American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - S
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Hast thou forsaken me, a Syro-Chaldaic word, a part of our Savior's
exclamation on the cross, Mt 27:46; the whole is taken from Ps 22:1,
where it is used prophetically.
Or rather Tsabaoth, hosts or armies. JEHOVAH SABAOTH is the Lord of
Hosts; and we are to understand the word hosts in the most
comprehensive sense, as including the host of heaven, the angels and
minister of the Lord; the stars and planets, which, as an army ranged
in battle array, perform the will of God; the armies of earth, whose
conflicts his providence overrules to the accomplishment of his own
wise designs; the hordes of inferior creatures, as the locusts that
plagued Egypt, the quails that fed Israel, and "the canker-worm and
the palmer-worm, his great army," Joe 2:15; and lastly, the people of
the Lord, both of the old and new covenants, a truly great army, of
which God is the general and commander, 2Sa 6:2 Ps 24:10 Ro 9:29 Jas
Rest. God having created the world in six days, "rested" on the
seventh, Ge 2:2,3; that is, he ceased from producing new beings in
this creation; and because he had rested on it, he "blessed" or
sanctified it, and appointed it in a peculiar manner for his worship.
We here have an account of the ORIGINAL INSTITUTION of the day of
rest. Like the institution of marriage, it was given to man for the
whole race. Those who worshipped God seem to have kept the Sabbath
from the first, and there are tokens of this in the brief sketch the
Bible contains of the ages before the giving of the law at Mount
Sinai. Noah sent forth the raven from the ark, and the dove thrice, at
intervals of seven days, Ge 8:1-22. The account of the sending of
manna in the desert proves that the Sabbath was already known and
observed, Ex 16:22-30. The week was an established division of time in
Mesopotamia and Arabia, Ge 29:27; and traces of it have been found in
many nations of antiquity, so remote from each other and of such
diverse origin as to forbid the idea of their having received it from
Sinai and the Hebrews.
The REENACTMENT of the Sabbath on Mount Sinai, among the Commandments
of the Moral Law, was also designed not for the Jews alone, but for
all whom should receive the word of God, and ultimately for all
mankind. Christ and his apostles never speak of the decalogue but as
of permanent and universal obligation. "The Sabbath was made for man."
The fourth commandment is as binding as the third and the fifth.
Certain additions to it, with specifications and penalties, were a
part of the Mosaic civil law, and are not now in force, Ex 31:14 Nu
15:32-36. On the Sabbath-day, the priests and Levites, ministers of
the temple, entered on their week; and those who had attended the
foregoing week, went out. They placed on the golden table new loaves
of showbread, and took away the old ones, Le 24:8. Also on this day
were offered particular sacrifices of two lambs for a burnt offering,
with wine and meal. The Sabbath was celebrated like the other
festivals, from evening, Nu 28:9,10.
The chief obligation of the Sabbath expressed in the law is to
sanctify it, Ex 20:8 De 5:12: "Remember the Sabbath-day to sanctify
it." It is sanctified by necessary works of charity, by prayers,
praises, and thanksgiving, by the public and private worship of God,
by the study of his word, by tranquility of mind, and by meditation on
moral and religious truth in its bearing on the duties of life and the
hope of immorality. The other requirement of the law is rest: "Thou
shalt not do any work." The ordinary business of life is to be wholly
laid aside, both for the sake of bodily and mental health, and chiefly
to secure the quiet and uninterrupted employment of the sacred hours
for religious purposes. The spirit of the law clearly forbids all uses
of the day which are worldly, such as amusements, journeys, etc.,
whereby one fails to keep the day holy himself, or hinders others in
The CHRISTIAN SABBATH is the original day of rest established in the
Garden of the Eden and reenacted on Sinai, without those requirements,
which were peculiar to Judaism, but with all its original moral force
and with the new sanctions of Christianity. It commemorates not only
the creation of the world, but a still greater event-the completion of
the work of atonement by the resurrection of Christ; and as he rose
from the dead on the day after the Jewish Sabbath, that day of his
resurrection has been observed by Christians ever since. The change
appears to have been made at once and as is generally believed under
the direction of the "Lord of the Sabbath." On the same day, the first
day of the week, he appeared among his assembled disciples; and on the
next recurrence of the day he was again with them, and revealed
himself to Thomas. From 1Co 11:20 14:23,40, it appears that the
disciples in all places were accustomed to meet statedly to worship
and to celebrate the Lord's supper; and from 1Co 16:1,2, we learn that
these meetings were on the first day of the week. Thus in Ac 20:6-11,
we find the Christians at Troas assembled on the first day, to partake
of the supper and to receive religious instruction. John observed the
day with peculiar solemnity, Re 1:10; and it had then received the
name of "The Lord's day," which it has ever since retained. For a
time, such of the disciples as were Jews observed the Jewish Sabbath
also; but they did not require this nor the observance of any festival
of the Mosaic dispensation, of Gentile converts, nor even of Jews, Col
2:16. The early Christian fathers refer to the first day of the week
as the time set apart for worship, and to the transfer of the day on
account of the resurrection of the Savior. Pliny the younger,
proconsul of Pontus near the close of the first century, in a letter
to the emperor Trajan, remarks that the Christians were "accustomed on
a stated day to meet together before daylight, and to repeat a hymn to
Christ as God, and to bind themselves by a solemn bond not to commit
any wickedness," etc. So well known was their custom, that the
ordinary test question put by persecutors to those suspected of
Christianity was "Hast thou kept the Lord's day?" to which the reply
was, "I am a Christian; I cannot omit it." Justin Martyr observes that
"on the Lord's day all Christians in the city or country meet
together, because that is the day of our Lord's resurrection, and then
we read the writings of the apostles and prophets; this being done,
the person presiding makes an oration to the assembly, to exhort them
to imitate and to practice the things they have heard; then we all
join in prayer, and after that we celebrate the sacrament. Then they
who are able and willing give what they think proper, and what is
collected is laid up in the hands of the chief officer, who
distributes it to orphans and widows, and other necessitous
Christians, as their wants require." See 1Co 16:2. A very honorable
conduct and worship. Would that it were more prevalent among us, with
the spirit and piety of primitive Christianity!
The commandment to observe the Sabbath is worthy of its place in the
decalogue; and its observance is of fundamental importance to society,
which without it would fast relapse into ignorance, vice, and
ungodliness. Its very existence on earth, by the ordinance of God,
proves that there remains an eternal Sabbath in heaven, of which the
"blest repose" of the day of God is an earnest to those who rightly
observe it, Heb 4:9.
"The second Sabbath after the first," Lu 6:1, should rather read, "The
first Sabbath after the second day of the pass-over." Of the seven
days of the pass-over, the first was a Sabbath, and on the second was
a festival in which the fruits of the harvest were offered to God, Le
23:5,9, etc. From this second day the Jews reckoned seven weeks or the
first Sabbath which occurred after this second day, was called the
first week or Sabbath after the second day.
The "preparation of the Sabbath" was the Friday before; for as it was
forbidden to make a fire, to bake bread, or to dress victuals, on the
Sabbath-day, they provided on the Friday every thing needful for their
sustenance on the Sabbath, Mr 15:42 Mt 27:62 Joh 19:14,31,42.
For "a Sabbath-day's journey," see JOURNEY.
Was to be celebrated among the Jews once every seven years; the land
was to rest, and be left without culture, Ex 23:10,11 Le 25:17. God
appointed the observance of the Sabbatical year, to preserve the
remembrance of the creation of the world; to enforce the
acknowledgment of his sovereign authority over all things,
particularly over the land of Canaan, which he had given to the
Hebrews; and to inculcate humanity on his people, by commanding that
they should resign to servants, to the poor, to strangers and to
brutes, the produce of the fields, of their vineyards, and of their
gardens. Josephus and Tacitus both mention the Sabbatical year as
existing in their day. See JUBILEE.
This word represents two distinct people, who, in accordance with the
original Hebrew, might have been more properly called Sebaeans and
1. The first denotes the inhabitants of the country called SEBA. This
appears to have been the great island, or rather peninsula of Meroe,
in northern Ethiopia, or Nubia, formed between the Nile and the
Astaboras, now Atbara. Upon this peninsula lay a city of the like
name, the ruins of which are still visible a few mile north of the
modern Shendy. Meroe was a city of priests, whose origin is lost in
the highest antiquity. The monarch was chosen by the priests from
among themselves; and the government was being theocratic, being
managed by the priest according to the oracle of Jupiter Ammon. This
was the Seba of the Hebrews, according to Josephus, who mentions at
the same time that it was conquered by Cambyses, and received from him
the name Meroe, after his sister. With this representation accord the
notices of Seba and its inhabitants in Scripture. In Ge 10:7, their
ancestor is said to be a son of Cush, the progenitor of the
Ethiopians. In Isa 43:3 and Ps 72:10, Seba is mentioned as a distant
and wealthy country; in the former passage, it is connected with Egypt
and Ethiopia; and Meroe was one of the most important commercial
cities of interior Africa. These Sabeans are described by Herodotus as
men of uncommon size. Compare Isa 45:14. A branch of this family, it
is thought, located themselves near the head of the Persian Gulf; and
the Sabeans mentioned in Job 1:15 were probably Cushites. See CUSH and
2. The inhabitants of the country called SHEBA. The Sheba of Scripture
appears to be the Saba of Strabo, situated towards the southern part
of Arabia, at a short distance from the coast of the Red Sea, the
capital of which was Mariaba, or Mareb. This region, called also
Yemen, was probably settled by Sheba the son of Joktan, of the race of
Shem, Ge 10:28 1Ch 1:22.
The queen of Sheba, who visited Solomon, 1Ki 10:1-29 2Ch 9:1-31 Mt
12:42, and made him presents of gold, ivory, and costly spices, was
probably the mistress of this region; indeed, the Sabeans were
celebrated, on account of their important commerce in these very
products, among the Greeks also, Job 6:19 Isa 60:6 Jer 6:20 Eze 27:22
38:13 Ps 72:10,15 Joe 3:8. The tradition of this visit of the queen of
Sheba to Solomon has maintained itself among the Arabs, who call her
Balkis, and affirm that she became the wife of Solomon.
Besides the Joktanite Sabaeans, two others of the same name are
mentioned in the Bible. 1. A son of Jokshan, and grandson of Abraham
and Keturah, Ge 10:28 2. A grandson of Cush. It is possible that these
descendants of the Ethiopian Sheba may have had their residence in
Africa; but the question of these two Shebas is obscure and difficult
to determine. The Sebaeans and Shebaeans are both mentioned in the
same prophecy, Ps 72:10, as coming to lay their offerings at the feet
SABTH AND SABTECHA
Sons of Cush, Ge 10:7. It cannot be decided whether they settled in
Africa, Arabia, or southeastern Asia.
Sack is a pure Hebrew word, and has spread into many modern languages.
Sackcloth is a very coarse stuff, often of hair, Re 6:12. In great
calamities, in penitence, in trouble, the Jews, etc., wore sackcloth
about their bodies, Ge 37:34; 2Sa 3:31; 1Ki 20:32; Mt 11:21. The
prophets were often clothed in sackcloth, and generally in coarse
clothing, Mt 11:21. The Lord bid Isaiah put off the sackcloth from
about his body, and go naked, Isa 20:2. Zechariah says, Zec 13:4, that
false prophets should no longer prophesy in sackcloth, (English
translation, a rough garment), to deceive the simple.
In time of joy, or on hearing good news, those who were clad in
sackcloth cast it from them, and resumed their usual clothing, Ps
An offering made to God on his altar, by the hand of a lawful
minister. A sacrifice differed from an oblation; it was properly the
offering up of a life; whereas an oblation was but a simple offering
or gift. There is every reason to believe that sacrifices were from
the first of divine appointment; otherwise they would have been a
superstitious will-worship, which God could not have accepted as he
did. See ABEL. Adam and his sons, Noah and his descendents, Abraham
and his posterity, Job and Melchizedek, before the Mosaic law, offered
to God real sacrifices. That law did but settle the quality, the
number, and other circumstances of sacrifices. Every one was priest
and minister of his own sacrifice; at least, he was at liberty to
choose what priest he pleased in offering his victim. Generally, this
honor belonged to the head of a family; hence it was the prerogative
of the firstborn. But after Moses this was, among the Jews, confined
to the family of Aaron.
There was but one place appointed in the law for the offering of
sacrifices by the Jews. It was around the one altar of the only true
God in the tabernacle, and afterwards in the temple, that all his
people were to unite in his worship, Le 17:4,9 De 12:5-18. On some
special occasions, however, kings, prophets, and judges sacrificed
elsewhere, Jud 2:5 6:26 13:16 1Sa 7:17 1Ki 3:2,3 18:33. The Jews were
taught to cherish the greatest horror of human sacrifices, as
heathenish and revolting, Le 20:2 De 12:31 Ps 106:37 Isa 66:3 Eze
The Hebrews had three kinds of sacrifices:
1. The burnt-offering or holocaust, in which the whole victim was
consumed, without any reserve to the person who gave the victim, or to
the priest who killed and sacrificed it, except that the priest had
the skin; for before the victims were offered to the Lord, their skins
were flayed off, and their feet and entrails were washed, Le 1:1-17
7:8. Every burnt offering contained an acknowledgment of general
guilt, and a typical expiation of it. The burning of the whole victim
on the altar signified, on the part of the offerer, the entireness of
his devotion of himself and all his substance to God; and, on the part
of the victim, the completeness of the expiation.
2. The sin offering, of which the trespass offering may be regarded as
a variety. This differed from the burnt-offering in that it always had
respect to particular offences against law either moral through
ignorance, or at least not in a presumptuous spirit. No part of it
returned to him who had given it, but the sacrificing priest had a
share of it, Le 4:1-6:30 7:1-10 3. Peace-offerings: these were offered
in the fulfillment of vows, to return thanks to God for benefits,
(thank-offerings), or to satisfy private devotion,
(freewill-offerings.) The Israelites accordingly offered these when
they chose, no law obliging them to it, and they were free to choose
among such animals as were allowed in sacrifice, Le 3:1-17 7:11-34.
The law only required that the victim should be without blemish. He
who presented it came to the door of the tabernacle, put his hand on
the head of the victim, and killed it. The priest poured out the blood
about the altar of burntsacrifices: he burnt on the fire of the altar
the fat of the lower belly, that which covers the kidneys, the liver,
and the bowels. And if it were a lamb, or a ram, he added to it the
rump of the animal, which in that country is very fat. Before these
things were committed to the fire of the altar, the priest put them
into the hands of the offerer, then made him lift them up on high, and
wave them toward the four quarters of the world, the priest supporting
and direction his hands. The breast and the right shoulder of the
sacrifice belonged to the priest that performed the service; and it
appears that both of them were put into the hands of him who offered
them, though Moses mentions only the breast of the animal. After this,
all the rest of the sacrifice belonged to him who presented it, and he
might eat it with his family and friends at his pleasure, Le 8:31. The
peace offering signified expiation of sin, and thus reconciliation
with God, and holy communion with him and with his people.
The sacrifices of offerings of meal or liquors, which were offered for
sin, were in favor of the poorer sort, who could not afford to
sacrifice an ox or goat or sheep, Le 5:10-13. They contented
themselves with offering meal or flour, sprinkled with oil, with spice
(or frankincense) over it. And the priest, taking a handful of this
flour, with all the frankincense, sprinkled them on the fire of the
altar; and all the rest of the flour was his own: he was to eat it
without leaven in the tabernacle, and none but priests were to partake
of it. As to other offerings, fruits, wine, meal, wafers, or cakes, or
any thing else, the priest always cast a part on the altar; the rest
belonged to him and the other priests. These offerings were always
accompanied with salt and wine, but were without leaven, Le 2:1-16.
Offerings, in which they set at liberty a bird or a goat, were not
strictly sacrifices, because there was no shedding of blood, and the
victim remained alive.
Sacrifices of birds were offered on three occasions: 1. For sin, when
the person offering was not rich enough to provide an animal for a
victim, Le 5:7,8 2. For purification of a woman after childbirth, Le
12:6,7. When she could offer a lamb and a young pigeon, she gave both;
the lamb for a burnt offering, the pigeon for a sin offering. But if
she were not able to offer a lamb, she gave a pair of turtles, or a
pair of young pigeons; one for a burnt offering, and the other for a
sin offering. 3. They offered two sparrows for those who were purified
from the leprosy; one was a burnt offering, the other was a
scape-sparrow, as above, Le 14:4, etc Le 14:1 27:34.
For the sacrifice of the paschal lamb, see PASSOVER.
The perpetual sacrifice of the tabernacle and temple, Ex 29:38-40 Nu
28:3, was a daily offering of two lambs on the altar of burnt
offerings; one in the morning, the other in the evening. They were
burnt as holocausts, but by a small fire, that they might continue
burning the longer. The lamb of the morning was offered about sunrise,
after the incense was burnt on the golden altar, and before any other
sacrifice. That in the evening was offered between the two evenings,
that is, at the decline of day, and before night. With each of these
victims was offered half a pint of wine, half a pint of the purest
oil, and an assaron, or about five pints, of the finest flour.
Such were the sacrifices of the Hebrews-sacrifices of divine
appointment, and yet altogether incapable in themselves of purifying
the soul or atoning for its sins. Paul has described these and other
ceremonies of the law "as weak and beggarly elements," Ga 4:9. They
represented grace and purity, but they did not communicate it. They
convinced the sinner of his necessity of purification and
sanctification to God; but they did not impart holiness or
justification to him. Sacrifices were only prophecies and figures of
the sacrifice, the Lamb of God, which eminently includes all their
virtues and qualities; being at the same time a holocaust, a sacrifice
for sin, and a sacrifice of thanksgiving; containing the whole
substance and efficacy, of which the ancient sacrifices were only
representations. The paschal lamb, the daily burnt-offerings, the
offerings of flour and wine, and all other oblations, of whatever
nature, promised and represented the death of Jesus Christ, Heb 9:9-15
10:1. Accordingly, by his death he abolished them all, 1Co 5:7 Heb
10:8-10. By his offering of himself once for all, Heb 10:3, he has
superseded all other sacrifices, and saves forever all who believe,
Eph 5:2 Heb 9:11-26; while without this expiatory sacrifice, divine
justice could never have relaxed its hold on a single human soul.
The idea of a substitution of the victim in the place of the sinner is
a familiar one in the Old Testament, Le 16:21 De 21:1-8 Isa 53:4 Da
9:26; and is found attending all the sacrifices of animals, Le 4:20,26
5:10 14:18 16:21. This is the reason assigned why the blood
especially, as being the very life and soul of the victim, was
sprinkled on the altar and poured out before the Lord to signify its
utter destruction in the sinner's stead, Le 17:11. Yet the Jews were
carefully directed not to rely on these sacrifices as works of merit.
They were taught that without repentance, faith, and reformation, all
sacrifices were an abomination to God, Pr 21:27 Jer 6:20 Am 5:22 Mic
6:6-8; that He desires mercy and not sacrifice, Ho 6:6 Mt 9:13, and
supreme love to him, Mr 12:33. "To obey is better than sacrifice, and
to hearken than the fat of rams," 1Sa 15:22 Pr 21:3 Mt 5:23. See also
Ps 50:1-23. Then, as truly as under the Christian dispensation, it
could be said, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken
and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise," Ps 51:17. The
Jews, without these dispositions, could not present any offering
agreeable to God; and he often explains himself on this matter in the
prophets, Ps 40:6 Isa 1:11-14 Ho 6:6 Joe 2:12-18 Am 5:21,22, etc.
The term sacrifices is sometimes used metaphorically with respect to
the services of Christians; implying a giving up of something that was
their own, and a dedication of it to the Lord, Ro 12:1 Php 4:18 Heb
13:15,16 1Pe 2:5.
Any profanation or abuse of things peculiarly sacred to God; such as
robbing the house of God, or making it a den of thieves, Mt 21:12,13;
This name was applied in the time of Jesus to a portion or sect of the
Jews, who were usually at variance with the other leading sect,
namely, the Pharisees, but united with them in opposing Jesus and
accomplishing his death, Mt 16:1-12; Lu 20:27. The name would seem to
be derived from a Hebrew word signifying the just; but the Talmudists
affirm that it comes from a certain Sadoc, or Sadducus, who was the
founder of the sect, and lived about three centuries before the
Christian era. The Sadducees disregarded all the traditions and
unwritten laws which the Pharisees prized so highly, and professed to
consider the Scriptures as the only source and rule of the Jewish
religion. They rejected the demonology of the Pharisees; denied the
existence of angles and spirits; considered the soul as dying with the
body, and of course admitted no future state of rewards and
punishments, Mt 22:23. While, moreover, the Pharisees believed that
all events and actions were directed by an overruling providence or
fate, the Sadducees considered them all as depending on the will and
agency of man. The tenets of these freethinking philosophers were not,
in general, so acceptable to the people as those of the Pharisees; yet
many of the highest rank adopted them, and practiced great severity of
manners and of life. Many members of the Sanhedrin were Sadducees, Ac
23:6-9; and so was the high priest in the time of Christ seems to have
added bitterness to their hatred of Christianity, Ac 4:1; 5:17.
The common Crocus Sativus, a small bluish flower, whose yellow,
thread-like stigmata yield an agreeable aromatic odor; and also the
Indian saffron, So 4:14. In the East these were used in making a
highly valued perfume, and also as a condiment and a stimulating
A holy person, a friend of God, either on earth or in heaven, De 33:2.
It is sometimes used of the pious Israelites, as Ps 16:3 34:9. Nothing
is more frequent in Paul than the name of saints given to all
Christians, Ro 1:7 8:27 12:13 15:25,31 16:2. In this acceptation it
continued during the early ages of Christianity; nor was it applied to
individuals declared to be saints by any other act of the church than
admission to its membership, till various corruptions had depraved the
primitive principles. The church of Rome assumes the power of making
saints; that is, of announcing certain departed spirits as objects of
worship, from whom the faithful may solicit favors-a notion worthy of
the dark ages in which it originated.
The chief city of the isle of Cyprus, visited by Paul and Barnabas, A.
D. 48. This was the native isle of Barnabas, and many Jews resided
there to whom the gospel had already been carried, Ac 4:36; 11:19,20;
21:16. Paul's visit was signalized by the miracle wrought on Elymas,
and by the conversion of the governor, Sergius Paulus, Ac 13:5-12.
Sakanus was a large city, situated on the east side of the island, and
was afterwards called Constantia.
1Co 3:17, or SHEALTIEL, father of Zerubbabel, Ezr 3:2 Ne 12:1 Hag 1:1;
one of the ancestors of Christ, named in both the gospel genealogies,
Mt 1:14 Lu 3:27. See GENEALOGY.
A city of Bashan, conquered by the Jews and assigned to Manasseh, De
3:10 Jos 12:5 13:11. It was near the border of Gad, 1Ch 5:11, and
where the boundary line between the two tribes ran out farthest into
the desert. A town called Salchat still exists there, on the southeast
border of the modern Hauran.
1. An ancient name of Jerusalem, Ge 14:18 Heb 7:1,3, afterwards
applied to it poetically, Ps 76:2.
2. A city of the Shechemites, east of Sychar, Ge 33:18.
A town near Enon and the Jordan, south of Bethshean, Joh 3:23.
Or SALMAH 1Ch 2:11, a chief man of the tribe of Judah, husband of
Rahab, and father of Boaz, Ru 4:20 Mt 1:4,5 Lu 3:32. See ZALMON.
A promontory at the northeast extremity of the island of Crete, now
cape Sidero, Ac 27:7.
Wife of Zebedee, mother of James the elder and John the evangelist,
one of those holy women of Galilee who attended our Savior in his
journeys and ministered to him, Mt 20.20-23. Her conception as to the
true nature of Christ's kingdom were no doubt changed by his
crucifixion, which she witnessed "afar off," and by his resurrection,
of which she was early apprized by the angels at the tomb, Mr 15:40;
16:1. Some infer, from comparing Mt 27:56 and Joh 19:25, that she was
a sister of Mary the mother of Jesus.
Salome was also the name of the daughter of Herodias.
SALT, VALLEY OF
This place is memorable for the victories of David, 2Sa 8:13 1Ch 18:12
Ps 60:1-12, and of Amaziah, 2Ki 14:7, over the Edomites. There can be
little doubt that the name designates the broad deep valley El-Ghor,
prolonged some eight miles south of the Dead Sea to the chalky cliffs
called Akrabbim. Like all this region, it bears the marks of volcanic
action, and has an air of extreme desolation. It is occasionally
overflowed by the bitter waters of that sea, which rise to the height
of fifteen feet. The driftwood on the margin of the valley, which
indicates this rise of the water, is so impregnated with salt that it
will not burn; and on the northwest side of the valley lies a mountain
of salt. Parts of this plain are white with salt; others are swampy,
or marked by sluggish streams or standing pools of brackish water. The
southern part is covered in part with tamarisks and coarse shrubbery.
Some travellers have found here quicksand pits in which camels and
horses have been swallowed up and lost, Ge 14:10 Zep 2:9. See JORDAN
and SEA 3.
Was procured by the Jews from the Dead Sea, wither from the immense
hill or ridge of pure rock salt at its southwest extremity, or from
that deposited on the shore by the natural evaporation. The Arabs
obtain it in large cakes, two or three inches thick, and sell it in
considerable quantities throughout Syria. It well-known preservative
qualities, and its importance as a seasoning for food, Job 6:6, are
implied in most of the passages where it is mentioned in Scripture: as
in the miraculous healing of a fountain, 2Ki 2:21; in the sprinkling
of salt over the sacrifices consumed on God's altar, Le 2:13 Eze 43:24
Mr 9:49; and its use in the sacred incense, Ex 30:35. So also good men
are "the salt of the earth," Mt 5:13; and grace, or true wisdom, is
the salt of language, Mr 9:50 Col 4:6. See also Eze 16:4. To sow a
land with salt, signifies its utter barrenness and desolation; a
condition often illustrated in the Bible by allusions to the region of
Sodom and Gomorrah, with its soil impregnated with salt, or covered
with acrid and slimy pools, De 29.33; Job 39.9; Ezekiel 47.11; Zep
Salt is also the symbol of perpetuity and incorruption. Thus they said
of a covenant, "It is a covenant of salt for ever before the Lord," Nu
18:19 2Ch 13:5. It is also the symbol of hospitality; and of the
fidelity due from servants, friends, guests, and officers, to those
who maintain them or who receive them at their tables. The governors
of the provinces beyond the Euphrates, writing to the king Artaxerxes,
tell him, "Because we have maintenance from the king's palace," Ezr
The usual formula of salutation among the Hebrews was Shalom lekha,
that is, Peace be with thee. The same expression is the common one
among the Arabs to the present day: they say, Salam lekha, to which
the person saluted replies, "With thee be peace," Ge 29:6 Jud 18:15,
margin. Hence we hear of the Arab and Turkish Salams, that is,
salutations. Other phrases of salutation are found in Scripture, most
of them invoking a blessing: as "The Lord be with thee;" "All hail,"
or Joy to thee; "Blessed be thou of the Lord."
These and similar phrases the oriental still use on all occasions with
the most profuse and punctilious politeness. The letter of an Arab
will be nearly filled with salutations; and should he come in to tell
you your house was on fire, he would first give and receive the
compliments of the day, and then say perhaps, "If God will, all is
well; but your house is on fire." Their more formal salutations they
accompany with various ceremonies or gestures; sometimes they embrace
and kiss each other; sometimes an inferior kiss the hand or the beard
of a superior, or bows low, with the hand upon the breast, and
afterwards raises it to his lips or forehead. See Jacob's salutation
of Esau, Ge 43:1-34; and compare Ge 19:1 23:7 42:6 1Sa 25:44 2Sa 1:2
Joh 20:26. The due and dignified performance of some of these
ceremonious courtesies, especially when frequently recurring, requires
much time; and hence, when the prophet sent his servant in great haste
to lay his staff upon the dead child, he forbade him to salute any
one, or answer any salutation by the way, 2Ki 4:29.
For a similar reason, our Savior forbade the seventy disciples to
salute any one by the way, Lu 10:4, that is, in this formal and
tedious manner, wasting precious time. Much of the oriental courtesy
was superficial with it what was "better than life." "My peace I give
unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you," Joh 14:27.
Means, strictly, deliverance; and so it is used of temporal
deliverance, victory, in Ge 14:13 1Sa 14:45. But as the spiritual
deliverance from sin and death, through the Redeemer, Mt 1:21, is a
far greater salvation, so this word has come to be used mostly only in
this moral and spiritual sense; and implies not only this deliverance,
but also the consequences of it, namely, eternal life and happiness in
the kingdom of out Lord, 2Co 7:10 Eph 1:13. It is most justly
described as a "great salvation," Heb 2:3.
The Hebrews rarely use concrete terms, as they are called, but often
abstract terms. Thus, instead of saying, God saves them and protects
them, they say, God is their salvation. So, a voice of salvation,
tidings of salvation, the rock of salvation, the shield of salvation,
a horn of salvation, a word of salvation, etc., are equivalent to a
voice declaring deliverance; the joy that attends escape from a great
danger; a rock where any one takes refuge, and is in safety; a buckler
that secures from the attack of an enemy; a horn or ray of glory, of
happiness and salvation, etc. Thus, to work great salvation in Israel
signifies to deliver Israel from some imminent danger, to obtain a
great victory over enemies.
The "garments of salvation," Isa 61:10, refer to the splendid robes
worn on festival days. The expression is used figuratively to denote
the reception of a signal favor from God, such as deliverance from
1. One of the three divisions of the Holy Land in the time of our
Savior, having Galilee on the north and Judea on the south, the Jordan
on the east and the Mediterranean on the west, and occupying parts of
the territory assigned at first to Ephraim, Mahasseh, and Issachar, Lu
17:11 Joh 4:4. It is described as having its hills less bare than
those of Judea, and its valleys and plains more cultivated and
fruitful. See CANAAN. Many gospel churches were early planted here, Ac
8:1,25 9:31 15:3.
2. A city situated near the middle of Palestine, some six miles
northwest of Shechem. It was built by Omri king of Israel, about 920
B. C., and named after Shemer the previous owner of the mountain or
hill on which the city stood, 1Ki 16.23,24. It became the favorite
residence of the kings of Israel, instead of Shechem and Thirzah the
former capitals. It was highly adorned with public buildings. Ahab
built there a palace of ivory, 1Ki 22:39, and also a temple of Baal,
1Ki 16:32,33, which Jehu destroyed, 2Ki 10:18-28. The prophets often
denounced it for its idolatry, Isa 9:9 Eze 16:46-63. It was twice
besieged by the Syrians, 1Ki 20:1-43 2Ki 6:24 7:1-20. At length
Shalmanezer king of Assyria captured and destroyed the city, and
removed the people of the land, B. C. 720, 2Ki 17:3-6 Ho 10:5-7 Mic
1:1-6. See OMRI. The city was in part rebuilt by Cuthits imported from
beyond the Tigris, but was again nearly destroyed by John Hyrcanus.
The Roman proconsul Gabinius once more restored it and calling it
Gabinia; and it was afterwards given by Augustus to Herod the Great,
who enlarged and adorned it, and gave it the name of Sebaste, the
Greek translation of the Latin word Augusta, in honor of the emperor.
He placed in it a colony of six thousand persons, surrounded it with a
strong wall, and built a magnificent temple in honor of Augustus.
Early in the apostolic age it was favored by the successful labors of
Philip and others, Ac 8.5-25; and the church then formed continued in
existence several centuries, till the city of Herod was destroyed.
Sebaste was afterwards revived, and is mentioned in the histories of
the Crusades. It is now an inconsiderable village, called Sebustieh,
with a few cottages built of stones from the ancient ruins.
The following is the account of the modern city, as given by
Richardson: "Its situation is extremely beautiful and strong by
nature; more so, I think, than Jerusalem. It stands on a fine large
insulated hill, compassed all round by a broad, deep valley; and when
fortified, as it is stated to have been by Herod, one would imagine
that in the ancient system of warfare nothing but famine would have
reduced such a place. The valley is surrounded by four hills, one on
each side, which are cultivated in terraces to the top, sown with
grain and planted with fig and olive trees, as is also the valley. The
hill of Samaria rises in terraces to a height equal to any of the
"The present village is small and poor, and after passing the valley,
the ascent to it is very steep; but viewed from the station of our
tents, it is extremely interesting, both from its natural situation
and from the picturesque remains of a ruined convent of good Gothic
"Having passed the village, towards the middle of the first terrace
there is a number of columns still standing. I counted twelve in one
row, besides several that stood apart, the brotherless remains of
other rows. The situation is extremely delightful, and my guide
informed me that they belonged to the serai or palace. On the next
terrace there are no remains of solid building, but heaps of stones
and lime, and rubbish mixed with the soil in great profusion.
Ascending to the third or highest terrace, the traces of former
buildings were not so numerous, but we enjoyed a delightful view of
the surrounding country. The eye passed over the deep valley that
compassed the hill of Sebaste, and rested on the mountains beyond,
that retreated as they rose with a gentle slope, and met the view in
every direction, like a book laid out for perusal on a writingdesk."
The inhabitants of Samaria. But in the New Testament this name is the
appellation of a race of people who sprung originally from an
intermixture of the ten tribes with gentile nations. When the
inhabitants of Samaria and of the adjacent country were carried away
by Shalmanezer king of Assyria, he sent in their place colonies from
Babylonia, Cuthah, Ava, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, with which the
Israelites who remained in the land became intermingled, and were
ultimately amalgamated into one people, 2Ki 17:24-41. An origin like
this would of course render the nation odious to the Jews. The new and
mixed race indeed sent to Assyria for an Israelitish priest to teach
them the law of Jehovah, and adopted in part the forms of the true
religion; but most of them were but half converted from their native
heathenism, Mt 10:5 Lu 17:16-18. It was therefore in vain that, when
the Jews returned from captivity and began to rebuild Jerusalem and
the temple, the Samaritans requested to be acknowledged as Jewish
citizens, and to be permitted to assist in their work, Ezr 4:1-24. In
consequence of this refusal, and the subsequent state of enmity, the
Samaritans not only took occasion to calumniate the Jews before the
Persian kings, Ezr 4:4 Ne 4:1-23, but also, recurring to the
directions of Moses, De 27:11-13, that on entering the promised land
half of the people should stand on Mount Gerizim to respond Amen to
the covenant pronounced by the Levites, they erected a temple on that
mountain, and instituted sacrifices according to the prescriptions of
the Mosaic law, although the original altar, according to the Hebrew
Scriptures, stood on Mount Ebal, De 27:4 Jos 8:30-35. Moreover, they
rejected all the sacred books of the Jews except the Pentateuch. See
From all these and other circumstances, the national hatred between
the Samaritans and Jews, instead of being at all diminished by time,
was, on the contrary, fostered and augmented Lu 9:52,53. Hence the
name of Samaritan became among the Jews a term of reproach and
contempt, Joh 8:48, and all intercourse with them was carefully
avoided, Joh 4:9. The temple on Mount Gerizim was destroyed by
Hyrcanus about the year 129 B. C.; but the Samaritans in the time of
Christ continued to esteem that mountain sacred, and as the proper
place of national worship, Joh 4:20,21, as is also the case with the
small remnant of that people who exist at the present day. The
Samaritans, like the Jews, expected a Messiah, Joh 4:25 and many of
them became the followers of Jesus, and embraced the doctrines of his
religion. See Ac 8:1 9:31 15:3.
It is well known that a small remnant of the Samaritans still exists
at Nabulus, the ancient Shechem. Great interest has been taken in them
by the learned of Europe; and a correspondence has several times been
instituted with them which, however, has never led to results of any
great importance. They have a copy of the Pentateuch, professedly made
by Abishua the son of Phinehas, 1400 years before Christ. Several
copies of this have been taken, first in 1616, and compared with the
received Hebrew text, with which it nearly coincides. There are
various classes of different readings, but few or none in which the
Samaritan does not appear to be a corruption of the original. Of late
years the remnant of Samaritans at Nabulus have often been visited by
travellers. They number about one hundred and fifty souls, and are
devout observers of the law. They keep the Jewish Sabbath with great
strictness, and meet thrice during the day in their synagogue for
public prayers. For times in each year, at the Passover, the
Pentecost, the feast of Tabernacles, and the day of Expiation, they
all resort to the site of their ancient temple on Mount Gerizim to
worship. See GERIZIM.
An island of the Archipelago, on the coast of Asia Minor, opposite
Lydia, from which it is separated by a narrow strait. The island was
devoted to the worship of Juno, who had there a magnificent temple,
fragments of which still exist. It was also celebrated for its
valuable potteries, and as the birthplace of Pythagoras. The Romans
wrote to the governor in favor of the Jews in the time of Simon
Maccabaeus. Paul landed here when going to Jerusalem, A. D. 58, Ac
20:15. It now contains about fifty thousand inhabitants; and though
ill-cultivated, is fruitful in oranges, grapes, and olives, and
exports corn and wine.
An island in the North-Aegean Sea, on the coast of Thrace, nearly
midway between Troas and Philippi. On his first visit to Europe, Paul
anchored for the night on the north of the island, Ac 16:11. It was
anciently called Samos; and in order to distinguish it from the other
Samos, the epithet Thracian was added. Samothracia contained a lofty
mountain and a city of the same name, and was celebrated for its
devotion to the heathen mysteries, particularly to those of Ceres and
Proserpine. Hence the island received the epithet of "sacred," and was
regarded as an inviolable asylum for all fugitives and criminals. It
is now called by the Turks Semendrek.
The son of Manoah, of the tribe of Dan, a deliverer and judge of the
southern tribes of the Hebrews for twenty years, Jud 13:1; 16:31. His
birth was miraculously foretold; he was a Nazarite from infancy and
the strongest of men; and was equally celebrated for his fearless and
wonderful exploits, for his moral infirmities, and for his tragical
end. His exploits were not wrought without special divine aid; "the
Spirit of God came mightily upon him," Jud 13:25 14:6,19 15:14
16:20,28. The providence of God was signally displayed in overruling
for good the hasty passions of Samson, the cowardice of his friends,
and the malice of his enemies. The sins of Samson brought him in great
disgrace and misery; but grace and faith triumphed in the end, Heb
11:32. His story forcibly illustrates how treacherous and merciless
are sin and sinners, and the watchful care of Christ over his people
in every age. Compare Jud 13:22 Mt 23:37.
God hath heard, 1Sa 1:20, a child of prayer, the celebrated Hebrew
prophet and judge, Ac 3:24 13:20. He was a Levite by birth, 1Co 6:20,
and the son of Elkanah and Hannah, at Ramah in Mount Ephraim,
northwest of Jerusalem. At a very tender age he was carried to Shiloh,
and brought up beside the tabernacle under the care of Eli the high
priest. Having been conserated to God from his birth, and devoted to
Nazariteship, he began to receive divine communications even in his
childhood, 1Sa 3:1-21; and after the death of Eli, he became
established as the judge of Israel. He was the last and best of the
Hebrew judges. We contemplate his character and administration with
peculiar pleasure and reverence. The twelve tribes, when he assumed
their charge, were in a low condition both morally and politically he
freed them from all foreign yokes, administered justice with vigor and
impartiality, promoted education and true religion, united the tribes,
and raised them higher in the scale of civilization.
Their demand of a king, in view of the advanced age of Samuel and the
vile character of his sons, showed a great want of faith in God and of
submission to his will. Yet He granted them a king "in his wrath," Ho
13:11. Samuel anointed Saul as their first king; and afterwards David,
who in due time was to take the place of Saul already, rejected by
God. As long as he lived, Samuel exerted a paramount and most
beneficial influence in Israel, even over Saul himself. He instituted
the "schools of the prophets," which were long continued and very
useful. He died at the age of ninety-eight, B. C. 1053, honored and
lamented by all. Even after his death the unhappy Saul, forsaken by
the God was pleased to cause Samuel to appear, with a prophetic
message to the king. In Ps 99:6 he is ranked with Moses and Aaron. See
also Jer 15:1 Heb 11:32.
The two BOOKS OF SAMUEL could not all have been written by him,
because his death is mentioned in 1Sa 25:1-43, B. C. 1055. Thus far it
is not improbable that he was the author, while the remaining chapters
are commonly attributed to Nathan and Gad, B. C. 1018. Why Samuel's
name is given to both books cannot be known. In the Septuagint they
are called the First and Second Books of Kings. See KINGS. The two
books comprise the history of Samuel, Saul, and David. They are quoted
in the New Testament, Ac 13:22 Heb 1:5, and alluded to in the Psalms,
Probably a native of Hornaim in the land of Moab, and a great enemy of
the Jews. He may have received from the Persian government some
authority over the Samaritans of imported Cuthites, as one of the
governors west of the Euphrates. When Nehemiah came from Shushan to
Jerusalem, Ne 2:10,19, B. C. 454, and began to rebuild the walls of
Jerusalem, Sanaballat, Tobiah, and Geshem taunted him, and sent to
inquire on what authority he undertook this enterprise, and whether it
were not a revolt against the king. Nehemiah nevereless proceeded with
vigor in his undertaking, and completed the walls of the city, Ne 2:10
Nehemiah being obliged to return to king Artaxerxes at Shushan, Ne
13:6, B. C. 441, in his absence the high priest Eliashib married his
grandson Manasseh son of Joiada to a daughter of Sanballat and allowed
Tobiah, a kinsman of Sanballat, an apartment in the temple. Nehemiah,
on his return to Jerusalem, (the exact year of which is not known),
drove Tobiah out of the temple, and would not suffer Manasseh the high
priest's grandson to continue in the city, nor to perform the
functions of the priesthood. Manasseh being thus expelled retired to
his father-in-law Sanballat, who provided him the means of exercising
his priestly office on Mount Gerizim. See GERIZIM and SAMARITANS.
To make holy, or to set apart for God, Ge 2:3 Ex 19:23. Ub the Old
Testament, sanctification frequently denotes the ceremonial or ritual
consecration of any person or thing to God: thus the Hebrews as a
people were holy unto the Lord, through the covenant with its rites
and atoning sacrifices, Ex 31:13; and the Jewish tabernacle, altar,
priest, etc., were solemnly set apart for the divine service, Le
8:10-12. In the similar sense, men, "sanctified themselves" who made
special preparation for the presence and worship of God, Ex 19:10,11
Nu 11:18; a day was sanctified when set apart for fasting and prayer,
Joe 1:14; and the Sabbath was sanctified when regarded and treated as
holy unto the Lord, De 5:12. All such sanctifications were
testimonials to the holiness of God, and signified men's need of moral
sanctification, or the devotion of purified and obedient souls to his
love and service.
In a doctrinal sense, sanctification is the making truly and perfectly
holy what was before defiled and sinful. It is a progressive work of
divine grace upon the soul justified by the love of Christ. The
believer is gradually cleansed from the corruption of his nature, and
is at length presented "unspotted before the throne of God with
exceeding joy." The Holy Spirit performs this work in connection with
the providence and word of God, Joh 14:26 17:17 2Th 2:13 1Pe 1:2 and
the highest motives urge every Christian not to resist him, and seek
to be holy even as God is holy. The ultimate sanctification of every
believer in Christ is a covenant mercy purchased on the cross. He, who
saves us from the penalty of sin, also saves us from its power; and in
promising to bring a believer into heaven, engages also to prepare for
A holy place devoted to God. It appears to be the name sometimes of
the entire temple, Ps 73.17; Heb 9.1; sometimes of the "Holy place,"
where the altar on incense, the golden candlestick, and the showbread
stood, 2Ch 26:18 Heb 9:2; and sometimes of the "Holy of Holies," the
most secret and retired part of the temple, in which was the ark of
the covenant, and where none but the high priest might enter, and he
only once a year on the day of solemn expiation. The same name was
also given to the most sacred part of the tabernacle set up in the
wilderness, Le 4:6. See TABERNACLE, and TEMPLE.
The temple or earthly sanctuary is an emblem of heaven, Ps 102:19 Heb
9:1,24; and God himself is called a sanctuary, Isa 8:14 Eze 11:16, in
reference to the use of temples as a place of refuge for fugitives,
because he is the only safe and sacred asylum for sinners pursued by
the sword of divine justice.
Mr 6:9. The ordinary oriental sandal is a mere sole, of leather or
wood, fastened to the bottom of the foot by thongs, one passing around
the great toe and over the fore part of the foot, and the other around
the ankle. The sole was sometimes plaited of some vegetable fibre, or
cut from a fresh undressed skin; and the "shoelatchet" or thong, and
indeed the whole sandal, was often of very little value, Ge 14:23 Am
2:6 8:6. Sandals are usually intended where "shoes" are spoken of in
resembling our slipper, and sometimes a wooden shoe with a high heel.
The Bedaween wears only a sandal.
The sandals of females were frequently much ornamented, So 7:1, and
probably resembled the slippers or light shoes of modern orientals,
which cover the upper part of the foot, and are often made of morocco,
or of embroidered work wrought with silk, silver, and gold, Eze 16:10.
See BADGER'S SKINS.
It is not customary in the East to wear shoes or sandals in the
houses; they are always taken off on entering a house, and especially
temples and all consecrated places. Hence the phrase, "to loose one's
shoes from off one's feet," Ex 3:5 De 25:9 Jos 5:15. Visitors of the
highest rank leave their slippers at the door; and on entering a
Mohammedan mosque each worshipper adds his slippers to the pile in
charge of the doorkeeper, unless attended by a servant. On the summit
of Mount Gerizim, the Samaritans who accompanied Dr. Robinson took off
their shoes as they approached the site of their ruined temple. To
bind on the sandals denoted preparation for a journey, Ex 12:11 Ac
12:8. To bind on the sandals, to stoop down and unloose them, or to
carry them until again needed, was the business of the lowest
servants; a slave, newly bought, commenced his service by loosing the
sandals of his new master, and carrying them a certain distance.
Disciples sometimes performed this office for their master, and
accounted it an honor; hence the expression of John the Baptist, that
he was not worthy to loose or to carry the sandals of Jesus, Mt 3:11
Mr 1:7. See also FOOT, with reference to washing the feet. The poor of
course often went barefoot but this was not customary among the rich,
except as a sign of mourning,
2Sa 15:30 Isa 20:2-4 Eze 24:17,23. In the primitive days of the
Israelitish commonwealth the custom, in transferring real estate, was,
that the seller drew off his shoes and gave it to the buyer before
witnesses, in confirmation of the bargain, Ru 4:7-11. The loosing of a
shoe of one who refused to marry the widow of his deceased brother,
and spitting upon the owner's face, was a ceremony prescribed in the
Jewish law, De 25:7-10.
Or BETHDIN, house of judgment, was a council of seventy senators among
the Jews, usually with the addition of the high priest as president,
who determined the most important affairs of the nation. It is first
mentioned by Josephus in connection with the reign of John Hyrcanus
II, B. C. 69, and is supposed to have originated after the second
temple was built, during the cessation of the prophetic office, and in
imitation of Moses' council of seventy elders, Nu 11:16-24. The room,
in which they met, according to the rabbins, was a rotunda, half of
which was built without the temple, that is, without the inner court
of Israel, and half within, the latter part being that in which the
judges sat. The Nasi, or president, who was generally the high-priest,
sat on a throne at the end of the hall; the vice-president, or chief
counselor, called Ab-bethdin, at his right hand; and the sub-deputy,
or Hakam, at his left; the other senators being ranged in order on
each side. Most of the members of this council were priests or
Levites, though men in private stations of life were not excluded. See
The authority of the Sanhedrin was very extensive. It decided causes
brought before it by appeal from inferior courts; and even the king,
the high priest, and the prophets, were under its jurisdiction. The
general affairs of the nation were also brought before this assembly,
particularly whatever was in any way connected with religion or
worship, Mr 14:55 15:1 Ac 4:7 5:41 6:12. Jews in foreign cities appear
to have been amenable to this court in matters of religion, Ac 9:2.
The right of judging in capital cases belonged to it, until this was
taken away by the Romans a few years before the time of Christ, Joh
18:31. The Sanhedrin was probably the "council" referred to by our
Lord, Mt 5:22. There appears also to have been and inferior tribunal
of seven members, in every town, for the adjudication of less
important matters. Probably it is this tribunal that is called "the
judgment" in Mt 5:22.
See ANANIAS 1.
A gem next in hardness and value to the diamond, and comprising, as
varieties, all those precious stones known by the name of oriental
gems, namely, the oriental ruby, oriental topaz, and oriental emerald,
Joh 21:25. In general the name of sapphire is given to the blue
variety, which is either of deep indigo blue, or of various lighter
tints, Ex 24:10, and sometimes gradually passes into perfectly white
or colorless, which, when cut, may also pass for a diamond, Ex 28:18;
39:11; Re 21:19.
Or SARA, the wife of Abraham, the daughter of his father by another
mother, Ge 20:12. Most Jewish writers, however, and many interpreters,
identify her with Iscah, the sister of Lot, and Abraham's niece, Gen
11.29; the word "daughter" according to Hebrew usage, comprising any
female descendant, and "sister," any female relation by blood. When
God made a covenant with Abraham, he changed the name of Sarai or my
princess, into that of Sarah, or princess; and promised Abraham a son
by her, which was fulfilled in due time.
The most prominent points of her history as recorded in the Bible are,
her consenting to Abraham's unbelieving dissimulation while near
Pharaoh and Abimelech; her long-continued barrenness; her giving to
Abraham her maid Hagar as a secondary wife; their mutual jealousy; and
her bearing Isaac in her old age, "the child of promise," Ge
12:1-23:20. She appears to have been a woman of uncommon beauty, and a
most exemplary and devoted wife. Her docility is eulogized in 1Pe 3:6,
and her faith in Heb 11:11. See also Isa 51:2 Ga 4:22-31. Sarah lived
to the age of one hundred and twenty-seven years. She died in the
valley of Hebron, and Abraham came to Beer-sheba to mourn for her,
after which he bought a field of Ephron the Hittite, wherein was a
cave hewn in the rock, called Machpelah, where Sarah was buried, Ge
Now called Sart, a city of Asia Minor, formerly the capital of Croesus
king of Lydia, proverbial for the immensity of his wealth. It was
situated at the foot of Mount Tmolus on the north, having a spacious
and delightful plain before it, watered by several streams that flow
from the neighboring hill and by the Pactolus. It lay upon the route
of Xerxes to Greece; and its inhabitants were noted for their
profligacy, Re 3:4. It is now a pitiful village, but contains a large
khan for the accommodation of travellers, it being the road for the
caravans that come out of Persia to Smyrna with silk. The inhabitants
are for the most part shepherds, who have charge of the numerous
flocks and herds, which feed in the plains.
To the southward of the town are very considerable ruins still
remaining, chiefly those of a theatre, a stadium, and two churches.
The height on which the citadel was built is shattered by an
earthquake. There are two remarkable pillars, remnants, it is thought,
of an ancient temple of Cybele, built only three hundred years after
Solomon's temple. These ruins, and the countless sepulchral mounds in
the vicinity, remind us of what Sardis was, before earthquake and the
sword had laid it desolate.
The Turks have a mosque here, formerly a Christian church, at the
entrance of which are several curious pillars of polished marble. Some
few nominal Christians still reside here, working in gardens, or
otherwise employed in such like drudgery. The church in Sardis was
reproached by our Savior for its declension in vital religion. It had
a name to live, but was really dead, Re 3:1-6.
Or SARDINE, a species of precious stone of a blood red, or sometimes
of a flesh-color. It is more commonly known by the name of carnelian,
Ex 28:17 Re 4:3.
As if a sardius united to an onyx; a species of gem exhibiting the
reddish color of the carnelian and the white of the chalcedony,
intermingled either in shades or in alternate circles, Re 21:20.
Isa 20:1-4, one of the later Assyrian kings, who sent his general,
Tartan, with an army against Ashdod, and took it. The northwest palace
at Nimroud in the ruins of Nineveh was built by him. There is some
doubt whether he is or is not to be identified with one of the kings
elsewhere mentioned in Scripture; and some regard him as having
reigned for about three years between Shalmaneser and Sennacherib.
Others think he was the same as Shalmaneser, which see.
Signifies, properly, adversary, enemy, 1Ki 11:14 Ps 109:6, and is so
applied by Jesus to Peter, Mt 16:23 Mr 8:33. Hence it is used
particularly of the grand adversary of souls, the devil, the prince of
the fallen angels, the accuser and calumniator of men before God, Job
1:7,12 Zec 3:1,2 Re 12:10. He seduces them to sin, 1Ch 21:1 Lu 22:31;
and is thus the author of that evil, both physical and moral, by which
the human race is afflicted, especially of those vicious propensities
and wicked actions which are productive of so much misery, and also of
death itself, Lu 13:16 Heb 2:14. Hence Satan is represented both as
soliciting men to commit sin, and as the source, the efficient cause
of impediments which are thrown in the way of the Christians religion,
or which are designed to diminish its efficacy in reforming the hearts
and lives of men, and inspiring them with the hope of future bliss, Mt
4:10 Joh 13:27 Ro 16:20 Eph 2:2. See DEVIL.
The "synagogue of Satan," Re 2:9,13, probably denotes the unbelieving
Jews, the false zealots for the Law of Moses, who at the beginning
were the most eager persecutors of the Christians. They were very
numerous at Smyrna, to which church John writes.
In Greek mythology, were imaginary demons, half men and half goats,
believed by the superstitious to haunt forests and groves. The Hebrew
word translates satyrs in Isa 13:21 34:14, means hairy, shaggy
creatures, such as wild goats, or perhaps monsters of the ape family.
It is translated "goats" in Le 4:24, and "devils" in Le 17:7. The
gambols of these wild animals on the ruins of Babylon mark is as an
uninhabited and lonely waste. See APE.
The son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, the first king of the
Israelites, anointed by Samuel, B. C. 1091, and after a reign of forty
years filled with various events, slain with his sons on Mount Gilboa.
He was succeeded by David, who was his son-in-law, and whom he had
endeavored to put to death. His history is contained in 1Sa
10:1-31:13. It is a sad and admonitory narrative. The morning of his
reign was bright with special divine favors, both providential, and
spiritual, 1Sa 9:20 10:1-11,24,25. But he soon began to disobey God,
and was rejected as unworthy to found a line of kings; his sins and
misfortunes multiplied, and his sun went down in gloom. In his first
war with the Ammonites, God was with him; but then follow his
presumptuous sacrifice, in the absence of Samuel; his equally rash
vow; his victories over the Philistines and the Amalekites; his
sparing Agag and the spoil; his spirit of distracted and foreboding
melancholy; his jealousy and persecution of David; his barbarous
massacre of the priests and people at Nob, and of the Gibeonites; his
consulting the witch on Endor; the battle with the Philistines in
which his army was defeated and his sons were slain; and lastly, his
despairing self-slaughter, his insignia of royalty being conveyed to
David by an Amalekite, 1Sa 31:1-13 2Sa 1:1-27 1Ch 10:13,14. The guilty
course and the awful end of this first king of the Hebrews were a
significant reproof of their sin in desiring any king but Jehovah; and
also show to what extremes of guilt and ruin one may go who rebels
against God, and is ruled by his own ambitious and envious passions.
SAUL was also the Hebrew name of the apostle Paul.
Is a term applied preeminently to our Lord Jesus Christ, because, as
the angel expressed it, he came to "save his people from their sins,"
Mt 1:21. He was therefore called JESUS JESUS, which signifies Savior,
Joh 4:42 Ac 4:15 5:31.
An agreeable taste or odor, or that quality of objects which appeals
to the sense of smell or of taste, Mt 5:13. The sacrifice of Noah and
that of Christ were acceptable to God, like the odor of a sweet
incense to a man, Ge 8:21 Eph 5:2. The chief savor of the apostles'
teaching was welcome by some to their eternal life, and rejected by
others to their aggravated condemnation, 2Co 2:15,16.
Hebrew AZAZEL, a word used only in connection with the ceremonies of
the great Day of Atonement, Le 16:8,10,26, as to the derivation and
meaning of which there has been great diversity of opinion. The safest
and best interpretation is, that the goat itself symbolically bore
away the sins of God's people from His presence and remembrance, Ps
103:12. See EXPIATION.
A color much prized by the ancients, Ex 25:4 26:1,31,36. It is
assigned as a merit of Saul, that he clothed the daughters of Israel
in scarlet, 2Sa 1:24. So the diligent and virtuous woman is said to
clothe her household in scarlet, Pr 31:21. The depth and strength of
the color are alluded to in Isa 1:18; and it is used as a symbol of
profligacy in Re 17:3,4. This color was obtained from the Coccus
Ilicis of Linnaeus, a small insect found on the leaves of a species of
oak, the Quercus Cocciferus, in Spain and the countries on the eastern
part of the Mediterranean, which was used by the ancients for dyeing a
beautiful crimson or deep scarlet color, and was supposed by them to
be the berry of a plant or tree. It is the Kermez of the Materia
Medica. As a dye it has been superseded in modern times by the
cochineal insect, Coccus Cactus, which gives a more brilliant but less
durable color. See PURPLE.
A "rod" or decorated staff, sometimes six feet long, borne by kings
and magistrates as a symbol of authority, Ge 49:10 Nu 24:17 Es 4:11
5:2 Isa 14:5 Zec 10:11. See ROD.
A Jew at Ephesus, a leader among the priests, perhaps the head of one
of the twenty-four courses. His seven sons pretended to practice
exorcism, and presumed to call on evil spirits to come out from
persons possessed, in the name of Jesus. Their ignominious
discomfiture by a man possessed by and evil spirit, promoted the cause
of the gospel at Ephesus, Ac 19:14-16.
A rent or fissure; generally used in the New Testament to denote a
division within the Christian church, by contentions and alienated
affections, without an outward separation into distinct bodies, 1Co
1:10-12 12:25,26. The sin may lie on the side of the majority, or of
the minority, or both. It is a sin against Christian love, and strikes
at the heart of Christianity, Joh 17:21 Ro 12:4-21.
1Co 4:15 Ga 3:24,25, in Greek Paidagogos; a sort of attendant who took
the charge of young children, taught them the rudiments of knowledge,
and at a suitable age conducted them to and from school. Thus the law
was the pedagogue of the nation, and a length conducting them through
its types and prophecies to Christ. When a Jew came to a believing
knowledge of Christ, this office of the law ceased.
Little is known respecting the schools of the Jews, nor when and how
far they took the place of domestic instruction, De 6:7-9 11:18-20. It
is probable that elementary education was under the charge of the
minister of religion, as well as the instruction of those of riper
years. At the time of Christ, it would appear that the Jews in general
were able at least to read and write.
Lu 10:19, one of the largest and most malignant of all the insect
tribes. It somewhat resembles the lobster in its general appearance,
but is much more hideous. Those found in Southern Europe seldom exceed
two inches in length; but in tropical climates it is not uncommon
thing to meet with them five or six times as long. They live upon
other insects, but kill and devour their own species also. Maupertuis
put about a hundred of them together in the same glass and in a few
days there remained but fourteen, which had killed and devoured all
the rest. He enclosed a female scorpion in a glass vessel, and she was
seen to devour her young as fast as they were born. There was only one
of the number that escaped the general destruction by taking refuge on
the back of its parent; and this soon after revenged the cause of its
brethren, by killing the old one in its turn. Such is the terrible
nature of this insect; and it is even found that when placed in
circumstances of danger, from which it perceives no way of escape, it
will sting itself to death. The passage most descriptive of the
scorpion is Re 9:3-10, in which it is to be observed that the sting of
these creatures was not to produce death, but pain so intense that the
wretched sufferers should seek death, Re 9:6, rather than submit to
its endurance. Dr. Shaw states that the sting of scorpions is not
always fatal, the malignity of their venom being in proportion to
their size and complexion.
The poison is injected by means of a sharp curved sting at the end of
the six-jointed tail. It occasions great pain, inflammation, and
hardness, with alternate chills and burning. These animals frequent
dry and hot places, and lie under stones and in the crevices of old
ruins. The Jews encountered them in the wilderness, De 8:15, and a
range of cliffs across the hot valley south of the Dead Sea, called
Acrabbim, or scorpions, appears to have been much infest be them. The
scorpion of Judea, when curled up, greatly resembles an egg in size
and shape; hence the comparison and the contrast in Lu 11:11,12. The
scorpions which the haughty Rehoboam threatened to use instead of
whips, 1Ki 12:11, were probably scourges armed with knobs like the
joints of a scorpion's tail; and like the sting of that animal,
occasioned extreme pain.
Or Whip. The punishment of scourging was very common among the Jews.
Our Savior was subjected to this barbarous and ignominious torture,
which was at times so sever as to end in death, Joh 19:1. Moses limits
the number of stripes to forty, which might never be exceeded, De
25:1-3. The Jews afterwards, in order to avoid in any case exceeding
forty, and thus breaking the law, were accustomed to give only
thirty-nine stripes, or thirteen blows with a scourge of three thongs.
There were two ways of giving the lash: one with thongs or whips made
of rope-ends, or straps of leather sometimes armed with iron points;
the other with rods or twigs. The offender was stripped from his
shoulders to his middle, and tied by his arms to a low pillar, that he
might lean forward, and the executioner the more easily strike his
back; or, according to the modern custom in inflicting the bastinado,
was made to lie down with his face to the ground, De 25:2.
Paul informs us, 2Co 11:24, that at five different times he received
thirty-nine stripes from the Jews; and in the next verse, shoes that
correction with rods was different from that with a whip; for he says,
"Thrice was I beaten with rods." The bastinado with rods was sometimes
given on the back, at others on the soles of the feet.
In the earlier Hebrew writings, was one skilled in writing and
accounts, Ex 5:6 Jud 5:14 Jer 52:25; the person who communicated to
the people the commands of the king, like the modern Secretary of
State, 2Sa 8:17 20:25. In the later times of the Old Testament,
especially after the captivity, and in the New Testament, a scribe is
a person skilled in the Jewish law, a teacher or interpreter of the
law. So Ezra was "a ready scribe in the laws of Moses," Ezr 7:6 1Ch
27:32. The scribes of the New Testament were a class of men educated
for the purpose of preserving and expounding the sacred books. They
had the charge of transcribing them, of interpreting the more
difficult passages, and of deciding in cases which grew out of the
ceremonial law, Mt 2:4, and were especially skilled in those glosses
and traditions by which the Jews made void the law, Mt 15:1-6. Jewish
writers speak of them as the schoolmasters of the nation; and one mode
in which they exercised their office was by meeting the people from
time to time, in every town, for the purpose of holding familiar
discussions, and raising questions of the law for debate.
Their influence was of course great; many of them were members of the
Sanhedrin, and we often find them mentioned in connection with the
elders and chief priests, Mt 5:20 7:29 12:38 20:18 21:15. Like the
Pharisees, they were bitterly opposed to Christ, and joined with the
priests and counselors in persecuting him and his followers, having
little knowledge of Him concerning whom Moses and the prophets did
write. The same persons who are termed scribes, are in parallel
passages sometimes called lawyers and doctors of the law, Mt 22:35 Mr
12:28. Hence "scribe" is also used for a person distinguished for
learning and wisdom, 1Co 1.20.
A bag or wallet, in which travellers carried a portion of food, or
some small articles of convenience, 1Sa 17:40; Mt 10:10.
Or SCRIPTURES, the writings, that is, by eminence; the inspired
writings, comprising the Old and New Testaments. See BIBLE.
Wandering tribes in the immense regions north and northeast of the
Black and Caspian Seas. They are said by Herodotus to have made an
incursion into Southwestern Asia and Egypt, some seven hundred years
before Christ; and it was perhaps a fragment of this host, located at
Bethshean, which gave that city its classical name Scythopolis. In Col
3:11, "Scythian" appears to signify the rudest of barbarians.
The Hebrews give the name of sea to any large collection of water, Job
14:11; as to the lakes of Tiberias and Asphaltites, and also to the
rivers Nile and Euphrates, Isa 11:15 18:2 21:1 Jer 51:36,42. The
principal seas mentioned in Scripture are the following:
1. The GREAT SEA, the Mediterranean, called also the Hinder or Western
Sea. Indeed, the Hebrew word for sea, meaning the Mediterranean, is
often put for the west. The Great Sea is 2,200 miles long, and in the
widest part 1,200 miles in width. In many places it is so deep as to
give no soundings. It is little affected by tides, but is often
agitated by violent winds. The prevailing direction of the wind in
spring is from the southeast and southwest and from the northeast and
northwest the rest of the year.
2. The RED SEA, Ex 10:19 13:18 Ps 106:7,9,22, derived its name from
Edom, which lay between it and Palestine; or from the hue of the
mountains on its western coast, or of the animalcule which float in
masses on its surface. It lies between Arabia on the east and
northeast, and Abyssinia and Egypt on the west and southwest, and
extends from the straits of Babelmandel to Suez, a distance of about
1,400 miles, with an average width of 150 miles, and a depth of 1,800
feet. At the northern end it is divided into the two gulfs Suez and
Akaba, anciently called the Gulf of Heroopolis and the Elanitic Gulf.
The first of these is 190 miles in length and the second is 100 miles.
Between these gulfs lies the celebrated peninsula of Mount Sinai. That
of Akaba is connected with the Dead Sea by the great sand valley El
Arabah described under the article JORDAN. It is only these gulfs of
the Red Sea that are mentioned in Scripture. The Israelites, in their
exodus out of Egypt, miraculously crossed the western gulf south of
Suez, and then, after many years of sojourning and wandering in the
deserts of the peninsula and north of it, they came to Ezion-geber, at
the extremity of the eastern gulf. See EXODUS and WANDERINGS. In Zec
10:11, both the Red Sea and the Nile appear to be mentioned.
3. The DEAD SEA, also called The Salt Sea, Ge 14:3; The sea of the
Plain, De 4:40; The Eastern sea, Zec 14:8; by the Greeks and Romans,
lake Asphaltites; and by the modern Arabs, The sea of Lot. It lay at
the southeast corner of the Holy Land, and receives the wastes of the
Jordan from the north, and of the Arnon and several smaller streams
from the east. It is over forty miles long, and eight or nine miles
wide, and lies as in a chaldron between bare limestone cliffs, which
rise on the west side 1,200 or 1,500 feet above its surface, and on
the east side 2,000 feet or more. At the south end is a broad and low
valley, overflowed after the annual rains. The general aspect of the
region is dreary, sterile, and desolate; but at a few points there are
brooks or fountains of fresh water, which in their way to the sea pass
through spots of luxuriant verdure, the abode of birds in great
The waters of the Dead Sea are clear and limpid, but exceedingly salt
and bitter. Their specific gravity exceeds that of all other waters
known, being one-fifth or one-fourth greater than that of pure water.
They are found by repeated analyses to contain one-fourth their weight
of various salts, chiefly the chlorides of magnesium and sodium. Salt
also is deposited by evaporation on the shore, or on garments wet in
the sea. In the bed of the sea it is found in crystals and near the
shore in incrustation deposited on the bottom. No fish can live in
these acrid waters, and those which are brought down by the Jordan
quickly die. Compare Eze 47:8-10, where the healing of this deadly
sea, and its abounding in fish, as well as the new fertility and
beauty of the dreary wilderness between it and Jerusalem- by means of
the healing power of the Kidron flowing from beside that altar of God-
forcibly illustrate the healing and renovating power of gospel grace.
A person unacquainted with the art of swimming floats at ease upon the
surface of lake Asphaltites, and it requires an effort to submerge the
body. The boat of Lieutenant Lynch met with a gale on entering it from
the Jordan; and "it seemed at if the bows, so dense was the water,
were encountering the sledgehammers of the Titans, instead of the
opposing waves of an angry sea."
At times, and especially after earthquakes, quantities of asphaltum
are dislodged from the bottom, rise and float on the surface, and are
driven to the shores, where the Arabs collect them for various uses.
Sulphur is likewise found on the shores and a kind of stone or coal,
called Musca by the Arabs, which on being rubbed exhales an
intolerable odor. This stone, which also comes from the neighboring
mountains, is black, and takes a fine polish. Maundrell saw pieces of
it two feet square, in the convent of St. John in the Wilderness,
carved in bas-relief, and polished to as great a lustre as black
marble is capable of. The inhabitants of the country employ it in
other places of public resort. In the polishing its disagreeable odor
is lost. When placed by Mr. King upon hot coals, a strong stench of
sulphur issued from it, and it soon began to blaze. The blaze rose
four or five inches high, and continued about two minutes.
An uncommon love of exaggeration is observable in all the older
narratives, and in some of modern date, respecting the nature and
properties of the Dead Sea. Chateaubriand speaks of a "dismal sound
proceeding from this lake of death, like the stifled clamors of the
people ingulfed in its water," and says that its shores produce a
fruit beautiful to the sight, but containing nothing but ashes; and
that the heavy metals float on the surface of the sea. Others allege
that black and sulphurous exhalations are constantly issuing from the
water, and that birds attempting to fly across it are struck dead by
its pestiferous fumes. These legends are corrected by more reliable
accounts, which show that the birds fly over or float upon the sea
uninjured; that no vapor is exhaled from its surface, except that
caused by the rapid evaporation or its waters under the hot sun; and
that the low level and excessive heat of the valley of the Jordan and
the Dead Sea account for the diseases prevailing there, without
imagining any more fearful cause. The "apostle of Sodom" above
referred to by Chateaubriand, and described by Josephus and others
answer, with some exaggerations, to fruits now growing around the Dead
In 1848, Lieutenant Lynch of the United States' navy passed down the
Jordan from the Sea of Tiberias, with two metallic boats, and spent
three weeks in a survey of the Sea of Sodom. He found it nearly 1,300
feet deep and its surface more than 1,300 feet below the level of the
Mediterranean. From the eastern side, some eight miles from the south
end, a low promontory projects three-fourths of the way towards the
western cliffs, and sends up a point five miles towards the north.
Below this point the lake becomes suddenly shallow, the southern bay
not averaging more than twelve or fifteen feet in depth, Jos 15:2.
This lower part is believed to cover the sites of the cities destroyed
by fire from heaven, Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim. The vale of
Siddim was once a smiling plain, well-watered, and like a garden of
the Lord, Ge 13:10; it is now, and for all future ages, a monument of
his just indignation, De 29:23, and an awful warning to reckless
sinners that the day of the Lord will come upon them also suddenly and
without remedy, Mt 10:15 11:22-24 2Pe 2:4-9 Jude 1:7. The bottom of
the shallow bay is a deep slimy mud, Ge 14:10. On its southwest border
lies a mountain or ridge composed chiefly of rock salt, and called
Usdum or Sodom, between which and the sea stands a round pillar of
salt forty feet high, reminding one of Lot's wife.
At present the Dead Sea has no perceptible outlet, and the waters
poured into it by the Jordan are probably evaporated by the intense
heat of the unclouded sun, or in part absorbed in the earth. It is
thought by some that the northern and principal part of the sea was
the product of some convulsion of nature, long before that which
destroyed Sodom and formed the south bay; that the Jordan at first
flowed into the Red Sea through the remarkable crevasse which extends
from its sources to the Gulf of Akabah; and that at some period beyond
the reach of history, its bed and valley sunk down to their present
level and formed the Dead Sea. Lieutenant Lynch in sounding discovered
a ravine in the bed of the sea, corresponding to the channel of the
Jordan in its valley north of the sea. See JORDAN.
4. The SEA OF TIBERIAS or of Galilee; the lake of Gennesareth, or of
Cimmereth, Nu 34:11, is so called from the adjacent country, or from
some of the principal cities on its shores. It resembles, in its
general appearance, the Lake of Geneva in Switzerland, though not so
large. The Jordan passes through it from north to south. It is twelve
or fourteen miles long, six or seven miles in breadth, and 165 feet
deep. Its waters lie in a deep basin, surrounded on all sides by
rounded and beautiful hills, from 500 to 1,000 feet high, except the
narrow entrance and outlet of the Jordan at either end. Its sheltered
location protects it in some degree from the wind, but it is liable to
sudden squalls and whirlwinds, and many travellers on its shores have
met with violent tempests-reminding them of those encountered by
Christ and his disciples. A strong current marks the passage of the
Jordan through the middle of the lake, on its way to the Dead Sea. The
volcanic origin of the basin of this lake is strongly inferred from
numerous indications, such as the black basaltic rocks which abound,
frequent and violent earthquakes, and several hot springs. According
to Lieutenant Symonds, it is 328 feet below the level of the
Mediterranean. Lieutenant Lynch makes it 653 feet below. Its waters
are clear and sweet, and contain various kinds of excellent fish in
great abundance. The appearance of the sea from the hills on the
western shore is far less grand and more beautiful than that of the
Dead Sea. It should be seen in spring, when the hills around it are
clothed with grain and festooned wit flowers. The towns that once
crowed its shores with a teeming population, the groves and shrubbery
that covered its hills, and the boats and galleys that studded its
surface are gone. But the sea remains, hallowed by many scenes
described in the gospels. The Saviour of mankind often looked upon its
quiet beauty and crossed it in his journeys; he stilled its waves by a
word, and hallowed its shores by his miracles and teachings. Here
several of the apostles were called to become "fishers of men," Mt
4:18 14:22 Lu 8:22 Joh 21:1.
"How pleasant to me thy deep blue wave,
O sea of Galilee,
For the glorious One who came to save
Hath often stood by thee.
O Savior gone to God's right hand,
Yet the same Savior still,
Graved on thy heart is this lovely strand
And every fragrant hill."
5. SEA or WATERS OF MEROM. See MEROM.
The BRAZEN or MOLTEN SEA, made by Solomon for the temple, was a
circular vessel at least fifteen feet in diameter, which stood in the
court of the temple, and contained three thousand baths, according to
2Co 4:5, or two thousand baths according to 1Ki 7:26. Calmet supposes
this may be reconciled by saying that the cup or bowl contained two
thousand baths, and the foot or basin a thousand more. It was
supported by twelve oxen of brass, and was probably the largest brazen
vessel ever made-an evidence of the skill of the workers in metal at
that period. It contained from 16,000 to 24,000 gallons, and was
supplied with water either by the labor of the Gibeonites, or as
Jewish writers affirm, by a pipe from the well of Etam, so that a
constant flow was maintained. This water was used for the various
ablutions of the priests, 1Ch 4:6; a perpetual and impressive
testimony from God of the necessity of moral purification in the
inexhaustible foundation of Christ's grace. The preceding engraving
must be chiefly imaginary.
The allusions and references to seals and sealing are frequent in the
sacred writings. Seals or signets were in use at a very early period,
and they were evidently of various kind. Some were used as a
substitute for signing one's name, the owner's name or chosen device
being stamped by it with suitable ink on the document to be
authenticated. Seals to be used for this purpose, with or without the
sign manual, appear to have been worn by the parties to whom they
respectively belonged. The seal of a private person was usually worn
on his finger, or his wrist, or in a bracelet, being small in size,
Jer 32:10 Lu 15:22 Jas 2:2. See RINGS.
The seal of a governor was worn by him, or carried about his person in
the most secure manner possible. The royal seal was either personal,
to the king, or public, to the state; in other words, the seal of the
king and the seal of the crown, 2Sa 1:10: the first the king retained;
the latter he delivered to the proper officer of state. So far modern
usages enable us to comprehend clearly the nature of this important
instrument. The impress of the royal seal on any document gave it the
sanction of government, 1Ki 21:8; and a temporary transfer of the seal
to another hand conveyed a plenary authority for the occasion, Es
3:10,12 8:2. Instead of the impression of a seal, probably on account
of the heat of the climate, Job 38:14. The seal was a token of
possession and of careful preservation, De 32:34 Job 9:7 14:17. A
portion of clay covering the lock or opening of a door, etc., guarded
it from being opened clandestinely, So 4:12 Da 6:17 Mt 27:66.
Travellers in the East have met the same custom in modern times. The
cord around a book, box, or roll of parchment was often secured with a
sea, Isa 8:16 Re 5:1. The Holy Spirit seals Christians, impressing his
image upon them as a token that they are his, Eph 1:13,14 4:30. See SO
The first month of the Jewish civil year, and the eleventh of the
ecclesiastical year-from the new moon of February to that of March.
See MONTH. They began in this month to the years of the trees they
planted, the fruits of which were esteemed impure till the fourth
year, Zec 1:7.
From a Latin word answering to the Greek word hoeresis, which latter
our translators have in some places rendered "sect," in others
"heresy." As used in the New Testament, it implies neither approbation
nor censure of the persons to whom it is applied, or of their
opinions, Ac 5:17 15:5. Among the Jews, there were four sects,
distinguished by their practices and opinions, yet united in communion
with each other and with the body of their nation: namely, the
Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes, and the Herodians.
Christianity was originally considered as a new sect of Judaism; hence
Tertullus, accusing Paul before Felix, says that he was chief of the
seditious sect of the Nazarenes, Ac 24:5; and the Jews of Rome said to
the apostle, when he arrived in this city, "As concerning this sect,
we know that everywhere it is spoken against," Ac 28:22. See HERESY.
A disciple at Thessalonica, who accompanied Paul in some of his
journeys, Ac 20:4.
A popular tumult, Ac 24:5, or a religious faction, Ga 5:20. The same
Greek word is translated "insurrection," in speaking of Barabbas, Mr
15:7, and "dissension" in Ac 15:2.
Ge 1:11; often used figuratively in Scripture, Da 9:1 1Pe 1:23 1Jo
3:9. There was an injunction in the Mosaic Law against sowing a field
with mingled seed of diverse kinds, Le 19:19. The "precious seed" is
often committed to the ground with many fears; but the harvest, at
least in spiritual things, shall be a season of joy, Ps 126:5,6.
One supernaturally enlightened to see things which God only can
reveal; applied to certain Hebrews prophets, 1Sa 9:9 2Ch 29:30
33:18,19 Isa 29:10 30:10. Compare Nu 24:3,4.
1. A mountain of Judah, near Kirjath-jearim, Jos 15:10.
2. A Horite, one of the primitive rulers of the country south and
southeast of the Dead Sea, Ge 36:20 De 2:12.
3. A mountainous tract lying between the southern extremity of the
Dead Sea and the eastern gulf of the Red Sea. Mount Hor formed part of
Seir, and is the only part that retains its original name. See IDUMEA.
The name of a place mentioned in 2Ki 14:7, where it is said that
Amaziah king of Judah slew ten thousand men of Edom, in the valley of
Salt, and took Sela by war, and called the name of it JOKTHEEL,
subdued by God. Sela, in Hebrew, signifies, a rock, and answers to the
Greek word Petra; whence it has been reasonably inferred that the city
bearing the name of Petra, and which was the celebrated capital of
Arabia Petraea, is the place mentioned by the sacred historian. It is
also mentioned in Isa 16:1, and may be intended by the word Sela,
translated rock, in Jud 1:36 Isa 42:11. The ruins of this place were
in modern times first visited by Burckhardt, 1812, and attest the
splendor of the ancient city. He says, "At the distance of a two long
days' journey northeast from Akabah, is a rivulet and valley in the
Djebel Shera, on the east side of the Arabah, called Wady Mousa. This
place is very interesting for its antiquities and the remains of an
ancient city, which I conjecture to be Petra, the capital of Arabia
Petraea, a place which, as far as I know, no European traveller has
ever visited. In the red sandstone of the which the valley is composed
are upwards of two hundred and fifty sepulchres, entirely cut out of
the rock, the greater part of them with Grecian ornaments. There is a
mausoleum in the shape of a temple, of colossal dimensions, likewise
cut out of the rock, with all its apartments, its vestibule,
peristyle, etc. It is a most beautiful specimen of Grecian
architecture, and in perfect preservation. There are other mausolea
with obelisks, apparently in the Egyptian style, a whole amphitheater
cut out of the rock, with the remains of a palace and of several
temples. Upon the summit of the mountains, which closes the narrow
valley on its western side, (Mount Hor), is the tomb of Haroun, or
Aaron. It is held in great veneration by the Arabs." That this was
indeed the ancient Sela or Petra is established by various concurring
proofs; Josephus, Eusebius, and Jerome affirm that the location and
ruins correspond with the notices given in the Bible, and by Pliny and
Subsequent travellers, especially Laborde, have given minute and
graphic description of this wonderful city, with drawings of the
principal ruins. The valley of Petra, 2,200 feet above the great
valley El-Arabah, is about a mile long from north to south, and half a
mile wide, with numerous short ravines in its sides, making its whole
circuit perhaps four miles. It is accessible through ravines at the
north and the south; but the cliffs, which define it on the east and
west, are precipitous, and vary from two hundred to one thousand feet
in height. The main passage into the city is on the east, and begins
between cliffs forty feet high and fifty yards apart, which soon
become higher, nearer, and full of excavated tombs. This winding
ravine is a mile long, and gives entrance to a small brook; its sides
at one place are but twelve feet apart and two hundred and fifty feet
high. At the termination of this narrow gorge you confront the most
splendid of all the structures of Petra, el-Khusneh, the temple
mentioned by Burckhardt, hewn out of the face of the opposite cliff.
Here you enter a wider ravine, which leads northwest, passes the
amphitheatre in a recess on the left, and at length opens on the great
valley of the main city towards the west. The tombs excavated in
these, and in all the side gorges, are without number, rising range
above range; many of them are approached by steps cut in the rock,
while others are inaccessible, at the height of nearly four hundred
feet. The theatre was so large as to accommodate more than three
thousand persons. The palace, called Pharaoh's house by the Arabs, is
the chief structure not excavated in the mountain that survives in any
good degree the ravages of time; it was evidently a gorgeous building.
Most of the valley is strewn with the ruins of public edifices and
with fragments of pottery. The brook flows through the valley towards
the west, and passes off through a narrow gorge like that by which it
entered. One of the finest temples, the Deir, stands high up in a
ravine on the west side. It is hewn out of the solid rock, are eight
feet in diameter. A singular charm is thrown over the whole by the
beauty of the stone from which these various structures are wrought.
It is fine and soft sandstone, variegated with almost every variety of
hues, red, purple, black, white, azure, and yellow, the deepest
crimson and the softest pink blending with each other, while high
above the sculptured monuments the rocks rise in their native rudeness
and majesty. The whole strange and beautiful scene leaves on the
spectator's mind impressions, which nothing can efface.
Petra was an ancient city, a strong fortress, and for many ages an
important commercial center. It was the chief city among scores, which
once filled that region. Yet the prophets of God foretold its
downfall, and its abandonment to solitude and desolation, in terms
which strikingly agree with the facts. "Thy terribleness hath deceived
thee, and the pride of thy heart, O thou that dwellest in the clefts
of the rock, that holdest the height of the hill: though thou
shouldest make thy nest as high as the eagle, I will bring thee down
from thence, saith the Lord," Jer 49:7-22. See also Isa 34:5-15 Eze
35:1-15 Joe 3:19 Am 1:11,12 Ob 1:3-16. When its ruin took place we are
not informed. There were Christian churches there in the fifth and
sixth centuries, but after A. D. 536 no mention is made of it in
A musical term which occurs seventy-three times in the Psalms, and is
found also in Hab 3:3,9,13. It usually occurs at the end of a period
or apostrophe, but sometimes at the end only of a clause. This
difficult word, it is now generally believed, was a direction for a
meditative pause in the singing of a psalm, during which perhaps there
was an instrumental interlude.
Ac 5:21. See SANHEDRIN.
A name given to Mount Hermon by the Amorites, De 3:9 1Ch 5:23 Eze
27:5. See HERMON.
King of Assyria, son and successor of Shalmaneser, began to reign B.
C. 710, and reigned but a few years. Hezekiah king of Judah having
shaken off the yoke of the Assyrians, by which Ahaz his father had
suffered under Tigloth-pileser, Sennacherib marched an army against
him, and took all the strong cities of Judah. Hezekiah, seeing he had
nothing left but Jerusalem, which he perhaps found it difficult to
preserve, sent ambassadors to Sennacherib, then besieging and
destroying Lachish, to make submission. Sennacherib accepted his
tribute, but refused to depart, and sent Rabshakeh with an insolent
message to Jerusalem. Hezekiah entreated the Lord, who sent a
destroying angel against the Assyrian army, and slew in one night
185,000 men. Sennacherib returned with all speed to Nineveh, and
turned his arms against the nations south of Assyria, and afterwards
towards the north. But his career was not long; within two or three
years from his return from Jerusalem, while he was paying adorations
to his god Nisroch, in the temple, his two sons Adrammelech and
Sharezer slew him and fled into Armenia. Esar-haddon his son reigned
in his stead, 2Ki 18:1-19:37 2Ch 32:33.
A most remarkable confirmation of the above Bible history has been
found in the long buried ruins of ancient Nineveh. The mound called
Kouyunijik, opposite Mosul, has been to a good degree explored, and
its ruins prove to be those of a palace erected by this powerful
monarch. The huge stone tablets which formed the walls of its various
apartments are covered with bas-reliefs and inscriptions; and though
large portions of these have perished by violence and time, the
fragments that remain are full of interest. One series of tablets
recounts the warlike exploits of Sennacherib, who calls himself "the
subduer of kings from the upper sea of the setting sun to the lower
sea of the rising sun," that is, from the Mediterranean to the Persian
The most important of these mural pages to Bible readers, are those
recounting the history of his war against Syria and the Jews, in the
third year of his reign. Crossing the upper part of Mount Lebanon, he
appears to have conquered Tyre and all the cities south of it on the
seacoast to Askelon. In this region he came in conflict with an
Egyptian army, sent in aid of King Hezekiah; this host he defeated and
drove back. See 2Ki 19:9 Isa 37:1-38. The inscription then proceeds to
say, "Hezekiah king of Judah, who had not submitted to my authority,
forty-six of his principal cities, and fortresses and villages
dependant upon them, of which I took no account, I captured, and
carried away their spoil. The fortified towns, and the rest of his
towns which I spoiled, I severed from his country, and gave to the
kings of Askelon, Ekron, and Gaza, so as to make his country small. In
addition to the former tribute imposed upon their countries, I added a
tribute the nature of which I fixed." Compare 2Ki 18:13 Isa 36:1. He
does not profess to have taken Jerusalem itself, but to have carried
away Hezekiah's family, servants, and treasures, with a tribute of
thirty talents of gold and eight hundred talents of silver. The amount
of gold is the same mentioned in the Bible narrative. The three
hundred talents of silver mentioned in Scripture may have been all
that was given in money, and the five hundred additional claimed in
the Ninevite record may include the temple and palace treasures, given
by Hezekiah as the price of peace.
In another apartment of the same palace was found a series of
wellpreserved bas-reliefs, representing the siege and capture by the
Assyrians of a large and strong city. It was doubly fortified, and the
assault and the defense were both fierce. Part of the city is
represented as already taken, while elsewhere the battle rages still
in all its fury. Meanwhile captives are seen flayed, impaled, and put
to the sword; and from one of the gates of the city a long procession
of prisoners is brought before the king, who is gorgeously arrayed and
seated on his throne upon a mound or low hill. They are presented by
the general in command, very possibly Rabshakeh, with other chief
officers. Two eunuchs stand behind the king, holding fans and napkins.
Above his head is an inscription, which is thus translated:
"Sennacherib the mighty king, king of the country of Assyria, sitting
on the throne of judging at the gate of the city Lachisa; I give
permission for its slaughter." The captives are stripped of their
armor, ornaments, and much of their clothing, and are evidently Jews.
Little did Sennacherib then anticipate the utter of his ruin of his
own proud metropolis, and still less that the ruins of his palace
should preserve to this remote age the tablets containing his own
history, and the image of his god Nisroch so incapable of defending
him, to bear witness for the God whom he blasphemed and defied. See
NINEVEH, NISROCH, SHALMANESER, and SO SO.
"A mountain of the East," a boundary of the Joktanite tribes, Ge
10:30. It is perhaps the same as Mount Sabber in Southwestern Arabia.
A place in Asia Minor near the Bosphorus, to which Jewish captives
were conveyed, Ob 1:20.
When Shalmaneser king of Assyria carried away Israel from Samaria to
beyond the Euphrates, he sent people in their stead into Palestine,
among whom were the Sepharvaim, 2Ki 17:24,31. That Sepharvaim was a
small district under its own king, is apparent from 2Ki 19:13; Isa
37:13. It may, with most probability, be assigned to Mesopotamia,
because it is named along with other places in that region, and
because Ptolemy mentions a city of a similar name, Sipphara, as the
most southern of Mesopotamia.
The seventy, is the name of the most ancient Greek version of the Old
Testament, and is so called because there were said to have been
The accounts of its origin disagree, but it should probably be
assigned to the third century before Christ. This ancient version
contains many errors, and yet as a whole is a faithful one,
particularly in the books of Moses; it is of great value in the
interpretation of the Old Testament, and is very often quoted by the
New Testament writers, who wrote in the same dialect. It was the
parent of the first Latin, the Coptic, and many other versions, and
was so much quoted and followed by the Greek and Roman fathers as
practically to supersede the original Hebrew, until the last few
centuries. The chronology of the Septuagint differs materially from
that of the Hebrew text, adding, for example, 606 years between the
creation and the deluge. See ALEXANDRIA.
A place of burial. The Hebrews were always very careful about the
burial of their dead. Many of their sepulchres were hewn in rocks: as
that of Shebna, Isa 22:16; those of the kings of Judah and Israel; and
that in which our Savior was laid on Calvary. These tombs of the Jews
were sometimes beneath the surface of the ground; but were often in
the side of a cliff, and multitudes of such are found near the ruins
of ancient cities, 2Ki 23:16 Isa 22:16. Travellers find them along the
bases of hills and mountains in all parts of Syria; as on the south
side of Hinnom, the west side of Olivet, at Tiberias, in Petra, in the
gorge of the Barada, and in the sea-cliffs north on the Acre. The
tombs, as well as the general graveyards, were uniformly without the
city limits, as is apparent at this day with respect to both ancient
and modern Jerusalem, 2Ki 23:6 Jer 26:23 Lu 7:12 Joh 11:30. See
The kings of Judah, almost exclusively, appear to have been buried
within Jerusalem, on Mount Zion, 1Ki 2:10 2Ki 14:20 2Ch 16:14 28:27 Ac
2:29. Family tombs were common, and were carefully preserved, Ge
50:5-13 Jud 8:32 2Sa 2:32 1Ki 13:22. Tombstones with inscriptions were
in use, Ge 35:20 2Ki 23:16,17. Absalom was buried under a heap of
stones, 2Sa 18:17. In many ancient heathen nations, a king was buried
under a vast mound, with his arms, utensils, horses, and attendants,
Eze 32:26,27; and the pyramids of Egypt are believed to be the tombs
of kings, each having but one or two apartments, in one of which the
stone coffin of the builder has been found.
It was thought an act of piety to preserve and adorn the tombs of the
prophets, but was often an act of hypocrisy and our Savior says that
the Pharisees were like whited sepulchres, which appeared fine
without, but inwardly were full of rottenness and corruption, Mt
23:27-29; and Lightfoot has shown that every year, after the winter
rains were over, the Hebrews whitened them anew. In Lu 11:44, Christ
compares the Pharisees to "grave which appear not," so that men walk
over them without being aware of it, and many thus contract an
involuntary impurity. A superstitious adoration of the tombs and bones
of supposed saints was then and is now a very prevalent form of
idolatry; and our Savior tells the Jews of his day they were as guilty
as their fathers, Lu 11:47,48: they built the sepulchres of the
prophets, their fathers slew them; the hypocritical idolatry of the
sons was as fatal a sin as the killing of the prophets by their
fathers. These worshippers of the prophets soon afterwards showed that
they allowed the deeds of their fathers, by crucifying the divine
Prophet who Moses had foretold. In Syria at the present day the tomb
of David on Mount Zion and that of Abraham at Hebron are most
jealously guarded, and any intruder is instantly put to death; while
almost all the laws of God and man may be violated with impunity.
Deserted tombs were sometimes used as places of refuge and residence
by the poor, Isa 65:4 Lu 8:27; the shepherds of Palestine still drive
their flocks into them for shelter, and wandering Arabs live in them
during the winter. See BURIAL.
Maundrell's description of the sepulchre north of Jerusalem - supposed
by many to be the work of Helena queen of Adiabene, though now known
as "the tombs of the kings," - may be useful for illustrating some
passages of Scripture:
"The next place we came to was those famous grots called the
sepulchres of the kings; but for what reason they go by that name is
hard to resolve; for it is certain none of the kings, either of Israel
or Judah, were buried here, the holy Scriptures assigning other places
for their sepulchres. Whoever was buried here, this is certain that
the place itself discovers so great an expense, both of labor and
treasure, that we may well suppose it to have been the work of kings.
You approach to it at the east side through an entrance cut out of the
natural rock, which admits you into an open court of about forty paces
square, cut down into the rock with which it is encompassed instead of
"On the west side of the court is a portico nine paces long and four
broad, hewn likewise out of the natural rock. This has a kind of
architrave, running along its front, adorned with sculpture, of fruits
and flowers, still discernible, but by time much defaced. At the end
of the portico, on the left hand, you descend to the passage into the
sepulchres. The door is now so obstructed with stones and rubbish,
that it is a thing of some difficulty to creep through it. But within
you arrive in a large fair room, about seven yards square, cut out of
the natural rock. Its sides and ceiling are so exactly square, and its
angles so just, that no architect, with levels and plummets, could
build a room more regular. And the whole is so firm and entire that it
may be called a chamber hallowed out of one piece of marble. From this
room you pass into, I think, six more, one within another, all of the
same fabric with the first. Of these the two innermost are deeper than
the rest, having a second descent of about six or seven steps into
them. In every one of these rooms, except the first, were coffins of
stone placed in niches in the sides of the chambers. They had been at
first covered with handsome lids, and carved with garlands; but now
most of them were broken to pieces by sacrilegious hands."
A daughter of Asher, thrice named among those who migrated to Egypt,
Ge 46:17; Nu 26:46; 1Ch 7:30. Why she was thus distinguished is
unknown, but the rabbis have many fables respecting her.
The name of six persons, alluded to in the following passages: 2Sa
8:17; 2Ki 25:18; Ezr 7:1; Jer 36:26; 40:8; 51:59. The last is termed
"a quiet prince" or "chief chamberlain." He bore to the Jews in
Babylon a message from the prophet Jeremiah.
Burning ones, celestial beings surrounding the throne of God. Compare
De 4:24 Heb 12:29. They appear to be distinguished from the cherubim,
Eze 1:5-12. The prophet Isaiah, Isa 6:2,3, represents them as
reverently adoring the triune God, and burning with zeal to fly and
execute his will. Each one had six wings, with two of which he covered
his face, with two his feet, and with the two others he flew. They
cried to one another, and said, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of
hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!"
Ac 16:35, properly Roman lictors, public servants who bore a bundle of
rods, sometimes with an axe in the center, before the magistrates of
cities and colonies as insignia of their office, and who executed the
sentences which their masters pronounced.
Proconsul or governor of the isle of Cyprus, was converted under the
ministry of Paul, A. D. 48, Ac 13:7.
These reptiles, unclean among the Hebrews, Le 11:10,41, are widely
diffused through the world, but are most numerous and venomous in
tropical climates. About one-sixth part of all that are known to be
poisonous. These are distinguished by having two hollow poisonfangs in
the upper jaw, and are usually of slower motion than most snakes.
Venomous serpents were abundant in Egypt and Arabia, and seven
different kinds are mentioned in the Hebrew scriptures, some of which
are identified with existing species. See ADDER, ASP, COCKATRICE, and
The serpents mentioned in Nu 21:1-35 Isa 14:29 30:6, and by whom
multitudes of the Israelites were destroyed in the desert north of the
Gulf of Akabah, were probably called "fiery" and "flying" with
reference to the agonizing heat caused by their poison, and the
rapidity of their darting motion. Herodotus indeed speaks of winged
serpents as appearing every spring on the Arabian border of Egypt; but
he did not see them, nor are there any to be met with in modern times.
The serpent of brass, made and erected on a pole by Moses, had no
healing virtue in itself, but was a test of the penitence and faith of
the people. The author of Ecclesiasticus says of the Israelites, "They
were troubled for a small season that they might be admonished, having
a sign of salvation to put them in remembrance of the commandment of
thy law. For he that turned towards it was not saved by the thing that
he saw, but by thee, that art the Savior of all." Our Savior himself
shows that the brazen serpent was a type of Him, Joh 3:14,15. The
believing view of Christ is salvation to the soul infected by the
fatal poison of sin. Respecting the brazen serpent, see NEHUSHTAN.
Hezekiah destroyed a true and most sacred relic; Rome, on the
contrary, fabricates false relics and adores them. See CHARMERS.
Interpreters have largely speculated concerning the nature of the
serpent that tempted Eve. Some have thought that serpents originally
had feet and speech; but there is no probability that this creature
was ever otherwise than it now is. Its subtle, crafty malignity is
often alluded to the Scriptures, Ge 3:1 Mt 10:16 22:33. Besides, it
cannot be doubted but that by the serpent we are to understand the
devil, who employed the serpent as a vehicle to seduce the first
woman, Ge 3:13 2Co 11:3 Re 12:9.
A descendant of Shem, and an ancestor of Abraham, Ge 11:20-23; Lu
3:35. Jewish tradition says he was the first of his line that fell
into idolatry, Jos 24:2.
This word sometimes denotes a man who voluntarily dedicates himself to
the service of another. Thus Joshua was the servant of Moses; Elisha
of Elijah; and Peter, Andrew, Philip, and Paul were servants of Jesus
Christ. The servants of Pharaoh, of Saul, and of David, were their
subjects in general, and their court officers and counselors in
particular. The Philistines, Syrians, and other nation were servants
of David, that is, they obeyed and paid him tribute. The servants of
God are those who are devoted to his service and obey his holy word.
In its primary sense, the word usually means in the Bible either a
hired servant, or one whose service was the property of his master for
a limited time and under various restrictions. Joseph is the first
whom we read of as sold into bondage, Ge 37:27,28. The households of
some of the early patriarchs contained many servants, who were
apparently treated with kindness and justice; the highest trusts were
sometimes confided to them, and they might inherit their master's
estate, Ge 14:11-16 15:2-4 24:1-10. They shared the religious
privileges of the household, Ge 17:9-13,27 18:19, and were not
transferred to other masters.
At the establishment of the Hebrew commonwealth, involuntary servitude
was everywhere prevalent; and so far as it existed among the Jews,
Moses sought to bring it under the restrictions demanded by religion
and humanity. The mildest form of bond-service was that of a Hebrew in
the house of another Hebrew. He might become bound to this service in
various ways, chiefly through poverty, Ex 21:7 Le 25:39-47; to acquit
himself of a debt he could not otherwise pay, 2Ki 4:1; to make
restitution for a theft, Ex 22:3; or to earn the price of his ransom
for captivity among heathen. This form of service could not continue
more than six or seven years; unless, when the Sabbatical year came
round, the servant chose to remain permanently or until the Jubilee
with his master, in token of which he suffered his ear to be bored
before witnesses, Ex 21:2,6 25:40. The Hebrews servant was not to be
made to serve with rigor, nor transferred to any harder bondage; he
had an appeal to the tribunals, a right to all religious privileges,
the power of demanding release on providing a pecuniary equivalent,
and a donation from his master at his release, Le 25:47-55 De
15:12-18. Compare also 2Ch 28:10,11 Ne 5:1-13 Jer 34:8-22. The law
likewise provided for the deliverance of a Hebrew, who was in bondage
to a resident foreigner, Le 25:47-54.
From the heathen around and among them, especially from their captive
enemies and the remains of the Canaanites, the Hebrew obtained many
servants. These were protected by law, De 1:16,17 27:19, and might
become proselytes, attend the festivals, enjoy religious instruction
and privileges, Ex 12:44 De 12:18 29:10-13 31:10-13. The servant who
was mutilated by his master was to be set free, Ex 21:26,27; the
refugee from foreign oppression was to be welcomed, De 23:15,16; and
kidnapping or man stealing was forbidden on pain of death, Ex 21:16 De
24:7 1Ti 1:10.
Roman slavery, as it existed in the time of Christ, was comparatively
unknown to the Jews. The Romans held in bondage captives taken in war,
had purchased slaves. Their bondage was perpetual, and the master held
unquestioned control of the person and life of his slaves. Yet large
numbers were set free, and in many instances Roman freedmen rose to
the highest honors.
The allusion of the Bible to involuntary servitude, imply that it is
an evil and undesirable condition of life; yet the bondman who cannot
obtain his freedom is divinely exhorted to contentment, 1Co 7:20-24.
Meanwhile the Bible give directions as to the mutual duties of masters
and servants, Eph 6:5-9 Col 3:22 4:1 Tit 2:9 Phm 1:1-25 1Pe 2:18; and
proclaims the great truths of the common origin of all men, the
immorality of every human soul, and its right to the Bible and to all
necessary means of knowing and serving the Saviorthe application of
which to all the relations of master and servant, superior and
inferior, employer and employed, would prevent all oppression, which
God abhors, De 24:14 Ps 103:6 Isa 10:1-3 Am 4:1 Mal 3:5 Jas 5:4.
The first son of Adam after the death of Abel, Ge 4:25,26; 5:3,6,8,
and ancestor of the line of godly patriarchs.
As from the beginning this was the number of days in the week, so it
often has in Scripture a sort of emphasis attached to it, and is very
generally used as a round or perfect number. Clean beasts were taken
into the ark by sevens, Ge 7:1-24. The years of plenty and famine in
Egypt were marked by sevens, Ge 41:1-57. With the Jews, not only was
there a seventh day Sabbath, but every seventh year was a Sabbath, and
after every seven times seven years came a jubilee. Their great feasts
of unleavened bread and of tabernacles were observed for seven days;
the number of animals in many of their sacrifices was limited to
seven. The golden candlestick had seven branches. Seven priests with
seven trumpets went around the walls of Jericho seven days, and seven
times on the seventh day. In the Apocalypse we find seven churches
mentioned, seven candlesticks, seven spirits, seven stars, seven
seals, seven trumpets, seven thunders, seven vials, seven plagues, and
seven angels to pour them out.
Seven is often put for any round or whole number, just as we use "ten"
or "a dozen;" so in Mt 12:45 1Sa 2:5 Job 5:19 Pr 26:16,25 Isa 4:1 Jer
15:9. In like manner, seven times, or sevenfold, means often,
abundantly, completely, Ge 4:15,24 Le 26:24 Ps 12:6 79:12 Mt 18:21.
And seventy times seven is a still higher superlative, Mt 18:22.
A town of God, long held by the Amorites, Jos 19:42; Jud 1:35, but in
the time of Solomon the headquarters of one of his commissaries, 1Ki
Sometimes denotes intense darkness and gloom, Ps 23:4, and sometimes a
cool retreat, Isa 33:2, or perfect protection, Ps 17:8 Isa 49:2 Da
The long shadows cast by the declining sun are alluded to in Job 7:2
Jer 6:4. The swift, never ceasing motion of a shadow is an emblem of
human life, 1Ch 29:15 Ps 102:11.
A Chaldean name given to Ananias at the court of Nebuchadnezzar, Da
1:7. See ABED-NEGO.
A district adjoining Mount Ephraim on the west, 1Sa 9:4. Baal-shalisha
is placed by Eusebius fifteen miles from Lydda, towards the north.
1. Son of Jabesh, or a native of Jebesh, who treacherously killed
Zechariah King of Israel and usurped his kingdom, B. C. 772. He held
it only one month, when Menahem son of Gadi killed him in Samaria.
Scripture says that Shallun was the executioner of the threatenings of
the Lord against the house of Jehu, 2Ki 15:10-15.
2. See JEHOAHAZ 2.
3. The husband of Huldah the prophetess in the time of Josiah, 2Ki
Others of the time are alluded to in Nu 26:49 1Ch 2:40 9:17,19,31 Ezr
2:42 7:2 10:24,42 Ne 3:12 7:45.
King of Assyria between Tiglath-pileser and Sennacherib. He ascended
the throne about B. C. 728, and reigned fourteen years. Scripture
reports that he came into Palestine, subdued Samaria, and obliged
Hoshea to pay him tribute; but in the third year, being weary of this
exaction, Hoshea combined secretly with So, King of Egypt to remove
the subjection. Shalmaneser brought an army against him, ravaged
Samaria, besieged Hoshea in his capital, and notwithstanding his long
resistance of three years, 2Ki 17:1-40; 18:9-12, he took the city and
dismantled it, put Hoshea into bonds, and dismantled it, put Hoshea
into bonds, and carried away most of the people beyond the Euphrates.
He thus ruined the kingdom of Samaria, which had subsisted two hundred
and fifty-four years, from B. C. 975 to 721. The bas- relief copied in
the next page was found on a fine Assyrian obelisk of black marble,
six and a half feet high, and covered on all sides with inscriptions.
It was discovered in the ruins of the northwest palace at Nimroud, and
is believed from various evidences to represent Shalmaneser receiving
tribute from the Jews subdued by his arms. Hezekiah king of Judah
successfully resisted him, 2Ki 18:7: but he appears to have ravaged
Moab, Isa 10:9,15,16,23; and is said in Josephus to have conquered
Phoenicia, with the exception of insular Tyre, which he besieged in
vain for five years.
1Co 10:25, a public meat-market.
Son of Anath, the third judge of Israel, after Ehud and shortly before
Barak, in a time of great insecurity and distress, Jud 3:31 5:6.
Scripture only says he defended Israel, and killed six hundred
Philistines with an ox-goad. See PLOUGH.
1. One of the three chiefs of David's thirty heroes, who shared with
David and Eleazar the honor of the exploit recorded in 2Sa 23:11,12;
1Ch 11:12-14. Another feast is described in 2Sa 23:13- 17.
2. A brother of David, 1Sa 16:9; 17:13; elsewhere called Shimeah, 2Sa
13:3,22; 1Ch 2:13.
Others of this name are mentioned, Ge 36:13,17; 2Sa 23:25,33; 1Ch
1. A scribe or secretary under King Josiah, to whom he read from the
newly found autograph roll of the book of the law, 2Ki 22:12; Jer
29:3; 36:10; Eze 8:11.
2. The father of Ahikam, 2Ki 22:12; 25:22; Jer 26:24.
1. The father of Elisha, 1Ki 19:16.
2. A descendant of David, 1Ch 3:22.
3. A chief herdsmen of David in Bashan, 1Ch 27:29.
1. A son of Sennacherib, who assisted in slaying his father, Isa
2. A delegate sent to Jerusalem with Regemmelec and others, probably
soon after the return from the Babylonish captivity, to inquire of the
priests at Jerusalem whether a certain fast was still to be observed,
Zec 7:2; 8:19.
1. A plain adjoining the seacoast of Palestine between Carmel and
Joppa, about sixty miles in length and of variable width, expanding
inland as it stretches from the promontory of Carmel towards the
south. It contains some sandy tracts, but the soil is in general
highly productive, and the plain was of old famous for its beauty and
fertility, 1Ch 27:29 So 2:1 Isa 33:9 35:2 65:10. It contained a town
of the same name, called Saron in Ac 9:35.
The whole plain was once thickly populated, but is now comparatively
uninhabited. The heat of summer is excessive, and the climate somewhat
unhealthy. All travellers describe the view of the plain from the
tower of Ramleh as one of surpassing richness and beauty.
The frowning hills of Judah on the east confront the glittering waters
of the Mediterranean on the west. Towards the north and south far as
the eye can reach spreads the beautiful plain, covered in many parts
with fields of green or golden grain. Near by are the immense
olive-groves of Ramleh and Lydda and amid them the picturesque towers,
minarets, and domes of these villages; while the hillsides towards the
northeast are thickly studded with native hamlets. The uncultivated
parts of the plain are covered in spring and the early summer with a
rich profusion of flowers.
2. A town in the tribe of Gad, in the district of Bashan beyond the
Jordan, 1Ch 5:16.
A valley north of Jerusalem, called also the King's Dale, Ge 14:17;
The Jews shaved their beards and hair in time of mourning, repentance,
or distress, Job 1:20 Jer 48:37, and in certain ceremonial
purifications, Le 14:9 Nu 8:7. At other times they wore them long,
like other oriental nations- except the Egyptians, who kept their
beards shaved, as we learn from Herodotus and from antique monuments.
Hence Joseph shaved before he was presented to Pharaoh, Ge 41:14. See
The remnant shall return, Isa 7:3 10:21, the name of one of Isaiah's
sons; supposed to have had a prophetic meaning, like
SHEBA, QUEEN OF
See SABEANS 2.
1. Son of Raamah, Ge 10:7. His posterity is supposed to have settled
near the head of the Persian Gulf. See CUSH and RAAMAH.
2. Son of Joktan, of the race of Shem, Ge 10:28. See SABEANS 2.
3. Son of Jokshan, and grandson of Abraham by Keturah, Ge 25:3. He is
supposed to have settled in Arabia Deserta.
4. A turbulent Benjamite, who after the death of Absalom made a
fruitless effort to excite a rebellion in Israel against David. Being
pursued, and besieged in Abel-beth-maachah, near the southern part of
Lebanon, he was beheaded by the people of the city, 2Sa 20:1-26.
The fifth month of the Jewish civil year, and the eleventh of the
ecclesiastical year, from the new moon of February to that of March,
Zec 1:7. See MONTH.
Steward of King Hezekiah's palace, Isa 22:15, afterwards his
secretary, 2Ki 18:18,37.
1. A Canaanite prince, at the town of the same name, who abducted
Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and was soon afterwards treacherously
slain, with many of his people, by Simeon and Levi, Ge 34:1-31.
2. A city of central Canaan, between the mountains Gerizim and Ebal,
thirty-four miles north of Jerusalem; called also Sychar and Sychem,
Ac 7:16. It is first mentioned in the history of Abraham, who here
erected his first altar in Canaan, and took possession of the country
in the name of Jehovah, Ge 12:6 33:18,19 35:4. Jacob bought a field in
its neighborhood, which by way of overplus, he gave to his son Joseph,
who was buried here, Ge 48:22 Jos 24:32. After the conquest of Canaan
it became a Levitical city of refuge in Ephraim, and a gathering-place
of the tribes, Jos 20:7 21:21 24:1,25 Jud 9:1-57. Here Rehoboam gave
the ten tribes occasion to revolt, 1Ki 12:1-33. In its vicinity was
Jacob's well or fountain, at which Christ discoursed with the woman of
Samaria, Joh 4:5. See also Ac 8:25 9:31 15:3. After the ruin of
Samaria by Shalmaneser, Shechem became the capital of the Samaritans;
and Josephus says it was so in the time of Alexander the Great. St the
present day it is also the seat of the small remnant of the
Samaritans. See SAMARITANS.
It was called by the Romans Neapolis, from which the Arabs have made
Napolose, or Nabulus.
The valley of Shechem extends several miles northwest between Mount
Ebal and Mount Gerizim, and is about five hundred yards wide; so that
in the pure and elastic air of Palestine the two mountains are within
hailing distance of each other, one circumstance among thousands
evincing the exact truthfulness of Bible narratives, De 27:11-14 Jud
9:7. The winter rains which fall in the eastern part of the valley
find their way to the Jordan, while in the western part are numerous
springs, forming a pretty brook which flows towards the Mediterranean.
"Here," says Dr. Robinson, "a scene of luxuriant and almost
unparalleled verdure burst upon our view. The whole valley was filled
with gardens of vegetables and orchards of all kinds of fruits,
watered by several fountains, which burst forth in various parts and
flow westward in refreshing streams. It came upon us suddenly, like a
scene of fairy enchantment. We saw nothing to compare with it in
Palestine." The modern town has several long and narrow streets,
partly on the base of Mount Gerizim. It does not appear to extend so
far to the east as the ancient city did. The houses are high and well
built of stone, and covered with small domes. Nabulus is thought to
contain eight thousand inhabitants, all Mohammedans except five
hundred Greek Christians, one hundred and fifty Samaritans, and as
many Jews. The rocky base of Mount Ebal on the north of the valley is
full of ancient excavated tombs. On Mount Gerizim is the holy place of
the Samaritans, and the ruins of a strong fortress erected by
Justinian. At the foot of these mountains on the east lies the
beautiful plain of Mukhna, ten miles long and a mile and a half wide;
and where the valley opens on this plain, Joseph's tomb and Jacob's
well are located, by the unanimous consent of Jews, Christians, and
Mohammedans. The former spot is now covered by a Mohammedan Wely, or
sacred tomb; and the latter by an arched stone chamber, entered by a
narrow hole in the roof, and the mouth of the well within is covered
by a large stone. The well itself is one hundred and five feet deep,
and is now sometimes dry. It bears every mark of high antiquity.
The following extract is from Dr. Clarke's description of this place:
"There is nothing in the Holy Land finer than a view of Napolose from
the heights around it. As the traveller descends towards it from the
hills, it appears luxuriantly embosomed in the most delightful and
fragrant bowers, half concealed by rich gardens, and by stately trees
collected into groves, all around the bold and beautiful valley in
which it stands. Trade seems to flourish among its inhabitants. Their
principal employment is in making soap; but the manufactures of the
town supply a very widely extended neighborhood, and are exported to a
great distance upon camels. In the morning after our arrival, we met
caravans coming from Grand Cairo, and noticed others reposing in the
large olive plantations near the gates."
"The sacred story of events transacted in the fields of Sychem, from
our earliest years is remembered with delight; but with the territory
before our eyes where those events took place, and in the view of
objects existing as they were described above three thousand years
ago, the grateful impression kindles into ecstasy. Along the valley we
beheld 'a company of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead,' Ge 37:25, as in
the days of Reuben and Judah, 'with their camels bearing spicery and
balm and myrrh,' who would gladly have purchased another Joseph of his
brethren, and conveyed him as a slave to some Potiphar in Egypt. Upon
the hills around, flocks and herds were feeding, as of old; nor in the
simple garb of the shepherds of Samaria was there any thing repugnant
to the notions we may entertain of the appearance presented by the
sons of Jacob. It was indeed a scene to abstract and to elevate the
mind; and under emotions so called forth by every circumstance of
powerful coincidence, a single moment seemed to concentrate whole ages
"The principal object of veneration is Jacob's well, over which a
church was formerly erected. This is situated at a small distance from
the town, in the road to Jerusalem, and has been visited by pilgrims
of all ages, but particularly since the Christian era, as the place
where our Savior revealed himself to the woman of Samaria."
"The spot is so distinctly marked by the evangelist, and so little
liable to uncertainty, from the circumstance of the well itself and
the features of the country, that, if no tradition existed for its
identity, the site of it could hardly be mistaken. Perhaps no
Christian scholar ever attentively read Joh 4:1-54, without being
struck with the numerous intervals evidences of truth which crowd upon
the mind in its perusal. Within so small a compass it is impossible to
find in other writings so many sources of reflection and of interest.
Independently of its importance as a theological document, it
concentrates so much information, that a volume might be filled with
illustration it reflects on the history of the Jews and on the
geography of their country. All that can be gathered on these subjects
from Josephus seems but as a comment to illustrate this chapter. The
journey of our Lord from Judea into Galilee; the cause of it; his
passage through the territory of Samaria; his approach to the
metropolis of this country; its name; his arrival at the Amorite field
which terminates the narrow valley of Sychem; the ancient custom of
halting at a well; the female employment of drawing water; the
disciples sent into the city for food, by which its situation out of
the town is obviously implied; the question of the woman referring to
existing prejudices which separated the Jews from the Samaritans; the
depth of the well; the oriental allusion contained in the expression,
'living water;' the history of the well, and the customs thereby
illustrated; the worship upon Mount Gerizim; all these occur within
the space of twenty verses."
Joh 5:2. The original might with at least equal propriety be rendered
sheep gate; and a gate so called is mentioned in Ne 3:1- 32; 12:39. It
was adjacent to the temple, and was so named from the number of sheep
introduced through it for the temple service. Dr. Barclay thinks the
"sheep market" was an enclosure for sheep and other animals designed
for sacrifice, outside the temple area on the east.
Of the Syrian sheep, according to Dr. Russell, there are two
varieties; the one called Bedaween sheep, which differ in no respect
from the larger kinds of sheep among us, except that their tails are
somewhat longer and thicker; the others are those often mentioned by
travellers on account of their extraordinary tails; and this species
is by far the most numerous. The tail of one of these animals is very
broad and large, terminating in a small appendage that turns back upon
it. It is of a substance between fat and marrow, and is not eaten
separately, but mixed with the lean meat in many of their dishes, and
also often used instead of butter. A common sheep of this sort,
without the head, feet, skin, and entrails, weighs from sixty to
eighty pounds, of which the tail itself is usually ten or fifteen
pounds, and when the animal is fattened, twice or thrice that weight,
and very inconvenient to its owner.
The sheep or lamb was the common sacrifice under the Mosaic law; and
it is to be remarked, that when the divine legislator speaks of this
victim, he never omits to appoint that the rump or tail be laid whole
on the fire of the altar, Ex 29:22 Le 3:9. The reason for this is seen
in the account just given from Dr. Russell; from which it appears that
this was the most delicate part of the animal, and therefore the most
proper to be presented in sacrifice to Jehovah.
The innocence, mildness, submission, and patience of the sheep or
lamb, rendered it peculiarly sheep and lamb, rendered it peculiarly
suitable for a sacrifice, and an appropriate type of the Lamb of God,
Joh 1:29. A recent traveller in Palestine witnessed the shearing of a
sheep in the immediate vicinity of Gethsemane; and the silent,
unresisting submission of the poor animal, thrown with its feet bound
upon the earth, its sides rudely pressed by the shearer's knees, while
every movement threatened to lacerate the flesh, was a touching
commentary on the prophet's description of Christ, Isa 53:7 Ac
There are frequent allusions in Scripture to these characteristics of
the sheep, and to its proneness to go astray, Ps 119:176 Isa 53:6. It
is a gregarious animal also; and as loving the companionship of the
flock and dependant of the protection and guidance of its master, its
name is often given to the people of God, 2Ki 22:17 Ps 79:13 80:1 Mt
25:32. Sheep and goats are still found in Syria feeding
indiscriminately together, as in ancient times, Ge 30:35 Mt 25:32,33.
The season of sheep shearing was one of great joy and festivity, 1Sa
25:5,8,36 2Sa 13:23.
Sheep-cotes or folds, among the Israelites, appear to have been
generally open houses, or enclosures walled round, often in front of
rocky caverns, to guard the sheep from beasts of prey by night, and
the scorching heat of noon, Nu 32:16 2Sa 7:8 Jer 23:3,6 Joh 10:1-5.
The shekel was properly and only a weight. It was used especially in
weighing uncoined gold and silver: "The land is worth 400 shekels of
silver...Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver-in the audience of the
sons of Heth," Ge 23:15,16. In such cases the word shekel is often
omitted in the Hebrew, as in Ge 20:16 37:28, where our translators
have supplied the word "pieces," but improperly, because coined money
was not then known. See MONEY.
Between the sacred shekel, Ex 30:13, and the shekel after the "king's
weight," 2Sa 14:26, there would seem to have been a difference; but
this and many think the phrase "shekel of the sanctuary" simply means
a full and just shekel, according to the temple standards. The first
coin, which bore the name of shekel was struck after the exile in the
time of the Maccabees, and bore the inscription, Shekel of Israel.
Bockh, whose authority in matters pertaining to ancient weights and
measures is very high, fixes it proximately at 274 Paris grains. It is
the coin mentioned in the New Testament, Mt 26:15, etc., where our
translators have rendered it by "pieces of silver."
A son of Noah, Ge 5:32 6:10, always named before Ham and Japheth, as
the eldest son; or, as some think, because he was the forefather of
the Hebrews. In Ge 10:21, the word elder may be applied to Shem,
instead of Japheth. He received a blessing from his dying father, Ge
9:26, and of his line the Messiah was born. He had five sons, and
their posterity occupied the central regions between Ham and Japheth,
and peopled the finest provinces of the East. The languages of some of
these nations are still called the Shemitic languages, including the
Hebrew, Chalee, Syriac, Arabic, Ethiopic, etc.; but in this general
class are found several languages spoken by nations descended from
1. A prophet of Israel, by whom God forbade Rehoboam to endeavor to
coerce the ten tribes back to their allegiance, and called the king
and his court to repent at the invasion of Shishak. He is said to have
written the history of Rehoboam's reign, 1Ki 12:22-24 2Ch 12:5-8,15.
2. A Levite, who made a registry of the twenty-four priestly classes,
1Ch 15:8,11 24:6.
3. A false prophet among the exiled Jews in Babylon, who opposed the
prophet Jeremiah, and incurred divine judgments on himself and his
family. For his name, Nehelamite, a dreamer, Jer 29:24-32.
4. A false prophet in the pay of Sanballat and Tobiah, who sought to
terrify Nehemiah into the cowardly in forbidden step of taking refuge
within the temple, Nu 3:38 Ne 6:10-14.
The former owner of the hill on which Omri built Samaria, 1Ki 16:24.
In the titles of Ps 6:1-10; 12:1-8, and in 1Ch 15:21. It means
properly the eighth, and seems to have been not an instrument, but a
part in music, perhaps the lowest.
The name of seven distinguished Jews, alluded to in the following
passages: 2Sa 3:4 1Ch 12:5 27:16 2Ch 21:2 Ezr 2:4,57 Ne 11:4 Jer 38:1.
Abel was a keeper of sheep, Ge 4:2, as were the greater number of the
ancient patriarchs. When men began to multiply, and to follow
different employments, Jabal son of Lamech was acknowledged as father,
that is, founder of shepherd and nomads, Ge 4:20. A large part of the
wealth of ancient patriarchs consisted in flocks and herds, the care
of which was shared by their sons, daughters, and servants. Rachel the
bride of Jacob was a shepherdess, Ge 29:6; his sons, the fathers of
the tribes of Israel were shepherds, and so was David their king, Ps
78:70-72. The employment is highly honored in the Bible, Lu 2:8-20. In
the time of the kings, the "chief herdsman" occupies a post of some
importance, 1Sa 21:7 2Ki 3:4 1Ch 27:29-31. In Palestine and its
vicinity, besides those who united the keeping of flocks and herds
with the tillage of the ground, there were and still are numbers of
nomads or wandering shepherds confining themselves to no settled home.
These dwellers in tents often had a wide range of pasture grounds,
from one to another of which they drove their flocks as occasion
required, Ge 37:12-17. In the vast deserts east and south of Palestine
they found many spots which in winter and spring were clothed with
verdure, Ex 3:1 Ps 65:12. But the heat of summer withered these
"pastures of the wilderness," and drove the shepherds and their flocks
to seek for highlands and streams. There are many indications in the
Scripture of the conscious strength and independence of he ancient
shepherd patriarchs, of the extent of their households, and the
consideration in which they were held, Ge 14:14-24 21:22-32 26:13-16
30:43 Job 1:3.
God sometimes takes the name of Shepherd of Israel, Ps 80:1 Jer 31:10;
and kings, both in Scripture and ancient writers, are distinguished by
the title of "Shepherds of the people." The prophets often inveigh
against the "shepherds of Israel," that is, the kings, who feed
themselves and neglect their flocks; who distress, illtreat, seduce,
and lead them astray, Eze 34:10. In like manner Christ, as the
Messiah, is often called a shepherd,
Zec 13:7, and also takes on himself the title of "the Good Shepherd,"
who gives his life for his sheep, Joh 10:11,14,15. Paul calls him the
great Shepherd of the sheep, Heb 13:20, and Peter gives him the
appellation of Prince of shepherds, 1Pe 5:4. His ministers are in like
manner the pastors or under-shepherds of the flock, Jer 3:15 23:3 Eph
In Joh 10:1-16, our Savior says the good shepherd lays down his life
for his sheep; that he knows them, and they know him; that they hear
his voice, and follow him; that he goes before them; that no one shall
force them out of his hands, and that he calls them by their names.
These, however, being all incidents taken from the customs of the
country, are by no means so striking to us as they must have been to
those who heard our Lord, and who every day witnessed such methods of
conducting this domesticated animal. Modern travelers in the East meet
with many pleasing confirmation of the truth of Scripture in respect
to these particulars; they see the shepherd walking before his flock,
any one of which will instantly run to him when called by its own
name. The hireling, or bad shepherd, forsakes the sheep, and the thief
enters not by the door of the sheepfold, but climbs in another way.
The Bible applies many of the excellences of the faithful shepherd in
illustration of the Savior's care of his flock. The shepherd was
responsible for each member of the flock intrusted to him, Ge 31:39 Ex
22:12 Joh 10:28; he had need of great courage and endurance, Ge 31:40
1Sa 17:34,35 Joh 15:10; he exercised a tender care towards the feeble,
and carried the lambs in his arms, Ge 33:13 Isa 40:11 Mr 10:14,16; and
searched for the lost sheep, bringing it back from the "land of
drought and the shadow of death" into green pastures and still waters,
Ps 23:1-6 Lu 15:4-7.
A poetical name for Babylon, signifying, as some judge, house or court
of the prince, Jer 25:26; 51:41.
A stream. In a war between the Ephraimites and the men of Gilead under
Jephthah, the former were discomfited, and fled towards the fords of
the Jordan. The Gileadites took possession of all these fords, and
when an Ephraimite who had escaped came to the riverside and desired
to pass over, they asked him if he were not an Ephraimite. It he said,
No, they bade him pronounce shibboleth; but he pronouncing it
sibboleth, according to the dialect of the Ephraimites, they killed
him. In this war there fill 42,000 Ephraimites, Jud 12:1-15. This
incident should mot be passed over without observing, that it affords
proof of dialectical variations among the tribes of the same nation,
and speaking the same language, in those early days. There can be no
wonder, therefore, if we find in later ages the same word written
different ways, according to the pronunciation of different tribes.
That this continued, is evident from the peculiarities of the Galilean
dialect, by which Peter was discovered to be of that district, Mr
A piece of defensive armor. God is often called the shield of his
people, Ge 15:1 Ps 5:12 84:11, as are also princes and great men, 2Sa
1:21 Ps 47:9. See ARMOR.
Ps 7:1-17, title, and SHIGGIONOTH, Hab 3:1; probably song, or song of
praise; perhaps some particular species of ode.
1. This term is used, Ge 49:10, to denote the Messiah, the coming of
whom Jacob foretells in these words: "The scepter shall not depart
from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come;
and unto him shall the gathering of the people be;" that is, until the
time of Christ, Judah's self-governments as a tribe should not ceases.
It must be admitted, however, that the literal signification of the
word is not well ascertained. Some translate, "The scepter shall not
depart from Judah till he comes to whom it belongs." Others, with more
probability, till the coming of the Peacemaker, or of the One desired.
2. A famous city of Ephraim, about ten miles south of Shechem, and
twenty-four north of Jerusalem. Here Joshua assembled the people to
make the second distribution of the Land of Promise; and her the
tabernacle of the Lord was set up, when they were settled in the
country, Jos 18:1; 19:51. The ark and the tabernacle continued at
Shiloh, from B. C. 1444 to B. C. 1116, when it was taken by the
Philistines, under the administration of the high priest Eli. In honor
of the presence of the ark, there was "a feast of the Lord in Shiloh
yearly;" and at one of these festivals the daughters of Shiloh were
seized by a remnant of the Benjamites, Jud 21:19-23. At Shiloh Samuel
began to prophesy, 1Sa 4:1, and here the prophet Ahijah dwelt, 1Ki
1. A Benjamite kinsman of Saul, who insulted king David when fleeing
before Absalom, and humbled himself on David's return. On both
occasions David spared and forgave him; but when dying he cautioned
Solomon against a man who knew no restraints but those of fear. Shimei
gave his parole never to leave Jerusalem; but broke it by pursuing his
fugitive servants to Gath, and was put to death on returning, 2Sa
16:5-14; 19:16-23; 1Ki 2:8,9,36-46.
2. An officer under David, and perhaps under Solomon, 1Ki 1:8; 4:18.
3. A distinguished family at Jerusalem, Zec 12:13.
A level region of indefinite extent around Babylon and the junction of
the Euphrates and Tigris, Ge 10:10 11:2 14:1 Jos 7:21 Isa 11:11 Da 1:2
Zec 5:11. See MESOPOTAMIA.
The ships of the ancients were very imperfect in comparison with
modern ones. Navigators crept carefully along the shores, from one
headland or prominent point to another, making a harbor if practicable
every night; and when out of sight of land, being ignorant of the
compass and quadrant, they guided their course by the sun and certain
stars. Even in St. Paul's time, vessels passing from Palestine to
Italy, sometimes wintered on the way!
Ac 27:12 28:11. The ancient ships were in general small, though a few
large ships are on record. They were often highly ornamented both at
the prow and the stern; and the figurehead or "sign," by which the
vessel was known, was sometimes an image of its tutelar divinity. They
were usually propelled by oars often in several "banks" or rows one
above another, as well as by sails. In war, the galley tried to pierce
and run down its antagonist.
The Phoenicians were celebrated for their ships and their extensive
commerce, as appears from Ezekiel's description, Eze 27:1-36, as well
as from numerous ancient historians. Though Joppa and in Christ's time
Caesarea were Jewish ports, 2Ch 2:18 Jon 1:3, yet the Jews were never
a maritime people, and most of their foreign navigation would appear
to have been carried on by the aid of Phoenicians, 1Ki 9:26 10:22
22:49,50. Paul's graphic and faithful description of his voyage and
shipwreck in Ac 27:1-44, discloses many of the peculiarities of
ancient navigation. For the "ship of Tarshish," see TARSHISH.
SHIPHRAH AND PUAH
Midwives in Egypt, who through the fear of God spared the newborn sons
of the Hebrews, contrary to the orders of the king. God rewarded their
kindness to his people, though condemning no doubt the untruthfulness
of their excuse to the king. He "made them houses," that is, probably
gave each of them a numerous family, Ex 1:15- 21.
A king of Egypt, who declared war against Rehoboam king of Judah in
the fifth year of his reign. He entered Judah, B. C. 971, with an
innumerable multitude of people out of Egypt, the countries of Lubim,
of Suchim, and of Cush, captured the strongest places in the country,
and carried away from Jerusalem the treasures of the Lord's house and
of the king's palace, as well as the golden bucklers of Solomon.
Jeroboam having secured the friendship of Shishak, his territories
were not invaded, 1Ki 11:40 14:25,26 2Ch 12:2-9. Shishak is generally
believed to have been the Sesonchis of secular history, the first king
of the twenty-second or Budastine line. He dethroned the dynasty into
which Solomon married, 1Ki 3:1, and made many foreign conquests. In
the palace-temple of Karnak in Egypt, the walls of which are yet
standing, Sesonchis is represented in a large basrelief, dragging
captive kings in triumph before the three chief Theban gods. Each
country or city is personified, and its name written in an oval above
it. One of these figures, with Jewish features, has an inscription,
which Campollion interprets, "kingdom of Judah." Several other symbols
are thought to denote as many walled towns of Judah, captured by
Shishak. See PHARAOH.
A valuable kind of wood, of which Moses made the greater part of the
tables, altars, and planks belonging to the tabernacle. Jerome says,
"The wood is hard, tough, smooth, and without knots, and extremely
beautiful; so that the rich and curious make screws of it for their
presses. It does not grow in cultivated places, nor in any other
places of the Roman Empire, but only in the deserts of Arabia." It is
thought he means the black acacia, the Acacia Seyal, which is found in
the deserts of Arabia, and the wood of which is very common about
Mount Sinai and the mountains which border on the Red Sea, and is so
hard and solid as to be almost incorruptible.
Lilies of testimony, Ps 60:12. See SHUSHAN.
Peaceful, in Hebrew a feminine name, corresponding to Solomon as Julia
does to Julius. It is the figurative name of the bride in Solomon's
Song, So 6:13; and the bridegroom is represented by SOLOMON, also
A city of Issachar, Jos 19:18. The Philistines encamped at Shunem, in
the great field or Plain of Esdraelon, 1Sa 28:4; and Saul encamped at
Gilboa. Abishag, king of David's nurse, was of Shunem, 1Ki 1:3; so
also was the woman whose son Elisha restored to life, 2Ki 4:8-37.
Eusebius and Jerome place it five miles south of Tabor; and it is now
recognized in a poor village called Solam, on a declivity at the
northwest corner of a smaller valley of Jezreel.
A city on the northeast border of Egypt, not far from the modern Suez,
Ge 16:7; 20:1; 25:18; 1Sa 15:7; 27:8. It gave its name to the desert
between it and Canaan, towards the Mediterranean, Ex 15:22.
1. Ps 60:1-12, title; plural SHOSHANNIM, Ps 45:1-14 69:1-36, titles;
the name of a musical instrument. The word signifies a lily, or
lilies; and if the instrument were so named from its similarity to
this flower, we might understand the cymbal. Or it may denote a
melody, so named for its pleasantness of the subject matter of the
song, as in the title to Ps 45:1-14.
2. The capital city of Elam, or Persia, Ge 14:1 Da 8:2, on the river
Ulai. It was the winter residence of the Persian kings, after Cyrus,
Es 1:5; and is deeply interesting as the scene of the wonderful events
narrated in the book of Esther. Here Daniel had the vision of the ram
and he-goat, in the third year of Belshazzar, Da 8:1-27. Nehemiah was
also at Shushan, when he obtained from Artaxerxes permission to return
into Judea, and to repair the walls of Jerusalem, Ne 1:1.
The present Shouster, the capital of Khusistan, in long. 49 East, lat.
32 North, of the river Karun, a branch of the Shat-el-Arab, has been
generally believed to be the ancient Shushan, the Susa of the Greeks;
but Mr. Kinneir rather thinks the ruins about thirty-five miles west
of Shouster are those of that ancient residence of royalty,
"stretching not less, perhaps, then twelve miles from one extremity to
the other. They occupy an immense space between the rivers Kerah and
Abzal; and like the ruins of Ctesiphon, Babylon, and Kufa, consist of
hillocks of earth and rubbish, covered with broken pieces of brick and
colored tile. The largest is a mile in circumference, and nearly one
hundred feet in height; another, not quite so high, is double the
circuit. They are formed of clay and pieces of tile, with irregular
layers of brick and mortar, five or six feet in thickness, to serve,
as it should seem, as a kind of prop to the mass. Large blocks of
marble, covered with hieroglyphics, are not unfrequently here
discovered by the Arabs, when digging in search of hidden treasure;
and at the foot of the most elevated of the pyramids (ruins) stands
the tomb of Daniel, a small and apparently a modern building, erected
on the spot where the relics of that prophet are believed to rest."
Major Rennell coincides in the opinion that these ruins represent the
ancient Susa. The desolation of the place, abandoned to beasts of
prey, agrees with the prediction in Eze 32:24.
The preceding statements are confirmed by Loftus, who with Col.
Williams visited and in part explored these ruins in 1851-2. Shush, we
say, abounds in lions, wolves, lynxes, jackals, boars, etc. During
nine months of the year the country is burnt up by the most intense
heat, though exceedingly rich and beautiful in the rainy season. His
excavations in the great mound disclosed the ruins of a vast palace,
commenced apparently by Darius, carried on by Xerxes, and finished by
Artaxerxes Mnemon. It is altogether probable that this was the scene
of the festival described in Es 1:1-22. The "pillars of marble" may
perhaps be even now traced in the ruined colonnade forming a great
central court; the huge columns were fluted and highly ornamented, and
one of the capitals measured was twenty-eight feet high.
A city of Reuben, Nu 32:28; Jos 13:19; Isa 16:8,9, speaks of the vines
of Sibmah, which were cut down by the enemies of the Moabites; for
that people had taken the city of Sibmah, Jer 48:32, and other cities
of Reuben, after this tribe had been carried into captivity by
Tiglath-pileser, 2Ki 15:29; 1Ch 5:26. Jerome says that between Hesbon
and Sibmah there was hardly the distance of five hundred paces.
See SEA 3.
In the Old Testament ZIDON, now called Saida, was celebrated city of
Phoenicia, on the Mediterranean Sea, twenty miles north of Tyre and as
many south of Beyroot. It is one of the most ancient cities in the
world, Ge 49:13, and is believed to have been founded by Zidon, the
eldest son of Canaan, Ge 10:15 49:13. In the time of Homer, the
Zidonians were eminent for their trade and commerce, their wealth and
prosperity, their skill in navigation, astronomy, architecture, and
for their manufactures of glass, etc. They had then a commodious
harbor, now choked with sand and inaccessible to any but the smallest
vessels. Upon the division of Canaan among the tribes by Joshua, Great
Zidon fell to the lot of Asher, Jos 11:8 19:28; but that tribe never
succeeded in obtaining possession, Jud 1:31 3:3 10:12.
The Zidonians continued long under their own government and kings,
though sometimes tributary to the kings of Tyre. They were subdued
successively by the Babyloniaus, Egyptians, Seleucidae, and Romans the
latter of whom deprived them of their freedom. Many of the inhabitants
of Sidon became followers of our Savior, Mr 3:8, and he himself
visited their freedom. Many of them also resorted to him in Galilee,
Lu 6:17. The gospel was proclaimed to the Jews at Sidon after the
martyrdom of Stephen, Ac 11:19, and there was a Christian church
there, when Paul visited it on his voyage to Rome, Ac 27:3.
It is at present, like most of the other Turkish towns in Syria, dirty
and full of ruins, thought it still retains a little coasting trade,
and has five thousand inhabitants. It incurred the judgments of God
for its sins, Eze 28:21-24, though less ruinously than Tyre. Our
Savior refers to both cities, in reproaching the Jews as more highly
favored and less excusable than they, Mt 11:22. Saida occupies an
elevated promontory, projecting into the sea, and defended by walls.
Its environs watered by a stream from their beautiful gardens, and
fruit trees of every kind.
A token, pledge, or proof, Ge 9:12,13 17:11 Ex 3:12 Isa 8:18. Also a
supernatural portent, Lu 21:11; and a miracle, regarded as a token of
the divine agency, Ex 4:7-9 Mr 8:11. The "signs of heaven" were the
movements and aspects of the heavenly bodies, from which heathen
astrologers pretended to obtain revelations, Isa 44:25 Jer 10:2. See
A ring for sealing. See RING and SEAL, SEALING.
King of the Amorites at Heshbon, on refusing passage to the Hebrews,
and coming to attack them, was himself slain, his army routed, and his
dominions divided among Israel, Nu 21:21-34 De 2:26-36.
Black or turbid, the Nile. In Isa 23:3 and Jer 2:18, this name must
necessarily be understood of the Nile. In Jos 13:3; 1Ch 13:5, some
have understood it of the little river between Egypt and Judah.
Ac 23:3, and SILVANUS, 2Co 1:19, the former name being a contraction
of the latter; one of the chief men among the first disciples at
Jerusalem, Ac 15:22, and supposed by some to have been of the number
of the seventy. On occasion of a dispute at Antioch, as to the
observance of legal ceremonies, Paul and Barnabas were chosen to go to
Jerusalem, to advise with the apostles; and they returned with Judas
Silas joined himself to Paul; and after Paul and Barnabas had
separated, Ac 15:37-41, A. D. 51, he accompanied Paul to visit the
churches of Syria and Cilicia, and the towns and provinces of
Lycaonia, Phrygia, Galatia, and Macedonia. He was imprisoned with him
at Philippi, joined him at Corinth after a brief separation, bringing,
it is supposed, the donation referred to in 2Co 11:9 Php 4:10,15, and
probably went with him to Jerusalem, Ac 16:19,25 17:4,10,14 18:5 1Th
1:1 2Th 1:1. He appears always as a "faithful brother," well known and
praised by all the churches, 2Co 1:19 1Pe 5:12.
In the time of the Ptolemies, came to Greece and Rome from the far
east of China, etc., by the way of Alexandria, and was sold for its
weight in gold. It sometimes came in the form of skeins, and was woven
into a light and thin gauze. It is mentioned in Re 18:12, and probably
in Eze 16:10,13. In Ge 41:42 and Pr 31:22, the word rendered silk in
our version is the same that is elsewhere correctly rendered fine
linen. It is not known how early or extensively the Jews used it.
Joh 9:7,11, or SHILOAH, Ne 3:15 Isa 8:6; a fountain and pool at the
vase of the hill Ophel, near the opening of the Tyropoeon into the
valley of the Kidron on the south of Jerusalem;
"Siloah's brook, that flowed
Fast by the oracle of God."
The pool is now an artificial stone reservoir, fifty-three feet long,
eighteen feet wide, and nineteen feet deep. Steps lead to the bottom
of the pool, three or four feet above which the water flows off
southeast to water the cultivated grounds in the valley below. The
fountain is in an arched excavation in the foot of the cliff above the
pool; and the small basin here is connected by a winding passage cut
through the solid rock under the hill Ophel, with the "Fountain of the
Virgin" eleven hundred feet north on the east side of Mount Moriah.
This passage was traversed throughout by Dr. Robinson. The water
flowing through it is tolerably sweet and clear, but has a marked
taste, and in the dry season is slightly brackish. It is thought to be
driven from the reservoirs under the ancient temple area, and in part
from Mount Zion. It runs "softly," Isa 8:6, but ebbs and flows in the
"Fountain of the Virgin," and less perceptibly in that of Siloam, at
irregular intervals. Thus the water rose more than a foot in the upper
fountain, and fell again within ten minutes, while Dr. Robinson was on
the spot. He once found a party of soldiers there washing their
clothes, Joh 9:1-11 and it is in constant use for purposes of
ablution. At Siloam also the water is used for washing animals, etc.
Nothing is known respecting the "tower" near Siloam, the fall of which
killed eighteen men. The ancient city wall is believed to have
enclosed this pool. Christ teaches us by the above incident that
temporal calamities are not always proofs of special guilt, Lu 13:4,5,
though the utmost sufferings ever endured in this world are far less
than the sins of even the best of men deserve, La 3:39.
One of the precious metals and the one most commonly used as coin
among all nations. It is first mentioned in Scripture in the history
of Abraham, Ge 13:2 20:16 23:16, and was used in constricting the
tabernacle, Ex 26:19,32, and afterwards the temple, 1Ch 29:4. In
employing it as a medium of trade, the ancient Hebrews weighed it out,
instead of having coins. In the times of the New Testament there were
coins. See SHEKEL, and MONEY.
1. One of the twelve patriarches, the son of Jacob and Leah, Ge 29:33
Ex 6:15. Some have thought he was more guilty than his brethren in the
treatment of Joseph, Ge 37:20 42:24 43:23; but he may have been
detained as a hostage because he was one of the eldest sons. The
tribes of Simeon and Levi were scattered and dispersed in Israel, in
conformity with the prediction of Jacob, on account of their
sacrilegious and piratical revenge of the outrage committed against
Dinah their sister, Ge 34:1-31 49:5. Levi had no compact lot or
portion in the Holy Land; and Simeon received for his portion only a
district dismembered from Judah, with some other lands the tribe
overran in the mountains of Seir, and in the desert of Gedor, 1Ch
4:24,39,42. The portion of Simeon was west and south or that of Judah,
having the Philistines on the northwest and the desert on the south,
The tribe was reduced in numbers while in the wilderness, from 59,300
to 24,000, Nu 1:23 26:14; very probably on account of sharing in the
licentious idolatry of Moab, with Zimri their prince, Nu 25:1-18, or
for other sins. They are little known in subsequent history. We find
them faithful to David, 1Ch 12:25, and afterwards to Asa, 2Ch 15:9,
and in general absorbed by Judah. Moses omits this tribe in his dying
benedictions, De 33:1-29; but its place in Israel is restored by a
covenant-keeping God, Eze 48:24 Re 7:7.
2. A venerable saint at Jerusalem, full of the Holy Spirit, who was
expecting the redemption of Israel, Lu 2:25-35. It had been revealed
to him that he should not die before he had seen the Christ so long
promised; and he therefore came into the temple, promoted by
inspiration, just at the time when Joseph and Mary presented our
Savior there, in obedience to the law. Simeon took the child in his
arms, gave thanks to God, and blessed Joseph and Mary. We know nothing
further concerning him.
3. Surnamed NIGER, or the Black, Ac 13:1, was among the prophets and
teachers of the Christian church at Antioch. Some think he was Simon
the Cyrenian; but there is no proof of this.
4. The apostle Peter is also called Simeon in Ac 15:14, but elsewhere
1. One of the twelve apostles. See PETER.
2. The Canaanite, or Zelotes, one of the twelve apostles. See ZELOTES.
3. One of the "brethren" of Jesus, Mt 13:55 Mr 6:3. He is by some
supposed to be the same with the preceding Simon Zelotes. See JAMES 3.
4. The Cyrenian, who was compelled to aid in bearing the cross of
Jesus, Mt 27:32, probably on account of his known attachment to His
cause. He was "the father of Alexander and Rufus," Mr 15:21; and from
the cordial salutation of Paul, Ro 16:13, it would seem that the
family afterwards resided at Rome, and that their labor of love was
not forgotten by God.
5. A Pharisee, probably at Capernaum, who invited Jesus to dinner at
his house, Lu 7:36-50.
6. The leper; that is, who had been a leper; a resident of Bethany,
with whom also Jesus supped, Mt 26:6 Mr 14:3. Compare Joh 12:1-11.
7. The tanner; a disciple who dwelt at Joppa, and in whose house Peter
lodged, Ac 9:43 10:6,17,32
8. The sorcerer of Samaria; often called Simon Magus, that is, the
Magician. See SORCERER. This artful impostor, by the aid of some
knowledge of philosophy, medicine, physics, and astronomy, acquired an
ascendancy over the people of Samaria. But the preaching and miracles
of Philip brought great numbers to Christ, and convinced even Simon
that a real and great power attended the gospel. He coveted these
spiritual gifts of the apostles for selfish end, and sought them by
joining the church and afterwards offering to purchase them with
money. Peter took the occasion to expose his hypocrisy by a terrible
denunciation, Ac 8:9-24. There are various doubtful traditions as to
his subsequent course. The sin of trafficking in spiritual things,
called Simony after him, was more odious to Peter than to many whom
claimed to be his especial followers.
9. The father of Judas Iscariot, Joh 6:71 13:2,26.
SIMPLE AND SIMPLICITY
Sometimes used in the Bible in a good sense, denoting sincerity,
candor, and an artless ignorance of evil, Ro 16:19 2Co 1:12 11:3;
sometimes in a bad sense, denoting heedless foolishness both mental
and moral, Pr 1:22 9:4 14:15 22:3; and sometimes in the sense of mere
ignorance or inexperience, 2Sa 15:11 Pr 1:4 21:11.
1. Any thought, word, desire, action, or omission of action, contrary
to the law of God, or defective when compared with it.
The origin of sin is a subject which baffles all investigation; and
our inquiries are much better directed when we seek through Christ a
release from its penalty and power, for ourselves and the world. Its
entrance into the world, and infection of the whole human race, its
nature, forms, and effects, and its fatal possession of every
unregenerate soul, are fully described in the Bible, Ge 6:5 Ps 51:5 Mt
15:19 Ro 5:12 Jas 1:14,15.
As contrary to the nature, worship, love, and service to God, sin is
called ungodliness; as a violation of the law of God and of the claims
of man, it is a transgression or trespass; as a deviation from eternal
rectitude, it is called iniquity or unrighteousness; as the evil and
bitter root of all actual transgression, the depravity transmitted
from our first parents to all their seed, it is called "original sin,"
or in the Bible," the flesh," "the law of sin and death," etc., Ro
8:1,2 1Jo 3:4 5:17. The just penalty or "wages of sin is death;" this
was threatened against the first sin, Ge 2:17 and all subsequent sins:
"the soul that sinneth it shall die." A single sin, unrepented of the
unforgiven, destroys the soul, as a single break renders a whole ocean
cable worthless. Its guilt and evil are to be measured by the
holiness, justice, and goodness of the law it violates, the eternity
of the misery it causes, and the greatness of the Sacrifice necessary
to expiate it.
"Sin" is also sometimes put for the sacrifice of expiation, the sin
offering, described in Le 4:3,25,29 also, Ro 8:3 and in 2Co 5:21, Paul
says that God was pleased that Jesus, who knew no sin, should be our
victim of expiation: "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew
no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
For the sin against the Holy Ghost, see BLASPHEMY.
2. A desert of Arabia Petraea, near Egypt, and on the western arm of
the Red Sea, Ex 16:1 17:1 Nu 33:12. To be distinguished from the
desert of Zin. See ZIN.
3. An ancient fortified city, called "the strength of Egypt," Eze
30:15,16. Its name means mire, and in this it agrees with Pelusium and
Tineh, the Greek and modern names of the same place. It defended the
northeast frontier of Egypt, and lay near the Mediterranean, of the
eastern arm of the Nile. Its site, near the village of Tineh, is
surrounded with morasses; and is now accessible by boat only during a
high inundation, or by land in the driest part or summer. A few mounds
and columns alone remain.
A mountain, or mountain range, in Arabia Petraea, in the peninsula
formed by the two arms of the Red Sea, and rendered memorable as the
spot where the law was given to Israel through Moses, Ex 19:1-Nu
10:33. As this mountain has been almost unknown in modern times, until
recently, and is of such importance in Scripture history, we shall
enter into some details respecting it.
The upper region of Sinai forms an irregular circle of thirty or forty
miles in diameter, possessing numerous sources of water, a temperate
climate, and a soil capable of supporting animal and vegetable life;
for which reason it is the refuge of all the Bedaweens when the low
country is parched up. This, therefore, was the part of the peninsula
best adapted to the residence of nearly a year, during which the
Israelites were numbered, and received their laws from the Most High.
In the highest and central part of this region, seven thousand feet
above the level of the sea, rises the sacred summit of Horeb or Sinai.
The two names are used almost indiscriminately in the Bible, the
former predominating in Deuteronomy. Some have thought there were two
adjacent summits, called, in the time of Moses, Horeb and Sinai; and
indeed the monks give these names to the northern and southern heights
of the same ridge, three miles long. But the comparison of all the
Scripture passages rather shows that HOREB was the general name for
the group, and SINAI the name of the sacred summit.
In approaching this elevated region from the northwest, Burckhardt
writes, "We now approached the central summits of Mount Sinai, which
we had had in view for several days. Abrupt cliffs of granite, from
six to eight hundred feet in height, whose surface is blackened by the
sun, surround the avenues leading to the elevated region to which the
name of Sinai is specifically applied. These cliffs inclose the holy
mountain on three sides, leaving the east and northeast sides only,
towards the Gulf of Akaba, more open to the view. At the end of three
hours, we entered these cliffs by a narrow defile about forty feet in
breadth, with perpendicular granite rocks on both sides. The ground is
covered with sand and pebbles, brought down by the torrent which
rushes from the upper region in the winter time."
The general approach to Sinai from the same quarter is thus described
by Mr. Carne: "A few hours more, and we got sight of the mountains
round Sinai. Their appearance was magnificent. When we drew near, and
emerged out of a deep pass, the scenery was infinitely striking; and
on the right extended a vast range of mountains, as far as the eye
could reach, from the vicinity of Sinai down to Tor, on the Gulf of
Suez. They were perfectly bar, but of grand and singular form. We had
hoped to reach the convent by daylight; but the moon had risen some
time when we entered the mouth of a narrow pass, where our conductors
advised us to dismount. A gentle yet perpetual ascent led on, mile
after mile, up this mournful valley, whose aspect was terrific, yet
ever varying. It was not above two hundred yards in width, and the
mountains rose to an immense height on each side. The road wound at
their feet along the edge of a precipice, and amid masses of rock that
had fallen from above. It was a toilsome path, generally over stones
place like steps, probably by the Arabs; and the moonlight was of
little service to us in this deep valley, as it only rested on the
frowning summits above. Where is Mount Sinai? Was the inquiry of
"The Arabs pointed before to Jebel Moosa, the Mount of Moses, as it is
called; but we could not distinguish it. Again and again point after
point was turned, and we saw but the same stern scenery. But what had
the beauty and softness of nature to do here? Mount Sinai required an
approach like this, where all seemed to proclaim the land of miracles,
and to have been visited by the terrors of the Lord. The scenes, as
you gazed around, had an unearthly character, suited to the sound of
the fearful trumpet that was heard there. We entered at last on the
more open valley, about half a mile wide, and drew near this famous
The elevated valley or plain Er-Rahah, here and above referred to, is
now generally believed to be the place where the Hebrews assembled to
witness the giving of the law. Its is two miles long from northwest to
southeast, and on an average half a mile wide. The square mile thus
afforded is nearly doubled by the addition of those portions of side
valleys, particularly Esh-Sheikh towards the northnortheast, from
which the summit Tas-Sufsafeh can be seen. This summit, which Dr.
Robinson takes to be the true Sinai, rises abruptly on the south side
of the plain some fifteen hundred feet. It is the termination of a
ridge running three miles southeast, the southern and highest point of
which is called by the Arabs Jebel Musa, or Moses' Mount. Separated
from this ridge by deep and steep ravines, are two parallel ridges, of
which the eastern is called the Mountain of the Cross, and the
western, Jebel Humr. The convent of St. Catharine lies in the ravine
east of the true Sinai; while Mount Catharine is the south peak of the
western ridge, lying southwest of Jebel Musa and rising more than one
thousand feet higher. From the convent, Dr. Robinson ascended the
central and sacred mountain, and the steep peak Ras-Sufsafeh. "The
extreme difficulty," he says, "and even danger of the ascent, was well
rewarded by the prospect that now opened before us. The whole plain
Er-Rahah lay spread out beneath our feet; while Wady Esh Sheikh on the
right and a recess on the left, both connected with the opening
broadly from Er-Rahah, presented an area which serves nearly to double
that of the plain. Our conviction was strengthened that here, or on
some one of the adjacent cliffs, was the spot where the Lord descended
in fire and proclaimed the law. Here lay the plain where the whole
congregation might be assembled; here was the mount which might be
approached and touched; and here the mountain brow where alone the
lightnings and the thick cloud would be visible, and the thunders and
the voice of the trump be heard, when the Lord came down in the sight
of all the people upon Mount Sinai. We gave ourselves up to the
impressions of the awful scene; and read with a feeling which will
never be forgotten the sublime account of the transaction and the
commandments there promulgated, in the original words as recorded by
the great Hebrew legislator."
The plain Er-Rahah is supposed to have been reached by the Hebrews
from the shore of the Red Sea, south of the desert of Sin, by a series
of wadys or broad ravines winding up among the mountains in an
easterly direction, chiefly Wady Feiran and Wady Ehs-Sheikh. The
former commences near the Red Sea, and opens into the latter, which
making a circuit to the north of Sinai enters the plain at its foot
from the north-northeast. For several miles from its termination here,
this valley is half a mile wide. By the same northern entrance most
travellers have approached the sacred mountain. Its south side is less
known. To the spectator on Jebel Musa, it presents to trace of any
plain, valley, or level ground to be compared with that on the north;
yet some writers maintain that the Hebrews received the law at the
southern foot of Sinai. See map, in the article EXODUS.
In many of the western Sinaite valleys, and most of all in ElMukatteb,
which enters Wady Feiran from the northwest, the more accessible parts
of the rocky sides are covered by thousands of inscriptions, usually
short, and rudely carved in spots where travellers would naturally
stop to rest at noon; frequently accompanied by a cross and mingled
with representations of animals. The inscriptions are in an unknown
character, but were at first ascribed to the ancient Israelites on
their way from Egypt to Sinai; and afterwards to Christian pilgrims of
the fourth century. Recently, however, many of them have been
deciphered by Prof. Beer of Leipzig, who regards them as the only
known remains of the language and characters once peculiar to the
Nabathaeans of Arabia Petraea. Those thus far deciphered are simply
proper names, neither Jewish nor Christian, preceded by some such
words as "peace," "blessed," "in memory of."
The giving of the law upon Mount Sinai made it one of the most
memorable spots on the globe. Here, moreover, God appeared to Moses in
the burning bush, Ex 3:1-22 and Ex 4:1-31; and six centuries later,
sublimely revealed himself to the prophet Elijah when fleeing from the
fury of Jezebel, 1Ki 19:1-21. There are frequent allusions in
Scripture to the glorious and awful delivery of the Law, Jud 5:5 Ps
68:8,17 Hab 3:3. In the New Testament, the dispensation proclaimed on
Sinai is contrasted with the gospel of the grace of God, Ga 4:24,25
Isa 49:12, a people very remote from the Holy Land, towards the east
or south; generally believed to mean the Chinese, who have been known
to Western Asia from early times, and are called by the Arabs Sin, and
by the Syrians Tsini.
A Canaanite tribe, probably near Mount Lebanon, Ge 10:17; 1Ch 1:15.
1. A name given in De 4:48 to one of the elevations on the mountain
ridge called Hermon, which see.
2. The Greek or New Testament form of Zion, which see.
A general in the army of Jabin king of Hazor, sent by his master
against Barak and Deborah, who occupied Mount Tabor with an army.
Being defeated, he fled on foot, and was ingloriously slain by Jael,
Jud 4:1-5:31. See JAEL.
In the style of the Hebrews, "sister" had equal latitude with
"brother." It is used, not only for a sister by natural relation, from
the same father and mother, but also for a sister by the same father
only, or by the same mother only; or for any near female relative, Ge
12:13. See BROTHER.
An obsolete word, meaning since, Eze 35:6.
The third Hebrew ecclesiastical month, and the ninth of the civil
year, beginning with the new moon of our June, Es 8:9.
Jer 2:14; Re 18:13. See SERVANT.
See PITCH, and SEA 3.
An instrument much used in war before the invention of firearms. It
was a formidable weapon in hands like those of David and the
Benjamites, Jud 20:16 1Sa 17:48-50 1Ch 12:2 2Ch 26:14.
An artificer in brass, iron, etc., first mentioned in Ge 4:22. The art
of the smith is one of the essential of civilization; and without it a
nation was peculiarly defenseless in time of war, Jud 5:8 1Sa 13:19-22
2Ki 24:14. Workers in silver and in copper were distinguished from
each other, Ac 19:24 2Ti 4:14.
A celebrated Ionian city situated at the head of a deep gulf on the
western coast of Asia Minor, forty miles north by west of Ephesus. It
was one of the richest and most powerful cities of that region, and
was frequented by great numbers of Jews. A Christian church was
established there at an early day, and was one of the seven churches
addressed by Christ in the Revelation of Joh 1:11 2:8-11. It is still
a prosperous commercial city, being visited by many foreign ships and
by numerous caravans of camels from the interior.
It's population is nearly 150,000; of whom one-half are Turks,
one-forth Greeks, and the remainder chiefly Armenians, Jews, and
Franks. So many of its inhabitants are not Mohammedan, that it is
called by the Turks Giaour Izmir, or Infidel Smyrna. It has a deep and
capacious harbor, well protected except towards the west by the hills,
which rise to a great height in the rear of the city, inclosing it on
three sides. On these hills lie the scanty remains of the ancient
city; among which is the ground-plot of the stadium, where is said to
have occurred the martyrdom of Polycarp-the pupil of the apostle John,
and very probably "the angel of the church in Ephesus," Re 2:8. Smyrna
has been often devastated by earthquakes and conflagrations;
multitudes perished there of the cholera in 1831, and 60,000 died of
the plague in 1824; yet its fine situation secures a prompt recovery
from every disaster. It is now the seat of important missionary
efforts, and enjoys the ordinances of a Protestant church.
In Le 11:30, is probably a sort of lizard; and in Ps 58:8, the common
slug or snail without a shell, which "melteth" away by depositing its
slime wherever it passes.
Is often alluded to in Scripture, for its whiteness, Ex 4:6; Nu 12:10;
2Ki 5:27; Ps 51:7; Isa 1:18, and for its cleansing qualities, Job
9:30. The expression in Pr 25:13, "as the cold of snow in the time of
harvest," alludes to its use in preparing cool drinks for the reapers;
while on the other hand, in Pr 26:1, "snow in summer," that is, a fall
of snow, being unseasonable and unnatural, is compared to honors
inappropriately lavished on a fool. Snow from Anti-Lebanon is still
sold at Damascus and Beyroot in the simmer, and even conveyed to
Egypt. It rarely fell of any great depth in the latitude of Palestine,
or remained long on the ground except in elevated spots, 2Sa 23:20.
Like every other wonder of nature, it is ascribed to the hand of God,
King of Egypt, made an alliance with Hoshea king of Israel, and
promised him assistance; but was unable to prevent Shalmaneser king of
Assyria from taking Samaria and subverting the kingdom, B. C. 721, 2Ki
17:4. See PHARAOH.
So is believed to have been the Servetus or Sabaco II of secular
history, the second king of the Ethiopian or twenty-fifth dynasty, and
the predecessor of Trihakah. A singular fact has been brought to light
by the recent explorations at Nineveh, corroborating the Scripture
record the more forcibly, because unexpected and direct. The Bible
shows that Egypt and Assyria, though remote, were often in conflict
during the height of the Assyrian ruins power, and that So was at war
with Shalmaneser. After war comes the treaty of peace; and as the
Bible prepares us to suppose such treaties were made, the Assyrian
ruins furnish evidence of their existence. In the remains of
Sennacherib's palace recently disentombed, a small room was found
which seems to have been a hall of records; and among the seals it
contained was the seal of So, well known to students of Egyptian
It was impressed, as was then the custom, on a piece of fine clay,
which also bore the impress of a royal signet of Assyria; thus showing
the probability that such a treaty between the two nations had here
been deposited. If so, when the two monarchs affixed their seals to a
document, which like themselves has turned to dust, the Most High by
their act affixed an additional seal to his holy word, which is true
and abideth forever.
Mal 3:2, Hebrew, borith, the cleanser; in Jer 2:22 distinguished from
nitre, which see. It is well known that the ancient used certain
vegetables and their ashes for the purpose of cleansing linen, etc.
The ashes of seashore plants contain carbonate of potash. Combined
with oil or fat the alkalies produced soap; but it is not known in
what forms the Jews used them.
SOCOH OR SHOCHOH
1 1Ki 4:10, a town in the plain of Judah, near Azekah, famous for a
battle of David and Saul with the Philistines, 1Sa 17:1; against whom
Rehoboam fortified it, and by whom it was afterwards taken, 2Ch 11:7
2. A town in the mountains of Judah, south by west of Hebron, Jos
15:48. Dr. Robinson found traces of both these sites, under the name
of Suweikeh, or Shaukeh.
One of the cities of the plain, and for some time the dwellingplace of
Lot, Ge 13:10-13 14:12. Its crimes and vices were so enormous, that
God destroyed it by fire from heaven, with three neighboring cities,
Gomorrah, Zeboim, and Admah, which were as wicked as itself, Ge
19:1-20. The plain of Siddim in which they stood was pleasant and
fruitful, like an earthy paradise; but it was first burned, and
afterwards mostly overflowed by the waters of the Dead Sea or Lake of
Sodom. See JORDAN, and SEA 3.
The prophets, in denouncing woes upon other countries, mention the
destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and intimate that these places
shall be desert and dried up and uninhabited, Jer 49:18 50:40; that
they shall be covered with briers and brambles, a land of salt and
sulphur, where can be neither planting nor sowing, De 29:23 Am 4:11.
Throughout Scripture the ruin of Sodom and Gomorrah is represented as
a most signal effect of God's anger, and as a mirror in which those
living at ease in sin and lust may see their own doom. The name is
given in Re 11:8, to the great and corrupt city of antichrist.
"Sodomites" were men addicted to the beastly lusts alluded in Ge
19:1-38 1Ki 14:24 Ro 1:26,27.
Ec 2:6. Among these may perhaps be included the ancient structures now
so called, two or three miles southwest of Bethlehem. These are three
large reservoirs lying one above and beyond another in a narrow
valley. They are built of large stones, and plastered within; and the
water collected in them, and in several fountains in the vicinity, was
conveyed in an aqueduct to Bethlehem and Jerusalem. The upper pool is
380 feet in length, and the middle pool 423 and the lower on 582.
Their average breadth is 200 feet and their depth 38 feet. At present
they contain comparatively little water; yet they are of incalculable
importance to Bethlehem, and might easily be made so to Jerusalem. The
aqueduct crosses the valley of Hinnom below the southwest corner of
the city wall, winds south around Mount Zion, and turns north again
into the city towards the Haram area.
Called also CANTICLES, and Song of Songs, B. C. 1012. This highly
figurative and beautiful poem has always held a place in the canonical
Scriptures, and of course was a part of the Bible in the time of
Christ; it was so regarded by the early Christians, and appears in the
ancient catalogues, manuscripts, and versions. Numerous and very
different opinions have been held as to the subject and plan of this
poem; but that its design is to set forth the spiritual love and
mutual communion between Christ and his people, is evident from its
harmony, when so understood, with the large class of Scripture
passages which represent God and particularly Christ as the husband of
the church, and employ the marriage relation in its various aspects to
illustrate the relation between the Savior and his people. Thus Ps
45:1-17 is a Messianic nuptial song. See also Isa 54:5 62:5 Jer 3:1-25
Eze 16:1-63 Ho 1:1-3:5 2Co 11:2 Eph 5:23-32 Re 19:7-9 21:2-9.
In the exposition of this beautiful poem we must remember the
difference between eastern and western nations. Modern conventional
rules and notions. Modern conventional rules and notions are not the
standard to which its plan, its images, or its phraseology should be
brought. The veiling of spiritual fervor and enjoyment under the
symbol of love is common among oriental nations, and commentators have
quoted portions of eastern allegorical songs, which bear no small
resemblance to this inspired allegory. Many Christians, deeply imbued
with the spirit of the gospel, have found great delight and benefit in
reading it. Jonathan Edwards says, "I found an inward sweetness that
would carry me away in my contemplations. This I know not how to
express otherwise than by a calm, delightful abstraction of the soul
from all concerns of the world; and sometimes a kind of vision of
fixed ideas and imaginations of being alone in the mountains or some
solitary wilderness, far from mankind, sweetly conversing with Christ,
and rapt and swallowed up in God. The sense I had of divine things
would often of a sudden kindle up an ardor in my soul that I knew not
how to express. While thus engaged, it always seemed natural to me to
sing or chant forth my mediations, or to speak my thoughts in
soliloquies with a singing voice."
Dr. John Brown of Haddington, in the introduction to his admirable
paraphrase of this book, says, "If understood of the marriage and
fellowship between Christ and his people, it will appear most exalted,
instructive, and heart-warming. Its majestic style, its power on men's
conscience to promote holiness and purity the harmony of its language
with that of Christ's parables and the books of Revelation, the
sincerity of the bride in acknowledging her faults, and its general
reception by the Jewish and Christian church, sufficiently prove it
inspired of God. To such as read it with a carnal and especially with
a wanton mind, it is the savor of death unto death, as the mind and
conscience of such are defiled; but to such as have experienced much
fellowship with Christ, and read it with a heavenly and spiritual
temper of mind, it will be the savor of life unto life. The speakers
in it are, Christ, Believers, and the Daughters of Jerusalem," or
companions and friends of believers.
Peaceful, the son and successor of David, born of Bathsheba, B. C.
1033. The prophet Nathan called him Jedidiah, "beloved of the Lord,"
2Sa 12:25 and he was a child of promise, 1Ch 22:9,10. At the age of
eighteen he received from David the throne which his brother Adonijah
had endeavored to usurp. Scripture records his earnest and pious
petition for wisdom from above, that he might govern that great people
well; and the bestowal of the wisdom, with numerous other blessings in
its train, Mt 6:33. His unequalled learning and sagacity soon became
renowned throughout the East, and continue so even to this day. In
every kind of temporal prosperity he was preeminently favored. His
unquestioned dominion extended from the Euphrates to the "river of
Egypt;" Palmyra in the desert and Eziongeber on the Red Sea were in
He accomplished David's purpose by erecting a temple for Jehovah with
the utmost magnificence. Many other important public and private works
were executed during his reign. He established a lucrative commerce
with Tyre, Egypt, Arabia, India, and Babylon, by the fruits of which
he himself first and chiefly, and indirectly the whole land, were
greatly enriched. He was the wisest, wealthiest, most honored, and
fortunate of men. But through the temptation connected with this flood
of prosperity, he became luxurious, proud, and forgetful of God;
plunged into every kind of self-indulgence; allowed his wives, and at
length assisted them, in their abominable idolatries; and forfeited
the favor of God. Yet divine grace did not forsake him; he was
reclaimed, and has given us the proofs of his repentance and the
fruits of his experience in his inspired writings.
His reign continued forty years, B. C. 1015-975, and was uniformly
peaceful, and favorable to the people, if we except the evils of a
corrupt example and an excessive taxation. His history is less fully
recorded than David's is by the sacred historians, 1Ki 1:11 1Ch
1:19-31; but we may learn much respecting him from his writings,
especially from the book of Ecclesiastes. Nothing could more
emphatically teach us the weakness of human nature, even when
accompanied with the utmost learning and sagacity, the perils of
prosperity, or the insufficiency of all possible earthy good to
satisfy the wants of man.
The writings of Solomon covered a wide range in the natural sciences
as well as in philosophy and morals. "He spake three thousand
proverbs; and his songs were a thousand and five: and he spake of
trees-of beasts, and of foul, and of creeping things, and of fishes,"
SON OF GOD
A peculiar appellation of Christ, expressing his eternal relationship
to the Father, Ps 2:7 Da 3:25 Lu 1:35 Joh 1:18,34. Christ always
claimed to be the only-begotten Son of the Father, Mt 4:3 8:29 27:54
Joh 3:16-18; and the Jews rightly understood him as thus making
himself equal with God, Joh 5:18 10:30-33.
SON OF MAN
A title of Christ, assumed by himself in his humiliation, Joh 1:51.
It was understood as a designation of the Messiah, according to Old
Testament predictions, Ps 80:17 Da 7:13,14; but appears to indicate
especially his true humanity or oneness with the human race. It is
applies to him more than eighty times in the New Testament.
Sometimes denotes a grandson, or any remote descendant, Ge 29:5 2Sa
19:24. At other times a son by adoption is meant, Ge 48:5; or by law,
Ru 4:17; or by education, 1Sa 3:6 20:35; or by conversion, as Titus
was Paul's "son father the common faith," Tit 1:4. And again it
denotes a mental or moral resemblance, etc., Jud 19:22 Ps 89:6 Isa
57:3 Ac 13:10. In a similar sense men are sometimes called sons of
God, Lu 3:38 Ro 8:14.
Joh 13:26, a small portion of bread, dipped in sauce, wine, or some
other liquid at table, Ru 2:14. Modern table utensils were unknown or
little used by the ancients. The food was conveyed to the mouth of the
thumb and fingers, and a choice morsel was often thus bestowed on a
Similar customs still prevail in Palestine. Jowett says, "There are
set on the table in the evening two or three messes of stewed meat,
vegetables, and sour milk. To me the privilege of a knife, spoon, and
plate was granted; but the rest helped themselves immediately from the
dish, in which five Arab fingers might be seen at once. Their bread,
which is extremely thin, tearing and folding up like a sheet of paper,
is used for rolling together a large mouthful, or sopping up the fluid
and vegetables. When the master of the house found in the dish any
dainty morsel, he took it out with his fingers, and put it to my
A Berean Christian, and one of those who attended Paul from Greece
into Asia Minor, Ac 20:4. He is supposed to have been the kinsman of
Paul called Sosipater in Ro 16:21.
One who practised sorcery; nearly synonymous with magician,
soothsayer, or wizard. This was a class of persons who dealt in
incantations and divinations, and boasted of a power, in consequence
of their deep science and by means of certain rites, to evoke the
spirits of the dead from their gloomy abodes, and compel them to
disclose information on subjects beyond the reach of human powers.
They pretended also that, by means of certain herbs and information on
subjects beyond the reach of human powers. They pretended also that,
by means of certain herbs and incantations, they were able to expel
demons, Ac 13:6,8. Those persons also who devoted themselves to the
general studies above mentioned, often abused their knowledge and
deceived the common people, by pretending to foretell the destinies of
men from the motions and appearances of the planets and stars, and to
cure diseases by repeating certain phrases, etc. Of this class appears
to have been Simon the sorcerer, mentioned in Ac 8:9,11. Females who
practised such arts were called sorceresses and witches, Mal 3:5 Re
22:15. See DIVINATION, ENCHANTMENTS, and MAGIC.
A valley in which Delilah resided, not far from Zorah, and Eshtaol,
Jud 16:4. In winter and spring it was the channel of a brook, flowing
northwest from Judah, by the region of Dan and the Philistines, into
the Mediterranean. Jerome mentions a village of Sorek in that
vicinity. The same Hebrew word, translated "choice" and "noble" in Ge
49:11; Isa 5:2; Jer 2:21, its the name of a vine bearing small grapes,
but very sweet and almost without seeds. This vine may have given the
valley its name.
The chief of the synagogue at Corinth, who was beaten by the Gentiles
when the Jews carried Paul before Gallio the proconsul, Ac 18:17. He
appears to have been the leader of the Jews in this attempt to destroy
Paul. Whether he was converted, and is identical with the "Sosthenes
our brother" in 1Co 1:1, is unknown.
The ancients supposed the soul, or rather the animating principle of
life, to reside in the breath, that it departed from the body with the
breath. Hence the Hebrew and Greek words which, when they refer to
man, in our Bibles are translated "soul," are usually rendered "life"
or "breath" when they refer to animals, Ge 2:7 7:15 Nu 16:22 Job 12:10
34:14,15 Ps 104:29 Ec 12:7 Ac 17:25.
But together with this principle of life, which is common to men and
brutes, and which in brutes perishes with the body, there is in man a
spiritual, reasonable, and immortal soul, the seat of our thoughts,
affections, and reasonings, which distinguishes us from the brute
creation, and in which chiefly consists our resemblance to God, Ge
1:26. This must be spiritual, because it thinks; it must be immortal,
because it is spiritual. Scripture ascribes to man alone
understanding, conscience, the knowledge of God, wisdom, immortality,
and the hope of future everlasting happiness. It threatens men only
with punishment in another life, and with the pains of hell. In some
places the Bible seems to distinguish soul from spirit, 1Th 5:23 Heb
4:12: the organ of our sensations, appetites, and passions, allied to
the body, form the nobler portion of our nature which most allies man
to God. Yet we are to conceive of them as one indivisible and
spiritual being, called also the mind and the heart, spoken of
variously as living, feeling, understanding, reasoning, willing, etc.
Its usual designation is the soul.
The immortality of the soul is a fundamental doctrine of revealed
religion. The ancient patriarchs lived and died persuaded of this
truth; and it was in the hope of another life that they received the
promises. Compare Ge 50:22 Nu 23:10 1Sa 28:13-15 2Sa 12:23 Job
19:25,26 Ec 12:7 Heb 11:13-16. In the gospel "life and immortality,"
and the worth of immortal souls, are fully brought to light, Mt 16:26
1Co 15:45-57 2Ti 1:10. To save the souls of men, Christ freely devoted
himself to death; and how does it become us to labor and toil and
strive, in our respective spheres, to promote the great work for which
He bled and died!
Comprehended, in ancient usage, the modern kingdoms of Spain and
Portugal, that is, the whole Spanish peninsula. In the time of Paul,
it was subject to the Romans, and was frequented by many Jews. For the
supposed origin of its name, see CONEY. In Ro 15:24,28, Paul expresses
his intention of visiting Spain; and many conjecture that he did so
between his first and second imprisonments at Rome, about A. D. 64-66.
La 2:20, the distance from the extremity of the thumb to that of the
little finger, when stretched apart; some nine inches.
A small bird, the Passer Domesticus of naturalists, with quill and
tail feathers brown, and its body gray and black, resembling the small
"chirping-bird" of America. It is a general inhabitant of Europe,
Asia, and Africa; is bold and familiar in its habits, and frequents
populous places. It builds under the eaves of houses, an in similar
situations; feeds on seeds, fruits, and insects; and lays five or six
eggs of a pale ash color, with brow spots. The Hebrew name Tzippor
includes also other small chirping birds, feeding on grain and
insects, and classed as clean, Le 14:4; among others the thrush, which
may be alluded to in Ps 102:7, a bird remarkable throughout the East
for sitting solitary on the habitations of men and warbling in sweet
and plaintive strains. A sparrow is of course of comparatively little
value; and it is therefore a striking exemplification of God's
providence to say that he watches even over the sparrow's fall, Mt
These birds are still very numerous, troublesome, and cheap in
Jerusalem, Lu 12:6, and flit in great numbers around the mosque of
Omar, on the site of the ancient temple, within the precincts of which
they built their favored nest of old, Ps 84:3.
A well-known insect, remarkable for the thread which it spins, and
with which it forms a web of curious texture, but so frail that it is
exposed to be broken and destroyed by the slightest accident. To the
slenderness of this filmy workmanship Job compares the hope of the
wicked, Job 8:14. So also in Isa 59:5, it is shown that the works of
sinners are utterly inadequate to cover or protect them. In Pr 30:28,
it is said in our version that "the spider taketh hold with her hands,
and is in kings' palaces;" but the Hebrew employs here a different
word, which signifies, according to the best interpreters, a species
of lizard frequent in Palestine.
So 1:12 4:13,14, a highly perfumed ointment prepared from a plant in
India growing in short spikes. It was highly prized by the ancients,
and was a favorite perfume at their baths and banquets. Horace
represents a small box of it as equivalent to a large vessel of wine,
and as a handsome quota for a guest to contribute to an entertainment.
It was kept closely sealed, sometimes in alabaster boxes; and to
unseal and open it was called breaking the box, Mr 14:3. The
evangelists speak of it as diffusing a rich perfume; and as
"precious," and "very costly," a pound of it being worth more than
three hundred denarii, or over forty dollars, Joh 12:3-5. See
ALABASTER and PENNY.
A word employed in various senses in Scripture.
1. For THE HOLY, HOLINESS SPIRIT, the third person of the Holy
Trinity, who inspired the prophets, animates good men, pours his
unction into our hearts, imparts to us life and comfort; and in whose
name we are baptized and blessed, as well as in that of the Father and
the Son. When the adjective Holy is applied to the term Spirit, we
should always understand it as here explained; but there are many
places whether it must be taken in this sense, although the term Holy
is omitted. See HOLY, HOLINESS SPIRIT.
2. BREATH, respiration; or the principle of animal life, common to men
and animal: this God has given, and this he recalls when he takes away
life, Ec 3:21. See SOUL.
3. The RATIONAL SOUL which animates us, and preserves its being after
the death of the body. That spiritual, reasoning, and choosing
substance, which is capable of eternal happiness. See SOUL.
The "spirits in prison," 1Pe 3:19, it is generally thought, are the
souls of antediluvian sinners now reserved unto the judgment-day, but
unto whom the Spirit preached by the agency of Noah, etc., 2Pe 2:5,
when they were in the flesh. Thus Christ "preached" to the Ephesians,
whom he never visited in person, Eph 2:17.
4. An ANGEL, good or bad; a soul separate from the body, Mr 14:26. It
is said, Ac 23:8, that the Sadducees denied the existence of angels
and spirits. Christ, appearing to his disciples, said to them, Lu
24:39, "Handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as
ye see me have."
5. The DISPOSITION of the mind or intellect. Thus we read of a spirit
of jealously, a spirit of fornication, a spirit of prayer, a spirit of
infirmity, a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of fear of
the Lord, Ho 4:12 Zec 12:10 Lu 13:11 Isa 11:2.
6. The RENEWED NATURE of true believers, which is produced by the Holy
Spirit, and conforms the soul to his likeness. Spirit is thus the
opposite of flesh, Joh 3:6. This spirit is virally united with, an in
some passages can hardly be distinguished from the "Spirit of Christ,"
which animates true Christians, the children of God, and distinguishes
them from the children of darkness, who are animated by the spirit of
the world, Ro 8:1-16. This indwelling Spirit is the gift of grace, of
adoption-the Holy Spirit poured into our hearts-which emboldens us to
call God "Abba, my Father." Those who are influenced by this Spirit
"have crucified the flesh, with its affections and lusts," Ga 5:16-25.
"Distinguishing or discerning of spirits" consisted in discerning
whether a man were really inspired by the Spirit of God, or was a
false prophet, an impostor, who only followed the impulse of his own
spirit or of Satan. Paul speaks, 1Co 12:10 of the discerning of
spirits as being among the miraculous gifts granted by God to the
faithful at the first settlement of Christianity.
To "quench the Spirit," 1Th 5:19, is a metaphorical expression easily
understood. The Spirit may be quenched by forcing, as it were, that
divine Agent to withdraw from us, by irregularity of life, frivolity,
avarice, negligence, or other sins contrary to charity, truth, peace,
and his other gifts and qualifications.
We "grieve" the Spirit of God by withstanding his holy inspirations,
the impulses of his grace; or by living in a lukewarm and incautious
manner; by despising his gifts, or neglecting them; by abusing his
favors, either out of vanity, curiosity, or indifference. In a
contrary sense, 2Ti 1:6, we "stir up" the Spirit of God which is in
us, by the practice of virtue, by compliance with his inspirations, by
fervor in his service, by renewing our gratitude, and by diligently
serving Christ and doing the works of the Spirit.
Booty taken in war, in which all the soldiers were permitted by David
to share, whether actually engaged in battle or not, 1Sa 30:21-25. A
portion of what was thus gained was devoted to the Lord of hosts as
early as the time of Abraham, Ge 14:20; and under the Mosaic
legislation a definite rule for this purpose was established, Nu
31:26-47 1Ch 26:27.
Christ "spoiled" principalities and powers when by his atoning work he
triumphed over Satan and his hosts, and deprived them of their power
to injure his people, Col 2:15. Paul warns Christians not to permit
human philosophy, tradition, etc., to "spoil" them, that is, to rob
them of Scripture truths and spiritual blessings, Col 2:8. See
A disciple of Paul, by whom he is honorably mentioned, Ro 16:9. From
his name it would seem that he was a Greek, though residing at Rome.
One of the four ingredients composing the sacred perfume, Ex 30:34,35.
Some think the gum called storax is intended; but it is generally
understood to be the purest king of myrrh; and as the Hebrew properly
signifies a drop, it would seem to refer to myrrh as distilling,
dropping form the tree of its own accord, without incision. So Pliny,
speaking of the trees whence myrrh is produced, says, "Before any
incision is made, they exude of their own accord what is called
Stacte, to which no kind of myrrh is preferable."
STAR IN THE EAST
It is a fact of great interest, that when the Savior appeared, not
only were the Jews eagerly expecting the Messiah, but many in various
heathen lands were cherishing similar hopes: in part through the
diffusion of the Hebrew prophecies; in part through the felt need of a
Savior; and in part perhaps through direct divine intimations.
The eastern magi apparently were not only apprized of the coming birth
of a royal and divine being in Judea, but were miraculously guided to
Bethlehem by a meteoric light, appearing in the right direction for
their course, Mt 2:9. The fanciful theory of the distinguished
astronomer Kepler, that the conjunction of the planets Jupiter and
Saturn six years before the common Christian era may have constituted
the "star in the east," does not appear to meet the terms of the
inspired narrative. See MAGI.
Under the name of stars, the Hebrew comprehended all the
constellations, planets, and heavenly luminaries, except the sun and
moon. The psalmist, to exalt the power and omniscience of God, says,
"He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their
names," Ps 147:4; God being described as a king taking a review of his
army, and knowing the name of every one of his soldiers. Christ is
called "the Morning Star," which is the brightest of the heavenly
train, and ushers in the day, Re 22:16. Compare Nu 24:17. To express
increase and multiplication, Scripture uses the similitude of the
stars of heaven, or of the sands of the sea, Ge 15:5 22:17 26:4 Ex
32:13. In times of disgrace and public calamity, it is said the stars
withhold their light; they fall from heaven, and disappear. These
figurative and emphatic expressions, which refer to the governing
powers of nations, are only weakened and enervated by being explained.
In the pure atmosphere of Judea and the East the stars shine with
peculiar brilliancy, and seem as if hanging midway in the heavenly
canopy, while the eye penetrates the ether far beyond them. The beauty
and splendor that men observed in the stars; the great advantages they
derived from them; the wonderful order apparent in their return, in
the production and preservation of animals, fruits, plants, and
minerals, have induced almost all heathen nations to impute to them
life, knowledge, power, and to pay them a sovereign worship and
adoration. The Israelites also needed to be warned against this sin.
"Learn not the way of the heathen," says God, "and be not dismayed at
the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them," Jer 10:2.
A Christian of Corinth, whose family Paul baptized, the first convert
to the gospel in Achaia, probably about A. D. 52, 1Co 1:16. He was
forward in the service of the church, and came to Paul at Ephesus, 1Co
One of the seven deacons first chosen by the church at Jerusalem, and
distinguished among them as "a man full of faith and of the Holy
Ghost." He seems from his name to have been a Hellenistic Jew, (see
GRECIANS), and to have been chosen in part as being familiar with the
language, opinions, and customs of the Greeks, Ac 6:1-6. His mighty
works and unanswerable argument roused the bitterest hostility against
him, and he was brought before the Sanhedrin for trial, on the charge
of blasphemy and heresy. His speech in his own defense, probably
recorded only in part, shows historically that the opponents of
Christianity were but the children and imitators of those who had
always opposed true religion. His enraged hearers hurried him to
death, a judicial tribunal becoming a riotous mob for the occasion.
Compare Joh 18:31. With Christ-like magnanimity he forgave his
murderers, and "fell asleep" amid their stones, with his eyes upon the
Savior "standing at the right hand of God," as if rising from his
throne to protect and receive the first martyr of his church, Ac
The results of Stephen's death illustrates the saying of Tertrullian,
"the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church," Ac 8:1,4
11:19-21. Augustine observes that the church owes the conversion and
ministry of Paul to the prayer of Stephen. Paul, himself a Cilician,
Ac 6:9 22:3, had undoubtedly felt the force of his arguments in the
discussions which preceded his arrest; and long afterwards alluded to
his own presence at the martyr's death, Ac 22:19,20- that triumph of
Christian faith and love which has taught so many martyrs and
Christians how to die. Yet nothing he heard or witnessed availed for
his conversion, till he saw the Savior himself, Ac 9:1-43. The scene
of Stephen's martyrdom is placed by modern tradition on the east side
of Jerusalem, near the gate called after his name. Earlier traditions
located it more to the north.
The trunk of a tree, Job 14:8, or a reproachful name for the idols
carved out of it, Jer 2:27; Ho 4:12. The stocks in which Paul and
Silas were fastened, Ac 16:24, were an instrument well known in Europe
and America until recent times; consisting of two beams, the upper one
movable, with grooves between them large enough to receive the ankles
of the prisoner. The arms also were sometimes confined. Stocks were
frequently erected in market places, that the insults of the populace
might be added to the pain of confinement, Job 13:27; Jer 20:2.
A set of fatalistic heathen philosophers so named from the Greek word
signifying porch, or portico, because Zeno its founder, more than
three centuries before Christ, held his school in a porch of the city
of Athens. They placed the supreme happiness of man in living
agreeably to nature and reason; affecting the same stiffness,
patience, apathy, austerity, and insensibility as the Pharisee, whom
they much resembled. They were in great repute at Athens when Paul
visited that city, Ac 17:18.
The allusion in Re 2:17 may be to the practice at the Olympic games of
giving the successful competitor a white stone, inscribed with his
name and the value of his prize; or to the mode of balloting with
black and white stones on the question of the acquittal of an accused
person, or his admission to certain privileges; if the stones
deposited in the urn by the judges were all white, the decision was
favorable. In early ages, flint-stone knives were in common use,
instead of steel, Ex 4:25 Jos 5:2.
It was also customary to raise a heap or mound of stones in
commemoration of any remarkable event, Ge 31:46 Jos 4:5-7 7:26 8:29
2Sa 18:17. The same custom still prevails in Syria, and passing
travellers are wont to add each one a stone to the heap. See CORNER
Was a punishment much in use among the Hebrews, and the rabbins reckon
all crimes as being subject to it, which the law condemns to death
without expressing the particular mode. They say that when a man was
condemned to death, he was led out of the city to the place of
execution, and there exhorted to acknowledge and confess his fault.
He was then stoned in one of two ways; either stones were thrown upon
him till he died, or he was thrown headlong down a steep place, and a
large stone rolled upon his body. The former was the usual mode; and
the witnesses were required to cast the first stones, De 17:5-7; for
which purpose they sometimes threw off their outer garments, Ac 7:58.
To the latter mode it is supposed there is a reference in Mt 21:44. So
also in Lu 4:29, where compare NAZARETH.
Its Hebrew name signifies kindness or mercy, and its Greek name
natural affection, probably because of the tenderness which it is said
to manifest towards its parents-never, as is reported, forsaking them,
but feeding and defending them in their decrepitude. In modern times,
parent storks are known to have perished in the effort to rescue their
young from flames; and it has been a popular, but perhaps ill-founded
opinion, that in their migratory flights, the leader of the flock when
fatigued is partially supported by others as he falls into the rear.
In Jer 8:7, allusion is made to the unerring instinct of the stork as
a bird of passage, and perhaps to its lofty flight: "the stork in the
heavens knoweth her appointed times." Moses places it among unclean
birds, Le 11:19 De 14:18. The psalmist says, "As for the stork, the
fir-trees are her house," Ps 104:17. In the climate of Europe, she
commonly builds her nest on some high tower or ruin, or on the top of
a house; but in Palestine, where the coverings of the houses are flat,
she builds in high trees.
The stork has the beak and legs long and red; it feeds on field mice,
lizards, snakes, frogs, and insects. Its plumage would be wholly
white, but that the extremities of its wings, and some small part of
its head and thighs, are black. It sits for the space of thirty days,
and lays but four eggs. Storks migrate to southern countries in
August, and return in the spring. They are still the objects of much
veneration among the common people in some parts of Europe and Asia.
Narrow, and difficult to pass, Mt 7:13,14. This word should not be
confounded with straight. To be "in a strait," is to have one's way
beset with doubts or difficulties, to be at a loss, 1Sa 13:6 2Sa 24:14
Is sometimes used in a special sense, easily understood from the
context. It usually denotes a foreigner, who is not a native of the
land in which he resides, Ge 23:4. The Mosaic Law enjoined a generous
hospitality towards foreign residents, saying, "Thou shalt love him as
thyself," Le 19:33,34 De 10:18,19 24:17 27:19. They were subject to
the law, Ex 20:10 Le 16:20, and were admitted to many of the
privileges of the chosen people of God, Nu 9:14 15:14.
The strangers whom David collected to aid in building the temple, 1Ch
22:2, probably comprised many of the remnants of the Canaanite tribes,
1Ki 9:20,21. Hospitality to strangers, including all travellers, was
the duty of all good citizens, Job 31:32 Heb 13:2.
In the towns and cities of Palestine, are supposed to have been
comparatively narrow and ill graded, on account of the unevenness of
their sites, and the little use of wheel-carriages. They were wider,
however, than in many modern cities, Lu 14:21, and terminated in large
public areas around the gates, Ne 8:1. Josephus says that those of
Jerusalem were paved. They were named, like our own streets, Ac 9:11,
and often resembled the bazaars of modern eastern cities, the shops of
the same kind being in the same street and giving it its name, as the
bakers' street, Ne 3:31,32; Jer 37:21, and the valley of the
cheesemongers. Here, and especially at the prominent points and
corners, men loved, as the Turks do now, to spread their piece of
carpet and sit, 1Sa 4:13; Job 29:7; and here at the hours of prayer
they performed their devotions, Mt 6:5.
Tents of the daughters, 2Ki 17:30, an object of idolatrous worship
among the Babylonians: an idol; or as some think tents, or booths, in
which the Babylonian females prostituted themselves of Mylitta, the
1. A spot in the valley of the Jordan and near the Jabbok, where Jacob
set up his tents on his return from Mesopotamia, Ge 33:17. Joshua
assigned the city subsequently built here to the tribe of Gad, Jos
13:27. Gideon tore the flesh of the principal men of Succoth with
thorn and briars, because they returned him a haughty answer when
pursuing the Midianites, Jud 8:5. It seems to have lain on the east
side of the Jordan; but may possibly have been on the west side, at
the place now called Sakut. Compare 1Ki 7:46; Ps 60:6.
2. The first encampment of the Israelites, on their way out of Egypt,
Allies of Shishak in his invasion of Judah, 2Ch 12:3; probably from
region southeast of Egypt.
The great luminary of day, which furnishes so many similitudes to the
Hebrew poets, as well as those of all nations, Jud 5:31 Ps 84:11 Pr
4:18 Lu 1:78,79 Joh 8:12. For the idolatrous worship of the sun, see
SUPERSTITION AND SUPERSTITIOUS
Ac 17:22; 19:25, are not to be understood offensively. Paul found the
Athenians "much addicted to devotion," such as it was: perhaps
"religion" and "religiously inclined" may better express the sense of
See EATING, and LORD'S SUPPER. For the suppers, or love feasts, which
used to accompany the celebration of the Lord's supper, see FEASTS.
One who makes himself personally responsible for the safe appearing of
another, Ge 43:9 44:32, or for the full payment of his debts, etc., Pr
22:26. Christ is the "surety of a better testament;" that is, in the
glorious and complete covenant of grace he engages to meet all the
claims of the divine law against his people, that they may be
absolved, and enriched with all covenant blessing, Heb 7:22. Hence his
obedience unto death, Isa 53:5,12.
The well-known bird of passage, which is so common both in our
country, in Europe, and in the East, Ps 84:3; Isa 38:14; Jer 8:7. See
CRANE, and SPARROW.
This bird is mentioned only in Le 11:18 De 14:16; and it is there
quite doubtful whether the Hebrew word means a swan. The Septuagint
calls it the ibis, and the purple hen, a waterfowl.
A well-known animal, forbidden as food to the Hebrews, who held its
flesh in such destination that they would not so much as pronounce its
name, Le 11:7 De 14:8. The eating of swine's flesh was among the most
odious of the idolatrous abominations charged upon some of the Jews,
Isa 65:4 66:3,17. The herd of swine destroyed by evil spirits in the
Sea of Gennesaret, Mt 8:32, are supposed to have been kept by Jews for
sale to the Gentiles around them, in defiance of the law. The
beautiful and affecting parable of the prodigal son shows that the
tending of swine was considered to be an employment of the most
despicable character; it was the last resource of that depraved and
unhappy being who had squandered his patrimony in riotous living, Lu
15:14-16. The irreclaimably filthy habits of this animal illustrate
the insufficiency of reformation without regeneration, 2Pe 2:22; as
its treading in the mire any precious thing which it cannot eat,
illustrates the treatment which some profligates the treatment which
some profligates give to the gospel, Mt 7:6.
SYCAMORE OR SYCAMINE
Lu 17:6, a curious tree, which seems to partake of the nature of both
the mulberry and the fig, the former in its leaf, and the latter in
its fruit. Hence its name in Greek, meaning the mulberryfig. The
sycamore is thus described by Norden: "I shall remark that they have
in Egypt divers sorts of figs; but if there is any difference between
them, a particular kind differs still more. I mean that, which the
sycamore bears, that they name in Arabic giomez. It was upon a tree of
this sort that Zaccheus got up, to see our Savior pass through
Jericho, Lu 19:4. This sycamore is of the height of a beech, and bears
its fruit in a manner quite different from other trees. It has them on
the trunk itself, which shoots out little sprigs in form of a
grape-stalk, at the end of which grows the fruit, close to one
another, much like bunches of grapes. The tree is always green, and
bears fruit several times in the year, for I have seen some sycamores
which had fruit has the figure and smell of real figs, but is inferior
to them in the taste, having a disgustful sweetness. (Compare Am 7:17)
Its color is a yellow, inclining to an ochre, shadowed by a flesh
color; in the inside, it resembles the common fig, excepting that it
has a blackish coloring, with yellow spots. This sort of tree is
pretty common in Egypt. The people, for the greater part, live on its
The sycamore has a very large trunk, which breaks up onto five or six
stout branches not many feet above the ground; it is planted by the
roadside, and often where two ways meet; and sends its enormous roots
deeply into the ground in every direction, so that few trees can
compare with it in steadfast firmness. The power that could say to it,
"Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea," and
it should obey, must be of God, Lu 17:6. From 1Ki 10:27 1Ch 27:28 2Ch
1:15, it is evident that this tree was quite common it Palestine, as
well as in Egypt; and from its being joined with the vines in Ps
78:47, as well as from the circumstance of David's appointing a
particular officer to superintend the plantations of them, it seems to
have been as much valued in ancient as in modern times. From Isa 9:10,
we find that the timber of the sycamore was used in the construction
of buildings; and notwithstanding its porous and spongy appearance, it
was of extreme durability.
Describing the catacombs and mummies of Egypt, Dr. Shaw states that he
found the mummy chests, and that little square boxes containing
various figures, which are placed at the feet of each mummy, to be
both made of sycamore and uncorrupted for at least three thousand
SYCHAR OR SYCHEM
A city on the southern frontiers of Egypt, towards Ethiopia, between
Thebes and the cataracts of the Nile, and now called Assouan. Pliny
says it stands in a peninsula on the eastern shore of the Nile; that
is was mile in circumference, and had a Rome garrison. "From Migdol,"
the tower, "unto Syene," denotes the whole length of Egypt from north
to south, Eze 29:10; 30:6. Few remains of the ancient city are now
extant. In its vicinity are quarries of the Egyptian granite called
Syenite, which furnished the material for numerous obelisks and
A word which primarily signifies an assembly; but, like the word
church, came at length to be applied to the buildings in which the
ordinary Jewish assemblies for the worship of God were convened. From
the silence of the Old Testament with reference to these places of
worship, many commentators and writers of biblical antiquities are of
opinion that they were not in use till after the Babylonish captivity;
and that before that time, the Jews held their social meetings for
religious worship either in the open air or in the houses of the
prophets. See 2Ki 4:23. In Ps 74:8, it is at least very doubtful
whether the Hebrew word rendered synagogues, refers to
synagogue-buildings such as existed after the captivity. Properly the
word signifies only places where religious assemblies were held. In
the time of our Savior they abounded.
Synagogues could only be erected in those places when ten men of age,
learning, piety, and easy circumstances could be found to attend to
the service, which was enjoined in them. Large towns had several
synagogues; and soon after the captivity their utility became so
obvious, that they were scattered over the land, and became the parish
churches of the Jewish nation. Their number appears to have been very
considerable; and when the erection of a synagogue was considered a
mark of piety, Lu 7:5, or a passport to heaven, we need not be
surprised to hear that they were multiplied beyond all necessity, so
that in Jerusalem alone there were not fewer than 460 or 480. They
were generally built on the most elevated ground, and consisted of two
parts. The westerly part of the building contained the ark or chest in
which the book of the law and the section of the prophets were
deposited, and was called the temple by way of eminence. The other, in
which the congregation assembled, was termed the body of the
synagogue. The people sat with their faces towards the temple, and the
elders in the contrary direction, and opposite to the people; the
space between them being occupied by the pulpit or reading desk. The
seats of the elders were considered more holy than the others, and are
spoken of as "the chief seats in the synagogues," Mt 23:6. The women
sat by themselves in a gallery secluded by latticework.
The stated office-bearers in every synagogue were ten, forming six
distinct classes. We notice first the Archisynagogos, or ruler of the
synagogue, who regulated all its concerns and granted permission to
address the assembly. Of these there were three in each synagogue. Dr.
Lightfoot believes them to have possessed a civil power, and to have
constituted the lowest civil tribunal, commonly known as "the council
of three," whose office it was to judge minor offences against
religion, and also to decide the differences that arose between any
members of the synagogue, as to money matters, thefts, losses, etc. To
these officers there is perhaps an allusion in 1Co 6:5. See also
JUDGMENT. The second officer-bearer was "the angel of the synagogue,"
or minister of the congregation, who prayed and preached. In allusion
to these, the pastors of the Asiatic churches are called "angels," Re
The service of the synagogue was as follows: The people being seated,
the "angel of the synagogue" ascended the pulpit, and offered up the
public prayers, the people rising from their seats, and standing in a
posture of deep devotion, Mt 6:5 Mr 11:25 Lu 18:11,13. The prayers
were nineteen in number, and were closed by reading the execration.
The next thing was the repetition of their phylacteries; after which
came the reading of the law and the prophets. The former was divided
into fifty-four sections, with which were united corresponding
portions from the prophets; (see Ac 13:15,27 15:21) and these were
read through once in the course of the year. After the return from the
captivity, an interpreter was employed in reading the law and the
prophets, Ne 8:2-8, who interpreted them into the Syro-Chaldaic
dialect, which was then spoken by the people. The last part of the
service was the expounding of the Scriptures, and preaching from them
to the people. This was done either by one of the officer, or by some
distinguished person who happened to be present. The reader will
recollect one memorable occasion on which our Savior availed himself
of the opportunity thus afforded to address his countrymen, Lu 4:20;
and there are several other instances recorded of himself and his
disciples teaching in the synagogues. See Mt 13:54 Mr 6:2 Joh 18:20 Ac
13:5,15,44 14:1 17:2-4,10 18:4,26 19:8. The whole service was
concluded with a short prayer or benediction.
The Jewish synagogues were not only used for the purposes of divine
worship, but also for courts of judicature, in such matters as fell
under the cognizance of the Council of Three, of which we have already
spoken. On such occasions, the sentence given against the offender was
sometimes, after the manner of prompt punishment still prevalent in
the East, carried into effect in the place where the council was
assembled. Hence we read of persons being beaten in the synagogue, and
scourged in the synagogue, Mt 10:17 Mr 13:9 Ac 22:19 26:11 2Co 11:24.
To be "put out of the synagogue," or excommunicated from the Jewish
church and deprived of the national privileges, was punishment much
dreaded, Joh 9:22 12:42 16:2. In our own day the Jews erect synagogues
wherever they are sufficiently numerous, and assemble on their Sabbath
for worship; this being conducted, that is, the reading or chanting of
the Old Testament and of prayers, in the original Hebrew, though it is
a dead language spoken by few among them. Among the synagogues of
Jerusalem, now eight or ten in number, are some for Jews of Spanish
origin, and others for German Jews, etc., as in the time of Paul there
were separate synagogues for the Libertines, Cyreians, Alexandrians,
etc., Ac 6:9.
SYNTYCHE AND EUODIAS
Php 4:2,3, women eminent for virtue and good works in the church at
Philippi. Paul exhorts them to persevere, or rather, to act
harmoniously together in their Christian labors, as all should do who
are "in the Lord."
Now Siracasa, a large and celebrated city on the eastern coast of
Sicily, furnished with a capacious and excellent harbor. The city,
founded 734 B. C., was opulent and powerful, and was divided into four
or five quarters or districts, which were of themselves separate
cities. The whole circumference is stated by Strabo to have been one
hundred and eighty stadia, or about twenty-two English miles. Syracuse
is celebrated as having been the birthplace and residence of
Archimedes, whose ingenious mechanical contrivances during its siege
by the Romans, 200 B. C., long delayed its capture. Paul passed three
days here, on his way from Melita to Rome, in the spring of A. D. 63,
Ac 28:12. Population anciently 200,000; now 11,000.
In Hebrew ARAM, a large district of Asia, lying, in the widest
acceptation of the name, between the Mediterranean, Mount Taurus, and
the Tigris, and thus including Mesopotamia, that is, in Hebrew, Syria
of the two rivers. See ARAM 2. Excepting the Lebanon range, it is for
the most part a level country. In the New Testament, Syria may be
considered as bounded west and north-west by the Mediterranean and by
Mount Taurus, which separates it from Cilicia and Cataonia in Asia
Minor, east by the Euphrates, and south by Arabia Deserta and
Palestine, or rather Judea, for the name Syria included also the
northern part of Palestine.
The valley between the ridges of Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon was called
Coele-Syria and Phoenicia were subject to the king of Babylon, and
they afterwards were tributary to the Persian monarchs. After the
country fell into the hands of the Romans, Syria was made the province
of a proconsul; to which Judea, although governed by its own
procurators, was annexed in such a way, that in some cases an appeal
might be made to the proconsul of Syria, who had at least the power of
removing the procurators from office. Syria is now in the possession
of the Turks. Its better portions have been thickly populated from a
very early period, and travellers find traces of numerous cities
wholly unknown to history.
Is Phoenicia properly so called, but during the period when by
conquest it was united to the kingdom of Syria, it prefixed to its old
name Phoenicia, that of Syria. The Canaanitish woman is called a
Syrophoenician, Mr 7:26, because she was of Phoenicia, then considered
as part of Syria. Matthew, who is by some supposed to have written in
Hebrew or Syriac, calls her a Canaanitish woman, Mt 15:22, because
that country was really people by Canaanites, Zidon being the eldest
son of Canaan, Ge 10:15. See PHOENICIA, PHENICIA, or PHENICE.
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