American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - E
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Job 39:27-30, a large and very powerful bird of prey, hence called the
King of birds. There are several species of eagle described by
naturalists, and it is probable that this word in the Bible
comprehends more than one of these. The noble eastern species, called
by Mr. Bruce "the golden eagle," measures eight feet four inches from
wing to wing; and from the tip of his tail to the point of his beak,
when dead, four feet seven inches. Of all known birds, the eagle flies
not only the highest, Pr 23:5 Jer 49:16 Ob 1:4, but also with the
greatest rapidity. To this circumstance there are several striking
allusions in the sacred volume, 2Sa 1:23 Job 9:26 La 4:19. Among the
evils threatened to the Israelites in case of their disobedience, the
prophet names one in the following terms: "The Lord shall bring a
nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as
the eagle flieth," De 28:49. The march of Nebuchadnezzar against
Jerusalem, is predicted in similar terms: "Behold, he shall come up as
clouds, and his chariots as a whirlwind: his horses are swifter than
eagles," Jer 4:13 48:40 49:22 Ho 8:1. This bird was a national emblem
on Persian and Roman standards, as it now is on United States' coins.
The eagle, it is said, lives to a great age; and like other birds of
prey, sheds his feathers in the beginning of spring, after which his
old age assumes the appearance of youth. To this David alludes, when
gratefully reviewing the mercies of Jehovah: "Who satisfieth thy mouth
with good things, so that thy youth is renewed like eagle's," Ps 103:5
Isa 40:31. The careful pains of the eagle in teaching its young to
fly, beautifully illustrate God's providential care over Israel, Ex
19:4 De 32:11,12.
The eagle is remarkable for its keen sight and scent. Its flesh, like
that of all birds of prey, was unclean to the Jews; and is never eaten
by any body, unless in cases of necessity, Mt 24:28 Lu 17:37.
An old agricultural term for ploughing. Thus, in Isa 30:24, it is
said, "The oxen also, and the young asses which ear," that is,
"plough, the ground." So also in Ge 45:6 Ex 34:21 De 21:4 1Sa 8:12.
A pledge of the performance of a promise; or part of a debt, paid in
assurance of the payment of the whole; or part of the price, paid down
to confirm a bargain; or part of a servant's wages, paid at the time
of hiring, to ratify the engagement. In the New Testament it describes
the gifts of God to his people here, as the assurance and commencement
of the far superior blessings of the life to come, 2Co 1:22 5:5 Eph
In both Hebrew and Greek the same word is used to denote the earth as
a whole, and a particular land. Only the context can enable us to
decide in which of these senses it is to be taken in a given passage.
Thus in Mt 27:45 we might, so far as the original word is concerned,
render either "there was darkness over all the land," or over all the
earth. The expression "all the earth" is sometimes used hyperbolically
for a large portion of it, Ezr 1:2. The word is used of the whole
world, etc. In a moral sense, earthly is opposed to what is heavenly,
spiritual and holy, Joh 3:31 1Co 15:47 Col 3:2 Jas 3:15. "The lower
parts of the earth," means the unseen world of the dead, Ps 63:9 Isa
44:23 Eph 4:9.
A convulsion of the earth common in volcanic regions, and well known
in all parts of the world; probably occasioned by the action of
internal heat or fire. Scripture speaks of several earthquakes, Nu
16:1-50 1Ki 19:11,12. One occurred in the twenty-seventh year of
Uzziah king of Judah, and is mentioned in Am 1:1 Zec 14:5. A very
memorable earthquake was that at our Savior's death, Mt 27:51, which
some suppose extended throughout the world. Palestine has been often
visited by earthquakes. So late as 1837 one occurred in the vicinity
of the Sea of Galilee, by which about a third part of Tiberias was
destroyed, and thousands of people perished there and in the towns
near by. Earthquakes were among the calamities foretold as connected
with the destruction of Jerusalem, Mt 24:7; and history proves the
truth of the prediction.
The word earthquake is also used figuratively to denote God's power
and wrath, as in Ps 18:7 46:2 104:32, etc.; and as an emblem of a
great civil or national catastrophe, Mt 24:7,29 Re 16:18,19.
The Hebrews, in speaking of the different quarters of the heaven,
always suppose the face to be turned towards the east. Hence "before,"
or "forwards," means the east; "behind" is the west; the right-hand is
south, and the left hand, north. Besides the ordinary meanings of the
word east, Jos 4:19; Ps 103:12, the Jews often used it to designate a
large region lying northeast and southeast of Palestine, including
Syria and Arabia near at hand, and Babylonia, Assyria, Armenia, etc.,
with the whole region from the Caspian sea to the Arabian gulf, Ge
29:1; Nu 23:7; Jud 6:3; 7:12; 8:10. The wise men who visited the
infant Savior dwelt somewhere in this region; and being "in the east,"
saw his star-not east of them, but in the direction to guide them to
Jerusalem, Mt 2:1,2.
Is improperly put for PASSOVER, Ac 12:4; Passover being the name of
the ancient Jewish festival here referred to; while Easter, from the
Saxon goddess Eostre, is the modern name of a Christian festival, in
commemoration of the events of Passover-week, and fixed at the same
period of the year.
EATING, MODE OF
The Hebrews anciently sat at their meals, Ge 43:33 1Sa 9:22 20:25 Ps
128:3; but afterwards adopted the practice of reclining on table-beds
or divans, like the Persians, Chaldeans, Romans, etc., Am 6:4. The
accompanying engraving of a Roman triclinium, three beds, will
illustrate several points obscure to the modern reader of the Bible.
It will be seen that three low tables are so placed as to form three
sides of a hollow square accessible to the waiters. Around these
tables are placed, not seats, but couches, or beds, on to each table,
formed of mattresses stuffed, and often highly ornamented, Es 1:6
7:1,8. The guests reclined with their heads to the table, each one
leaning on his left elbow, and therefore using principally his right
hand in taking food. Observe also that the feet of the person
reclining being towards the external edge of the bed, they were much
more readily reached by any one passing than any other part of the
person than any other part of the person so reclining, Lu 7:36- 50 Joh
This mode of reclining at table rendered it easy for our Lord to wash
the feet of his disciples at the last supper, Joh 13:5-12, and "wiped
them with the towel wherewith he was girded." It also explains the
position of John at the same supper; for if he reclined next in front
of the Savior, he lay as it were in his bosom, Joh 13:23,25, and might
readily lean back his head upon the Savior's breast.
It is unknown, however, how far or how long this custom displaced the
primitive eastern mode still prevalent in Palestine and vicinity. The
ordinary table was no more than a circular skin or carpet spread upon
the floor, or on rugs or cushions. Sometimes there was a small table
in the center, raising the principal dish a little above the floor.
The meals of the Jews were generally two, loosely distinguished as
dinner and supper, Lu 14:12 Joh 21:12. The first meal was usually
light, consisting of milk, cheese, bread, or fruits, and eaten at
various hours from early morning to the middle of the forenoon. In the
early history of the Hebrews, the principal meal, corresponding with
our dinner, was eaten about noon, Ge 43:25 1Ki 20:16. At a later
period, at least on festive occasions, it was taken after the heat of
the day was over. This was the "supper." The Jews were wont to wash
their hands before eating, a custom rendered necessary by their mode
of eating, but made by the Pharisees a test of piety, Mr 7:2,3 Lu
11:38. Devout Jews, not only in their sacred feasts, but in their
daily enjoyments at the family meal, recognized the Giver of all good,
and implored his blessing on their food, 1Sa 9:13 Mt 14:19 15:36 26:26
Lu 9:16 Joh 6:11 1Ti 4:3. Some families repeated the twenty-third
Psalm as they seated themselves at meals. The food consisted of flesh,
fish, or fowls, butter, honey, bread, and fruits. See FOOD. Animal
food was often cut into small pieces, or stewed, and served up in one
large dish with melted butter, vegetables, etc. Knives, forks, and
spoons were unknown as table-furniture; and the food was conveyed to
the mouth by the right hand, Pr 19:24. Each person took a portion from
the dish either with his thumb and fingers, or with the help of a
small piece of thin bread. Several hands were occasionally plunged
into the same dish at once, Joh 13:26. The head of the family was wont
to send a double portion of food to a stranger, as an honor, and to
furnish him a greater variety, Ge 43:31 1Sa 1:4 9:22-24; and often
would select the choicest morsels and present them to his guest with
his own fingers. Compare Ru 2:14, and Joh 13:26. This is still
customary in the East. After eating, the hands were again cleansed by
pouring water upon them, 2Ki 3:11. See FEAST, WASHING.
The following description of a dinner at Hebron is from Dr. Robinson.
"They were dining in the true oriental style. A very large circular
tray of tinned copper, placed upon a coarse wooden stool about a foot
high, served as the table. In the center of this stood a large dish
with a mountain of pillaw, composed of rice boiled and buttered, with
small pieces of meat strewed through and upon it. This was the chief
dish, although there were also other smaller dishes, both of meat and
vegetables. Around this table ten persons, including the three
governors-of Gaza, Hebron, and Jerusalem-were seated, or rather,
squatted on their feet. Each had before him a plate of tinned copper
and a wooden spoon. Some used the spoon without the plate; but the
most preferred to eat with the fingers of the left hand, without
either spoon or plate. When any one had finished, he immediately rose,
and went and washed his hands by having water poured over them in an
adjoining room. The vacant place at table was immediately filled by a
The Jews would have considered themselves polluted by eating with
people of another religion, or with any who were ceremonially unclean
or disreputable-as with Samaritans, Joh 4:9, publicans, Mt 9:11, or
Gentiles, Ac 10:28 Ga 2:12. Eating together was an established token
of mutual confidence and friendship, a pledge of friendly relations
between families, which their children were expected to perpetuate.
The rites of hospitality were held sacred; and to this day, among the
Arabs, a fugitive is safe for the time, if he gains the shelter of
even an enemy's tent. The abuse of hospitality was a great crime, Ps
To "eat" a book, is to make its precepts, promises, and spirit one's
own, Jer 15:16 Eze 3:1 Joh 4:14 Re 10:9. So to eat Christ's flesh and
drink his blood, is to receive him as a Savior, and by a living faith
to be imbued with his truth, his Spirit, and his heavenly life, Joh
De 27:1-28:68; a mountain in Ephraim, over against mount Gerizim, from
which it is separated by a valley about five hundred yards wide and
three miles long, in which stands the town of Shechem. Both mountains
are much alike in length, height, and form, and their altitude is
stated not to exceed seven hundred and fifty or eight hundred feet
from the level of the valley. As you journey from Jerusalem, and turn
to pass through the valley west-northwest to Shechem, mount Ebal is on
the right hand and mount Gerizim on the left. Some have described the
count of cursing as sterile and desolate, and Gerizim as smiling and
fertile. But at present there is little difference between their
opposing fronts, which are alike, steep and barren. Mount Gerizim,
however, is said to have a more fertile background, and to be a little
higher than mount Ebal. The base of the latter is full of sepulchral
excavations. See GERIZIM, SHECHEM.
An Ethiopian servant of king Zedekiah, who was instrumental in saving
the prophet Jeremiah from famishing in a filthy dungeon, and was
therefore preserved when Jerusalem was taken by Nebuzaradan, Jer
38:7-13; 39:15-18. The Lord knoweth them that are his.
Stone of help, the place where Samuel erected a monument, in grateful
remembrance of the divine help, given in answer to prayer, in a great
battle with the Philistines. The same place had before witnessed the
defeat of Israel and the capture of the ark, 1Sa 4:1; 5:1; 7:5-12.
See HEBER HEBER.
The wood of a tree of no great size, growing in India and Africa; it
is black, hard, heavy, and fine-grained, and receives a beautiful
polish. It was anciently highly prized, Eze 27:15, and is still much
used for musical instruments and fancy articles.
The preacher, the name of a book of the Old Testament, usually
ascribed to Solomon. Compare 1Ki 3:12 and Ec 1:16 1Ki 10:21,27 and Ec
2:4-9 1Ki 11:3,4 and Ex 7:25,25. It appears to have been written by
Solomon in his old age, when freed from the entanglements of idolatry,
luxury, and lust, B. C. 977. It is a discourse upon the true wisdom;
with many isolated precepts, illustrated from his own unexampled
experience and from the most sagacious observation of the course of
life; the whole demonstrating the vanity of all earthly good, and
showing that there is a better life to come, and that the only true
wisdom is to "fear God and keep his commandments." This, he says, is
the conclusion of the whole matter, Ec 12:13. In reading this book,
care should be taken not to deduce opinions from detached sentiments,
but from the general scope and combined force of the whole.
A province in Asia, in which was Paradise. "The Lord God planted a
garden eastward in Eden, and there he put the man whom he had formed,"
Ge 2:8. The topography of Eden is thus described: "And a river went
out of Eden to water the garden, and from thence it was parted, and
became into four heads. The name of the first is Pison," etc.
This obscure passage has received many different explanations and
applications, none of which are fully satisfactory; and now it is
impossible to say with certainty where Eden lay. Most writers have
sought for it in some elevated and central region, the heights of
which would give rise to various rivers flowing off in different
directions through lower grounds to their outlets. Such a region
exists in the high lands of Armenia, west of Mount Ararat and 5,000
feet above the sea. Here, within a circle but a few miles in diameter,
four large rivers rise: the Euphrates, and Tigris, or Hiddekel,
flowing south into the Persian Gulf; the Araxes, flowing northeast
into the Caspian Sea; and the Phasis, or the Halys, flowing northwest
into the Black Sea. This fourth river may have been the Pishon of
Eden; and the Araxes may well be the Gihon, since both words mean the
same, and describe its dart-like swiftness. This elevated country,
still beautiful and fertile, may have been the land of Eden; and in
its choicest portion, towards the east, the garden may once have
Another location of Eden is now preferred by many interpreters-near
the spot where the Euphrates and Tigris form a junction after their
long wanderings, a hundred and twenty miles north of the Persian gulf,
and where the river Ulai flows in from the northeast. This region may
have been greatly changed by the lapse of many thousand years, and may
now bear little resemblance to the luxuriant and beautiful plain of
primeval times. Yet long after the flood the plain of Shinar in the
same region attracted the admiration of the sons of Cush, Ge 10:8-10;
11:2. As two of the rivers of Eden bear the familiar names of the
Euphrates and Tigris, it seems probable that it was in one or the
other of the regions above named. Wherever it was, it is there no more
since the fall and the curse. The first chapters of the Bible show
Paradise withdrawn from man's view, and no pilgrimage can discover it
upon earth. The last chapters of the Bible restore to our view a more
glorious and enduring Paradise: "Blessed are they that do his
commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life."
Red, a name of Esau, Isaac's eldest son, appropriate on account of his
natural complexion, but given, it would seem, from the current name of
food for which he sold his birthright-"that same red," Ge 25:25,30.
See ESAU and IDUMEA.
One of the capitals of Bashan, near which Og and his forces were
destroyed, Nu 21:33-35 De 1:4 3:1-3. It afterwards fell within the
limits of Manasseh, Jos 13:31. Its ruins cover a large space; it was a
place of some note in the early ages of Christianity and in the era of
the crusades. It is now called Draa, and lies about thirty-five miles
east of the outlet of the Sea of Galilee.
A king of Moab, who, with the help of Ammon and Amalek, subdued the
southern and eastern tribes of the Jews. He made Jericho his seat of
government, and held his power eighteen years, but was then slain by
Ehud, and his people expelled, Jud 3:12-31.
A celebrated country in the north of Africa, at the eastern part of
the Mediterranean Sea. The Hebrews called it Mizraim, Ge 10:6, and
hence it is now called by the Arabs, Mizr. The Greeks and Romans
called it Aegyptus, whence Egypt; but the origin of this name is
The habitable land of Egypt is for the most part a great valley,
through which the river Nile pours its waters, extending in a straight
line from north to south, and skirted on the east and west by ranges
of mountains, which approach and recede from the river more or less in
different parts. Where this valley terminates, towards the north, the
Nile divides itself, about forty or fifty miles from the seacoast,
into several arms, which inclose the so-called Delta. The ancients
numbered seven arms and mouths; the eastern was that of Pelusium, now
that of Tineh; and the western that of Canopus, now that of Aboukir.
As these branches all separate from one point or channel, that is,
from the main stream, and spread themselves more and more as they
approach the coast, they form with the latter a triangle, the base of
which is the seacoast; and having thus the form of the Greek letter,
delta, this part of Egypt received the name of the Delta, which it has
ever since retained. The prophet Ezekiel describes Egypt as extending
from Migdol, that is, Magdolum, not far from the mouth of the Pelusian
arm, to Syene, now Essuan, namely, to the border of Ethiopia, Eze
29:10 30:6. Essuan is also assigned by Greek and Arabian writers as
the southern limit of Egypt. Here the Nile issues from the granite
rocks of the cataracts, and enters Egypt proper. The length of the
country, therefore, in a direct line, is about four hundred and fifty
miles, and its area about eleven thousand square miles. The breadth of
the valley, between Essuan and the Delta, is very unequal; in some
places the inundations of the river extend to the foot of the
mountains; in other parts there remains a strip of a mile or two in
breadth which the water never covers, and which is therefore always
dry and barren. Originally the name Egypt designated only the valley
and the Delta; but at a later period it came to include also the
region between this and the Red Sea.
The country around Syene and the cataracts is highly picturesque; the
other parts of Egypt, and especially the Delta, are uniform and
monotonous. The prospect, however, is extremely different, according
to the season of the year. From the middle of spring, when the harvest
is over, one sees nothing but a gray and dusty soil, so full of cracks
and chasms that he can hardly pass along. At the time of the autumnal
equinox, the country presents nothing but an immeasurable surface of
reddish or yellowish water, out of which rise date-trees, villages,
and narrow dams, which serve as a means of communication. After the
waters have retreated, and they usually remain only a short time at
this height, you see, till the end of autumn, only a black and slimy
mud. But in winter, nature puts on all her splendor. In this season,
the freshness and power of the new vegetation, the variety and
abundance of vegetable productions, exceed every thing that is known
in the most celebrated parts of the European continent; and Egypt is
then, from one end of the country to the other, like a beautiful
garden, a verdant meadow, a field sown with flowers, or a waving ocean
of grain in the ear. This fertility, as is well known, depends upon
the annual and regular inundations of the Nile. Hence Egypt was called
by Herodotus, "the gift of the Nile." See NILE.
The sky is not less uniform and monotonous than the earth; it is
constantly a pure unclouded arch, of a color and light more white than
azure. The atmosphere has a splendor which the eye can scarcely bear,
and a burning sun, whose glow is tempered by no shade, scorches
through the whole day these vast and unprotected plains. It is almost
a peculiar trait in the Egyptian landscape, that although not without
trees, it is yet almost without shade. The only tree is the date-tree,
which is frequent; but with its tall, slender stem, and bunch of
foliage on the top, this tree does very little to keep off the light,
and casts upon the earth only a pale an uncertain shade. Egypt,
according, has a very hot climate; the thermometer in summer
standing usually at eighty or ninety degrees of Fahrenheit; and in
Upper Egypt still higher. The burning wind of the desert, Simoom, or
Camsin, is also experienced, usually about the time of the early
equinox. The country is not unfrequently visited by swarms of locusts.
In the very earliest times, Egypt appears to have been regarded under
three principal divisions; and writers spoke of Upper Egypt or
Thebais; Middle Egypt, Heptanomis or Heptapolis; and Lower Egypt or
the Delta, including the districts lying east and west of the river.
The provinces and cities of Egypt mentioned in the Bible may, in like
manner, be arranged under these three great divisions:
1. LOWER EGYPT The northeastern point of this was "the river of
Egypt," on the border of Palestine. The desert between this point, the
Red Sea, and the ancient Pelusium, seems to have been the desert of
Shur, Ge 20:1, now El-Djefer. Sin, "the strength [key] of Egypt," Eze
30:15, was probably Pelusium. The land of GOSHEN appears to have lain
between Pelusium, its branch of the Nile, and the Red sea, having been
skirted on the northeast by the desert of Shur; constituting perhaps a
part of the province Rameses, Ge 47:11. In this district, or adjacent
to it, are mentioned also the cities Pithom, Raamses, Pi-Beseth, and
On or Helipolis. In the proper Delta itself, lay Tahapanes, that is,
Taphne or Daphne; Zoan, the Tanis of the Greeks; Leontopolis, alluded
to perhaps in Isa 19:18. West of the Delta was Alexandria.
2. MIDDLE EGYPT Here are mentioned Moph or Memphis, and Hanes, the
Heracleopolis of the Greeks.
3. UPPER EGYPT The southern part of Egypt, the Hebrews appear to have
called Pathros, Jer 44:1,15. The Bible mentions here only two cities,
namely, No, or more fully No-Ammon, for which the Seventy put
Diospolis, the Greek name for Thebes, the most ancient capital of
Egypt, (see AMMON, or No-Ammon, or No;) and Syene, the southern city
and limit of Egypt.
The chief agricultural productions of Egypt are wheat, durrah, or
small maize, Turkish or Indian corn or maize, rice, barley, beans,
cucumbers, watermelons, leeks, and onions; also flax and cotton. The
date-tree and vine are frequent. The papyrus is still found in small
quantity, chiefly near Damietta; it is a reed about nine feet high, as
thick as a man's thumb, with a tuft of down on the top. See BOOK,
BULRUSH. The animals of Egypt, besides the usual kinds of tame cattle,
are the wild ox or buffalo in great numbers, the ass and camel, dogs
in multitudes without masters, the ichneumon, the crocodile, and the
The inhabitants of Egypt may be considered as including three
divisions: 1. The Copts, or descendants of the ancient Egyptians. 2.
The Fellahs, or husbandmen, who are supposed to represent the people
in Scripture, called Phul. 3. The Arabs, or conquerors of the country,
include the Turks, etc. The Copts are nominal Christians, and the
clerks and accountants of the country. They have seen so many
revolutions in the governing powers, that they concern themselves very
little about the successes or misfortunes of those who aspire to
dominion. The Fellahs suffer so much oppression, and are so despised
by the Bedaween or wandering Arabs, and by their despotic rulers, that
they seldom acquire property, and very rarely enjoy it in security;
yet they are an interesting race, and devotedly attached to their
native country and the Nile. The Arabs hate the Turks; yet the Turks
enjoy most offices of government, though they hold their superiority
by no very certain tenure.
The most extraordinary monuments of Egyptian power and industry were
the pyramids, which still subsist, to excite the wonder and admiration
of the world. No work of man now extant is so ancient or so vast as
these mysterious structures. The largest of them covers a square area
of thirteen acres, and is still four hundred and seventy-four feet
high. They have by some been supposed to have been erected by the
Israelites during their bondage in Egypt. But the tenor of ancient
history in general, as well as the results of modern researches, is
against this supposition. It is generally believed that they were
erected more than two thousand years before Christ, as the sepulchres
But besides these imperishable monuments of kings long forgotten,
Egypt abounds in other structures hardly less wonderful; on the
beautiful islands above the cataracts, near Syene, and at other places
in Upper Egypt; and especially in the whole valley of the Nile near
Thebes, including Carnac, Luxor, etc. The temples, statues, obelisks,
and sphinxes that cover the ground astonish and awe the beholder with
their colossal height, their massive grandeur, and their vast extent;
while the dwellings of the dead, tombs in the rock occupied by myriads
of mummies, extend far into the adjacent mountains. The huge columns
of these temples, their vast walls, and many of the tombs, are covered
with sculptures and paintings which are exceedingly valuable as
illustrating the public and the domestic life of the ancient
Egyptians. See SHISHAK. With these are mingled many hieroglyphic
records, which have begun to yield their long-concealed meaning to the
inquisitions of modern science. Some of these are mere symbols,
comparatively easy to understand. But a large portion of them are now
found to be written with a sort of pictorial alphabet-each symbol
representing the sound with which its own name commences. Thus OSIR
OSIR, the name of the Egyptian god Soiris, would be represented by the
picture of a reed, a child, and a mouth; because the initial sounds of
the Coptic words for these three objects, namely, Ike, Si, and Ro,
make up the name OSIR. There is, however, great ambiguity in the
interpretation of these records; and in many cases the words, when
apparently made out, are as yet unintelligible, and seem to be part of
a priestly dialect understood only by the learned.
The early history of ancient Egypt is involved in great obscurity. All
accounts, however, and the results of all modern researches, seem to
concur in representing culture and civilization as having been
introduced and spread in Egypt from the south, and especially from
Meroe; and that the country in the earliest times was possessed by
several contemporary kings or states, which at length were all united
into one great kingdom. The common name of the Egyptian kings was
Pharaoh, which signified sovereign power. History has preserved the
names of several of these kings, and a succession of their dynasties.
But the inclination of the Egyptian historians to magnify the great
antiquity of their nation has destroyed their credibility. See
This ancient and remarkable land is often mentioned in Scripture. A
grandson of Noah seems to have given it his name, Ge 10:6. In the day
of Abraham it was the granary of the world, and the patruarch himself
resorted thither in a famine, Ge 12:10. His wife had an Egyptian
handmaid, Hagar the mother of Ishmael, who also sought a wife in
Egypt, Ge 21:9,21. Another famine, in the days of Isaac, nearly drove
him to Egypt, Ge 26:2; and Jacob and all his household ended their
days there, Ge 39:1-50:26. After the escape of Israel from their weary
bondage in Egypt, we read of little intercourse between the two
nations for many years. In the time of David and Solomon, mention is
again made of Egypt. Solomon married an Egyptian princess, 1Ki 3:7
9:1-28 11:43. But in the fifth year of his son Rehoboam, Judah was
humbled at the feet of Shishak, king of Egypt, 2Ch 12:1-16; and for
many generations afterwards the Jews were alternately in alliance and
at war with that nation, until both were subjugated to the Assyrian
empire, 2Ki 17:1-41 18:21 23:29 24:1-20 Jer 25:1-38 37:5 44:1-30
Egypt was conquered by Cambyses, and became a province of the Persian
empire about 525 B. C. Thus it continued until conquered by Alesander,
350 B. C., after whose death it formed, along with Syria, Palestine,
Lybia, etc., the kingdom of the Ptolemies. After the battle of Actium,
30 B. C., it became a Roman province. In the time of Christ, great
numbers of Jews were residents of Alexandria, Leontopolis, and other
parts of Egypt; and our Savior himself found an asylum there in his
infancy, Mt 2:13. Since that time it has ceased to be an independent
state, and its history is incorporated with that of its different
conquerors and possessors. In A. D. 640, it was conquered by the
Arabs; and in later periods has passed from the hands of the caliphs
under the power of Turks, Arabs, Kurds, Mamelukes; and since 1517, has
been governed as a province of the Turkish empire. Thus have been
fulfilled the ancient predictions recorded in God's word, Eze 29:14,15
30:7,12,13 32:15. Its present population is about two millions.
The religion of Egypt consisted in the worship of the heavenly bodies
and the powers of nature; the priests cultivated at the same time
astronomy and astrology, and to these belong probably the wise men,
sorcerers, and magicians mentioned in Ex 7:11,22. They were the most
honored and powerful of the castes into which the people were divided.
It was probably this wisdom, in which Moses also was learned, Ac 7:22.
But the Egyptian religion had this peculiarity, that it adopted living
animals as symbols of the real objects of worship. The Egyptians not
only esteemed many species of animals as sacred, which might not be
killed without the punishment of death, but individual animals were
kept in temples and worshipped with sacrifices, as gods.
"The river of Egypt," Nu 34:5 Jos 15:4,47 1Ki 8:65 2Ki 24:7 Isa 27:12
Eze 47:19 48:28, (and, according to some, Ge 15:18, although in this
passage a different word is used signifying a permanent stream),
designates the brook El-Arish, emptying into the southeast corner of
the Mediterranean at Rhinocolura.
A Benjamite, who delivered Israel from the Moabites, by first slaying
Eglon their king, and then raising an army and defeating his people.
He judged Israel with honor for many years, Jud 3:12-31; 4:1.
The most northern city of the Philistines, allotted to Judah by Jos
15:45, but afterwards given to Da 12:13, though it does not appear
that the Jews ever peaceably possessed it. It is memorable for its
connection with the captivity of the ark and its restoration to the
Jews, 1Sa 5:10 6:1-18. The fly-god was worshipped here, 2Ki 1:2. Its
ruin was foretold, Am 1:8 Zep 2:4 Zec 9:5,7. Robinson found its site
at the Moslem village Akir, some ten miles northeast of Ashdod. There
are no ruins.
Strength, one of the names of God, especially in poetry,
Ge 33:18-20. It is very often found in proper names, as Bethel,
Daniel, Elijah, etc. Eloi, like Eli, means, My God.
1. A valley in which David slew Goliath, 1Sa 17:2,3,19. It was
probably about eleven miles southwest from Jerusalem.
2. Son and successor of Baasha, king of Israel, B. C. 926. After
reigning two years, he was slain while intoxicated, by Zimri, one of
his officers, who succeeded him as king. Zimri destroyed all the
family of Baasha, according to the prediction of Jehu, 1Ki 16:6- 10.
1. The region afterwards called Persia, Ge 14:1. It was called Elam
after a son of Shem, Ge 10:22. It corresponded to the Elymais of Greek
and Roman writers, which comprehended a part of Susiana, now Khusistan
or more probably included the whole of Susiana. The city Susa, or
Shushan, was in it, Da 8:2. See also Ac 2:9.
Or ELOTH, a city of Idumea, situated at the northern extremity of the
eastern gulf of the Red Sea, which was anciently called the Elantic
gulf, and now the gulf of Akaba. Ezion-Gaber was also situated here,
and very near Elath, De 2:8 1Ki 9:26. This gulf, although known to the
ancients, has been almost unknown to modern geographers until the time
of Burckhardt. This enterprising traveler explored it, and gave the
first full amount of it. The great sand valley called El-Arabah, and
towards the north El-Ghor, runs from this gulf to the Dead Sea. Elath
was annexed to Judah by David, who established there an extensive
commerce, 2Sa 8:14. Solomon also built ships there, 2Ch 8:17,18. In
the reign of Joram the Edomites recovered it, but lost it again to
Uzziah, 2Ki 8:20 14:22; and he to Rezin, 2Ki 16:6. Under the rule of
the Romans it was a flourishing commercial town with the ordinances of
Christianity. In 630 A. D. it fell under the power of Mohammed, and is
now in ruins. The fortress of Akaba, near by, now often visited by
travelers from Mount Sinai to Palestine, is only important for the
protection of pilgrims to Mecca.
And MEDAD, Two of the seventy elders appointed to aid Moses in
governing the people. The spirit of prophecy coming upon them, they
prophesied in the camp at a distance from Moses. Joshua censured them
for this as an irregularity, but they were nobly vindicated by Moses,
ELDERS OF ISRAEL
The heads of tribes, who, before the settlement of the Hebrew
commonwealth, had a government and authority over their own families
and the people. Moses and Aaron treated the elders as representatives
of the nation, Ex 3:16 4:29 12:21. When the law was given, God
directed Moses to take the seventy elders, as well as Aaron, and Nadab
and Abihu his sons, that they might be witnesses, Ex 24:1,9. Ever
afterwards we find this number of seventy, or rather, seventy-two,
elders; six from each tribe.
In allusion to the Jewish elders, the ordinary governors and teachers
of the Christian church are called elders, or presbyters, Ac 20:17,28
Tit 1:5,7 1Pe 5:1 2Jo 1:1.
A town of the Amorites, near Heshbon their capital, assigned to the
tribe of Reuben, Nu 32:3,37, and long afterwards threatened as a city
of Moab, Isa 15:4; 16:9; Jer 48:34. Its ruins, now El- Aal, are a mile
or more northeast of Heshban.
1. The third son of Aaron, and high priest after him, Ex 6:23; Nu
20:25-28. The high priesthood continued in his family through seven
generations; till the time of Eli, when we find it transferred to the
line of Ithamar. In the reigns of Saul and David, it was restored to
the line of Eleazar, and so continued till after the captivity.
2. A son of Abinadab, honored with the charge of the ark while it was
in his father's house, 1Sa 7:1.
3. One of David's champions, 2Sa 23:9; 1Ch 11:11-18.
A high priest of the Jews, the first in the line of Ithamar, 1Sa 2:27.
He was also a judge of Israel forty years, and was eminent for piety
and usefulness, but criminally negligent of family discipline. For
this the judgments of God fell upon his house, 1Sa 3:11-18. In battle
with the Philistines his two sons were slain, and Israel defeated; but
it was the capture of the ark of God that broke his heart, 1Sa 4:1-22.
The divine threatening was fully performed in the day of Abiathar,
The oldest brother of David, towards whom his conduct was passionate
and jealous, thus confirming the judgment of Him who looks not on the
appearance, but the heart, 1Sa 16:6,7; 17:28.
1. A king of Judah, 2Ki 23:24. See JEHOIAKIM.
2. An officer of king Hezekiah's court, appointed with others to treat
with Rabshakeh, general of the Assyrian forces them besieging
Jerusalem, 2Ki 18:1-19:37 Isa 36:22. See SENNACHERIB.
A high priest in the days of Nehemiah, who took part in rebuilding of
the wall of Jerusalem, Ne 3:1. The same person probably was afterwards
censured for profaning the temple, by giving the use of one of its
chambers to a heathen and an Ammonite, his relative, De 23:3,4 Ne
1. Of Damascus, the lawful heir of Abraham, should he die childless,
Ge 15:2. He is generally assumed to be the "eldest servant," who was
sent, sixty-five years afterwards, to obtain a wife for Isaac, Ge
24:1-67. But as the name of the latter is not given; as Abraham had
near relatives, Lot and others; and as there is no evidence that he
ever lived in Damascus, some think Eliezer must have been a near
relative of Abraham residing at Damascus; and that "steward of my
house" and "born in my house" - literally son of my house, Ge
15:2,3-mean the same thing, the lawful family heir.
2. Several others of this name are mentioned, Ex 18:4 1Ch 15:24 27:16
2Ch 20:37 Lu 3:29.
A native of Buz, Ge 22:21, which was probably a city of Edom, Jer
25:23, perhaps Bozrah, Jer 49:7,8,13. He came to condole with Job in
his calamities. Young, ardent, sagacious, and devout, he listened
attentively to the discourses of Job and his three friends; and at
length broke in, with profuse apologies, to set them all right, Job
32:1-22. His address to Job he blames for condemning him as a
hypocrite, in their ignorance of the wonders of God's providence. In
several sentences he beautifully expresses his faith in the pardoning
and restoring grace of God towards sinners, Job 33:23,24,27-30,
passages in probably the oldest book of the Bible in the very spirit
of the parable of the prodigal son.
The prophet, a native of Tishbeh in Gilead, 1Ki 17:1. His parentage
and early history are unknown. His bold faithfulness provoked the
wrath of Ahab and Jezebel, especially when he threatened several years
of drought and famine as a punishment for the sins of Israel, B. C.
908. By the divine direction the prophet took refuge on the bank of
the brook Cherith, where he was miraculously fed by ravens. Thence he
resorted to Zarephath, in Phoenicia; where one miracle provided him
with sustenance and another restored to life the child of his hostess.
Returning to King Ahab, he procured the great assembling at mount
Carmel, where God "answered by fire," and the prophets of Baal were
destroyed. Now too the long and terrible drought was broken, and a
plentiful rain descended at the prophet's prayer. Finding that not
even these mighty works of God would bring the nation and its rulers
to repentance, Elijah was almost in despair. He fled into the
wilderness, and was brought to Horeb, the mount of God, where he was
comforted by a vision of God's power and grace. Again he is sent on a
long journey to Damascus to anoint Hazael as king of Syria. Jehu also
he anoints to be king of Israel, and Elisha he summons to become a
prophet. Six years later he denounces Ahab and Jezebel for their
crimes in the matter of Naboth; and afterwards again is seen
foretelling the death of king Ahaziah, and calling fire from heaven
upon two bands of guards sent to arrest him. Being now forewarned of
the approach of his removal from earth, he gives his last instructions
to the school of the prophets, crosses the Jordan miraculously, and is
borne to heaven in a fiery chariot without tasting death, leaving his
mantle and office to Elisha, 1Ki 17:1-19:21 21:29 2Ki 1:1-2:18.
His translation occurred about B. C. 896. Previously, it is supposed,
he had written the letter which, eight years afterwards, announced to
king Jehoram his approaching sickness and death, 2Ch 21:12-19.
Elijah was one of the most eminent and honored of the Hebrew prophets.
He was bold, faithful, stern, self-denying, and zealous for the honor
of God. His whole character and life are marked by peculiar moral
grandeur. He bursts upon our view without previous notice; he
disappears by a miracle. He bears the appearance of a supernatural
messenger of heaven, who has but one work to do, and whose mind is
engrossed in its performance. His history is one of the most
extraordinary on record, and is fraught with instruction. It was a
high honor granted to Moses and Elijah, that they alone should appear
on the mount of Transfiguration, many centuries after they had gone
into heaven-to bear witness of its existence, and commune with the
Savior concerning his death, Lu 9:28-35.
John the Baptist was foretold under the name of Elias, or Elijah, from
his resemblance in character and life to the ancient prophet of
Israel, Mal 4:5,6 Mt 17:10-13.
A station of the Israelites, on their way to mount Sinai, Ex 15:27;
16:1; Nu 33:9, generally taken to be the present Wady Ghurundel, a
broad valley running southwest of Suez. Here are fountains and a
brook, many bushes and shrubs, and a few tamarisks and palms.
A Bethlehemite, husband of Naomi, Ru 1:2.
A native of Teman, and friend of Job, Job 2:11. Compare Ge 36:10. He
seems to have been older than Bildad and Zophar, and was the first
address Job, Job 4:1-5:27 15:1-35 22:1-30.
A devout woman, "of the daughters of Aaron," the wife of Zacharias,
and mother of John the Baptist, Lu 1:5-25,36,39-80.
The pupil and successor of Elijah, a prophet of Israel during the
reign of Jehoram, Jehu, Jehoahaz, and Joash, B. C. 903-838. He was a
native of Abel-meholah, where he was at work ploughing when Elijah
called him to become a prophet, 1Ki 19:16. Some years afterwards he
witnessed the miraculous ascension of Elijah, divided the Jordan with
his mantle, and took his place at the head of the schools of the
prophets. During his long ministry he acted an important part in the
public affairs of Israel. Many miracles also were wrought at his word;
some of these were, healing the waters of Jericho; supplying the
widow's cruse with oil, and the allied armies of Judah, Israel, and
Edom with water; gaining a son for the woman of Shunem, and restoring
him to life; healing the leprosy of Naaman; detecting and punishing
Ghazi. His history is recorded in 2Ki 2:1-9:37 13:14-21. He died
lamented by king Joash and the people; and a year afterwards, a corpse
deposited in the same sepulchre was at once restored to life.
A son of Javan, Ge 10:4. "The isle of Elishah," which sent purple and
scarlet stuffs to Tyre, Eze 27:7, are supposed to mean Greece and the
The wife of Aaron, Ex 6:23. Elisabeth is the same name in Greek, Lu
Ge 14:1,9, perhaps the same country as Thelassar, 2Ki 19:12; Isa
37:12. The Arabic version calls it Armenia.
Ho 4:13. The original Hebrew word here, elsewhere translated oak,
probably denotes the terebinth. See OAK.
A Hebrew month, the twelfth of the civil year, and sixth of the
ecclesiastical, Ne 6:15. It included the time from the new moon of
September to that of October.
A Jewish sorcerer in the retinue of Sergius Paulus, the Roman
proconsul at Paphos in Cyprus. He was sharply reproved by Paul, and
struck with instant blindness for opposing the religious inquiries of
the proconsul, who was abandoning idolatry and superstition, and
embracing the gospel, Ac 13:6-12. His blindness was to continue "for a
season," and may have led to his spiritual illumination.
The process of embalming dead bodies among the Egyptians was as
follows: The embalmers, who were looked upon as sacred officers, drew
the brains through the nostrils with a hooked piece of iron, and
filled the skull with astringent drugs; they drew all the entrails,
except the heart and kidneys, through a hole cut in the left side,
washed them in palm-wine, and replaced them, filling the cavity with
astringent and preservative drugs. The body was anointed repeatedly
with oil of cedar, myrrh, cinnamon, etc., about thirty days, and was
then put into nitre for about forty days; by which process it was
preserved from decay, retaining at the same time a lifelike
appearance. When Moses says that forty days of his continuing in the
salt of nitre, not including the thirty days spent in the previous
ceremonies; so that, in the whole they mourned seventy days for him in
Egypt, Ge 50:2,3.
The body was afterwards taken out of the salt, washed, wrapped up in
long linen bandages, dipped in myrrh, and closed with gum. It was then
restored to the relatives, who inclosed it in a coffin, and kept it in
their houses, or deposited it in a tomb. Thus the body of Joseph was
preserved, to be conveyed into the land of promise after nearly two
centuries, Ge 50:26. Great numbers of mummies are still found in
Egypt, in the subterraneous vaults where they were deposited two or
three thousand years ago.
The common people of that country were embalmed by means of bitumen, a
cheap material and easily managed. With this the corpse and its
envelopes were smeared, with more or less care and diligence.
Sepulchres have been opened in which thousands of bodies had been
deposited in rows, one on another, without coffins, preserved in this
The usual embalming of the Jews was less elaborate and effectual. It
consisted mainly in wrapping the body in many folds of linen, with a
profusion of aromatic spices-myrrh, aloes, etc. Thus the body of the
Savior was embalmed entire by Joseph and Nicodemus, while, ignorant of
this, the two Mary's and their friends were prepared to render him a
similar honor when the Jewish Sabbath was past, Joh 19:38- 40. The
practice, even in this form, does not appear to have been prevalent
among the Jews. See BURIAL.
A precious stone of a fine green color, found anciently in Ethiopia,
but in modern times only in South America, Ex 28:18; Eze 27:16; 28:13.
Josephus, however, and the Seventy make it a gem like a burning
coal-the Indian ruby.
That is, hemorrhoids, the name of a painful disease occasioned by
tumors, probably the piles, De 28:27 1Sa 5:12.
A gigantic and warlike race, who in the time of Abraham occupied the
country beyond the Jordan, afterwards possessed by the Moabites, Ge
14:5 De 2:10.
A compound Hebrew word or name, signifying God with us. It is applied
to the Messiah, our Savior, who, as having united the divine with the
human nature, and having come to dwell with men, is God with us, Isa
7:14; 8:8; Mt 1:23.
The village where our Lord revealed himself to two of his disciples,
on the afternoon of his resurrection-day. It lay about seven and a
half miles, sixty furlongs, northwest from Jerusalem, Lu 24:13- 33.
Some manuscripts, however, read one hundred and sixty furlongs,
instead of sixty; and Eusebius and Jerome locate Emmaus at the ancient
Nicopolis, twenty miles west-north-west of Jerusalem, where a village
called Amwas still exists. Dr. Robinson inclines to this location.
A fountain compounded with many names of towns and places; as En- dor,
En-gedi, En-eglaim, En-shemesh, that is, the fountain of Dor, etc.
Deceptive arts and charms practiced by designing men, and classed in
the Bible with sorcery, magic, divination, witchcraft, and necromancy,
or professed communication with departed spirits. All these are
expressly forbidden and denounced in Scripture, Ex 22:18 Le 19:26
20:27 De 18:10,11. The pretended power and skill of enchanters was
ascribed to infernal agency, and the art was essentially hostile to
true religion. Their seeming wonders were usually wrought by juggling
tricks or sleight of hand, or by mysteries of science, known to but
few. The magicians of Egypt are said to have done several things "with
their enchantments," Ex 7:1-9:29 Ac 19:19.
A city of Manasseh, Jos 17:11, four miles south of mount Tabor, near
Nain, in the way to Scythopolis, Ps 83:9,10. Here the witch lived whom
Saul consulted, 1Sa 28:1-25. The pretence of this sorceress that she
could call up the spirits of the dead from their repose was evidently
false. She was amazed and appalled when the form of Samuel really
appeared, sent by God himself to put her to shame, and bring to king
Saul his last warning.
Eze 47:10, a town on the Dead Sea, west of the Jordan's mouth.
1. A town of Judah, probably near Bethel, Jos 15:34.
2. A city of the priests, in Issachar, now Jenin, fifteen miles south
of mount Tabor, Jos 19:21; 21:29.
Fountain of the kid, 1Sa 24:1,3; called also Hazezon-Tamar, that is,
the city of palm-trees, there being great numbers of palm-trees around
it, Ge 14:7 2Ch 20:1,2. It stood near the middle of the western shore
of the Dead sea, twenty-five or thirty miles south- east of Jerusalem,
in the edge of the loftiest part of the wilderness of Judea, a region
full of rocks and caverns, 1Sa 23:29 Eze 47:10. See cut in SEA, 3. The
heights of En-gedi are fifteen hundred feet above the Dead Sea. At
four hundred feet from the sea a fine and copious fountain, still
bearing its ancient name, flows down to the sea, watering in its
course a fruitful valley and a plain half a mile square, in both of
which ruins are found. The mountainside was formerly terraced, and the
whole spot was on oasis of fertility, So 1:14.
1. A son of Cain, in honor of whom the first city named in the Bible
was called Enoch, Ge 4:17.
2. "The seventh from Adam," and the father of Methuselah; eminent as a
patriarch who lived near to God, through faith in a Redeemer to come,
Heb 11:5,13. It was a testimony to his rare piety in an ungodly age
that he was translated without seeing death, like Elijah. He had lived
only three hundred and sixty years, Ge 5:18-24 Jude 1:14,15, quotes a
traditionary prophecy of Enoch, showing his belief in a judgment to
come. There is an apocryphal book bearing the name of Enoch, in which
similar language occurs. It was probably written by some devout
Christian of the first century, and is only valuable for the light it
throws on the belief of the early church. It was never received as
The place where John baptized, was near Salim, on the west side of the
Jordan, Joh 1:28; 3:26. It is supposed to have been eight or ten miles
south of Beth-shean, and near the Jordan.
The grandson of Adam. He lived nine hundred and five years. Adam,
Seth, and Enoch died before him; and Noah was contemporary with him
eighty-four years, Ge 4:26; 5:6-11; Lu 3:38. In his days "began men to
call upon the name of the Lord" in organized and systematic public
worship; then began men to call themselves by the name of the Lord;
that is, for the purpose of marking the distinction between men of God
and the ungodly.
Fuller's fountain, so named because here the fullers were wont to
cleanse their cloths by treading them with their feet. This is
believed to be the "well of Nehemiah," now called Bir Eyub, Job's
well. It is in the valley of the Kidron, just below its junction with
the valley of the son of Hinnom, on the southeast corner of Jerusalem,
Jos 15:7; 18:16. It is mentioned in the Bible in connection with the
conspiracy of Absalom, 2Sa 17:17, and afterwards with that of
Adonijah, 1Ki 1:9. This well is situated in what is now the prettiest
and most fertile spot around Jerusalem. It is one hundred and
twenty-five feet deep; is walled up with large squared stones, which
on one side rise form an arch, and is apparently of great antiquity.
Supposed to have founded the church at Colosse, and denominated by
Paul his "dear fellow-servant" and "a faithful minister of Jesus
Christ." Col 1:7 4:12. He was for a time an inmate of Paul's house of
imprisonment at Rome.
A member of the church at Philipi, charged with the supplies which
that church contributed for the relief of Paul while imprisoned at
Rome, Php 2:25 4:18. This labor of love brought on him a serious
illness at Rome, on which occasion we see how much he was esteemed and
beloved both by Paul and the Philippians, Php 2:25-30. On his return
he was the bearer of the epistle to them.
Saluted by Paul in his epistle to Rome, Ro 16:5, and called "the
firstfruits of Achaia," that is, one of his first converts there. Many
manuscripts and versions read Asia instead of Achaia.
1. A measure of capacity used among the Hebrews, containing three
pecks and three pints. The Ephah was a dry measure, as of barley, Ru
2:17; and meal, Nu 5:15 Jud 6:19; and was of the same capacity with
the bath in liquids. See BATH BATH, or Ephah.
2. The son of Midian, and grandson of Abraham, Ge 25:4, who settled
and gave his name to a region in Arabia supposed to have been near
Midian, Isa 60:6.
A son of Midian, Ge 25:4, located beyond the Jordan, 1Ki 4:10.
EPHESIANS, EPISTLE TO THE
This epistle was written by Paul, at Rome, probably A. D. 62. The
ablest modern critics are not agreed as to the church to whom it was
addressed, whether to that in Ephesus, that in Laodicea, or to both of
these in connection with the other churches in that region. It does
not appear, however, that any important point of doctrine or
instruction depends on the decision of this question. The epistle is
now addressed to and is intelligible be every one who studies it. The
first part of it is a grateful discourse upon the vast scheme of
divine grace, and blessings flowing from it. The latter part
inculcates Christian consistency and steadfastness, and a faithful
discharge of all relative duties. It is one of the richest and most
valuable of the epistles, having a singular fullness of matter, depth
of doctrine, sublimity of style, and warmth of emotion, which render
it precious to the Christian of every land.
The capital of Ionia, a celebrated city of Asia Minor, situated near
the mouth of the Cayster, about forty miles southeast of Smyrna. It
was chiefly celebrated for the worship and temple of Diana, which last
was, accounted one of the seven wonders of the world. See DIANA. Paul
first visited Ephesus about A. D. 54, Ac 18:19,21. This first brief
visit was followed by a longer one towards the close of the same year,
and continuing through the two following years, Ac 19:10 20:31. The
church thus early established, enjoyed the laborers of Aquila and
Priscilla, of Tychicus and Timothy. It was favored with one of the
best of Paul's epistles; its elders held an interview with him at
Miletus, before he saw Rome, and he is supposed to have visited them
after his first imprisonment. Here the apostle John is said to have
spent the latter part of his life, and written his gospel and
epistles; and having penned Christ's message to them in the isle of
Patmos, to have returned and died among them. Christ gives the church
at Ephesus a high degree of praise, coupled with a solemn warning, Re
2:1-5, which seems not to have prevented its final extinction, though
it remained in existence six hundred years. But now its candlestick is
indeed removed out of its place. The site of that great and opulent
city is desolate. Its harbor has become a pestilential marsh; the
lovely and fertile level ground south of the Cayster now languishes
under Turkish misrule; and the heights upon its border bear only
shapeless ruins. The outlines of the immense theatre, Ac 19:29, yet
remain in the solid rock; but no vestige of the temple of Diana can be
An ornamental part of the dress worn by the Hebrew priests. It was
worn above the tunic and the robe, was without sleeves, and open below
the arms on each side, consisting of two pieces, one of which covered
the front of the body and the other the back, joined together on the
shoulders by golden buckles set with gems, and reaching down to the
middle of the thigh. A girdle was inwoven with it, by which it was
fastened around the body, Ex 28:6-12. There were two kinds of ephod:
one plain, of linen, for the priests, 1Sa 22:18; another embroidered,
for the high priest. Young Samuel wore an ephod, though only a Levite
and a child, 1Sa 2:18. David, in transferring the ark to Jerusalem,
was "girt with a linen ephod," 2Sa 6:14. The Jews had a peculiar
superstitious regard for this garment, and employed it in connection
with idolatrous worship. Gideon's ephod became a snare to Israel; and
Micah made one, that his idol might be duly worshipped, Jud 8:27;
Be opened, a Syro-chaldaic word, which our Savior pronounced when he
cured one deaf and dumb, Mr 7:34.
The second son of Joseph, born in Egypt, Ge 41:52. Although the
youngest, he yet had the chief blessing of his grandfather Jacob, and
the tribe was always more distinguished than that of Manasseh, Ge
48:8-20 Nu 2:18-21. The portion of Ephraim was large and central, and
embraced some of the most fertile land in all Canaan. It extended from
the Mediterranean across to the Jordan, north of the portions of Dan
and Benjamin and included Shiloh, Shechem, etc. A range of mountainous
country, which runs through it, is called "the mountains of Ephraim,"
or "mount Ephraim." This extends also farther south into the portion
of Judah, and is there called "the mountains of Judah." Samaria, the
capital of the ten tribes, being in Ephraim, this latter name is often
used for the kingdom of Israel, Isa 11:13 Jer 31:6 50:19.
The FOREST of Ephraim, where Absalom lost his life, was on the east
side of the Jordan, near Mahanaim, 2Sa 18:6-8.
The TOWN called Ephraim, to which the Savior withdrew from his
enemies, Joh 11:54, was probably the same place mentioned in 2Ch
13:19, and called Ophrah in Jos 18:23 1Sa 13:17. See also 2Sa 13:23.
It is supposed to be the present Taiyibeh, on a hill overlooking the
Jordan valley, five miles northeast of Bethel.
1. The second wife of Caleb, and mother of Hur, 1Ch 2:19; supposed by
some to have given her name to the city of Ephrath or Beth-lehem, 1Ch
2:50,51 4:4. Compare Ge 35:16,19. Elimelech was an Ephrathite of
Bethlehem, Ru 1:2 4:11; so also was David, 1Sa 17:12.
2. A name of Ephraim and Ephreimites, 1Sa 1:1 1Ki 11:26 Ps 132:6.
A Hittite, dwelling at Hebron in the time of Abraham, Ge 23:1- 20. The
charming account of his transaction with Abraham, and the frequent
subsequent mention of his name, point him out as a prince in the land.
A celebrated sect of ancient philosophers. They were materialists, and
virtually atheists-believing that the atoms of nature existed from
eternity, and that from their incidental union all things are formed,
both visible and invisible. They denied a divine Providence and man's
immortality, and believed there was no after-judgment, and no soul but
what was material, like the body and perishable with it at death.
Their rule of life was self-gratification-the pursuit of pleasure,
properly regulated and governed. Vicious indulgences were condemned
only inasmuch as they on the whole lessen one's happiness. The
philosopher Epicurus, their founder, was a learned and moral man, who
lived in exemplary harmony with his principles, and died at Athens, B.
C. 271, at the age of seventy-three. His followers, however, easily
disregarded the limitations he imposed, and pursued pleasure without
restraint. At Paul's time they had become exceedingly corrupt, and of
course their philosophy and their life both led them to oppose with
violence his great truths concerning God, the resurrection, and the
judgment ever lasting, Ac 17:16- 34.
A letter; but the term is applied particularly to the inspired letters
in the New Testament, written by the apostles on various occasions, to
approve, condemn, or direct the conduct of Christian churches. The
Holy Spirit has thus provided that we should have the great doctrines
of the true gospel not only historically stated by the evangelists,
but applied familiarly to the various emergencies of daily life. It is
not to be supposed that every note or memorandum written by the hands
of the apostles, or by their direction, was divinely inspired, or
proper for preservation to distant ages. Compare 1Co 5:9 Col 4:16.
Those only have been preserved by the overruling hand of Providence
which were so inspired, and from which useful directions had been
drawn, and might in after-ages be drawn, as from a perpetual
directory, for faith and practice-always supposing that similar
circumstances require similar directions. In reading an Epistle, we
ought to consider the occasion of it, the circumstances of those to
whom it was addressed, the time when written, the general scope and
design of it, as well as the intention of particular arguments and
passages. We ought also to observe the style and manner of the writer,
his mode of expression, the peculiar effect he designed to produce on
those to whom he wrote, to whose temper, manners, general principles,
and actual situation, he might address his arguments, etc.
Of the books of the New Testament, twenty-one are epistles; fourteen
of them by Paul, one by James, two by Peter, three by John, and one by
Jude. Being placed in our canon without reference to their
chronological order, they are perused under considerable
disadvantages; and it would be well to read them occasionally in
connection with what the history in the Acts of the Apostles relates
respecting the several churches to which they are addressed. This
would also give us nearly their order of time, which should also be
considered, together with the situation of the writer; as it may
naturally be inferred that such compositions would partake of the
writer's recent and present feelings. The epistles and James, by Peter
and Jude, are very different in their style and application from those
of Paul written to the Gentiles; and those of Paul written to the
Gentiles; and those of Paul no doubt contain expressions and allude to
facts much more familiar to their original readers than to later ages.
A Christian friend and fellow-laborer of Paul, a Corinthian, and
chamberlain-that is, steward or treasurer-of the city. He followed
Paul to Ephesus, and attended Timothy in a mission to Macedonia, Ac
19:22. He was again at Corinth when Paul wrote to the Romans, Ro
16:23; and remained there when Paul went as a prisoner to Rome, 2Ti
One of Nimrod's cities in the plain of Shinar, Ge 10:10. A recent
explorer finds its probable site in the mounds of primeval ruins now
called Irka or Irak, a few miles east of the Euphrates, midway between
Babylon and the junction of the Euphrates and Tigris.
Son of Sennacherib, and his successor as king of Assyria, 2Ki 19:37;
Isa 37:38; B. C. 896. It is only said of him in Scripture that he sent
colonists to Samaria, Ezr 4:2. He is supposed to be the Sardanapalus
of profane historians, the last king of Assyria, infamous for his
luxury and effeminacy. The city being besieged and nearly taken, he
collected his favorites and treasures in his palace and set it on
fire, so that all perished together in the flames.
The son of Isaac, and twin brother of Jacob, Ge 25:1-34. He was the
elder of the two, and was therefore legally the heir, but sold his
birthright to Jacob. We have an account of his ill-advised marriages,
Ge 26:34; of his loss of his father's chief blessing, and his
consequent anger against Jacob, Ge 27:1-46; of their subsequent
reconciliation, Ge 32:1-33:20; and of his posterity, Ge 36:1-43. He is
also called Edom; and settled in the mountains south of the Dead Sea,
extending to the gulf of Akaba, where he became very powerful. This
country was called from him the land of Edom, and afterwards IDUMAEA,
ESDRAELON, PLAIN OF
1Ch 8:33, the fourth son of Saul, generally called Ishbosheth. The
word BAAL, the name of an idol, was not pronounced by scrupulous Jews;
they substituted BOSHETH, confusion. For Meribbaal, they said
Mephibosheth, etc. See ISHBOSHETH.
1. An Amorite prince near Hebron, who joined Abraham in Pursuing the
eastern host who had ravaged Sodom and taken Lot captive, Ge 14:13-14.
2. The small and well-watered valley from which the Hebrew spies
obtained the specimen of grapes, which they suspended from a staff
borne by two men for safe carriage to Moses, Nu 13:22-27 32:9 De 1:24.
This valley is believed to be one which closely adjoins Hebron on the
north, and still furnishes the finest grapes in the country, as well
as pomegranates, figs, olives etc.
A town on the western border of Judah, afterwards given to Dan, Jos
15:33; 19:41. It is named in the history of Samson, Jud 13:25; 16:31.
A city of the priests in Judah, Jos 15:50; 21:14; 1Sa 30:28; traced by
Robinson in the modern village Semua, south of Hebron.
See BETROTHING, MARRIAGE.
ESTHER, BOOK OF
Has always been esteemed canonical, both by Jews and Christians,
though certain additions to it, found in some versions and
manuscripts, are apocryphal. Who was its writer is not certainly
known. It has been ascribed to Ezra, to a high-priest name Jehoiakim,
and to Mordecai. This last opinion is supported by the internal
evidence; the book having been written in Persia, by an eye-witness of
the scenes it describes, B. C. 509. It presents a graphic picture of
the Persian court and customs, and is intensely Jewish in its spirit.
The chief value of the book is to illustrate the wonder- working
providence of God, his control of human passions, his righteous
judgment of sinners, and his care for his covenant people- whom, even
when captives in a strange land, he can exalt above all their foes.
A Persian name given to Hadassah, a daughter of Abihail, of the tribe
of Benjamin. The family had not returned to Judea after the permission
given by Cyrus, and she was born probably beyond the Tigris, and
nearly five hundred years before Christ. Her parents being dead,
Mordecai, her father's brother, took care of her education. After
Ahasuerus had discovered Vashti, search was made throughout Persia for
the most beautiful women, and Esther was one selected. She found favor
in the eyes of the king, and he married her with royal magnificence,
bestowing largesses and remissions of tribute on his people. She was
thus in a position which enabled her to do a signal favor to her
people, then very numerous in Persia. Their deliverance is still
celebrated by the Jews in the yearly festival called Purim, which was
instituted at that time. The husband of Esther is supposed to have
been the Xerxes of secular history.
A town in Judah near Bethlehem and Tekoa; a favorite resort of
Solomon, and fortified by Rehoboam, 1Ch 4:3,32 2Ch 11:6. Its supposed
site is now occupied by a ruined village balled Urtas, a mile and a
half southwest of Bethlehem, not far Solomon's Pools. "The rock Etam"
to which Samson withdrew, Jud 15:8-19, may have been in this vicinity,
perhaps the Frank mountain two miles east.
A station of the Israelites soon after leaving Egypt, Ex 13:20; Nu
33:6. It lay near the head of the west gulf of the Red Sea, and the
wilderness east of it was often called by the same name.
1. One of four men renowned for wisdom, though excelled by Solomon,
1Ki 4:31 1Ch 2:6. He appears to have been a son of Zerah or Ezra, and
grandson of the patriarch Judah.
2. A Levite, son of Kishi, and one of the three masters of the temple
music, 1Ch 6:44 15:17-19. He would seem to be the same as Jeduthun,
1Ch 25:1 2Ch 35:15.
3. A person to whom Ps 89:1-52 is inscribed.
Constantly flowing, a month so named before the captivity, because the
autumnal rains them begin to fill the dry river channels. It was
afterwards called Tishri, and answers nearly to our October. On this
month Solomon's temple was dedicated, 1Ki 8:2.
One of the great kingdoms in Africa, frequently mentioned in Scripture
under the name of Cush, the various significations of which in the Old
Testament have been mentioned under the article CUSH CUSH, which see.
Ethiopia proper lay south of Egypt, on the Nile; and was bounded north
by Egypt, at the cataracts near Syene; east by the Red Sea, and
perhaps a part of the Indian ocean; south by unknown regions of the
interior of Africa; and west by Libya and deserts. It comprehended of
course the modern countries of Nubia or Sennaar, and Abyssinia. The
chief city in it was the ancient Meroe, situated on the island or
tract of the same name, between the Nile and the Astaboras, now the
Tacazze, not far from the modern Shendi, Isa 18:1-7 Zep 3:10.
The name of Seba was given to the northern part of Ethiopia,
afterwards Meroe, but the eldest son of Cush, Ge 10:7. This country
was in some parts mountainous, and in others sandy; but was to a great
extent well watered and fertile. Ebony, ivory, spices, gold, and
precious stones were among its articles of traffic. Its history is
much involved with that of Egypt, and the two countries are often
mentioned together in Bible, Isa 20:3-6 43:3 45:15 Eze 30:1-26 Da
Zerah "the Ethiopian" who invaded Judah in the reign of Asa, B. C.
944, 2Ch 14:9-15, is thought by some to have been an Egyptian king of
an Ethiopia on both sides of the Red Sea; that is, of the Arabian as
well as African Cush. This would explain how he could obtain access to
the land of Palestine without passing through Egypt. But the whole
question is involved in uncertainty. The Ethiopian queen Candace,
whose treasurer is mentioned in Ac 8:27, was probably queen of Meroe,
where a succession of females reigned who all bore this name. As this
courtier is said to have gone up to Jerusalem "to worship," he was
probably a Jew by religion, if not by birth. There appear to have been
many Jews in that country. The gospel gained adherents among them; and
early in the forth century the entire Bible was translated into the
ancient Ethiopic language, from the Greek.
The mother of Timothy and daughter of Lois; she was a Jewess though
her husband was a Greek, Ac 16:1 2Ti 1:5. She transmitted to her son
the lessons of truth she herself had received from a pious mother; and
Paul, on his arrival at Lystra, found them rooted and grounded in the
truth as it is in Christ.
In the courts of oriental monarchs, the charge of the female and
interior apartments is committed to eunuchs. Hence the word came to
signify merely a court officer. Such were Potiphar, Joseph's master,
Ge 39:17, and the treasurer of Queen Candace, Ac 8:27. Our Savior
speaks of some who "have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of
heaven's sake;" that is, who have voluntarily abstained from marriage,
in order more effectually to labor for the kingdom of God, Mt 19:12;
and the apostle Paul commends the same abstinence in certain
exceptional cases in time of persecution, 1Co 7:26,27. See GAZA.
A famous river of Asia, which has its source in the mountains of
America, runs along the frontiers of Cappadocia, Syria, Arabia
Deserta, Chaldea, and Mesopotamia, and falls into the Persian Gulf.
According to the recent researches of Chesney, it receives the Tigris
at a place called Shat-el-Arab. Five miles below the junction of these
two mighty rivers, the Shat-el-Arab receives from the northeast the
Kerkhah, which has a course of upwards of five hundred miles.
Sixty-two miles below the mouth of the Kerkhah, another large river,
the Kuran, comes in from the east. At present it enters the
Shat-el-Arab forty miles above its mouth; but formerly it flowed
channel, east of the main stream. According to that view which places
the Garden of Eden near the junction of the Tigris with the Euphrates,
these might be regarded as the four rivers of Paradise. We might well
suppose that the Kuran, in very ancient times, as now, entered the
Shat-el-Arab; and perhaps still farther from its mouth. Scripture
often calls the Euphrates simply "the river," Ex 23:31 Isa 7:20 8:7
Jer 2:18; or "the great river," and assigns it for the eastern
boundary of that land which God promised to the Hebrews, De 1:7 Jos
1:4. It overflows in summer like the Nile, when the snow on the
mountains of Armenia, the nearest springs of both are but a few miles
The Euphrates is a river of consequence in Scripture geography, being
the utmost limit, east, of the territory of the Israelites. It was
indeed only occasionally that the dominion of the Hebrews extended so
far; but it would appear that even Egypt, under Pharaoh Necho, made
conquests to the western bank of the Euphrates. The river is about
eighteen hundred miles long. Its general direction is southeast; but
in a part of its course it runs westerly, and approaches the
Mediterranean near Cilicia. It is accompanied in its general course by
the Tigris. There are many towns on its banks, which are in general
rather level than mountainous. The river does not appear to be of very
great breadth, varying, however, from sixty to six hundred yards. Its
current, after reaching the plains of Mesopotamia, is somewhat
sluggish, and in this part of its course many canals, etc., were dug,
to prevent injury and secure benefit from the yearly overflows. At
Seleucia, and Hilleh the ancient Babylon, it approaches near the
Tigris, and some of its waters are drawn off by canals to the latter
river. Again, however, they diverge, and only unite in the same
channel about one hundred and twenty miles from the Persian Gulf. It
is not well adapted for navigation, yet light vessels go up about one
thousand miles, and the modern steam-boat which now ascends from the
ocean, meets the same kind of goat-skin floats on which produce was
rafted down the river thousands of years ago.
The wave-stirring easter, a tempestuous wind which came down on Paul's
ship on the south shore of Crete, and at length wrecked her upon
Malta, Ac 27:1-44. The small island Clauda, south of which she passed,
and the "Syrtis" on the African coast, into which the seamen feared
she would be driven, Ac 27:17, lay southwest of Crete. The result
shows that the general course of the wind was east- northeast. It
would now be called there a Levanter.
A young man who was killed at Troas by falling from the window of a
room in the third story, where Paul was preaching. His life was
miraculously restored, Ac 20:6-12.
One who proclaims good news, either by preaching or writing. There
were originally evangelists or preachers who, without being fixed to
any church, preached wherever they were led by the Holy Spirit, like
some missionaries in our own day, Eph 4:11. Such was Philip, Ac 21:8.
Timothy also is exhorted to "do the work of an evangelist," because
they were the writers of the four gospels, which bring to all men the
glad tidings of eternal salvation.
The first mother of our race, and the cause of our fall. Her history
is so closely connected with that of Adam that the remarks made in the
article ADAM apply also to her. Her name Eve is from a word signifying
life, Ge 3:20. She was made, we are told in Ge 2:18-22, both for man
and of him; subordinate and weaker, and yet to be loved as his own
body. The history of woman in all ages has been a striking fulfillment
of the distinct penalties pronounced upon her, Ge 3:16.
The Hebrews reckoned two evenings in each day; as in the phrase,
"between the two evenings," Ex 12:6 Nu 9:3 28:4. In this interval the
Passover was to be killed, and the daily evening sacrifice offered, Ex
29:39-41, Hebrew. According to the Carites, this time between the
evenings is the interval from sunset to complete darkness, that is,
the evening is the interval from sunset to complete darkness, that is,
the evening twilight. Compare De 16:6. According to the Pharisees and
the rabbins, the first evening began when the sun inclined to descend
more rapidly, that is, at the ninth hour; while the second or real
evening commenced at sunset. See DAY.
The son and successor of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, B. C. 561.
His friendly treatment of Jehoiachin the captive king of Judah, in
releasing him from prison and variously distinguishing him above other
captives, is mentioned to his praise, 2Ki 25:27; Jer 52:31- 34. His
reign and life were cut short by a conspiracy, headed by Neriglissar
his sister's husband, who succeeded him.
An ecclesiastical penalty, by which they who incur the guilt of any
heinous sin, are separated from the church, and deprived of its
spiritual advantages. Thus the Jews "put out of the synagogue" those
they deemed unworthy Joh 9:22 12:42 16:2. There were two degrees of
excommunication among them: one a temporary and partial exclusion form
ecclesiastical privileges, and from society; the other a complete
excision form the covenant people of God and their numerous
privileges, and abandonment to eternal perdition. See ANATHEMA.
The right and duty of excommunication when necessary were recognized
in the Christian church by Christ and his apostles, Mt 18:15-18 1Co
5:1-13 16:22 Ga 5:12 1Ti 1:20 Tit 3:10. The offender, found guilty and
incorrigible, was to be excluded from the Lord's supper and cut off
from the body of believers. This excision from Christian fellowship
does not release one from any obligation to obey the law of God and
the gospel of Christ; nor exempt him from any relative duties, as a
man or a citizen. The censure of the church, on the other hand, is not
to be accompanied, as among papists, with enmity, curses, and
persecution. Our Savior directs that such an offender be regarded "as
heathen man and a publican;" and the apostles charge the church to
"withdraw from" those who trouble them, and "keep no company with
them," "no, not to eat;" but this is to be understood of those offices
of civility and fraternity which a man is at liberty to pay or to
withhold, and not of the indispensable duties of humanity, founded on
nature, the law of nations, and the spirit of Christianity, 2Th 3:6,15
Going out, the name of the second book of Moses and of the Bible; so
called because it narrates the departure of the Israelites from Egypt.
It comprises a period of about one hundred and forty-five years, from
the death of Joseph to the erection of the tabernacle in the desert.
The various topics of the book may be thus presented: (1.) The
oppression of the Israelites, under the change of dynasty which sprung
up after the death of Joseph: "There arose up another king, who knew
not Joseph," Ex 1:8. The reference many believe is to the invasion of
Egypt by the Hyksos, who are spoken of in secular history as having
invaded Egypt probably about this period, and who held it in
subjection for many years. The are termed shepherd-kings, and
represented as coming from the east. (2.) The youth, education,
patriotism, and flight of Moses, Ex 2:1- 6:30. (3.) The commission of
Moses, the perversity of Pharaoh, and the infliction of the ten
plagues in succession, Ex 7:1-11:10. (4.) The institution of the
Passover, the sudden departure of the Israelites, the passage of the
Red Sea, and the thanksgiving of Moses and the people on the opposite
shore, after the destruction of Pharaoh and his host, Ex 12:1-15:27.
(5.) The narration of various miracles wrought in behalf of the people
during their journeyings towards Sinai, Ex 15:1-17:16. (6.) The
promulgation of the law on mount Sinai. This includes the preparation
of the people by Moses, and the promulgation, first of the moral law,
then of the judicial law, and subsequently of the ceremonial law,
including the instructions for the erection of the tabernacle and the
completion of that house of God, Ex 19:1-40:38.
The scope of the book is not only to preserve the memorial of the
departure of the Israelites from Egypt, but to present to view the
church of God in her afflictions and triumphs; to point out the
providential care of God over her, and the judgments inflicted on her
enemies. It clearly shows the accomplishment of the divine promises
and prophecies delivered to Abraham: that his posterity would be
numerous, Ge 15:5 17:4-6 46:27 Nu 1:1-3,46; and that they should be
afflicted in a land not their own, whence they should depart in the
fourth generation with great substance,
Ge 15:13-16 Ex 12:40-41. Their exodus in many particulars well
illustrates the state of Christ's church in the wilderness of this
world, until her arrival in the heavenly Canaan. See 1Co 10:1-33 Heb
1:1-13:25. The book of Exodus brings before us many and singular types
of Christ: Moses, De 18:15; Aaron, Heb 4:14-16; the paschal lamb, Ex
12:46 Joh 19:36 1Co 5:7-8; the manna, Ex 1:1-40:38 16:15 1Co 10:3; the
rock in Horeb, Ex 17:6 1Co 10:4; the mercy seat, Ex 37:6 Ro 3:25 Heb
4:16; the tabernacle, Ex 40:1- 38, "The Word tabernacled among us,"
This departure from Egypt, and the subsequent wanderings of the
children of Israel in the desert, form one of the great epochs in
their history. They were constantly led by Jehovah, and the whole
series of events is a constant succession of miracles. From their
breaking up at Rameses, to their arrival on the confines of the
promised land, there was an interval of forty years, during which one
whole generation passed away, and the whole Mosaic law was given, and
sanctioned by the thunders and lightnings of Sinai. There is no
portion of history extant which so displays the interposition of an
overruling Providence in the affairs both of nations and of
individuals, as that which recounts these wanderings of Israel.
The four hundred and thirty years referred to in Ex 12:40, date,
according to the received chronology, from the time when the promise
was made to Abraham, Ge 15:13. From the arrival of Jacob in Egypt to
the exodus of his posterity, was about two hundred and thirty years.
The threescore and fifteen souls had now become 600,000, besides
children. They took with them great numbers of cattle, and much
Egyptian spoil. It was only by the mighty hand of God that their
deliverance was effected; and there seems to have been a special
vindication of his glory in the fact that the Nile, the flies, the
frogs, fishes, cattle, etc., which were made the means or the subjects
of the plagues of Egypt, were there regarded with idolatrous
After the tenth and decisive plague had been sent, the Israelites were
dismissed from Egypt in haste. They are supposed to have been
assembled at Rameses, or Heroopolis, in the land of Goshen, about
thirty-five miles northwest of Suez, on the ancient canal, which
united the Nile with the Red Sea. They set off on the fifteenth day of
the first month, the day after the Passover, that is, about the middle
of April. Their course was southeast as far as Etham; but then,
instead of keeping on directly to Sinai, they turned to the south, Ex
14:2, on the west side of the Red Sea, which they reached three days
after starting, probably near Suez. Here, by means of a strong east
wind, God miraculously divided the waters of the sea in such a way
that the Israelites passed over the bed of it on dry ground; while the
Egyptians, who attempted to follow them, were drowned by the returning
waters. The arm of the sea at Suez is now only three or four miles
wide, and at low water may be forded. It is known to have been
formerly wider and deeper; but the drifting sands of ages have greatly
filled and altered. The miracle here wrought was an amazing one, and
revealed the hand of God more signally than any of the ten plagues had
done. According to the Bible, God caused a "strong east wind" to blow;
the deep waters were sundered, and "gathered together;" "the floods
stood upright as a heap;" "the children of Israel walked upon dry land
in the midst of the sea, and the waters were a wall unto them on their
right hand and on their left." These effects continued all night till
the morning watch, and without obstructing the progress of the
Hebrews; whereas in the morning the pursuing Egyptians were covered by
the sea, and "sank like lead in the mighty waters." These were wonders
towards the effecting of which any wind must have been as insufficient
as Naaman's mere washing in Jordan would have been to the healing of
his leprosy. It should here be stated also, that some geographers
think this miracle took place below Mount Atakah, ten or twelve miles
south of Suez, where the sea is about twelve miles wide. This opinion
is liable to several objections, though it cannot be proved to be
false. At this late day the precise locality may be undiscoverable,
like the point of a soul's transition from the bondage of Satan into
the kingdom of God; but in both cases the work is of God, and the
glory of it is his alone.
Having offered thanksgiving to God for their wonderful deliverance,
the Israelites advanced along the eastern shore of the Red Sea and
through the valleys and desert to Mount Sinai. This part of their
route may be readily traced, and Marah, Elim, and the desert of Sin
have been with much probability identified. They arrived at Mount
Sinai in the third month, or June, probably about the middle of it,
having been two months on their journey. Here the law was given, and
here they abode during all the transactions recorded in Ex 21:1-Nu
9:23, that is, until the twentieth day of the second month (May) in
the following year, a period of about eleven months.
Breaking up at this time from Sinai, they marched northwards through
the desert of Paran, or perhaps along the eastern arm of the Red Sea
and north through El-Arabah, to Kadesh-barnea, near the southeast
border of Canaan. Rephidim near Mount Sinai, and Taberah,
Kibroth-hattaaveh, and Hazerorh, on their journey north, were the
scenes of incidents, which may be found, described under their several
heads. From Kadesh-barnea, spies were sent out to view the promised
land, and brought back an evil report, probably in August of the same
year. The people murmured, and were directed by Jehovah to turn back
and wander in the desert, until the carcasses of that generation
should all fall in the wilderness, Nu 14:25. This they did, wandering
from one station to another in the great desert of Paran, lying south
of Palestine, and also in the great sandy valley called El-Ghor and
chiefly El-Arabah, which extends from the Dead Sea to the gulf of
Akaba, the eastern arm of the Red Sea. See JORDAN. Where and how these
long years were spent we are not informed, nor by what routes they
traversed the desert, nor how they were furnished with food except
manna. Moses says they "compassed mount Seir many days," always under
the guidance of the pillar of fire and cloud, Nu 9:22; he also gives a
list of seventeen stations, mostly unknown, where thy rested or dwelt
before reaching Ezion-gaber, Nu 33:19-35; and then mentions their
return to Kadesh, Nu 33:36-37, in the first month, Nu 20:1, after an
interval of almost thirty-eight years. While thus a second time
encamped at Kadesh, Moses sent to the king of Idumaea, to ask liberty
to pass through his dominions, that is, through the chain of mountains
(mount Seir) lying along the eastern side of the great valley
El-Arabah. See IDUMAEA. This was refused; and Israel, feeling too weak
to penetrate into Palestine from the south, in face of the powerful
tribes of Canaanites dwelling there, was compelled to take the
southern passage around Edom, Nu 21:4. Soon after turning, they came
to mount Hor, where Aaron died and was buried, Nu 20:20-28. Proceeding
southward along the valley El-Arabah to Ezion-gaber, at the head of
the eastern gulf of the Red Sea, they here passed through the eastern
mountains, and then turned north along the eastern desert, by the
route which the great Syrian caravan of Mohammedan pilgrims now passes
in going to Mecca. They arrived at the brook Zered, on the southern
border of Moab, just forty years after their departure from Egypt.
From a Greek word signifying to conjure, to use the name of God or
certain magical ceremonies with design to expel devils from places or
bodies which they possess. The apostles were enabled to cast out evil
spirits in Christ's name, Mt 10:1 Mr 16:17 Lu 10:17; and designing
men, both before and after the Savior's death, pretended to exercise
the same power, Mt 12:27 Mr 9:38 Lu 9:49,50 Ac 19:13-17. Exorcists
were thought to have gained this power by secret studies respecting
the nature of demons, and the powers of certain herbs, drugs, and
stones, and were accustomed to use various forms of adjuration and
incantation in their unlawful art; but the whole was delusion and
imposture, and strictly forbidden. See DIVINATION.
An act by which satisfaction is made for a crime and the liability to
punishment for it is cancelled. It supposes penitence and faith on the
sinner's part. Among the Jews, expiation was effected by a divinely
appointed and typical system of sacrifices, all pointing to Christ.
The New Testament shows Him to be the true sin-offering for mankind,
"the Lamb of God," "our Passover," offering "his own blood," and
putting away "sin by the sacrifice of himself," Joh 1:29 1Co 5:7 Eph
1:7 Heb 9:26.
THE DAY OF EXPIATION OR ATONEMENT, was a yearly solemnity, observed
with rest and fasting on the tenth day of Tisri, five days before the
feast of tabernacles, Le 23:7 25:9. The ceremonies of this
all-important day are minutely described in Le 16:1-34. On this day
alone the high priest entered the Most Holy Place, Heb 9:7; but the
various rites of the day required him to enter several times. First
with the golden censer and a vessel filled with incense. Then with the
blood of the bullock, which he had offered for his own sins and those
of all the priests, in which he dipped his finger, and sprinkled
towards the veil of the tabernacle eight times; and having mixed it
with the blood of the bullock, he sprinkled again towards horns of the
altar of incense seven times, and once above it towards the east;
after which, having again left the sanctuary and taken with him the
basins of blood, he poured out the whole on the floor of the altar of
burnt-offering. The fourth time he entered to bring out the censer and
vessel of incense; and having returned, he washed his hands and
performed the other services of the day. The ceremony of the scapegoat
also took place on this day. Two goats were set apart, one of which
was sacrificed to the Lord, while the other, called the azazel or
scapegoat, which was determined by lot to be set at liberty, was sent
into the desert burdened with the sins of the people. All these solemn
rites pointed to Christ, and in every age there were many believers
who had spiritual discernment of their sacred meaning, Heb 9:1-11:40.
They looked unto Him whom they had pierced, and mourned. As this day
of expiation was the great fast day of the Jewish church, so godly
sorrow for sin characterizes the Christian's looking unto the Lamb of
God, and "the rapture of pardon" is mingled with "penitent tears."
The same Hebrew word means both eye and fountain. Besides its common
use, to denote the organ of sight, it is often used figuratively in
the Bible. Most of these passages, however, require no explanation.
The custom of sealing up the eyes of criminals, still practiced in the
East, is thought to be alluded to in Isa 6:10 44:18. The expression,
"As the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters," Ps
123:2, is elucidated by a knowledge of the fact that many eastern
servants are taught to stand always upon the watch, and are in general
directed by a nod, a wink, or some slight motion of the fingers
imperceptible to strangers. Many Scripture phrases intimate the
soul-like nature of the eye, quickly and truly expressing the thoughts
of the heart: such as "the bountiful eye" and the "evil eye," Pr 22:9
23:6; "haughty eyes" and "wanton eyes," Pr 6:17 Isa 3:16. "The lust of
the eyes," 1Jo 2:16, expresses a craving for any of the gay vanities
of this life. The threatening against "the eye that mocketh at his
father," Pr 30:17, is explained by the habit of birds of prey, which
attack the eyes of a living enemy, and quickly devour those of the
dead. A "single" eye, Mt 6:22, is one which is clear, and sees every
object as it is.
There are allusions in the Bible, and in many ancient and modern
writers, to the practice of painting the eyelids, to make the eyes
appear large, lustrous, and languishing. Jezebel, 2Ki 9:30, is said to
have "painted her face," literally, "put her eyes in paint." This was
sometimes done to excess, Jer 4:30; and was practiced by abandoned
women, Pr 6:25. A small probe of wood, ivory, or silver, is wet with
rose water, and dipped in an impalpable powder; this is then drawn
between the lids of the eye nearly closed, and leaves a narrow black
border which is thought a great ornament. The powder for this purpose,
called kohol, is made by burning a kind of aromatic resin, and
sometimes of lead ore and other substances, for the benefit of the
eyes. In Persia this custom is as common among the men as among the
women; so also in ancient Egypt, as the Theban monuments show. "The
females of Arabia," Niebuhr says, "color their nails blood-red, and
their hands and feet yellow, with the herb Al-henna. (See CAMPHIRE.)
They also tinge the inside of their eyelids coal-black with kochel, a
coloring material prepared from lead ore. They not only enlarge their
eyebrows, but also paint other figures of black, as ornaments, upon
the face and hands. Sometimes they even prick through the skin, in
various figures, and then lay certain substances upon the wounds,
which eat in so deeply, that the ornaments thus impressed are rendered
permanent for life. All this the Arabian women esteem as beauty."
Son of Buzi, a prophet of the sacerdotal race, was carried captive to
Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar, with Jehoiachin king of Judah, B. C. 598,
and placed by the river Chebar. See NINEVEH. He began his ministry in
the thirtieth year of his age, according to the general account; but
perhaps in the thirtieth year after the covenant was renewed with God
in the reign of Josiah, Eze 1:1, which answers to the fifth year of
Ezekiel's captivity. The elders of Israel resorted to him for
direction, Ezr 8:1 10:44,44,44. He prophesied twenty years, B. C.
595-575, till the fourteenth year after the final captivity of
Jerusalem. During the first eight years he was contemporary with
Jeremiah. Daniel also lived at the same time, Eze 14:14,16 28:3,
though most of his predictions are of a later date.
The BOOK OF EZEKIEL abounds with sublime visions of the divine glory,
and awful denunciations against Israel for their rebellious spirit
against God, and the abominations of their idolatry, Eze 1:1-24:27. It
contains also similar denunciations against Tyre and other hostile
nations, Eze 25:1-32:32. The latter part of the book contains oracles
respecting the return and restoration of the people of God, Eze
EZIONGEBER OR EZIONGABER
A city at the northern extremity of the Elanitic or eastern gulf of
the Red Sea, and close by Elath. The Israelites rested here in the
last year of their wanderings from Egypt to Canaan, Nu 33:35 De 2:8.
At this port Solomon equipped his fleets for the voyage to Ophir, 1Ki
9:26. A similar enterprise of Jehoshaphat failed, 1Ki 22:48 2Ch 20:36.
See ELATH and EXODUS.
A celebrated priest and leader of the Jewish nation. He was "a ready
scribe in the law," a learned, able, and faithful man, and appears to
have enjoyed great consideration in the Persian court. During the
eighty years embraced in his narrative, most of the reign of Cyrus
passed, and the whole reign of Cambyses, Smerdis, Darius Hystaspis,
Xerxes, and eight years of Artaxerxes Longimanus. From this last king
he received letters, money, and every desirable help, and went at the
head of a large party of returning exiles to Jerusalem, B. C. 457.
Here he instituted many reforms in the conduct of the people, and in
the public worship, Ezr 8:1-10:44 Ne 8:1-18. After this he is
generally believed to have collected and revised all the books of the
Old Testament Scripture, which form the present canon.
The BOOK OF EZRA contains a history of the return of the Jews from the
time of Cyrus; with an account of his own subsequent proceedings, B.
C. 450. There are two apocryphal books ascribed to him under the name
of Esdras, which is only the Greek form of the name Ezra.
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