American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - D



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DABERATH

A Levitical town in the borders of Zebulun and Issachar, Jos 19:25;
21:28; 1Ch 6:72. Its site is probably that of the modern Deburieh, a
small village at the foot of mount Tabor on the northwest.


DAGON

Fish-god, a national idol of the Philistines, with temples at Gaza,
Ashdid, etc., 1Ch 10:10. The temple at Gaza was destroyed by Samson,
Jud 16:21-30. In that at Ashdod, Dagon twice miraculously fell down
before the ark of God; and in the second fall his head and hands were
broken off, leaving only the body, which was in the form of a large
fish, 1Sa 5:1-9. See Jos 15:41; 19:27. There were other idols of like
form among the ancients, particularly the goddess Derceto of
Atergatis; and a similar form or "incarnation" of Vishnu is at this
day much worshipped in India, and like Dagon is destined to be
prostrated in the dust before the true God.


DALMANUTHA

A town or village near the city of Magdala, Mr 8:10. Compare Mt 15:39.
The exact situation of this place is uncertain; it lay, however, on
the western shore of the sea of Galilee, north of Tiberias.


DALMATIA

A province of Europe on the east of the Adriatic sea, and forming part
of Illyricum. It was contiguous to Macedonia, Upper Moesia, and
Liburnia, from which latter it was divided by the river Titius. Hither
Titus was sent by Paul to spread the knowledge of Christianity, 2Ti
4:10.


DAMARIS

An Athenian lady, honorably distinguished as one of the few who
embraced Christianity at Athens under the preaching of Paul, Ac 17:34.


DAMASCUS

A celebrated metropolis of Syria, first mentioned in Ge 14:15 15:2,
and now probably the oldest city on the globe. It stands on the river
Barada, the ancient Chrysorrhoas, in a beautiful and fertile plain on
the east and south east of Anti-Lebanon. See ABANA, and Pharpar. This
plain is about fifty miles in circumference; it is open to the desert
of Arabiaon the south and east, and is bounded on the other sides by
the mountains. The region around and north of Damascus, including
probably the valley between the ridges of Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon, is
called in the Scriptures, "Syria of Damascus," 2Sa 8:5, and by Strabo,
Coelesyria. This city, which at first had its own kings, was taken by
David, 2Sa 8:5,6; and by Jeroboam 2Ki 14:28. Its history at this
period is to be found in the accounts given of Naaman, Ben-hadad,
Hazael, and Rezin. It was subdued by Tiglath-pileser, 2Ki 16:9; and
was afterwards subject to the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians,
Seleucidea, and Romans. In the days of Paul it appears to have been
held, for a time at least, by Aretas, king of Arabia Petraea, the
father-in-law of Herod Antipas. At this period the city was so much
thronged by the Jews, that, according to Josephus, ten thousand of
them, by command of Nero, were put to death at once. It is memorable
to Christians as the scene of the miraculous conversion of that most
illustrious "servant of the Lord Jesus Christ," the apostle Paul, Ac
9:1-27 22:1-16. Since 1506, Damascus has been held by the Turks; it is
the metropolis of "the Pashalic of Damascus," and has a population of
about one hundred and fifty thousand. The Arabs call it Eshshams. It
is still celebrated, with the surrounding country, by all travellers,
as one of the most beautiful and luxuriant regions in the world. The
orientals themselves call it "Paradise on earth," and it is pretended
that Mohammed refused to enter it, lest he should thereby forfeit his
heavenly Paradise. The plain around the city is well watered and of
exuberant fertility; and the eye of the traveller from any direction
is fascinated by the view-a wilderness of verdure, interspersed with
innumerable villas and hamlets, with gardens, fountains, and groves. A
nearer view of the city discloses much that is offensive to the
senses, as well as to the spirit. It is the most purely oriental city
yet remaining of all that are named in the Bible. Its public buildings
and bazaars are fine; and many private dwellings, though outwardly
mean, are decorated within in a style of the most costly luxury. Its
position has made it from the very first a commercial city, Eze 27:18.
They cloth called Damask is supposed to have originated here, and
Damascus steel has never been equaled. It still caries on an extensive
traffic in woven stuffs of silk and cotton, in fine inlaid cabinet
work, in leather, fruits, sweetmeats, etc. For this purpose huge
caravans assemble here at intervals, and traverse, just as of old, the
desert routes to remote cities. Here too is a chief gathering-place of
pilgrims to Mecca. People from all the nations of East resort to
Damascus, a fact which shows its importance as a missionary station.
An encouraging commencement has been made by English Christians, and
the fierce and bigoted intolerance of its Mussulman population has
begun to give way. A street is still found here called "Straight,"
probably the same referred to in Ac 9:11. It runs a mile or more
through the city from the eastern gate.


DAMNATION

The state of being excluded from God's mercy, and condemned to the
everlasting punishment of the wicked. This is now the sense of the
word damnation, in our language; but at the time when the Bible was
translated, it signified the same as condemnation. The words damn and
damnation ought therefore be still so understood, in such passages as
Ro 13:2 14:23 1Co 11:29.


DAN

A judge,


1. A son of Jacob by Bilhah, Ge 30:3 35:25. The tribe of Dan was
second only to that of Judah in numbers before entering Canaan, Nu
1:39 26:43. A portion was assigned to Dan, extending southeast from
the seacoast near Joppa. It bordered on the land of the Philistines,
with whom the tribe of Dan had much to do, Jud 13:1-16:31. Their
territory was fertile, but small, and the natives were powerful. A
part of the tribe therefore sought and conquered another home, Jos
19:1-51 Jud 18:1-31


2. A city originally called Laish, Jud 18:29, at the northern
extremity of Israel, in the tribe of Naphtali. "From Dan to Beersheba"
denotes the whole extent of the land of promise, Dan being the
northern city, and Beersheba the southern one. Dan was seated at the
foot of Mount Hermon, four miles west of Paneas, near one source of
the Jordan, on a hill now called Tell-el-Kady. Laish at one time
belonged to Zidon, and received the name of Dan from a portion of that
tribe who conquered and rebuilt it, Jud 18:1-31. It was an idolatrous
city even then, and was afterwards the seat of one of the golden
calves of Jeroboam, 1Ki 12:28 Am 8:14. Though once and again a very
prosperous city, Jud 18:10 Eze 27:19, only slight remains of it now
exist.


DANCING

The Hebrew word signified "to leap for joy," Ps 30:11; and the action
of the lame man healed by Peter and John, Ac 3:8, more nearly
resembled the Hebrew dancing than the measured artificial steps of
modern times do. The Jewish dances were expressive of religious joy
and gratitude. Sometimes they were in honor of a conqueror, as in the
case of David, 1Sa 18:6,7; when he had slain the Philistine giant,
"the women came out all the cities of Israel singing and dancing." It
was practiced on occasions of domestic joy. See the case of the
prodigal son's return. In the religious dance, the timbrel was used to
direct the ceremony, and some one led, whom the rest followed with
measured step and devotional songs; thus Miriam led the women of
Israel, Ex 15:20,21, and king David the men, 2Sa 6:14 Ps 150:4.


Several important conclusions have been drawn from a careful
comparison of the portions of Scripture in which there is allusions to
dancing. It was religious in its character; practiced exclusively on
joyous occasions; only by one of the sexes; usually in the daytime,
and in the open air: no instances are on record in which the two sexes
united in the exercise; and it was not practiced for amusement. The
exceptions to this latter assertion are "vain fellows," alluded to by
Michal, 2Sa 6:20, the ungodly rich families referred to by Job, Job
21:11, and the daughter of Herodias, Mt 14:6.


Among the Greeks and Romans dancing was a common pastime, resorted to
in order to enliven feasts, and also on occasions of domestic joy.
Still Cicero says, "No one dances, unless he is either drunk or mad;"
and these words express the prevailing sense as to the impropriety of
respectable individuals taking part in the amusement. Hence the gay
circles of Rome, as is the case in the East at the present time,
derived their entertainment from the performances of professional
dancers. These were women of abandoned character; and their dances,
like those in heathen temples, were often grossly indecent, Isa 23:16.


DANIEL, BOOK OF

This is a mixture of history and prophecy. The first six chapters are
chiefly historical, and the remainder prophetical. It was completed
about B. C. 534. The wonders related are of a peculiar and striking
character, and were designed to show the people of God that, amid
their degeneracy, the Lord's hand was not shortened that it could not
save; and also to exhibit to their enemies that there was an essential
difference between Jehovah and idols, between the people of God and
the world. The prophecies contained in the latter part of the book
extend from the days of Daniel to the general resurrection. The
Assyrian, the Persian, the Grecian, and the Roman empires are
described under appropriate imagery. The precise time of Christ's
coming is told; the rise and the fall of antichrist, and the duration
of his power, are accurately determined; the victory of Christ over
his enemies, and the universal prevalence of his religion are clearly
pointed out. The book is filled with the most exalted sentiments of
piety and devout gratitude. Its style is simple, clear, and concise,
and many of the prophecies are delivered in language so plain and
circumstantial, that some infidels have asserted that they were
written after the events they described had taken place. Sir Isaac
Newton regards Daniel as the most distinct and plain of all the
prophets, and most easy to be understood; and therefore considers that
in things relating to the last times, he is to be regarded as the key
to the other prophets.


With respect to the genuineness and authenticity of the book, there is
the strongest evidence, both internal and external. We have the
testimony of Christ himself, Mt 24:15; of St. John and St. Paul, who
have copied his prophecies; of the Jewish church and nation, who have
constantly received this book as canonical; of Josephus, who
recommends him as the greatest of the prophets; and of the Jewish
Targets and Talmuds, which frequently cite his authority. As to the
internal evidence, the style, the language, the manner of writing,
perfectly agree with the age; and especially, he is proved to have
been a prophet by the exact fulfilment of his predictions. This book,
like that of Ezra, is written partly in Hebrew, and partly in Chaldee,
the prevailing language of the Babylonians.


DANIEL

1. Called Belteshazzar by the Chaldeans, a prophet descended from the
royal family of David, who was carried captive to Babylon, when very
young, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim king of Judah, B. C. 606. He
was chosen, with his three companions, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,
to reside at Nebuchadnezzar's court, where he received a suitable
education, and made great progress in all the sciences of the
Chaldeans, but declined to pollute himself by eating provisions from
the king's table, which would often be ceremonially unclean to a Jew,
or defiled by some connection with idol-worship. At the end of their
three years' education, Daniel and his companions excelled all others,
and received honorable appointments in the royal service. Here Daniel
soon displayed his prophetic gifts in interpreting a dream of
Nebuchadnezzar, by whom he was made governor of Babylon, and head of
the learned and priestly class. He seems to have been absent, perhaps
on some foreign embassy, when his three companions were cast into the
fiery furnace. At a later period he interpreted another dream of
Nebuchadnezzar, and afterwards the celebrated vision of Belshazzar-one
of whose last works was to promote Daniel to an office much higher
than he had previously held during his reign, Da 5:29 8:27.


After the capture of Babylon by the Medes and Persians, under Cyaxares
and Cyrus, Daniel was continued in all his high employments, and
enjoyed the favor of these princes until his death, except at one
short interval, when the envy of the other officers prevailed on the
king of the other officers prevailed on the king to cast him into the
lion's den, an act which recoiled on his foes to their own
destruction. During this period he earnestly labored, by fasting and
prayer as well as by counsel, to secure the return of the Jews to
their own land, the promised time having come, Da 9:1-27. He lived to
see the decree issued, and many of his people restored; but it is not
known that he ever revisited Jerusalem. In the third year of Cyrus, he
had a series of visions disclosing the state of the Jews till the
coming of the promised Redeemer; and at last we see him calmly
awaiting the peaceful close of a well-spent life, and the gracious
resurrection of the just. Daniel was one of the most spotless
characters upon record. His youth and his age were alike devoted to
God. He maintained his integrity in the most difficult circumstances,
and amid the fascinations of an eastern court he was pure and upright.
He confessed the name of God before idolatrous princes; and would have
been a martyr, but for the miracle which rescued him from death. His
history deserves the careful and prayerful study of the young, and the
lessons that it inculcates are weighty and rich in instruction.


2. The second son of David, also called Chileab, 1Ch 3:1 2Sa 3:3.


3. A descendant of Ithamar, the fourth son of Aaron. He was one of the
chiefs who accompanied Ezra from Babylon to Judea, and afterwards took
a prominent part in the reformation of the people, Ezr 8:2.


DARIUS

1. DARIUS THE MEDE


Da 5:31 9:1 11:1, was son of Astyages king of the Medes, and brother
of Mandane mother of Cyrus, and of Amyit the mother of Evil-merodach
and grandmother of Belshazzar: thus he was uncle, by the mother's
side, to Evil-merodach and to Cyrus. The Hebrew generally calls him
Darius; the Septuagint, Artaxerxes; and Xenophon, Cyaxares. Darius
dethroned Belshazzar king of the Chaldeans, and occupied the throne
till his death two years after, when it reverted to the illustrious
Cyrus. In his reign Daniel was cast into the lion's den, Da 6:1-28.


2. DARIUS HYSTASPIS


Spoken of in Ezr 4:1-7:28, Haggai, and Zechariah, as the king who
renewed the permission to rebuild the temple, given to the Jews by
Cyrus and afterwards recalled. He succeeded Smerdis, the Magian
usurper, B. C. 521, and reigned thirty-six years. He removed the seat
of government to Susa, whereupon Babylon rebelled against him; but he
subdued the rebellion and broke down the walls of Babylon, as was
predicted, Jer 51:58.


3. DARIUS CODOMANUS


Ne 12:22, was one of the most brave and generous of the Persian kings.
Alexander the Great defeated him several times, and at great length
subverted the Persian monarchy, after it had been established two
hundred and six years. Darius was killed by his own generals, after a
short reign of six years. Thus were verified the prophecies of Daniel,
Da 8:1-27, who had foretold the enlargement of the Persian monarchy,
under the symbol of a ram, butting with its horns westward, northward,
and southward, which nothing could resist; and its destruction by a
goat having a very large horn between his eyes, (Alexander the Great),
coming from the west, and overrunning the world without touching the
earth. Nothing can be added to the clearness of these prophecies, so
exactly describing what in due time took place and is matter of
history.


DARKNESS

The absence of natural light, Ge 1:2, and hence figuratively a state
of misery and adversity, Job 18:6 Ps 107:10 Isa 8:22 9:1; also the
absence of the sun and stars, and hence the fall of chief men and
national convulsions, Isa 13:10 Ac 2:20. "Works of darkness," are the
impure mysteries practiced in heathen worship, Eph 5:11. "Outer
darkness" illustrates the gloom of those on whom the gates of heaven
are closed, Mt 8:12. The darkness in Egypt, Ex 10:21-23, was
miraculous; also that which covered all Judea with sympathetic gloom
at the crucifixion of Christ, Lu 23:43. This could not have been
caused by an eclipse of the sun; for at Passover the moon was full,
and on the opposite side of the earth from the sun.


DATE

The fruit of the palm-tree. See PALM.


DATHAN

One of the rebels, in company with Korah, against the authority of
Moses, and Aaron, Nu 16:1-50.


DAVID

Beloved, the youngest son of Jesse, of the tribe of Judah, born in
Bethlehem B. C. 1085; one of the most remarkable men in either sacred
of secular history. His life is fully recorded in 1Sa 16:1 1Ki 2:46.
He was "the Lord's anointed," chosen by God to be king of Israel
instead of Saul, and consecrated to that office by the venerable
prophet Samuel long before he actually came to the throne, 1Sa
16:1-13, for which God prepared him by the gift of his Spirit, and a
long course of vicissitudes and dangers. In his early pastoral life he
distinguished himself by his boldness, fidelity, and faith in God; and
while yet a youth was summoned to court, as one expert in music,
valiant, prudent in behavior, and comely in person. He succeeded in
relieving from time to time the mind of king Saul, oppressed by a
spirit of melancholy and remorse, and became a favorite attendant; but
on the breaking out of war with the Philistines he seems to have been
released, and to have returned to take care of his father's flock.
Providence soon led him to visit the camp, and gave to his noble valor
and faith the victory over the giant champion Goliath. He returned to
court crowned with honor, received a command in the army, acquitted
himself well on all occasions, and rapidly gained the confidence and
love of the people. The jealousy of Saul, however, at length drove him
to seek refuge in the wilderness of Judea; where he soon gathered a
band of six hundred men, whom he kept in perfect control and employed
only against the enemies of the land. He was still pursued by Saul
with implacable hostility; and as he would not lift his hand against
his king, though he often had him in his power, he at length judged it
best to retire into the land of the Philistines. Here he was
generously received; but had found the difficulties of his position
such as he could not honorably meet, when the death of Saul and
Jonathon opened the way for him to the promised throne.


He was at once chosen king over the house of Judah, at Hebron; and
after about seven years of hostilities was unanimously chosen king by
all the tribes of Israel, and established himself at Jerusalem-the
founder of a royal family which continued till the downfall of the
Jewish state. His character as a monarch is remarkable for fidelity to
God, and to the great purposes for which he was called to so
responsible a position. The ark of God he conveyed to the Holy City
with the highest demonstrations of honor and of joy. The ordinances of
worship were remodeled and provided for with the greatest care. He
administered justice to the people with impartiality, and gave a
strong impulse to the general prosperity of the nation. His wisdom and
energy consolidated the Jewish kingdom; and his warlike skill enabled
him not only to resist with success the assaults of invaders, but to
extend the bounds of the kingdom over the whole territory promised in
prophecy-from the Red sea and Egypt to the Euphrates, Ge 15:18 Jos
1:3. With the spoils he took in war he enriched his people, and
provided abundant materials for the magnificent temple he purposed to
build in honor of Jehovah, but which it was Solomon a privilege to
erect.


David did not wholly escape the demoralizing influences of prosperity
and unrestricted power. His temptations were numerous and strong; and
though his general course was in striking contrast with that of the
kings around him, he fell into grievous sins. Like others in those
days, he had embittered by the evil results of polygamy. His crimes in
the case of Uriah and Bathsheba were heinous indeed; but on awaking
from his dream of folly, he repented in dust and ashes, meekly
submitted to reproof and punishment, and sought and found mercy from
God. Thenceforth frequent afflictions reminded him to be humble and
self-distrustful. There were discords, profligacy, and murder in his
own household. The histories of Tamar, Amnon, and Absalom show what
anguish must have rent their father's heart. The rebellions of
Absalom, Sheba, and Adonijah, the famine and plague that afflicted his
people, the crimes of Joab, etc., led him to cry out, "O that I had
wings, like a dove; then would I fly away, and be at rest." Yet his
trials bore good fruit. His firmness and decision of character, his
humility, nobleness, and piety shine in his last acts, on the occasion
of Adonijah's rebellion. His charge to Solomon respecting the
forfeited lives of Joab and Shimei, was the voice of justice and not
of revenge. His preparations for the building of the temple, and the
public service in which he devoted all to Jehovah, and called on all
the people to bless the Lord God of their fathers, crown with singular
beauty and glory the life of this eminent servant of God. After a
reign of forty years, he died at the age of seventy-one.


The mental abilities and acquirements of David were of a high order;
his general conduct was marked by generosity, integrity, fortitude,
activity, and perseverance; and his religious character eminently
adorned by sincere, fervent, and exalted piety. He was statesman,
warrior, and poet all in one. In his Psalms he frankly reveals his
whole heart. They are inspired poems, containing many prophetic
passages, and wonderfully fitted to guide the devotions of the people
of God so long as he has a church on earth. Though first sung by
Hebrew tongues in the vales of Bethlehem and on the heights of Zion,
they sound as sweetly in languages then unknown, and are dear to
Christian hearts all around the world. In introducing them into the
temple service, David added an important and edification to the former
ritual.


In his kingly character, David was a remarkable type of Christ; and
his conquests foreshadowed those of Christ's kingdom. His royal race
was spiritually revived in the person of our Savior, who was descended
from him after the flesh, and who is therefore called "the Son of
David," and is said to sit upon his throne.


DAY

The day is distinguished into natural, civil, and artificial. The
natural day is one revolution of the earth on its axis. The civil day
is that, the beginning and the end of which are determined by the
custom of any nation. The Hebrews began their day in the evening, Le
23:32; the Babylonians at sunrise; and we begin at midnight. The
artificial day is the time of the sun's continuance above the horizon,
which is unequal according to different seasons, on account of the
obliquity of the equator. The sacred writers generally divide the day
into twelve hours. The sixth hour always ends at noon throughout the
year; and the twelfth hour is the last hour before sunset. But in
summer, all the hours of the day were longer than in winter, while
those of night were shorter. See HOURS, and THREE.


The word day is also often put for an indeterminate period, for the
time of Christ's coming in the flesh, and of his second coming to
judgment, Isa 2:12 Eze 13:5 Joh 11:24 1Th 5:2. The prophetic "day"
usually is to be understood as one year, and the prophetic "year" or
"time" as 360 days, Eze 4:6. Compare the three and half years of Da
7:25, with the forty-two months and twelve hundred and sixty days of
Re 11:2,3.


DEACON

The original meaning of this word is an attendant, assistant, helper.
It is sometimes translated minister, that is, servant, as in Mt 20:26
2Co 6:4 Eph 3:7. Deacons are first mentioned as officers in the
Christian church in Ac 6:1-15, where it appears that their duty was to
collect the alms of the church, and distribute them to such as had a
claim upon them, visiting the poor and sick, widows, orphans, and
sufferers under persecution, and administering all necessary and
proper relief. Of the seven there named, Philip and Stephen are
afterwards found laboring as evangelists. The qualifications of
deacons are specified in 1Ti 3:8-12.


DEACONESS

Such women were called deaconesses as served the church in those
offices in which the deacons could not with propriety engage; such as
keeping the doors of that part of the church where the women sat,
privately instructing those of their own sex, and visiting others
imprisoned for the faith. In Ro 16:1, Phebe is said to be a "servant"
of the church at Cenchrea; but in the original Greek she is called
deaconess.


DEAD SEA

See SEA.


DEATH

Is taken in Scripture, first, for the separation of body and soul, the
first death, Ge 25:11; secondly, for alienation from God, and exposure
to his wrath, 1Jo 3:14, etc.; thirdly, for the second death, that of
eternal damnation. Death was the penalty affixed to Adam's
transgression, Ge 2:17 3:19; and all his posterity are transgressors,
and share the curse inflicted upon him. CHRIST is "our life." All
believers share his life, spiritually and eternally; and though sin
and bodily is taken away, and in the resurrection the last enemy shall
be trampled under foot, Ro 5:12-21 1Co 15:1-58.


Natural death is described as a yielding up of the breath, or spirit,
expiring, Ps 104:29; as a return to our original dust, Ge 3:19 Ec
12:7; as the soul's laying off the body, its clothing, 2Co 5:3,4, or
the tent in which it has dwelt, 2Co 5:1 2Pe 1:13,14. The death of the
believer is a departure, a going home, a falling asleep in Jesus, Php
1:23 Mt 26:24 Joh 11:11.


The term death is also sometimes used for any great calamity, or
imminent danger threatening life, as persecution, 2Co 1:10. "The gates
of death," Job 38:17, signify the unseen world occupied by departed
spirits. Death is also figuratively used to denote the insensibility
of Christians to the temptations of a sinful world, Col 3:3.


DEBIR

A word, an oracle, Jud 1:11, a place called also KIRJATH-SEPHER, a
city of books; and KIRJATH-SANNAH, a city of literature, Jos 5:15,15.
Judging from the names, it appears to have been some sacred place
among the Canaanites, and a repository of their records. It was a city
in the south-west part of Judea, conquered from the Anakim by Joshua,
but recaptured by the Canaanites, and resubdued by Othniel, and
afterwards given to the priests, Jos 10:38,39 15:15-17 21:15. Its site
is wholly lost. There was another Debir in Gad, and a third on the
border of Benjamin, Jos 13:26 15:7.


DEBORAH

1. A prophetess, and wife of Lapidoth, judged the Israelites, and
dwelt under a palm-tree between Ramah and Bethel, Jud 4:4,5. She sent
for Barak, directed him to attack Sisera, and promised him victory.
Barak, however, refused to go unless she accompanied him, which she
did, but told him that the success of the expedition would be imputed
to a woman and not to him. After the victory, Deborah composed a
splendid triumphal song, which is preserved in Jud 5:1- 31.


2. The nurse of Rebekah, whom she accompanied from Aram into Canaan,
Ge 24:1-67. At her death, near Bethel, she was buried with honorable
marks of affection, Ge 35:8. There is something very beautiful in this
simple and artless record, which would scarcely find a place in our
grand histories, treating only of kings, statesmen, and renowned
warriors. They seldom take the trouble of erecting a memorial to
obscure worth and a long life of humble usefulness.


DEBTOR

One under obligations, whether pecuniary or moral, Mt 23:16 Ro 1:14 Ga
5:3. If the house, cattle, or goods of a Hebrew would not meet his
debts, his land might be appropriated for this purpose until the year
of Jubilee, or his person might be reduced into servitude till he had
paid his debt by his labor, or till the year of Jubilee, which
terminated Hebrew bondage in all cases, Le 25:29-41 2Ki 4:1 Ne 5:3-5.


DECALOGUE

The ten principal commandments, Ex 20:3-17, from the Greek words deka,
ten, and logos, word. The Jews call these precepts, The Ten Words. The
usual division of the Ten Commandments among Protestants is that which
Josephus tells us was employed by the Jews in his day.


DECAPOLIS

(From the Greek words, deka, ten, and polis, a city), a country in
Palestine, which contained ten principal cities, on both of the
Jordan, chiefly east, Mt 4:25; Mr 5:20; 7:31. According to Pliny, they
were, Scythopolis, Philadelphia, Raphanae, Gadara, Hippos, Dios,
Pella, Gerasa, Canatha, and Damascus. Josephus inserts Otopos instead
of Canatha. Though within the limits of Israel, the Decapolis was
inhabited by many foreigners, and hence it retained a foreign
appellation. This may also account for the numerous herds of swine
kept in the district, Mt 8:30; a practice which was forbidden by the
Mosaic Law.


DEDAN

1. The grandson of Cush, Ge 10:7; and


2. The son of Jokshan, Abraham's son by Keturah, Ge 25:3. Both were
founders of tribes frequently named in Scripture. The descendants of
the Cushite Dedan are supposed to have settled in southern Arabia,
near the Persian gulf, in which there is an island called by the Arabs
Dedan lived in the neighborhood of Idumaea, Jer 49:8. It is not clear,
in all cases where the name occurs, which of the tribes is intended.
It was probably the Cushite tribe, which was employed in trade. The
"travelling companies" of Dedan are mentioned by Isa 21:13. They are
also named with the merchants of Tarshish by Eze 38:13, and were
celebrated on account of their trade with the Phoenicians.


DEDICATION

A religious ceremony by which any person, place, or thing was devoted
to a holy purpose. Thus the tabernacle and the first and second
temples were dedicated to God, Ex 40:1-38 1Ki 8:1-66 Ezr 6:1- 22. The
Jews also practiced a certain dedication of walls, houses, etc., De
20:5 Ne 12:27. The "feast of the dedication" was a yearly
commemoration of the cleansing and rededication of the temple, when
polluted by Antiochus Epiphanes, Joh 10:22.


DEEP AND DEPTHS

The deep, or the great deep, signifies in Scripture, hell, the place
of punishment, the bottomless pit, Lu 8:31, compare Re 9:1 11:7; the
grave, Ro 10:7; the deepest parts of the sea, Ps 69:15 107:26; chaos
in the beginning of the world, Ge 1:2. See HELL.


DEER

A wild quadruped, of a middle size between the stag and the roebuck;
its horns turn inward, and are large and flat. The fallow deer is
naturally very timorous: it was reputed clean, and good for food, De
14:5. Young deer are noticed in Proverbs, Songs, and Isaiah, as
beautiful creatures, and very swift, Pr 5:19. See HIND.


DEFILE, DEFILEMENT

Many were the blemishes of person and conduct that, under the Jewish
ceremonial law, were esteemed defilements: some were voluntary; some
were inevitable, being defects of nature, others the consequences of
personal transgression. Under the gospel, defilements are those of the
heart, of the mind, the temper, and the conduct. Moral defilements are
as numerous, and as strongly prohibited under the gospel as ever,
though ceremonial defilements have ceased, Mt 15:18 Ro 1:24. See
CLEAN.


DEGREES, PSALMS OF

Is the title prefixed to fifteen psalms, from Ps 120 to Ps 134
inclusive. Of this title commentators have proposed a variety of
explanations. The most probable are the following: First, pilgrim
songs, sung by the Israelites while going up to Jerusalem to worship;
compare Ps 122:4; but to this explanation the contents of only a few
of these psalms are appropriate, as for instance, of Ps 122:1-9.
Secondly, others suppose the title to refer to a species of rhythm in
these psalms; by which the sense ascends, as it were, by degrees, one
member or clause frequently repeating the words with which the
preceding member closes. Thus in Ps 121:1-8,


1. I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, From whence cometh my
help.


2. My help cometh from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.


3. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved; Thy keeper will not
slumber.


4. Lo, not slumber nor sleep will the keeper of Israel.


But this solution does not well apply to all these psalms.


DEHAVITES

A people beyond the Euphrates, who furnished colonists for Samaria,
2Ki 17:24; Ezr 4:9; supposed to be the Dahae, on the east of the
Caspian sea, and under the Persian government.


DELILAH

A Philistine woman, whom Samson loved, and who betrayed him to the
enemies of Israel, Jud 16:1-31.


DELUGE

That universal flood which was sent upon the earth in the time of
Noah, and from which there were but eight persons saved. Moses'
account of this event is recorded in Ge 6:1-8:22. See ARK OF NOAH. The
sins of mankind were the cause of the deluge; and most commentators
agree to place it B. C. 2348. After the door of the ark had been
closed upon those that were to be saved, the deluge commenced: it
rained forty days; "the fountains of the great deep were broken up,
and the windows of heaven were opened." All men and creatures living
on the land perished, except Noah and those with him. For five months
the waters continued to rise, and reached fifteen cubits above the
highest summits to which any could fly for refuge; "a shoreless ocean
tumble round the world." At length the waters began to abate; the
highest land appeared, and the ark touched ground upon Mount Ararat.
In three months more the hills began to appear. Forty days after, Noah
tested the state of the earth's surface by sending out a raven; and
then thrice, at intervals of a week, a dove. At length he removed the
covering of the ark, and found the flood had disappeared; he came
forth from the ark, reared an altar, and offered sacrifices to God,
who appointed the rainbow as a pledge that he would no more destroy
mankind with a fool.


Since all nations have descended from the family then preserved in the
ark, it is natural that the memory of such an event should be
perpetuated in various national traditions. Such is indeed the fact.
These traditions have been found among the Egyptians, Chaldeans,
Phoenicians, Greeks, Hindoos, Chinese, Japanese, Scythians, and Celts,
and in the western hemisphere among the Mexicans, Peruvians, and South
sea islanders. Much labor has been expanded in searching for natural
causes adequate to the production of a deluge; but we should beware of
endeavoring to account on natural principles for that which the Bible
represents as miraculous.


In the New Testament, the deluge is spoken of as a stupendous
exhibition of divine power, like the creation and the final burning of
the world. It is applied to illustrate the long suffering of God, and
assure us of his judgment on sin, 2Pe 3:5-7, and of the second coming
of Christ, Mt 24:38.


DEMAS

A fellow-laborer with Paul at Thessalonica, who afterwards deserted
him, either discouraged by the hardships of the work, or allured by
the love of the world, Col 4:14 2Ti 4:10 Phm 1:24.


DEMETRIUS

1. A goldsmith of Ephesus, who made models of the famous temple of
Diana at Ephesus, which he sold to foreigners, Ac 19:24-4. Observing
the progress of the gospel, not in Ephesus only, but in the regions
around, he assembled his fellow-craftsmen, and represented that, by
this new doctrine, not only their trade would suffer, but the worship
of the great Diana of Ephesus was in danger of being entirely
forsaken. This produced an uproar and riot in the city, which the town
clerk with difficulty appeased by firmness and persuasion.


2. A disciple, and probably a minister, of high repute, 3Jo 1:12. He
may have been formerly the silversmith of Ephesus; but this can be
neither proved nor disproved.


DERBE

A small town of Lycaonia, in Asia Minor, to which Paul and Barnabas
fled from Lystra, A. D. 41, Ac 14:20. It lay at the foot of the Taurus
mountains on the north, sixteen or twenty miles east of Lystra. The
two missionaries gained many disciples here, and among them perhaps
Gaius, who afterwards labored with Paul, Ac 14:20; 20:4.


DESERT

The Scriptures, by "desert," generally mean an uncultivated place, a
wilderness, or grazing tract. Some deserts were entirely fry and
barren; others were beautiful, and had good pastures. David speaks of
the beauty of the desert, Ps 65:12,13. Scripture names several deserts
in the Holy Land. Other deserts particularly mentioned, are "that
great and terrible wilderness" in Arabia Petraea, south of Canaan, Nu
21:20; also the region between Canaan and the Euphrates, Ex 23:31 De
11:24. The pastures of this wilderness are clothed in winter and
spring with rich and tender herbage; but the heat of summer soon burns
this up, and the Arabs are driven to seek pasturage elsewhere.


DEUTERONOMY

Or the repetition of the law, the fifth book of the Pentateuch, so
called by the Greeks, because in it Moses recapitulates what he had
ordained in the preceding books, De 1:1-6 29:1 31:1 33:1-29. This book
contains the history of what passed in the wilderness from the
beginning of the eleventh month, to the seventh day of the twelfth
month, in the fortieth year after the Israelites' departure from
Egypt, that is, about six weeks, B. C. 1451. That part which mentions
the death of Moses was added afterwards, very probably by Joshua.


The book of Deuteronomy is the sublime and precious valedictory
address of the inspired "man of God," now venerable for his age and
experience, and standing almost in the gate of heaven. He gives the
people of God his fatherly counsel and blessing, and then goes up into
mount Pisgah alone to die. He recounts the dealings of God with them;
recapitulates his laws; shows them why they should love him, and how
they should serve him. It is full of tender solicitude, wise
instruction, faithful warning, and the zealous love of a patriot and a
prophet for the people of God, whom he had borne on his heart so long.
It is often quoted by later inspired writers, and by our Lord, Mt
4:4,7,10.


DEVIL

A fallen angel; and particularly the chief of them, the devil, or
Satan. He is the great principle of evil in the world; and it is his
grand object to counteract the good that God desires to do. He exerts
himself, especially with his angels, to draw away the souls of men
from embracing salvation through Jesus Christ.


His name signifies the calumniator, or false accuser; as the Hebrew
Satan means the adversary. But the Scriptures give him various other
appellations descriptive of his character. He is called, "The prince
of this world," Joh 12:31; "The prince of the power of the air," Eph
2:2; "The god of this world," 2Co 4:4; "The dragon, that old serpent,
the devil," Re 20:2; "That wicked one," 1Jo 5:18; "A roaring lion,"
1Pe 5:8; "A murderer," "a liar," Joh 8:44; "Beelzebub," Mt 12:24;
"Belial," 2Co 6:15; "The accuser of the brethren," Re 12:10. He is
everywhere shown to be full of malignity, cruelty, and deceit, hating
God and man. He is ceaselessly active in his efforts to destroy souls,
and uses innumerable devices and wiles to adapt his temptations to the
varying characters and conditions of men, enticing wicked men, and
even good men at times, as well as his own angels, to aid in his work.
Almost the whole world has been under his sway. But he is a doomed
foe. Christ shall bruise the serpent's head; shall dispossess him for
the world, as he has done from individuals, and at length confine him
for ever in the place prepared for him and his angels, Mt 25:41.


The word "devils" occurs frequently in the gospels; but it is the
translation of a different Greek word from that used to denote the
devil, and might be rendered "demons." The Bible applies the other
word only to Satan-"the devil", and his angels, who are like their
leader in nature and in actions. There are many examples in the New
Testament of persons possessed by demons. These are often called
demoniacs. Some have argued that these were afflicted by natural
diseases, such as epilepsy, insanity, etc., and were not possessed by
evil spirits. But our Savior speaks to and commands the demons who
actuated the possessed, which demons answered and obeyed, and gave
proofs of their presence by tormenting those whom they were obliged to
quit. Christ alleges, as proof of his mission, that the demons are
cast out; he promises his apostles the same power that he himself
exercised against those wicked spirits. Campbell says, "When I find
mention made of the number of demons in particular possessions, their
actions so particularly distinguished from the actions of the man
possessed, conversations held by the former in regard to the disposal
of them after their expulsion, and accounts given how they were
actually disposed of-when I find desires and passions ascribed
particularly to them, and similitudes taken from the conduct which
they usually observe, it is impossible for me to deny their
existence."


DEW

The dews in Palestine and some other oriental countries are very
copious, and serve very greatly to sustain and promote vegetation in
seasons when little or no rain falls. Maundrell tells us that the
tents of his company, when pitched on Tabor and Hermon, "were as wet
with dew as if it had rained on them all night," Jud 6:38 So 5:2. Dew
was especially heavy near the mountains, and just before and after the
rainy season. It was prized as a precious boon of Providence, Ge 27:28
De 33:28 1Ki 17:1 Job 29:19 Hag 1:10 Zec 8:12. The dew furnishes the
sacred penmen with many beautiful allusions, De 32:2 2Sa 17:12 Ps
110:3 Pr 19:12 Ho 14:5 Mic 5:7.


DIAL

An instrument much used before the invention of clocks, to tell the
time of day by the progress of the sun's shadow. The dial of Ahaz, 2Ki
20:11 Isa 38:1-9, seems to have been peculiar either in structure or
size, and was perhaps borrowed from Babylon or Damascus, 2Ki 16:10.
The causing the shadow upon it to go back ten degrees, to assure king
Hezekiah of his recovery from sickness, was probably effected not by
arresting and turning backwards the revolution of the earth, but by a
miraculous refraction of the sun's rays, observed only in Judea,
though the fame of it reached Babylon, 2Ch 32:31.


DIAMOND

The hardest and most brilliant of gems, very rare and costly. The
largest diamonds known in the world, procured from India and Brazil,
are guarded among the royal treasures of England, Russia, etc., and
valued at immense sums. Common diamonds are used not only for
ornaments, but for cutting and graving hard substances, Jer 17:1. The
Hebrew word here used is called "adamant" in Eze 3:9 Zec 7:12. See
ADAMANT. These is another Hebrew word also translated "diamond," Ex
28:18 39:11 Eze 28:13, and thought by some to mean the topaz. The
diamond is carbon in its purest and crystalline form.


DIANA

Or ARTEMIS, a celebrated goddess of the Romans and Greeks, and one of
their twelve superior deities. In the heavens she was Luna, (the
moon), on earth Diana, in the unseen world Hectate. She was invoked by
women in childbirth under the name of Lucina. She was usually
represented with a crescent on her head, a bow in her hand, and
dressed in a hunting-habit, because she was said to preside over
forests and hunting. Diana was said to be the daughter of Jupiter by
Latona, and twin sister of Apollo. As Hectate, she was regarded as
sanguinary and pitiless; as goddess of hunting and the forests, she
was chaste, but haughty and vindictive; as associated with the moon,
she was capricious and wanton. The Diana of Ephesus was like the
Syrian goddess Ashtoreth, and appears to have been worshipped with
impure rites and magical mysteries, Ac 19:19. Her image, fabled to
have fallen down from Jupiter in heaven, seems to have been a block of
wood tapering to the foot, with a female bust above covered with many
breasts, the head crowned with turrets, and each hand resting on a
staff. It was of great antiquity, and highly venerated.


The temple of this goddess was the pride and glory of Ephesus. It was
425 feet long, and 220 broad, and had 127 columns of white marble,
each 60 feet high. Its treasures were of immense value. It was 220
years in building, and was one of the seven wonders of the world. In
the year when Alexander the Great was born, B. C. 356, it was burned
down by one Herostratus, in order to immortalize his name, but was
afterwards rebuilt with even greater splendor. The "silver shrines for
Diana," made by Demetrius and others, were probably small models of
the same for domestic use, and for sale to travellers and visitors.
Ancient coins of Ephesus represent the shrine and statue of Diana,
with a Greek inscription, meaning "of the Ephesians," Ac 19:28,34,35.


DIBON

DIMON, Isa 15:9, and DI-BON-GAD DI-BON-GAD, Nu 33:45,46, a town of
Gad, Nu 32:34, but afterwards of Reuben, Jos 13:17. It lay in a plain
just north of the Arnon, and was the first encampment of the
Israelites upon crossing that river. Later we find it in the hands of
the Moabites, Isa 15:2 Jer 48:22. Traces of it remain at a place now
called Diban.


DIKLAH

A tribe descended from Joktan, Ge 10:27, and dwelling in Southern
Arabia, or perhaps near the head of the Persian gulf.


DINAH

Daughter of Jacob by Leah, Ge 30:21, his only daughter named in
Scripture. While the family were sojourning near Shalem, she
heedlessly associated with the Canaanitish maidens, and fell a victim
to the seductive arts of Shechem, a young prince of the land; but was
perfidiously and savagely avenged by Simeon and Levi, her full
brothers, to the great grief of Jacob their father, Ge 34:1-31 49:5,7.
She seems to have gone with the family to Egypt, Ge 46:15.


DIONYSIUS

A member of the court of the Areopagus at Athens, converted under the
preaching of Paul, Ac 17:34. Tradition says that he was eminent for
learning, that he was ordained by Paul at Athens, and after many
labors and trials, suffered martyrdom by fire. The works ascribed to
him are spurious, being the product of some unknown writer in the
fourth or fifth century.


DIOTREPHES

An influential member, perhaps minister, of some early church,
censured by John for his jealous ambition, and his violent rejection
of the best Christians, 3Jo 1:9,10.


DISCERNING OF SPIRITS

1Co 12:10, a miraculous gift of the Holy Ghost to certain of the early
church, empowering them to judge of the real character of those who
professed to love Christ, and to be inspired to teach in his name, 1Jo
4:1 2Jo 1:7. Compare Ac 5:1-10 13:6-12.


DISCIPLE

A scholar, Mt 10:24. In the New Testament it is applied principally to
the followers of Christ; sometimes to those of John the Baptist, Mt
22:16. It is used in a special manner to point out the twelve, Mt 10:1
11:1 20:17. A disciple of Christ may now be defined as one who
believes his doctrine, rests upon his sacrifice, imbibes his spirit,
imitates his example, and lives to do his work.


DISCOVER

Mic 1:6, to uncover, or lay bare.


DISEASES

Were introduced into the world by sin, and have been greatly increased
by the prevalence of corrupt, indolent, and luxurious habits. Besides
the natural causes of diseases, evil spirits were charged with
producing them among the Hebrews, Job 2:7 Mr 9:17 Lu 13:16 2Co 12:7.
The pious Jews recognized the hand of God in sending them, Ps 39:9-11
90:3-12; and in many cases special diseases were sent in punishment of
particular sins, as Abimelech, Gehazi, Jehoram, Uzziah, Miriam, Herod,
the Philistines, etc., and those who partook of the Lord's supper
unworthily, 1Co 11:30. Christ manifested his divine goodness and power
by healing every form of disease; and in these cases, as in that of
king Asa, 2Ch 16:12, it is shown that all the skill of physicians is
in vain without God's blessing. The prevalent diseases in Bible lands
were malignant fevers, cutaneous diseases, palsy, dysentery, and
ophthalmia. Almost every form of bodily disease has a counterpart in
the maladies of the soul.


DISPENSATION

The charge of proclaiming the gospel of Christ, 1Co 9:17 Eph 3:2. Also
the scheme or plan of God's dealings with men. In the Patriarchal,
Mosaic, and Christian dispensations, God has commenced, enlarged, and
perfected his revelation of himself and his grace to this world, Eph
1:10 Col 1:25. The whole development of his great plan has been
gradual, and adapted at every stage to the existing state of the human
family.


DIVINATION

The Eastern people were fond of divination, magic, and the pretended
art of interpreting dreams and acquiring a knowledge of futurity. When
Moses published the law, this disposition had long been common in
Egypt and the neighboring countries; and to correct the Israelites
inclination to consult diviners, wizards, fortune-tellers, and
interpreters of dreams, it was forbidden them under very severe
penalties, and the true spirit of prophecy was promised to them as
infinitely superior, Ex 22:18 Le 19:26,31 20:27. Those were to be
stoned who pretended to have a familiar spirit, or the spirit of
divination, De 18:9-12; and the prophecies are full of invectives
against the Israelite who consulted such, as well as against false
prophets, who seduced the people, Isa 8:19 47:11- 14 Eze 13:6-9. A
fresh impulse to these superstitions was gained from intercourse with
the Chaldeans, during the reign of the later kings of Judah and the
captivities in Babylon, 2Ki 21:6 2Ch 33:6. See MAGIC, SORCERERS.


Divination was of several kinds: by water, fire, earth, air; by the
fight of birds, and their singing; by lots, dreams, arrows, clouds,
entrails of sacrifices, pretended communication with spirits, etc.,
Eze 21:21.


DIVORCE

Was tolerated by Moses for sufficient reasons, De 24:1-4; but our Lord
has limited it to the single case of adultery, Mt 5:31,32.


DOCTOR OF THE LAW

May perhaps be distinguished from SCRIBE, as rather teaching orally,
than giving written opinions, Lu 2:46. It implies one learned in the
divine law. Doctors of the law were mostly of the sect of the
Pharisees, but are distinguished from that sect in Lu 5:17, where it
appears that the novelty of our Savior's teaching drew together a
great company both of Pharisees and doctors of the law.


DODANIM

Or RODANM, 1Ch 1:7, a people descended from Japhet through Javan, Ge
10:4. They are associated, by the above passage, and by dim
etymological inferences, with the island of Rhodes or some location on
the north coast of the Mediterranean.


DOEG

An Edomite, overseer of Saul's flocks. At Nob he witnessed the relief
kindly furnished to David when fleeing from Saul, by Ahimelech the
high priest, and carried a malicious and distorted report of it to his
master. The king gladly seized the opportunity to wreak his passion on
a helpless victim; and when the Jews around him refused to slay the
priests of God, infamously used the willing services of this alien and
heathen. Doeg not only slew Ahimelech and eighty-four other priests,
but put the town in which they dwelt to the sword, 1Sa 21:15. David
forebodes his wretched fate, Ps 52:1-9 120:1-7 140:1-13.


DOGS

Were held in great contempt by the Jews, but were worshipped, as well
as cats, by the Egyptians. Among the Jews, to compare a person to a
dog was the most degrading expression possible, 1Sa 17:43 24:14 2Sa
9:8. The state of dogs among the Jews was the same that now prevails
in the East, where, having no owners, they run about the streets in
troops, and are fed by charity or caprice, or live on such offal as
they can pick up. As they are often on the point of starvation, they
devour corpses, and in the night even attack living men, Ps 59:6,14,15
1Ki 14:11. In various places in Scripture the epithet "dogs" is given
to certain classes of men, as expressing their insolent rapacity, Mt
7:6 Ps 22:16 Php 3:2, and their beastly vices, De 23:18 2Pe 2:22 Re
22:15.


DOR

A royal city of the Canaanites, on the Mediterranean between Caesarea
and mount Carmel; after the conquest it was assigned to Manasseh, Jos
11:2; 12:23; 17:11; 1Ki 4:11; 1Ch 7:29. There is now a small port
there, with about 500 inhabitants.


DORCAS

In Greek, the same as TABITHA in Syriac, that is, gazalle, the name of
a pious and charitable woman at Joppa, whom Peter raised from the
dead, Ac 9:36-42.


DOTHAN

Or DOTHAIN, the place where Joseph was sold to the Ishmaelites, Ge
37:17, and where the Syrians were smitten with blindness at Elisha's
word, 2Ki 6:13. It was on the caravan-route from Syria to Egypt, about
eleven miles north of Samaria.


DOVES' DUNG

It is said, 2Ki 6:25, that during the siege of Samaria, "the fourth
part of a cab," little more than half a pint, "of doves' dung was sold
for five pieces of silver," about two and a half dollars. As doves'
dung is not a nourishment for man, even in the most extreme famine,
the general opinion is, that it was a kind of chick-pea, lentil, or
tare, which has very much the appearance of doves' dung. Great
quantities of these are sold in Cairo to the pilgrims going to Mecca;
and at Damascus there are many shops where nothing else is done but
preparing chickpeas. These, parched in a copper pan, and dried, are of
great service to those who take long journeys.


DOVES

Were clean according to the Mosaic ritual, and were offered in
sacrifice, especially by the poor, Ge 15:9 Le 5:7 12:6-8 Lu 2:24.
Several kinds of doves or pigeons frequented the Holy Land; and the
immense flocks of them sometimes witnessed illustrate a passage in Isa
60:8. They are symbols of simplicity, innocence, and fidelity, Ho 7:11
Mt 10:16. The dove was the chosen harbinger of God's returning favor
after the flood, Ge 8:1-22, and was honored as an emblem of the Holy
Spirit, Mt 3:16. See TURTLEDOVE.


DOWRY

In eastern countries the bridegroom was required to pay the father of
his betrothed a stipulated portion, in money or other valuables,
portion, in money or other valuables, proportioned to the rank and
station of the family to which she belonged; this was the dowry. Jacob
purchased his wives by his services to their father, Ge 29:18-27;
34:12; Ex 22:16,17; 1Sa 18:25; Ho 3:2.


DRAGON WELL

Ne 2:13; probably the fountain of Gihon, on the west side of
Jerusalem.


DRAGON

Answers, in the English Bible, the Hebrew word signifying a
sea-monster, huge serpent, etc. Thus in De 32:33 Jer 51:34 Re 12:1-17,
it evidently implies a huge serpent; in Isa 27:1 51:9 Eze 29:3, it may
mean the crocodile, or any large sea-monster; while in Job 30:29 La
4:3 Mic 1:8, it seems to refer to some wild animal of the desert, most
probably the jackal. The animal known to modern naturalists under the
name of dragon, is a harmless species of lizard, found in Asia and
Africa.


DRAM

Ezr 2:69, a gold coin of Persia, worth about five dollars.


DRAUGHT

A cesspool or receptacle for filth, 2Ki 10:27; Mt 15:17. Also, all the
fishes taken at one drawing of a net, Lu 5:9.


DREAM

The orientals, and in particular the Jews, greatly regarded dreams,
and applied for their interpretation to those who undertook to explain
them. We see the antiquity of this custom in the history of Pharaoh's
butler and baker, Ge 40:1-23; and Pharaoh himself and Nebuchadnezzar
are also instances. God expressly forbade his people to observe
dreams, and to consult explainers of them. He condemned to death all
who pretended to have prophetic dreams, even though what they foretold
came to pass, if they had any tendency to promote idolatry, De 13:1-3.
But they were not forbidden, when they thought they had a significant
dream, to address the prophets of the Lord, or the high priest in his
ephod, to have it explained. The Lord frequently made known his will
in dreams, and enabled persons to explain them, Ge 20:3-7 28:12-15 1Sa
28:6 Da 2:1-49 Joe 2:28 Mt 1:20 Ac 27:22. Supernatural dreams are
distinguished from visions, in that the former occurred during sleep,
and the latter when the person was awake. God spoke to Abimelech in a
dream, but to Abraham by vision. In both cases he left on the mind an
assurance of the certainty of whatever he revealed. Both are now
superseded by the Bible, our sure and sufficient guide through earth
to heaven.


DREGS

See LEES.


DRESSES

See GARMENTS.


DRINK OFFERING

A small quantity of wine, part of which was to be poured on the
sacrifice or meat offering, and the residue given to the priests, Ex
29:40; Le 23:18; Nu 15:5,7. It may have been appointed as an
acknowledgment that all the blessings of the earth are from God, Ge
35:14.


DROMEDARY

See CAMEL.


DROUGHT

Was an evil to which Palestine was naturally subject, as no rain fell
from May to September. During these months of summer, the ground
became parched and cleft, the streams and springs became dry, and
vegetation was kept from extinction by the dews at night and by
artificial irrigation. If rain did not come in its season and
abundantly, the distress was general and dreadful. A drought therefore
is threatened as one of God's sorest judgments, Job 24:19 Jer 50:38
Joe 1:10-20 Hag 1:11; and there are many allusions to its horrors in
Scripture, De 28:23 Ps 32:4 102:4.


DRUNKENNESS

Is referred to in the Bible both in single instances and as a habit.
Its folly is often illustrated, Ps 107:27 Isa 19:14 24:20 28:7,8, its
guilt denounced, Isa 5:22, its ill results traced, 1Sa 25:36 1Ki 16:9
20:16, and its doom shown, 1Co 6:9,10. It is produced by wine, Ge 9:21
21:33 Jer 23:9 Eph 5:18, as well as by "strong drink," 1Sa 1:13-15 Isa
5:11. Hence the use of these was forbidden to the priests at the
altar, Le 10:9; and all are cautioned to avoid them, Pr 20:1 23:20. To
tempt others to drunkenness is a sin accursed of God, 2Sa 11:13 Hab
2:15,16. Its prevalence in a community is inseparable from the
habitual use of any inebriating liquor. Hence the efforts made by the
wise and good to secure abstinence from all intoxicating drinks, 1Co
8:13. See WINE.


DRUSILLA

The youngest daughter of Herod Agrippa I, and sister of the younger
Agrippa and Bernice, celebrated for her beauty and infamous for her
licentiousness. She was first espoused to Epiphanes, son of Antiochus
king of Comagena, on condition of his embracing the Jewish religion;
but as he afterwards refused to be circumcised, Drusilla was given in
marriage by her brother to Azizus king of Emessa. When Felix came as
governor of Judea, he persuaded her to abandon her husband and her
religion, and become his wife. Paul bore testimony before them to the
truth of the Christian religion, Ac 24:24. She and her son afterwards
perished in an eruption of Vesuvius.


DUKE

In Ge 36:15-43, is a long list of "dukes" of Edom; but the word duke,
from the Latin dux, merely signifies a leader, and not an order of
nobility; and the word chief or sheikh would have been preferable in
our translation, 1Ch 1:51.


DULCIMER

Da 3:5,10, an instrument of music, which the rabbins describe as a
sort of bagpipe, composed of two pipes connected with a leathern sack,
and of a harsh, screaming sound. The modern dulcimer is an instrument
of a triangular form, strung with about fifty wires, and struck with
an iron key while lying on the table before the performer. See MUSIC.


DUMAH

A tribe and country of the Ishmaelites in Arabia, Ge 25:14; 1Ch 1:30;
Isa 21:11. This is doubtless the same which is still called by the
Arabs "Duma the stony" and "the Syrian Duma," situated on the confines
of the Arabian and Syrian desert, with a fortress.


DUNG

Among the Israelites, the dung of animals was used only for manure,
but, when dried, for fuel. In districts where wood is scarce, the
inhabitants are very careful in collecting the dung of camels and
asses; it is mixed with chopped straw, and dried. It is not unusual to
see a whole village with portions of this material adhering to the
walls of the cottages to dry; and towards the end of autumn it is
piled in conical heaps or stacks on the roof. It is employed in
heating ovens, and for other similar purposes, Eze 4:12-16. The use of
dung for manure is intimated in Isa 25:10.


DURA

The plain in Babylon where Nebuchadnezzar set up his golden image. Da
3:1.


DUST

Jos 7:6. Dust or ashes put upon the head was a sign of mourning;
sitting in the dust, a sign of affliction, La 3:29 Isa 47:1. "Dust" is
also put for the grave, Ge 3:19 Job 7:21. It signifies a multitude, Ge
13:16, and a low and mean condition, 1Sa 2:8. We have two remarkable
instances of casting dust recorded in Scripture, and they seem to
illustrate a practice common in Asia: those who demanded justice
against a criminal were accustomed to throw dust upon him, signifying
that he deserved to be cast into the grave. Shimei cast dust upon
David when he fled from Jerusalem, 2Sa 16:13. The Jews treated the
apostle Paul in a similar manner in the same city: "They cried out,
'Away with such a fellow from the earth; for it is not fit that he
should live.' And as they cried out, and cast off their clothes, and
threw dust into the air, the chief captain commanded him to be brought
into the castle," Ac 22:22-24. To shake off the dust of the feet
against another was expressive of entire renunciation, Mt 10:14 Mr
6:11 Ac 13:51. The threatening of God, recorded in De 28:24, "The Lord
shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it
come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed," means that instead of
fertilizing rains, clouds of fine dust, raised from the parched ground
and driven by fierce and burning winds, shall fill the air. Of such a
rain of dust, famine and disease would be the natural attendants. See
WIND.


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