before this had already taken part in rebellious agitations, as the kingdom had been predicted to him by the prophet Ahijah (1Ki 11:2 ). Israel was torn into two parts.

6. Sources of the History of the Kingdom:

With this rupture the powerful kingdom established by David had reached its end. In regard to this flourishing period in Israel’s history we are, on the whole, well informed through the sources. Especially in 2Sa 9-20 and 1Ki 2; 3, we have a narrator who must have been a contemporary of the events recorded. Klostermann surmises that this may have been Ahimaaz, the son of Zadok (2Sa 15:27); while Duhm, Budde, Sellin and others believe it to have been the priest Abiathar. Less unity is in evidence in the first Book of Sam, containing the history of the youth of David, which evidently was often described. The Books of Chronicles have only secondary value for the life of David. These books narrate in full detail the story of the preparations made by David for the erection of the temple and of his organization of the Levites. In regard to the reign of Solomon, the Books of Kings report more fully. Concerning the later kings, they generally give only meager extracts from more complete sources, which excerpts, however, have been shown to be reliable. The interest which the narrator has in telling his story is the religious. Especially does he carefully note the fact as to the relation of the different kings to the cult. Special sources have been used in compiling the detailed stories of the great prophets Elijah and Elisha, which are inserted in the history of the two kingdoms. On the other hand, the Books of Ch pass over entirely all reference to the work of the prophets of the Northern Kingdom, as they ignore the entire history of the Ephraimitic kingdom since the interest of these books is centered on the sanctuary in Jerusalem. Also in the case of the Judean history, the much older Books of Ki deserve the precedence. Yet we owe to the writer of Ch a number of contributions to this history, especially where he has made a fuller use of the sources than has been done by the author of the Books of Kings. The suspicion that everything which Chronicles contains, beyond what is to be found in Kings, is unhistorical, has turned out to be groundless. Thus, e.g., it would be impossible to understand the earlier prophecies of Isaiah under Jotham at all, if it did not appear from Chronicles to what prosperity and influence the people of Jerusalem had by that time again attained. For it is only Chronicles that give us an account of the flourishing reign of his predecessor Uzziah, who is treated but briefly in Kings.

7. Chronological Matters:

The chronology of the earlier portions of the period of the Kings is dependent on the date of the division of the kingdom. This date can be decided on the basis of the careful chronological data of the Books of K, which do not indeed agree in all particulars, but are to be adjusted by the Assyrian chronology. If we, with Kamphausen, Oettli and Kittel, regard the year 937 BC as the time of the division of the kingdom, then Solomon ruled from 977 to 937; David, from 1017 to 977. The length of the reign of Saul is not known, as the text of 1Sa 13:1 is defective. It is very probable that we can credit him with about twenty years, according to Josephus (Ant., X, viii, 4), i.e. from about 1037-1017. In this case David transferred the seat of government to Jerusalem about the year 1010, and the completion of the erection of the temple of Solomon took place in 966. But this basal date of 937 is not accepted as correct by all scholars. Klostermann places the date of the rupture of the kingdom in the year 978; Koehler, in 973. For later chronological data, Assyrian sources are an important factor. The Assyrians were accustomed to call each year after the name of an official (limu), and eponym lists are extant for 228 years. In these reference is made to an eclipse of the sun, which astronomically has been settled as having taken place on July 15, 763. We have in this list then the period from 893 to 666. On this basis, it is made possible to determine the exact dates of the different military expeditions of the Assyrian rulers and their conflicts with the kings of Judah and Israel, on the presupposition, however, that the Assyrian inscriptions here used really speak of these kings, which in a number of cases is denied. Valuable help for determining the chronology of this period is the fall of Samaria in the year 722 and the expedition of Sennacherib against Jerusalem in 701, and then the fall of Jerusalem in 587 and 586. The distribution of the years between these dates to the individual kings is in places doubtful, as the numbers in the text are possibly corrupt, and in the synchronistic data of the Books of Ki mistakes may have been made.


V. Period of the Separated Kingdoms.

1. Contrasts and Vicissitudes of the Kingdoms:

The two separated kingdoms differed materially. The kingdom of Ephraim was the more powerful of the two. It embraced, according to an inaccurate usage of situdes of the words, 10 tribes; and to this the kingdom the vassals, such as Moab, as a rule remained subject, until they emancipated themselves. But, on the other hand, this Northern Kingdom was less firm spiritually. Even the resident city of the king changed frequently, until Omri founded the city of Samaria, which was well adapted for this purpose. The dynasties, too, were only of short duration. It occurred but rarely that one family was able to maintain its supremacy on the throne through several generations. A revolutionary character remained fixed in this kingdom and became its permanent weakness. On the other hand, the smaller and often overpowered kingdom of Judah, which faithfully adhered to the royal line of David, passed through dangerous crises and had many unworthy rulers. But the legitimate royal house, which had been selected by Yahweh, constituted spiritually a firm bond, which kept the people united, as is seen, e.g., by a glance at the addresses of Isaiah, who is thoroughly filled with the conviction of the importance of the house of David, no matter how unworthy the king who happened to rule might appear to him. In a religious respect, also, the arbitrary break with Zion proved to be fatal for the Northern Kingdom.

2. The Successive Reigns:


It is true that faithful prophets of Yahweh, such as the Abijah of Shiloh mentioned above, and Shemaiah (1Ki 12:22 ), proclaimed that the fateful division of the kingdom was a Divinely intended judgment from Yahweh. But they soon were compelled to reach the conclusion that Jeroboam did not regard himself as a servant of Yahweh, but as a sovereign who, through his own power and through the favor of the people, had secured the rule, and hence, could arbitrarily decide all matters in reference to the cult and the sacred sanctuaries of the people. According to his own will, and for political reasons, he established the new national sanctuary at Bethel, and another at Dan. At both shrines he caused Yahweh to be worshipped under the image of a calf, which was to constitute a paganizing opposition to the Ark of the Covenant on Mt. Zion, even if it was the idea that Yahweh, the God of the Covenant, was to be worshipped in these new images. In doing this, the king followed ancient national customs, which had broken with the purity of the Mosaic religion (concerning imageworship in Da we have beard before. See GOLDEN CALF). His sojourn in Egypt, too, where he had lived as a fugitive, had doubtless furnished the king incentives in this direction. He created a priesthood that was submissive to his wishes, and disregarded the opposition of the few prophets who protested against the policy of the king. His successors, too, walked "in the ways of Jeroboam." The independent prophets, however, did not die out, but, rather, prophecy developed its greatest activity in this very Northern Kingdom. As a rule, in its work it stood in opposition to the government, but at times it succeeded in gaining the recognition of the rulers.


The earliest times of the divided kingdoms are, from a political point of view, characterized by the fact that the kingdoms on the Euphrates and the Tigris, namely Assyria and Babylon, still had enough to do with themselves, and did not yet make any inroads into the Mediterranean lands; but, rather, it was the Syrians who first caused a good deal of trouble to the Northern Kingdom. Jeroboam did not succeed in rounding a dynasty. Already his son Nadab was eliminated by a usurper Baasha. The latter’s son too, Elah, was murdered, after a reign of two years. It was not, however, his murderer Zimri, or Tibni, who strove to secure the kingdom. for himself, but Omri who became king (1Ki 16), and who also attained to such prominence abroad that the cuneiform inscriptions for a long time after call Israel "the land of Omri." His ability as a ruler was seen in the fact that the establishment of Samaria as the capital city was his work. The inscription on the Mesha stone reports that he also established the sovereignty of Israel vigorously on the east side of the Jordan.


His son Ahab, too, was an energetic and brave ruler, who succeeded in gaining a number of victories over the Syrians, who were now beginning to assume the offensive in a determined manner. Then, too, he was politic enough to win over to his interests the kingdom of Judah, with which his predecessors had lived in almost constant warfare. In this policy he succeeded, because the noble and large-hearted king Jehoshaphat was more receptive to such fraternal relations than was good for him. An expedition jointly undertaken by these two kings against Syria brought Jehoshaphat into extreme danger and ended with the death of Ahab.

Ahab’s fate was his wife Jezebel, the daughter of the Phoenician king Ethbaal (Ithobal, according to Josephus, Ant, VIII, xiii, 2 and Apion, I, 18), who had been a priest of Astarte. This intermarriage with a fanatical heathen family brought untold and endless misfortune over all Israel. This bold and scheming woman planned nothing less than the overthrow of the religion of Yahweh, and the substitution for it of the Baal and the Astarte cult. As a first step she succeeded in having the king tolerate this religion. The leading temple in the new resident city, Samaria, was dedicated to the Baal cult. Already this introduction of a strange and lascivious ethnic religion was a great danger to the religion and the morals of the people. Hosts of Baal priests, ecstatic dervishes, traversed the country. Soon the queen undertook to persecute the faithful worshippers of Yahweh. The fact that these men protested against the tolerance of this foreign false religion was interpreted as disobedience on their part to the king. Many faithful prophets were put to death. At this critical period, when the existence of the religion of Yahweh was at stake, the prophet Elijah, the Tishbite, appeared on the stage, and through a bitter struggle reestablished the worship of Yahweh. However, the fateful influence that this woman exerted was thereby not yet destroyed. It extended to Judah also.


In the kingdom of Judah, apart from the apostasy of different tribes, which left him only the vigorous tribe of Judah and portions of Benjamin, Dan, Simeon, and Levi, Rehoboam experienced also other calamities, namely, a destructive invasion and tribute imposition by King Shishak of Egypt (Egyptian Sheshonk, founder of the XXIId Dynasty; 1Ki 14:25 f; compare 2Ch 12:2 ff). While under Solomon the relations of Israel to the Egyptian court had in the beginning been very friendly, this was changed when a new dynasty came to the throne. After Jeroboam had failed in his first revolutionary project, he had found refuge at the court of Shishak (1Ki 11:40). It is possible that Jeroboam made the Egyptian king lustful for the treasures of Jerusalem. The Egyptians did not, as a matter of fact, stop at the Ephraimitic boundaries, but in part also invaded the territory of Jeroboam; but their chief objective was Jerusalem, from which they carried away the treasures that had been gathered by Solomon. On the temple wall of Karnak this Pharaoh has inscribed the story of this victory and booty. From the names of the cities found in this inscription, we learn that this expedition extended as far as Megiddo and Taanach.


Rehoboam was succeeded by his son Abijah, or Abijahu, according to Chronicles (the Abijam of Kings is hardly correct). He ruled only 3 years. But even during this short reign he was compelled to engage in a severe struggle with Jeroboam (1Ki 15:6; see details in 2Ch 13).


In every respect the reign of the God-fearing Asa, who sought to destroy the heathenism that had found its way into the cult, was more fortunate. He also experienced Yahweh’s wonderful help when the Cushite Zerah made an incursion into his land (2Ch 14:8 ), i.e. probably Osorkon I, who, however, did not belong to an Ethiopian dynasty. Possibly he is called an Ethiopian because he came into the country with Nubian troops. Less honorable was his conduct in the conflict with Baasha. When he was sorely pressed by the latter he bought, through the payment of a large tribute, the assistance of the Syrian king, Ben-hadad I, who up to this time had been an ally of Baasha. This bribing of foreigners to fight against their own covenant people, which was afterward often repeated, was rebuked by a bold prophet in the presence of the pious king, but the prophet was compelled to suffer abuse for his open testimony (2Ch 16:7 ).


A much more noble conduct characterized the dealings of Jehoshaphat in relation to the Northern Kingdom. His fault was that he entered too fully into the selfish offers of friendship made by Ahab. The worst step was that, in order to confirm his covenant, he took for his son Jehoram as wife, Athaliah, the daughter of Jezebel. Jehoshaphat was a chivalrous ally, who also joined Ahab’s son, Jehoram, in a dangerous war against the Moabites; as this people under their king Mesha had made themselves free from Israel and had taken the offensive against them. For the inner affairs of the kingdom his reign was more fortunate. He was a Godfearing and an energetic prince, who did much to elevate the people in a material and a religious way and perfected its political organization. Nor did he fail to secure some noteworthy successes. However, the fact that the warning words of the prophets who rebuked him because of his alliance with the half-heathenish house of Omri were not the fanatical exaggerations of pessimistic seers, appears at once after his death.


His son Jehoram, after the manner of oriental despots, at once caused his brothers to be put to death, of which doubtless his wife Athaliah was the cause. This woman transplanted the policy of Jezebel to Judah, and was scheming for the downfall of the house of David and its sanctuary. Under Jehoram the power of Judah accordingly began to sink rapidly. Edom became independent. The Philistines and the Arabians sacked Jerusalem. Even the royal princes, with the exception of Ahaziah, the youngest son of Athaliah, were expelled. When the latter ascended the throne she had the absolute power in her hands.


During this time the judgment over the house of Omri was fast approaching. The avenger came in the person of the impetuous Jehu, who had been anointed king by one of the disciples of Elisha in the camp of Ramoth in Gilead. According to 1Ki 19:16, the order had already been given to Elijah to raise this man to the throne; but the compliance with this command appears to have been delayed. As soon as Jehu became aware that he was entrusted with this mission, he hastened to Jezreel, where Ahaziah, king of Judah, was just paying a visit to Jehoram, and slew them both. With heartless severity he extended this slaughter, not only to all the members of the house of Omri, together with Jezebel, but also to those numerous members of the Davidic royal house who fell into his hands. He likewise destroyed the adherents of Baal, whom he had invited to their death in their sanctuary at Samaria. Deserved as this judgment upon the house of Jeroboam was (2Ki 10:30), which Jehu, according to higher command, carried out, he did this in an unholy mind and with hardness and ambitious purpose. The puritanical Rechabites had sanctioned his action; but as more and more the true character of Jehu began to reveal itself, he lost the sympathies of the pious, and Hosea announced to his house the vengeance for his bloody crimes at Jezreel (Ho 1:4).

The Assyrians.

In Jehu’s reign occurred the inroads toward the West on the part of the Assyrians. This people already in the time of Ahab, under their king, Shalmaneser II, had forced their way as far as Karkar on the Orontes, and had there fought a battle in 854 with the Syrians and their allies, among whom Ahab is also mentioned, with 2,000 chariots and 10,000 soldiers. If this is really Ahab, the king of Israel, which is denied by some, then he, at that time, fought against Assyria in conjunction with the Syrians, who otherwise had been so bitterly attacked by him. The Assyrians boast of this victory, but seem to have won it at a heavy price, as they did not press on farther westward. When in 842 Shalmaneser came a second time, Jehu was certainly not among the allies of the Syrians. The Assyrians do not seem, on this occasion, to have been opposed by so powerful a league, and were able to attack the Syrians whom they conquered at Saniru (Hermon, Anti-Lebanon) in a much more determined manner. They laid siege to Damascus and laid waste the surrounding country. The Hauran and Bashan were made a desert. In their march of victory they pressed forward as far as the Mediterranean. Phoenicia and other countries brought tribute. Among these nations Shalmaneser expressly mentions Jahua ("Jehu, the son of Omri" (!)), who was compelled to deliver up gold and silver bars and other valuable possessions. But this expensive homage on the part of Jehu did not help much. Shalmaneser came only once more (839) into this neighborhood. After this the Assyrians did not appear again for a period of 35 years. All the more vigorously did the Syrians and other neighboring people make onslaughts on Israel. How fearfully they devasted Israel appears from Am 1.


Under his son Jehoahaz the weakness of Israel became still greater. In his helplessness, the Lord finally sent him a deliverer (2Ki 13:3 ). This deliverer was none other than the Assyrian king, Adad-nirari III (812-783), who, through a military incursion, had secured anew his supremacy over Western Asia, and had besieged the king of Damascus and had forced him to pay an immense tribute. In this way Israel, which had voluntarily rendered submission to him, was relieved of its embarrassment by the weakening of Syria.

Jehoash, the son of Jehoahaz, experienced more favorable conditions. He also conquered Amaziah, the king of Judah; and his son, Jeroboam II, even succeeded in restoring the old boundaries of the kingdom, as the prophet Jonah had predicted (2Ki 14:24 ). His reign was the last flourishing period of the kingdom of Ephraim.

See, further, ISRAEL, KINGDOM OF.


The kingdom of Judah, in the meanwhile, had passed through severe crises. The most severe was caused by that Athaliah, who, after the murder of her son Ahaziah by Jehu, had secured absolute control in Jerusalem, and had abused this power in order to root out the family of David. Only one son of the king, Joash, escaped with his life. He, a boy of one year, was hidden in the temple by a relative, where the high priest Jehoiada, who belonged to the party opposed to the heathen-minded queen, concealed him for a period of 6 years. When the boy was 7 years old Jehoiada, at a well-timed moment, proclaimed him king. His elevation to the throne, in connection with which event the terrible Athaliah was put to death, introduced at the same time an energetic reaction against the heathendom that had found its way even into Judah, and which the queen had in every way favored. Joash was predestined to be a theocratic king. And, in reality, in the beginning of his reign of 40 years, he went hand in hand with the priests and the prophets of Yahweh. After Jehoiada’s death, however, he tolerated idolatrous worship among the princes (2Ch 24:17 ), and by doing so came into conflict with the faithful prophet Zechariah, the son of his benefactor Jehoiada, who rebuked him for his wrong, and was even stoned. A just punishment for this guilt was recognized in the misfortune which overtook the king and his country. The Syrian king, Hazael, when he was engaged in an expedition against Gath, also took possession of Jerusalem and made it pay tribute, after having apparently inflicted a severe defeat on the people of Judah, on which occasion many princes fell in the battle and Joash himself was severely wounded. Toward the end of his reign there was also much dissatisfaction among his subjects, and some of his courtiers finally murdered him (2Ki 12:20 f).


However, his son Amaziah, who now ascended the throne, punished the murderers. The king was successful in war against the Edomites. This made him bold. He ventured to meet Joash, the king of Israel, in battle and was defeated and captured. The people of Judah suffered the deepest humiliation. A large portion of the walls of Jerusalem was torn down (2Ki 14:11 ). Amaziah did not feel himself safe even in his own capital city, because of the dissatisfaction of his own subjects, and he fled to Lachish. Here he was murdered. So deep had Judah fallen, while Jeroboam II succeeded in raising his kingdom to an unthought-of power.


But for Judah a turn for the better soon set in under Uzziah, the same as Azariah in Kings, the son of Amaziah, who enjoyed a long and prosperous reign. 3. The Literary Prophets:

Prosperous as Israel outwardly appeared to be during the reigns of these two kings, Jeroboam II and Uzziah, the religious and moral conditions of the people were just as little satisfactory. This is the testimony Prophets of the prophets Amos and Hosea, as also of Isaiah and Micah, who not much later began their active ministry in Judah. It is indeed true that these were not the first prophets to put into written form some of their prophetic utterances. The prophecies of Obadiah and Joe are by many put at an earlier date, namely Obadiah under Jehoram in Judah, and Joe under Joash in Judah. At any rate, the discourses of the prophets from this time on constitute an important contemporaneous historical source. They illustrate especially the spiritual condition of the nation. Throughout these writings complaints are made concerning the heathen superstitions and the godless cult of the people, and especially the corruption in the administration of the laws, oppression of the poor and the helpless by the rich and the powerful, and pride and luxury of all kinds. In all these things the prophets see a terrible apostasy on Israel’s part. But also the foreign policy of the different kings, who sought help, now of the one and then of the other of the world-powers (Egypt, Assyria), and tried to buy the favor of these nations, the prophets regarded as adultery with foreign nations and as infidelity toward Yahweh. As a punishment they announced, since all other misfortunes sent upon them had been of no avail, an invasion through a conqueror, whom Amos and Hosea always indicate shall be Assyria, and also deportations of the people into a heathen land, and an end of the Jewish state. Improbable as these threats may have seemed to the self-satisfied inhabitants of Samaria, they were speedily realized.

Successors of Jeroboam II

After the death of Jeroboam, the strength of the Northern Kingdom collapsed. His son Zechariah was able to maintain the throne for only 6 months, and his murderer Shallum only one month. The general Menahem, who put him out of the way, maintained himself as king for 10 years, but only by paying a heavy tribute to the Assyrian ruler Pul, i.e. Tiglath-pileser III, who ruled from 745-727 (compare 2Ki 15:19 f).


His son Pekahiah, on the other hand, soon fell by the hands of the murderer Pekah (2Ki 15:25), who allied himself with Syria against Judah. The latter, however, invited the Assyrians to come into the country; and these, entering in the year 734 BC, put an end to the reign of this usurper, although he was actually put to death as late as 730 BC.


The last king of the Northern Kingdom, Hoshea (730-722 BC), had the Assyrians to thank for his throne; but he did not keep his fidelity as a vassal very long. As soon as Tiglath-pileser was dead, he tried to throw off the Assyrian yoke. But his successor Shalmaneser IV (727-723 BC), who already in the first year of his reign had again subdued the rebellious king Elulaios of Syria, soon compelled Hoshea also to submit to his authority. Two years later Hoshea again joined a conspiracy with the Phoenicians against Assyria, in which they even counted on the help of the Egyptian king, who in the Bible is called So or Seve (Egyptian name is Shabaka). Now the Assyrians lost all patience. They at once came with their armies. Hoshea seems to have voluntarily submitted to the power of the Great King, who then made him a captive. The people, however, continued the struggle. Samaria, the capital city, was besieged, but did not fall until the 3rd year (722 BC) into the hands of the enemy. Shalmaneser, in the meanwhile, had died and Sargon II had become his successor. The city was indeed not destroyed, but a large portion of the inhabitants, especially the leaders, were deported and transplanted to Northern Mesopotamia and to Media. Sargon states that the number of deported Israelites was 27,290. Prominent persons from other cities were also doubtless to be included in those deported. On the other hand, the Assyrian king settled Babylonian and Syrian prisoners of war in Samaria (721 BC), and in the year 715 BC, Arabs also. But the country, to a great extent, continued in a state of desolation, so that Esar-haddon (680-668 BC) and Ashurbanipal (667-626 BC) sent new colonists there, the last-mentioned sending them from Babylonia, Persia and Media (compare 2Ki 17:24 ff). In these verses the Babylonian city of Cuthah is several times mentioned, on account of which city the Jews afterward called the Samaritans Cuthites. This report also makes mention of the religious syncretism, which of necessity resulted from the mixture of the people. But we must be careful not to place at too small figures the number of Israelites who remained in the country. It is a great exaggeration when it is claimed, as it is by Friedrich Delitzsch, that the great bulk of the inhabitants of the country of Samaria, or even of Galilee, was from this time on Babylonian.

Uzziah and Jotham.

The kingdom of Judah, however, outlived the danger from Assyria. As King Uzziah later in his life suffered from leprosy, he had Jotham as a co-regent during this period. The earliest discourses of Isaiah, which belong to this period (Isa 2-4; 5), show that in Jerusalem the people were at that time still enjoying the fruits and prosperity of a long period of peace. But immediately after the death of Jotham, when the youthful Ahaz began to rule, the onslaught of the allied Syrians and Ephraimites took place under Rezin, or better Rezon, and Pekah. This alliance purposed to put an end to the Davidic reign in Jerusalem, probably for the purpose of making this people, too, a member of the league against the dangerous Assyrians. The good-sized army of Judah seems to have fallen a victim to the superior power of the allies before the situation described in Isa 7 could be realized, in which the siege of the city is described as already imminent. The Edomites also at that time advanced against Judah. Elath, the harbor city on the Red Sea, from which Uzziah, too, as had been done by Solomon long before, sent out trading vessels, at that time came into their power. For 2Ki 16:6 probably speaks of Edom and not of Aram (compare 2Ch 28:17). In his anxiety, Ahaz, notwithstanding the advice of Isaiah to the contrary, then appealed to the king of Assyria, and the latter actually put in his appearance in 734 BC and overcame the power of Syria and Ephraim, as we have seen above. However, the intervention of this world-power brought no benefit to Judah. Without this disgraceful appeal to a heathen ruler, Yahweh, according to the promise of Isaiah, would have protected Jerusalem, if Ahaz had only believed. And the Assyrians did not prevent the Philistines and the Edomites from falling upon Judah. The Assyrians themselves soon came to be the greatest danger threatening Judah. Ahaz, however, was an unstable character in religious affairs, and he copied heathen forms of worship, and even sacrificed his son to the angry sun-god, in order to gain his favor. The tribute that the people had to pay to Assyria was already a heavy burden on this little kingdom.


His noble and God-fearing son, Hezekiah (724-696 BC), was also compelled to suffer from the consequences of this misgovernment. The temptation was great to enter into an alliance with his neighbors and the Egyptians, so strong in cavalry, for the purpose of ridding Judah of the burdensome yoke of the Assyrians. In vain did Isaiah warn against such unworthy self-help. At the advice of the ministers of Hezekiah, and because of the trust put in Egypt, the tribute was finally refused to the Assyrians. Hezekiah also sought to establish closer connections with Merodachbaladan, the king of Babylon and the enemy of the Assyrians, when the latter, after a dangerous sickness of the king, had sent messengers to Jerusalem in order to congratulate him on the restoration of his health. This story, found in 2Ki 20, belongs chronologically before 2Ki 18:13 ff, and, more accurately, in the 14th year of Hezekiah mentioned in 18:13. However, the expedition of Sennacherib which is mistakenly placed in that year, took place several years later: according to the Assyrian monuments, in the year 701 BC.


In the year 702 BC Sennacherib, with a powerful army, marched over the Lebanon and subdued the rebellious Phoenicians, and marched along the seacoast to Philistia. The inhabitants of Ekron had sent their king, Padi, who sympathized with the Assyrians, to Hezekiah. Sennacherib came to punish Ekron and Ascalon. But he was particularly anxious to overpower Judah, which country his troops devastated and depopulated. Now Hezekiah recognized his danger, and offered to submit to Sennacherib. The latter accepted his submission conditionally on the payment of a burdensome tribute, which Hezekiah delivered faithfully (2Ki 18:14-16). Then Sennacherib was no longer satisfied with the tribute alone, but sent troops who were to despoil Jerusalem. Isaiah, who surely had not sanctioned the falling away from the Assyrian supremacy and had prophesied that the inhabitants of Jerusalem would suffer a severe punishment, from that moment, when the conqueror had maliciously broken his word, spoke words of comfort and advised against giving up the city, no matter how desperate the situation seemed to be (Isa 37:1 ). The city was then not given up, and Sennacherib, on account of a number of things that occurred, and finally because of a pestilence which broke out in his army, was compelled to retreat. He did not return to Jerusalem, and later met his death by violent hands. This deliverance of Jerusalem through the miraculous providence of God was the greatest triumph of the prophet Isaiah. Within his kingdom Hezekiah ruled successfully. He also purified the cult from the heathen influences that had forced their way into it, and was a predecessor of Josiah in the abolition of the sacrifices on the high places, which had been corrupted by these influences.


Unfortunately, his son Manasseh was little worthy of succeeding him. He, in every way, favored the idolatry which all along had been growing secretly. He inaugurated bloody persecutions of the faithful prophets of Yahweh. According to a tradition, which it must be confessed is not supported by undoubted testimony, Isaiah also, now an old man, became a victim of these persecutions. Images and altars were openly erected to Baal and Astarte. Even in the temple-house on Mt. Zion, an image of Astarte was standing. As a result of this ethnic cult, immorality and sensuality found their way among the people. At the same time the terrible service of Moloch, in the valley of Hinnom, demanded the sacrifice of children, and even a son of the king was given over to this worship. The Book of Chronicles, indeed, tells the story of a terrible affliction that Manasseh suffered, namely that an Assyrian general dragged him in chains to Babylon for having violated his promises to them, but that he was soon released. This is not at all incredible. He seems to have taken part in a rebellion, which the brother of the Assyrian king, who was also vice-king in Babylon, had inaugurated. This sad experience may have forced Manasseh to a certain kind of repentance, at least, so that he desisted from his worst sacrileges. But his son Amon continued the old ways of his father, until after a brief reign he was put to death.


Much more promising was his young son Josiah, who now, only 8 years old, came to the throne. It is quite possible that, in view of such frequent changes in the disposition of the successors to the throne, his mother may have had great influence on his character. Concerning Josiah, see 2Ki 22:1 ff. With increasing clearness and consistency, he proceeded to the work of religious reformation. A special impetus to this was given by the finding of an old law book in the temple, the publication of which for the first time revealed the fearful apostasy of the times. The finding of this book in the temple, as narrated in 2Ki 22:3 ff, took place in connection with the restoration of that building on a larger scale, which at that time had been undertaken. And very probably Edouard Naville is right in believing, on the basis of Egyptian analogies, that this document had been imbedded in the foundation walls of the building. Whether this had been done already in the days of Solomon is not determined by this fact. From the orders of Josiah we can conclude that the book which was found was Deuteronomy, which lays special stress on the fact that there shall be a central place for the cult, and also contains such threats as those must have been which frightened Josiah. But under no circumstances was Deuteronomy a lawbook that had first been written at this time, or a fabrication of the priest Hilkiah and his helpers. It would rather have been possible that the discovered old law was rewritten in changed form after its discovery and had been adapted to the language of the times. The people were obliged to obey the newly-discovered law and were instructed in it.


The prophet Jeremiah also, who a few years before this had been called to the prophetic office, according to certain data in the text, participated in this proclamation of the law of the covenant throughout the land. This change for the better did not change the tendency of his prophetic discourses, from what these had been from the beginning. He continued to be the accuser and the prophet of judgment, who declared that the destruction of the city and of the temple was near at hand. He looked too deeply into the inner corruption of his people to be misled by the external transformation that was the result of a command of the ruler. And only too soon did the course of events justify his prediction. With the person of the God-fearing Josiah, the devotion of the people to the law was also buried and the old curse everywhere broke out again.

The Chaldeans.

In a formal way Jeremiah was probably influenced by the incursions of the Scythians, which occurred during his youth, and who about this time marched from the plain of Jezreel toward Egypt (compare Herodotus i.103 ff); which event also made a gloomy impression on his contemporary Ezekiel, as appears from his vision of Gog in the land of Magog. However, we are not to suppose that Jeremiah, when describing the enemy coming from the north, whom he saw from the time of his call to the prophetic office, meant merely this band of freebooters. The prophet had in mind a world-power after the type of the Assyrians, who always came from the north into Canaan. The Assyrians indeed were in process of disintegration, and Nineveh fell under the attacks of the Medes and the Persians in the year 607-606 BC. The heir of the Assyrian power was not Egypt, which was also striving for universal supremacy, but was the Babylonian, or rather, more accurately, the Chaldean dynasty of Nabopolassar, whose son Nebuchadnezzar had overpowered the Egyptians at Carchemish in 605 BC. From this time on Jeremiah had pointed out the Chaldeans and Nebuchadnezzar, who soon afterward became their king, as the agents to carry out the judgment on Jerusalem.

Already a few years before this Judah’s good star had gone down on the horizon. When Pharaoh-necho II came to Palestine by the sea route, in order to march northeast through the plain of Jezreel, to give the final and fatal blow to the sinking kingdom of the Assyrians, King Josiah opposed him on the plain of Megiddo, probably because of his obligations as a vassal to the king of Assyria. In the battle of Megiddo (609 BC), Josiah was mortally wounded. No greater calamity could have befallen Judah than the death of this king, who was deeply mourned by all well-meaning people, and who was the last of the house of David that was a credit to it.

The Successors of Josiah.

By popular election the choice now fell on Jehoahaz, a younger son of Josiah, called by Jeremiah (22:11) Shallum. But he found no favor with Necho, who took him prisoner in his camp at Riblah and carried him to Egypt (2Ki 23:30 ). The Egyptian king himself selected Jehoiakim, hitherto called Eliakim, an older son of Josiah, who had been ignored by the people, to be king in Jerusalem, a prince untrue to Yahweh, conceited, luxury-loving and hard-hearted, who, in addition, through his perfidious policy, brought calamity upon the land. He formed a conspiracy against Nebuchadnezzar, to whom he had begun to pay tribute in the 5th year of his reign, and in this way brought it about that the Syrians, the Moabites and the Ammonites, who had taken sides with the Assyrians, devastated the land of Judah, and that finally the king of Babylon himself came to Jerusalem to take revenge. It is not clear what was the end of this king. According to 2Ch 36:6, compared with 2Ki 24:6, he seems to have died while yet in Jerusalem, and after he had already fallen into the hands of his enemies. His son Jehoiachin did not experience a much better fate. After ruling three months he was taken to Babylon, where he was a prisoner for 37 years, until he was pardoned (2Ki 24:8 ff; 25:27 ). Together with Jehoiachin, the best portion of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, about 10,000 men, especially the smiths and the builders, were deported.

Zedekiah, the Last King of Judah.

Once more the Babylonians set up a king in Jerusalem in the person of Zedekiah, an uncle of Jehoiachin, and accordingly a son of Josiah, called Mattaniah, who afterward was called Zedekiah. He governed for twelve years (597-586 BC), and by his life, morally and religiously corrupt, sealed the fate of the house and of the kingdom of David. The better class among the leading and prominent people had been banished. As a result, the courtiers of the king urged him to try once again some treacherous schemes against the Babylonian rulers and to join Egypt in a conspiracy against them. However earnestly Jeremiah and Ezekiel warned against this policy, Zedekiah nevertheless constantly yielded to his evil advisers and to the warlike patriotic party, who were determined to win back in battle the independence of the country. While he at first, through an embassy, had assured the Great King of his loyalty (Jer 29:3), and still in the 4th year of his reign had personally visited in Babylon as a mark of his fidelity (Jer 51:59), he was induced in the 9th year of his reign to make an alliance with the Egyptians against the Babylonians and to refuse to render obedience to the latter. Nebuchadnezzar soon came and surrounded the city. At the announcement that an Egyptian army was approaching, the siege was again raised for a short time. But the hope placed by Zedekiah on his ally failed him. The Babylonians began again to starve out the city. After a siege of 18 months, resistance proved futile. The king tried secretly to break through the circle of besiegers, but in doing so was taken prisoner, was blinded by the Babylonian king and taken to Babylon. The majority of the prominent men and state officials, who were taken to the encampment of the conqueror in Riblah, were put to death. The conquered city of Jerusalem, especially its walls and towers, together with the temple, were totally destroyed. Nearly all the inhabitants who could be captured after the slaughter were dragged into captivity, and only people of the lower classes were left behind in order to cultivate the land (2Ki 25:11). Gedaliah, a noble-minded aristocrat, was appointed governor of the city, and took up his residence in Mizpah. At this place it seemed that a new kernel of the people was being gathered. Jeremiah also went there. However, after two months this good beginning came to an end. Gedaliah was slain by Ishmael, the son of Nethaniah, an anti-Chaldaean, a fanatical and revengeful descendant of the house of David. The murderer acted in cooperation with certain Ammonitish associates and fled to the king of Ammon. The Jews in later times considered the murder of Gedaliah as an especially great national calamity, and fasted on the anniversary of this crime. And as the people also feared the revenge of the Babylonians, many migrated to Egypt, compelling Jeremiah, now an old man, to accompany them, although he prophesied to them that no good would come of this scheme. They first stayed at the border city Tahpanhes, near Pelusium, and then scattered over Upper and Lower Egypt.

VI. Time of the Babylonian Exile.

1. Influence of the Exile:

The inhabitants of Judah, who had been deported by Nebuchadnezzar at different times, were settled by him in Babylonia, e.g. at the river Chebar (Eze 1:1), near the city of Nippur. From Hilprecht’s excavations of this city, it has been learned that this river, or branch of the Euphrates Influence river, is to be found at this place, and of the is not to be confounded with the river Chaboras. In the same way, the many contract-tablets with Jewish names which have been found at Nippur, show that a large Jewish colony lived at that place. Of the fate of these banished Jews for a period of 50 years, we hear almost nothing. But it is possible to learn what their condition was in exile from the Book of Ezekiel and the 2nd part of Isaiah. Land was assigned to them here, and they were permitted to build houses for themselves (Jer 29:5 ), and could travel around this district without restraint. They were not prisoners in the narrow sense of the word. They soon, through diligence and skill in trade, attained to considerable wealth, so that most of them, after the lapse of half a century, were perfectly satisfied and felt no desire to return home. For the spiritual development of the people the exile proved to be a period of great importance. In the first place, they were separated from their native soil, and in this way from many temptations of heathenism and idolatry, and the like. The terrible judgment that had come over Jerusalem had proved that the prophets had been right, who had for a long time, but in vain, preached genuine repentance. This did not prove to be without fruit (of Zec 1:6). While living in the heathen land, they naturally became acquainted with heathendom in a more crass form. But even if many of the Jews were defiled by it, in general the relations of the Israelites toward the idol-worshipping Babylonians were antagonistic, and they became all the more zealous in the observance of those religious rites which could be practiced in a foreign land, such as rest on the Sabbath day, the use of meats, circumcision, and others. But with marked zeal the people turned to the spiritual storehouse of their traditions, namely their sacred literature. They collected the laws, the history, the hymns, and treasured them. It was also a noteworthy progress that such prophets as Ezekiel, Jeremiah and Daniel received prophetic visions while on heathen soil. The people also learned that the heathen, in the midst of whom they lived, became receptive of the higher truths of Israel’s religion. Especially does the 2nd part of Isaiah, chapters 40-66, show that they began to understand the missionary calling of Israel among the nations of the world.

2. Daniel:

The Book of Da reports how a God-fearing and law-abiding Jew, through his prophecies, attained to prominent positions of influence at the courts of different rulers. From the Book of Ezekiel we learn that the prophets and the elders cared for the spiritual wants of the people, and that they held meetings, at which indeed it was not permitted to offer sacrifices, but at which the word of Yahweh was proclaimed. Here we find the beginnings of what afterward was the synagogue-system.

3. Elephantine Papyri:

A remarkable picture of the Jewish diaspora in Upper Egypt is furnished by recently discovered papyri at Elephantine. From these it appears that in the 6th century BC, not only a large and flourishing Jewish colony was to be found at this place, but also that they had erected here a fine temple to Yahweh where they brought their sacrifices to which they had been accustomed at home. In an Aramaic letter, still preserved and dating from the year 411 BC, and which is addressed to the governor Bagohi, in Judea, these Jews complain that their temple in Yeb (Elephantine, near Syene) had been destroyed in the same year. It also states that this temple had been spared on one occasion by Cambyses, who was in Egypt from 525 to 521 BC. The answer of Bagohi also has been preserved, and he directs that the temple is to be built again and that meal offerings and incense are again to be introduced. Probably intentionally, mention in this letter is made only of the unbloody sacrifices, while in the first letter burnt sacrifices also are named. The sacrifices of animals by the Jews would probably have aroused too much the anger of the devotees of the divine ram, which was worshipped at Syene. Up to the present time we knew only of the much later temple of the high priest Onias IV at Leontopolis (160 BC). Compare Josephus, Ant, XII, iii, 1-3; BJ, VII, x, 2, 3.

VII. Return from the Exile and the Restoration.

1. Career of Cyrus:

In the meanwhile there was a new re-adjustment of political supremacy among the world-powers. The Persian king, Koresh (Cyrus), first made himself free from the supremacy of Media which, after the capture of the city Ecbatana, became a part of his own kingdom (549 BC). At that time Nabonidus was the king in Babylon (555-538 BC), who was not displeased at the collapse of the kingdom of the Medes, but soon learned that the new ruler turned out to be a greater danger to himself, as Cyrus subjugated, one after the other, the smaller kingdoms in the north. But Nabonidus was too unwarlike to meet Cyrus. He confined himself to sending his son with an army to the northern boundaries of his kingdom. On the other hand, the king of the Lydians, Croesus, who was related by marriage to King Astyages, who had been subdued by Cyrus, began a war with Cyrus, after he had formed an alliance with Egypt and Sparta. In the year 546 BC, he crossed the river Halys. Cyrus approached from the Tigris, and in doing so already entered Babylonian territory, conquered Croesus, took his capital city Sardis, and put an end to the kingdom of Lydia. The pious Israelites in captivity, under the tutelage of Deutero-Isaiah, watched these events with the greatest of interest. For the prophet taught them from the beginning to see in this king "the deliverer," who was the instrument of Yahweh for the return of the Israelites out of captivity, and of whom the prophets had predicted. And this expectation was fulfilled with remarkable rapidity. The victorious and aggressive king of Persia could now no longer be permanently checked, even by the Babylonians. It was in vain that King Nabonidus had caused the images of the gods from many of his cities to be taken to Babylon, in order to make the capital city invincible. This city opened its doors to the Persian commander Ugbaru (Gobryas) in 538 BC, and a few months later Cyrus himself entered the city. This king, however, was mild and conciliatory in his treatment of the people and the city. He did not destroy the city, but commanded only that a portion of the walls should be razed. However, the city gradually, in the course of time, became ruins.

Cyrus also won the good will and favor of the subjugated nations by respecting their religions. He returned to their shrines the idols of Nabonidus, that had been taken away. But he was particularly considerate of the Jews, who doubtless had complained to him of their fate and had made known to him their prophecies regarding him as the coming deliverer.

2. First Return under Zerubbable:

In the very first year of his reign over Babylon he issued an edict (2Ch 36:22 f; Ezr 1:1 ) that permitted the Jews to return home, with the command that they should again erect their temple. For this purpose he directed that the temple-vessels, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken away with him, should be returned to them, and commanded that those Israelites who voluntarily remained in Babylon should contribute money for the restoration of the temple. At the head of those to be returned stood Sheshbazzar, who is probably identical with Zerubbabel, although this is denied by some scholars; and also the high priest, Joshua, a grandson of the high priest, Seraiah, who had been put to death by Nebuchadnezzar. They were accompanied by only a small part of those in exile, that is by 42,360 men and women and children, male and female servants, especially from the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levi, but of the last-mentioned tribes more priests than other Levites. After several months they safely arrived in Palestine, probably 537 BC. Some of them settled down in Jerusalem, and others in surrounding cities and villages. They erected the altar for burnt sacrifices, so that they were again able in the 7th month to sacrifice on it.

(1) Building the temple.

The cornerstone of the temple was also solemnly laid at that time in the 2nd year of the Return (Ezr 3:8 ).

(2) Haggai and Zechariah.

But the erection of the temple must have been interrupted in a short time, since it was not until the 2nd year of Darius (520 BC), at the urgent appeal of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, that the work of building was energetically prosecuted. For this reason many scholars deny this cornerstone-laying in the year 536 BC. However, it still remains thinkable that several attempts were made at this work, since the young colony had many difficulties to contend with. Then, too, the memoirs of Ezra and Nehemiah, which have been worked over by the author of Chronicles, report the history of these times only in parts. The historical value of these literary sources has been confirmed by those Aramaic papyri found in Upper Egypt.

3. Ezra and Nehemiah:

In the year 516 BC, after 4 years of building, the temple was completed and dedicated. After this we have no information for a period of 58 years. Then we learn that Ezra, the scribe, in the 7th year of Artaxerxes I (458 BC), came with a new caravan of about 1,500 men with women and children from Babylon to the Holy Land. He had secured from the king the command to establish again in the land of the Jews the law, in which he was a prominent expert, and he tried to do this by earnest admonitions and instructive discourses addressed to the people. The acme of the activity of Ezra was the meeting of the people described in Ne 8-10 on the Feast of the Tabernacles, on which occasion the entire nation solemnly came under obligation to observe the law. According to the present position of these chapters this act took place in 444 BC; but it is probable that it happened before the arrival of Nehemiah, whose name would accordingly have to be eliminated in 8:9. This pericope would then belong to the memoirs of Ezra and not to those of Nehemiah. After some years there came to help Ezra in his work, Nehemiah, a pious Jew, who was a cupbearer to the king, and at his own request was granted leave of absence in order to help the city of Jerusalem, which he had heard was in dire straits. Its walls were in ruins, as the neighboring nations had been able to hinder their rebuilding, and even those walls of the city that had been hastily restored, had again been pulled down. Nehemiah came in the year 445-444 BC from Shushan to Jerusalem and at once went energetically to work at rebuilding the walls. Notwithstanding all oppositions and intrigues of malicious neighbors, the work was successfully brought to a close.

The hostile agitations, in so far as they were not caused by widespread envy and hatred of the Jews among the neighboring peoples, had a religious ground. Those who returned, as the people of Yahweh, held themselves aloof from the peoples living round about them, especially from the mixed peoples of Samaria. Samaria was the breeding-place for this hostility against Jerusalem. The governor at that place, Sanballat, was the head of this hostile league. The Jews had declined to permit the Samaritans to cooperate in the erection of the temple and would have no religious communion with them. The Samaritans had taken serious offense at this, and they accordingly did all they could to prevent the building of the walls in Jerusalem, which would be a hindrance to their having access to the temple. But Nehemiah’s trust in God and his energy overcame this obstacle. The policy of exclusiveness, which Ezra and Nehemiah on this occasion and at other times followed out, evinces a more narrow mind than the preexilic prophets had shown. In the refusal of intermarriage with the people living around them they went beyond the Mosaic law, for they even demanded that those marriages, which the Israelites had already contracted with foreign women, should be dissolved. But this exclusiveness was the outcome of legal conscientiousness, and at this period it was probably necessary for the selfpreservation of the people of Yahweh.


From the prophecies of Malachi, who was almost a contemporary of the two mentioned, it can be seen that the marriages with the foreign women had also brought with them a loosening of even the most sacred family ties (Mal 2:14 f). After an absence of 12 years, Nehemiah again returned to Shushan to the court; and when he later returned to Jerusalem he was compelled once more to inaugurate a stringent policy against the lawlessness which was violating the sanctity of the temple and of the Sabbath commandment. He also expelled a certain Manasseh, a grandson of the high priest, who had married a daughter of Sanballat. This Manasseh, according to Josephus (Ant., XI, viii, 2), erected the sanctuary on Mt. Gerizim, and established the priesthood at that place. This is no doubt correct. These accounts of Josephus are often combined without cause with the times of Alexander the Great, although they transpired about 110 years earlier.

The history of the Jews in the last decades of the Persian rule is little known. Under Artaxerxes III (Ochus), they were compelled to suffer much, when they took part in a rebellion of the Phoenicians and Cyprians. Many Jews were at that time banished to Hyrcania on the southern coast of the Caspian Sea. The Persian general, Bagoses, came to Jerusalem and forced his way even into the temple (Josephus, Ant, XI, vii, 1). He undertook to install as high priest, in the place of John (Jochanan), his brother Joshua (Jesus). The latter, however, was slain by the former in the temple. For the first time the office of the high priest appears as more of a political position, something that it never was in the preexilic times, and according to the law was not to be.

VIII. The Jews under Alexander and His Successors.

1. Spread of Hellenism:

As the Jews were then tired of the rule of the priests, they were not dissatisfied with the victorious career of Alexander the Great. He appears to have assumed a friendly attitude toward them, even if the story reported by Josephus (Ant., XI, viii, 4) is scarcely historical. The successors of Alexander were also, as a rule, tolerant in religious matters. But for political and geographical reasons, Palestine suffered severely in these times, as it lay between Syria and Egypt, and was an object of attack on the part of both the leading ruling families in this period, the Ptolemies in Egypt and the Seleucids in Syria. At the same time Hellenism, which had been so powerfully advanced by Alexander as a factor of civilization and culture, penetrated the land of Israel also. Greek culture and language spread soon in Palestine and in many places was supreme. The more strict adherents of Judaism recognized in this a danger to the Mosaic order of life and religion, and all the more zealously they now adhered to the traditional ordinances. These were called the chacidhim, or the Pious (Hasidaioi, 1 Macc 2:42; 7:13; 2 Macc 14:6). The world-transforming Hellenistic type of thought spread especially among the aristocrats and the politically prominent, and even found adherents among the priests, while the chacidhim belonged to the less conspicuous ranks of the people.

2. The Hasmoneans:

A struggle for life and death was caused between these two tendencies by the Syrian king, Antiochus IV (Epiphanes), into whose hands the sovereignty of Palestine had fallen. He undertook nothing less than to root out the hated Jewish religion. In the year 168 BC he commanded that the temple of Yahweh in Jerusalem should be dedicated to the Olympian Jupiter and forbade most stringently the observance of the Sabbath and circumcision. A large portion of the people did not resist his oppression, but adapted themselves to this tyrannical heathendom. Others suffered and died as martyrs. Finally in the year 167 BC a priest, Mattathias, gave the signal for a determined resistance, at the head of which stood his brave sons, the Hasmoneans, or Maccabees. First his son Judas undertook the leadership of the faithful. He succeeded in freeing Jerusalem from the Syriansú He restored the temple on Mt. Zion. The temple was dedicated anew and was given over to the old cult. After a number of victorious campaigns, Judas Maccabeus died the death of a hero in 161 BC. His brother, Jonathan, who took his place at the head of the movement, tried to secure the independence of the land rather through deliberate planning than through military power. He assumed, in addition to his secular power, also the high-priestly dignity. After his death by violence in 143 BC, he was succeeded by his brother Simon as the bearer of this double honor. The Hasmoneans, however, rapidly became worldly minded and lost the sympathies of the chasidhim. The son of Simon, John Hyrcanus (135-106 BC), broke entirely with the Pious, and his family, after his death, came to an end in disgraceful struggles for power. The rule of the land fell into the hands of Herod, a tyrant of Idumean origin, who was supported by the Romans. From 37 BC he was the recognized king of Judah.


IX. The Romans.

1. Division of Territory:

After the death of Herod (4 BC), the kingdom, according to his last will, was to be divided among his three sons. Archelaus received Judea; Antipas, Galilee and Peraea; Philip, the border lands in the north. However, Archelaus was soon deposed by the Romans (6 AD), and Judea was made a part of the province of Syria, but was put under a special Roman procurator, who resided in Caesarea. These procurators (of whom the best known was Pontius Pilate, 26-36 AD), had no other object than to plunder the land and the people.

2. Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans:

In this way a conflict was gradually generated between the people and their oppressors, which ended with the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD. As early as 40 AD this rupture almost took place, when the Syrian legate Petronius, at the command of Caligula, undertook to place a statue of the emperor in the temple of Jerusalem. On this occasion King Agrippa I, who was again ruling the whole territory of Herod, succeeded in adjusting the conflict. His son Agrippa II was given a much smaller kingdom (40-100 AD). He, too, sought to prevent the people from undertaking a struggle with the Romans, but in vain. By his unscrupulous treatment of the people, the procurator Gessius Florus drove the Jews into an insurrection. The party of the Zealots gained the upper hand. Florus was compelled to leave Jerusalem (66 AD). Even the good-sized army which Cestius Gallus commanded could not get control of the city, but was completely overpowered by the Jews on its retreat at Bethhoron. Now the entire country rose in rebellion. The Romans, under the leadership of Vespasian, advanced with considerable power and first conquered Galilee, then under Josephus (67 AD). In Jerusalem, in the meanwhile, different parties of the Jews were still fighting each other. Titus, the son of Vespasian, took the chief command after Vespasian had already conquered the East Jordan country and the western coast, but had hastened to Rome in order to become emperor. Titus completely surrounded the city a few days before the Passover festival in the year 70. On the northern side the Romans first broke through the first and newest city wall, and after that the second. The third offered a longer resistance, and at the same time famine wrought havoc in Jerusalem. At last the battle raged about the temple, during which this structure went up in flames. According to the full description by Josephus (BJ, VI, iv, 3 ff), Titus tried to prevent the destruction of the temple; according to Sulpicius Severus (Chron. II, 20), however, this destruction was just what he wanted. A few fortified places yet maintained themselves after the fall of Jerusalem, e.g. Macherus in the East Jordan country, but they could not hold out very long.

Later Insurrection of Bar-Cochba.

Once again the natural ambition for independence burst out in the insurrection of Bar-Cochba (132-35 AD). Pious teachers of the law, especially Rabbi Akiba, had enkindled this fire, in order to rid the country of the rule of the Gentiles. However, notwithstanding some temporary successes, this insurrection was hopeless. Both the city and the country were desolated by the enraged Romans still more fearfully, and were depopulated still more than in 70. From that time Jerusalem was lost to the Jews. They lived on without a country of their own, without any political organization, without a sanctuary, in the Diaspora among the nations.

3. Spiritual Life of the Period:

The spiritual and religious life of the Jews during the period preceding the dissolution of the state was determined particularly by the legalistic character of their ideals and their opposition to Hellenism. Their religion had become formalistic to a great extent since their return from the exile. The greatest emphasis was laid on obedience to the traditional ordinances, and these latter were chiefly expositions of ceremonial usurpers.

Appearance of Jesus Christ.

The crown of the history of Israel-Judah was the appearance of Jesus Christ. Looked at superficially, it may indeed appear as though His person and His life had but little affected the development of the national history of Israel. However, more closely viewed, we shall see that this entire history has its goal in Him and finds its realization in Him. After full fruit had developed out of this stock, the latter withered and died. He was to be the bearer of salvation for all mankind.


The earliest historian of Israel was the Jew, Flavius Josephus, in the 1st Christian century. His example found few followers in the early church, and we mention only the Chronicle of Sulpicius Severus. The subject is handled theologically by Augustine in his De Civitate Dei. It was only in the 17th century that a keen interest was awakened in this subject. Compare especially James Usher, Annales Veteris et Novi Testamenti, London, 1605; J.B. Bousset, Discours sur l’histoire universelie, Paris, 1681; Humphrey Prideaux, The Old and the New Testament Connected in the History of the Jews and Neighboring Nations, 2 volumes, London, 1716; S. Shukford, The Sacred and Profane History of the World Connected, London, 1727, this work treating the subject apologetically against the Deists. Compare also J. Saurin, Discours historiques, Amsterdam, 1720. Cocceius and his school systematized this history on the basis of their theological tenets, e.g. Gurtler, Systema theol. prophetica, Frankfurt, 1724. More systematic is the work of Vitringa, Hypothesis historiae et chronologiae sacrae, Frankfurt, 1708. The Lutheran church furnished the excellent work of Franz Budde, Historia Eccles. Veteris Testamenti, Jena, 1715. In the 18th century, Bengel’s school furnished some good histories of Israel, such as M.F. Roos’s Einleitung in die bibl. Geschichte, 1700. More popular is the work of J.J. Hess. The best Catholic work from this time is J. Jahn’s Archaeologie, 1802; while the Rationalistic period furnished Lorenz Bauer’s Geschichte der hebr. Nation, 1800. In the 19th century the rationalistic and the conservative tendencies run parallel, and a new impulse was given to the study of this history by the phenomenal archaeological finds in Egypt and in Assyria and Babylon. Critical reconstruction of Israel’s history characterizes the works of Reuss, Graf, Kuenen, Wellhausen. Other works of prominence are the Geschichte des Volkes Gottes, by Ewald; Kurtz, Geschichte des alten Bundes (these are translated); Hitzig, Geschichte des Volkes Israel, with critical tendency. The work of August Koehler, Lehrbuch der biblischen Geschichte, Altes Testament, is positive, while Wellhausen’s Geschichte Israels is a classic of the advanced school. Other works mostly critical are the histories of Renan, Kuenen, Stade, Winckler, Piepenbring, Cornill, Guthe, Cheyne, and others. Kittel’s Geschichte der Hebreier (translated) is more moderate in tone. For the New Testament the richest storehouse is Schurer’s Geschichte des judischen Volkes im Zeitalter Jesu Christi (translated); Hausrath’s Neutestamentliche Zeitgeschichte is also good. From the Jewish standpoint this history has been treated by S. Friediander, Geschichte des Israel-Volkes; and J.M. Jost, Geschichte der Israelitch; Moritz Raphall, Post-biblical History of the Jews from the Close of the Old Testament till the Destruction of the Second Temple, in the Year 70.

Among English works may be especially mentioned Milman’s History of the Jews and Stanley’s Lectures on the History of the Jewish Church, with smaller works by Ottley and others.

American works on the subject from the critical point of view are a History of the Hebrew People, by Kent, and a History of the Jewish People by Kent and Riggs in the "Historical Series for Bible Students," published by Messrs. Scribner. Compare also McCurdy, History, Prophecy and the Monuments; Toy, Judaism and Christianity; H.P. Smith, Old Testament History.

C. von Orelli



1. The Two Kingdoms

2. The Ist Dynasty

3. The IInd Dynasty

4. Civil War


1. The IIIrd Dynasty

2. World-Politics

3. Battle of Karkar

4. Loss of Territory

5. Reform of Religion

6. Revolution

7. The IVth Dynasty

8. Renewed Prosperity

9. Anarchy


1. Loss of Independence

2. Decline

3. Extinction

4. Summary


I. The First Period.

1. The Two Kingdoms:

The circumstances leading up to the foundation of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, or the Kingdom of the Ten Tribes, have been detailed under the heading KINGDOM OF JUDAH. From a secular point of view it would be more natural to regard the latter as an offshoot from the former, rather than the converse. But not only is the kingdom of Judah of paramount importance in respect of both religion and literature, but its government also was in the hands of a single dynasty, whereas that of the Northern Kingdom changed hands no less than 8 times, during the two and a half centuries of its existence. Moreover, the Southern Kingdom lasted about twice as long as the other.

2. The Ist Dynasty:

No sooner had Jeroboam I been elected the first ruler of the newly founded state than he set about managing its affairs with the energy for which he was distinguished (1Ki 11:28). To complete the disruption he established a sanctuary in opposition to that of Jerusalem (Ho 8:14), with its own order of priests (2Ch 11:14; 13:9), and founded two capital cities, Shechem on the West and Penuel on the East of the Jordan (1Ki 12:25). Peace seems to have been maintained between the rival governments during the 17 years’ reign of Rehoboam, but on the accession of his son Abijah war broke out (1Ki 15:6,7; 2Ch 13:3 if). Shortly afterward Jeroboam died and was succeeded by his son Nadab, who was a year later assassinated, and the Ist Dynasty came to an end, after an existence of 23 years, being limited, in fact, to a single reign.

3. The IInd Dynasty:

The turn of the tribe of Issachar came next. They had not yet given a ruler to Israel; they could claim none of the judges, but they had taken their part at the assembling of the tribes under Deborah and Barak of Naphtali. Baasha began his reign of 24 years by extirpating the house of his predecessor (1Ki 15:29), just as the ‘Abbasids annihilated the Umeiyads. The capital was now Tirzah (1Ki 14:17; So 6:4), a site not yet identified. His Judean contemporary was ASA (which see), who, like his father Abijah, called in the aid of the Syrians against the Northern Kingdom. Baasha was unequal to the double contest and was forced to evacuate the ground he had gained. His son Elah was assassinated after a reign of a year, as he himself had assassinated the son of the founder of the preceding dynasty, and his entire family and adherents were massacred (1Ki 16:11).

4. Civil War:

The name of the assassin was Zimri, an officer of the charioteers, of unknown origin and tribe. But the kingship was always elective, and the army chose Omri, the commander-in-chief, who besieged and took Tirzah, Zimri setting the palace on fire by his own hand and perishing in the flames. A second pretender, Tibni, a name found in Phoenician and Assyrian, of unknown origin, sprang up. He was quickly disposed of, and security of government was reestablished.

II. Period of the Syrian Wars.

1. The IIId Dynasty:

The founder of the new dynasty was Omri. By this time the Northern Kingdom was so much a united whole that the distinctions of tribe were forgotten. We do not know to what tribe Omri and his successors belonged. With Omri the political sphere of action of Israel became wider than it had been before, and its internal affairs more settled. His civil code was in force long after his dynasty was extinct, and was adopted in the Southern Kingdom (Mic 6:16). The capital city, the site of which he chose, has remained a place of human habitation till the present day. Within the last few years, remains of his building have been recovered, showing a great advance in that art from those believed to go back to Rehoboam and Solomon. He was, however, unfortunate in his relations with Syria, having lost some towns and been forced to grant certain trading concessions to his northern neighbors (1Ki 20:34). But he was so great a king that long after his death the Kingdom of the Ten Tribes was known to the Assyrians as "the house of Omri."

2. World-Politics:

Contemporarily with this dynasty, there occurred a revival of the Phoenician power, which exerted a powerful influence upon the Israelite kings and people, and at the same time the Assyrians once more began to interfere with Syrian politics. The Northern Kingdom now began to play a part in the game of world-politics. There was peace with Judah, and alliance with Phoenicia was cemented by the marriage of Ahab, it seems after his father’s death, with Jezebel, the daughter of Ethbaal (1Ki 16:31). This led to the erection of a temple in Samaria in which the Tyrian Baal was worshipped, while side by side with it the worship of Yahweh was carried on as before. It seems as if the people had fallen back from the pure monotheism of Moses and David into what is known as henotheism. Against this relapse Elijah protested with final success. Ahab was a wise and skillful soldier, without rashness, but also without decision. He defeated a Syrian coalition in two campaigns (1Ki 20) and imposed on Ben-hadad the same conditions which the latter had imposed on Omri. With the close of the reign of Asa in Judah, war ceased between the two Israelite kingdoms and the two kings for the first time became friends and fought side by side (1Ki 22). In the reign of Ahab we note the beginning of decay in the state in regard to personal liberty and equal justice. The tragedy of Naboth’s vineyard would not have happened but for the influence of Tyrian ideas, any more than in the case of the famous windmill which stands by the palace of Sans Souci at Potsdam. A further improvement in the art of building took place in this reign. The palace of Ahab, which has recently been recovered by the excavations carded on by the Harvard University Expedition under Dr. G.A. Reisner, shows a marked advance in fineness of workmanship upon that of Omri.

3. Battle of Karkar:

The object of Ben-hadad’s attack upon Ahab seems to have been to compel him to join a league founded to resist the encroachments of Assyria upon the countries bordering upon the Mediterranean. The confederates, who were led by Ben-hadad, and of whom Ahab was one, were defeated by Shalmaneser II in the battle of Karkar. The date is known from the inscriptions to have been the year 854-853. It is the first quite certain date in Hebrew history, and from it the earlier dates must be reckoned by working backward. Ahab seems to have seized the moment of Syria’s weakness to exact by force the fulfillment of their agreement on the part of Ben-hadad (1Ki 22).

4. Losses of Territory:

On the other hand, the king of Moab, Mesha, appears to have turned the same disaster to account by throwing off his allegiance to Israel, which dated from the time of David, but had apparently lapsed until it was enforced anew by Omri (MS, ll. 4 ff, but l. 8 makes Omri’s reign plus half Ahabs = 40 years). Ahab’s son and successor Jehoram (omitting Ahaziah, who is chiefly notable as a devotee of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron), with the aid of Jehoshaphat and his vassal, the king of Edom, attempted to recover his rights, but in vain (2Ki 3). It may have been in consequence of the failure of this expedition that the Syrians again besieged Samaria and reduced it to great straits (2Ki 6:24; 7), but the date is uncertain. Jehoram replied with a counter-attack upon the East of the Jordan.

5. Reform of Religion:

It was no doubt owing to his connection with the king of Judah that Jehoram so far modified the worship and ritual as to remove the worst innovations which had come to prevail in the Northern Kingdom (2Ki 3:1-3). But these half-measures did not satisfy the demands of the time, and in the revolution which followed both he and his dynasty were swept away. The dynasty had lasted, according to the Biblical account, less than half a century.

6. Revolution:

The religious reformation, or rather revolution, which swept away almost entirely both royal houses, bears a good deal of resemblance to the Wahhabi rising in Arabia at the beginning of the 18th century. It took its origin from prophetism (1Ki 19:16), and was supported by the Rechabite Jonadab. The object of the movement headed by Jehu was nominally to revenge the prophets of Yahweh put to death by order of Jezebel, but in reality it was much wider and aimed at nothing less than rooting out the Baal-worship altogether, and enforcing a return to the primitive faith and worship. Just as the Wahhabis went back to Mohammed’s doctrine, as contained in the Koran and the Tradition, and as the Rechabites preserved the simplicity of the early desert life, so Jehu went back to the state of things as they were at the foundation of the Northern Kingdom under Jeroboam I.

7. IVth Dynasty:

Jehu’s reforms were carried out to the letter, and the whole dynasty of Omri, which was responsible for the innovations, was annihilated like its predecessors. The religious fervor, however, soon subsided, and Jehu’s reign ended in disaster. Hazael, whose armies had been exterminated by the forces of Assyria, turned his attention to the eastern territory of Israel. In the turbulent land of Gilead, the home of Elijah, disappointed in its hopes of Jehu, he quickly established his supremacy (2Ki 10:32 ). Jehu also appreciated the significance of the victories of Assyria, and was wise enough to send tribute to Shalmaneser II. This was in the year 842. Under his son and successor Jehoahaz the fortunes of Israel continued to decline, until Hazael imposed upon it the most humiliating conditions (Am 1:3-5; 2Ki 13:1 ).

8. Renewed Prosperity:

Toward the end of the reign of Jehoahaz, however, the tide began to turn, under the leadership of a military genius whose name has not been recorded (2Ki 13:5); and the improvement continued, after the death of Hazael, under his son Jehoash (Joash), who even besieged and plundered Jerusalem (2Ki 14:8 ). But it was not until the long reign of Jeroboam II, son of Jehoash, that the frontiers of Israel, were, for the first time since the beginning of the kingdom, restored to their ideal limits. Even Damascus and Hamath were subdued (2Ki 14:28). But the prosperity was superficial. Jeroboam II stood at the head of a military oligarchy, who crushed the great mass of the people under them. The tribune of the plebs at this time was Amos of Tekoa. His Cassandra-like utterances soon fulfilled themselves. The dynasty, which had been founded in blood and had lasted some 90 years, on the accesssion of Jeroboam’s son Zachariah gave place to 12 years of anarchy.

9. Anarchy:

Zachariah was almost immediately assassinated by Shallum, who within a month was in turn assassinated by Menahem, a soldier of the tribe of Gad, stationed in Tirzah, to avenge the death of his master. The low social condition of Israel at this time is depicted in the pages of Hos. The atrocities perpetrated by the soldiers of Menahem are mentioned by Josephus (Ant., IX, xi, 1).

III. Decline and Fall.

1. Loss of Independence:

Meantime Pul or Pulu had founded the second Assyrian empire under the name of Tiglath-pileser III. Before conquering Babylonia, he broke the Independ power of the Hittites in the West, and made himself master of the routes leading to the Phoenician seaports. As the eclipse of the Assyrian power had allowed the expansion of Israel under Jeroboam II, so its revival now crushed the independence of the nation forever. Menahem bought stability for his throne by the payment of an immense bribe of 1,000 talents of silver, or $2,000,000, reckoning the silver talent at $2,000. The money was raised by means of an assessment of 50 talents each upon all the men of known wealth. The payment of this tribute is mentioned on the Assyrian monuments, the date being 738.

2. Decline:

Menahem reigned 10 years. His son Pekahiah was, soon after his accession, assassinated by one of his own captains, Pekah, son of Remaliah, who established himself, with the help of some Gileadites, as king. He formed an alliance with Rezin of Damascus against Israel, defeating Ahaz in two pitched battles, taking numerous captives, and even reaching the walls of Jerusalem. The result was disastrous to both allies. Ahaz called in the aid of the Assyrians. Tiglath-pileser put an end to the kingdom of Damascus, and deported the inhabitants of Northern and Eastern Palestine. The kingdom of Israel was reduced to the dimensions of the later province of Samaria. Pekah himself was assassinated by Hoshea, who became king under the tutelage of the Assyrian overlord. The depopulated provinces were filled with colonists from the conquered countries of the East. The year is 734 BC.

3. Extinction:

Hoshea was never an independent king, but the mere vassal of Assyria. He was foolish enough to withhold the annual tribute, and to turn to Egypt for succor. Meanwhile, Tiglath-pileser III had been succeeded by Shalmaneser IV. This king laid siege to Samaria, but died during the siege. The city was taken by his successor Sargon, who had seized the throne, toward the end of the year 722.

4. Summary:

The Northern Kingdom had lasted 240 years, which fall into three periods of about 80 years each, the middle period being the period of the Syrian wars. As it was fully formed when it broke off from the Southern Kingdom, its history shows no development or evolution, but is made up of undulations of prosperity and of decline. It was at its best immediately after its foundation, and again under Jeroboam II. It was strong under Baasha, Omri and Ahab, but generally weak under the other kings. Every change of dynasty meant a period of anarchy, when the country was at the mercy of every invader. The fortunes of Israel depended entirely on those of Assyria. When Assyria was weak, Israel was strong. Given the advance of Assyria, the destruction of Israel was certain. This was necessary and was clearly foreseen by Hosea (9:3, etc.). The wonder is that the little state, surrounded by such powerful neighbors, lasted as long as it did.

See, further, ISRAEL, HISTORY OF, V.


The most important works are Ewald, Geschichte des Volkes Israel (English Translation by Martineau and Glover); Wellhausen, Geschichte Israels; Derenbourg, Essai sur l’histoire .... de la Palestine; and there are many more. Ewald is best known to English readers through the medium of Dean Stanley’s Lectures on the History of the Jewish Church. See further under CHRONOLOGY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT; ISRAEL, and articles on individual kings. Thomas Hunter Weir




1. Pre-Mosaic Religion of the Ancestors of Israel

(1) The Traditional View

(2) The Modern View

(3) A Higher Conception of the Deity; ‘ilu, ‘el

(4) Totemism, Animism, etc.

(5) Conception of God

(6) Cult

2. The Mosaic Covenant with Yahweh

(1) The Covenant-Idea

(2) The Covenant-God, Yahweh

(3) Monotheism of Moses

(4) Impossibility of Representing Yahweh by an Image

(5) Ethical Character of the God of Moses

(6) The Theocracy

(7) The Mosaic Cult

3. The Religion of Israel before the 8th Century BC

(1) Decay of Religion in Canaan

(2) The Theocratic Kingdom

(3) Religious Ideals of the Psalms from the Time of David

(4) Wisdom Literature from the Time of Solomon

(5) The Sanctuary on Mt. Zion

(6) The Religion of the Kingdom of Ephraim

(7) Elijah and Elisha

4. Development of the Religion of Israel from the 8th Century BC to the Exile

(1) The Writing Prophets

(2) Their Opposition to the Cult

(3) Their Preaching of the Judgment

(4) Their Messianic Promises

(5) Reformations

(6) Destruction of Jerusalem

5. The Babylonian Exile

(1) Spiritual Purification through the Exile

(2) Relations to the Gentile World

6. Religion of the Post-exilic Period

(1) Life under the Law

(2) Hellenism

(3) Pharisees and Sadducees

(4) Essenes

(5) Positive Connections between Judaism and Hellenism

(6) Apocalyptic Literature


1. The Living God

2. The Relation of Man to This God


I. Introduction: Historical Consideration of the Religion of Israel

In former times it was the rule to draw out of the Old Testament its religious contents only for dogmatic purposes, without making any distinction between the different books. These writings were all regarded as the documents of the Divine revelation which had been given to this people alone and not to others. At the present time the first inquiry in the study of these books deals historically with the religious development of the Israelites. This religion was not of a strictly uniform nature, but is characterized by a development and a growth, and in the centuries which are covered by the Old Testament books it has passed through many changes. Then, too, in the different periods of this development there were various religious trends among the people and very different degrees in the extent of their religious knowledge. The common people were at times still entangled in crude heathen ideas, while the bearers of a higher Divine light ranked vastly above them. And even in those times, when these enlightened teachers secured full recognition, there occurred relapses into lower forms of religion on the part of the masses, especially because the influence of the nations surrounding Israel at all times made itself felt in the religious life and thoughts of the latter. And even when the correct teachings were accepted by the people, a malformation of the entire religion could readily occur through a petrifaction of the religious life. It is the business of the science of the history of religion to furnish a correct picture of this development, which in this article can be done only in the form of a sketch.

One of the recent results of the science of the history of religion is the knowledge that the religion of Israel itself, and not merely the corruptions of this religion, stood in a much closer connection with other religions than had in former times been supposed. The wealth of new data from the history of oriental nations lately secured has shown that it is not correct to regard the religion of Israel as an isolated phenomenon, but that considerable light is thrown upon it from analogous facts from surrounding regions. Of especial importance in this respect is the study of Assyrian and Bah antiquities, with their rich and illustrative monuments, and, by the side of these, also those of Egypt; and, further, although these are indeed much smaller in number, the inscriptions and monuments of a number of peoples situated much nearer to Israel and ethnologically more closely connected with them, such as the Moabites, Arameans, Arabians, Canaanites, Phoenicians, and others. For later times, Parsiism is an especially important factor.

These antiquities have shown that between the religion of Israel and the religions of these nations there existed such close connections that a relationship between them cannot be denied. It is indeed true that these similarities are mostly of a formal nature, but they nevertheless point to similar conceptions of the Divine Being and of the relation of man to this Being. We find such connecting links in the cult, in the traditions concerning the creation of the world, concerning the earliest history of man kind, etc.; further, in the conception of what is legally right and of the customs of life; in the ideas concerning death and the world beyond; concerning the souls of men and the supernatural spiritual world, and elsewhere. These analogies and related connections have appeared so pronounced to some savants, especially Assyriologists, that they are willing to find in the religion of the Israelites and Jews only a reflection of the Babylonian, or of what they call the "religion of the ancient Orient." But over against this claim, a closer and deeper investigation shows that a higher world of thought and ideals at all times permeates the Israelite religion and gives to it a unique character and a Divine truth, which is lacking in all other religions and which made Israel’s religion capable of becoming the basis of that highest Divine revelation which through Christ came forth from it. We will here briefly sketch the progress of the development of this religion, and then formulate a summary of those characteristics which distinguish it from the other religions.

II. Historical Outline.

1. Pre-Mosaic Religion of the Ancestors of Israel:

(1) The Traditional View.

The sources for this period are meager. Yet what has been reported concerning the religion of the period of the Patriarchs is enough to give us a picture of their conception of the Deity. And this picture is more deserving of acceptance than is the representation of the matter by the traditional dogmatics of the church and also that of those modern scholars who are under the spell of the evolutionary idea, and who undertake to prove in the Biblical history of Israel the complete development from the lowest type of fetishism and animism to the heights of ethical monotheism. The views of the old church teachers were to the effect that the doctrine concerning the one true God had been communicated by God to Adam in its purity and perfection, and by him had been handed through an unbroken chain of true confessors of the faith (Seth, Noah, etc.), down to Abraham. But this view does not find confirmation in the Biblical record. On the contrary, in Jos 24:2,15, it is even expressly stated of the ancestors of Abraham that they had worshipped strange gods in Chaldea. And the ancestors of the people, Abraham, Jacob, and others, do not appear on the stage of history with teachable creed, but themselves first learn to know gradually, in the school of life, the God whom they serve, after He has made Himself known to them in extraordinary manifestations. Abraham does not yet know that Yahweh does not demand any human sacrifices. Jacob still has the narrow view, that the place where he has slept is the entrance portal to heaven (Ge 28:16,17). Omnipresence and omniscience are not yet attributes which they associate with their idea of the Divinity. They still stand on a simple-minded and primitive stage, as far as their knowledge of the living God is concerned.

(2) The Modern View.

Over against this, modern scholars describe pre-Mosaic Israel as yet entirely entangled in Semitic heathen ideas, and even regard the religion of the people in general, in the post-Mosaic period down to the 8th century BC, as little better than this, since in their opinion the Yahweh-religion had not thoroughly permeated the ranks of the common people, and had practically remained the possession of the men, while the women had continued to cultivate the ancient customs and views. W. R. Smith and Wellhausen have pointed to customs and ideas of the pre-Islamic Arabs, and S.I. Curtiss to such in the modern life of oriental tribes, which are claimed to have been the property of the most ancient Semitic heathen tribes, and these scholars use these as the key for the ancient Israelite rites and customs. But even if much light is thrown from these sources on the forms of life and cult as depicted by the Scriptures, much caution must be exercised in the use made of this material. In the first place, neither those Arabs of the 6th century AD, nor their successors of today, can be regarded as "primitive Semites." In the second place, it is a question, even if in the earliest period of Israel such customs are actually found, what they really signified for the tribe of Abraham. We are here not speaking of a prehistoric religion, but of the religion of that tribe that came originally from Ur of the Chaldees, and migrated first by way of Haran to Canaan, and then to Egypt. In this tribe such primitive customs, perhaps, had long been spiritualized. For these Hebrews cannot be regarded as being as uncivilized as are the New Zealanders, or the Indians of North America, or those Bedouins who have never left the desert; for they had lived in Babylonia for a long period, even if, while there, they had withdrawn themselves as much as possible from the more cultured life of the cities. The patriarchs were in touch with the civilization of the Babylonians. We do not, indeed, want to lay special stress on the fact that they lived in Ur and in Haran, two cities of the moon-god, the worship of which divinity shows monotheistic tendencies. But the history of the family of Abraham, e.g. his relation to Sarah and Hagar, shows indisputable influence of Babylonian legal ideas. Probably, too, the traditions concerning the beginnings of history, such as the Creation, the Deluge, and the like, were brought from Babylon to Canaan by the tribe of Abraham.

(3) A Higher Conception of the Deity; ‘ilu, ‘el.

But this tribe had come to Babylonia from Northern Arabia. It is a very important fact that the oldest Arabian inscriptions, namely the Minaean and the Sabean, lead us to conclude that these tribes entertained a relatively high conception of the Deity, as has been shown by Professor Fritz Hommel. The oldest Arabian proper names are not found combined with names of all kinds of gods, but with the simple ‘ilu, ‘el, or God, or with ‘ili, "my God." Then, too, God is often circumscribed by the nouns expressing relationship, such as ‘abhi, "my father," or ‘achi, "my brother," or ‘ammi, "my uncle," and others, which express an intimate relationship between man and his God. Corresponding to these are also the old Semitic proper names in Canaan, as also the name Abraham, i.e. ‘Abhiram, "my father is exalted," or Ishmael, and many others. We accordingly must believe that the ancestors of Abraham immigrated into Babylon with a comparatively highly developed religion and with a uniform conception of God. Here their faith may have been unfavorably influenced, and it is not impossible that the religious disagreement between the patriarch and his neighbors may have been a reason for his migration. Abraham himself is regarded by the Canaanites as a "friend of God," who stands in an intimate relationship with his God, and he is accordingly to be regarded, not merely as a secular, but also as a religious tribal head, an Imam, a prophetical personality.

(4) Totemism; Animism, etc.

Still less is it correct to ascribe to this tribe the lowest religious stage possible, namely that of fetishism or of totemism (worship of demons or worship of animals) and the like. Some think they find evidences of the worship of animals in Israel. The fact that some Israelites were regarded as descendants of Leah ("wild cow"(?)), others of Rachel ("mother sheep"), is claimed to refer to the fact that these animals were totems of the tribe, i.e. were worshipped as ancestors. But for this claim there is no scintilla of proof. These names of women, especially in the case of a nomadic tribe, can be explained in a much more simple way. The calves that appear in later times as images of Yahweh are just as little a proof for the claim that calves were worshipped by the ancestors of Israel as divinities. We read nothing of such an image before the sojourn in Egypt, and after that time this image was always regarded symbolically. The fact, again, that from the days of Moses, and without a doubt earlier than this, certain animals were not allowed to be eaten, does not justify the conclusion which Professor B. Stade and others have drawn from it, namely, that these animals were in olden times regarded as divine (tabu), and for that reason were not permitted to be eaten, and only afterward were avoided as "unclean." The list of unclean animals in Le 11 and De 14 speaks for an altogether different reason for regarding them as unclean. It is not at all thinkable that these many, and as a rule unclean and low class of animals, were at one time accorded divine honor, while the higher and cleaner class had been excluded from this distinction. We have accordingly no reason for finding animal worship here. On the other hand, it is self-evident, in the case of such an old nomadic tribe, that man stood in a more familiar relationship to his animals, and for this reason the slaughter of these was a more significant matter than was afterward the case. This was done only on extraordinary occasions, and it readily was accorded a religious consecration.

See also TOTEMISM.

The idea is also emphatically to be rejected, that in the pre-Mosaic period mere animism prevailed in Israel—the worship of spirits and of demons. It has been tried in vain to show that in the most primitive period of Israel’s religion the worship of ancestors occupied a prominent place. As Professor Emil Kautzsch has emphasized, the arguments which have been drawn from the mourning customs of the Israelites in favor of this claim (as this is done by F. Schwally, Das Leben nach dem Tode, nach den Vorstellungen des alten Israel und des Judentums, Giessen, 1892) are altogether inadequate, as is also the appeal to the marriage with a deceased wife’s sister, as though the purpose of the institution was to secure for the deceased who had died without issue somebody who would attend to his worship. Because of the strongly developed mundane character of the religious life in Israel, it is natural that it was regarded as a calamity if there was no issue who kept alive the memory of the departed in the tribe. But even if the argument from the mourning customs of Israel were more convincing than is actually the case, and that gifts, such as food, oil, and the like, were placed in the tomb of the departed, as was often done by the Canaanites, yet this would be in the ancient Israelite religion a matter of subordinate importance, which could readily be explained on the ground of natural feelings. It could never be made to appear plausible that all religions had grown out of such a cult. If the teraphim are to be regarded as having been originally images of ancestors, which is quite plausible, then they would indeed represent a continuous ancestral cult, as the people evidently kept these images in their houses in order to attract to themselves blessings, to avert misfortunes and to secure oracles. But these dolls, modeled after the form of human beings, already in the period of the Patriarchs were regarded as a foreign element and in contradiction to the more earnest religious sentiments (compare Ge 31:19; 35:2,4).

That Israel, like all ancient peoples, did at one time pass through an "animistic" stage of religious development could best be proved, if at all, from their conception of the soul. Among the purifications those are especially necessary which are demanded by the presence of a dead body in the same room with the living, as the living are defiled by the soul of the deceased in leaving the body (Nu 19:14). Even the uncovered vessels are defiled by his soul-substance (Nu 19:15). This, however, is a biological conception, which has nothing to do with the conception of the Deity.

Or are those perhaps right, who think that the primitive Israelites had accepted animism in this sense, that they did not as yet worship any actual divinities, but only a multitude of spirits or demons, be these ghosts of departed human beings or the spirits of Nature, local numina? In favor of this last-mentioned view, appeal is made to this fact, that in the ancient Semitic world local divinities with very circumscribed spheres of power are very often to be met with, especially at springs, trees, oases, at which a demon or divinity is regarded as having his abode, who is described as the ba‘al or master in this place; compare such local names as Baal-tamar, Baal-hermon, and others. Such local spirits would then be the ‘elohim, out of which would grow more mighty divinities of whole cities and countries. To these it would be necessary yet to add those spirits which were worshipped by individual tribes, partly spirits of ancestors, who also could have grown into higher divinities, while the rest of the mass of deities, good and bad, had to content themselves with a lower rank.

As against this, we must above all consider the fact that in ancient Israel the demons played a very subordinate role. The contrast in this regard with Babylonia is phenomenal. It is probably the case that at all periods in Israel there existed a belief in unclean spirits, who perhaps lived in the desert (compare the se‘irim), or in the demoniacs, and could otherwise, too, do much harm. But they are not described as having much influence on man’s life. How few indications of such a view can be found and how little most of these indications prove we can see in the work of H. Duhm, Die bosch Geister im Altes Testament, Tubingen, 1906. After the Babylonian exile, and still more after the longer sojourn of the Israelites in Babylon, their imagination was to a much greater degree than before saturated by the faith in spirits. Then the closer study of such Semitic be‘alim teaches us that they were not originally conceived in such a narrow sense. They are very often of a solar nature, celestial powers who have their abode at a particular place, and there produce fertility, but in this special function represent a general power of Nature. The same is the case with the tribal divinities. These are by no means merely the personifications of the small power of a particular tribe, but claim to be absolute beings, which shows that they are regarded as higher divinities which the tribe has appropriated and adapted to its own political ideas. We accordingly have no right to think that such a divinity was to be regarded as really confined to a particular hill, or even to a certain stone or tree where it was worshipped. The rock or stone or tree divinities of the ancient Arabs are celestial powers, who have only taken their abode at these places, even if popular superstition did actually identify them with such stones or trees.

It is therefore a misconception of the actual state of affairs when the conclusion is drawn that stone-worship is meant when Jacob erects a stone monument, the matstsebhah at Bethel, and anoints it with oil, and when this is understood to be a low type of fetishism. Stones are to the present day, for the wandering tribes, the signs by which important localities, especially sacred places, are designated. The symbolical significance of such stones may be quite different, as also the relation which a divinity is thought to sustain to such a stone monument. For this reason, too, the judgment of the Bible concerning such objects is quite different. Only then, when they are symbols of idolatry, as the chammanim, i.e representations of the sun-god, ba‘al chamman, are they everywhere rejected in the Old Testament. In the same way a mighty tree, especially if it is found near a spring of water, is in the Orient, by its very nature, a proof of the life-producing God. Such a tree naturally suggests that it is a place where divine life can be felt. Trees that have been made sacred by manifestations of the divinities or have been consecrated by the memory of a great personality, especially the oak, the terebinth, the palm, were regarded as favorite places beneath which the divinity was sought. Only in that case, as was indeed common in Canaan, when the unhallowed powers of Nature were here adored, was this custom reprehensible in the eyes of the prophets. The ‘asherim, too, are of a decidedly heathen character, as these trunks of trees were symbols of the goddess Ashera. Further, it was a favorite custom to worship the divinities on the high places, for the reason that they were regarded as in or attached to the heavens. Only because of the heathen worship which was practiced on these bamoth were they, in later times, so hateful to the prophets.

(5) Conception of God.

In answer to the question, what ideas the patriarchs, the pre-Mosaic leaders of the people of Israel, entertained concerning God, attention must first of all be drawn to the fact that God spoke to some of these personally, be this in one form of manifestation or in another. These men heard the word of God with their own ears, and that, too, in the most important moments of their lives. In the case of Abraham, these revelations are fundamental for him and for his people. The prophetic factor, which goes through the entire history of Israel and constitutes the life-principle that fills its religion and causes its further development, is at the very first beginnings the source whence the knowledge of God is taken. This presupposes a personal God; and, as a matter of fact, a fixed personality is demanded by the character of such a God. His "I" impresses itself upon man with absolute power and demands his service entirely. This "I" constantly remains the same, and everywhere evinces the same power, be this in Haran or in Canaan or in Egypt, and whether it manifests itself to Abraham or to Isaac or to Jacob. This oneness is not formulated as a didactic proposition, but as a living reality: only this God existed for His adherents. These appeal to Him at all times with equal success. The manifestations of this God may be of a different kind at different times. He is even entertained, on one occasion, as a personal guest by His friend Abraham, together with two companions (Ge 18:1 ). On another occasion (Ge 15:17) Abraham beholds Him in symbolical form as a burning and fiery furnace (probably to be regarded as similar to the movable altar discovered by Sellin in Taanach). But these are to be regarded as special favors shown by God. In general it was the rule that God could not be seen without the beholder suffering death. Then, too, the conviction is very old, that what man sees in the case of such theophanies cannot have been God Himself, but that He had manifested Himself through a subordinate agent, an angel (this is particularly the case in the document E in Genesis). This angel, however, has no significance in himself, but is only the creature-veil, out of which God Himself speaks in the first person. In the most elementary manner this formal limitation of God appears in Ge 11:5, where He goes to the trouble of descending from heaven in order to look at something on earth; and in 18:21, when He desires to go to Sodom personally, in order to convince Himself that what He has intended to send upon this city is also the right thing. It is indeed possible to find in the first instance some traits of irony, and possibly in the second case the epic details may have added something. However, God is no longer spoken of in such a human way in the post-Mosaic times. This shows that the document J (Jahwist) at this place contains material that is very old. All the more is it to be noted what exalted conceptions of God prevail already in these narratives. He dwells in heaven (11:5; 19:24), something that has without reason been claimed not to have been the idea entertained in the older period. He is the God of the world, who exercises supremacy over all the nations. He rules with justice, checks pride, avenges injustice, and that, too, not only in a summary manner on whole countries, but also in such a way that He takes into consideration every individual and saves the one just man out of the midst of the mass of sinners (18:25; 19). In short, He is already the true God, although yet incompletely and primitively grasped in His attributes.

This God, ruling with omnipotent power in Nature and history, has entered into a special relationship with the tribe of Abraham. He has become the Covenant-God of the patriarch, according to the testimony of the old document J in Ge 15. We accordingly find here already the consciousness that that God who rules over the world has entered into a special relationship with one small nation or tribe. This fact appears also in this, that Abram (Ge 14) acknowledges the highest God of the priest-king Melchizedek (Ge 14:20 ) as his God, as the founder of heaven and of earth, and identifies Him with his own Covenant-God Yahweh.

(6) Cult.

As far as the cult is concerned, it can be stated that at this period it was still of simple, but solemn and dignified character. The people preferred to worship their God at such places where He had manifested Himself, usually on high place, on which an altar had been erected. There were no images of the Divinity extant. As the word mizbeach, "altar," shows, the sacrifices were usually bloody. Human sacrifice had already in the days of Abraham been overcome by the substitution of an animal, although in olden times it may have been practiced, perhaps, as the sacrifice of the firstborn; and in later times, too, through the influence of the example of heathen nations, it may have found its way into Israel now and then. Both larger and smaller animals were sacrificed, as also fowls. The idea that prevailed in this connection was that God, too, enjoyed the food which served man as his sustenance, although God, in a finer way, experienced as a pleasure only the scent of the sacrifices, as this ascended in the flame and the smoke (Ge 8:21). But the main thing was the blood as the substratum of the soul. The fruits of the field, especially the first-fruits, were also offered. Of liquid offerings, it is probable that in primitive times water was often brought, as this was often a costly possession; and in Canaan, oil, which the inhabitants of this country employed extensively in their sacrifices (Jud 9:9, something that is confirmed also by recent excavations); also wine (Jud 9:13). As the ancient burnt or whole sacrifices (Ge 8:20) give expression to reverence, thankfulness, the prayer for protection or the granting of certain favors, the people from the very beginning also instituted sacrificial feasts, which gave expression to the covenant with God, the communion with the Covenant-God. In this act the sacrifice was divided between God and those who sacrificed. The latter ate and drank joyously before God after the parts dedicated to Him had been sacrificed, and especially after the blood had been poured around the altar. The idea that this was the original form of the sacrifice and that gift-sacrifices were introduced only at a later period when agriculture had been introduced is not confirmed by historical evidences. That man felt himself impelled, by bringing to his God gifts of the best things he possessed, to express his dependence and gratitude, is too natural not to have been from the beginning a favorite expression of religious feeling. In connection with the sacrifices the name of God was solemnly called upon. J even says that this was the name Yahweh (Ge 4:25), while E (Elohist) and P (Priestly Code) tell us that this name came into use only through Moses.

According to P (Ge 17:10 ), circumcision was already introduced by Abraham in his tribe as the sign of the covenant. There are good reasons why the introduction of this custom is not like that of so many other ceremonies attributed to Moses. The custom was without doubt of an older origin. From whatever source it may have been derived in its earlier ethnological stage, for the Israelites circumcision is an act of purification and of consecration for connection with the congregation of Yahweh. A special priesthood, however, did not yet exist in this period, as the head of the family and of the tribe exercised the priestly functions and rights (compare Ge 35:1 ff), although the peoples inhabiting Canaan at that time had priests (Ge 14:18).

2. The Mosaic Covenant with Yahweh:

(1) The Covenant-Idea.

Israel claims that its existence as a nation and its special relation to Yahweh begins with its exodus from Egypt and with the conclusion of the covenant at Mt. Sinai (compare Am 3:2; 9:7). As the preparation for this relation goes back to one individual, namely, Abraham, thus it is Moses through whom God delivered His people from bondage and received them into His covenant (see concerning Moses as a prophet and mediator of the covenant, ISRAEL, HISTORY OF). It is a matter of the highest significance for the religion of Israel that the relation of this people to Yahweh was not one which existed by the nature of things, as was the case with the other oriental tribal and national religions, but that it was the outgrowth of a historical event, in which their God had united Himself with them. The conception of a covenant, upon which Yahweh entered as a matter of free choice and will, and to which the people voluntarily gave their assent, is not an idea of later date in the religious history of Israel, which grew out of the prophetic thoughts of the 8th and 7th centuries BC, as has been claimed, but is found, as has been made prominent by Professor French Giesebrecht (Die Geschichtlichkeit des Sinaibundes, 1900), already in the oldest accounts of the conclusion of the covenant (E, J), and must be ascribed to the Mosaic age. This includes the fact, too, that this covenant, which unites Yahweh with Israel, could not be of an indissoluble character, but that the covenant was based on certain conditions. The superficial opinion of the people might often cause them to forget this. But the prophets could, in later times, base their proclamations on this fact. Further, the thought is made very prominent that this covenant imposed ethical duties. While the divinities of other nations, Egyptian Babylonian, Phoenician, demanded primarily that their devotees should erect temples in their honor and should bring them an abundance of sacrifices, in Israel the exalted and ethical commandment is found in the forefront. The covenant relation to the God of Israel can legitimately be found only where the relation to one’s fellow-man is normal and God-pleasing (Decalogue).

(2) The Covenant-God, Yahweh.

The special revelation which Moses received is characterized by the word Yahweh (Yahweh) as a name for God. This name, according to the well-authenticated report of Ex 6:3 (P), which is supported also by E, had not been "known" to the fathers. This does not necessarily mean that nothing had been known of this name. Babylonian prayers often speak of an "unknown god," and in doing this refer to a god with whom those who prayed had not stood in personal relation. The God of the fathers appeared to Moses, but under a name which was not familiar to the fathers nor was recognized by them. In agreement with this is the fact that only from the time of Moses proper names compounded with some abbreviation of Yahweh, such as Yah, Yahu, Yeho, are found, but soon after this they became very common. Accordingly, it would be possible that such names were in scattered cases found also before the days of Moses among the tribes of Israel, and it is not impossible that this name was familiar to other nations. The Midianites especially, who lived originally at Mt. Sinai, have been mentioned in this connection, and also the Kenites (Stade, Budde), some scholars appealing for this claim to the influence which, according to Ex 18, Jethro had on the institutions of Moses. However, the matters mentioned here refer only to legal procedure (compare 18:14 ff). We nowhere hear that Moses took over the Yahweh-worship from this tribe. On the contrary, Jethro begins only at this time (Ex 18:11) to worship Yahweh, the God of Moses, and the common sacrificial meal, according to 18:12, did not take place in the presence of Yahweh, but, accommodating it to the guest, in the presence of Elohim. Then we nowhere hear that the Kenites, who lived together with the Israelites, ever had any special prominence in the service of Yahweh, as was the case, e.g., with the Median Magi, who had charge of the priesthood among the Persians, or with the Etruscans among the Romans, who examined the entrails. Yet the Kenites would necessarily have enjoyed special authority in the Yahweh-cultus, if their tribal God had become the national God of Israel. The only thing that can be cited in favor of an Arabian origin of the name of Yahweh is the Arabic word-form, hawah, for hayah. On the other hand, a number of facts indicate that Ja or Jau as a name for God was common in Syria, Philistia and Babylonia; compare Joram, son of the king of Hamath (2Sa 8:10), and Jaubidi, the king of this city, who was removed by Sargon. In these cases, however, Israelite influences may have been felt. Friedrich Delitzsch claims to have discovered the names Jahve-ilu and Jahum-ilu on inscriptions as early as the times of Hammurabi. But his readings are sharply attacked. However this may be, the name God as proclaimed by Moses was not only something new for Israel, but was also announced by him (possibly also with a new pronunciation, Yahweh instead of Yahu) with a new signification. At any rate, the explanation in Ex 3:14 (E), "I AM THAT I AM," for doubting which we have no valid reasons, indicates a depth in the conception of God which far surpasses the current conceptions of the Syrian and the Babylonian pantheon. It would, perhaps, be easier to find analogous thoughts in Egyptian speculations. But this absolute God of Moses is not the idea of speculative priests, but is a popular God who claims to control all public as well as private life.

(3) Monotheism of Moses.

Attempts have been made to deny the monotheistic character of this God, and some have thought that the term "monolatry" would suffice to express this stage in man’s knowledge of God, since the existence of other gods was not denied, but rather was presupposed (compare passages like Ex 15:11), and it was only forbidden to worship any god in addition to Yahweh (Ex 20:3). However, this distinction is fundamental, and separates, in kind, the religion of Moses from that of the surrounding nations. For among these latter, the worship of more than one divine being at the same time was the rule. The gods of the Phoeniclans, the Arameans, and the Babylonians are, like those of the Egyptians, beings that spontaneously increase in number. They are divided into male and female groups of two, while in Hebrew there is not even a word extant for goddess, and the idea of a female companion-being to Yahweh is an impossibility. Then, too, it is characteristic of the ethnic god that he is multiplied into many be‘alim, and does not feel it as a limitation or restriction when kindred divinities are associated with him. However, the Yahweh of Moses does not suffer another being at His side, for the very reason that He claims to be the absolute God. Passages like Ex 15:11, too, purpose chiefly only to express His unique character; but if He is without any equals among the gods, then He is the only one who can claim to be God; and it is in the end only the logical dogmatic formulation of the faces in the case when we are told in Deuteronomy, "Yahweh he is God; there is none else besides him" (4:35,39; 6:4; compare Ps 18:32). This does not exclude the fact that also in later times, when monotheism had been intelligently accepted, mention is still made of the gods of the heathen as of real powers (compare, e.g. Jer 49:1). This was rather the empirical method of expression, which found its objective basis in the fact that the heathen world was still in possession of some real spiritual power. Most of all, the popular faith or the superstition of the people could often regard the gods of the other nations as ruling in the same way as Yahweh did in Israel (compare, e.g. 2Ch 28:23). But the idea that the faithful worshippers of Yahweh after the days of Moses ever recognized as equal and of the same rank with their own God the gods of the heathen must be most emphatically denied, as also the claim that these Israelites assigned to Yahweh only restricted powers over a small territory. This surely would have been in flat contradiction to the well-known history of the Mosaic period, in which Yahweh had demonstrated His superiority over the famous gods of Egypt in so glorious a manner. Compare on this point James Robertson, Early Religion, 4th edition, 297 ff (against Stade).

(4) Impossibility of Representing Yahweh by an Image.

The 2nd principle which the Mosaic Decalogue establishes is that Yahweh cannot be represented by any image. In this doctrine, too, there is a conscious contrast to the nations round about Israel (in addition to Ex 20:4, compare De 5:8; also Ex 24:17). That in the last-mentioned passage only molten images are forbidden, while those hewn of stone or made of wood might be permitted, is an arbitrary claim, which is already refuted by the fact that the Mosaic sanctuary did not contain any image of Yahweh. The Ark of the Covenant was indeed a visible symbol of the presence of God, but it is a kind of throne of Him who sits enthroned invisibly above the cherubim, as has been shown above, and accordingly does not admit of any representation of God by means of an image. This continued to be the case in connection with the central sanctuary, with the exception of such aberrations as are already found in Ex 32 and which are regarded as a violation of the Covenant, also at the time when the sanctuary was stationed at Shiloh. The fact that at certain local cults Yahweh-images were worshipped is to be attributed to the influence of heathen surroundings (compare on this point J. Robertson, loc. cit., 215 ff).

(5) Ethical Character of the God of Moses.

A further attribute of the God of Moses, which exalts Him far above the ethnic divinities of the surrounding peoples, is His ethical character. This appears in the fact that His principles inculcate fundamental ethical duties and His agents are chiefly occupied with the administration of legal justice. Moses himself became the lawgiver of Israel. The spirit of this legislation is deeply ethical. Only we must not forget that Moses cannot have originated these ordinances and laws and created them as something absolutely new, but that he was compelled to build on the basis of the accepted legal customs of the people. But he purified these legal usages, which he found in use among the people, through the spirit of his knowledge of God, protected as much as possible the poor, the weak, the enslaved, and elevated the female sex, as is shown by a comparison with related Babylonian laws (Code of Hammurabi). Then, too, we must not forget that the people were comparatively uneducated, and especially that a number of crude classes had joined themselves to the people at that time, who had to be stringently handled if their corrupt customs were not to infect the whole nation. The humane and philanthropic spirit of the Mosaic legislation appears particularly pronounced in Deuteronomy, which, however, represents a later reproduction of the Mosaic system, but is entirely the outcome of Mosaic principles. Most embarrassing for our Christian feeling is the hardness of the Mosaic ordinances in reference to the heathen Canaanites, who were mercilessly to be rooted out (De 7:2; 20:16 f). Here there prevails a conception of God, which is found also among the Moabites, whose King Mesha, on his famous monument, boasts that he had slain all the inhabitants of the city of Kiriath-jearim as "a spectacle to Chemosh, the god of Moab." According to De 7:2 ff, the explanation of this hardness is to be found in the fact that such a treatment was regarded as a Divine judgment upon the worshippers of idols, and served at the same time as a preventive against the infection of idolatry.

(6) The Theocracy.

The vital principle of the organization which Moses gave to his people, Josephus (Apion, II, 16) has aptly called a theocracy, because the lawgiver has subordinated all relations of life to the government of his God. It is entirely incorrect when Wellhausen denies that there is a difference between theocracy and hierarchy. Not the priesthood, but Yahweh alone, is to rule all things in Israel, and Yahweh had many other organs or agents besides the priests, especially the prophets, who not rarely, as the representatives of the sovereign God, sharply opposed themselves to the priests. The theocratical principle, however, finds its expression in this, that public and private life, civil and criminal law, military and political matters were all controlled by religious principles.

(7) The Mosaic Cult.

As a matter of course, Moses also arranged the cult. He created a holy shrine, the tabernacle, which contained the Ark of the Covenant, and in its general arrangements became the model of the sanctuary or temple built in later times. He appointed sacred seasons, in doing which he connected these with previously customary festival days, but he gave sharper directions concerning the Sabbath and gave to the old festival of spring a new historical significance as the Passover. Moses further appointed for this sanctuary a priestly family, and at the same time ordained that the tribe to which this family belonged should assume the guardianship of the sanctuary. The lines separating the rights of the priests and of the Levites have often been changed since his time, but the fundamental distinctions in this respect go back to Moses. In the same way Moses has also, as a matter of course, put the sacred rites, the celebrations of the sacrifices, the religious institutions and ceremonies, into forms suitable to that God whom he proclaimed. This does not mean that all the priestly laws, as they are now found recorded in the Pentateuch, were word for word dictated by him. The priests were empowered to pronounce Torah, i.e. Divine instruction, on this subject, and did this in accordance with the directions received through Moses. Most of these instructions were at first handed down orally, until they were put into written form in a large collection. But in the priestly ordinances, too, there is no lack of traces to show that these date from the period of Moses and must at an early time have been put into written form.


3. The Religion of Israel before the 8th Century BC:

(1) Decay of Religion in Canaan.

Upon the intense religious feeling produced by the exodus from Egypt and the events at Mt. Sinai, there followed a relapse, in connection with which it appears that in this Mosaic generation the cruder tendencies were still too pronounced to endure the great trial of faith demanded by the conquest of the land of Canaan. In the same way, the heroic struggles of Joshua, carried on under the directions of Yahweh and resulting in the conquest of the country, were followed by a reaction. The zeal for battle weakened; the work of conquest was left unfinished; the people arranged to make themselves at home in the land before it had really been won; peace was concluded with the inhabitants. This decay of theocratic zeal and the occupation of the land by the side of and among the Canaanites had a direful influence on the Yahweh-religion as it had been taught the people by Moses. The people adopted the sanctuaries of the country as their own, instead of rooting them out entirely. They took part in the festivals of their neighbors and adopted their customs of worship, including those that were baneful. The local Baals, in whose honor harvest and autumn festivals were celebrated as thanksgiving for their having given the products of the earth, were in many places worshipped by the Israelites. The possibility of interpreting the name Baal in both a good and bad sense favored the excuse that in doing this the people were honoring Yahweh, whom in olden times they also unhesitatingly called their Baal, as their Lord and the master of the land and of the people. By the side of the Yahweh-altars they placed the Asherah, the sacred tree, really as a symbol of the goddess of this name; and the stone pillars (chammanim), which the original inhabitants had erected near their sanctuaries, were also held in honor, while the heathen ideas associated with them thereby found their way into the religious consciousness of the people. Sorcery, necromancy, and similar superstitions crept in. And since, even as it was, a good deal of superstition had continued to survive among the people, there came into existence, in the period of the Judges, a type of popular religion that was tinged by a pronounced heathenism and had but little in common with theocratical principles of Moses, although the people had no intention of discarding the God of Moses. Characteristic of this religious syncretism during the time of the Judges was the rise of the worship of images dedicated to Yahweh in Da (Jud 17$; 18$) and probably also at Ophrah (Jud 8:27), as also human sacrifices (Jud 11).

(2) The Theocratic Kingdom.

But during this period pronounced reactions to the true worship of Yahweh were not lacking. The heroes who appeared on the arena as liberators from the yoke of the oppressors recalled the people to Yahweh, as was done likewise by the prophets and prophetesses. Samuel, the greatest among this class, was at the same time a prophet and reformer. He again brought the people together and tried to free them from the contamination of heathenism, in accordance with the

Mosaic ordinances, and at the same time prepared for a new future by the establishment of colonies of prophets and by the establishment of the kingdom. This latter innovation seemed to be at variance with the principles of a strict theocracy. It is the merit of Samuel that he created theocratic kingdom, by which the anointed of Yahweh himself was to become an important agent of the supreme rule of Yahweh. It is indeed true that the first king, Saul, did not realize this ideal, but his successor, David, appreciated it all the more. And even if David was far from realizing the ideal of a theocratic king, he nevertheless continued to be the model which prophecy tried to attain, namely, a king who was personally and most intimately connected with Yahweh, and who, as the servant of Yahweh, was to realize entirely in his own person the mission of the people to become the servants of Yahweh, and was thus to furnish the guaranty for the harmony between Israel and their God, and bring rich and unalloyed blessings upon the land.

(3) Religious Ideals of the Psalms from the Time of David.

In this way the covenant-relation became a personal one through "the anointed one of Yahweh." In general, religion in Israel became more personal in character in the days of the earlier kings. Before this time the collective relation to God prevailed. Only as a member of the tribe or of the nation was the individual connected with Yahweh, which fact does not exclude the idea that this God, for the very reason that He rules according to ethical principles, also regards the individual and grants him His special protection and requites to him good or evil according to his deeds. The Hebrew hymns or "psalms," which David originated, give evidence of a more intimate association of the individual with his God.

The very oldest of these psalms, a number of which point to David as their author, are not liturgical congregational hymns, but were originally individual prayer-songs, which emanated from personal experiences, but were, in later times, employed for congregational use. The prejudice, that only in later times such expressions of personal piety could be expected, is refuted by analogous cases among other nations, especially by the much more ancient penitential and petitionary prayers of the Babylonians, in which, as a rule, the wants of the individual and not those of the nation constitute the contents. These Babylonian penitential prayers show that among this people, too, the feeling of guilt as the cause of misfortune was very vivid, and that they regarded repentance and confession as necessary in order to secure the forgiveness of the gods. However, the more exalted character of the Israelite conception of God appears in a most pronounced way in this comparison, since the Babylonian feels his way in an uncertain manner in order to discover what god or goddess he may have offended, and not rarely tries to draw out the sympathy of the one divinity over against the wrath of another. But much more can this difference be seen in this, that the heathen singer is concerned only to get rid of the evil or the misfortune that oppresses him. The communion with his god whose favor he seeks to regain is in itself of no value for him. In David’s case the matter is altogether different, as he knows that he is bound to Yahweh by a covenant of love (Ps 18:2), and his heart delights in this communion, more than it does in all earthly possessions (Ps 4:8); and this is even more so in the case of the author of Ps 73:25-26. Such words would, for good reasons, be unthinkable in the case of a Babylonian psalmist.

In the times of those earliest kings of Israel, which, externally, constituted the most flourishing period in their history, unless tradition is entirely at fault, the spiritual world of thought also was enriched by the Wisdom literature of the Proverbs, the earliest examples of which date back to Solomon.

(4) Wisdom Literature from the Time of Solomon. This chokhmah, or Wisdom literature, is marked by the peculiarity that it ignores the special providential guidance of Israel and their extraordinary relation to their God, and confines itself more to the general revelation of God in Nature and in the history of mankind, but in doing this regards the fear of God as the beginning of wisdom, and at all times has the practical purpose of exhorting to a moral and God-pleasing life. The idea that this cosmopolitan tendency is to be attributed to Greek influences, and accordingly betrays a later period as the time of its origin, is to be rejected, as far as Proverbs and Job are concerned. The many passages in Pr that speak of conduct over against the king show a pre-exilic origin. The universalistic character of this literature must be explained on other grounds. It resulted from this, that this proverb-wisdom is not the sole, exclusive property of Israel and was not first cultivated among them, but was derived from abroad. The Edomites were especially conspicuous in this respect, as the Book of Job shows, in which the Israelite author introduces as speakers masters of this art from this tribe and others adjoining it. We can also compare the superscriptions in Pr 30:1; 31:1, in which groups of proverbs from Arabian principalities are introduced. Accordingly, this wisdom was regarded as a common possession of Israel and of their neighbors. This is probably the reason why the authors of this class of literature refrain from national reference and reminiscences. That the liberal-minded Solomon was the one to introduce this proverb-wisdom, or at any rate cultivated it with special favor, is in itself probable, and is confirmed by the fact that the Queen of Sheba (South Arabia) came to Jerusalem in order to listen to his wisdom. But this also presupposes that in her country a similar class of wisdom was cultivated. This was also the case in Egypt in very early antiquity, and in Egyptian literature we have collections of proverbs that remind us of the proverbs of Solomon (compare Transactions of the Third International Congress of the History of Religions, Oxford, 1908, I, 284 ff; see WISDOM).

(5) The Sanctuary on Mt. Zion.

The kingdom of David and of Solomon not only externally marks the highest development of the history of Israel, but intellectually, too, prepared the soil out of which henceforth the religious life of the nation drew its sustenance. It was especially under David a significant matter, that at this time the higher spiritual powers were in harmony with the political. This found its expression in the Divine election of David and his seed, which was confirmed by prophetical testament (2Sa 7). Hand in hand with this went the selection of Mt. Zion as the dwelling-place of Yahweh. David, from the beginning, was desirous of establishing here theocratical center of the people, as he had shown by transferring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. In the same way Solomon, by the erection of the Temple, sought to strengthen and suitably equip this central seat. As a matter of course, the sacred shrines throughout the land did not thereby at once lose their significance. But the erection of the sanctuary in Jerusalem was not at all intended to establish a "royal chapel" for the king, as Wellhausen has termed this structure, but it claimed the inheritance of the tabernacle in Shiloh, and the prophets sanctioned this claim.

(6) The Religion of the Kingdom of Ephraim.

The division of the kingdom after the death of Solomon which, as it was, had not been too large, proved politically disastrous. It also entailed a retrogression in religious matters. The centralizing tendencies of the preceding reigns were thwarted. Jeroboam erected other sacred shrines; especially did he make Bethel a "king’s sanctuary" (Am 7:13). At the same time he encouraged religious syncretism. It is true that the gold-covered images of heifers (by the prophets, in derision, called "calves") were intended only to represent the Covenant-God Yahweh. However, this representation in the form of images, an idea which the king no doubt had brought back with him from his sojourn in Egypt, was a concession to the corrupt religious instincts in the nation, and gave to the Ephraimitic worship an inferior character in comparison with the service in the Temple in Jerusalem, where no images were to be found. But in other respects, too, the arbitrary conduct of the king in the arrangement of the cults proved to be a potent factor in the Northern Kingdom from the beginning. The opposition of independent prophets was suppressed with all power. Nevertheless, the prophetic agitation continued to be a potent spiritual factor, which the kings themselves could not afford to ignore.

This proved to be the case particularly when the dynasty of Omri, who established a new capital city, Samaria, openly favored the introduction of Phoenician idolatry. Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, even succeeded in having a magnificent temple erected in the new capital to her native Baal, and in crushing the opposition of the prophets who were faithful to Yahweh. It now became a question of life and death, so far as the religion of Yahweh was concerned. The struggle involved not only certain old heathen customs in the religion of the masses, dating back to the occupation of Canaan, but it was the case of an invasion of a foreign and heathen god, with a clearly defined purpose. His voluptuous worship was not at all in harmony with the serious character of the Mosaic religion, and it seriously menaced, in a people naturally inclined to sensuality, the rule of the stringent and holy God of Mt. Sinai. The tricky and energetic queen was already certain that she had attained her purpose, when an opponent arose in the person of Elijah, who put all her efforts to naught.

(7) Elijah and Elisha.

In his struggle with the priests of Baal, who deported themselves after the manner of modern dervishes, we notice particularly the exalted and dignified conception of God in 1Ki 18. When in this chapter Yahweh and Baal are contrasted, the idea of Elijah is by no means that these gods have in their own territory the same rights as Yahweh in Canaan and Israel. Elijah mocks this Baal because he is no God at all (18:21), and the whole worship of the priests convinces him that they are not serving a real and true God, but only the product of their imagination (18:27). This is monotheism, and certainly not of a kind that has only recently been acquired and been first set up by Elijah, but one that came down from the days of Moses. Elijah proves himself to be a witness and an advocate of the God of Sinai, who has been betrayed in a treacherous manner. The fact that he inflicts a dire and fateful punishment on the idolatrous priests of Baal is also in perfect agreement with the old, stringent, Mosaic, legal code. Only such severity could atone for the fearful crime against the God of the country and of the covenant, and could save the people from apostasy. However, theophany at Mt. Sinai (1Ki 19:11 ) shows clearly that not His external and fearful power, but His calm and deep character was felt by Elijah to be the distinguishing mark of his God. His successor, Elisha, after the storm had cleared the religious atmosphere in the country, in the performance of his prophetic duties was able again to show forth more emphatically the fatherly care and the helpful, healing love of his God.

In general, the political retrogression of the nation and the opposition of those in power, which the prophets and the faithful worshippers of Yahweh in later times were compelled to experience often enough, served greatly to intensify and to spiritualize their religion. The unfortunate situation of the present, and the weaknesses and failures in the actual state of theocracy, directed their eyes to the future. The people began to study the wonderful ways of God in dealing with His people, and they began to look to the end of these dealings. A proof of this is found in the comprehensive accounts contained in the old history of the covenant-people as recorded in the Pentateuchal documents E and J, which were composed during this period. Whether these extend beyond and later than the period of Joshua or not, can remain an open question. In any case, there existed written accounts also concerning the times of the Judges, and concerning the history of Samuel, David and Solomon, which in part were written down soon after the events they record, and which, because of their phenomenal impartiality, point to an exceptionally high prophetic watchtower from which the ways of God with His people were observed.

4. Development of the Religion of Israel from the 8th Century BC to the Exile:

(1) The Writing Prophets.

The spiritual development of the deeper Israelite religion was the business of the prophets. At the latest, from the 8th century BC, and probably from the middle of the 9th, we have in written form their utterances and discourses. Larger collections of such prophecies were certainly left by Amos and Hosea. These prophets stood entirely on the basis of the revelations which by Moses had been made the foundation of Israel’s religion. But in contrast to the superficial and mistaken idea of the covenant of Yahweh entertained by their contemporaries, these prophets make clear the true intentions of this covenant, and at the same time, through their new inspiration, advance the religious knowledge of the people.

(2) Their Opposition to the Cult.

This appears particularly in their rejection of the external and unspiritual cult of their age. Over against the false worship of God, which thinks to satisfy God by the offering of sacrifices, they proclaim the true worship, which consists above all things in the fulfillment of the duties of the law and of love toward their fellow-men. They denounce as a violation of the covenant not only idolatry, the worship of strange gods, and the heathen symbols and customs which, in the course of time, had crept into the service of Yahweh, but they declare also that the religion which is based solely on the offering of sacrifices is worthless, since God, who is in no way dependent on any services rendered by men, does not care for such sacrifices, but is concerned about this, that His commands be observed, and that these consist above all things in righteousness, uprightness in the dealings of man with man, and in mercy on the poor, the weak, the defenseless, who cannot secure justice for themselves. (Compare e.g., 1Sa 15:22; Ho 6:6; Isa 1:11 ff; Jer 7:21 ff, and other passages equally pointed. See on this subject, J. Robertson, Early Religion, etc., 440 ff.) Such a transfer of the center of religion from the cult to practical ethical life has no analogy whatever in other Semitic and ancient religions. Yet it is not something absolutely new, but is a principle that has developed out of the foundation laid by Moses, while it is in most pronounced contrast to the common religious sentiments of mankind. The prophetic utterances that condemn the unthinking and the unconsecrated cult must not be misunderstood, as though Isaiah, Jeremiah and others had been modern spiritualists, who rejected all external forms of worship. In this case they would have ceased to be members of their own people and children of their own times. What they absolutely reject is only the false trust put in an opus operatum, i.e. a mechanical performance of religious rites, which had been substituted for the real and heartfelt exercise of religion. Then, too, we are not justified in drawing from passages such as Jer 7:22 the conclusion that at this time there did not yet exist in written form a Mosaic sacrificial code. Such a code is found even in the Book of the Covenant, recognized by critics as an older Pentateuch document (Ex 20$; 21$; 22$; 23$; 34$), and the fact that the Sabbath commandment is found in the Decalogue does not prevent Isaiah from writing what he has penned in 1:13,14. That at this period, already, there were extant many written ordinances is demanded by Ho 8:12, and the connection shows that cult ordinances are meant. We must accordingly take the prophet’s method of expression into consideration, which delights in absolute contrasts in cases where we would speak relatively. But this is not intended to weaken the boldness of the prophetic thoughts, which purpose to express sharp opposition to the religious ideas current at that time.

(3) Their Preaching of the Judgment.

The conception of God and Divine things on the part of the prophets was the logical development of the revelations in the days of Moses, and after that time, concerning the nature and the activity of God. The God of the prophets is entirely a personal and living God, i.e. He enters into the life of man. His holiness is exaltation above Nature and the most pronounced antagonism to all things unclean, to sin. Sin is severely dealt with by God, especially, as has already been mentioned, the sin of showing no love and no mercy to one’s neighbor. Because they are saturated with this conviction of the absolute holiness of God, the preexilic prophets proclaim to their people more than anything else the judgment which shall bring with it the dissolution of both kingdoms and the destruction of Samaria and of Jerusalem, together with its temple. First, its destruction is proclaimed to the Northern Kingdom; later on to the Southern. In doing this, these inspired men testify that Yahweh is not inseparably bound to His people. Rather He Himself calls the destroyer to come, since all the nations of the world are at His command.

(4) Their Messianic Promises.

However, the prophets never conclude purely negatively, but they always see on the horizon some rays of hope, which promise to a "remnant" of the people better times. A "day of Yahweh" is coming, when He will make His final settlement with the nations, after they have carried out His judgment on His people. Then, after the destruction of the Gentileworld, He will establish His rule over the world. This fundamental thought, which appears again and again with constantly increasing clearness, often takes the form that a future king out of the house of David, in whom the idea of the "anointed of Yahweh" has been perfectly realized, will first establish in Judah-Israel a pure rule of God, and then also gain the supremacy of the world. Some critics have claimed that all of these Messianic and eschatological predictions date from the postexilic period. In recent years a reaction against this view has set in, based on the belief that in Egypt and Babylonia also similar expectations are found at an early period. These promises, when they are more clearly examined, are found to be so intimately connected with the other prophecies of Isaiah, Hosea, and others, that to separate them would be an act of violence. In their most magnificent character, these pictures of the future are found in Isaiah, while in Jeremiah their realization and spiritualization have progressed farther.

(5) Reformations.

While the prophets are characterized by higher religious ideas and ideals, the religion of the masses was still strongly honeycombed with cruder and even heathen elements. Yet there were not totally wanting among the common people those who listened to these prophetic teachers. And especially in Judea there were times when, favored by pious kings, this stricter and purer party obtained the upper hand. This was particularly the case under the kings Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, and Josiah. During the reigns of these kings the cult was reformed. Hezekiah and Josiah attacked particularly the local sanctuaries and their heathen worship (called bamoth), and concentrated the sacrificial cult in Jerusalem. In doing this they were guided by the faithful priests and prophets and by the ancient Mosaic directions. Josiah, who, more thoroughly than others, fought against the disintegration of the Yahweh-cultus, found his best help in the newly-discovered Book of the Law (Deuteronomy). That the sacrifices should be made at one place had been, as we saw, an old Mosaic arrangement. However, Moses had foreseen that local altars would be erected at places where special revelations had been received from Yahweh (Ex 20:24-25). In this way the numerous altars at Bethel, on Carmel, and elsewhere could claim a certain justification, only they were not entitled to the same rank as the central sanctuary, where the Ark of the Covenant stood and where the sons of Aaron performed their priestly functions. Deuteronomy demands more stringently that all real sacrificial acts shall be transferred to this central point. This rule Josiah carried out strictly. The suppression of the current sacrifices on high places by the fall of the Northern Kingdom aided in effecting the collapse of such shrines, while the sanctuary in Jerusalem, because it was delivered from the attack of the Assyrians, won a still greater recognition.

(6) Destruction of Jerusalem.

However, immediately after the death of Josiah, the apostasy from Yahweh again set in. The people thought that they had been deserted by Him, and they now more than before sought refuge in an appeal to a mixture of gods derived from Babylonia, Egypt, Persia and elsewhere. Eze 8 and 9 describe this syncretism which made itself felt even in the temple-house in Jerusalem. The people were incapable of being made better and were ripe for destruction. The temple, too, which it was thought by many could not be taken, was doomed to be destroyed from its very foundations.

5. The Babylonian Exile:

(1) Spiritual Purification through the Exile.

A mighty change in the religion of Israel was occasioned by the deportation of the wealthier and better educated Jews to Babylon and their sojourn there for a period of about 50 years, and by the still longer stay of a large portion of the exiles in this country. The nation was thus cut off from the roots of the native heathendom in Palestine and also from the external organization of theocracy. This brought about a purification and a spiritualization, which proved to be a great benefit for later times, when the political manifestation of their religious life had ceased, and the personal element came more into the foreground. Jeremiah and Ezekiel emphasize, each in his own way, the value of this religion for the individual. A spiritual communion came into being during the Exile, which found its bond of union in the word of Yahweh, and which insisted on serving God without a temple and external sacrificial cult (which, however, was still found among the exiles in Egypt). Separated from their homes, they collected all the more diligently the sacred memories and traditions, to which Ezekiel’s plans for the temple belong. Their sacred literature, the Torah or Law, the prophetical books, the historical writings, the Psalms, and other literature were collected, and in this way preparations were made for the following period.

(2) Relations to the Gentile World.

The most earnest classes of Jews, at least, absolutely declined to have anything to do with the Babylonian religion and worship. They saw here the worship of images in its most repulsive and sensual form, and they also learned its absolute impotency when the haughty Chaldean empire was overthrown. Deutero-Isaiah (Isa 40:1-66:24) shows that the Israelites now become more conscious than ever of the great value of their own religion with its Creator of heaven and earth over against this variegated Pantheon of changeable gods in forms of wood and metal images. From this time on, the glory of the Creator of the universe and His revelation in the works of Nature were lauded and magnified with a new zeal and more emphatically than ever before. This same prophet, however, proclaims also the new fact of the mission-call of Israel among the nations of the world. This people, he declares, is to become the instrument of Yahweh to make the Gentiles His spiritual subjects. But as this people in its present condition is little fit for this great service, he sees with his prophetic eye a perfect "Servant of Yahweh," who carries out this mission, a personal, visible "Servant of Yahweh," who establishes the rule of God upon earth, by becoming, in the first place, for Israel a second Moses and Joshua, but who then, too, wins over the heathen nations by this message. He accordingly takes the place of the prophesied future Son of David. However, He is not a personal ruler, but carries out His work through mere spiritual power and in lowliness and weakness. Indeed, His suffering and death become the atonement to wipe out the guilt of His people (Isa 53). We can see in this further development of the deepening and spiritualization of the eschatological hopes how strongly the unaccustomed misfortunes and surroundings of the exiles had influenced them. Notwithstanding all their antagonism to the aberrations of the heathen world, the Israelites yet learned that among the Gentiles there was also some receptivity for the higher truths. The worshippers of Yahweh felt themselves more akin to the Persians than to the Babylonians, as the former served without images a god which was conceived as one and as an exalted divine being. Thoughts taken from Parsiism are also found in the later literature of Israel, although it is not the case that the idea of Satan was first taken from this source. The doctrine of the resurrection of the dead for the judgment also can be gained from Old Testament premises. However, the religion of the Babylonians was not without influence on that of the Jews. It is indeed out of the question that it was only during the Exile that the Jews took over the accounts of the Creation and the Deluge and others similar to the Babylonian, as these are found in Ge 1-11. But the development of the angelology shows the evidences of later Babylonian and Persian influences. And especially does demonology play a more important role in post-exilic times than ever before, particularly about the beginnings of the Christian era. Magic art, too, entered largely into the faith of later Judaism, and it can be shown that both of these came from Babylonian sources.

6. Religion of the Post-exilic Period:

(1) Life under the Law.

The people which returned from the Exile was a purified congregation of Yahweh, willing to serve Him. They aimed to re-establish theocracy. This latter had not, indeed, because of the loss of the political independence of the people, the same importance as formerly, but the religious cult and the religious life of the people were all the more stringently observed. The post-exilic period is characterized by religious legalism. The people were exceedingly zealous in observing the old ordinances, and tried to find righteousness in the correctness with which the Mosaic law was observed, as this was now demanded by the teachers of this law. The prophet of the Exile, Ezekiel, had taken the lead in this particular, and had laid great emphasis on the formal ordinances, although in connection with this he also insisted upon real moral earnestness. But it was an easy matter that in the course of time an external work-righteousness and petrifaction of true religion should arise. Yet the later prophets, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, even if they do ascribe a greater importance to external matters than the preexilic prophets did, show that they are the spiritual heirs of these earlier seers. They teach a healthy ethical and sanctifying type of practical religion and continue to proclaim the hopes for an expansion and spiritualization of the Kingdom of God. The leaders of these times, Zerubbabel, Ezra, Nehemiah, show a pronouncedly antagonistic attitude toward the neighboring nations and also toward those inhabitants of the country who did not live under the law. However, their intolerance, especially toward the Samaritans, can be readily understood from the principle of the self-preservation of the people of Yahweh. The law came to be the subject of the most careful study, and the teachers of the law collected, even to the minutest details, the oral traditions with reference to its meaning and to the proper observance of the different demands, so that already before the time of Christ they were in possession of an extensive tradition, which was afterward put down in written form in the Mishna. The writing of history was also carefully cultivated. The Books of Chronicles show from what viewpoint they described the past; the temple and the cult were the center of interest. In the same way the psalm-poetry, especially the temple-song, flourished again. These later hymns are pretty and regular, but no longer show the bold spirit of the older psalms. In many cases, older songs are made use of in these later hymns in a new way. Of the proverb-literature of the later post-exilic times, the The Wisdom of Solomon of Jesus Sirach, or Ecclesiasticus, is an instructive example. Notwithstanding its great similarity to the old Proverbs, the prevailing and leading points of view have become different in character. The conception of Wisdom has assumed a specifically Jewish and theocratic character.

(2) Hellenism.

But the Jewish exclusiveness found a dangerous opponent, especially from the days of Alexander the Great, in the new Hellenism. Hellenistic language, culture, customs and world ideas overwhelmed Palestine also. While the Pious (chacidhim) all the more anxiously fortified themselves behind their ordinances, the worldly-minded gave themselves up fully to the influence that came from without. In the first half of the 2nd century BC there arose, as a consequence, a bloody struggle against the inroads of this heathendom, when Antiochus Epiphanes undertook to suppress the religion of the Jews, and when the Asmoneans began their holy war against him.

(3) Pharisees and Sadducees.

But within the people of Israel itself there were found two parties, one strict and the other lax in the observance of the law. The leaders of the former were the highly popular Pharisees, who, according to their name, were the "Separatists," separated from the common and lawless masses. They tried to surpass each other in their zeal for the traditional ordinances and pious observances. However, among them it was also possible to find real piety, although in the New Testament records, where they are described as taking a hostile attitude toward the higher and the highest form of Divine revelation, they appear at their worst. Their rivals, the Sadducees, were less fanatical in their observance of the demands of the law and more willing to compromise with the spirit of the times. To this party belonged many of the more prominent priests. But this party evinced less real religious life than did the Pharisees.

(4) Essenes.

Then, too, in the time of Jesus, there were not lacking indications of the influence of foreign religions, as is apparent in the case of the Essenes. This party advocated dualistic ideas, as these are later found among the Mandeans.

(5) Positive Connections between Judaism and Hellenism.

In Alexandria a friendly exchange of ideas between Hellenism and Judaism was brought about. Here the Old Testament was translated into the Greek. This translation, known as the Septuagint (Septuagint), shows as yet but few signs of the Greek spirit; rather, a pronounced influence of legal and ritualistic Judaism. On the other hand, apologetical opposition to Hellenism appears to a more marked degree, among others, in the apocryphal work known as "Wisdom of Solomon," in which we find a positive defense of wisdom as the principle of revelation over against the Epicurean world wisdom of Hellenism. In doing this, the book leans on Platonism and Stoicism. The chokhmah, or wisdom of the old Jewish literature, has been Hellenized. Philo goes still farther in adapting Judaism to Greek taste and to humanism. A more liberal conception of inspiration also appears in the reception of contemporaneous literary products into the Old Testament Canon, even of some books which had originally been written in the Greek language. The means observed in adapting national Hebraism to Hellenistic universalism was the allegorical method of interpretation, which Philo practiced extensively and which then passed over to the Christian church Fathers of the Alexandrian school. This school constitutes the opposite extreme to the rabbinical, which clung most tenaciously to the letter of the sacred texts.

(6) Apocalyptic Literature.

A unique phenomenon at the close of the Biblical and in the earliest post-Biblical period is, finally, the APOCALYPTIC LITERATURE (which see). Since the days of the Maccabees we find the custom in certain Jewish circles, by using the old prophecies and adapting them to the events of the times, of drawing up a systematic picture of the future. The authorship of these writings was usually ascribed to one of the ancient saints, e.g. to Enoch, or Abraham, or Moses, or Elijah, or Solomon, or Baruch, or Ezra, or others. The model of these Apocalypses is the Book of Dnl, which, on the basis of older visions, in the times of the oppression by Antiochus Epiphanes, pictures, in grand simplicity, the development of the history of the world down to the final triumph of the Kingdom of God over the kingdoms of the world.

III. Conclusion: Characteristic Features of the Religion of Israel.

When we consider this whole development, it cannot be denied that the religion of Israel passed through many changes. It grew and purified and spiritualized itself out of its own inherent strength; but it also suffered many relapses, when hindering and corrupting influence gained the upper hand. But it received from without not only degenerating influences, but also much that inspired and developed its growth. Its original and native strength also shows itself in this, that without losing its real character it was able to appropriate to itself elements of truth from without and assimilate these.

1. The Living God:

If we ask what the specific and unique character of this religion was, by which it was distinguished from all other religions of antiquity, and by reason of which it alone was capable of producing from itself the highest revelation in Christ, it must be answered that its uniqueness lies, most of all, in its conception of God and of Divine things, and of God’s relation to the world. The term "monotheism" but inadequately expresses this peculiarity; for monotheistic tendencies are found also in other nations, and in Israel monotheism often shows itself in a strongly corrupted form. The advantage of Israel lies in its close contact with the living God. From the beginning of Israel’s history a strictly personal God gave testimony of Himself to different personalities with a decision which demanded absolute submission; and, in addition, this was a holy God, who elevated mankind above Nature and above themselves, a God who stood in the most absolute contrast to all that was impure or sinful, but at the same time was wonderful in His grace and His mercy to the sinner. This direct revelation of God to specially chosen bearers of the Divine truth goes through the entire history of Israel. Through this factor this religion was being constantly purified and unfolded further. The Israelites learned to conceive God in a more spiritual, correct, and universal manner, the more they advanced in experience and culture. But this God did not thereby become a mere abstract being, separated from mankind, as was the case with so many nations. He always continued to be a living God who takes an active part in the lives of men. We need notice only those prophets who describe the greatness of God in the grandest way, such as Hosea, Isaiah, Deutero-Isaiah, who depict also the personal life of God in the boldest way through anthropomorphisms.

2. The Relation of Man to This God:

In agreement with this, too, we find that this religion demands the personal subjection of men to God. As was the case with all the religions of antiquity, that of the Old Testament, of Man to too, was originally rather a tribal and a national religion than one of the individual. This brought with it the demand for the external observance of the tribal customs in the name of religion. However, the traditional customs and legal ordinances had already been sifted and purified by Moses. And, as a matter of necessity, in a religion of such a pronounced personal nature, the personal relation of the individual to God must become more and more a matter of importance. This idea became deeper and more spiritual in the course of time and developed into a pure love for God. It did not prevent this religion from becoming petrified, even during the Exile, when the doctrines and the cult were most correctly observed. But the vital kernels found embedded in the revelation of God constantly proved their power of rejuvenation. And at that very time when the petrified legalism of Pharisaism attained its most pronounced development, the most perfect fruit of this religion came forth from the old stem of the history of Israel, namely Christ, who unfolded Judaism and converted it into the religion of salvation for the entire world.


Of the literature on the religion of Israel we may yet make particular mention of the following: The textbooks on Old Testament Theology by Oehler, 1891 (also the English translation), of Dillmann, 1895. The Kuenen-Wellhausen school is represented by Kuenen, De Godsdienst van Israel, 1869 (also the English translation); Stade, Biblische Theologie des A T, 1905; Marti, Theologie des A T, 1903; Smend, Lehrbuch der A T Religionsgeschichte, 1899; compare also the works of Robertson Smith, especially his lectures on The Religion of the Semites. Against this radical school, see, in addition to the work of Dillmann, James Robertson, Early Religion of Israel, 1893. On the subject of Semitism in general, S.I. Curtiss, Ursemitische Religion im Volksleben des heutigen Orients, 1903 (also the English translation); Baethgen, Beltrage zur semitischen Religionsgeschichte, 1880; M.J. Lagrange, Etudes sur les religions semitiques, 1905. The relation of Israel to the Assyrian and Babylonian religions is discussed by Hugo Winckler in several works; compare also Fritz Hommel, Alttestamentliche Ueberlieferungen, 1897 (also the English translation); Sayce, The Higher Criticism and the Verdict of the Monuments, 1895; Alfred Jerermias, Das A Tim Lichte des alten Orients, 1906; a good brief summary is found in Sellin, Die A T Religion im Rahmen der andern Altorientalischen, 1908. Full details are given in Kautzsch, "Religion of Israel," in HDB, extra vol, 1904. For the last centuries before Christ see particularly, Schurer, Geschichte des judischen Volkes im Zeitalter Jesu Christi, 1907 (also English Translation). The modern Jewish standpoint is represented by Montefiore, Lectures on the Origin and Growth of Religion as Illustrated by the History of the Ancient Hebrews, 1892.

C. von Orelli


iz’-ra-el-it, iz’-rael-it-ish: Belonging to the tribes of ISRAEL (which see). Occurs 4 times in the New Testament: of Nathanael (Joh 1:47); used by Paul (Ro 9:4; 11:1; 2Co 11:22).


is’-a-kar (yissa(se)khar; Septuagint, Swete Issachar; Tischendorf, Issachar, so also in the New Testament, Tregelles, and Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek):

(1) The 9th son of Jacob, the 5th borne to him by Leah (Ge 30:17 f).

1. The Name:

His birth is in this passage connected with the strange story of Reuben and his mandrakes, and the name given him is apparently conceived as derived from ‘ish sakhar, "a hired workman." There is a play upon the name in this sense in Ge 49:15, "He bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant under taskwork." Wellhausen (Textder Buch. Sam., 95) thinks that the second element of the name may denote a deity; and Sokar, an Egyptian god, has been suggested. The name in that case would mean "worshipper of Sokar." Practically nothing is preserved of the personal history of this patriarch beyond his share in the common actions of the sons of Jacob. Four sons were born to him before Jacob’s family removed to Egypt (Ge 46:13). In that land he died and was buried.

2. The Tribe:

At Sinai the tribe numbered 54,000 men of war over 20 years of age (Nu 1:29). At the end of the wanderings the numbers had grown to 64,300 (Nu 26:25). In the days of David, the Chronicler puts the figures at 87,000 (1Ch 7:5). See NUMBERS. The place of Issachar in the desert-march was with the standard of the tribe of Judah (along with Zebulun) on the East side of the tabernacle (Nu 2:5), this group forming the van of the host (Nu 10:14 f). The rabbis say that this standard was of 3 colors, sardine, topaz and carbuncle, on which were inscribed the names of the 3 tribes, bearing the figure of a lion’s whelp (Tg, pseudo. Jon. on Nu 2:3). The captain of the tribe was Nethanel ben-Zuar (Nu 1:8, etc.). Later this place was held by Igal ben-Joseph, the tribal representative among the spies (Nu 13:7). The prince chosen from Issachar to assist in the division of the land was Paltiel ben-Azzan (Nu 34:26). The position of Issachar at the strange ceremony near Shechem was on Mt. Gerizim, "to bless the people" (De 27:12).

3. The Tribal Territory:

Sixteen cities of Issachar are mentioned in Jos 19:17 ff, but the only indications of boundaries are Tabor in the North and Jordan in the East. We gather elsewhere that the territory of this tribe marched on the North with Zebulun and Naphtali (19:11,33); on the West with Manasseh and possibly Asher (17:10); and on the South with Manasseh (17:11). It does not seem to have had any point of contact with the sea. The portion of Issachar, therefore, included the plain of Esdraelon, Tabor, the hill of Moreh, and the slopes East to the Jordan. The fortresses along the South edge of the plain were held by Manasseh. Tola, a man of Issachar, held Shamir, a stronghold in Mt. Ephraim (Jud 10:1). To Manasseh was given Beth-shean with her "towns" (Jos 17:11). No reliable line can be drawn for the South border. The district thus indicated was small; but it embraced some of the most fruitful land in Palestine. By the very riches of the soil Issachar was tempted. "He saw a resting-place that it was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and he bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant under taskwork" (Ge 49:15). "The mountain" in De 33:19 may possibly be Tabor, on which, most likely, there was an ancient sanctuary and place of pilgrimage. This would certainly be associated with a market, in which Issachar and Zebulun, the adjoining tribes, would be able to enrich themselves by trade with the pilgrims from afar. Issachar took part in the battle with Sisera (Jud 5:15). To Israel Issachar gave one judge, Tola (Jud 10:1), and two kings, Baasha and his son (1Ki 15:27, etc.).

4. Men of Issachar:

Of the 200 "heads" of the men of Issachar who came to David at Hebron it is said that they were "men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do" (1Ch 12:32). According to the Targum, this meant that they knew how to ascertain the periods of the sun and moon, the intercalation of months, the dates of solemn feasts, and could interpret the signs of the times. A company from Issachar came to the celebration of the Passover when it was restored by Hezekiah (2Ch 30:18). Issachar has a portion assigned to him in Ezekiel’s ideal division of the land (Eze 48:25); and he appears also in the list in Re (7:7).

(2) A Korahite doorkeeper, the 7th son of Obededom (1Ch 26:5).

W. Ewing


is-shi’-a (yishshiyahu, "Yah exists"; the King James Version Ishiah):

(1) Mentioned among David’s heroes, a greatgrandson of Tola (1Ch 7:3).

(2) Mentioned among the men who came to David at Ziklag (1Ch 12:6; the King James Version "Jesiah").

(3) A member of the priesthood of the house of Rehabiah (1Ch 24:21; the King James Version "Jesiah").

(4) Another Levitical priest of the house of Uzziel (1Ch 23:20; 24:25).


is-shi’-ja (yishshiyah, "Yah lends"; the King James Version Ishijah): A man of the household of Harim, named among those who, at Ezra’s command, were induced to put away their "strange wives" (Ezr 10:31). Also called "Aseas" (1 Esdras 9:32).



(1) (moledheth, tse’etsa’im; sperma, "seed"): Offspring, descendants (Ge 48:6; Isa 22:24; Mt 22:25 the King James Version).

(2) (zirmah; yatsa’ (verb); rhusis): A gushing of fluid (semen, Eze 23:20; water, 47:8; blood, Lu 8:43). See next article.


(zobh, zubh; rhusis, haimorrhoos): When used as a description of a bodily affection the word signifies:

(1) A discharge, the consequence of uncleanness and sin (Le 15:2 ff; Nu 5:2). As such it was one of the judgments which were to afflict the family of Joab (2Sa 3:29);

(2) a hemorrhage, either natural (Le 12:7, where the word used is maqor, literally, a "fountain"), or the consequence of disease (Mt 9:20; Mr 5:25; Lu 8:43).


ish’-uz (tots’-oth, literally, "outgoings"):

(1) Ways of escape (Ps 68:20 the King James Version);

(2) free moral choices (Pr 4:23).


is-tal-ku’-rus (Istalkouros): 1 Esdras 8:40, corresponding to Zabbud in Ezr 8:14. In Swete’s text the name is Istakalkos.


is’-u-a. See ISHVAH.














it’-a-li (Italia): At first confined as a name to the extreme southern part of the Italian peninsula in the region now called Calabria, whence its application was gradually extended. In Greek usage of the 5th century BC, the name was applied to the coasts as far as Metapontum and Posidonia, being synonymous with Oenotria. The Oenotrians are represented as having assumed the name of Italians (Itali) from a legendary ruler Italus (Dionysius, i.12,35; Vergil, Aen. i.533). The extension of Roman authority seems to have given this name an ever-widening application, since it was used to designate their allies generally. As early as the time of Polybius the name Italy was sometimes employed as an appellation for all the country between the two seas (Tyrrhenian and Adriatic) and from the foot of the Alps to the Sicilian Straits (Polyb. i.6; ii.14; iii.39,54), although Cisalpine Gaul was not placed on a footing of complete equality with the peninsula as regards administration until shortly after the death of Julius Caesar. From the time of Augustus the term was used in practically its modern sense (Nissen, Italische Landeskunde, I, 57-87).

The name Italy occurs 3 times in the New Testament: Ac 18:2, Aquila "lately come from Italy," because of the expulsion of the Jews from Rome under Claudius; Ac 27:1, the decision that Paul be sent to Italy; Heb 13:24, salutation from those "of Italy." The adjective form is found in the appellation, "Italian band" (cobors Italica, Ac 10:1).

The history of ancient Italy, in so far as it falls within the scope of the present work, is treated under ROME (which see).

George H. Allen


(charec; psora): Only in De 28:27, where it probably refers to the parasitic skin disease of that name which is very common in Palestine. It is due to a small mite, Sarcoptes scabiei, which makes burrows in the skin and sometimes causes extensive crusts or scabs, attended with a severe itching. It is very easily communicated from person to person by contact, and can be cured only by destruction of the parasite. This disease disqualified its victims for the priesthood (Le 21:20).





ith’-a-mar (’ithamar, "land" or "island of palms": Gesenius; or "father of Tamar," ‘i, being perhaps for ‘abhi: Cook in Encyclopedia Biblica—though both derivations are uncertain): The 4th son of Aaron (Ex 6:23; 28:1; 1Ch 6:3), Eleazar being the 3rd son, Nadab and Abihu the 1st and 2nd sons. While Nadab and Abihu were prematurely cut off for offering strange fire before the Lord (Le 10:1,2; Nu 3:4; 26:61), and Eleazar was appointed chief of the tribe of Levi (Ex 6:23,25) and ultimately succeeded Aaron (Ex 28:1), Ithamar was made the treasurer of the offerings for the Tabernacle (Ex 38:21), and superintendent of the Gershonites and Merarites in the service of the Tabernacle (Nu 4:28,33). In the time of Eli the high-priesthood had come to be in his family, but how, and whether before Eli’s day or first in Eli’s person, is not told and need not be conjectured. W. R. Smith in Encyclopedia Biblica (art. "Eli"), on the strength of 1Sa 2:27,28, holds that the priesthood was originally in Eli’s line; but the words "the house of thy father" do not necessarily mean only the house of Ithamar, but may, and most probably do, refer to Aaron and his descendants, of whom Ithamar was one. Nor does the cutting off of Eli’s family from the priesthood and the setting in their place of "a faithful priest," who should do everything according to Yahweh’s will and walk before Yahweh’s anointed forever, find its complete fulfillment in the deposition of Abiathar or Ahimelech, his son, and the installation of Zadok in the time of Solomon (1Ki 2:35; 1Ch 29:22; see ZADOK). A descendant of Ithamar, Daniel by name, is mentioned among the exiles who returned from Babylon (Ezr 8:2).

T. Whitelaw


ith’-i-el (’ithi’el, "God is"):

(1) A son of Jeshaiah of the tribe of Benjamin, mentioned among the inhabitants of Jerusalem in Nehemiah’s day (Ne 11:7).

(2) The name is perhaps also found in the oracle of Agur (Pr 30:1).



(’ithi’el we’ukhal): Names of the two men to whom Agur the son of Jakeh spoke his words (Pr 30:1). The purport of introducing these persons is strange and obscure; the margin proposes therefore, by the use of a different pointing, to read the verse, "The man said, I have wearied myself, O God, I have wearied myself, O God, and am consumed," thus doing away with the proper names; a reading which corresponds not inaptly with the tone of the succeeding verses.


John Franklin Genung

ITHLAH ith’-la (yithlah; the King James Version Jetblah): An unidentified town in the territory of Dan, named with Aijalon and Elon (Jos 19:42).


ith’-ma (yithmah, "purity"): A citizen of the country of the Moabites, David’s deadly enemies, yet mentioned as one of the king’s heroes (1Ch 11:46).


ith’-nan (yithnan): A town in the South of Judah mentioned along with Hazor and Ziph (Jos 15:23), apparently the "Ethnan" of Jerome (Onom 118 13). Not identified.


ith’-ra (yithra’," abundance"): The father of Amasa, commanding general in the rebel army of Absalom. It seems that his mother was Abigail, a sister or half-sister of King David (1Ch 2:17). She is called the sister of Zeruiah, Joab’s mother (2Sa 17:25). In this same passage Ithra is called an "Israelite," but in 1Ch 2:17; 1Ki 2:5,32, we read: "Jether the Ishmaelite."


ith’-ran (yithran, "excellent"):

(1) A descendant of Seir the Horite, son of Dishon (Ge 36:26; 1Ch 1:41).

(2) One of the sons of Zophah of the tribe of Asher (1Ch 7:37).


ith’-re-am (yithre‘am, "residue of the people"): The 6th son born to David at Hebron. His mother’s name was Eglah (2Sa 3:5; 1Ch 3:3).


ith’-rit (yithri, "excellence," "preeminence"): A family in Israel, whose home was Kiriath-jearim (1Ch 2:53). Among the 37 heroes of David, two are mentioned who belonged to this family, Ira and Gareb (2Sa 23:38; 1Ch 11:40).


it-a-ka’-zin (‘ittah qatsin): Jos 19:13 the King James Version for Eth-kazin. Ittah is correctly Eth with He locale, meaning "toward Eth."


it’-a-i, it’-i (’ittay, ‘ithay):

(1) A Gittite or native of Gath, one of David’s chief captains and most faithful friends during the rebellion of Absalom (2Sa 15:11-22; 18:2,4,12). The narrative reveals David’s chivalrous and unselfish spirit in time of trouble, as well as the most self-sacrificing loyalty on the part of Ittai. He seems to have but recently left his native city and joined David’s army through personal attachment to the king. David rapidly promoted him. Hearing of Absalom’s rebellion and approach to Jerusalem, he flees with David. The latter remonstrates, urges him to go back and join Absalom, as he is a foreigner and in exile. His interests are in the capital and with the king; there is no reason why he should be a fugitive and perhaps suffer the loss of everything; it would be better for him, with his band of men, to put himself and them at the service of Absalom, the new king. "Mercy and truth be with thee," says David in his magnanimity. Ittai, with a double oath, absolutely refuses to go back, but will stand by David until the last. Remonstrance being useless, the monarch orders him across the river, doubtless glad that he had such a doughty warrior and faithful friend by his side. On mustering his hosts to meet Absalom, David makes Ittai a chief captain with the intrepid Joab and Abishai. He doubtless did his part in the battle, and as nothing more is said of him it is possible that he fell in the fight.

(2) A Benjamite, one of David’s 30 mighty men (2Sa 23:29; 1Ch 11:31, "Ithai").

J. J. Reeve


it-u-re’-a (Itouraia):

1. The Word an Adjective:

The term occurs only once in Scripture, in the definition of Philip’s territory: tes Itouraias kai Trachonitidos choras, which the King James Version renders: "of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis," and Revised Version: "the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis" (Lu 3:1). Sir W.M. Ramsay has given reasons for the belief that this word was certainly never used as a noun by any writer before the time of Eusebius (Expos, 1894, IX, 51 ff, 143 ff, 288 ff). It must be taken as an adjective indicating the country occupied by the Itureans.

2. The Itureans:

The descent of the Itureans must probably be traced to Jetur, son of Ishmael (Ge 25:15), whose progeny were clearly numbered among the Arabian nomads. According to Eupolemus (circa 150 BC), quoted by Eusebius (Praep. Evang. IX, 30), they were associated with the Nabateans, Moabites and Ammonites against whom David warred on the East of the Jordan. They are often mentioned by Latin writers; their skill in archery seems greatly to have impressed the Romans. They were skillful archers (Caesar, Bell. Afr. 20); a lawless (Strabo, xvi.2,10) and predatory people (Cicero, Philipp. ii.112). In the Latin inscriptions Iturean soldiers have Syrian names (HJP, I, ii, 326). They would therefore be the most northerly of the confederates opposed to David (supra), and their country may naturally be sought in the neighborhood of Mt. Hermon.

3. Indications of Their Territory:

There is nothing to show when they moved from the desert to this district. Aristobulus made war against the Itureans, compelled many of them to be circumcised, and added a great part of their territory to Judea, 140 BC (Ant., XIII, xi, 3). Dio Cassius calls Lysanias "king of the Itureans" (xlix.32), and from him Zenodorus leased land which included Ulatha and Paneas, 25 BC. The capital of Lysanias was Chalcis, and he ruled over the land from Damascus to the sea. Josephus speaks of Soemus as a tetrarch in Lebanon (Vita, 11); while Tacitus calls him governor of the Itureans (Ann. xii.23). The country of Zenodorus, lying between Trachonitis and Galilee, and including Paneas and Ulatha, Augustus bestowed on Herod, 20 BC (Ant., XV, x, 3). In defining the tetrarchy of Philip, Josephus names Batanea, Trachonitis and Auranitis, but says nothing of the Itureans (Ant., XVII, xi, 4; BJ, II, vi, 3). Paneas and Ulatha were doubtless included, and this may have been Iturean territory (HJP, I, ii, 333). It seems probable, therefore, that the Itureans dwelt mainly in the mountains, and in the broad valley of Coele-Syria; but they may also have occupied the district to the Southeast of Hermon, the modern Jedur. It is not possible to define more closely the Iturean country; indeed it is not clear whether Luke intended to indicate two separate parts of the dominion of Philip, or used names which to some extent overlapped.

It has been suggested that the name Jedur may be derived from the Hebrew yeTur, and so be equivalent to Ituraea. But the derivation is impossible.

W. Ewing





i’-vo-ri (1) shen, "tooth" (translated "ivory," 1Ki 10:18; 22:39; 2Ch 9:17; Ps 45:8; So 5:14; 7:4; Eze 27:6,15; Am 3:15; 6:4);

(2) shenhabbim; Septuagint odontes elephdntinoi, "elephants’ teeth" (1Ki 10:22; 2Ch 9:21);

(3) elephantinos, "of ivory" (Re 18:12)):

Shen occurs often, meaning "tooth" of man or beast. In the passages cited it is translated in English Versions of the Bible "ivory" (of "crag," 1Sa 14:4,5; "cliff," Job 39:28 twice; "flesh-hook of three teeth," 1Sa 2:13). Shenhabbim is thought to be a contracted form of shen ha-’ibbim, i.e. ha, the article, and ‘ibbim, plural of ‘ibbah or ‘ibba’; compare Egyptian ab, ebu, "elephant," and compare Latin ebur, "ivory" (see Liddell and Scott, under the word elephas). On the other hand, it may be a question whether -bim is not a singular form connected with the Arabic fil, "elephant." If the word for "elephant" is not contained in shenhabbim, it occurs nowhere in the Hebrew Bible.

Ivory was probably obtained, as now, mainly from the African elephant. It was rare and expensive. It is mentioned in connection with the magnificence of Solomon (1Ki 10:18,22), being brought by the ships of Tarshish (2Ch 9:17,21). An "ivory house" of Ahab is mentioned in 1Ki 22:39. It is mentioned among the luxuries of Israel in the denunciations of Amos (3:15; 6:4). It occurs in the figurative language of Ps 45:8; So 5:14; 7:4. It is used for ornamentation of the ships of the Tyrians (Eze 27:6), who obtain it with ebony through the men of Dedan (27:15). It is among the merchandise of Babylon (Re 18:12).

We do not learn of the use of elephants in war until a few centuries before the Christian era. In 1 Macc 8:6, there is a reference to the defeat of Antiochus the Great, "having an hundred and twenty elephants," by Scipio Africanus in 190 BC. 1 Macc 1:17 speaks of the invasion of Egypt by Antiochus Epiphanes with an army in which there were elephants. 1 Macc 6:28-47 has a detailed account of a battle between Antiochus Eupator and Judas Maccabeus at Bethsura (Beth-zur). There were 32 elephants. Upon the "beasts" theria) there were "strong towers of wood"; "There were also upon every one two and thirty strong men, that fought upon them, beside the Indian that ruled him."

In Job 40:15, the King James Version margin has for "behemoth," "the elephant, as some think."

Alfred Ely Day


(mighdal hashen): In So 7:4 the neck of the Shulammite is compared in whiteness and stateliness to a (or the) tower of ivory. The definite article may suggest that the comparison is with some actual tower in or near Jerusalem; but more probably the language is simply a figure.


iv’-a (‘iwwah; Aba (= Ava), Aua, 2Ki 18:34, Oudou, 2Ki 19:13, apparently due to a misreading): The name is wanting in the Massoretic Text and Septuagint of Isa 36:19.

Ivvah was a city apparently conquered by the Assyrians, and is mentioned by them, in the verses quoted, with Hamath and Arpad, Sepharvaim and Hena. It has been assimilated with the Avva of 2Ki 17:24 as one of the places whence Sargon brought captives to Samaria, and identified with Hit on the Euphrates, between Anah and Ramadieh, but this seems improbable, as is also the suggestion that it is Emma, the modern ‘Imm, between Antioch and Aleppo. Hommel (Expository Times, April, 1898, 330) upholds the view that Hena and Ivvah, or, as he prefers to read, Avvah, are not places at all, but the names of the two chief gods of Hamath, Arpad and Sepharvaim. This would be consistent with 2Ki 18:34; but 19:13: "Where is the king .... of Sepharvaim, of Hena, and Ivvah?" and 17:31, where the gods of Sepharvaim are stated to be Adrammelech and Anammelech, raise serious difficulties. In all probability, the identification of Ivvah depends upon the correct localization of the twofold Sepharvaim, of which Hena and Ivvah may have been the names. The identification of Sepharvaim with the Babylonian Sip(p)ar is now practically abandoned.


T. G. Pinches


i’-vi (kissos): The only mention of the word in all the sacred writings is in 2 Macc 6:7 in connection with the oppression of the Jews by Antiochus Epiphanes: "On the day of the king’s birth every month they were brought by bitter constraint to eat of the sacrifices; and when the feast of Bacchus (Dionysus) was kept, the Jews were compelled to go in procession to Dionysus, carrying ivy," this plant (Hedera helix) being sacred to the Greek god of wine and of the culture of the vine (compare Eur. Bacchae, passim). It was of ivy or of pine that the "corruptible crown" of the famous Isthmian games was made (1Co 9:25).

J. Hutchison





i-ye-ab’-a-rim (‘iye ha-‘abharim, "the heaps of the Abarim"; the King James Version Ije-abarim; in Nu 21:11 the Septuagint reads Codex Vaticanus, Chalglei): A place in the journeyings of Israel named after Oboth, said to be "in the wilderness which is before Moab, toward the sunrising" (Nu 21:11), "in the border of Moab" (Nu 33:44). The indications of position here given are not sufficient to guide to any identification, and, so far, nothing has been discovered in the district to help us. Called simply "Iyim" (the King James Version "Iim") in Nu 33:45.


i’-yim (iyim, "heaps"—the form of which, ‘iye, is the construct):

(1) A short form of the name Iye-abarim (Nu 33:45).

(2) A town in the territory of Judah (Jos 15:29; English Versions of the Bible wrongly "Iim"). It lay in the extreme South, "toward the border of Edom." It is not identified.


e-yar’ (iyar; Iar): The 2nd month of the Jewish year, corresponding to May. It is not mentioned in the Bible.



iz’-e-har, i’-ze-har (Nu 3:19 the King James Version).



iz’-har (yitshar, "the shining one"):

(1) The father of Korah (Nu 16:1), descended from a Kohathite Levite of this name, whose descendants formed a family, in the tribe of Levi (Ex 6:18,21; Nu 3:19,27; 1Ch 6:18,38).

(2) A descendant of Judah, whose mother’s name was Helah. the American Revised Version margin gives the name Zohar (1Ch 4:7).


iz’-har-its (yitshari): The descendants of Izhar, son of Kohath, and grandson of Levi (Nu 3:19,27). In David’s reign some of these were "over the treasures of the house of Yahweh" (1Ch 26:23), others "were for the outward business over Israel, for officers and judges" (ibid., 26:29).


iz-li’-a (yizli’ah, "Yah delivers"; the King James Version): A son of Elpaal, of the tribe of Benjamin (1Ch 8:18).


iz-ra-hi’-a (yizrachyah, "Yah appears, or shines"):

(1) A descendant of Issachar, grandson of Tola, only son of Uzzi (1Ch 7:3).

(2) The leader of the singing at the purification of the people, on the occasion of Nehemiah’s reformation; here rendered "Jezrahiah" (Ne 12:42).


iz’-ra-hit (yizrach, "rising, shining"): Shamhuth, the captain of the 5th monthly course (1Ch 27:8), is called an "Izrahite." The name may be derived from the town or family of Izrah, but more likely is a corruption of the word "Zerahite," descendant of Zerah of Judah.


iz’-ri (yitsri, "creator," "former"): A man of the "sons of Jeduthun," leader of the fourth band of musicians, who served in the sanctuary (1Ch 25:11). Identical with Zeri (25:3).


iz-i’-a (yizziyah, "Yah unites"; the King James Version Jeziah): One of the faithful Jews who put away their foreign wives. He belonged to the family of Parosh (Ezr 10:25; 1 Esdras 9:26, "Ieddias").