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Easton's Bible Dictionary

Old gate

One of the gates in the north wall of Jerusalem, so called because built by the Jebusites (Nehemiah 3:6; 12:39).

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
1. (n.) Open country.

2. (superl.) Not young; advanced far in years or life; having lived till toward the end of the ordinary term of living; as, an old man; an old age; an old horse; an old tree.

3. (superl.) Not new or fresh; not recently made or produced; having existed for a long time; as, old wine; an old friendship.

4. (superl.) Formerly existing; ancient; not modern; preceding; original; as, an old law; an old custom; an old promise.

5. (superl.) Continued in life; advanced in the course of existence; having (a certain) length of existence; -- designating the age of a person or thing; as, an infant a few hours old; a cathedral centuries old.

6. (superl.) Long practiced; hence, skilled; experienced; cunning; as, an old offender; old in vice.

7. (superl.) Long cultivated; as, an old farm; old land, as opposed to new land, that is, to land lately cleared.

8. (superl.) Worn out; weakened or exhausted by use; past usefulness; as, old shoes; old clothes.

9. (superl.) More than enough; abundant.

10. (superl.) Aged; antiquated; hence, wanting in the mental vigor or other qualities belonging to youth; -- used disparagingly as a term of reproach.

11. (superl.) Old-fashioned; wonted; customary; as of old; as, the good old times; hence, colloquially, gay; jolly.

12. (superl.) Used colloquially as a term of cordiality and familiarity.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

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

I. What the Writer Meant to Describe.

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

1. Derivation and Use of the Name:

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

2. Outline of the Genesis Narrative:

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

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

3. History or Exposition?:

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

II. How the Story Looks Today.

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

1. In the Light of Evolution:

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

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

2. The Garden Habitat:

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

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

3. The Organic Factor:

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

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

4. The Invasion of Subtlety:

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

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

5. The Fateful Venture:

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

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

6. The Fitted Sequel:

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

III. How Adam Is Recognized in the Old Testament.

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

1. In the Old Testament Canonical Books:

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

2. In the Apocrypha:

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

John Franklin Genung

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


ad'-am, ('adham; Septuagint Adam).

1. Usage and Etymology:

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

(1) creature;

(2) ruddy one;

(3) earthborn. Less probable are

(4) pleasant-to sight-and

(5) social gregarious.

2. Adam in the Narrative of Genesis:

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

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

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

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

3. Teachings of the Narrative:

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

4. Adam in Apocrypha:

Allusions to the narrative of the creation and the fall of man, covering most points of the narrative of Genesis 1-4, are found in 2 Esdras 3:4-7, 10, 21, 26; 4:30; 6:54-56; 7:11, 46-48; Tobit 8:6, The Wisdom of Solomon 2:23; 9:2; 10:1, Ecclesiasticus 15:14; 17:1-4; 25:24:00; 40:01:00; 49:16:00. In both 2 Esdras and The Wisdom of Solomon we read that death came upon all men through Adam's sin, while 2 Esdras 4:30 declares that "a grain of evil seed was sown in the heart of Adam from the beginning." Aside from this doctrinal development the Apocrypha offers no additions to the Old Testament narrative.

F. K. Farr


In individual lives (cheledh; helikia): We have scarcely any word in the Old Testament or New Testament which denotes "age" in the familiar modern sense; the nearest in the Old Testament is perhaps heledh, "life," "lifetime," and in the New Testament helikia, "full age," "manhood," but which is rendered stature in Matthew 6:27, etc., the King James Version; cheledh occurs (Job 11:17), "Thine age shall be clearer than the noonday," the Revised Version (British and American) "(thy) life"; Psalm 39:5, "Mine age is as nothing before thee," the American Standard Revised Version, "my life-time"); we have helikia (John 9:21, 23), "He is of age"; Hebrews 11:11 "past age," Luke 2:52, "Jesus increased in wisdom and age," so the Revised Version, margin, King James Version margin, Ephesians 4:13); yom, day, (days) is used in the Old Testament to express "age" (Genesis 47:28), the whole age of Jacob," the King James Version, "the days of the years of his life"; but it occurs mostly in connection with old age); ben, "son" (Numbers 8:25 1 Chronicles 23:3, 24); kelah, "to be complete," is translated "full age" (Job 5:26); teleios, "complete" (Hebrews 5:14), the Revised Version (British and American), full-grown men, margin, perfect", dor, a revolution," "a period" is translated "age" Isaiah 38:12, "Mine age is departed and removed from me as a shepherd's tent," the American Standard Revised Version, "My dwelling is removed, and is carried away from me as a shepherd's tent," the English Revised Version, "mine age," margin, "or habitation"; Delitzsch, "my home"; compare Psalm 49:19, 20; 2 Corinthians 5:8. In New Testament we have etos, "year" (Mark 5:42), the Revised Version British and American, "old"; Luke 2:37; Luke 3:23, "Jesus. about 30 years of age". "Old age," "aged," are the translation of various words, zaqen zaqan, "the chin," "the beard", perhaps to have the chin sharp or hanging down, often translated "elders," "old man," etc. 2 Samuel 19:32, Job 12:20, 32:9, Jeremiah 6:11.

In New Testament we have presbutes, "aged," "advanced in days" (Titus 2:2 Philemon 1:9); presbutis, "aged woman" (Titus 2:3); probebekos en hemerais, advanced in days" (Luke 2:36); geras, "old age" (Luke 1:36).

Revised Version has "old" for "the age of" (1 Chronicles 23:3), "own age" for "sort" (Daniel 1:10); "aged" for "ancients" (Psalm 119:100), for "ancient" (Isaiah 47:6); for "old" (Hebrews 8:13); "aged men" for "the ancients" (Job 12:12); for "aged" (Job 12:20), "elders."

Regard for Old Age:

(1) Among the Hebrews (and Orientals generally) old age was held in honor, and respect was required for the aged (Leviticus 19:32), "Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honor the face of the old man"; a mark of the low estate of the nation was that "The faces of elders were not honored"; "The elders have ceased from the gate" (Lamentations 5:12, 14). Compare Job 29:8 (as showing the exceptionally high regard for Job). See also The Wisdom of Solomon 2:10; Ecclesiasticus 8:6.

(2) Old age was greatly desired and its attainment regarded as a Divine blessing (Genesis 15:15 Exodus 20:12, "that thy days may be long in the land"; Job 5:26 Psalm 91:16, "With long life will I satisfy him"; Psalm 92:14; compare Isaiah 65:20 Zechariah 8:4 1 Samuel 2:32).

(3) A Divine assurance is given, "Even to old age I am he, and even to hoar hairs will I carry you" (Isaiah 46:4); hence it was looked forward to in faith and hope (Psalm 71:9, 18).

(4) Superior wisdom was believed to belong to the aged (Job 12:20; Job 15:10; Job 32:7, 9; compare 1 Kings 12:8); hence positions of guidance and authority were given to them, as the terms "elders," "presbyters" and (Arabic) "sheik" indicate.

W. L. Walker




1. The Christian Term "Canon"

2. The Corresponding Hebrew Expression

3. The "Hidden Books" of the Jews

4. The Determining Principle in the Formation of the Canon

5. The Tripartite Division of the Old Testament

6. How Account for the Tripartite Division?


1. The Old Testament's Witness to Itself (circa 1450-444 B.C.)

2. The Samaritan Pentateuch (circa 432 B.C.)

3. The Septuagint Version (circa 250-150 B.C.)

4. Ecclesiasticus, or the Wisdom of Jesus ben Sirach (circa 170 B.C.)

5. The Prologue to Ecclesiasticus (circa 132 B.C.)

6. 1 and 2 Maccabees (between 125 and 70 B.C.)

7. Philo (circa 20 B.C.-50 A.D.)

8. The New Testament as a Witness (circa 50-100 A.D.)

9. 4 Esdras (circa 81-96 A.D.)

10. Josephus' "Contra Apionem" (circa 100 A.D.)

11. The Councils of Jamnia (90 and 118 A.D.)

12. The Talmud (200-500 A.D.)

13. Jewish Doubts in the 2nd Century A.D.

14. Summary and Conclusion


1. In the Eastern or Oriental Church

2. In the Western Church


I. Introductory.

The problem of how we came by 39 books known as Old Testament "Scripture" is a purely historical investigation. The question involved is, not who wrote the several books, but who made them into a collection, not their origin or contents, but their history; not God's part, but man's. Our present aim, accordingly, must be to trace the process by which the various writings became "Scripture."

1. The Christian Term "Canon":

The word "canon" is of Christian origin, from the Greek word kanon, which in turn is probably borrowed from the Hebrew word, qaneh, meaning a reed or measuring rod, hence, norm or rule. Later it came to mean a rule of faith, and eventually a catalogue or list. In present usage it signifies a collection of religious writings Divinely inspired and hence, authoritative, normative, sacred and binding. The term occurs in Galatians 6:16 2 Corinthians 10:13-16; but it is first employed of the books of Scripture in the technical sense of a standard collection or body of sacred writings, by the church Fathers of the 4th century; e.g. in the 59th canon of the Council of Laodicea (363 A.D.); in the Festal Epistle of Athanasius (365 A.D.); and by Amphilochius, archbishop of Iconium (395 A.D.).

2. The Corresponding Hebrew Expression:

How the ancient Hebrews expressed the conception of canonicity is not known; but it is safe to say that the idea, as an idea, existed long before there was any special phrase invented to express it. In the New Testament the word "Scriptures" conveys unquestionably the notion of sacredness (Matthew 21:42 John 5:39 Acts 18:24). From the 1st century A.D. and following, however, according to the Talmud, the Jews employed the phrase "defile the hands." Writings which were suitable to be read in the synagogue were designated as books which "defile the hands." What this very peculiar oriental expression may have originally signified no one definitely knows. Probably Leviticus 16:24 gives a hint of the true interpretation. According to this passage the high priest on the great Day of Atonement washed not only when he put on the holy garments of his office, but also when he put them off. Quite possibly, therefore, the expression "defile the hands" signified that the hands which had touched the sacred writings must first be washed before touching aught else. The idea expressed, accordingly, was one akin to that of taboo. That is to say, just as certain garments worn by worshippers in encircling the sacred Kaaba at Mecca are taboo to the Mohammedans of today, i.e. cannot be worn outside the mosque, but must be left at the door as the worshippers quit the sanctuary, so the Hebrew writings which were fit to be read in the synagogue rendered the hands of those who touched them taboo, defiling their hands, as they were wont to say, so that they must first be washed before engaging in any secular business. This seems to be the best explanation of this enigmatical phrase. Various other and somewhat fanciful explanations of it, however, have been given: for example, to prevent profane uses of worn-out synagogue rolls (Buhl); or to prevent placing consecrated grain alongside of the sacred rolls in the synagogues that it might become holy, as the grain would attract the mice and the mice would gnaw the rolls (Strack, Wildeboer and others); or to prevent the sacred, worn-out parchments from being used as coverings for animals (Graetz); or to "declare the hands to be unclean unless previously washed" (Furst, Green). But no one of these explanations satisfies. The idea of taboo is more likely imbedded in the phrase.

3. The "Hidden Books" of the Jews:

The rabbins invented a special phrase to designate rolls that were worn-out or disputed. These they called genuzim, meaning "hidden away." Cemeteries filled with Hebrew manuscripts which have long been buried are frequently found today in Egypt in connection with Jewish synagogues. Such rolls might first be placed in the genizah or rubbish chamber of the sanctuary. They were not, however, apocryphal or uncanonical in the sense of being extraneous or outside the regular collection. For such the Jews had a special term cepharim chitsonim, "books that are outside." These could not be read in the synagogues. "Hidden books" were rather worn-out parchments, or canonical rolls which might by some be temporarily disputed.


4. The Determining Principle in the Formation of the Canon:

Who had the right to declare a writing canonical? To this question widely divergent answers have been given. According to a certain class of theologians the several books of the Old Testament were composed by authors who were conscious not only of their inspiration but also that their writings were destined to be handed down to the church of future generations as sacred. In other words each writer canonized, as it were, his own writings. For example, Dr. W. H. Green (Canon, 35, 106, 110) says: "No formal declaration of their canonicity was needed to give them sanction. They were from the first not only eagerly read by the devout but believed to be Divinely obligatory. Each individual book of an acknowledged prophet of Yahweh, or of anyone accredited as inspired by Him to make known His will, was accepted as the word of God immediately upon its appearance.. Those books and those only were accepted as the Divine standards of their faith and regulative of their conduct which were written for this definite purpose by those whom they believed to be inspired of God. It was this which made them canonical. The spiritual profit found in them corresponded with and confirmed the belief in their heavenly origin. And the public official action which further attested, though it did not initiate, their canonicity, followed in the wake of the popular recognition of their Divine authority.. The writings of the prophets, delivered to the people as a declaration of the Divine will, possessed canonical authority from the moment of their appearance.. The canon does not derive its authority from the church, whether Jewish or Christian; the office of the church is merely that of a custodian and a witness." So likewise Dr. J. D. Davis (Pres. and Ref. Review, April, 1902, 182).

On the contrary, Dillmann (Jahrb. fur deutsche Theol., III, 420) more scientifically claims that "history knows nothing of the individual books having been designed to be sacred from their origin.. These books bore indeed in themselves from the first those characteristics on account of which they were subsequently admitted into the sacred collection, but yet always had first to pass through a shorter or longer period of verification, and make trial of the Divine power resident within them upon the hearts of the church before they were outwardly and formally acknowledged by it as Divine books." As a matter of fact, the books of the Old Testament are still on trial, and ever will be. So far as is known, the great majority of the writers of Holy Scripture did not arbitrarily hand over their productions to the church and expect them to be regarded as canon Scripture. Two parties are involved in the making of canonical Scripture-the original authors and the church-both of whom were inspired by the same Spirit. The authors wrote inspired by the Divine Spirit, and the church ever since-Jewish and Christian alike-has been inspired to recognize the authoritative character of their writings. And so it will be to the end of time. "We cannot be certain that anything comes from God unless it bring us personally something evidently Divine" (Briggs, The Study of Holy Scripture, 162).

5. The Tripartite Division of the Old Testament:

The Jews early divided the Old Testament writings into three classes:

(1) the Torah, or Law; (2) the Nebhi'im, or Prophets; and

(3) the Kethubhim, or Writings, called in Greek the Hagiographa.

The Torah included the 5 books of the Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy), which were called "the Five-fifths of the Law." The Nebhi'im embraced

(a) the four so-called Former Prophets, Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, counted as one book, 1 and 2 Kings, also counted as one book; and

(b) the four so-called Latter Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Twelve Minor Prophets, counted as one book; a total of 8 books.

The Kethubhim, or Writings, were 11 in all, including Psalms, Proverbs, and Job, the five Meghilloth or Rolls (Canticles, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther), Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah, counted as one book, and 1 and 2 Chronicles, also counted as one book; in all 24 books, exactly the same as those of the Protestant canon. This was the original count of the Jews as far as we can trace it back. Later certain Jewish authorities appended Ruth to Judges, and Lamentations to Jeremiah, and thereby obtained the number 22, which corresponded to the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet; but this manner of counting was secondary and fanciful. Still later others divided Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, Ezra-Nehemiah and Jeremiah-Lamentations into two books each respectively and thereby obtained 27, which they fancifully regarded as equivalent to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet plus 5, the number of letters having a peculiar final form when standing at the end of a word. Jerome states that 22 is the correct reckoning, but he adds, "Some count both Ruth and Lamentations among the Hagiographa, and so get 24." 4 Esdras, which is the oldest (85-96 A.D.) witness to the number of books in the Old Testament, gives 24.

6. How Account for the Tripartite Division?:

The answer to the question of how to account for the tripartite division involves the most careful investigation of the whole process by which the canon actually took shape. If the entire canon of the Old Testament were formed, as some allege, by one man, or by one set of men, in a single age, then it is obvious that the books must have been separated into three groups on the basis of some material differences in their contents. If, on the other hand; the process of canonization was gradual and extended over several generations, then the various books were separated from one another probably because one section of the canon was closed before certain other books of similar character were written. At any rate it is difficult to see why Kings and Chronicles are not included in the same division, and especially strange that Daniel does not stand among the prophets. To explain this mystery, medieval Jews were wont to say that "the Prophets were inspired by the spirit of prophecy, whereas the Writings by the Holy Spirit," implying different degrees of inspiration. But this is a distinction without a difference, the Holy Spirit and the spirit of prophecy are one and the same. Modern Protestants distinguish between the donum propheticum and the munus propheticum, i.e. between the gift and the office of prophecy. They allow that Daniel possessed the gift of prophecy, but they deny that he was Divinely appointed to the office of prophet. But compare Matthew 24:15, which speaks of "Daniel the prophet," and on the other hand, Amos 7:14, in which Amos resents being considered a prophet. Oehler modifies this explanation, claiming that the threefold division of the canon corresponds to the three stages of development in the religion of Israel, namely, Mosaism, Prophetism, and Hebraism. According to Oehler, the Law was the foundation of the entire canon. From it there were two lines of development, one objective, the Prophets, the other subjective, the Writings. But Oehler's theory does not satisfactorily account for Ezra and Nehemiah and Chronicles, being in the third division; for in what sense can they be said to be more subjective than Judges, Samuel, and Kings? The Septuagint version (250-150 B.C.) takes no notice of the tripartite division. The true solution probably is that the process was gradual. When all the witnesses have been examined, we shall probably discover that the Law was canonized first, the Prophets considerably later, and the Writings last of all. And it may further become evident that the two last divisions were collected synchronously, and hence, that the tripartite divisions of the canon are due to material differences in their contents as well as to chronology.

II. Examination of the Witnesses.

1. The Old Testament's Witness to Itself (circa 1450-444 B.C.):

Though the Old Testament does not tell us anything about the processes of its own canonization, it does furnish valuable hints as to how the ancient Hebrews preserved their writings. Thus in Exodus 40:20 it is stated that the "testimony," by which is meant the two tables of the Law containing the Ten Commandments, was put into the Ark of the Covenant for safe-keeping. In Deuteronomy 31:9, 24-26, the laws of Deuteronomy are said to have been delivered to the sons of Levi, and by them deposited "by the side of the ark. that it may be there for a witness against thee." Such language indicates that the new lawbook is regarded "as a standard of faith and action" (Driver, Deuteronomy, 343). According to 1 Kings 8:9, when Solomon brought the Ark up from the city of David to the Temple, the two tables were still its only contents, which continued to be carefully preserved. According to 2 Kings 11:12, when Joash was crowned king, Jehoiada the high priest is said to have given (literally "put upon") him "the testimony," which doubtless contained "the substance of the fundamental laws of the covenant," and was regarded as "the fundamental charter of the constitution" (compare H. E. Ryle, Canon of the Old Testament 45). Likewise in Proverbs 25:1, it is stated that a large number of proverbs were copied out by Hezekiah's men. Now all these, and still other passages which might be summoned, witness to the preservation of certain portions of the Old Testament. But preservation is not synonymous with canonization. A writing might easily be preserved without being made a standard of faith and conduct. Nevertheless the two ideas are closely related; for, when religious writings are sedulously preserved it is but natural to infer that their intrinsic value was regarded as correspondingly precious.

Two other passages of paramount importance remain to be considered. The first is 2 Kings 22:8, describing the finding of the "Book of the Law," and how Josiah the king on the basis of it instituted a religious reformation and bound the people to obey it precepts. Here is an instance in which the Law, or some portion of it (how much no one can say), is regarded as of normative and authoritative character. The king and his coadjutators recognize at once that it is ancient and that it contains the words of Yahweh (2 Kings 22:13, 18, 19). Its authority is undisputed. Yet nothing is said of its "canonicity," or that it would "defile the hands"; consequently there is no real ground for speaking of it as "the beginnings of the canon," for in the same historic sense the beginnings of the canon are to be found in Exodus 24:7. The other passage of paramount importance is Nehemiah 8:8, according to which Ezra is said to have "read in the book, in the law of God, distinctly." Not only did Ezra read the Law; he accompanied it with an interpretation. This seems to imply, almost beyond question, that in Ezra's time (444 B.C.) the Law, i.e. the Pentateuch, was regarded as canonical Scripture. This is practically all that the Old Testament says about itself, though other passages, such as Zechariah 7:12 and Daniel 9:2 might be brought forward to show the deep regard which the later prophets had for the writings of their predecessors. The former of these is the locus classicus in the Old Testament, teaching the inspiration of the Prophets; it is the Old Testament parallel to 2 Timothy 3:16.

2. The Samaritan Pentateuch (circa 432 B.C.):

Chronologically the Old Testament is of course our most ancient witness. It brings us down to 444 B.C. The next in order is the Samaritan Pentateuch, the history of which is as follows: About 432 B.C., as we know from Nehemiah 13:28 and Josephus (Ant., XI, vii, 2 through viii, 4), Nehemiah expelled from the Jewish colony in Jerusalem Manasseh, the polygamous grandson of Eliashib the high priest and son-in-law of Sanballat. Manasseh founded the schismatic community of the Samaritans, and instituted on Mt. Gerizim a rival temple worship to that at Jerusalem. Of the Samaritans there still survive today some 170 souls; they reside in Shechem and are known as "the smallest religious sect in the world." It is true that Josephus, speaking of this event, confuses chronology somewhat, making Nehemiah and Alexander the Great contemporaries, whereas a century separated them, but the time element is of little moment. The bearing of the whole matter upon the history of the formation of the canon is this: the Samaritans possess the Pentateuch only; hence, it is inferred that at the time of Manasseh's expulsion the Jewish canon included the Pentateuch and the Pentateuch only. Budde (Encyclopaedia Biblica col. 659) says: "If alongside of the Law there had been other sacred writings, it would be inexplicable why these last also did not pass into currency with the Samaritans." Such a conclusion, however, is not fully warranted. It is an argument from silence. There are patent reasons on the other hand why the Samaritans should have rejected the Prophets, even though the y were already canonized. For the Samaritans would hardly adopt into their canon books that glorified the temple at Jerusalem. It cannot, accordingly, be inferred with certainty from the fact that the Samaritans accept the Pentateuch only, that therefore the Pentateuch at the time of Manasseh's expulsion was alone canonical, though it may be considered a reasonable presumption.

3. The Septuagint Version (circa 250-150 B.C.):

The Septuagint version in Greek is the first translation of the Old Testament ever made; indeed the Old Testament is the first book of any note in all literature to receive the honor of being translated into another tongue. This fact in itself is indicative of the esteem in which it was held at the time. The work of translation was inaugurated by Ptolemy Philadelphus (285-247 B.C.) and probably continued for well-nigh a century (circa 250-150 B.C.). Aristeas, a distinguished officer of Ptolemy, records how it came about. It appears that Ptolemy was exceedingly fond of books, and set his heart on adding to his famous collection in Alexandria a translation of the Hebrew Pentateuch In order to obtain it, so the story goes, the king set free 198,000 Jewish slaves, and sent them with presents to Jerusalem to ask Eleazar the high priest for their Law and Jewish scholars capable of translating it. Six learned rabbis from each tribe (6 X 12 = 72) were sent. They were royally feasted; 70 questions were asked them to test their wisdom, and after 72 days of cooperation and conference they gave the world the Old Testament in the Greek language, which is known as the Septuagint version. To this fabulous story, Christian tradition adds that the rabbis did the work of translating in 72 (some say 36) separate cells on the island of Pharos, all working independently of each other, and that it was found at the expiration of their seclusion that each had produced a translation exactly word for word alike, hence, supernaturally inspired. Justin Martyr of the 2nd century A.D. says that he was actually shown by his Alexandrian guide the ruins of these Septuagint cells. The story is obviously a fable. The kernel of real truth at the bottom of it is probably that Ptolemy Philadelphus about the middle of the 3rd century B.C. succeeded in obtaining a translation of the Law. The other books were translated subsequently, perhaps for private use. The lack of unity of plan in the books outside the Law indicates that probably many different hands at different times were engaged upon them. There is a subscription, moreover, at the close of the translation of Esther which states that Lysimachus, the son of Ptolemy in Jerusalem, translated it. But the whole was apparently completed before Jesus ben Sirach the younger wrote his Prologue to Ecclesiasticus (circa 132 B.C.).

Now the Septuagint version, which was the Bible of our Lord and His apostles, is supposed to have included originally many of the Apocryphal books. Furthermore, in our present Septuagint, the canonical and Apocryphal books stand intermingled and in an order which shows that the translators knew nothing of the tripartite division of later Judaism, or if they did they quite ignored it. The order of the books in our English Old Testament is of course derived from the Septuagint through the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) of Jerome. The books in the Septuagint are arranged as follows: Pentateuch, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, 1 and 2 Esdras, Nehemiah, Tobit, Judith, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Hosea, Amos, Micah, Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Baruch, Lamentations, Epistle of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, 1, 2 and 3 Maccabees. On the basis of the Septuagint, Catholics advocate what is known as the "larger" canon of the Jews in Alexandria; Protestants, on the other hand, deny the existence of an independent canon in Alexandria in view of the "smaller" canon of the Jews in Palestine The actual difference between the Catholic and Protestant Old Testaments is a matter of 7 complete books and portions of two others: namely, Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, 1 and 2 Maccabees, together with certain additions to Esther (Esther 10:4-16:24) and to Daniel (Da 3:24-90; The So of the Three Holy Children (Azariah); Susanna verse 13 and Bel and the Dragon verse 14). These Protestants reject as apocryphal because there is no sufficient evidence that they were ever reckoned as canonical by the Jews anywhere. The fact that the present Septuagint includes them is far from conclusive that the original Septuagint did, for the following reasons:

(1) The design of the Septuagint was purely literary; Ptolemy and the Alexandrians were interested in building up a library.

(2) All the extant manuscripts of the Septuagint are of Christian not Jewish origin. Between the actual translation of the Septuagint (circa 250-150 B.C.) and the oldest manuscripts of the Septuagint extant (circa 350 A.D.) there is a chasm of fully 500 years, during which it is highly possible that the so-called Apocryphal books crept in.

(3) In the various extant manuscripts of the Septuagint, the Apocryphal books vary in number and name. For example, the great Vatican MS, which is probably "the truest representative which remains of the Alexandrian Bible," and which comes down to us from the 4th century A.D., contains no Book of Maccabees whatever, but does include 1 Esdras, which Jerome and Catholics generally treat as apocryphal. On the other hand, the Alexandrian MS, another of the great manuscripts of the Septuagint, dating from the 5th century A.D., contains not only the extra-canonical book of 1 Esdras, but 3 and 4 Maccabees, and in the New Testament the 1st and 2nd Epistles of Clement, none of which, however, is considered canonical by Rome. Likewise the great Sinaiticus MS, hardly less important than the Vatican as a witness to the Septuagint and like it dating from the 4th century A.D., omits Baruch (which Catholics consider canonical), but includes 4 Maccabees, and in the New Testament the Epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas; all of which are excluded from the canon by Catholics. In other manuscripts, 3 Maccabees, 3 Esdras and The Prayer of Manasseh are occasionally included. The problem as to how many books the original Septuagint version actually included is a very complicated one. The probability is that it included no one of these variants.

(4) Still another reason for thinking that there never existed in Egypt a separate or "larger" canon is the fact that during the 2nd century A.D., the Alexandrian Jews adopted Aquila's Greek version of the Old Testament in lieu of their own, and it is known that Aquila's text excluded all Apocryphal books. Add to all this the fact that Philo, who lived in Alexandria from circa 20 B.C. till 50 A.D., never quotes from One of these Apocryphal books though he often does from the canonical, and that Origen, who also resided in Alexandria (circa 200 A.D.), never set his imprimatur upon them, and it becomes reasonably convincing that there was no "larger" canon in Alexandria. The value of the evidence derived from the Septuagint, accordingly, is largely negative. It only indicates that when the translation of the Old Testament into Greek was made in Alexandria, the process of canonization was still incomplete. For had it been actually complete, it is reasonable to suppose that the work of translation would have proceeded according to some well-defined plan, and would have been executed with greater accuracy. As it is, the translators seem to have taken all sorts of liberties with the text, adding to the books of Esther and Daniel and omitting fully one-eighth of the text of Jeremiah. Such work also indicates that they were not executing a public or ecclesiastical trust, but rather a private enterprise. Our necessary conclusion, therefore, is that the work of canonization was probably going on in Palestine while the work of translation was proceeding in Alexandria.

4. Ecclesiasticus, or the Wisdom of Jesus ben Sirach (circa 170 B.C.):

Our next witness is Jesus ben Sirach who (circa 170 B.C.) wrote a formidable work entitled Ecclesiasticus, otherwise known as Sir. The author lived in Jerusalem and wrote in Hebrew. His book is a book of Wisdom resembling Proverbs; some of his precepts approach the high level of the Gospel. In many respects Ecclesiasticus is the most important of all the Apocryphal books; theologically it is the chief monument of primitive Sadduceeism. In chapters 44-50, the author sings a "hymn to the Fathers," eulogizing the mighty heroes of Israel from Enoch to Nehemiah, in fact from Adam to Simon, including the most famous men described in the Old Testament, and making explicit mention of the Twelve Prophets. These facts would indicate that the whole or, at least, the most of the Old Testament was known to him, and that already in his day (180 B.C.) the so-called Minor Prophets were regarded as a special group of writings by themselves. What the value of Ecclesiasticus is as a witness, however, depends upon the interpretation one places on 24:33, which reads: "I will yet pour out doctrine as prophecy and leave it unto generations of ages." From this it is inferred by some that he feels himself inspired and capable of adding to the canon already in existence, and that, though he knew the full prophetic canon, he did not draw any very definite line of demarcation between his own work and the inspired writings of the prophets. For example, he passes over from the patriarchs and prophets of Israel to Simon the son of Onias, who was probably the high priest in his own time, making no distinction between them. But this may have been partly due to personal conceit; compare 39:12, "Yet more will I utter, which I have thought upon; and I am filled as the moon at the full." Yet, perhaps, in his day still only the Law and the Prophets were actually canonized, but alongside of these a body of literature was being gathered and gradually augmented of a nature not foreign to his own writings, and therefore not clearly marked off from literary compositions like his own. Yet to Sirach the Law is everything. He identifies it with the highest Wisdom; indeed, all wisdom in his judgment is derived from a study of the Law (compare Sirach 19:20-24; 15:1-18; 24:23:00; 2:16; 39:1).

5. The Prologue to Ecclesiasticus (circa 132 B.C.):

The Prologue or Preface to Ecclesiasticus is our next witness to the formation of the canon. It was written by the grandson of Jesus ben Sirach, who bore his grandfather's name (circa 132 B.C.). Jesus ben Sirach the younger translated in Egypt his grandfather's proverbs into Greek, and in doing so added a Preface or Prologue of his own. In this Prologue, he thrice refers to the tripartite division of the Old Testament. In fact the Prologue to Ecclesiasticus is the oldest witness we have to the threefold division of the Old Testament books. He says: "Whereas many and great things have been delivered unto us by the Law and the Prophets, and by others,. my grandfather, Jesus, when he had given himself to the reading of the Law, and the Prophets, and other books of our Fathers, and had gotten therein good judgment (the Revised Version (British and American) "having gained great familiarity therein"), was drawn on also himself to write something pertaining to learning and wisdom.. For the same things uttered in Hebrew and translated into another tongue, have not the same force in them; and not only these things, but the Law itself, and the Prophets, and the rest of the books, have no small difference, when they are spoken in their own language." These are explicit and definite allusions to the threefold division of the Old Testament writings, yet only the titles of the first and second divisions are the technical names usually employed; the third is especially vague because of his use of the terms, "the other books of the Fathers," and "the rest of the books." However, he evidently refers to writings with religious contents; and, by "the other books of the Fathers," he can hardly be supposed to have meant an indefinite number, though he has not told us which they were or what was their number.

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1. Difficulties of the Subject

2. Plan of Treatment

3. Bible to be Regarded as Highest Authority






1. Causes of Variation in Systems

2. Some Important and Pivotal Dates

3. Difficulties to Be Removed

4. Overlappings


Indications of Overlapping


Main Points at Issue


A Suggested Interpretation


I. Introductory.

1. Difficulties of the Subject:

For evident reasons the student of Biblical chronology must meet many difficulties, and must always be severely handicapped. First of all, the Old Testament is not purely nor intentionally a book of history. Nor does it present a formulated system of chronology, its many numbers and dates being used principally with a view to the spiritual facts and truths with which the authors were concerned. We are not, therefore, to expect to find a perfectly arranged order of periods and dates, though happily for us in our investigation we shall indeed find many accurately dated events, frequent consecutions of events, and orderly success ions of officials; as, for example, the numerous genealogical tables, the succession of judges and the lists of kings.

Furthermore, there is not to be found in the Old Testament one particular and definitely fixed era, from which all of its events are dated, as is the case in Christian history. The points of departure, or reckoning, are found to vary in different periods of the advancing history; being at one stage the Creation, at another the migration of Abraham, or the Exodus, or again the disruption of the kingdom. Ordinarily dates and all time-allusions are comparative, i.e. they are related to the reign of some contemporary monarch, as the vision of Isaiah "in the year that king Uzziah died" (Isaiah 6:1), or to some unusual occurrence, historical or natural, as the great earthquake (Amos 1:1 Zechariah 14:5). Only occasional reference is found to some event, which marks an era-beginning; such as the Exodus (Judges 11:16, 26 1 Kings 6:1).

The general lack of uniformity among writers on Biblical chronology contributes further toward increase of the already perplexing confusion. It is almost possible to say that no two writers agree; and proposed harmonies are with each other most inharmonious. The two articles on Old Testament chronology in a recent work (Murray, Illus. Bible Dictionary, 1908), for example, are several hundred years apart at certain points. Wide diversity of opinion exists about the most prominent events, such as the call of Abraham and the age of his famous contemporary Hammurabi, the year of the Exodus, and the beginning of Solomon's temple. Naturally there is less variance of opinion about later dates, some of which, e.g. the fall of Samaria and the destruction of Jerusalem, may be considered as fixed. A like wide range of opinion prevails among archaeologists with regard to events in contemporaneous history, the difference between Goodspeed and Hommel in the dates of early Babylonian history being five hundred years, and the beginning and extent of the Hyksos period in Egypt varying in different "authorities" by hundreds of years. Nor should the difference in the various and total numbers of the Hebrew, Samaritan and Septuagint texts of the pre-Abrahamic ages be left out of sight in any statement of the difficulties attending the discussion of this subject.

2. Plan of Treatment:

These difficulties, and others as serious, have determined the plan of this article. The usual method of development has been to begin with the sources of Old Testament history, and to follow its course downward. While such a system may have its advantages, there is, however, this serious disadvantage connected with it: that the least certain dates are confessedly those at the beginning of the records, and the use of them at the foundation renders the whole structure of the discussion more or less uncertain. Archaeology and comparative history have done much to fix dates from the Exodus downward, bringing these later centuries by discovery and translation almost into the position of attested history. But the ages before the Exodus, and particularly before Abraham, still lie from the very nature of the ease in great obscurity. And thus any system beginning with the indistinct early past, with its compacted numbers and their uncertain interpretation, is much like a chain hung on thin air. The writer purposes, therefore, beginning with certain familiar, important and pivotal dates, to gather around and relate to these the events and persons of the Old Testament. Such accepted dates are: the completion of the Second Temple in 516, the fall of Jerusalem in 586, the fall of Samaria in 721, tribute to Shalmaneser II from Jehu in 842, and from a member of Omri's dynasty in 854. Such Old Testament events as mark the beginning of eras are the Disruption, Solomon's temple, the Exodus and Abraham's Call. The material and the plan, then, almost necessarily require that we begin at the end of the history and work logically backward to the earlier stages, at which we may hope to arrive with firm ground under our feet for the disposition of the more uncertain problems. It is hoped that on this plan the system of chronology will not be mere speculation, nor a personal theory, but of some certainty and affording some assurance in days of wild assertion and free manipulation.

3. Bible to be Regarded as Highest Authority:

It should be remembered that this is a study of Bible chronology, and therefore full value will be given to the explicit and positive statements of the Bible. Surely the time has come, when all fair-minded men should recognize that a clear and straightforward declaration of the Sacred Scriptures is not to be summarily rejected because of its apparent contradiction by some unknown and irresponsible person, who could stamp clay or chisel stone. It has been all too common that archaeological and critical adventurers have doubted and required accurate proof of every Bible statement, but have been ready enough to give credence to any statement from ancient pagan sources. We assume, as we have every reason to do, the trustworthiness of the Bible records, which have been corroborated in countless instances; and we shall follow their guidance in preference to any other. The help of contemporaneous history and the witness of archaeology can be used to advantage, but should not be substituted for the plain facts of the Scriptures, which are full worthy of our trust and regard. The province of a chronology of the Bible is properly to present in system the dates therein given, with an honest effort to harmonize the difficulties, using the external helps, but ever regardful of Scripture authority and rights.

II. The Ages between the Testaments.

Between the coming of Christ and the end of Old Testament history there lie in round numbers four hundred years. But while these were extra-Biblical ages, they were neither barren nor uneventful years; for in them will be found much of the highest value in the development of Jewish life, and in the preparation for the Messiah. And thus they have their proper place in Bible chronology (see BETWEEN THE TESTAMENTS). The birth of Jesus could not have been later than 4 B.C., since Herod the Great died in April of that year. Herod became king of Judea in 37 B.C. Palestine had been conquered and Jerusalem entered by the Romans under Pompey in 56 B.C., the Jews coming in this way under the power of Rome. The Roman age was preceded by the government of priest-kings, with which the Idumean Antipater became identified by marriage, so that Herod, whom Rome made king, was both Jew and alien.

The period of the Maccabees, which ended in 39 B.C. with the removal of Antigonus by the Romans in favor of Herod, began 168 B.C. with Judas. Antipater, who had been appointed procurator of Judea in 47, was assassinated in 43 B.C. The period of the Seleucids stretches from its close with the regency of Antiochus VII in 128 back to its founder, Seleucus, 312 B.C. The most notable of these monarchs from the Jewish point of view was Antiochus Epiphanes, who reigned from 175 to 164, and in 168 gave occasion to the rise of the Maccabees by his many acts of impiety and oppression, particularly the desecration of the Jerusalem temple. In 203 B.C. Antiochus the Great, who had become king of Syria in 223, took Jerusalem, and later, in 198, annexed Judea to Syria. Previous to this Judea had been an Egyptian dependency, as after the death of Alexander the Great, 323 B.C., and the division of his empire, it had been annexed by Ptolemy Soter to Egypt. Ptolemy Philadelphus, becoming king 280 B.C., encouraged the translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek, the result being the Septuagint version, and all it meant by way of preparation for the spread of Christianity. Alexander's defeat of Darius III, or Codomannus, at Arbela in 331 brought the Persian empire to an end, fulfilling the long-cherished ambition of the Greeks for mastery of Asia. The long reign of the Biblical king of Persia, Artaxerxes Longimanus, extended from 465 to 424 B.C., and in reaching his reign we find ourselves in the region of the Old Testament history. Reversing the order of this brief review and setting out from Old Testament point of view, we have the following table for the centuries between the Testaments:

III. Persian Period.

Entering now the last period of Old Testament history, which may be called the Persian period, we find that the activities of Ezra, Nehemiah and other Jewish leaders are dated by the regnal years of the kings of Persia (e.g. Haggai 1:1 Zechariah 1:1 Ezra 1:1 Nehemiah 2:1); and consequently the difficulties in the chronology of this period are not great. Recently a fanciful effort has been made to place the events narrated in Esther, Ezra and Nehemiah in the time of the Babylonian Captivity, claiming Scripture warrant from the occurrence of these names, with Mordecai, in Ezra 2:2 and Nehemiah 7:7; but altogether without success (see Prince of Judah, or Days of Nehemiah Redated). These names were doubtless of common occurrence, and their appearance among those returning with Zerubbabel is not sufficient to affect the historical evidence for the accepted dates of Ezra and Nehemiah. The attempt to move back these dates into the 6th century, to associate Nehemiah with Daniel and Mordecai and to place his work before Zerubbabel may be dismissed as pure fancy and impossible of reconciliation with the Old Testament narrative.

Artaxerxes I began his reign, which gives date to Ezra and Nehemiah, in 465 B.C. In his 7th year, 458, Ezra went from Babylon to Jerusalem by the king's decree (Ezra 7:7), taking back with him the vessels of the Temple and much besides for the worship at Jerusalem, accompanied also by a great company of returning Jews. Nehemiah followed from Shushan in the 20th year of the king (Nehemiah 1:1), having heard of and being distressed by the partial failure of Ezra's efforts. Under his wise and courageous leadership, the city walls were speedily restored, and many reforms accomplished. He returned after twelve years (433) to the service of the king in Shushan (Nehemiah 13:6), but in a short time, hearing evil tidings from Jerusalem, went back to complete his reforms, and apparently spent the rest of his life in that work. Although the Bible is silent, such is the testimony of Josephus. The Book of Mal, reflecting the difficulties and evils of this time, is evidently to be placed here, but not with exactness, as it might have been written as early as 460 or as late as 420.

The period from the return under Ezra (458) back to the completion of the Temple in the reign of Darius I (516) is, with the exception of incidental references and the assignment of undated books and incidents, practically a blank. Here belong, we believe, the Book of Esther, possibly Mal, some of the Psalms, and those social and religious tendencies among the returned exiles, which made the vigorous reforms of Ezra and Nehemiah so necessary. But the Old Testament does not draw the curtain from the mystery of that half-century, that we may know the happenings and watch the development. Beyond this blank we come again to explicit dates. The second temple, begun with the Return under Zerubbabel, was completed in the 6th year of Darius, i.e. 516. The building of it, which had been early abandoned for selfish reasons, was resumed in the 2nd year of Darius under the exhortation of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah (Haggai 1:1 Zechariah 1:1). Darius the Great began his reign in 521. Cambyses succeeded Cyrus in 527. Babyl on was taken by the Persians in 538, and shortly after the Jews, under the edict of Cyrus, began their return to Jerusalem, reaching their destination by 536 at the latest. Cyrus overthrew Lydia in 545, the Medes five years earlier, and must have come to the Persian throne not later than 555. His conquest of Asia Minor opened the contest between Persia and Greece for supremacy, to be continued by Darius and. Xerxes, resulting finally at Arbela (331) in Greek triumph under Alexander, and the inauguration of a new age.

The table for the Persian period of Old Testament history, following the stream upward, is therefore as follows:

IV. Babylonian Period.

Just preceding the Persian is the Babylonian period of Old Testament chronology, overlapping, of course, the former, and finally superseded by it in Cyrus' conquest of Babylonia. This period may properly be said to begin with the death in 626 B.C. of Ashurbanipal, the last great ruler of Assyria. At this time Nabopolassar had been made governor of Babylonia, subject to the supremacy of Assyria. With Ashurbanipal's death Nabopolassar became independent sovereign of Babylonia, and shortly entered into league with the Medes to overthrow the rule of Assyria, and then to divide its empire between them. This was accomplished in the fall of Nineveh (606) which brought the end of the mighty Assyrian empire, the last king being Sinsharishkun (the historic Saracus), a son of Ashurbanipal. Some years before his death in 604 Nabopolassar associated with him on the throne of Babylonia his son Nebuchadnezzar, most illustrious ruler of the new Babylonian empire, and intimately connected with the history of Judah in the last years of that kingdom. His long reign came to an end in 562.

While the conflict, which brought Assyria to its end, and the attendant confusion, were absorbing the attention of Mesopotamian countries, Egypt under a new and virile dynasty was reviving her ambitions and intrigues for dominion in Asia. Pharaoh-necoh II taking advantage of the confusion and helplessness of Assyria invaded Palestine in 609, intending to march on through Palestine to attack Mesopotamia. King Josiah in loyalty to his Assyrian overlord opposed him, but was defeated and slain at the battle of Megiddo, after a reign of 31 years; apparently an unnecessary and foolish opposition on Josiah's part, as the plan of Necoh's march shows that Judah was not directly affected. After the victory at Megiddo, Necoh continued his march north-eastward, subduing Syria and hoping to have a hand in Mesopotamian affairs. But in 606 or 607 B.C. he was defeated at Carchemish and driven back to Egypt by Nebuchadnezzar, fresh from victory over Nineveh. In the same year Nebuchadnezzar marched against Egypt, receiving the submission of Jerusalem as he passed through Palestine, and sending noble hostages back to Babylon, among whom were Daniel and his three friends. The death of his father and his endangered succession recalled Nebuchadnezzar suddenly to Babylon, where he became sole ruler in 604. It appears that Necoh must have returned to Egypt after Megiddo and before the battle of Carchemish, as he made Jehoiakim, king in place of Jehoahaz, whom he carried captive to Egypt. Nebuchadnezzar's victory at Carchemish and his march southward brought Judah in close relations with Babylon, and opened up the dramatic chapter of Jerusalem's fall and exile. These historic events fix the dates of the last kings and the closing incidents of the kingdom of Judah, as shown in the following table:

V. Assyrian Period and Judah after Fall of Samaria.

This section, which may for convenience be treated as a division, is the chronology of Judah under Assyria after the fall of the Northern Kingdom in 721. As the Scripture time-references are frequent and explicit, and the contemporaneous Assyrian records are full, and explicit also, the problems of this period are neither many nor insoluble. One difficulty is found in the fact that the aggregate years of the reigns of Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon and Josiah fall one or two years short of the period between Hezekiah's accession in 726 and Josiah's death in 609. But there is evidence of anarchical conditions at the close of Amon's reign (2 Kings 21:23, 14), and it is probable that at least a year should be counted for the interregnum. The chief difficulty is with the invasions of Sennacherib in Hezekiah's reign. The confusion is caused by the apparent dating of Sennacherib's famous and disastrous invasion of 701 in the 14th year of Hezekiah's reign (2 Kings 18:13). Various attempts reconciliation have been made; one attempt has been to place the beginning of Hezekiah's reign in 715, which is out of the question entirely, as it disregards the exact terms in which the beginning of his reign is placed before the fall of Samaria (2 Kings 18:10). Another suggestion has been that "24th" be read instead of "14th"; but this is pure conjecture. There is a simple and satisfactory solution: in the chapters which contain the record (2 Kings 18 and Isaiah 36) it is evident that two invasions are described. Frequently in the Scriptures records are topical rather than chronological, and just so in this instance the topic is Sennacherib's menace of Judah, and the ultimate deliverance by Yahweh. The story includes two invasions: the first in the 14th year of Hezekiah (713) when Sennacherib led the armies of his father Sargon, the end of which, so far as Jerusalem was concerned, was the payment of tribute by Hezekiah, as is accurately stated in 2 Kings 18:16. The second invasion, the description of which begins with the following verse (2 Kings 18:17), was the more serious, and is probably identified as that of 701, when Sennacherib had become king. The necessary insertion of a paragraph indicator between 2 Kings 18:16 and 2 Kings 18:17 satisfies every demand for harmony.

From 609 B.C., the year of Josiah's death, we count back 31 years to the beginning Of his reign in 639; he attained his majority in the 8th year (632; 2 Chronicles 34:3); the reformation in his 12th year, at the time of the Scythian irruption, would fall in 628 (2 Chronicles 34:3); in the following year Jeremiah began to prophecy; and in Josiah's 18th year (621) the temple was cleansed and the Book of the Law found (2 Chronicles 34:8). Allowing a year of confusion, Amon began his short reign in 642, and Manasseh his long reign of 55 years in 697, Hezekiah's reign of 29 years dating back to 726. Some fixed important dates of contemporaneous history are: death of Ashurbanipal, Assyria's last great king, in 626, with the consequent independence of Babylon and beginning of the 2nd Babylonian empire. Ashurbanipal's long reign began in 668 on the death of his father Esarhaddon; who succeeded his father Sennacherib in 681. Sargon usurped the Assyrian throne in 722, and died in 705. Shalmaneser IV, successor of Tiglath-pileser III, r eigned for the brief space between 727 and 722. In Egypt the XXVth, or Ethiopian Dynasty, was in power from circa 720 to 667, two of its kings, So and Tirhakah, having mention in the Old Testament (2 Kings 17:4; 2 Kings 19:9 Isaiah 37:9), and after this the XXVIth (a native) Dynasty appeared, Pharaoh-necoh being one of its kings. The dates of this period we may summarize in the following table:

VI. Period of Divided Kingdom.

The most complex, but most interesting, problems of Old Testament chronology are found in the period of the Divided Kingdom. In the literature of this period are found larger number of dates and historical references than in that of any other. We have the assistance of several important sources and factors in arranging these dates:

(1) The parallel records of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah serve as checks to each other, since the accession and death of the kings in each nation are fixed by reference to reigns of those of the other. Many other events are similarly related.

(2) The history of the two kingdoms, or parts of it, at least, is given in three parallel authorities: the Books of Kings, of Chronicles, and of the Prophets.

(3) The Assyrian records are fullest and are practically continuous in this period, the limu lists extending unbroken from 893 to 650 B.C.

1. Causes of Variation in Systems:

But while this apparently should be the most satisfactory field for the chronologist, it has been found impossible to arrive at anything approaching certainty, and consequently there is considerable divergence among individuals and schools. One cause of variation is the difference between the Assyrian royal lists and the total of the Old Testament numbers for this period, the Old Testament aggregate being 51 years greater then the Assyrian lists. Two common methods of harmonizing this difference have bee n adopted:

(1) to accept the Old Testament aggregate as correct and to assume that the 51 years have been omitted from the Assyrian lists (see W. J. Beecher, Dated Events of Old Testament, 18, 19);

(2) to harmonize the Old Testament numbers with the Assyrian lists by taking into account the overlapping of reigns of kings who were, for brief periods, associated on the throne.

Instances of such overlapping are the co-regency of Uzziah and Jotham in Judah (2 Kings 15:5), and possibly the reign of Pekah contemporaneously with Menahem and Pekahiah in Israel (2 Kings 23-28). The latter method yields the most satisfactory results, and will be adopted in this article. The chief point of difference will be the age of Solomon and the foundation-laying of the Temple. This may be found according to the former method by adding 51 years to the dates as given below. That the method of following the aggregate of the Old Testament numbers must assume arbitrarily that there have been omissions from the Assyrian lists, and that it also must resort to some overlapping and justment of the numb ers as they are given in the text, are sufficient reasons against its adoption. And in meeting the difficulties of this period it should always be borne in mind that the Old Testament is not a book of annals merely, and that dates are given not for any special interest in them, but to correlate and emphasize events. Ordinarily dates are given with reference to local situations and contemporary persons, and not as fixed by some great epoch-marking event; e.g. Uzziah's reign is fixed not with reference to the Disrupti on nor the Temple building, but by relation to his Israelite contemporary, Jeroboam II.

2. Some Important and Pivotal Dates:

However, there are some fixed dates, which are so by reason of their international significance, and upon these we may rest with reasonable assurance. Such are the fall of Samaria (721 B.C.); the accession of Tiglath-pileser III (745); tribute paid to Shalmaneser II by Jehu in 842, and by Ahab, or one of his dynasty, in 854; and the invasion of Judah by Pharaoh-shishak in the fifth year of Rehoboam (1 Kings 14:25). There are also certain coincident dates, fixed with fair accuracy, in the parallel history of the two kingdoms, which serve both as starting-points and as checks upon each other. The most prominent of these are: the beginning of Hezekiah's reign, 5 years before the fall of Samaria (2 Kings 18:10); the synchronism of the reigns of Jeroboam II and Jotham (1 Chronicles 5:17), Jotham's accession being used as a basis of calculation for the reigns of Israelite kings (2 Kings 15:30); the coincidence of the end of the Omri Dynasty and the death of Ahaziah, king of Judah (2 Kings 9), Jehu and Athaliah therefore beginning their reigns at the same time; and, primarily, the division of the kingdom and the synchronous beginning of the reigns of Jeroboam I and Rehoboam. Using these fixed dates and coincidences, we must find the summaries of the reigns of Israelite and Jewish kings between 721, the 9th year of Hoshea and the 6th of Hezekiah, and 843, the beginning of the reigns of Jehu add Athaliah, to be 122 years each; and likewise the summaries from 843 back to the Disruption to be the same.

3. Difficulties to Be Removed:

The most serious difficulties are found near the end of the period, when conditions in the Northern Kingdom were becoming anarchical, and, also evident co-regencies, the extent of which is not evident, occurred in the Southern Kingdom. Pekah is said to have reigned 20 years (2 Kings 15:27); and yet Menahem paid tribute to Assyria in 738, and he was succeeded for two years by his son Pekahiah, from whom Pekah seized the kingdom. This would allow Pekah only 6 years of sovereignty. The explanation lies in the context: in the confusion which followed the death of Jeroboam, Pekah established his authority over the section East of the Jordan, and to that year the numbers in 2 Kings 15:27, 32 2 Kings 16:1 refer. Uzziah was leprous the last 16 years of his life, and Jotham his son was over the kingdom (2 Kings 15:5). The length of Jotham's reign was just 16 years, not additional to the 16 of the co-regency, as this would result in the absurdity of making him co-regent at the age of 9 years (2 Kings 15:33). Therefore nearly his whole reign is included in the 52 years of his father. For some reason Ahaz was associated with his father Jotham before the death of the latter, since the 16 years of his reign plus the 5 of Hezekiah before the fall of Samaria bring his accession before the death of Uzziah and Jotham, i.e. in 741. So that for approximately 6 years the three reigns were contemporaneous. That these 6 years may not be accounted for by a co-regency with Hezekiah at the other end of Ahaz' reign is evident from the age of Hezekiah at his accession (2 Kings 18:2), and from the radical difference in the policy of the two kings. 2 Kings 7:1 may suggest that Uzziah and Jotham died about the same time, and that Ahaz was regarded as succeeding both directly.

Another difficulty is found at the beginning of Uzziah's reign, where he is said to have succeeded his father Amaziah at the age of 16, but is also said to have accomplished certain notable things after his father's death (2 Kings 14:21, 22). Evidently, then, he became king before the death of Amaziah. When did this co-regency begin? No better time is suggested than Amaziah's ignominious defeat by Jehoash of Israel in the 15th year of his reign, after which the people arose and put Uzziah in his place, Amaziah living on for 15 years (2 Kings 14:17), so that 15 of Amaziah's 29 years were contemporaneous with Uzziah. Further, in the last years of Joash of Judah there may have been a co-regency, since he was "very sick" in those years (2 Chronicles 24:25). Thus the totals of 146 years for the reigns of the kings of Israel and of 165 for the reigns of the kings of Judah between 721 and 842 are reduced to the actual 121 by the overlappings, which are suggested in the narrative itself.

4. Overlappings:

For the first division of this period, from the rise of Jehu, circa 843, to the division of the kingdom, the totals of the reigns of the kings of Israel is 98 years, and of the kings of Judah is 95. But there must be some overlappings. The interval between Ahab and Jehu, as shown by mention of them in the Assyrian records, is 12 years; but the two sons of Ahab reigned 14 years, Ahaziah 2 and Jehoram 12. Evidently the last year of Ahab, in which came the defeat at Karkar, was the 1st of Ahaziah, and the 2nd of Ahaziah, who suffered in that year serious accident (2 Kings 1:2), was the first of Jehoram. It is probable that the long reign of Asa closed with Jehoshaphat as co-regent (1 Kings 15:23), so the above totals of both kingdoms must be reduced to some extent, probably to 90 years, and the disruption of the kingdom placed about 933 B.C. Shishak, founder of the XXIId Dynasty, invaded Palestine in the 5th year of Rehoboam (1 Kings 14:25), and in, or shortly before, the 21st year of his own reign, so that he must have bec ome sovereign of Egypt about 950 B.C. Jeroboam fled to Egypt after Solomon had reigned more than 20 years, as is shown by the connection of Jeroboam with the building of Millo; and so Jeroboam's flight must have been about the beginning of Shishak's reign. This is in accord with the Old Testament records, since the hostile Shishak Dynasty must have arisen in the reign of Solomon, the dynasty which was ruling at the beginning of his reign having been in alliance with him. So we place the accession of Shishak about 950, his invasion of Judah in 929, and the Disruption in 933 B.C.

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kuv'-e-nant (berith):



1. Early Idea

2. Principal Elements

3. Different Varieties

4. Phraseology Used


1. Essential Idea

2. Covenants Recorded in the Old Testament

3. Phraseology Used

4. History of Covenant Idea


I. General Meaning.

The etymological force of the Hebrew berith is not entirely certain. It is probable that the word is the same as the Assyrian biritu, which has the common meaning "fetter," but also means "covenant." The significance of the root from which this Assyrian word is derived is uncertain. It is probable that it is "to bind," but that is not definitely established. The meaning of biritu as covenant seems to come directly from the root, rather than as a derived meaning from fetter. If this root idea is to bind, the covenant is that which binds together the parties. This, at any rate, is in harmony with the general meaning of the word.

In the Old Testament the word has an ordinary use, when both parties are men, and a distinctly religious use, between God and men. There can be no doubt that the religious use has come from the ordinary, in harmony with the general custom in such cases, and not the reverse. There are also two shades of meaning, somewhat distinct, of the Hebrew word: one in which it is properly a covenant, i.e. a solemn mutual agreement, the other in which it is more a command, i.e. instead of an obligation voluntarily assumed, it is an obligation imposed by a superior upon an inferior. This latter meaning, however, has clearly been derived from the other. It is easy to see that an agreement, including as the contracting parties those of unequal position, might readily include those agreements which tended to partake of the nature of a command; but the process could not readily be reversed.

II. Among Men.

1. Early Idea:

We consider first a covenant in which both contracting parties are men. In essence a covenant is an agreement, but an agreement of a solemn and binding force. The early Semitic idea of a covenant was doubtless that which prevailed among the Arabs (see especially W. Robertson Smith, Religion of the Semites, 2nd edition, passim). This was primarily blood-brotherhood, in which two men became brothers by drinking each other's blood. Ordinarily this meant that one was adopted into the clan of the other. Hence, this act involved the clan of one of the contracting parties, and also brought the other party into relation with the god of this clan, by bringing him into the community life of the clan, which included its god. In this early idea, then, "primarily the covenant is not a special engagement to this or that particular effect, but bond of troth and life-fellowship to all the effects for which kinsmen are permanently bound together" (W. Robertson Smith, op. cit., 315). In this early ceremonial the religious idea was necessarily present, because the god was kindred to the clan; and the god had a special interest in the covenant because he especially protects the kindred blood, of which the stranger thus becomes a part. This religious side always persisted, although the original idea was much modified. In later usage there were various substitutes for the drinking of each other's blood, namely, drinking together the sacrificial blood, sprinkling it upon the parties, eating together the sacrificial meal, etc.; but the same idea found expression in all, the community of life resulting from the covenant.

2. Principal Elements:

The covenant in the Old Testament shows considerable modification from the early idea. Yet it will doubtless help in understanding the Old Testament covenant to keep in mind the early idea and form. Combining statements made in different accounts, the following seem to be the principal elements in a covenant between men. Some of the details, it is to be noted, are not explicitly stated in reference to these covenants, but may be inferred from those between God and men.

(1) A statement of the terms agreed upon (Genesis 26:29; Genesis 31:50, 52). This was a modification of the earlier idea, which has been noted, in which a covenant was all-inclusive.

(2) An oath by each party to observe the terms, God being witness of the oath (Genesis 26:31; Genesis 31:48-53). The oath was such a characteristic feature that sometimes the term "oath" is used as the equivalent of covenant (see Ezekiel 17:13).

(3) A curse invoked by each one upon himself in case disregard of the agreement. In a sense this may be considered a part of the oath, adding emphasis to it. This curse is not explicitly stated in the case of human covenants, but may be inferred from the covenant with God (Deuteronomy 27:15-26).

(4) The formal ratification of the covenant by some solemn external act.

The different ceremonies for this purpose, such as have already been mentioned, are to be regarded as the later equivalents of the early act of drinking each other's blood. In the Old Testament accounts it is not certain that such formal act is expressly mentioned in relation to covenants between men. It seems probable, however, that the sacrificial meal of Genesis 31:54 included Laban, in which case it was a covenant sacrifice. In any case, both sacrificial meal and sprinkling of blood upon the two parties, the altar representing Yahweh, are mentioned in Exodus 24:4-8, with allusions elsewhere, in ratification of the covenant at Sinai between Yahweh and Israel. In the covenant of God with Abraham is another ceremony, quite certainly with the same purpose. This is a peculiar observance, namely, the cutting of animals into two parts and passing between the severed portions (Genesis 15:9-18), a custom also referred to in Jeremiah 34:18. Here it is to be noted that it is a smoking furnace and a flaming torch, representing God, not Abraham, which passed between the pieces. Such an act, it would seem, should be shared by both parties, but in this case it is doubtless to be explained by the fact that the covenant is principally a promise by Yahweh. He is the one who binds Himself. Concerning the significance of this act there is difference of opinion. A common view is that it is in effect a formal expression of the curse, imprecating upon oneself the same, i.e. cutting in pieces, if one breaks the terms of the covenant. But, as W. R. Smith has pointed out (op. cit., 481), this does not explain the passing between the pieces, which is the characteristic feature of the ceremony. It seems rather to be a symbol that the two parties "were taken within the mystical life of the victim." (Compare the interpretation of Hebrews 9:15-17 in COVENANT, IN THE NEW TESTAMENT.) It would then be an inheritance from the early times, in which the victim was regarded as kindred with the tribe, and hence, also an equivalent of the drinking of each other's blood.

The immutability of a covenant is everywhere assumed, at least theoretically.

Other features beyond those mentioned cannot be considered as fundamental. This is the case with the setting up of a stone, or raising a heap of stones (Genesis 31:45, 46). This is doubtless simply an ancient custom, which has no direct connection with the covenant, but comes from the ancient Semitic idea of the sacredness of single stones or heaps of stones. Striking hands is a general expression of an agreement made (Ezra 10:19 Ezekiel 17:18, etc.).

3. Different Varieties:

In observing different varieties of agreements among men, we note that they may be either between individuals or between larger units, such as tribes and nations. In a great majority of cases, however, they are between the larger units. In some cases, also, when an individual acts it is in a representative capacity, as the head of a clan, or as a king. When the covenant is between tribes it is thus a treaty or alliance. The following passages have this use of covenant: Genesis 14:13; Genesis 21:27, 32; 26:28:00; 31:44 Exodus 23:32; Exodus 34:12, 15 Deuteronomy 7:2; Joshua 9:6, 7, 11, 15, 16 Judges 2:2 1 Samuel 11:1; 1 Kings 3:12; 1 Kings 15:19 parallel 2 Chronicles 16:3 1 Kings 20:34; Psalm 83:5 Isaiah 33:8 Ezekiel 16:61; Ezekiel 17:13-19; 30:5 Daniel 11:22 Amos 1:9. In other cases it is between a king and his subjects, when it is more a command or ordinance, as 2 Samuel 3:12, 13, 11; 2 Samuel 5:3 parallel 1 Chronicles 11:3 Jeremiah 34:8-18 Daniel 9:27. In other cases it is between individuals, or between small groups, where it is an agreement or pledge (2 Kings 11:4 parallel 2 Chronicles 23:1 Job 31:1; Job 41:4 Hosea 10:4). Between David and Jonathan it is more specifically an alliance of friendship (1 Samuel 18:3; 1 Samuel 20:8; 1 Samuel 23:18), as also apparently in Psalm 55:20. It means an alliance of marriage in Malachi 2:14, but probably not in Proverbs 2:17, where it is better to understand the meaning as being "her covenant with God."

4. Phraseology Used:

In all cases of covenants between men, except Jeremiah 34:10 and Daniel 9:27, the technical phrase for making a covenant is karath berith, in which karath meant originally "to cut." Everything indicates that this verb is used with reference to the formal ceremony of ratification above mentioned, of cutting animals in pieces.

III. Between God and Men.

1. Essential Idea: As already noted, the idea of covenants between God and men doubtless arose from the idea of covenants between men. Hence, the general thought is similar. It cannot in this case, however, be an agreement between contracting parties who stand on an equality, but God, the superior, always takes the initiative. To some extent, however, varying in different cases, is regarded as a mutual agreement; God with His commands makes certain promises, and men agree to keep the commands, or, at any rate, the promises are conditioned on human obedience. In general, the covenant of God with men is a Divine ordinance, with signs and pledges on God's part, and with promises for human obedience and penalties for disobedience, which ordinance is accepted by men. In one passage (Psalm 25:14), it is used in a more general way of an alliance of friendship between God and man.

2. Covenants Recorded in the Old Testament:

A covenant of this general kind is said in the Old Testament to have been made by God with Noah (Genesis 9:9-17 and elsewhere). In this the promise is that there shall be no more deluge. A covenant is made with Abraham, the thought of which includes his descendants. In this the promise of God is to multiply the descendants of Abraham, to give them the land of Canaan, and to make them a blessing to the nations. This is narrated in Genesis 15:18; Genesis 17:2-21, etc. A covenant is made with the nation Israel at Sinai (Horeb) (Exodus 19:5; Exodus 24:7, 8; 34:10, 27, 28, etc.), ratified by a covenant sacrifice and sprinkling of blood (Exodus 24:4-8). This constituted the nation the peculiar people of God, and was accompanied by promises for obedience and penalties for disobedience. This covenant was renewed on the plains of Moab (Deuteronomy 29:1). In these national covenants the individual had a place, but only as a member of the nation. The individual might forfeit his rights under the covenant, however, by deliberate rebellion against Yahweh, sinning "with a high hand" (Numbers 15:30 f), and then he was regarded as no longer a member of the nation, he was "cut off from among his people," i.e. put to death. This is the teaching of the Priestly Code (P), and is also implied elsewhere; in the mercy of God, however, the punishment was not always inflicted. A covenant with the tribe of Levi, by which that became the priestly tribe, is alluded to in Deuteronomy 33:9 Jeremiah 33:21 Malachi 2:4. The covenant with Phinehas (Numbers 25:12, 13) established an everlasting priesthood in his line. The covenant with Joshua and Israel (Joshua 24) was an agreement on their part to serve Yahweh only. The covenant with David (2 Samuel 7 parallel 1 Chronicles 17; see also Psalm 89:3, 18, 34, 39; Psalm 132:12 Jeremiah 33:21) contained a promise that his descendants should have an everlasting kingdom, and should stand to God in the relation of sonship. The covenant with Jehoiada and the people (2 Kings 11:17 parallel 2 Chronicles 23:3) was an agreement on their part to be the people of Yahweh. The covenant with Hezekiah and the people (2 Chronicles 29:10) consisted essentially of an agreement on their part to reform the worship; the covenant with Josiah and the people (2 Kings 23:3), of an agreement on their part to obey the Book of the Law. The covenant with Ezra and the people (Ezra 10:3) was an agreement on their part to put away foreign wives and obey the law. The prophets also speak of a new covenant, most explicitly in Jeremiah, but with references elsewhere, which is connected with the Messianic time (see Isaiah 42:6; Isaiah 49:8; Isaiah 55:3; 59:21:00; 61:8 Jeremiah 31:31, 33; Jeremiah 32:40; Jeremiah 50:5; Ezekiel 16:60, 62; Ezekiel 20:37; Ezekiel 34:25; Ezekiel 37:26 Hosea 2:18).

3. Phraseology Used:

Various phrases are used of the making of a covenant between God and men. The verb ordinarily used of making covenants between men, karath, is often used here as well. The following verbs are also used: heqim, "to establish" or "confirm"; nathan, "to give"; sim, "to place"; tsiwwah, "to command"; `abhar, "to pass over," followed by be, "into"; bo, "to enter," followed by be; and the phrase nasa' berith `al pi, "to take up a covenant upon the mouth of someone."

4. History of Covenant Idea:

The history of the covenant idea in Israel, as between God and man, is not altogether easy to trace. This applies especially to the great covenants between God and Israel, namely, the one with Abraham, and the one made at Sinai. The earliest references to this relation of Israel to Yahweh under the term "covenant" are in Hosea 6:7; Hosea 8:1. The interpretation of the former passage is doubtful in details, but the reference to such a covenant seems clear. The latter is considered by many a later addition, but largely because of this mention of the covenant. No other references to such a covenant are made in the prophets before Jeremiah. Jeremiah and Ezekiel speak of it, and it is implied in Second-Isaiah. It is a curious fact, however, that most of the later prophets do not use the term, which suggests that the omission in the earlier prophets is not very significant concerning a knowledge of the idea in early times.

In this connection it should be noted that there is some variation among the Hexateuchal codes in their treatment of the covenants. Only one point, however, needs special mention. The Priestly Code (P) gives no explicit account of the covenant at Sinai, and puts large emphasis upon the covenant with Abraham. There are, however, apparent allusions to the Sinaitic covenant (Leviticus 2:13; Leviticus 24:8; Leviticus 26:9, 15, 25, 44, 45). The facts indicate, therefore, principally a difference of emphasis.

In the light partly of the facts already noted, however, it is held by many that the covenant idea between God and man is comparatively late. This view is that there were no covenants with Abraham and at Sinai, but that in Israel's early conceptions of the relation to Yahweh He was their tribal God, bound by natural ties, not ethical as the covenant implies. This is a larger question than at first appears. Really the whole problem of the relation of Israel to Yahweh throughout Old Testament history is involved, in particular the question at what time a comprehensive conception of the ethical character of God was developed. The subject will therefore naturally receive a fuller treatment in other articles. It is perhaps sufficient here to express the conviction that there was a very considerable conception of the ethical character of Yahweh in the early history of Israel, and that consequently there is no sufficient reason for doubting the fact of the covenants with Abraham and at Sinai. The statement of W. Robertson Smith expresses the essence of the matter (op. cit., 319): "That Yahweh's relation is not natural but ethical is the doctrine of the prophets, and is emphasized, in dependence on their teaching, in the Book of Deuteronomy. But the passages cited show that the idea had its foundation in pre prophetic times; and indeed the prophets, though they give it fresh and powerful application, plainly do not regard the conception as an innovation."

A little further consideration should be given to the new covenant of the prophets. The general teaching is that the covenant was broken by the sins of the people which led to the exile. Hence, during the exile the people had been cast off, the covenant was no longer in force. This is stated, using other terminology, in Hosea 3:3; 1:09; 2:02. The prophets speak, however, in anticipation, of the making of a covenant again after the return from the exile. For the most part, in the passages already cited, this covenant is spoken of as if it were the old one renewed. Special emphasis is put, however, upon its being an everlasting covenant, as the old one did not prove to be, implying that it will not be broken as was that one. Jeremiah's teaching, however, has a little different emphasis. He speaks of the old covenant as passed away (31:32). Accordingly he speaks of a new covenant (31:31, 33). This new covenant in its provisions, however, is much like the old. But there is a new emphasis upon individuality in approach to God. In the old covenant, as already noted, it was the nation as a whole that entered into the relation; here it is the individual, and the law is to be written upon the individual heart.

In the later usage the specific covenant idea is sometimes less prominent, so that the term is used practically of the religion as a whole; see Isaiah 56:4 Psalm 103:18.


Valeton, ZATW, XII, XIII (1892-93); Candlish, The Expositor Times, 1892, Oct., Nov.; Kraetzschmar, Die Bundesvorstellung im Altes Testament, Marburg, 1896; articles "Covenant" in Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible (five volumes) and Encyclopedia Biblica.

George Ricker Berry


de-ses' (rapha', plural repha'im, "ghosts," "shades," is translated by "dead," "dead body," and "deceased" in both the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American)): The word seems to mean "soft," "inert," but its etymology is uncertain (see REPHAIM). The various writers of the Old Testament present, as is to be expected on such a subject, different conceptions of the condition of the deceased. In the beginning probably a vague idea of the continuation of existence was held, without the activities (Isaiah 59:10) and the joys of the present life (Psalm 49:17). They dwell in the "land of forgetfulness" (Job 14:21 Psalm 88:5; compare Isaiah 26:14), they "tremble" of cold (Job 26:5), they totter and "stumble at noonday as in the twilight" (Isaiah 59:10), their voice is described as low and muttering or chirping (Isaiah 8:19; Isaiah 29:4), which may refer to the peculiar pitch of the voice of the spirit medium when a spirit speaks through him. (The calling up of the dead, which was strictly forbidden to Israel (Leviticus 19:31; Leviticus 20:27) is referred to in 1 Samuel 28:13 and perhaps in Isaiah 14:9.) The deceased are separated from their friends; love and hatred have both ceased with them (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6); "There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in Sheol" (Ecclesiastes 9:10). The deceased are unable to praise Yahweh (Psalm 6:5; Psalm 88:10-12 Isaiah 38:18; Baruch 2:17; Sirach 17:27, 28). Nor does there seem to have been at first an anticipation of reward or punishment after death (Psalm 88:10; Sirach 41:4), probably because the shades were supposed to be lacking the organs by which either reward or punishment could be perceived; nevertheless they are still in the realm of God's power (1 Samuel 2:6 Psalm 86:13; Psalm 139:8 Proverbs 15:11 Isaiah 7:11 Hosea 13:14 Amos 9:2; Tobit 13:2).

Gradually the possibility of a return of the departed was conceived (Genesis 5:24 2 Kings 13:21 Psalm 49:15; Psalm 73:24; Psalm 86:13 Hosea 13:14; The Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-7; 4:13, 14; 6:18, 19; 10:14). Even here it is often more the idea of the immortality of the soul than that of the resurrection of the body, and some of these passages may be interpreted as allegorical expressions for a temporal rescue from great disaster (e.g. 1 Samuel 2:6); nevertheless this interpretation presupposes the existence of a deliverance from the shadows of Sheol to a better life in the presence of Yahweh. Some passages refer clearly to such an escape at the end of the age (Daniel 12:2 Isaiah 26:19). Only very few of the Old Testament believers reached the sublime faith of Job (19:25, 26) and none the blessed expectation taught in the New Testament, for none but Christ has "brought life and immortality to light" (2 Timothy 1:10 John 5:28, 29).

The opinion that the dead or at least the newly buried could partake of the food which was placed in graves, a custom which recent excavations have clearly shown to have been almost universal in Palestine, and which is referred to in Deuteronomy 26:14 and Tobit 4:17, was soon doubted (Sirach 30:18), and food and drink prepared for the funeral was henceforth intended as the "bread of comfort" and the "cup of consolation" for the mourners (Jeremiah 16:7 2 Samuel 3:35 Ezekiel 24:17). Similarly the offering and burning of incense, originally an homage to the deceased, became a relief for the mourner (2 Chronicles 16:14; 2 Chronicles 21:19 Jeremiah 34:5). See also The Wisdom of Solomon 3:2; 7:06; Sirach 38:23, and articles on CORPSE; DEATH; HADES; SHEOL.

H. L. E. Luering



1. Subordinate Position of Woman:

Woman, among the Hebrews, as among most nations of antiquity, occupied a subordinate position. Though the Hebrew wife and mother was treated with more consideration than her sister in other lands, even in other Semitic countries, her position nevertheless was one of inferiority and subjection. The marriage relation from the standpoint of Hebrew legislation was looked upon very largely as a business affair, a mere question of property. A wife, nevertheless, was, indeed, in most homes in Israel, the husband's "most valued possession." And yet while this is true, the husband was unconditionally and unreservedly the head of the family in all domestic relations. His rights and prerogatives were manifest on every side. Nowhere is this more evident than in the matter of divorce. According to the laws of Moses a husband, under certain circumstances, might divorce his wife; on the other hand, if at all possible, it was certainly very difficult for a wife to put away her husband. Unfortunately a double standard of morality in matters pertaining to the sexes is, at least, as old as Moses (see Exodus 7-11).

2. Law of Divorce: Deuteronomy 24:1-4:

The Old Testament law concerning divorce, apparently quite clear, is recorded most fully in Deuteronomy 24:1. A perusal of the commentaries will, nevertheless, convince anyone that there are difficulties of interpretation. The careful reader will notice that the renderings of the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) differ materially. the King James Version reads in the second part of Deuteronomy 24:1: "then let him write a bill," etc., the Revised Version (British and American) has "that he shall write," etc., while the Hebrew original has neither "then" nor "that," but the simple conjunction "and." There is certainly no command in the words of Moses, but, on the other hand, a clear purpose to render the proceeding more difficult in the case of the husband. Moses' aim was "to regulate and thus to mitigate an evil which he could not extirpate." The evident purpose was, as far as possible, to favor the wife, and to protect her against an unceremonious expulsion from her home and children.

3. Marriage a Legal Contract:

As already suggested, marriage among the Hebrews, as among most Orientals, was more a legal contract than the result of love or affection. It would be, however, a great mistake to assume that deep love was not often present, for at all times the domestic relations of the Hebrew married couple have compared most favorably with those of any other people, ancient or modern. In its last analysis it was, nevertheless, a business transaction. The husband or his family had, as a rule, to pay a certain dowry to the parents or guardians of the betrothed before the marriage was consummated. A wife thus acquired could easily be regarded as a piece of property, which, without great difficulty, could be disposed of in case the husband, for any reason, were disposed to rid himself of an uncongenial companion and willing to forfeit the mohar which he had paid for his wife. The advantage was always with the husband, and yet a wife was not utterly helpless, for she, too, though practically without legal rights, could make herself so intolerably burdensome and hateful in the home that almost any husband would gladly avail himself of his prerogatives and write her a bill of divorcement. Thus, though a wife could not divorce her husband, she could force him to divorce her.

4. Divorce Applicable Only to Wives:

The following words of Professor Israel Abrahams, Cambridge, England, before "the Divorce Commission" (London, November 21, 1910), are to the point: "In all such cases where the wife was concerned as the moving party she could only demand that her husband should divorce her. The divorce was always from first to last, in Jewish law, the husband's act." The common term used in the Bible for divorce is shilluach 'ishshah, "the sending away of a wife" (Deuteronomy 22:19, 29). We never read of "the sending away of a husband." The feminine participle, gerushah, "the woman thrust out," is the term applied to a divorced woman. The masculine form is not found.

5. Process and Exceptions:

The Mosaic law apparently, on the side of the husband, made it as difficult as possible for him to secure a divorce. No man could unceremoniously and capriciously dismiss his wife without the semblance of a trial. In case one became dissatisfied with his wife,

(1) he had to write her a BILL OF DIVORCEMENT (which see) drawn up by some constituted legal authority and in due legal form. In the very nature of the case, such a tribunal would use moral suasion to induce an adjustment; and, failing in this, would see to it that the law in the case, whatever it might be, would be upheld.

(2) Such a bill or decree must be placed in the hand of the divorced wife.

(3) She must be forced to leave the premises of her former husband. Divorce was denied two classes of husbands:

(1) The man who had falsely accused his wife of antenuptial infidelity (Deuteronomy 22:13), and

(2) a person who had seduced a virgin (Deuteronomy 22:28 f). In addition, a heavy penalty had to be paid to the father of such damsels.

It is probable that a divorced wife who had not contracted a second marriage or had been guilty of adultery might be reunited to her husband. But in case she had married the second time she was forever barred from returning to her first husband, even if the second husband had divorced her or had died (Deuteronomy 24:3 f). Such a law would serve as an obstacle to hasty divorces. Divorces from the earliest times were common among the Hebrews. All rabbis agree that a separation, though not desirable, was quite lawful. The only source of dispute among them was as to what constituted a valid reason or just cause.

6. Grounds of Divorce (Doubtful Meaning of Deuteronomy 24:1):

The language in Deuteronomy 24:1 has always been in dispute. The Hebrew words, `erwath dabhar, on which a correct interpretation depends, are not easy of solution, though many exegetes, influenced possibly by some preconceived notion, pass over them quite flippantly. The phrase troubled the Jewish rabbis of olden times, as it does Jewish and Christian commentators and translators in our day. the King James Version renders the two words, "some uncleanness," and in the margin, "matter of nakedness." The latter, though a literal translation of the Hebrew, is quite unintelligible. the Revised Version (British and American) and the American Standard Revised Version both have: "some unseemly thing." Professor Driver translates the same words "some indecency." The German the Revised Version (British and American) (Kautzsch) has "etwas Widerwartiges" ("something repulsive"). We know of no modern version which makes `erwath dabhar the equivalent of fornication or adultery. And, indeed, in the very nature of the case, we are forced to make the words apply to a minor fault or crime, for, by the Mosaic law, the penalty for adultery was death (Deuteronomy 22:20). It is, however, a question whether the extreme penalty was ever enforced. It is well known that at, and some time before, the time of our Saviour, there were two schools among the Jewish rabbis, that of Shammai and that of Hillel. Shammai and his followers maintained that 'erwath dabhar signified nothing less than unchastity or adultery, and argued that only this crime justified a man in divorcing his wife. Hillel and his disciples went to the other extreme. They placed great stress upon the words, "if she find no favor in his eyes" immediately preceding `erwath dabhar (Deuteronomy 24:1), and contended that divorce should be granted for the flimsiest reason: such as the spoiling of a dish either by burning or careless seasoning. Some of the rabbis boldly taught that a man had a perfect right to dismiss his wife, if he found another woman whom he liked better, or who was more beautiful (Mishnah, GiTTin, 14 10). Here are some other specifications taken from the same book: "The following women may be divorced: She who violates the Law of Moses, e.g. causes her husband to eat food which has not been tithed... She who vows, but does not keep her vows... She who goes out on the street with her hair loose, or spins in the street, or converses (flirts) with any man, or is a noisy woman. What is a noisy woman? It is one who speaks in her own house so loud that the neighbors may hear her." It would be easy to extend the list, for the Mishna and rabbinic writings are full of such laws.

From what has been said, it is clear that adultery was not the only valid reason for divorce. Besides, the word adultery had a peculiar significance in Jewish law, which recognized polygamy and concubinage as legitimate. Thus a Hebrew might have two or more wives or concubines, and might have intercourse with a slave or bondwoman, even if married, without being guilty of the crime of adultery (Leviticus 19:20), for adultery, according to Jewish law, was possible only when a man dishonored the "free wife" of a Hebrew (Leviticus 20:10).

Divorcement, Bill of:

This expression, found in Deuteronomy 24:1, 3 Isaiah 50:1 Jeremiah 3:8 is the translation of the Hebrew cepher kerithuth. The two words, literally rendered, signify a document or book of cutting off, i.e. a certificate of divorce given by a husband to a wife, so as to afford her the opportunity or privilege of marrying another man. The Hebrew term is rendered by the Septuagint biblion apostasion. This is also found in the New Testament (Mark 10:4). Matthew 5:31 has "writing of divorcement" in English Versions of the Bible, but Matthew 19:7 the King James Version has "writing," while the Revised Version (British and American) and the American Standard Revised Version have "bill." The certificate of divorce is called geT, plural giTTin, in the Talmud. There is an entire chapter devoted to the subjects in the Mishna It is not positively known when the custom of writing bills of divorcement commenced, but there are references to such documents in the earliest Hebrew legislation. The fact that Joseph had in mind the putting away of his espoused wife, Mary, without the formality of a bill or at least of a public procedure proves that a decree was not regarded as absolutely necessary (Matthew 1:19). The following was the usual form of a decree:

On the ____ day of the week ____ in the month ____ in the year ____ from the beginning of the world, according to the common computation in the province of ____ I ____ the son of ____ by whatever name I may be known, of the town of ____ with entire consent of mind, and without any constraint, have divorced, dismissed and expelled thee ____ daughter of____by whatever name thou art called, of the town who hast been my wife hitherto; But now I have dismissed thee ____ the daughter of ____ by whatever name thou art called, of the town of ____ so as to be free at thy own disposal, to marry whomsoever thou pleasest, without hindrance from anyone, from this day for ever. Thou art therefore free for anyone (who would marry thee). Let this be thy bill of divorce from me, a writing of separation and expulsion, according to the law of Moses and Israel. ____, the son of ____, witness

Spiritual Application.

The Hebrew prophets regarded Yahweh not only as the father and king of the chosen people, and thus entitled to perfect obedience and loyalty on their part, but they conceived of Him as a husband married to Israel. Isaiah, speaking to his nation, says: "For thy Maker is thy husband; Yahweh of hosts is his name" (54:5). Jeremiah too makes use of similar language in the following: "Return, O backsliding children, saith Yahweh; for I am a husband unto you" (3:14). It is perfectly natural that New Testament writers should have regarded Christ's relation to His church under the same figure. Paul in 2 Corinthians says: "I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy: for I espoused you to one husband, that I might present you as a pure virgin to Christ" (11:2); see also Matthew 9:15 John 3:29 Revelation 19:7. Any unfaithfulness or sin on the part of Israel was regarded as spiritual adultery, which necessarily broke off the spiritual ties, and divorced the nation from God (Isaiah 1:21 Ezekiel 16:22 Revelation 2:22). See also MARRIAGE.


Amram, Jewish Law of Divorce according to the Bible and Talmud, London, 1897; Abrahams, Jewish Life in the Middle Ages, London, 1896; Mackie, Bible Manners and Customs, London, 1898; The Mishna, Translated into English, De Sola and Raphall, London, 1843; Benzinger, Hebraische Archdalogie, Freiburg, 1894; Nowack, Lehrbuch der hebraischen Archdologie, 1894.

W. W. Davies


el'-der, (zaqen):

Among primitive peoples authority seems naturally to be invested in those who by virtue of greater age and, consequently, experience are best fitted to govern thus Iliad iii0.149. Later the idea of age became merged in that of dignity (Il. ii.404, ii0.57; Odyssey ii.14). In like manner the word patres came to be used among the Romans (Cic. Rep. 2, 8, 14). So also among the Germans authority was entrusted to those who were older; compare Tacitus Agricola. The same is true among the Arabians to the present day, the sheik being always a man of age as well as of authority.

From the first the Hebrews held this view of government, although the term "elder" came later to be used of the idea of the authority for which, at first, age was regarded necessary. Thus the office appears in both the Jahwist, J (9th century B.C.) (Exodus 3:16; Exodus 12:21; Exodus 24:1, of the elders of the Hebrews; and of the Egyptians, Genesis 50:7); and Elohist (E) (8th century B.C.) (Exodus 17:5; Exodus 18:12; Exodus 19:7 (the second Deuteronomist (D2)); Joshua 24:31, elders of Israel, or of the people. Compare the principle of selection of heads of tens, fifties, etc., Exodus 18:13, seventy being selected from a previous body of elders); compare Jahwist(J)-Elohist(E) (Numbers 11:16, 24). Seventy are also mentioned in Exodus 24:1, while in Judges 8:14 seventy-seven are mentioned, although this might be taken to include seven princes. Probably the number was not uniform.

Elder as a title continues to have place down through the times of the Judges (Judges 8:16; Judges 2:7); compare Ruth 4:2 into the kingdom. Saul asked to be honored before the elders (1 Samuel 15:30); the elders of Bethlehem appeared before Samuel (1 Samuel 16:4); the elders appeared before David in Hebron (2 Samuel 17:15 1 Chronicles 11:3); elders took part in the temple procession of Solomon (1 Kings 8:3 2 Chronicles 5:4). They continued through the Persian period Ezra 5:5, 9; Ezra 6:7, 14; 10:8, 14 Joel 1:14 margin and the Maccabean period APC Judith 6:16; 7:23; 8:10; 10:06; 13:12; 1Maccabees 12:35, while the New Testament presbuteros, Matthew 16:21; Matthew 26:47, 57 Mark 8:31 Luke 9:22 Acts 4:5, 23 makes frequent mention of the office.

The elders served as local magistrates, in bringing murderers to trial (Deuteronomy 19:12; Deuteronomy 21:1 Joshua 20:4), punishing a disobedient son (Deuteronomy 21:19), inflicting penalty for slander (Deuteronomy 22:15), for noncompliance with the Levirate marriage law (Deuteronomy 25:7), enforcing the Law (Deuteronomy 27:1), conducting the service in expiation of unwitting violation of the Law (Leviticus 4:13).

In certain passages different classes of officers are mentioned as "judges and officers" (Deuteronomy 16:18), "elders" and "officers" (Deuteronomy 31:28), "heads, tribes, elders officers" (Deuteronomy 29:10 Hebrew 9). It is probable that both classes were selected from among the elders, and that to one class was assigned the work of judging, and that the "officers" exercised executive functions (Schurer). In entirely Jewish communities the same men would be both officers of the community and elders of the synagogue. In this case the same men would have jurisdiction over civil and religious matters.


Schurer, GJV3, section 23, especially 175 Eng. edition, II, i, 149; Benzinger, H A2, 51; Deissmann, Bibelstudien, 153 (sv..); BDB, 278 (.); Preuschen, Griechisch-Deutsches Handworterbuch, under the word, 958.

W. N. Stearns



Contents (A) Scope of Article (B) Dr. Charles' Work (C) Individual Religion in Israel


1. Idea of God 2. Idea of Man Body, Soul and Spirit 3. Sin and Death


Had Israel No Belief in a Future Life? 1. Reserve on This Subject: Hopes and Promises Largely Temporal 2. A Future State not Therefore Denied Belief Non-Mythological 3. Survival of Soul, or Conscious Part 4. The Hebrew Sheol


(a) Nature and Grace-Moral Distinctions (b) Religious Hope of Immortality 1. Sheol, Like Death, Connected with Sin 2. Religious Root of Hope of Immortality Not Necessarily Late 3. Hope of Resurrection (1) Not a Late or Foreign Doctrine (2) The Psalms (3) The Book of Job (4) The Prophets (5) Daniel-Resurrection of Wicked


Judgment a Present Reality 1. Day of Yahweh (1) Relation to Israel (2) To the Nations 2. Judgment beyond Death (1) Incompleteness of Moral Administration (2) Prosperity of Wicked (3) Suffering of Righteous with Wicked 3. Retribution beyond Death


1. Sources (1) Apocrypha (2) Apocalyptic Literature (3) Rabbinical Writings 2. Description of Views (1) Less Definite Conceptions (2) Ideas of Sheol (3) The Fallen Angels (4) Resurrection (5) Judgment The Messiah (6) The Messianic Age and the Gentiles (7) Rabbinical Ideas LITERATURE


Eschatology of the Old Testament (with Apocryphal and Apocalyptic Writings).

(A) Scope of Article:

By "eschatology," or doctrine of the last things, is meant the ideas entertained at any period on the future life, the end of the world (resurrection, judgment; in the New Testament, the Parousia), and the eternal destinies of mankind. In this article it is attempted to exhibit the beliefs on these matters contained in the Old Testament, with those in the Jewish apocryphal and apocalyptic writings that fill up the interval between the Old Testament and the New Testament.

(B) Dr. Charles' Work:

The subject here treated has been dealt with by many writers (see "Literature" below); by none more learnedly or ably than by Dr. R. H. Charles in his work on Hebrew, Jewish and Christian eschatology (A Critical History of the Doctrine of a Future Life in Israel, in Judaism, and in Christianity). The present writer is, however, unable to follow Dr. Charles in many of his very radical critical positions, which affect so seriously the view taken of the literary evidence, and of the development of Israel's religion; is unable, therefore, to follow him in his interpretation of the religion itself. The subject, accordingly, is discussed in these pages from a different point of view from his.

(C) Individual Religion in Israel.

One special point in which the writer is unable to follow Dr. Charles in his treatment, which may be noticed at the outset, is in his idea-now so generally favored-that till near the time of the Exile religion was not individual-that Yahweh was thought of as concerned with the well-being of the people as a whole, and not with that of its individual members. "The individual was not the religious unit, but the family or tribe" (op. cit., 58). How anyone can entertain this idea in face of the plain indications of the Old Testament itself to the contrary is to the present writer a mystery. There is, indeed, throughout the Old Testament, a solidarity of the individual with his family and tribe, but not at any period to the exclusion of a personal relation to Yahweh, or of individual moral and religious responsibility. The pictures of piety in the Book of Genesis are nearly all individual, and the narratives containing them are, even on the critical view, older than the 9th century. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, are all of them, to the writers of the history, individuals; Moses, Joshua, Caleb, are individuals; the deeds of individuals are counted to them for righteousness; the sins of others slay them. If there had been ten righteous persons in Sodom, it would have been spared (Genesis 18:32). It was as an individual that David sinned; as an individual he repented and was forgiven. Kings are judged or condemned according to their individual character. It is necessary to lay stress on this at the beginning; otherwise the whole series of the Old Testament conceptions is distorted.

I. Fundamental Ideas.

The eschatology of the Old Testament, as Dr. Charles also recognizes, is dependent on, and molded by, certain fundamental ideas in regard to God, man, the soul and the state after death, in which lies the peculiarity of Israel's religion. Only, these ideas are differently apprehended here from what they are in this writer's learned work.

1. Idea of God:

In the view of Dr. Charles, Yahweh (Yahweh), who under Moses became the God of the Hebrew tribes, was, till the time of the prophets, simply a national God, bound up with the land and with this single people; therefore, "possessing neither interest nor jurisdiction in the life of the individual beyond the grave.. Hence, since early Yahwism possessed no eschatology of its own, the individual Israelite was left to his hereditary heathen beliefs. These beliefs we found were elements of Ancestor Worship" (op. cit., 52; compare 35). The view taken here, on the contrary, is, that there is no period known to the Old Testament in which Yahweh-whether the name was older than Moses or not need not be discussed-was not recognized as the God of the whole earth, the Creator of the world and man, and Judge of all, nations. He is, in both Genesis 1 and Genesis 2, the Creator of the first pair from whom the whole race springs; He judged the whole world in the Flood; He chose Abraham to be a blessing to the families of the earth (Genesis 12:3); His universal rule is acknowledged (Genesis 18:25); in infinite grace, displaying His power over Egypt, He chose Israel to be a people to Himself (Exodus 19:3-6). The ground for denying jurisdiction over the world of the dead thus falls. The word of Jesus to the Sadducees is applicable here: "Have ye not read. I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living" (Matthew 22:31, 32). The Old Testament instances of resurrection in answer to prayer point in the same direction (1 Kings 17:21 2 Kings 4:34; compare Psalm 16:10; Psalm 49:15, etc.; see further, below).

2. Idea of Man:

According to Dr. Charles, the Old Testament has two contradictory representations of the constitution of man, and of the effects of death. The older or pre-prophetic view distinguishes between soul and body in man (pp. 37, 45), and regards the soul as surviving death (this is not easily reconcilable with the other proposition (p. 37) that the "soul or nephesh is identical with the blood"), and as retaining a certain self-consciousness, and the power of speech and movement in Sheol (pp. 39). This view is in many respects identical with that of ancestor worship, which is held to be the primitive belief in Israel (p. 41). The other and later view, which is thought to follow logically from the account in Genesis 2:7, supposes the soul to perish at death (pp. 41). We read there that "Yahweh God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." The "breath of life" (nishmath chayyim) is identified with the "spirit of life" (ruach chayyim) of Genesis 6:17, and is taken to mean that the soul has no independent existence, but is "really a function of the material body when quickened by the (impersonal) spirit" (p. 42). "According to this view the annihilation of the soul ensues inevitably at death, that is, when the spirit is withdrawn" (p. 43). This view is held to be the parent of Sadduceeism, and is actually affirmed to be the view of Paul (pp. 43-44, 409)-the apostle who repudiated Sadduceeism in this very article (Acts 23:6-9). Body, Soul and Spirit.

The above view of man's nature is here rejected, and the consistency of the Old Testament doctrine affirmed. The Biblical view has nothing to do with ancestor worship (compare the writer's Orr, The Problem of the Old Testament, 135-36). In Genesis 1:26, 27 man is created in God's image, and in the more anthropomorphic narrative of Genesis 2:7, he becomes "a living soul" through a unique act of Divine inbreathing. The soul (nephesh) in man originates in a Divine inspiration (compare Job 32:8; Job 33:4 Isaiah 42:5), and is at once the animating principle of the body (the blood being its vehicle, Leviticus 17:11), with its appetites and desires, and the seat of the self-conscious personality, and source of rational and spiritual activities. It is these higher activities of the soul which, in the Old Testament, are specially called "spirit" (ruach). Dr. Charles expresses this correctly in what he says of the supposed earlier view ("the ruach had become the seat of the highest spiritual functions in man,"p. 46; see more fully the writer's God's Image in Man, 47). There is no ground for deducing "annihilation" from Genesis 2:7. Everywhere in Genesis man is regarded as formed for living fellowship with God, and capable of knowing, worshipping and serving Him.


3. Sin and Death:

It follows from the above account that man is regarded in the Old Testament as a compound being, a union of body and soul (embracing spirit), both being elements in his one personality. His destiny was not to death, but to life-not life, however, in separation of the soul from the body (disembodied existence), but continued embodied life, with, perhaps, as its sequel, change and translation to higher existence (thus Enoch, Elijah; the saints at the Parousia). This is the true original idea of immortality for man (see IMMORTALITY). Death, accordingly, is not, as it appears in Dr. Charles, a natural event, but an abnormal event-a mutilation, separation of two sides of man's being never intended to be separated-due, as the Scripture represents it, to the entrance of sin (Genesis 2:17; Genesis 3:19, 22 Romans 5:12 1 Corinthians 15:21, 22). It is objected that nothing further is said in the Old Testament of a "Fall," and a subjection of man to death as the result of sin. In truth, however, the whole picture of mankind in the Old Testament, as in the New Testament, is that of a world turned aside from God, and under His displeasure, and death and all natural evils are ever to be considered in relation to that fact (compare Dillmann, Alttest. Theol., 368, 376; God's Image in Man, 198, 249). This alone explains the light in which death is regarded by holy men; their longing for deliverance from it (see below); the hope of resurrection; the place which resurrection-"the redemption of our body" (Romans 8:23)-after the pattern of Christ's resurrection (Philippians 3:21), has in the Christian conception of immortality.

II. Conceptions of the Future Life-Sheol.

Had Israel No Belief in a Future Life?:

It is usual to find it contended that the Israelites, in contrast with other peoples, had not the conception of a future life till near the time of the Exile; that then, through the teaching of the prophets and the discipline of experience, ideas of individual immortality and of judgment to come first arose. There is, however, a good deal of ambiguity of language, if not confusion of thought, in such statements. It is true there is development in the teaching on a future life; true also that in the Old Testament "life" and "immortality" are words of pregnant meaning, to which bare survival of the soul, and gloomy existence in Sheol, do not apply. But in the ordinary sense of the expression "future life," it is certain that the Israelites were no more without that notion than any of their neighbors, or than most of the peoples and races of the world to whom the belief is credited.

1. Reserve on This Subject: Hopes and Promises Largely Temporal:

Israel, certainly, had not a developed mythology of the future life such as was found in Egypt. There, life in the other world almost over-shadowed the life that now is; in contrast with this, perhaps because of it, Israel was trained to a severer reserve in regard to the future, and the hopes and promises to the nation-the rewards of righteousness and penalties of transgression-were chiefly temporal. The sense of individual responsibility, as was shown at the commencement, there certainly was-an individual relation to God. But the feeling of corporate existence-the sense of connection between the individual and his descendants-was strong, and the hopes held out to the faithful had respect rather to multiplication of seed, to outward prosperity, and to a happy state of existence (never without piety as its basis) on earth, than to a life beyond death. The reason of this and the qualifications needing to be made to the statement will afterward appear; but that the broad facts are as stated every reader of the Old Testament will perceive for himself. Abraham is promised that his seed shall be multiplied as the stars of heaven, and that the land of Canaan shall be given them to dwell in (Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 15); Israel is encouraged by abundant promises of temporal blessing (Deuteronomy 11:8; Deuteronomy 28:1-14), and warned by the most terrible temporal curses (Deuteronomy 28:15); David has pledged to him the sure succession of his house as the reward of obedience (2 Samuel 7:11). So in the Book of Job, the patriarch's fidelity is rewarded with return of his prosperity (chapter 42). Temporal promises abound in the Prophets (Hosea 2:14; Hosea 14 Isaiah 1:19, 26, etc.); the Book of Proverbs likewise is full of such promises (3:13, etc.).

2. A Future State not Therefore Denied:

All this, however, in no way implies that the Israelites had no conceptions of, or beliefs in, a state of being beyond death, or believed the death of the body to be the extinction of existence. This was very far from being the case. A hope of a future life it would be wrong to call it; for there was nothing to suggest hope, joy or life in the good sense, in the ideas they entertained of death or the hereafter. In this they resembled most peoples whose ideas are still primitive, but to whom it is not customary to deny belief in a future state. They stand as yet, though with differences to be afterward pointed out, on the general level of Semitic peoples in their conceptions of what the future state was. This is also the view taken by Dr. Charles. He recognizes that early Israelite thought attributed a "comparatively large measure of life, movement, knowledge and likewise power (?) to the departed in Sheol" (op. cit., 41). A people that does this is hardly destitute of all notions of a future state. This question of Sheol now demands more careful consideration. Here again our differences from Dr. Charles will reveal themselves.

Belief Non-Mythological.

It would, indeed, have been amazing had the Israelites, who dwelt so long in Egypt, where everything reminded of a future life, been wholly destitute of ideas on that subject. What is clear is that, as already observed, they did not adopt any of the Egyptian notions into their religion. The simplicity of their belief in the God of their fathers kept them then and ever after from the importation of mythological elements into their faith. The Egyptian Amenti may be said, indeed, to answer broadly to the Hebrew Sheol; but there is nothing in Israelite thought to correspond to Osiris and his assessors, the trial in the hall of judgment, and the adventures and perils of the soul thereafter. What, then, was the Hebrew idea of Sheol, and how did it stand related to beliefs elsewhere?

3. Survival of Soul, or Conscious Part:

That the soul, or some conscious part of man for which the name may be allowed to stand, does not perish at death, but passes into another state of existence, commonly conceived of as shadowy and inert, is a belief found, not only among the lower, so-called nature-peoples, but in all ancient religions, even the most highly developed. The Egyptian belief in Amenti, or abode of the dead, ruled over by Osiris, is alluded to above; the Babylonian Arallu (some find the word "Sualu" = she'ol), the land of death, from which there is no return; the Greek Hades, gloomy abode of the shades of the departed, are outstanding witnesses to this conception (the various ideas may be seen, among other works, in Salmond, Christian Doctrine of Immortality, I (ideas of lower races, Indian, Egyptian Babylonian, Persian and Greek beliefs); in Sayce, Hibbert Lectures, Religion of Ancient Babylonians, and Gifford Lectures, Religions of Ancient Egypt and Babylonia; Dr. Charles, Eschatology, chapter iii, on Greek conceptions). The Hebrew conception of Sheol, the gathering-place of the dead, is not in essentials dissimilar. "The resemblance," says Dr. Salmond, "between the Hebrew Sheol, the Homeric Hades, and Babylonian Arallu is unmistakable" (op. cit., 3rd edition, 173). As to its origin, Dr. Charles would derive the belief from ancestor worship. He supposes that "in all probability Sheol was originally conceived as a combination of the graves of the clan or nation, and as thus its final abode" (op. cit., 33). It is far from proved, however, that ancestor worship had the role he assigns to it in early religion; and, in any case, the explanation inverts cause and effect. The survival of the soul or shade is already assumed before there can be worship of ancestors. Far simpler is the explanation that man is conscious from the first of a thinking, active principle within him which disappears when death ensues, and he naturally thinks of this as surviving somewhere else, if only in a ghost-like and weakened condition (compare Max Muller, Anthropological Religion, 195, 281, 337-38). Whatever the explanation, it is the case that, by a sure instinct, peoples of low and high culture alike all but universally think of the conscious part of their dead as surviving. On natural grounds, the Hebrews did the same. Only, in the Scriptural point of view, this form of survival is too poor to be dignified with the high name of "immortality."

4. The Hebrew Sheol:

It is not necessary to do more than sketch the main features of the Hebrew sheol (see SHEOL). The word, the etymology of which is doubtful (the commonest derivations are from roots meaning "to ask" or "to be hollow," sha'al), is frequently, but erroneously, translated in the Revised Version (British and American) "grave" or "hell." It denotes really, as already said, the place or abode of the dead, and is conceived of as situated in the depths of the earth (Psalm 63:9; Psalm 86:13 Ezekiel 26:20; Ezekiel 31:14; Ezekiel 32:18, 24; compare Numbers 16:30 Deuteronomy 32:22). The dead are there gathered in companies; hence, the frequently recurring expression, "gathered unto his people" (Genesis 25:8; Genesis 35:29; Genesis 49:33 Numbers 20:24, etc.), the phrase denoting, as the context shows, something quite distinct from burial. Jacob, e.g. was "gathered unto his people"; afterward his body was embalmed, and, much later, buried (Genesis 50:2). Poetical descriptions of Sheol are not intended to be taken with literalness; hence, it is a mistake, with Dr. Charles, to press such details as "bars" and "gates" (Job 17:16; Job 38:17 Psalm 9:14 Isaiah 38:10, etc.). In the general conception, Sheol is a place of darkness (Job 10:21, 22 Psalm 143:3), of silence (Psalm 94:17; Psalm 115:17), of forgetfulness (Psalm 88:12 Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6, 10). It is without remembrance or praise of God (Psalm 6:5), or knowledge of what transpires on earth (Job 14:21). Even this language is not to be pressed too literally. Part of it is the expression of a depressed or despairing (compare Isaiah 38:10) or temporarily skeptical (thus in Ecclesiastes; compare 12:7, 13, 14) mood; all of it is relative, emphasizing the contrast with the brightness, joy and activity of the earthly life (compare Job 10:22, "where the light is as midnight"-comparative). Elsewhere it is recognized that consciousness remains; in Isaiah 14:9 the shades (repha'im) of once mighty kings are stirred up to meet the descending king of Babylon (compare Ezekiel 32:21). If Sheol is sometimes described as "destruction" (Job 26:6 margin; Job 28:22 Proverbs 15:11 margin) and "the pit" (Psalm 30:9; Psalm 55:23), at other times, in contrast with the weariness and trouble of life, it is figured and longed for as a place of "rest" and "sleep" (Job 3:17; Job 14:12, 13). Always, however, as with other peoples, existence in Sheol is represented as feeble, inert, shadowy, devoid of living interests and aims, a true state of the dead (on Egyptian Babylonian and Greek analogies, compare Salmond, op. cit., 54-55, 73-74, 99, 173-74). The idea of Dr. Charles, already commented on, that Sheol is outside the jurisdiction of Yahweh, is contradicted by many passages (Deuteronomy 32:22 Job 26:6 Proverbs 15:11 Psalm 139:8 Amos 9:2, etc.; compare above).

III. The Religious Hope-Life and Resurrection.

(a) Nature and Grace-Moral Distinctions:

Such is Sheol, regarded from the standpoint of nature; a somewhat different aspect is presented when it is looked at from the point of view of grace. As yet no trace is discernible between righteous and wicked in Sheol; the element of retribution seems absent. Reward and punishment are in this world; not in the state beyond. Yet one must beware of drawing too sweeping conclusions even here. The state, indeed, of weakened consciousness and slumbrous inaction of Sheol does not admit of much distinction, and the thought of exchanging the joys of life for drear existence in that gloomy underworld may well have appalled the stoutest hearts, and provoked sore and bitter complainings. Even the Christian can bewail a life brought to a sudden and untimely close. But even on natural grounds it is hardly credible that the pious Israelite thought of the state of the godly gathered in peace to their people as quite the same as those who perished under the ban of God's anger, and went down to Sheol bearing their iniquity. There is a pregnancy not to be overlooked in such expressions as, "The wicked shall be turned back unto Sheol" (Psalm 9:17), a "lowest Sheol" unto which God's anger burns (Deuteronomy 32:22), "uttermost parts of the pit" (Isaiah 14:15 Ezekiel 32:23) to which the proud and haughty in this life are consigned. Dr. Charles goes so far as to find a "penal character of Sheol" in Psalms 49 and 73 (op. cit., 74). Consolation breathes in such utterances as, "Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; for there is a happy end to the man of peace" (Psalm 37:37), or (with reference to the being taken from the evil to come), "He entereth into peace; they rest in their beds, each one that walketh in his uprightness" (Isaiah 57:2; compare Isaiah 57:21 "There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked"). Even Balaam's fervent wish, "Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his" (Numbers 23:10), seems weakened when interpreted only of the desire for a green and blessed old age. It is possible to read too much into Old Testament expressions; the tendency at the present time would seem to be to read a great deal too little

(P. Fairbairn, Typology of Scripture, I, 173, 422, may profitably be consulted).

(b) Religious Hope of Immortality:

To get at the true source and nature of the hope of immortality in the Old Testament, however, it is necessary to go much farther than the idea of any happier condition in Sheol. This dismal region is never there connected with ideas of "life" or "immortality" in any form. Writers who suppose that the hopes which find utterance in passages of Psalms and Prophets have any connection with existence in Sheol are on an altogether wrong track. It is not the expectation of a happier condition in Sheol, but the hope of deliverance from Sheol, and of restored life and fellowship with God, which occupies the mind. How much this implies deserves careful consideration.

1. Sheol, Like Death, Connected with Sin:

It has already been seen that, in the Old Testament, Sheol, like death, is not the natural fate of man. A connection with sin and judgment is implied in it. Whatever Sheol might be to the popular, unthinking mind, to the reflecting spirit, that really grasped the fundamental ideas of the religion of Yahweh, it was a state wholly contrary to man's true destiny. It was, as seen, man's dignity in distinction from the animal, that he was not created under the law of death. Disembodied existence, which is of necessity enfeebled, partial, imperfect existence, was no part of the Divine plan for man. His immortality was to be in the body, not out of it. Separation of soul and body, an after-existence of the soul in Sheol, belong to the doom of sin. Dr. Salmond fully recognizes this in his discussion of the subject. "The penal sense of death colors all that the Old Testament says of man's end. It is in its thoughts where it is not in its words" (op. cit., 159; see the whole passage; compare also Oehler, Theology of the Old Testament, I, 242, English translation; A. B. Davidson, Theology of the Old Testament, 432, 439). The true type of immortality is therefore to be seen in cases like those of Enoch (Genesis 5:24; compare Hebrews 11:5) and Elijah (2 Kings 2:11); of a bare "immortality of the soul," Scripture has nothing to say.

It is on all hands conceded that, so far as the hope of immortality, in any full or real sense, is found in the Old Testament, it is connected with religious faith and hope. It has not a natural, but a religious, root. It springs from the believer's trust and confidence in the living God; from his conviction that God-his God-who has bound him to Himself in the bonds of an unchanging covenant, whose everlasting arms are underneath him (Deuteronomy 33:27; compare Psalm 90:1), will not desert him even in Sheol-will be with him there, and will give him victory over its terrors (compare A. B. Davidson, Commentary on Job, 293-95; Salmond, op. cit., 175).

2. Religious Root of Hope of Immortality:

Life is not bare existence; it consists in God's favor and fellowship (Psalm 16:11; Psalm 30:5; Psalm 63:3). The relevant passages in Psalms and Prophets will be considered after. Only, it is contended by the newer school, this hope of immortality belongs to a late stage of Israel's religion-to a period when, through the development of the monotheistic idea, the growth of the sense of individuality, the acute feeling of the contradictions of life, this great "venture" of faith first became possible. One asks, however, Was it so? Was this hope so entirely a matter of "intuitous ventures, and forecasts of devout souls in moments of deepest experience or keenest conflict," as this way of considering the matter represents? Not Necessarily Late.

That the hope of immortality could only exist for strong faith is self-evident. But did strong faith come into existence only in the days of the prophets or the Exile? Exception has already been taken to the assumption that monotheism was a late growth, and that individual faith in God was not found in early times. It is not to be granted without demur that, as now commonly alleged, the Psalms and the Book of Job, which express this hope, are post-exilian products.

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ev, (chawwah, "life"; Eua; the name given, as the Scripture writer says, Genesis 3:20 (Zoe), from her unique function as "the mother of all living"):

The first created woman; created secondarily from Adam (or man) as a "help meet for him" (Genesis 2:18-22), and later named and designated as the mother of the human race.

For the literary type and object of the story of Eve, see under ADAM, i, 2.

1. The Names Given to Her:

Two names are given to her, both bestowed by the man, her mate. The first, ishshah, "woman" (literally, "man-ess"), is not strictly a name but a generic designation, referring to her relation to the man; a relation she was created to fulfill in default of any true companionship between man and the beasts, and represented as intimate and sacred beyond that between child and parents (Genesis 2:18-24). The second, Eve, or "life," given after the transgression and its prophesied results, refers to her function and destiny in the spiritual history or evolution of which she is the beginning (Genesis 3:16, 20). While the names are represented as bestowed by the man, the remarks in Genesis 2:24 and 3:20b may be read as the interpretative addition of the writer, suited to the exposition which it is the object of his story to make.

2. Her Relation to Man:

As mentioned in the article ADAM, the distinction of male and female, which the human species has in common with the animals, is given in the general (or P) account of creation (Genesis 1:27); and then, in the more particularized (or J) account of the creation of man, the human being is described at a point before the distinction of sex existed. This second account may have a different origin, but it has also a different object, which does not conflict with but rather supplements the other. It aims to give the spiritual meanings that inhere in man's being; and in this the relation of sex plays an elemental part. As spiritually related to the man-nature, the woman-nature is described as derivative, the helper rather than the initiator, yet equal, and supplying perfectly the man's social and affectional needs. It is the writer's conception of the essential meaning of mating and marriage. To bring out its spiritual values more clearly he takes the pair before they are aware of the species meanings of sex or family, while they are "naked" yet "not ashamed" Genesis 2:25, and portrays them purely as companions, individual in traits and tendencies, yet answering to each other. She is the helpmeet for him (ezer keneghdo, "a help answering to him").

3. Her Part in the Change of Condition:

True to her nature as the being relatively acted upon rather than acting, she is quicker than the man to respond to the suggestion initiated by the serpent and to follow it out to its desirable results. There is eagerness of desire in her act of taking the fruit quite different from the quasi matter-of-course attitude of the man. To her the venture presents itself wholly from the alluring side, while to him it is more like taking a desperate risk, as he detaches himself even from the will of God in order to cleave to her. All this is delicately true to the distinctive feminine and masculine natures. A part of her penalty is henceforth to be the subordinated one of the pair (Genesis 3:16), as if for her the values of life were to be mediated through him. At the same time it is accorded to her seed to perpetuate the mortal antipathy to the serpent, and finally to bruise the serpent's head (Genesis 3:15).

4. In Subsequent History:

After these opening chapters of Genesis, Eve is not once mentioned, nor even specifically alluded to, in the canonical books of the Old Testament. It was not in the natural scope of Old Testament history and doctrine, which were concerned with Abraham's descendants, to go back to so remote origins as are narrated in the story of the first pair. The name Eve occurs once in the Apocrypha, in the prayer of Tobit (APC Tobit 8:6): "Thou madest Adam, and gavest him Eve his wife for a helper and a stay; of them came the seed of men"; the text then going on to quote Genesis 2:18. In 1 Esdras 4:20, 21 there is a free quotation, or rather paraphrase, of Genesis 2:24. But not even in the somber complaints of 2 Esdras concerning the woe that Adam's transgression brought upon the race is there any hint of Eve's part in the matter.

(see under ADAM IN THE OLD TESTAMENT, iii, 2)

John Franklin Genung

1095. gerasko -- to grow old
... to grow old. Part of Speech: Verb Transliteration: gerasko Phonetic Spelling:
(ghay-ras'-ko) Short Definition: I become old, grow old Definition: I become old ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/1095.htm - 6k

1126. graodes -- characteristic of old women, anile
... characteristic of old women, anile. Part of Speech: Adjective Transliteration: graodes
Phonetic Spelling: (grah-o'-dace) Short Definition: belonging to old women ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/1126.htm - 6k

4246. presbutes -- an old man
... an old man. Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine Transliteration: presbutes Phonetic
Spelling: (pres-boo'-tace) Short Definition: an old man Definition: an old man ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/4246.htm - 6k

1332. dietes -- lasting two years, two years old
... lasting two years, two years old. Part of Speech: Adjective Transliteration: dietes
Phonetic Spelling: (dee-et-ace') Short Definition: two years old Definition ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/1332.htm - 6k

1088. geron -- an old man
... an old man. Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine Transliteration: geron Phonetic Spelling:
(gher'-own) Short Definition: an old man Definition: an old man. ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/1088.htm - 6k

3820. palaios -- old, ancient
... old, ancient. Part of Speech: Adjective Transliteration: palaios Phonetic Spelling:
(pal-ah-yos') Short Definition: old, ancient, worn out Definition: old ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/3820.htm - 6k

1541. hekatontaetes -- a hundred years old
... a hundred years old. Part of Speech: Adjective Transliteration: hekatontaetes Phonetic
Spelling: (hek-at-on-tah-et'-ace) Short Definition: a hundred years old ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/1541.htm - 6k

3822. palaioo -- to make or declare old
... to make or declare old. Part of Speech: Verb Transliteration: palaioo Phonetic Spelling:
(pal-ah-yo'-o) Short Definition: I make old, declare obsolete Definition ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/3822.htm - 6k

1094. geras -- old age
... geras. 1095 . old age. Part of Speech: Noun, Neuter Transliteration: geras Phonetic
Spelling: (ghay'-ras) Short Definition: old age Definition: old age. ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/1094.htm - 6k

3819. palai -- long ago, of old
... long ago, of old. Part of Speech: Adverb Transliteration: palai Phonetic Spelling:
(pal'-ahee) Short Definition: of old, long ago Definition: of old, long ago ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/3819.htm - 6k

Strong's Hebrew
2204. zaqen -- to be or become old
... 2203b, 2204. zaqen. 2205 . to be or become old. Transliteration: zaqen
Phonetic Spelling: (zaw-kane') Short Definition: old. Word ...
/hebrew/2204.htm - 6k

2205. zaqen -- old
... 2204, 2205. zaqen. 2206 . old. Transliteration: zaqen Phonetic Spelling:
(zaw-kane') Short Definition: elders. Word Origin from ...
/hebrew/2205.htm - 6k

3465. yashan -- old
... 3464, 3465. yashan. 3466 . old. Transliteration: yashan Phonetic Spelling:
(yaw-shawn') Short Definition: old. Word Origin from ...
/hebrew/3465.htm - 6k

2209. ziqnah -- old age
... old age. Transliteration: ziqnah Phonetic Spelling: (zik-naw') Short Definition:
age. ... of zoqen Definition old age NASB Word Usage old (2), old age (4). old age. ...
/hebrew/2209.htm - 6k

7872. sebah -- hoary head, old age
... 7871, 7872. sebah. 7873 . hoary head, old age. Transliteration: sebah Phonetic
Spelling: (say-baw') Short Definition: hair. ... be gray grey hoar, old age. ...
/hebrew/7872.htm - 6k

2208. zaqun -- old age
... zaqun. 2209 . old age. Transliteration: zaqun Phonetic Spelling: (zaw-koon') Short
Definition: age. ... of zaqen Definition old age NASB Word Usage old age (4). ...
/hebrew/2208.htm - 6k

1086. balah -- to become old, wear out
... to become old, wear out. Transliteration: balah Phonetic Spelling: (baw-law') Short
Definition: wear. ... consume, enjoy long, become make, wax old, spend, waste. ...
/hebrew/1086.htm - 6k

2207. zoqen -- old age
... 2206, 2207. zoqen. 2208 . old age. Transliteration: zoqen Phonetic Spelling:
(zo'-ken) Short Definition: age. ... age. From zaqen; old age -- age. see HEBREW zaqen ...
/hebrew/2207.htm - 6k

6267. attiq -- removed, old
... 6266, 6267. attiq. 6268 . removed, old. Transliteration: attiq Phonetic
Spelling: (at-teek') Short Definition: ancient. Word Origin ...
/hebrew/6267.htm - 6k

3453. yashish -- aged
... Word Origin from the same as yashesh Definition aged NASB Word Usage aged (1), aged
men (1), old (1), old men (1). very aged man, ancient, very old. ...
/hebrew/3453.htm - 6k


Old Daniel
Old Daniel. <. Old Daniel Thomas Hodson. Produced by Nick Hodson of London,
England Table of Contents. Title Page. PREFACE. CHAPTER ONE. ...
//christianbookshelf.org/hodson/old daniel/

Mother Stories from the Old Testament
Mother Stories from the Old Testament. <. Mother Stories from the
Old Testament Anonymous. Produced by Juliet Sutherland ...
//christianbookshelf.org/anonymous/mother stories from the old testament/

Christology of the Old Testament
Christology of the Old Testament. <. Christology of the Old Testament
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg. Produced by Charles ...
//christianbookshelf.org/hengstenberg/christology of the old testament/

Introduction to the Old Testament
Introduction to the Old Testament. <. Introduction to the Old
Testament John Edgar McFadyen. This eBook was produced ...
//christianbookshelf.org/mcfadyen/introduction to the old testament/

An Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek. Additional Notes
An Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek. Additional Notes. <.
An Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek. Additional ...
/.../swete/an introduction to the old testament in greek additional notes/

The Old Gravestone
ANDERSEN. In one of our small trading towns, at that time ...
/.../wells/bible stories and religious classics/the old gravestone.htm

The Origin and Permanent Value of the Old Testament
The Origin & Permanent Value of the Old Testament. <. The Origin &
Permanent Value of the Old Testament Charles Foster Kent. ...
/.../kent/the origin and permanent value of the old testament/

Old Groans and New Songs
Old Groans and New Songs. <. Old Groans and New Songs FC Jennings. Produced
by Al Haines Table of Contents. Title Page. PREFACE. ...
//christianbookshelf.org/jennings/old groans and new songs/

The Old Earth.
... THE OLD EARTH. ... The Earth is old, the Earth is cold, She shivers and complains; How
many Winters fierce and chill Have racked her limbs with pains! ...
/.../bliss/a brief commentary on the apocalypse/the old earth.htm

Children of the Old Testament
Children of the Old Testament. <. Children of the Old Testament Anonymous.
Produced by Al Haines Table of Contents. Title Page. LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. ...
//christianbookshelf.org/anonymous/children of the old testament/

Old (3966 Occurrences)
... Easton's Bible Dictionary. Old gate. One of the gates in the north wall of Jerusalem,
so called because built by the Jebusites (Nehemiah 3:6; 12:39). ...
/o/old.htm - 101k

Age-old (4 Occurrences)
Age-old. Agent, Age-old. Ages . Multi-Version Concordance Age-old
(4 Occurrences). Genesis 49:26 Thy father's blessings ...
/a/age-old.htm - 7k

Year-old (6 Occurrences)
Year-old. Yearns, Year-old. Years . Multi-Version Concordance
Year-old (6 Occurrences). Exodus 12:5 Your lamb shall ...
/y/year-old.htm - 8k

Old-established (1 Occurrence)
Old-established. Oldest, Old-established. Oldness . Multi-Version
Concordance Old-established (1 Occurrence). Acts 21 ...
/o/old-established.htm - 6k

Three-year-old (1 Occurrence)
Three-year-old. Three-year, Three-year-old. Thresh . Multi-Version
Concordance Three-year-old (1 Occurrence). 1 Samuel ...
/t/three-year-old.htm - 6k

Stricken (32 Occurrences)
... for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. (KJV ASV). ... (KJV JPS
ASV). Genesis 24:1 Abraham was old, and well stricken in age. ...
/s/stricken.htm - 15k

Advanced (32 Occurrences)
... For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years." (WEB WEY DBY WBS YLT
NAS RSV). ... Genesis 18:11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in age. ...
/a/advanced.htm - 16k

Sixteen (24 Occurrences)
... 2 Kings 14:21 All the people of Judah took Azariah, who was sixteen years
old, and made him king in the room of his father Amaziah. ...
/s/sixteen.htm - 14k

Valuation (22 Occurrences)
... Leviticus 27:3 Your valuation shall be of a male from twenty years old even to sixty
years old, even your valuation shall be fifty shekels of silver, after the ...
/v/valuation.htm - 14k

... According to Conybeare (ZNTW, XI, 161-66, 232-39 (1910)) the Georgian version was
first made from the Old Syriac and then later (11th century) revised from the ...
/s/slavonic.htm - 13k

Bible Concordance
Old (3966 Occurrences)

Old is used 3966 times in 12 translations.

You can narrow your search using the Advanced Bible Search.



Old Age

Old Age: General Scriptures Concerning

Old Gate

Old Man

Old Testament

Old Testament Canon

Old Testament Languages

Select Readings: Old Age

Related Terms

Age-old (4 Occurrences)

Year-old (6 Occurrences)

Old-established (1 Occurrence)

Three-year-old (1 Occurrence)

Stricken (32 Occurrences)

Advanced (32 Occurrences)

Sixteen (24 Occurrences)

Valuation (22 Occurrences)


Antiquity (8 Occurrences)

Scripture (51 Occurrences)


Soul (554 Occurrences)

Apollyon (1 Occurrence)

Almond (7 Occurrences)

Antichrist (4 Occurrences)

Shoes (32 Occurrences)

Sandals (30 Occurrences)

Aged (63 Occurrences)

Ago (61 Occurrences)

Hell (53 Occurrences)

Zoan (7 Occurrences)

Skins (27 Occurrences)

Young (3454 Occurrences)

Vanish (21 Occurrences)

Shetharboznai (4 Occurrences)

Shethar-boznai (4 Occurrences)

Sews (2 Occurrences)

Shethar-bozenai (4 Occurrences)

She-goat (2 Occurrences)

Shetharbozenai (4 Occurrences)


Supply (40 Occurrences)

Syriac (2 Occurrences)



Sheol (64 Occurrences)

Covetousness (22 Occurrences)


Advice (52 Occurrences)

Zacharias (11 Occurrences)

Shekels (92 Occurrences)


Virgins (33 Occurrences)



Sarah (38 Occurrences)

Cow (32 Occurrences)

Corner-stone (10 Occurrences)

Cornerstone (13 Occurrences)

Allegory (6 Occurrences)


Ashurbanipal (1 Occurrence)


Advise (10 Occurrences)

Ammonites (97 Occurrences)

Ammon (100 Occurrences)

Seventeen (12 Occurrences)

Syrians (63 Occurrences)

Spaces (15 Occurrences)

Stores (53 Occurrences)

Stork (6 Occurrences)

Aroma (50 Occurrences)

Store (134 Occurrences)

Augury (5 Occurrences)


Corpse (18 Occurrences)

Sheba (36 Occurrences)

Self (28 Occurrences)

Amazi'ah (37 Occurrences)

Sixty (70 Occurrences)

Anger (387 Occurrences)

Savour (52 Occurrences)

Salvation (386 Occurrences)

Soothing (40 Occurrences)

Sustain (28 Occurrences)

Cunning (43 Occurrences)

Vine (76 Occurrences)

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