(Herb. nesher; properly the griffon vulture or great vulture, so called from its tearing its prey with its beak), referred to for its swiftness of flight (Deut.28:49; 2 Sam.1:23), its mounting high in the air (Job 39:27), its strength (Ps.103:5), its setting its nest in high places (Jer.49:16), and its power of vision (Job 39:27-30).
This "ravenous bird" is a symbol of those nations whom God employs and sends forth to do a work of destruction, sweeping away whatever is decaying and putrescent (Matt.24:28; Isa.46:11; Ezek.39:4; Deut.28:49; Jer.4:13; 48:40). It is said that the eagle sheds his feathers in the beginning of spring, and with fresh plumage assumes the appearance of youth. To this, allusion is made in Ps.103:5 and Isa.40:31. God's care over his people is likened to that of the eagle in training its young to fly (Ex.19:4; Deut.32:11, 12). An interesting illustration is thus recorded by Sir Humphry Davy:, "I once saw a very interesting sight above the crags of Ben Nevis. Two parent eagles were teaching their offspring, two young birds, the maneuvers of flight. They began by rising from the top of the mountain in the eye of the sun. It was about mid-day, and bright for the climate. They at first made small circles, and the young birds imitated them. They paused on their wings, waiting till they had made their flight, and then took a second and larger gyration, always rising toward the sun, and enlarging their circle of flight so as to make a gradually ascending spiral. The young ones still and slowly followed, apparently flying better as they mounted; and they continued this sublime exercise, always rising till they became mere points in the air, and the young ones were lost, and afterwards their parents, to our aching sight." (See Isa.40:31.)
There have been observed in Palestine four distinct species of eagles, (1) the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos); (2) the spotted eagle (Aquila naevia); (3) the common species, the imperial eagle (Aquila heliaca); and (4) the Circaetos gallicus, which preys on reptiles. The eagle was unclean by the Levitical law (Lev.11:13; Deut.14:12).
(2). As the rendering of 'erets, it means the whole world (Gen.1:2); the land as opposed to the sea (1:10). Erets also denotes a country (21:32); a plot of ground (23:15); the ground on which a man stands (33:3); the inhabitants of the earth (6:1; 11:1); all the world except Israel (2 Chr.13:9). In the New Testament "the earth" denotes the land of Judea (Matt.23:35); also things carnal in contrast with things heavenly (John 3:31; Col.3:1, 2).
The first earthquake in Palestine of which we have any record happened in the reign of Ahab (1 Kings 19:11, 12). Another took place in the days of Uzziah, King of Judah (Zech.14:5). The most memorable earthquake taking place in New Testament times happened at the crucifixion of our Lord (Matt.27:54). An earthquake at Philippi shook the prison in which Paul and Silas were imprisoned (Act 16:26).
It is used figuratively as a token of the presence of the Lord (Judg.5:4; 2 Sam.22:8; Ps.77:18; 97:4; 104:32).
(2). Properly what is in front of one, or a country that is before or in front of another; the rendering of the word kedem. In pointing out the quarters, a Hebrew always looked with his face toward the east. The word kedem is used when the four quarters of the world are described (Gen.13:14; 28:14); and mizrah when the east only is distinguished from the west (Josh.11:3; Ps.50:1; 103:12, etc.). In Gen.25:6 "eastward" is literally "unto the land of kedem;" i.e., the lands lying east of Palestine, namely, Arabia, Mesopotamia, etc.
East, Children of the
(2.) A descendant of Eber (1 Chr.1:22), called also Obal (Gen.10:28).
(3.) A descendant of Seir the Horite (Gen.36:23).
(2.) One of the seven heads of the families of the Gadites (1 Chr.5:13).
(3.) The oldest of the three sons of Elpaal the Benjamite (8:12).
(4.) One of the heads of the familes of Benjamites in Jerusalem (22).
(5.) The head of the priestly family of Amok in the time of Zerubbabel (Neh.12:20).
"Vanity of vanities! saith the Preacher, Vanity of vanities! all is vanity!"
i.e., all man's efforts to find happiness apart from God are without result.
Among almost all nations there are traditions of the primitive innocence of our race in the garden of Eden. This was the "golden age" to which the Greeks looked back. Men then lived a "life free from care, and without labour and sorrow. Old age was unknown; the body never lost its vigour; existence was a perpetual feast without a taint of evil. The earth brought forth spontaneously all things that were good in profuse abundance."
(2.) One of the markets whence the merchants of Tyre obtained richly embroidered stuffs (Ezek.27:23); the same, probably, as that mentioned in 2 Kings 19:12, and Isa.37:12, as the name of a region conquered by the Assyrians.
(3.) Son of Joah, and one of the Levites who assisted in reforming the public worship of the sanctuary in the time of Hezekiah (2 Chr.29:12).
(2.) The second of the three sons of Mushi, of the family of Merari, appointed to the Levitical office (1 Chr.23:23; 24:30).
(2.) Idumea (Isa.34:5, 6; Ezek.35:15). "The field of Edom" (Gen.32:3), "the land of Edom" (Gen.36:16), was mountainous (Obad.1:8, 9, 19, 21). It was called the land, or "the mountain of Seir," the rough hills on the east side of the Arabah. It extended from the head of the Gulf of Akabah, the Elanitic gulf, to the foot of the Dead Sea (1 Kings 9:26), and contained, among other cities, the rock-hewn Sela (q.v.), generally known by the Greek name Petra (2 Kings 14:7). It is a wild and rugged region, traversed by fruitful valleys. Its old capital was Bozrah (Isa.63:1). The early inhabitants of the land were Horites. They were destroyed by the Edomites (Deut.2:12), between whom and the kings of Israel and Judah there was frequent war (2 Kings 8:20; 2 Chr.28:17).
At the time of the Exodus they churlishly refused permission to the Israelites to pass through their land (Num.20:14-21), and ever afterwards maintained an attitude of hostility toward them. They were conquered by David (2 Sam.8:14; comp.1 Kings 9:26), and afterwards by Amaziah (2 Chr.25:11, 12). But they regained again their independence, and in later years, during the decline of the Jewish kingdom (2 Kings 16:6; R.V. marg., "Edomites"), made war against Israel. They took part with the Chaldeans when Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem, and afterwards they invaded and held possession of the south of Palestine as far as Hebron. At length, however, Edom fell under the growing Chaldean power (Jer.27:3, 6).
There are many prophecies concerning Edom (Isa.34:5, 6; Jer.49:7-18; Ezek.25:13; 35:1-15; Joel 3:19; Amos 1:11; Obad.; Mal.1:3, 4) which have been remarkably fulfilled. The present desolate condition of that land is a standing testimony to the inspiration of these prophecies. After an existence as a people for above seventeen hundred years, they have utterly disappeared, and their language even is forgotten for ever. In Petra, "where kings kept their court, and where nobles assembled, there no man dwells; it is given by lot to birds, and beasts, and reptiles."
The Edomites were Semites, closely related in blood and in language to the Israelites. They dispossessed the Horites of Mount Seir; though it is clear, from Gen.36, that they afterwards intermarried with the conquered population. Edomite tribes settled also in the south of Judah, like the Kenizzites (Gen.36:11), to whom Caleb and Othniel belonged (Josh.15:17). The southern part of Edom was known as Teman.
(2.) A town of Naphtali (Josh.19:37).
(2.) A city in Judah, near Lachish (Josh.15:39). It was destroyed by Joshua (10:5, 6). It has been identified with Tell Nejileh, 6 miles south of Tell Hesy or Ajlan, north-west of Lachish. (See LACHISH.)
The Egyptians belonged to the white race, and their original home is still a matter of dispute. Many scholars believe that it was in Southern Arabia, and recent excavations have shown that the valley of the Nile was originally inhabited by a low-class population, perhaps belonging to the Nigritian stock, before the Egyptians of history entered it. The ancient Egyptian language, of which the latest form is Coptic, is distantly connected with the Semitic family of speech.
Egypt consists geographically of two halves, the northern being the Delta, and the southern Upper Egypt, between Cairo and the First Cataract. In the Old Testament, Northern or Lower Egypt is called Mazor, "the fortified land" (Isa.19:6; 37: 25, where the A.V. mistranslates "defence" and "besieged places"); while Southern or Upper Egypt is Pathros, the Egyptian Pa-to-Res, or "the land of the south" (Isa.11:11). But the whole country is generally mentioned under the dual name of Mizraim, "the two Mazors."
The civilization of Egypt goes back to a very remote antiquity. The two kingdoms of the north and south were united by Menes, the founder of the first historical dynasty of kings. The first six dynasties constitute what is known as the Old Empire, which had its capital at Memphis, south of Cairo, called in the Old Testament Moph (Hos.9:6) and Noph. The native name was Mennofer, "the good place."
The Pyramids were tombs of the monarchs of the Old Empire, those of Gizeh being erected in the time of the Fourth Dynasty. After the fall of the Old Empire came a period of decline and obscurity. This was followed by the Middle Empire, the most powerful dynasty of which was the Twelfth. The Fayyum was rescued for agriculture by the kings of the Twelfth Dynasty; and two obelisks were erected in front of the temple of the sun-god at On or Heliopolis (near Cairo), one of which is still standing. The capital of the Middle Empire was Thebes, in Upper Egypt.
The Middle Empire was overthrown by the invasion of the Hyksos, or shepherd princes from Asia, who ruled over Egypt, more especially in the north, for several centuries, and of whom there were three dynasties of kings. They had their capital at Zoan or Tanis (now San), in the north-eastern part of the Delta. It was in the time of the Hyksos that Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph entered Egypt. The Hyksos were finally expelled about B.C.1600, by the hereditary princes of Thebes, who founded the Eighteenth Dynasty, and carried the war into Asia. Canaan and Syria were subdued, as well as Cyprus, and the boundaries of the Egyptian Empire were fixed at the Euphrates. The Soudan, which had been conquered by the kings of the Twelfth Dynasty, was again annexed to Egypt, and the eldest son of the Pharaoh took the title of "Prince of Cush."
One of the later kings of the dynasty, Amenophis IV., or Khu-n-Aten, endeavoured to supplant the ancient state religion of Egypt by a new faith derived from Asia, which was a sort of pantheistic monotheism, the one supreme god being adored under the image of the solar disk. The attempt led to religious and civil war, and the Pharaoh retreated from Thebes to Central Egypt, where he built a new capital, on the site of the present Tell-el-Amarna. The cuneiform tablets that have been found there represent his foreign correspondence (about B.C.1400). He surrounded himself with officials and courtiers of Asiatic, and more especially Canaanitish, extraction; but the native party succeeded eventually in overthrowing the government, the capital of Khu-n-Aten was destroyed, and the foreigners were driven out of the country, those that remained being reduced to serfdom.
The national triumph was marked by the rise of the Nineteenth Dynasty, in the founder of which, Rameses I., we must see the "new king, who knew not Joseph." His grandson, Rameses II., reigned sixty-seven years (B.C.1348-1281), and was an indefatigable builder. As Pithom, excavated by Dr. Naville in 1883, was one of the cities he built, he must have been the Pharaoh of the Oppression. The Pharaoh of the Exodus may have been one of his immediate successors, whose reigns were short. Under them Egypt lost its empire in Asia, and was itself attacked by barbarians from Libya and the north.
The Nineteenth Dynasty soon afterwards came to an end; Egypt was distracted by civil war; and for a short time a Canaanite, Arisu, ruled over it.
Then came the Twentieth Dynasty, the second Pharaoh of which, Rameses III., restored the power of his country. In one of his campaigns he overran the southern part of Palestine, where the Israelites had not yet settled. They must at the time have been still in the wilderness. But it was during the reign of Rameses III. that Egypt finally lost Gaza and the adjoining cities, which were seized by the Pulista, or Philistines.
After Rameses III., Egypt fell into decay. Solomon married the daughter of one of the last kings of the Twenty-first Dynasty, which was overthrown by Shishak I., the general of the Libyan mercenaries, who founded the Twenty-second Dynasty (1 Kings 11:40; 14:25, 26). A list of the places he captured in Palestine is engraved on the outside of the south wall of the temple of Karnak.
In the time of Hezekiah, Egypt was conquered by Ethiopians from the Soudan, who constituted the Twenty-fifth Dynasty. The third of them was Tirhakah (2 Kings 19:9). In B.C.674 it was conquered by the Assyrians, who divided it into twenty satrapies, and Tirhakah was driven back to his ancestral dominions. Fourteen years later it successfully revolted under Psammetichus I. of Sais, the founder of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty. Among his successors were Necho (2 Kings 23:29) and Hophra, or Apries (Jer.37:5, 7, 11). The dynasty came to an end in B.C.525, when the country was subjugated by Cambyses. Soon afterwards it was organized into a Persian satrapy.
The title of Pharaoh, given to the Egyptian kings, is the Egyptian Per-aa, or "Great House," which may be compared to that of "Sublime Porte." It is found in very early Egyptian texts.
The Egyptian religion was a strange mixture of pantheism and animal worship, the gods being adored in the form of animals. While the educated classes resolved their manifold deities into manifestations of one omnipresent and omnipotent divine power, the lower classes regarded the animals as incarnations of the gods.
Under the Old Empire, Ptah, the Creator, the god of Memphis, was at the head of the Pantheon; afterwards Amon, the god of Thebes, took his place. Amon, like most of the other gods, was identified with Ra, the sun-god of Heliopolis.
The Egyptians believed in a resurrection and future life, as well as in a state of rewards and punishments dependent on our conduct in this world. The judge of the dead was Osiris, who had been slain by Set, the representative of evil, and afterwards restored to life. His death was avenged by his son Horus, whom the Egyptians invoked as their "Redeemer." Osiris and Horus, along with Isis, formed a trinity, who were regarded as representing the sun-god under different forms.
Even in the time of Abraham, Egypt was a flourishing and settled monarchy. Its oldest capital, within the historic period, was Memphis, the ruins of which may still be seen near the Pyramids and the Sphinx. When the Old Empire of Menes came to an end, the seat of empire was shifted to Thebes, some 300 miles farther up the Nile. A short time after that, the Delta was conquered by the Hyksos, or shepherd kings, who fixed their capital at Zoan, the Greek Tanis, now San, on the Tanic arm of the Nile. All this occurred before the time of the new king "which knew not Joseph" (Ex.1:8). In later times Egypt was conquered by the Persians (B.C.525), and by the Greeks under Alexander the Great (B.C.332), after whom the Ptolemies ruled the country for three centuries. Subsequently it was for a time a province of the Roman Empire; and at last, in A.D.1517, it fell into the hands of the Turks, of whose empire it still forms nominally a part. Abraham and Sarah went to Egypt in the time of the shepherd kings. The exile of Joseph and the migration of Jacob to "the land of Goshen" occurred about 200 years later. On the death of Solomon, Shishak, king of Egypt, invaded Palestine (1 Kings 14:25). He left a list of the cities he conquered.
A number of remarkable clay tablets, discovered at
The principal prophecies of Scripture regarding Egypt are these, Isa.19; Jer.43: 8-13; 44:30; 46; Ezek.29-32; and it might be easily shown that they have all been remarkably fulfilled. For example, the singular disappearance of Noph (i.e., Memphis) is a fulfilment of Jer.46:19, Ezek.30:13.
(2.) The son of Gera, of the tribe of Benjamin (Judg.3:15). After the death of Othniel the people again fell into idolatry, and Eglon, the king of Moab, uniting his bands with those of the Ammonites and the Amalekites, crossed the Jordan and took the city of Jericho, and for eighteen years held that whole district in subjection, exacting from it an annual tribute. At length Ehud, by a stratagem, put Eglon to death with a two-edged dagger a cubit long, and routed the Moabites at the fords of the Jordan, putting 10,000 of them to death. Thenceforward the land, at least Benjamin, enjoyed rest "for fourscore years" (Judg.3:12-30). (See QUARRIES .) But in the south-west the Philistines reduced the Israelites to great straits (Judg.5:6). From this oppression Shamgar was raised up to be their deliverer.
(2.) One of the Edomite chiefs or "dukes" of Mount Seir (Gen.36:41).
(3.) The second of the three sons of Caleb, the son of Jephunneh (1 Chr.4:15).
(4.) The son and successor of Baasha, king of Israel (1 Kings 16:8-10). He was killed while drunk by Zimri, one of the captains of his chariots, and was the last king of the line of Baasha. Thus was fullfilled the prophecy of Jehu (6, 7, 11-14).
(5.) The father of Hoshea, the last king of Israel (2 Kings 15:30; 17:1).
"The inhabitants of Elam, or the Highlands,' to the east of Babylon, were called Elamites. They were divided into several branches, speaking different dialects of the same agglutinative language. The race to which they belonged was brachycephalic, or short-headed, like the pre-Semitic Sumerians of Babylonia.
"The earliest Elamite kingdom seems to have been that of Anzan, the exact site of which is uncertain; but in the time of Abraham, Shushan or Susa appears to have already become the capital of the country. Babylonia was frequently invaded by the Elamite kings, who at times asserted their supremacy over it (as in the case of Chedorlaomer, the Kudur-Lagamar, or servant of the goddess Lagamar,' of the cuneiform texts).
"The later Assyrian monarchs made several campaigns against Elam, and finally Assur-bani-pal (about B.C.650) succeeded in conquering the country, which was ravaged with fire and sword. On the fall of the Assyrian Empire, Elam passed into the hands of the Persians" (A.H. Sayce).
This country was called by the Greeks Cissia or Susiana.
(2.) A descendant of king Saul (1 Chr.8:37; 9:43).
(3.) The son of Shaphan, one of the two who were sent by Zedekiah to Nebuchadnezzar, and also took charge of Jeremiah's letter to the captives in Babylon (Jer.29:3).
The Jewish eldership was transferred from the old dispensation to the new. "The creation of the office of elder is nowhere recorded in the New Testament, as in the case of deacons and apostles, because the latter offices were created to meet new and special emergencies, while the former was transmitted from the earlies times. In other words, the office of elder was the only permanent essential office of the church under either dispensation."
The "elders" of the New Testament church were the "pastors" (Eph.4:11), "bishops or overseers" (Acts 20:28), "leaders" and "rulers" (Heb.13:7; 1 Thess.5:12) of the flock. Everywhere in the New Testament bishop and presbyter are titles given to one and the same officer of the Christian church. He who is called presbyter or elder on account of his age or gravity is also called bishop or overseer with reference to the duty that lay upon him (Titus 1:5-7; Acts 20:17-28; Phil.1:1).
(2.) An inhabitant of Kirjath-jearim who was "sanctified" to take charge of the ark, although not allowed to touch it, while it remained in the house of his father Abinadab (1 Sam.7:1, 2; comp. Num.3:31; 4:15).
(3.) The son of Dodo the Ahohite, of the tribe of Benjamin, one of the three most eminent of David's thirty-seven heroes (1 Chr.11:12) who broke through the Philistine host and brought him water from the well of Bethlehem (2 Sam.23:9, 16).
(4.) A son of Phinehas associated with the priests in taking charge of the sacred vessels brought back to Jerusalem after the Exile (Ezra 8:33).
(5.) A Levite of the family of Merari (1 Chr.23:21, 22).
Election of Grace
The ground of this election to salvation is the good pleasure of God (Eph.1:5, 11; Matt.11:25, 26; John 15:16, 19). God claims the right so to do (Rom.9:16, 21).
It is not conditioned on faith or repentance, but is of soverign grace (Rom.11:4-6; Eph.1:3-6). All that pertain to salvation, the means (Eph.2:8; 2 Thess.2:13) as well as the end, are of God (Acts 5:31; 2 Tim.2:25; 1 Cor.1:30; Eph.2:5, 10). Faith and repentance and all other graces are the exercises of a regenerated soul; and regeneration is God's work, a "new creature."
Men are elected "to salvation," "to the adoption of sons," "to be holy and without blame before him in love" (2 Thess.2:13; Gal.4:4, 5; Eph.1:4). The ultimate end of election is the praise of God's grace (Eph.1:6, 12). (See PREDESTINATION.)
(2.) The son of Dodo, and one of David's warriors (2 Sam.23:24).
His sons Hophni and Phinehas grossly misconducted themselves, to the great disgust of the people (1 Sam.2:27-36). They were licentious reprobates. He failed to reprove them so sternly as he ought to have done, and so brought upon his house the judgment of God (2:22-33; 3:18). The Israelites proclaimed war against the Philistines, whose army was encamped at Aphek. The battle, fought a short way beyond Mizpeh, ended in the total defeat of Israel. Four thousand of them fell in "battle array". They now sought safety in having the "ark of the covenant of the Lord" among them. They fetched it from Shiloh, and Hophni and Phinehas accompanied it. This was the first time since the settlement of Israel in Canaan that the ark had been removed from the sanctuary. The Philistines put themselves again in array against Israel, and in the battle which ensued "Israel was smitten, and there was a very great slaughter." The tidings of this great disaster were speedily conveyed to Shiloh, about 20 miles distant, by a messenger, a Benjamite from the army. There Eli sat outside the gate of the sanctuary by the wayside, anxiously waiting for tidings from the battle-field. The full extent of the national calamity was speedily made known to him: "Israel is fled before the Philistines, there has also been a great slaughter among the people, thy two sons Hophni and Phinehas are dead, and the ark of God is taken" (1 Sam.4:12-18). When the old man, whose eyes were "stiffened" (i.e., fixed, as of a blind eye unaffected by the light) with age, heard this sad story of woe, he fell backward from off his seat and died, being ninety and eight years old. (See ITHAMAR.)
Eli, Heb. eli, "my God", (Matt.27:46), an exclamation used by Christ on the cross. Mark (15:34), as usual, gives the original Aramaic form of the word, Eloi.
(2.) A son of Helon, and chief of the tribe of Zebulun at the time of the census in the wilderness (Num.1:9; 2:7).
(3.) The son of Jesse, and brother of David (1 Sam.16:6). It was he who spoke contemptuously to David when he proposed to fight Goliath (1 Sam.17:28).
(4.) One of the Gadite heroes who joined David in his stronghold in the wilderness (1 Chr.12:9).
(2.) A mighty man of war, a Benjamite (2 Chr.17:17).
(3.) An Aramite of Zobah, captain of a marauding band that troubled Solomon (1 Kings 11:23).
(2.) The son of Abiud, of the posterity of Zerubbabel (Matt.1:13).
(3.) The son of Hilkiah, who was sent to receive the message of the invading Assyrians and report it to Isaiah (2 Kings 18:18; 19:2; Isa.36:3; 37:2). In his office as governor of the palace of Hezekiah he succeeded Shebna (Isa.22:15-25). He was a good man (Isa.22:20; 2 Kings 18:37), and had a splendid and honourable career.
(4.) The original name of Jehoiakim, king of Judah (2 Kings 23:34). He was the son of Josiah.
(2.) This name also occurs as that of a Gilonite, the son of Ahithophel, and one of David's thirty warriors (2 Sam.23:34). perhaps these two were the same person.
(2.) A high priest in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah (Neh.12:22, 23). He rebuilt the eastern city wall (3:1), his own mansion being in that quarter, on the ridge Ophel (3:20, 21). His indulgence of Tobiah the Ammonite provoked the indignation of Nehemiah (13:4, 7).
(2.) A Gadite who joined David in the hold at Ziklag (1 Chr.12:11).
(3.) One of the overseers of the offerings in the reign of Hezekiah (2 Chr.31:13).
(2.) The son of Becher, and grandson of Benjamin (1 Chr.7:8).
(3.) One of the two sons of Moses, born during his sojourn in Midian (Ex.18:4; 1 Chr.23:15, 17). He remained with his mother and brother Gershom with Jethro when Moses returned to Egypt. (Ex.18:4). They were restored to Moses when Jethro heard of his departure out of Egypt.
(4.) One of the priests who blew the trumpet before the ark when it was brought to Jerusalem (1 Chr.15:24).
(5.) Son of Zichri, and chief of the Reubenites under David (1 Chr.27:16).
(6.) A prophet in the time of Jehoshaphat (2 Chr.20:37). Others of this name are mentioned Luke 3:29; Ezra 8:16; 10:18, 23, 31.
(2.) The son of Tohu, and grandfather of Elkanah (1 Sam.1:1). He is called also Eliel (1 Chr.6:34) and Eliab (6:27).
(3.) One of the captains of thousands of Manasseh who joined David at Ziklag (1 Chr.12:20).
(4.) One of the family of Obed-edom, who were appointed porters of the temple under David (1 Chr.26:7).
Having delivered his message to Ahab, he retired at the command of God to a hiding-place by the brook Cherith, beyond Jordan, where he was fed by ravens. When the brook dried up God sent him to the widow of Zarephath, a city of Zidon, from whose scanty store he was supported for the space of two years. During this period the widow's son died, and was restored to life by Elijah (1 Kings 17: 2-24).
During all these two years a famine prevailed in the land. At the close of this period of retirement and of preparation for his work (comp. Gal.1:17, 18) Elijah met Obadiah, one of Ahab's officers, whom he had sent out to seek for pasturage for the cattle, and bade him go and tell his master that Elijah was there. The king came and met Elijah, and reproached him as the troubler of Israel. It was then proposed that sacrifices should be publicly offered, for the purpose of determining whether Baal or Jehovah were the true God. This was done on Carmel, with the result that the people fell on their faces, crying, "The Lord, he is the God." Thus was accomplished the great work of Elijah's ministry. The prophets of Baal were then put to death by the order of Elijah. Not one of them escaped. Then immediately followed rain, according to the word of Elijah, and in answer to his prayer (James 5:18).
Jezebel, enraged at the fate that had befallen her priests of Baal, threatened to put Elijah to death (1 Kings 19:1-13). He therefore fled in alarm to Beersheba, and thence went alone a day's journey into the wilderness, and sat down in despondency under a juniper tree. As he slept an angel touched him, and said unto him, "Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee." He arose and found a cake and a cruse of water. Having partaken of the provision thus miraculously supplied, he went forward on his solitary way for forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God, where he took up his abode in a cave. Here the Lord appeared unto him and said, "What dost thou here, Elijah?" In answer to his despondent words God manifests to him his glory, and then directs him to return to Damascus and anoint Hazael king over Syria, and Jehu king over Israel, and Elisha to be prophet in his room (1 Kings 19:13-21; comp.2 Kings 8:7-15; 9:1-10).
Some six years after this he warned Ahab and Jezebel of the violent deaths they would die (1 Kings 21:19-24; 22:38). He also, four years afterwards, warned Ahaziah (q.v.), who had succeeded his father Ahab, of his approaching death (2 Kings 1:1-16). (See NABOTH.) During these intervals he probably withdrew to some quiet retirement, no one knew where. His interview with Ahaziah's messengers on the way to Ekron, and the account of the destruction of his captains with their fifties, suggest the idea that he may have been in retirement at this time on Mount Carmel.
The time now drew near when he was to be taken up into heaven (2 Kings 2:1-12). He had a presentiment of what was awaiting him. He went down to Gilgal, where was a school of the prophets, and where his successor Elisha, whom he had anointed some years before, resided. Elisha was solemnized by the thought of his master's leaving him, and refused to be parted from him. "They two went on," and came to Bethel and Jericho, and crossed the Jordan, the waters of which were "divided hither and thither" when smitten with Elijah's mantle. Arrived at the borders of Gilead, which Elijah had left many years before, it "came to pass as they still went on and talked" they were suddenly separated by a chariot and horses of fire; and "Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven, "Elisha receiving his mantle, which fell from him as he ascended.
No one of the old prophets is so frequently referred to in the New Testament. The priests and Levites said to the Baptist (John 1:25), "Why baptizest thou, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias?" Paul (Rom.11:2) refers to an incident in his history to illustrate his argument that God had not cast away his people. James (5:17) finds in him an illustration of the power of prayer. (See also Luke 4:25; 9:54.) He was a type of John the Baptist in the sternness and power of his reproofs (Luke 9:8). He was the Elijah that "must first come" (Matt.11:11, 14), the forerunner of our Lord announced by Malachi. Even outwardly the Baptist corresponded so closely to the earlier prophet that he might be styled a second Elijah. In him we see "the same connection with a wild and wilderness country; the same long retirement in the desert; the same sudden, startling entrance on his work (1 Kings 17:1; Luke 3:2); even the same dress, a hairy garment, and a leathern girdle about the loins (2 Kings 1:8; Matt.3:4)."
How deep the impression was which Elijah made "on the mind of the nation may be judged from the fixed belief, which rested on the words of Malachi (4:5, 6), which many centuries after prevailed that he would again appear for the relief and restoration of the country. Each remarkable person as he arrives on the scene, be his habits and characteristics what they may, the stern John equally with his gentle Successor, is proclaimed to be Elijah (Matt.11:13, 14; 16:14; 17:10; Mark 9:11; 15:35; Luke 9:7, 8; John 1:21). His appearance in glory on the mount of transfiguration does not seem to have startled the disciples. They were sore afraid,' but not apparently surprised."
(2.) The Elijah spoken of in 2 Chr.21:12-15 is by some supposed to be a different person from the foregoing. He lived in the time of Jehoram, to whom he sent a letter of warning (comp.1 Chr.28:19; Jer.36), and acted as a prophet in Judah; while the Tishbite was a prophet of the northern kingdom. But there does not seem any necessity for concluding that the writer of this letter was some other Elijah than the Tishbite. It may be supposed either that Elijah anticipated the character of Jehoram, and so wrote the warning message, which was preserved in the schools of the prophets till Jehoram ascended the throne after the Tishbite's translation, or that the translation did not actually take place till after the accession of Jehoram to the throne (2 Chr.21:12; 2 Kings 8:16). The events of 2 Kings 2 may not be recorded in chronological order, and thus there may be room for the opinion that Elijah was still alive in the beginning of Jehoram's reign.
(2.) The son of Esau by his wife Adah, and father of several Edomitish tribes (Gen.36:4, 10, 11, 16).
(2.) One of the sons of David born at Jerusalem (1 Chr.3:6; 14:5); called Elpalet in 1 Chr.14:5. Also another of David's sons (1 Chr.3:8); called Eliphalet in 2 Sam.5:16; 1 Chr.14:7.
(3.) A descendant of king Saul through Jonathan (1 Chr.8:39).
After Elijah's departure, Elisha returned to Jericho, and there healed the spring of water by casting salt into it (2 Kings 2:21). We next find him at Bethel (2:23), where, with the sternness of his master, he cursed the youths who came out and scoffed at him as a prophet of God: "Go up, thou bald head." The judgment at once took effect, and God terribly visited the dishonour done to his prophet as dishonour done to himself. We next read of his predicting a fall of rain when the army of Jehoram was faint from thirst (2 Kings 3:9-20); of the multiplying of the poor widow's cruse of oil (4:1-7); the miracle of restoring to life the son of the woman of Shunem (4:18-37); the multiplication of the twenty loaves of new barley into a sufficient supply for an hundred men (4:42-44); of the cure of Naaman the Syrian of his leprosy (5:1-27); of the punishment of Gehazi for his falsehood and his covetousness; of the recovery of the axe lost in the waters of the Jordan (6:1-7); of the miracle at Dothan, half-way on the road between Samaria and Jezreel; of the siege of Samaria by the king of Syria, and of the terrible sufferings of the people in connection with it, and Elisha's prophecy as to the relief that would come (2 Kings 6:24-7:2).
We then find Elisha at Damascus, to carry out the command given to his master to anoint Hazael king over Syria (2 Kings 8:7-15); thereafter he directs one of the sons of the prophets to anoint Jehu, the son of Jehoshaphat, king of Israel, instead of Ahab. Thus the three commands given to Elijah (9:1-10) were at length carried out.
We do not again read of him till we find him on his death-bed in his own house (2 Kings 13:14-19). Joash, the grandson of Jehu, comes to mourn over his approaching departure, and utters the same words as those of Elisha when Elijah was taken away: "My father, my father! the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof."
Afterwards when a dead body is laid in Elisha's grave a year after his burial, no sooner does it touch the hallowed remains than the man "revived, and stood up on his feet" (2 Kings 13:20-21).
(2.) Another Levite of the line of Heman the singer, although he does not seem to have performed any of the usual Levitical offices. He was father of Samuel the prophet (1 Chr.6:27, 34). He was "an Ephrathite" (1 Sam.1:1, 4, 8), but lived at Ramah, a man of wealth and high position. He had two wives, Hannah, who was the mother of Samuel, and Peninnah.
The embalming of Jacob and Joseph was according to the Egyptian custom, which was partially followed by the Jews (2 Chr.16:14), as in the case of king Asa, and of our Lord (John 19:39, 40; Luke 23:56; 24:1). (See PHARAOH.)
The manner in which the Israelites encamped during their march through the wilderness is described in Num.2 and 3. The order of the encampment (see CAMP) was preserved in the march (Num.2:17), the signal for which was the blast of two silver trumpets. Detailed regulations affecting the camp for sanitary purposes are given (Lev.4:11, 12; 6:11; 8:17; 10:4, 5; 13:46; 14:3; Num.12:14, 15; 31:19; Deut.23:10, 12).
Criminals were executed without the camp (Lev.4:12; comp. John 19:17, 20), and there also the young bullock for a sin-offering was burnt (Lev.24:14; comp. Heb.13:12).
In the subsequent history of Israel frequent mention is made of their encampments in the time of war (Judg.7:18; 1 Sam.13:2, 3, 16, 23; 17:3; 29:1; 30:9, 24). The temple was sometimes called "the camp of the Lord" (2 Chr.31:2, R.V.; comp. Ps.78:28). The multitudes who flocked to David are styled "a great host (i.e., "camp;" Heb. mahaneh), like the host of God" (1 Chr.12:22).
(2.) The rendering of the Hebrew keshaphim, "muttered spells" or "incantations," rendered "sorceries" in Isa.47:9, 12, i.e., the using of certain formulae under the belief that men could thus be bound.
(3.) Hebrew lehashim, "charming," as of serpents (Jer.8:17; comp. Ps.58:5).
(4.) Hebrew nehashim, the enchantments or omens used by Balaam (Num.24:1); his endeavouring to gain omens favourable to his design.
(5.) Hebrew heber (Isa.47:9, 12), "magical spells." All kinds of enchantments were condemned by the Mosaic law (Lev.19:26; Deut.18:10-12). (See DIVINATION.)
(2.) A city on the border of Machar (Josh.19:21), allotted to the Gershonite Levites (21:29). It is identified with the modern Jenin, a large and prosperous town of about 4,000 inhabitants, situated 15 miles south of Mount Tabor, through which the road from Jezreel to Samaria and Jerusalem passes. When Ahaziah, king of Judah, attempted to escape from Jehu, he "fled by the way of the garden house" i.e., by way of En-gannim. Here he was overtaken by Jehu and wounded in his chariot, and turned aside and fled to Megiddo, a distance of about 20 miles, to die there.
The vineyards of Engedi were celebrated in Solomon's time (Cant.1:4). It is the modern Ain Jidy. The "fountain" from which it derives its name rises on the mountain side about 600 feet above the sea, and in its rapid descent spreads luxuriance all around it. Along its banks the osher grows abundantly. That shrub is thus described by Porter: "The stem is stout, measuring sometimes nearly a foot in diameter, and the plant grows to the height of 15 feet or more. It has a grayish bark and long oval leaves, which when broken off discharge a milky fluid. The fruit resembles an apple, and hangs in clusters of two or three. When ripe it is of a rich yellow colour, but on being pressed it explodes like a puff-ball. It is chiefly filled with air...This is the so-called apple of Sodom.'" Through Samaria, etc. (See APPLE.)
(2.) Heb. mechi kobollo, i.e., the beating of that which is in front a battering-ram (Ezek.26:9), the use of which was common among the Egyptians and the Assyrians. Such an engine is mentioned in the reign of David (2 Sam.20:15).
(2.) The son of Jared, and father of Methuselah (Gen.5:21; Luke 3:37). His father was one hundred and sixty-two years old when he was born. After the birth of Methuselah, Enoch "walked with God three hundred years" (Gen.5:22-24), when he was translated without tasting death. His whole life on earth was three hundred and sixty-five years. He was the "seventh from Adam" (Jude 1:14), as distinguished from the son of Cain, the third from Adam. He is spoken of in the catalogue of Old Testament worthies in the Epistle to the Hebrews (11:5). When he was translated, only Adam, so far as recorded, had as yet died a natural death, and Noah was not yet born. Mention is made of Enoch's prophesying only in Jude 1:14.
It was at this fountain that Jonathan and Ahimaaz lay hid after the flight of David (2 Sam.17:17); and here also Adonijah held the feast when he aspired to the throne of his father (1 Kings 1:9).
The Bir Eyub, or "Joab's well," "is a singular work of ancient enterprise. The shaft sunk through the solid rock in the bed of the Kidron is 125 feet deep...The water is pure and entirely sweet, quite different from that of Siloam; which proves that there is no connection between them." Thomson's Land and the Book.
(2.) Heb. nes, a lofty signal, as a column or high pole (Num.21:8, 9); a standard or signal or flag placed on high mountains to point out to the people a place of rendezvous on the irruption of an enemy (Isa.5:26; 11:12; 18:3; 62:10; Jer.4:6, 21; Ps.60:4). This was an occasional signal, and not a military standard. Elevation and conspicuity are implied in the word.
(3.) The Hebrew word degel denotes the standard given to each of the four divisions of the host of the Israelites at the Exodus (Num.1:52; 2:2; 10:14). In Cant.2:4 it is rendered "banner." We have no definite information as to the nature of these military standards. (See BANNER.)
The guests were invited by servants (Prov.9:3; Matt.22:3), who assigned them their respective places (1 Sam.9:22; Luke 14:8; Mark 12:39). Like portions were sent by the master to each guest (1 Sam.1:4; 2 Sam.6:19), except when special honour was intended, when the portion was increased (Gen.43:34).
The Israelites were forbidden to attend heathenish sacrificial entertainments (Ex.34:15), because these were in honour of false gods, and because at such feast they would be liable to partake of unclean flesh (1 Cor.10:28).
In the entertainments common in apostolic times among the Gentiles were frequent "revellings," against which Christians were warned (Rom.13:13; Gal.5:21; 1 Pet.4:3). (See BANQUET.)
(2.) 1 Chr.2:46, a concubine of Caleb.
(3.) 1 Chr.2:47, a descendant of Judah.
Ephah, a word of Egyptian origin, meaning measure; a grain measure containing "three seahs or ten omers," and equivalent to the bath for liquids (Ex.16:36; 1 Sam.17:17; Zech.5:6). The double ephah in Prov.20:10 (marg., "an ephah and an ephah"), Deut.25:14, means two ephahs, the one false and the other just.
(2.) The head of one of the families of trans-Jordanic Manasseh who were carried captive by Tiglath-pileser (1 Chr.5:24).
Ephesians, Epistle to
Contents of. The Epistle to the Colossians is mainly polemical, designed to refute certain theosophic errors that had crept into the church there. That to the Ephesians does not seem to have originated in any special circumstances, but is simply a letter springing from Paul's love to the church there, and indicative of his earnest desire that they should be fully instructed in the profound doctrines of the gospel. It contains (1) the salutation (1:1, 2); (2) a general description of the blessings the gospel reveals, as to their source, means by which they are attained, purpose for which they are bestowed, and their final result, with a fervent prayer for the further spiritual enrichment of the Ephesians (1:3-2:10); (3) "a record of that marked change in spiritual position which the Gentile believers now possessed, ending with an account of the writer's selection to and qualification for the apostolate of heathendom, a fact so considered as to keep them from being dispirited, and to lead him to pray for enlarged spiritual benefactions on his absent sympathizers" (2:12-3:21); (4) a chapter on unity as undisturbed by diversity of gifts (4:1-16); (5) special injunctions bearing on ordinary life (4:17-6:10); (6) the imagery of a spiritual warfare, mission of Tychicus, and valedictory blessing (6:11-24).
Planting of the church at Ephesus. Paul's first and hurried visit for the space of three months to Ephesus is recorded in Acts 18:19-21. The work he began on this occasion was carried forward by Apollos (24-26) and Aquila and Priscilla. On his second visit, early in the following year, he remained at Ephesus "three years," for he found it was the key to the western provinces of Asia Minor. Here "a great door and effectual" was opened to him (1 Cor.16:9), and the church was established and strengthened by his assiduous labours there (Acts 20:20, 31). From Ephesus as a centre the gospel spread abroad "almost throughout all Asia" (19:26). The word "mightily grew and prevailed" despite all the opposition and persecution he encountered.
On his last journey to Jerusalem the apostle landed at Miletus, and summoning together the elders of the church from Ephesus, delivered to them his remarkable farewell charge (Acts 20:18-35), expecting to see them no more.
The following parallels between this epistle and the Milesian charge may be traced:
(1.) Acts 20:19 = Eph.4:2. The phrase "lowliness of mind" occurs nowhere else.
(2.) Acts 20:27 = Eph.1:11. The word "counsel," as denoting the divine plan, occurs only here and Heb.6:17.
(3.) Acts 20:32 = Eph.3:20. The divine ability.
(4.) Acts 20:32 = Eph.2:20. The building upon the foundation.
(5.) Acts 20:32 = Eph.1:14, 18. "The inheritance of the saints."
Place and date of the writing of the letter. It was evidently written from Rome during Paul's first imprisonment (3:1; 4:1; 6:20), and probably soon after his arrival there, about the year 62, four years after he had parted with the Ephesian elders at Miletus. The subscription of this epistle is correct.
There seems to have been no special occasion for the writing of this letter, as already noted. Paul's object was plainly not polemical. No errors had sprung up in the church which he sought to point out and refute. The object of the apostle is "to set forth the ground, the cause, and the aim and end of the church of the faithful in Christ. He speaks to the Ephesians as a type or sample of the church universal." The church's foundations, its course, and its end, are his theme. "Everywhere the foundation of the church is the will of the Father; the course of the church is by the satisfaction of the Son; the end of the church is the life in the Holy Spirit." In the Epistle to the Romans, Paul writes from the point of view of justification by the imputed righteousness of Christ; here he writes from the point of view specially of union to the Redeemer, and hence of the oneness of the true church of Christ. "This is perhaps the profoundest book in existence." It is a book "which sounds the lowest depths of Christian doctrine, and scales the loftiest heights of Christian experience;" and the fact that the apostle evidently expected the Ephesians to understand it is an evidence of the "proficiency which Paul's converts had attained under his preaching at Ephesus."
Relation between this epistle and that to the Colossians (q.v.). "The letters of the apostle are the fervent outburst of pastoral zeal and attachment, written without reserve and in unaffected simplicity; sentiments come warm from the heart, without the shaping out, pruning, and punctilious arrangement of a formal discourse. There is such a fresh and familiar transcription of feeling, so frequent an introduction of coloquial idiom, and so much of conversational frankness and vivacity, that the reader associates the image of the writer with every paragraph, and the ear seems to catch and recognize the very tones of living address." "Is it then any matter of amazement that one letter should resemble another, or that two written about the same time should have so much in common and so much that is peculiar? The close relation as to style and subject between the epistles to Colosse and Ephesus must strike every reader. Their precise relation to each other has given rise to much discussion. The great probability is that the epistle to Colosse was first written; the parallel passages in Ephesians, which amount to about forty-two in number, having the appearance of being expansions from the epistle to Colosse. Compare:
Eph 1:7; Col 1:14 Eph 1:10; Col 1:20 Eph 3:2; Col 1:25 Eph 5:19; Col 3:16 Eph 6:22; Col 4:8 Eph 1:19-2:5; Col 2:12, 13 Eph 4:2-4; Col 3:12-15 Eph 4:16; Col 2:19 Eph 4:32; Col 3:13 Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:9, 10 Eph 5:6-8; Col 3:6-8 Eph 5:15, 16; Col 4:5 Eph 6:19, 20; Col 4:3, 4 Eph 5:22-6:9; Col 3:18-4:1
"The style of this epistle is exceedingly animated, and corresponds with the state of the apostle's mind at the time of writing. Overjoyed with the account which their messenger had brought him of their faith and holiness (Eph.1:15), and transported with the consideration of the unsearchable wisdom of God displayed in the work of man's redemption, and of his astonishing love towards the Gentiles in making them partakers through faith of all the benefits of Christ's death, he soars high in his sentiments on those grand subjects, and gives his thoughts utterance in sublime and copious expression."
Many Jews took up their residence in this city, and here the seeds of the gospel were sown immediately after Pentecost (Acts 2:9; 6:9). At the close of his second missionary journey (about A.D.51), when Paul was returning from Greece to Syria (18:18-21), he first visited this city. He remained, however, for only a short time, as he was hastening to keep the feast, probably of Pentecost, at Jerusalem; but he left Aquila and Priscilla behind him to carry on the work of spreading the gospel.
During his third missionary journey Paul reached Ephesus from the "upper coasts" (Acts 19:1), i.e., from the inland parts of Asia Minor, and tarried here for about three years; and so successful and abundant were his labours that "all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks" (19:10). Probably during this period the seven churches of the Apocalypse were founded, not by Paul's personal labours, but by missionaries whom he may have sent out from Ephesus, and by the influence of converts returning to their homes.
On his return from his journey, Paul touched at Miletus, some 30 miles south of Ephesus (Acts 20:15), and sending for the presbyters of Ephesus to meet him there, he delivered to them that touching farewell charge which is recorded in Acts 20:18-35. Ephesus is not again mentioned till near the close of Paul's life, when he writes to Timothy exhorting him to "abide still at Ephesus" (1 Tim.1:3).
Two of Paul's companions, Trophimus and Tychicus, were probably natives of Ephesus (Acts 20:4; 21:29; 2 Tim.4:12). In his second epistle to Timothy, Paul speaks of Onesiphorus as having served him in many things at Ephesus (2 Tim.1:18). He also "sent Tychicus to Ephesus" (4:12), probably to attend to the interests of the church there. Ephesus is twice mentioned in the Apocalypse (1:11; 2:1).
The apostle John, according to tradition, spent many years in Ephesus, where he died and was buried.
A part of the site of this once famous city is now occupied by a small Turkish village, Ayasaluk, which is regarded as a corruption of the two Greek words, hagios theologos; i.e., "the holy divine."
The breastplate, with the Urim and Thummim, was attached to the ephod.
Ephraim, Gate of
Ephraim in the wilderness
Ephraim, The tribe of
Territory of. At the time of the first census in the wilderness this tribe numbered 40,500 (Num.1:32, 33); forty years later, when about to take possession of the Promised Land, it numbered only 32,500. During the march (see CAMP) Ephraim's place was on the west side of the tabernacle (Num.2:18-24). When the spies were sent out to spy the land, "Oshea the son of Nun" of this tribe signalized himself.
The boundaries of the portion of the land assigned to Ephraim are given in Josh.16:1-10. It included most of what was afterwards called Samaria as distinguished from Judea and Galilee. It thus lay in the centre of all traffic, from north to south, and from Jordan to the sea, and was about 55 miles long and 30 broad. The tabernacle and the ark were deposited within its limits at Shiloh, where it remained for four hundred years. During the time of the judges and the first stage of the monarchy this tribe manifested a domineering and haughty and discontented spirit. "For more than five hundred years, a period equal to that which elapsed between the Norman Conquest and the War of the Roses, Ephraim, with its two dependent tribes of Manasseh and Benjamin, exercised undisputed pre-eminence. Joshua the first conqueror, Gideon the greatest of the judges, and Saul the first king, belonged to one or other of the three tribes. It was not till the close of the first period of Jewish history that God refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim, but chose the tribe of Judah, the Mount Zion which he loved' (Ps.78:67, 68). When the ark was removed from Shiloh to Zion the power of Ephraim was humbled."
Among the causes which operated to bring about the disruption of Israel was Ephraim's jealousy of the growing power of Judah. From the settlement of Canaan till the time of David and Solomon, Ephraim had held the place of honour among the tribes. It occupied the central and fairest portions of the land, and had Shiloh and Shechem within its borders. But now when Jerusalem became the capital of the kingdom, and the centre of power and worship for the whole nation of Israel, Ephraim declined in influence. The discontent came to a crisis by Rehoboam's refusal to grant certain redresses that were demanded (1 Kings 12).
Ephraim, Wood of
(2.) The ancient name of Bethlehem in Judah (Gen.35:16, 19; 48:7). In Ruth 1:2 it is called "Bethlehem-Judah," but the inhabitants are called "Ephrathites;" in Micah 5:2, "Bethlehem-Ephratah;" in Matt.2:6, "Bethlehem in the land of Judah." In Ps.132:6 it is mentioned as the place where David spent his youth, and where he heard much of the ark, although he never saw it till he found it long afterwards at Kirjath-jearim; i.e., the "city of the wood," or the "forest-town" (1 Sam.7:1; comp.2 Sam.6:3, 4).
(2.) A mountain range which formed one of the landmarks on the north boundary of the tribe of Judah (Josh.15:9), probably the range on the west side of the Wady Beit-Hanina.
The epistles to Timothy and Titus are styled the Pastoral Epistles.
(2.) The Catholic or General Epistles, so called because they are not addressed to any particular church or city or individual, but to Christians in general, or to Christians in several countries. Of these, three are written by John, two by Peter, and one each by James and Jude.
It is an interesting and instructive fact that a large portion of the New Testament is taken up with epistles. The doctrines of Christianity are thus not set forth in any formal treatise, but mainly in a collection of letters. "Christianity was the first great missionary religion. It was the first to break the bonds of race and aim at embracing all mankind. But this necessarily involved a change in the mode in which it was presented. The prophet of the Old Testament, if he had anything to communicate, either appeared in person or sent messengers to speak for him by word of mouth. The narrow limits of Palestine made direct personal communication easy. But the case was different when the Christian Church came to consist of a number of scattered parts, stretching from Mesopotamia in the east to Rome or even Spain in the far west. It was only natural that the apostle by whom the greater number of these communities had been founded should seek to communicate with them by letter."
(2.) A companion of Paul at Ephesus, who was sent by him along with Timothy into Macedonia (Acts 19:22). Corinth was his usual place of abode (2 Tim.4:20); but probably he may have been the same as the preceding.
In December B.C.681 Sennacherib was murdered by two of his sons, who, after holding Nineveh for forty-two days, were compelled to fly to Erimenas of Ararat, or Armenia. Their brother Esarhaddon, who had been engaged in a campaign against Armenia, led his army against them. They were utterly overthrown in a battle fought April B.C.680, near Malatiyeh, and in the following month Esarhaddon was crowned at Nineveh. He restored Babylon, conquered Egypt, and received tribute from Manasseh of Judah. He died in October B.C.668, while on the march to suppress an Egyptian revolt, and was succeeded by his son Assur-bani-pal, whose younger brother was made viceroy of Babylonia.
At the age of forty years, to the great grief of his parents, he married (Gen.26:34, 35) two Canaanitish maidens, Judith, the daughter of Beeri, and Bashemath, the daughter of Elon. When Jacob was sent away to Padan-aram, Esau tried to conciliate his parents (Gen.28:8, 9) by marrying his cousin Mahalath, the daughter of Ishmael. This led him to cast in his lot with the Ishmaelite tribes; and driving the Horites out of Mount Seir, he settled in that region. After some thirty years' sojourn in Padan-aram Jacob returned to Canaan, and was reconciled to Esau, who went forth to meet him (33:4). Twenty years after this, Isaac their father died, when the two brothers met, probably for the last time, beside his grave (35:29). Esau now permanently left Canaan, and established himself as a powerful and wealthy chief in the land of Edom (q.v.).
Long after this, when the descendants of Jacob came out of Egypt, the Edomites remembered the old quarrel between the brothers, and with fierce hatred they warred against Israel.
(2.) A valley in which the spies obtained a fine cluster of grapes (Num.13:23, 24; "the brook Eshcol," A.V.; "the valley of Eshcol," R.V.), which they took back with them to the camp of Israel as a specimen of the fruits of the Promised Land. On their way back they explored the route which led into the south (the Negeb) by the western edge of the mountains at Telilat el-Anab, i.e., "grape-mounds", near Beersheba. "In one of these extensive valleys, perhaps in Wady Hanein, where miles of grape-mounds even now meet the eye, they cut the gigantic clusters of grapes, and gathered the pomegranates and figs, to show how goodly was the land which the Lord had promised for their inheritance.", Palmer's Desert of the Exodus.
Esther appears in the Bible as a "woman of deep piety, faith, courage, patriotism, and caution, combined with resolution; a dutiful daughter to her adopted father, docile and obedient to his counsels, and anxious to share the king's favour with him for the good of the Jewish people. There must have been a singular grace and charm in her aspect and manners, since she obtained favour in the sight of all them that looked upon her' (Esther 2:15). That she was raised up as an instrument in the hand of God to avert the destruction of the Jewish people, and to afford them protection and forward their wealth and peace in their captivity, is also manifest from the Scripture account."
Esther, Book of
This book is more purely historical than any other book of Scripture; and it has this remarkable peculiarity that the name of God does not occur in it from first to last in any form. It has, however, been well observed that "though the name of God be not in it, his finger is." The book wonderfully exhibits the providential government of God.
(2.) A city of Judah, fortified by Rehoboam (2 Chr.11:6). It was near Bethlehem and Tekoah, and some distance apparently to the north of (1). It seems to have been in the district called Nephtoah (or Netophah), where were the sources of the water from which Solomon's gardens and pleasure-grounds and pools, as well as Bethlehem and the temple, were supplied. It is now Ain 'Atan, at the head of the Wady Urtas, a fountain sending forth a copious supply of pure water.
Their condition after casting off the mortal body is spoken of in these expressive words: "Fire that shall not be quenched" (Mark 9:45, 46), "fire unquenchable" (Luke 3:17), "the worm that never dies," the "bottomless pit" (Rev.9:1), "the smoke of their torment ascending up for ever and ever" (Rev.14:10, 11).
The idea that the "second death" (Rev.20:14) is in the case of the wicked their absolute destruction, their annihilation, has not the slightest support from Scripture, which always represents their future as one of conscious suffering enduring for ever.
The supposition that God will ultimately secure the repentance and restoration of all sinners is equally unscriptural. There is not the slightest trace in all the Scriptures of any such restoration. Sufferings of themselves have no tendency to purify the soul from sin or impart spiritual life. The atoning death of Christ and the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit are the only means of divine appointment for bringing men to repentance. Now in the case of them that perish these means have been rejected, and "there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins" (Heb.10:26, 27).
It occurs frequently in the New Testament (Matt.7:14; 18:8, 9; Luke 10:28; comp.18:18). It comprises the whole future of the redeemed (Luke 16:9), and is opposed to "eternal punishment" (Matt.19:29; 25:46). It is the final reward and glory into which the children of God enter (1 Tim.6:12, 19; Rom.6:22; Gal.6:8; 1 Tim.1:16; Rom.5:21); their Sabbath of rest (Heb.4:9; comp.12:22).
The newness of life which the believer derives from Christ (Rom.6:4) is the very essence of salvation, and hence the life of glory or the eternal life must also be theirs (Rom.6:8; 2 Tim.2:11, 12; Rom.5:17, 21; 8:30; Eph.2:5, 6). It is the "gift of God in Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom.6:23). The life the faithful have here on earth (John 3:36; 5:24; 6:47, 53-58) is inseparably connected with the eternal life beyond, the endless life of the future, the happy future of the saints in heaven (Matt.19:16, 29; 25:46).
(2.) A Levite of the family of Merari, one of the leaders of the temple music (1 Chr.6:44; 15:17, 19). He was probably the same as Jeduthun. He is supposed by some to be the same also as (1).
Its inhabitants were descendants of Ham (Gen.10:6; Jer.13:23; Isa.18:2, "scattered and peeled," A.V.; but in R.V., "tall and smooth"). Herodotus, the Greek historian, describes them as "the tallest and handsomest of men." They are frequently represented on Egyptian monuments, and they are all of the type of the true . As might be expected, the history of this country is interwoven with that of Egypt.
Ethiopia is spoken of in prophecy (Ps.68:31; 87:4; Isa.45:14; Ezek.30:4-9; Dan.11:43; Nah.3:8-10; Hab.3:7; Zeph.2:12).
The Euphrates is first mentioned in Gen.2:14 as one of the rivers of Paradise. It is next mentioned in connection with the covenant which God entered into with Abraham (15:18), when he promised to his descendants the land from the river of Egypt to the river Euphrates (comp. Deut.11:24; Josh.1:4), a covenant promise afterwards fulfilled in the extended conquests of David (2 Sam.8:2-14; 1 Chr.18:3; 1 Kings 4:24). It was then the boundary of the kingdom to the north-east. In the ancient history of Assyria, and Babylon, and Egypt many events are recorded in which mention is made of the "great river." Just as the Nile represented in prophecy the power of Egypt, so the Euphrates represented the Assyrian power (Isa.8:7; Jer.2:18).
It is by far the largest and most important of all the rivers of Western Asia. From its source in the Armenian mountains to the Persian Gulf, into which it empties itself, it has a course of about 1,700 miles. It has two sources, (1) the Frat or Kara-su (i.e., "the black river"), which rises 25 miles north-east of Erzeroum; and (2) the Muradchai (i.e., "the river of desire"), which rises near Ararat, on the northern slope of Ala-tagh. At Kebban Maden, 400 miles from the source of the former, and 270 from that of the latter, they meet and form the majestic stream, which is at length joined by the Tigris at Koornah, after which it is called Shat-el-Arab, which runs in a deep and broad stream for above 140 miles to the sea. It is estimated that the alluvium brought down by these rivers encroaches on the sea at the rate of about one mile in thirty years.
After the destruction of Samaria (B.C.720) by Shalmaneser and Sargon (q.v.), there was a general deportation of the Israelites into Mesopotamia and Media (2 Kings 17:6; 18:9; 1 Chr.5:26). (See ISRAEL, KINGDOM OF.)
(2.) Of the kingdom of the two tribes, the kingdom of Judah. Nebuchadnezzar, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim (Jer.25:1), invaded Judah, and carried away some royal youths, including Daniel and his companions (B.C.606), together with the sacred vessels of the temple (2 Chr.36:7; Dan.1:2). In B.C.598 (Jer.52:28; 2 Kings 24:12), in the beginning of Jehoiachin's reign (2 Kings 24:8), Nebuchadnezzar carried away captive 3,023 eminent Jews, including the king (2 Chr.36:10), with his family and officers (2 Kings 24:12), and a large number of warriors (16), with very many persons of note (14), and artisans (16), leaving behind only those who were poor and helpless. This was the first general deportation to Babylon.
In B.C.588, after the revolt of Zedekiah (q.v.), there was a second general deportation of Jews by Nebuchadnezzar (Jer.52:29; 2 Kings 25:8), including 832 more of the principal men of the kingdom. He carried away also the rest of the sacred vessels (2 Chr.36:18). From this period, when the temple was destroyed (2 Kings 25:9), to the complete restoration, B.C.517 (Ezra 6:15), is the period of the "seventy years."
In B.C.582 occurred the last and final deportation. The entire number Nebuchadnezzar carried captive was 4,600 heads of families with their wives and children and dependants (Jer.52:30; 43:5-7; 2 Chr.36:20, etc.). Thus the exiles formed a very considerable community in Babylon.
When Cyrus granted permission to the Jews to return to their own land (Ezra 1:5; 7:13), only a comparatively small number at first availed themselves of the privilege. It cannot be questioned that many belonging to the kingdom of Israel ultimately joined the Jews under Ezra, Zerubbabel, and Nehemiah, and returned along with them to Jerusalem (Jer.50:4, 5, 17-20, 33-35).
Large numbers had, however, settled in the land of Babylon, and formed numerous colonies in different parts of the kingdom. Their descendants very probably have spread far into Eastern lands and become absorbed in the general population. (See JUDAH, KINGDOM OF; CAPTIVITY.)
The time of their sojourning in Egypt was, according to Ex.12:40, the space of four hundred and thirty years. In the LXX., the words are, "The sojourning of the children of Israel which they sojourned in Egypt and in the land of Canaan was four hundred and thirty years;" and the Samaritan version reads, "The sojourning of the children of Israel and of their fathers which they sojourned in the land of Canaan and in the land of Egypt was four hundred and thirty years." In Gen.15:13-16, the period is prophetically given (in round numbers) as four hundred years. This passage is quoted by Stephen in his defence before the council (Acts 7:6).
The chronology of the "sojourning" is variously estimated. Those who adopt the longer term reckon thus:
Years From the descent of Jacob into Egypt to the death of Joseph 71 From the death of Joseph to the birth of Moses 278 From the birth of Moses to his flight into Midian 40 From the flight of Moses to his return into Egypt 40 From the return of Moses to the Exodus 1 430
Others contend for the shorter period of two hundred and fifteen years, holding that the period of four hundred and thirty years comprehends the years from the entrance of Abraham into Canaan (see LXX. and Samaritan) to the descent of Jacob into Egypt. They reckon thus:
Years From Abraham's arrival in Canaan to Isaac's birth 25 From Isaac's birth to that of his twin sons Esau and Jacob 60 From Jacob's birth to the going down into Egypt 130 (215) From Jacob's going down into Egypt to the death of Joseph 71 From death of Joseph to the birth of Moses 64 From birth of Moses to the Exodus 80 In all...430
During the forty years of Moses' sojourn in the land of Midian, the Hebrews in Egypt were being gradually prepared for the great national crisis which was approaching. The plagues that successively fell upon the land loosened the bonds by which Pharaoh held them in slavery, and at length he was eager that they should depart. But the Hebrews must now also be ready to go. They were poor; for generations they had laboured for the Egyptians without wages. They asked gifts from their neighbours around them (Ex.12:35), and these were readily bestowed. And then, as the first step towards their independent national organization, they observed the feast of the Passover, which was now instituted as a perpetual memorial. The blood of the paschal lamb was duly sprinkled on the door-posts and lintels of all their houses, and they were all within, waiting the next movement in the working out of God's plan. At length the last stroke fell on the land of Egypt. "It came to pass, that at midnight Jehovah smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt." Pharaoh rose up in the night, and called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, "Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve Jehovah, as ye have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also." Thus was Pharaoh (q.v.) completely humbled and broken down. These words he spoke to Moses and Aaron "seem to gleam through the tears of the humbled king, as he lamented his son snatched from him by so sudden a death, and tremble with a sense of the helplessness which his proud soul at last felt when the avenging hand of God had visited even his palace."
The terror-stricken Egyptians now urged the instant departure of the Hebrews. In the midst of the Passover feast, before the dawn of the 15th day of the month Abib (our April nearly), which was to be to them henceforth the beginning of the year, as it was the commencement of a new epoch in their history, every family, with all that appertained to it, was ready for the march, which instantly began under the leadership of the heads of tribes with their various sub-divisions. They moved onward, increasing as they went forward from all the districts of Goshen, over the whole of which they were scattered, to the common centre. Three or four days perhaps elapsed before the whole body of the people were assembled at Rameses, and ready to set out under their leader Moses (Ex.12:37; Num.33:3). This city was at that time the residence of the Egyptian court, and here the interviews between Moses and Pharaoh had taken place.
From Rameses they journeyed to Succoth (Ex.12:37), identified with Tel-el-Maskhuta, about 12 miles west of Ismailia. (See PITHOM.) Their third station was Etham (q.v.), 13:20, "in the edge of the wilderness," and was probably a little to the west of the modern town of Ismailia, on the Suez Canal. Here they were commanded "to turn and encamp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea", i.e., to change their route from east to due south. The Lord now assumed the direction of their march in the pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night. They were then led along the west shore of the Red Sea till they came to an extensive camping-ground "before Pi-hahiroth," about 40 miles from Etham. This distance from Etham may have taken three days to traverse, for the number of camping-places by no means indicates the number of days spent on the journey: e.g., it took fully a month to travel from Rameses to the wilderness of Sin (Ex.16:1), yet reference is made to only six camping-places during all that time. The exact spot of their encampment before they crossed the Red Sea cannot be determined. It was probably somewhere near the present site of Suez.
Under the direction of God the children of Israel went "forward" from the camp "before Pi-hahiroth," and the sea opened a pathway for them, so that they crossed to the farther shore in safety. The Egyptian host pursued after them, and, attempting to follow through the sea, were overwhelmed in its returning waters, and thus the whole military force of the Egyptians perished. They "sank as lead in the mighty waters" (Ex.15:1-9; comp. Ps.77:16-19).
Having reached the eastern shore of the sea, perhaps a little way to the north of Ayun Musa ("the springs of Moses"), there they encamped and rested probably for a day. Here Miriam and the other women sang the triumphal song recorded in Ex.15:1-21.
From Ayun Musa they went on for three days through a part of the barren "wilderness of Shur" (22), called also the "wilderness of Etham" (Num.33:8; comp. Ex.13:20), without finding water. On the last of these days they came to Marah (q.v.), where the "bitter" water was by a miracle made drinkable.
Their next camping-place was Elim (q.v.), where were twelve springs of water and a grove of "threescore and ten" palm trees (Ex.15:27).
After a time the children of Israel "took their journey from Elim," and encamped by the Red Sea (Num.33:10), and thence removed to the "wilderness of Sin" (to be distinguished from the wilderness of Zin, 20:1), where they again encamped. Here, probably the modern el-Markha, the supply of bread they had brought with them out of Egypt failed. They began to "murmur" for want of bread. God "heard their murmurings" and gave them quails and manna, "bread from heaven" (Ex.16:4-36). Moses directed that an omer of manna should be put aside and preserved as a perpetual memorial of God's goodness. They now turned inland, and after three encampments came to the rich and fertile valley of Rephidim, in the Wady Feiran. Here they found no water, and again murmured against Moses. Directed by God, Moses procured a miraculous supply of water from the "rock in Horeb," one of the hills of the Sinai group (17:1-7); and shortly afterwards the children of Israel here fought their first battle with the Amalekites, whom they smote with the edge of the sword.
From the eastern extremity of the Wady Feiran the line of march now probably led through the Wady esh-Sheikh and the Wady Solaf, meeting in the Wady er-Rahah, "the enclosed plain in front of the magnificient cliffs of Ras Sufsafeh." Here they encamped for more than a year (Num.1:1; 10:11) before Sinai (q.v.).
The different encampments of the children of Israel, from the time of their leaving Egypt till they reached the Promised Land, are mentioned in Ex.12:37-19; Num.10-21; 33; Deut.1, 2, 10.
It is worthy of notice that there are unmistakable evidences that the Egyptians had a tradition of a great exodus from their country, which could be none other than the exodus of the Hebrews.
Exodus, Book of
It contains, (1.) An account of the increase and growth of the Israelites in Egypt (ch.1) (2.) Preparations for their departure out of Egypt (2-12:36). (3.) Their journeyings from Egypt to Sinai (12:37-19:2). (4.) The giving of the law and the establishment of the institutions by which the organization of the people was completed, the theocracy, "a kingdom of priest and an holy nation" (19:3-ch.40).
The time comprised in this book, from the death of Joseph to the erection of the tabernacle in the wilderness, is about one hundred and forty-five years, on the supposition that the four hundred and thirty years (12:40) are to be computed from the time of the promises made to Abraham (Gal.3:17).
The authorship of this book, as well as of that of the other books of the Pentateuch, is to be ascribed to Moses. The unanimous voice of tradition and all internal evidences abundantly support this opinion.
The power of casting out devils was conferred by Christ on his apostles (Matt.10:8), and on the seventy (Luke 10:17-19), and was exercised by believers after his ascension (Mark 16:17; Acts 16:18); but this power was never spoken of as exorcism.
The cover or lid of the ark is termed in the LXX. hilasterion, that which covered or shut out the claims and demands of the law against the sins of God's people, whereby he became "propitious" to them.
The idea of vicarious expiation runs through the whole Old Testament system of sacrifices. (See PROPITIATION.)
The expression (Prov.23:31), "when it giveth his colour in the cup," is literally, "when it giveth out [or showeth] its eye." The beads or bubbles of wine are thus spoken of. "To set the eyes" on any one is to view him with favour (Gen.44:21; Job 24:23; Jer.39:12). This word is used figuratively in the expressions an "evil eye" (Matt.20:15), a "bountiful eye" (Prov.22:9), "haughty eyes" (6:17 marg.), "wanton eyes" (Isa.3:16), "eyes full of adultery" (2 Pet.2:14), "the lust of the eyes" (1 John 2:16). Christians are warned against "eye-service" (Eph.6:6; Col.3:22). Men were sometimes punished by having their eyes put out (1 Sam.11:2; Samson, Judg.16:21; Zedekiah, 2 Kings 25:7).
The custom of painting the eyes is alluded to in 2 Kings 9:30, R.V.; Jer.4:30; Ezek.23:40, a custom which still prevails extensively among Eastern women.
(2.) One of the great prophets, the son of Buzi the priest (Ezek.1:3). He was one of the Jewish exiles who settled at Tel-Abib, on the banks of the Chebar, "in the land of the Chaldeans." He was probably carried away captive with Jehoiachin (1:2; 2 Kings 24:14-16) about B.C.597. His prophetic call came to him "in the fifth year of Jehoiachin's captivity" (B.C.594). He had a house in the place of his exile, where he lost his wife, in the ninth year of his exile, by some sudden and unforeseen stroke (Ezek.8:1; 24:18). He held a prominent place among the exiles, and was frequently consulted by the elders (8:1; 11:25; 14:1; 20:1). His ministry extended over twenty-three years (29:17), B.C.595-573, during part of which he was contemporary with Daniel (14:14; 28:3) and Jeremiah, and probably also with Obadiah. The time and manner of his death are unknown. His reputed tomb is pointed out in the neighbourhood of Bagdad, at a place called Keffil.
Ezekiel, Book of
(2.) Prophecies against various surrounding nations: against the Ammonites (Ezek.25:1-7), the Moabites (8-11), the Edomites (12-14), the Philistines (15-17), Tyre and Sidon (26-28), and against Egypt (29-32).
(3.) Prophecies delivered after the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar: the triumphs of Israel and of the kingdom of God on earth (Ezek.33-39); Messianic times, and the establishment and prosperity of the kingdom of God (40;48).
The closing visions of this book are referred to in the book of Revelation (Ezek.38=Rev.20:8; Ezek.47:1-8=Rev.22:1,2). Other references to this book are also found in the New Testament. (Comp. Rom.2:24 with Ezek.36:2; Rom.10:5, Gal.3:12 with Ezek.20:11; 2 Pet.3:4 with Ezek.12:22.)
It may be noted that Daniel, fourteen years after his deportation from Jerusalem, is mentioned by Ezekiel (14:14) along with Noah and Job as distinguished for his righteousness, and some five years later he is spoken of as pre-eminent for his wisdom (28:3).
Ezekiel's prophecies are characterized by symbolical and allegorical representations, "unfolding a rich series of majestic visions and of colossal symbols." There are a great many also of "symbolcal actions embodying vivid conceptions on the part of the prophet" (4:1-4; 5:1-4; 12:3-6; 24:3-5; 37:16, etc.) "The mode of representation, in which symbols and allegories occupy a prominent place, gives a dark, mysterious character to the prophecies of Ezekiel. They are obscure and enigmatical. A cloudy mystery overhangs them which it is almost impossible to penetrate. Jerome calls the book a labyrith of the mysteries of God.' It was because of this obscurity that the Jews forbade any one to read it till he had attained the age of thirty."
Ezekiel is singular in the frequency with which he refers to the Pentateuch (e.g., Ezek.27; 28:13; 31:8; 36:11, 34; 47:13, etc.). He shows also an acquaintance with the writings of Hosea (Ezek.37:22), Isaiah (Ezek.8:12; 29:6), and especially with those of Jeremiah, his older contemporary (Jer.24:7, 9; 48:37).
(2.) The "scribe" who led the second body of exiles that returned from Babylon to Jerusalem B.C.459, and author of the book of Scripture which bears his name. He was the son, or perhaps grandson, of Seraiah (2 Kings 25:18-21), and a lineal descendant of Phinehas, the son of Aaron (Ezra 7:1-5). All we know of his personal history is contained in the last four chapters of his book, and in Neh.8 and 12:26.
In the seventh year of the reign of Artaxerxes Longimanus (see DARIUS), he obtained leave to go up to Jerusalem and to take with him a company of Israelites (Ezra 8). Artaxerxes manifested great interest in Ezra's undertaking, granting him "all his request," and loading him with gifts for the house of God. Ezra assembled the band of exiles, probably about 5,000 in all, who were prepared to go up with him to Jerusalem, on the banks of the Ahava, where they rested for three days, and were put into order for their march across the desert, which was completed in four months. His proceedings at Jerusalem on his arrival there are recorded in his book.
He was "a ready scribe in the law of Moses," who "had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments." "He is," says Professor Binnie, "the first well-defined example of an order of men who have never since ceased in the church; men of sacred erudition, who devote their lives to the study of the Holy Scriptures, in order that they may be in a condition to interpret them for the instruction and edification of the church. It is significant that the earliest mention of the pulpit occurs in the history of Ezra's ministry (Neh.8:4). He was much more of a teacher than a priest. We learn from the account of his labours in the book of Nehemiah that he was careful to have the whole people instructed in the law of Moses; and there is no reason to reject the constant tradition of the Jews which connects his name with the collecting and editing of the Old Testament canon. The final completion of the canon may have been, and probably was, the work of a later generation; but Ezra seems to have put it much into the shape in which it is still found in the Hebrew Bible. When it is added that the complete organization of the synagogue dates from this period, it will be seen that the age was emphatically one of Biblical study" (The Psalms: their History, etc.).
For about fourteen years, i.e., till B.C.445, we have no record of what went on in Jerusalem after Ezra had set in order the ecclesiastical and civil affairs of the nation. In that year another distinguished personage, Nehemiah, appears on the scene. After the ruined wall of the city had been built by Nehemiah, there was a great gathering of the people at Jerusalem preparatory to the dedication of the wall. On the appointed day the whole population assembled, and the law was read aloud to them by Ezra and his assistants (Neh.8:3). The remarkable scene is described in detail. There was a great religious awakening. For successive days they held solemn assemblies, confessing their sins and offering up solemn sacrifices. They kept also the feast of Tabernacles with great solemnity and joyous enthusiasm, and then renewed their national covenant to be the Lord's. Abuses were rectified, and arrangements for the temple service completed, and now nothing remained but the dedication of the walls of the city (Neh.12).
Ezra, Book of
(1.) The history of the first return of exiles, in the first year of Cyrus (B.C.536), till the completion and dedication of the new temple, in the sixth year of Darius Hystapes (B.C.515), ch.1-6. From the close of the sixth to the opening of the seventh chapter there is a blank in the history of about sixty years.
(2.) The history of the second return under Ezra, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes Longimanus, and of the events that took place at Jerusalem after Ezra's arrival there (7-10).
The book thus contains memorabilia connected with the Jews, from the decree of Cyrus (B.C.536) to the reformation by Ezra (B.C.456), extending over a period of about eighty years.
There is no quotation from this book in the New Testament, but there never has been any doubt about its being canonical. Ezra was probably the author of this book, at least of the greater part of it (comp.7:27, 28; 8:1, etc.), as he was also of the Books of Chronicles, the close of which forms the opening passage of Ezra.