Smith's Bible Dictionary - O



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OAK


(Heb. strong). There is much difficulty in determining the exact
meanings of the several varieties of the term mentioned above. Sometimes,
evidently, the terebinth or elm is intended and at others the oak. There
are a number of varieties of oak in Palestine. (Dr. Robinson contends that
the oak is generally intended, and that it is a very common tree in the
East. Oaks grow to a large size, reach an old age and are every way worthy
the venerable associations connected with the tree. -- ED.) Two oaks,
Quercus pseudo-coccifera and Q. aegilops, are well worthy
of the name of mighty trees; though it is equally true that over a greater
part of the country the oaks of Palestine are at present merely
bushes.


OATH


The principle on which an oath is held to be binding is incidentally laid
down in (Hebrews 6:16) viz. as an ultimate appeal to divine authority to
ratify an assertion. On the same principle, that oath has always been held
most binding which appealed to the highest authority, as regards both
individuals and communities. As a consequence of this principle, appeals
to God's name on the one hand, and to heathen deities on the other, are
treated in scripture as tests of allegiance. (Exodus 23:13; 34:6; 29:12)
etc. So also the sovereign's name is sometimes used as a form of
obligation. (Genesis 42:15; 2 Samuel 11:11; 14:19) Other forms of oath,
serious or frivolous, are mentioned, some of which are condemned by our
Lord. (Matthew 6:33; 23:16-22) and see (James 5:12) (There is, however, a
world-wide difference between a solemn appeal to God and profane
swearing.) The forms of adjuration mentioned in Scripture are --

  • Lifting up the hand. Witnesses laid their hands on the head of the
    accused. (Genesis 14:22; Leviticus 24:14; 17:7; Isaiah 3:7)

  • Putting the hand under the thigh of the person to whom the Promise was
    made. (Genesis 24:2; 47:29)

  • Oaths were sometimes taken before the altar, or, as some understand
    the passage, if the persons were not in Jerusalem, in a position looking
    toward the temple. (1 Kings 8:31; 2 Chronicles 6:22)

  • Dividing a victim and passing between or distributing the pieces.
    (Genesis 15:10,17; Jeremiah 34:18) As the sanctity of oaths was carefully
    inculcated by the law, so the crime of perjury was strongly condemned; and
    to a false witness the same punishment was assigned which was due for the
    crime to which he testified. (Exodus 20:7; Leviticus 19:12)


OBADIAH


(servant of the Lord),

  • A man whose sons are enumerated in the genealogy of the tribe of
    Judah. (1 Chronicles 3:21) (B.C. 470.)

  • A descendant of Issachar and a chief man of his tribe. (1 Chronicles
    7:3) (B.C. 1014.)

  • One of the six sons of Azel, a descendant of Saul. (1 Chronicles 8:33;
    9:44) (B.C. 720.)

  • A Levite, son of Shemaiah, and descended from Jeduthun. (1 Chronicles
    9:16; Nehemiah 12:25)

  • The second of the lion-faced Gadites who joined David at Ziklag. (1
    Chronicles 12:9) (B.C. 1054.)

  • One of the Princes of Judah in the reign of Jehoshaphat. (2 Chronicles
    17:7) (B.C. 909.)

  • The son of Jehiel, of the sons of Joab, who came up in the second
    caravan with Ezra. (Ezra 8:9)

  • A priest, or family of priests, who settled the covenant with
    Nehemiah. (Nehemiah 10:5)

  • The fourth of the twelve minor prophets. We know nothing of him except
    what we can gather from the short book which bears his name. The question
    of his date must depend upon the interpretation of the 11th verse of his
    prophecy. He there speaks of the conquest of Jerusalem and the captivity
    of Jacob as having occurred, He probably refers to the captivity by
    Nebuchadnezzar, B.C. 688. It must have been uttered at some time in the
    five years which intervened between B.C. 588 and 583. The book of Obadiah
    is a sustained denunciation of the Edomites, melting into a vision of the
    future glories of Zion when the arm of the Lord should have wrought her
    deliverance and have repaid double upon her enemies.

  • An officer of high rank in the court of Ahab. (1 Kings 18:3) He was a
    devout worshipper of Jehovah, and at the peril of his life concealed over
    a hundred prophets during the persecution by Jezebel; (1 Kings 18:3-16)
    (B.C. 904.)

  • The father of Ishmaiah who was chief of the tribe of Zebulun in
    David's reign. (1 Chronicles 27:19) (B.C. before 1014.)

  • A Merarite Levite in the reign of Josiah, and one of the overseers of
    the workmen in the restoration of the temple. (2 Chronicles 34:12)
    (B.C.623.)


OBAL


(stripped bare), son of Joktan, and, like the rest of family,
apparently the founder of an Arab tribe. (Genesis 10:28) In (1 Chronicles
1:22) the name is written EBAL.


OBED


(serving).

  • Son of Boaz and Ruth the Moabitess and father of Jesse. (Ruth 4:17)
    (B.C. 1360.) The circumstances of his birth which make up all that we know
    about him are given with much beauty in the book of Ruth. The name of Obed
    occurs only (Ruth 4:17) and in the four genealogies, (Ruth 4:21,22; 1
    Chronicles 2:12; Matthew 1:5; Luke 3:32)

  • A descendant of Jarha, the Egyptian slave of Sheshan, in the line of
    Jerahmeel. (1 Chronicles 2:37,38) (B.C. after 1014.)

  • One of David's mighty men. (1 Chronicles 11:47) (B.C. 1046.)

  • One of the gate-keepers of the temple; son of Shemaiah the first-born
    of Obed-edom. (1 Chronicles 26:7) (B.C. 1017.)

  • Father of Azariah, one of the captains of hundreds who joined with
    Jehoiada in the revolution by which Athaliah fell. (2 Chronicles 23:1)
    (B.C. before 876.)


OBEDEDOM


(servant of Edom).

  • A Levite, described as a Gittite, (2 Samuel 6:10,11) that is,
    probably, a native of the Levitical city of Gath-rimmon in Manasseh, which
    was assigned to the Kohathites. (Joshua 21:25) (B.C. 1045.) After the
    death of Uzzah, the ark, which was being conducted from the house of
    Abinadab in Gibeah to the city of David, was carried aside into the house
    of Obed edom, where it continued three months. It was brought thence by
    David. (2 Samuel 6:12; 1 Chronicles 15:25)

  • "Obed-edom the son of Jeduthun" (1 Chronicles 16:38) a Merarite
    Levite, appears to be a different person from the last mentioned. He was a
    Levite of the second degree and a gate-keeper for the ark, (1 Chronicles
    15:18,24) appointed to sound "with harps on the Sheminith to excel." (1
    Chronicles 15:21; 16:5) (B.C. 1043.)


OBIL


(chief of the camels), a keeper of the herds of camels in the reign
of David. (1 Chronicles 27:30) (B.C. 1050.)


OBLATION


[SACRIFICE]


OBOTH


(bottles), one of the encampments of the Israelites, east of Moab.
(Numbers 21:10; 33:43) Its exact site is unknown but it was probably south
of the Dead Sea, on the boundary between Moab and Edom. -- ED).


OCRAN


(troubled), an Asherite, father of Pagiel. (Numbers 1:13; 2:27;
7:72,77; 10:26) (B.C. before 1658.)


ODED


(restoring).

  • The father of Azariah the prophet, in the reign of Asa. (2 Chronicles
    15:1) (B.C. before 953.)

  • A prophet of Jehovah in Samaria, at the time of Pekah's invasion of
    Judah. (2 Chronicles 28:9) (B.C. 739.)


ODOLLAM


[ADULLAM]


OFFERINGS


[SACRIFICE]


OFFICER


It is obvious that most, if not all, of the Hebrew words rendered
"officer" are either of an indefinite character or are synonymous terms
for functionaries known under other and more specific names, as "scribe,"
"eunuch" etc. The two words so rendered in the New Testament denote --

  • An inferior officer of a court of justice, a messenger or bailiff,
    like the Roman viator or lictor. (Matthew 5:25; Acts 5:22)

  • Officers whose duty it was to register and collect fines imposed by
    courts of justice. (Luke 12:58)


OG


(giant, literally long-necked), an Amoritish king of
Bashan, whose rule extended over sixty cities. (Joshua 13:12) He was one
of the last representatives of the giant race of Rephaim, and was, with
his children and his people, defeated and exterminated by the Israelites
at Edrei immediately after the conquest of Sihon. (Numbers 32:33; 3:1-13)
Also (1:4; 4:47; 31:4; Joshua 2:10; 9:10; 13:12,30) The belief in Og's
enormous stature is corroborated by an allusion to his iron bedstead
preserved in "Rabbath of the children of Ammon." (3:11) (B.C. 1461.)


OIL


Of the numerous substances, animal and vegetable, which were known to the
ancients as yielding oil, the olive berry is the one of which most
frequent mention is made in the Scriptures.

  • Gathering, -- The olive berry was either gathered by hand or
    shaken off carefully with a light reed or stick.

  • Pressing. -- In order to make oil the fruit, was either
    bruised in a mortar crushed in a press loaded with wood or stones, ground
    in a mill, or trodden with the feet. The "beaten" oil of (Exodus 27:20;
    29:40; Leviticus 24:2; Numbers 28:6) was probably made by bruising in a
    mortar, It was used -- (1) As food. Dried wheat, boiled with either butter
    or oil, but generally the former, is a common dish for all classes in
    Syria. (Exodus 29:2) (2) Cosmetic. Oil was used by the Jews for anointing
    the body, e.g. after the bath, and giving to the skin and hair a smooth
    and comely appearance, e.g. before an entertainment. (3) Funereal. The
    bodies of the dead were anointed with oil. (2 Samuel 14:2) (4) Medicinal.
    Isaiah alludes to the use of oil in medical treatment. (Isaiah 1:6) see
    also Mark 6:13; Jame 6:14 (5) For light. The oil for "the light" was
    expressly ordered to be olive oil, beaten. (Matthew 25:3) (6) Ritual. Oil
    was poured on or mixed with the flour or meal used in offerings.
    (Leviticus 8:12) Kings, priests and prophets were anointed with oil or
    ointment. (7) In offerings. As so important a necessary of life, the Jew
    was required to include oil among his firstfruit offerings. (Exodus 22:29;
    23:16; Numbers 18:12) Tithes of oil were also required. (12:17)
    [OLIVE]


OIL TREE


(Heb. ets shemen). The Hebrew words occur in (Nehemiah 8:15)
(Authorized Version "pine branches"), (1 Kings 6:23) ("olive tree") and in
(Isaiah 41:19) ("oil tree"). From the passage in Nehemiah, where the
ets shemen is mentioned as distinct from the olive tree, if may
perhaps be identified with the zackum tree of the Arabs, the
Balanites aegyptiaca, a well-known and abundant shrub or small
tree in the plain of Jordan. The zackum oil is held in high repute by the
Arabs for its medicinal properties. [OLIVE]


OINTMENT


(An oily or unctuous substance, usually compounded of oil with various
spices and resins and aromatics, and preserved in small alabaster boxes or
cruses, in which the delicious aroma was best preserved. Some of the
ointments have been known to retain their: fragrance for several hundred
years. They were a much-coveted luxury, and often very expensive. -- ED.)

  • Cosmetic. -- The Greek and Roman practice of anointing the
    head and clothes on festive occasions prevailed also among the Egyptians,
    and appears to have had place among the Jews. (Ruth 3:2)

  • Funereal. -- Ointments as well as oil were used to anoint dead
    bodies and the clothes in which they were wrapped. (Matthew 26:12)

  • Medicinal. -- Ointment formed an important feature in ancient
    medical treatment. (Isaiah 1:6; Jeremiah 8:22; John 9:6; Revelation 3:18)
    etc.

  • Ritual. -- Besides the oil used in many ceremonial observances, a
    special ointment was appointed to be used in consecration. (Exodus
    30:23,33; 29:7; 37:29; 40:9,15) A person whose business it was to compound
    ointments in general was called an "apothecary." (Nehemiah 3:8) The work
    was sometimes carried on by woman "confectionaries." (1 Samuel 8:13)


OLD TESTAMENT


I. TEXT OF THE OLD TESTAMENT. --

  • History of the text. -A history of the text of the Old Testament
    should properly commence from the date of the completion of the canon. As
    regards the form in which the sacred writings were little doubt that the
    text was ordinarily were preserved, there can be written on skins, rolled
    up into volumes, like the modern synagogue rolls. (Psalms 40:7; Jeremiah
    36:14; Ezekiel 2:9; Zechariah 5:1) The original character in which the
    text was expressed is that still preserved to us, with the exception of
    four letters, on the Maccabaean coins, and having a strong affinity to the
    Samaritan character. At what date this was exchanged for the present
    Aramaic or square character is still as undetermined as it is at what the
    use of the Aramaic language Palestine superseded that of the Hebrew. The
    old Jewish tradition, repeated by Origen and Jerome, ascribed the change
    to Ezra. [WRITING] Of any logical division, in the written text, of the
    rose of the Old Testament into Pesukim or verses, we find in the Tulmud no
    mention; and even in the existing synagogue rolls such division is
    generally ignored. In the poetical books, the Pesukim mentioned in the
    Talmud correspond to the poetical lines, not to our modern verses. Of the
    documents which directly bear upon the history of the Hebrew text, the
    earliest two are the Samaritan copy of the Pentateuch and the Greek
    translation of the LXX. [SAMARITAN PENTATEUCH PENTATEUCH, THE; SEPTUAGINT]
    In the (translations of Aquila and the other Greek interpreters, the
    fragments of whose works remain to us in the Hexapla, we have evidence of
    the existence of a text differing but little from our own; so also (in the
    Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan. A few centuries later we have, in the
    Hexapla, additional evidence to the same effect in Origin's transcriptions
    of the Hebrew text. And yet more important are the proofs of the firm
    establishment of the text, and of its substantial with our own, supplied
    by the translation of Jerome, who was instructed by the Palestinian Jews,
    and mainly relied upon their authority for acquaintance not only with the
    text itself, but also with the traditional unwritten vocalization of
    brings us to the middle of the Talmudic period. The care of the Talmudic
    doctors for the text is shown by the pains with which they counted no the
    number of verses in the different books and computed which were the middle
    verses, words and letters in the Pentateuch and in the Psalms. The
    scrupulousness with which the Talmudists noted what they deemed the truer
    readings, and yet abstained from introducing them into the text, indicates
    at once both the diligence with which they scrutinized the text and also
    the care with which even while knowledging its occasional imperfections,
    they guarded it. Critical procedure is also evinced in a mention of their
    rejection of manuscripts which were found not to agree with others in
    their readings; and the rules given with refer once to the transcription
    and adoption of manuscripts attest the care bestowed upon them. It is
    evident from the notices of the Talmud that a number of oral traditions
    had been gradually accumulating respecting both the integrity of
    particular passages of the text itself and also the manner in which if was
    to be read. This vast heterogeneous mass of traditions and criticisms,
    compiled and embodied in writing, forms what is known as the
    Masorah, i.e. Tradition. From the end of the Masoretic period
    onward, the Masorah became the great authority by which the text given in
    all the Jewish MSS. was settled.

  • Manuscripts. -- The Old Testament MSS. known to us fall into
    two main classes: synagogue rolls and MSS. for private use of the latter,
    some are written in the square, others in the rabbinic or cursive,
    character. The synagogue rolls contain separate from each other, the
    Pentateuch, the Haphtaroth or appointed sections of the prophets, and the
    so-called Megilloth, viz. Canticles, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes and
    Esther. Private MSS. in the square character are in the book form, either
    on parchment or on paper, and of various sizes, from folio to 12mo. Some
    contain the Hebrew text alone; others add the Targum, or an Arabic or
    other translation, either interspersed with the text or in a separate
    column, occasionally in the margin. The upper and lower margins are
    generally occupied by the Masorah, sometimes by rabbinical commentaries,
    etc. The date of a MS. is ordinarily given in the subscription but as the
    subscriptions are often concealed in the Masorah or elsewhere, it is
    occasionally difficult to find them: occasionally also it is difficult to
    decipher them. No satisfactory criteria have been yet established by which
    the ages of MSS. are to be determined. Few existing MSS. are supposed to
    be older than the twelfth century. Kennicott and Bruns assigned one of
    their collation (No. 590) to the tenth century; Deuteronomy Rossi dates if
    A.D. 1018; on the other hand. one of his own (No. 634) he adjudges to the
    eighth century. Since the days of Kennicott and Deuteronomy Rossi modern
    research has discovered various MSS. beyond the limits of Europe. Of many
    of these there seems no reason to suppose that they will add much to our
    knowledge of the Hebrew text. It is different with the MSS. examined by
    Pinner at Odessa. One of these MSS. (A, No. 1), a Pentateuch roll,
    unpointed, brought from Derbend in Daghestan, appears by the subscription
    to have been written previous to A.D. 580 and if so is the oldest known
    biblical Hebrew MS. in existence. The forms of the letters are remarkable.
    Another MS. (B, No. 3) containing the prophets, on parchment, in small
    folio, although only dating, according to the inscription, from A.D. 916
    and furnished with a Masorah, is a yet greater treasure. Its vowels and
    accents are wholly different from those now in use, both in form and in
    position, being all above the letters: they have accordingly been the
    theme of much discussion among Hebrew scholars.

  • Printed text. -- The history of the printed text of the Hebrew
    Bible commences with the early Jewish editions of the separate books.
    First appeared the Psalter, in 1477, probably at Bologna, in 4to, with
    Kimchi's commentary interspersed among the verses. Only the first four
    psalms had the vowel-points, and these but clumsily expressed. At Bologna,
    there subsequently appeared in 1482, the Pentateuch, in folio, pointed,
    with the Targum and the commentary of Rashi; and the five Megilloth (Ruth
    -- Esther), in folio with the commentaries of Rashi and Aben Ezra. From
    Soncino, near Cremona, issued in 1486 the Prophetae priores (Joshua --
    Kings), folio, unpointed with Kimchi's commentary. The honor of printing
    the first entire Hebrew Bible belongs to the above-mentioned town of
    Soncino. The edition is in folio, pointed and accentuated. Nine copies
    only of it are now known, of which one belongs to Exeter College, Oxford.
    This was followed, in 1494, by the 4to or 8vo edition printed by Gersom at
    Brescia, remarkable as being the edition from which Luther's German
    translation was made. After the Brescian, the next primary edition was
    that contained in the Complutensian Polyglot, published at Complutum
    (Alcala) in Spain, at the expense of Cardinal Ximenes, dated 1514-17 but
    not issued till 1522. To this succeeded an edition which has had more
    influence than any on the text of later times the Second Rabbinical Bible,
    printed by Bomberg al Venice, 4 vols. fol., 1525-6. The editor was the
    learned Tunisian Jew R. Jacob hen Chaim. The great feature of his work lay
    in the correction of the text by the precepts of the Masorah, in which he
    was profoundly skilled, and on which, as well as on the text itself, his
    labors were employed. The Hebrew Bible which became the standard to
    subsequent generations was: that of Joseph Athiais, a learned rabbi and
    printer at Amsterdam. His text Was based on a comparison of the previous
    editions with two MSS.; one bearing date 1299, the other a Spanish MS.
    boasting an antiquity of 900 years. It appeared at Amsterdam 2 vols. 8 vo,
    1661.

  • Principles of criticism. -- The method of procedure required
    in the criticism of the Old Testament is widely different from that
    practiced in the criticism of the New Testament. Our Old Testament textus
    receptus is a far more faithful representation of the genuine Scripture;
    but, on the other hand, the means of detecting and correcting the errors
    contained in it are more precarious, the results are more uncertain, and
    the ratio borne by the value of the diplomatic evidence of MSS. to that of
    a good critical judgment and sagacity is greatly diminished. It is indeed
    to the direct testimony of the MSS. that, in endeavoring to establish the
    true text, we must first have recourse. The comparative purity of the
    Hebrew text is probably different in different parts of the Old Testament.
    In the revision of Dr. Davidson, who has generally restricted himself to
    the admission of corrections warranted by MS., Masoretic or Talmudic
    authority, those in the book of Genesis do not exceed eleven; those in the
    Psalms are proportionately three times as numerous; those in the
    historical books and the Prophets are proportionately more numerous than
    those in the Psalms. II. QUOTATIONS FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT IN THE NEW
    TESTAMENT. -- The New Testament quotations from the Old form one of the
    outward bonds of connection between the two parts of the Bible. They are
    manifold in kind. In the quotations of all kinds from the Old Testament in
    the New. We find a continual variation from the letter of the older
    Scriptures. To this variation three causes may be specified as having
    contributed: First, all the New Testament writers quoted from the
    Septuagint; correcting it indeed more or less by the Hebrew, especially
    when it was needful for their purpose occasionally deserting it
    altogether; still abiding by it to so large an extent as to show that it
    was the primary source whence their quotations were drawn. Secondly, the
    New Testament writers must have frequently quoted from memory. Thirdly,
    combined with this there was an alteration of conscious or unconscious
    design. Sometimes the object of this was to obtain increased force.
    Sometimes an Old Testament passage is abridged, and in the abridgment so
    adjusted, by a little alteration, as to present an aspect of completeness,
    and yet omit what is foreign to the immediate purpose. (Acts 1:20; 1
    Corinthians 1:31) At other times a passage is enlarged by the
    incorporation of a passage from another source: thus in (Luke 4:18,19)
    although the contents are professedly those, read by our Lord from (Isaiah
    61:1) ... we have the words "to set at liberty them that are bruised,"
    introduced from (Isaiah 58:6) (Sept.); similarly in (Romans 11:8; 29:4) is
    combined with (Isaiah 29:10) In some cases still greater liberty of
    alteration assumed. In someplaces,again, the a words of the original are
    taken up, but employed with a new meaning. Almost more remarkable than any
    alteration in the quotation itself is the circumstance that in (Matthew
    27:9) Jeremiah should be named as the author of a prophecy really
    delivered by Zechariah; the being that the prophecy is based upon that in
    (Jeremiah 18:1; Jeremiah 19:1) ... and that without a reference to this
    original source the most essential features of the fulfillment of
    Zechariah's prophecy would be misunderstood.


OLIVE


The olive was among the most abundant and characteristic vegetation of
Judea. The olive tree grows freely almost everywhere on the shores of the
Mediterranean, but it was peculiarly abundant in Palestine. See (6:11;
8:8; 28:40) Oliveyards are a matter of course in descriptions of the
country like vines and cornfields. (Judges 15:5; 1 Samuel 8:14) The kings
had very extensive ones. (1 Chronicles 27:28) Even now the is very
abundant in the country. Almost every village has its olive grove. Certain
districts may be specified where at various times this tree been very
luxuriant. The cultivation of the olive tree had the closest connection
with the domestic life of the Israelites (2 Chronicles 2:10) their trade,
(Ezekiel 27:17; Hosea 12:1) and even their Public ceremonies and religious
worship. In Solomon's temple the cherubim were "of olive tree," (1 Kings
6:23) as also the doors, vs. (1 Kings 6:31,32) and posts. ver. (1 Kings
6:33) For the various uses of olive oil see OIL. The wind was dreaded by
the cultivator of the olive for the least ruffling of a breeze is apt to
cause the flowers to fall. (Job 15:33) It is needless to add that the
locust was a formidable enemy of the olive. It happened not unfrequently
that hopes were disappointed, and that "the labor of the olive failed."
(Habakkuk 3:17) As to the growth of the tree, it thrives best in warm and
sunny situations. It is of moderate height, with knotty gnarled trunk and
a smooth ash-colored bark. It grows slowly, but lives to an immense age.
Its look is singularly indicative of tenacious vigor, and this is the
force of what is said in Scripture of its "greenness, as emblematic of
strength and prosperity. The leaves, too, are not deciduous. Those who see
olives for the first time are occasionally disappointed by the dusty color
of their foilage; but those who are familiar with them find an
inexpressible charm in the rippling changes of their slender gray-green
leaves. (See Ruskin's "Stones of Venice," iii. 175-177.) The olive
furnishes the basis of one of Paul's allegories. (Romans 11:16-25) The
Gentiles are the "wild olive" grafted in upon the "good olive," to which
once the Jews belonged, and with which they may again be incorporated,
(The olive grows from 20 to 40 feet high. In general appearance it
resembles the apple tree; in leaves and sterns, the willow. The flowers
are white and appear in June, The fruit is like a plum in shape and size,
and at first is green, but gradually becomes purple, and even black, with
a hard stony kernel, and is remarkable from the outer fleshy part being
that in which much oil is lodged, and not, as is usual, in the almond of
the seed. The fruit ripens from August to September. It is sometimes eaten
green, but its chief value is in its oil. The wood is hard, fine
beautifully veined, and is open used for cabinet work. Olive trees were so
abundant in Galilee that at the siege of Jotapata by Vespasian the Roman
army were driven from the ascent of the walls by hot olive oil poured upon
them and scalding them underneath their armor. -- Josephus, Wars, 3; 7:28.
-- ED.)


OLIVES, MOUNT OF


"The Mount of Olives" occurs in the Old Testament in (Zechariah 14:4)
only. In (2 Samuel 15:30) it is called "Olivet;" in other places simply
"the mount," (Nehemiah 8:15) "the mount facing Jerusalem" (1 Kings 11:7)
or "the mountain which is on the east aide of the city." (Ezekiel 11:23)
In the New Testament the usual form is "the Mount of Olives." It is called
also "Olivet." (Acts 1:12) This mountain is the well-known eminence on the
east of Jerusalem, intimately connected with some of the gravest events of
the history of the Old Testament and the New Testament, the scene of the
flight of David and the triumphal progress of the Son of David, of the
idolatry-of Solomon, and the agony and betrayal of Christ. It is a ridge
of rather more than a mile in length, running in general direction north
and south, covering the whole eastern side of the city. At its northern
end the ridge bends round to the west so as to form an enclosure to the
city on that side also. On the north a space of nearly a mile of tolerably
level surface intervenes between the walls of the city and the rising
ground; on the east the mount is close to the walls, parted only by the
narrow ravine of the Kidron. It is this portion which is the real Mount of
Olives of the history. In general height it is not very much above-the
city: 300 feet higher than the temple mount, hardly more than 100 above
the so-called Zion. It is rounded, swelling and regular in form.
Proceeding from north to south there occur four independent summits,
called -- 1, "Viri Galilaei:" 2, "Mount of Ascension;" 3, "Prophets" --
subordinate to the last and almost a part of it; 4, "Mount of Offence."

  • Of these the central one -the "Mount of Ascension" -- is the most
    important. Three paths lead from the valley to the summit-one on the
    north, in the hollow between the two crests of the hill another over the
    summit, and a third winding around the southern shoulder still the most
    frequented and the best. The central hill, which we are now considering,
    purports to contain the sites of some of the most sacred and impressive
    events of Christian history. The majority of these sacred spots now
    command little or no attention; but three still remain, sufficiently
    sacred -- if authentic -- to consecrate any place. These are -- (1)
    Gethsemane, at the foot of the mount; (2) The spot from which our Saviour
    ascended on the summit; (3) The place of the lamentation of Christ over
    Jerusalem, halfway up. Of these, Gethsemane is the only one which has any
    claim to be authentic. [GETHSEMANE]

  • Next to the central summit, on the southern side is a hill remarkable
    only for the fact that it contains the "singular catacomb" known as the
    "Tombs of the Prophets," probably in allusion to the words of Christ.
    (Matthew 23:29)

  • The most southern portion of the Mount of Olives is that usually known
    as the "Mount of Offence," Mons Offensionis. It rises next to that
    last mentioned. The title "Mount of Offence," or "Scandal," was bestowed
    on the supposition that it is the "Mount of Corruption" on which Solomon
    erected the high places for the gods of his foreign wives. (2 Kings 23:13;
    1 Kings 11:7) The southern summit is considerably lower than the centre
    one.

  • There remains the "Viri Galilaei," about 400 yards from the "Mount of
    Ascension." It stands directly opposite the northeast corner of Jerusalem,
    and is approached by the path between it and the "Mount of Ascension." The
    presence of a number of churches and other edifices must have rendered the
    Mount of Olives, during the early and middle ages of Christianity,
    entirely unlike what it was in the time of the Jewish kingdom or of our
    Lord. Except the high places on the summit, the only buildings then to be
    seen were probably the walls of the vineyards and gardens and the towers
    and presses which were their invariable accompaniment. But though the
    churches are nearly all demolished, there must be a considerable
    difference between the aspect of the mountain now and in those days when
    it received its name from the abundance of its olive proves. It does not
    now stand so pre-eminent in this respect among the hills in the
    neighborhood of Jerusalem. It is only in the deeper and more secluded
    slope leading up to the northernmost summit that these venerable trees
    spread into anything like a forest. The cedars commemorated by the Talmud
    sad the date-palms implied in the name Bethany have fared still worse;
    there is not one of either to be found within many miles. Two religious
    ceremonies performed there must have done much to increase the numbers who
    resorted to the mount. The appearance of the new moon was probably watched
    for, certainly proclaimed, from the summit. The second ceremony referred
    to was the burning of the red heifer. This solemn ceremonial was enacted
    on the central mount, and in a spot so carefully specified that it would
    seem not difficult to fix it. It was due east of the sanctuary, and at
    such an elevation on the mount that the officiating priest, as he slew the
    animal and sprinkled blood, could see the facade of the sanctuary through
    the east gate of the temple.


OLIVET


(place of olives). (2 Samuel 15:30; Acts 1:12) [OLIVES, MOUNT OF,
MOUNT, MOUNT, MOUNTAIN OF]


OLYMPAS


(heavenly), a Christian at Rome. (Romans 16:15) (A.D. 65.)


OMAR


(eloquent, talkative), son of Eliphaz the first-born of Esau.
(Genesis 36:11,15; 1 Chronicles 1:38) (B.C. 1750.)


OMEGA


The last letter of the Greek alphabet. It is used metephorically to denote
the end of anything (Revelation 1:8,11)


OMER


[WEIGHTS AND MEASURES AND MEASURES.]


OMRI


(pupil of Jehovah).

  • Originally "captain of the host" to Elah, was afterward himself king
    of Israel, and founder of the third dynasty. (B.C. 926.) Omri was engaged
    in the siege of Gibbethon situated in the tribe of Dan, which had been
    occupied by the Philistines. As soon as the army heard of Elah's death
    they proclaimed Omri king. Thereupon he broke up the siege of Gibbethon
    and attacked Tirzah, where Zimri was holding his court as king of Israel.
    The city was taken, and Zimri perished in the flames of the palace, after
    a reign of seven days. Omri, however, was not allowed to establish his
    dynasty without a struggle against Tibni, whom "half the people," (1 Kings
    16:21) desired to raise to the throne. The civil war lasted four years.
    Comp. (1 Kings 16:15) with 1Kin 16:23 After the defeat sad death of Tibni,
    Omri reigned for six years in Tirzah. At Samaria Omri reigned for six
    years more. He seems to have been a vigorous and unscrupulous ruler,
    anxious to strengthen his dynasty by intercourse and alliances with
    foreign states.

  • One of the sons of Becher the son of Benjamin. (1 Chronicles 7:8)

  • A descendant of Pharez the son of Judah, (1 Chronicles 9:4)

  • Son of Michael, and chief of the tribe of Issachar in the reign of
    David. (1 Chronicles 27:18) (B.C. 1030.)


ON


the son of Peleth and one of the chiefs of the tribe of Reuben, who took
part with Korah, Dathan and Abiram in their revolt against Moses. (Numbers
16:1) (B.C. 1491.) His name does not again appear in the narrative of the
conspiracy, nor is he alluded to when reference is made to the final
catastrophe.


ON


(abode or city of the sun), a town of lower Egypt, called
BETH-SHEMESH in (Jeremiah 43:13) On is better known under its Greek name
Heliopolis. It was situated on the east side of the Pelusiac branch of the
Nile, just below the point of the Delta, and about twenty miles northeast
of Memphis. The chief object of worship at Heliopolis was the sun, whose
temple, described by Strabo, is now only represented by the single
beautiful obelisk, of red granite so feet 2 inches high above the pedestal
which has stood for more than 4000 years, having been erected by
Usirtesen, the second king of the twelfth dynasty. Heliopolis was
anciently famous for its learning, and Eudoxus and Plato studied under its
priests. The first mention of this place in the Bible is in the history of
Joseph, to whom we read Pharaoh gave "to wife Asenath the daughter of
Potipherah priest of On." (Genesis 41:45) comp. ver, Genesis41:60 and
Genesis46:20 (On is to be remembered not only as the home of Joseph, but
as the traditional place to which his far-off namesake took Mary and the
babe Jesus in the flight to Egypt. The two famous obelisks, long called
"Cleopatra's Needles," one of which now stands in London and the other in
Central Park in New York city, once stood before this city, and were seen
by the children of Israel before the exodus, having been quarried at Syene
on the Nile, erected at On (Heliopolis) by Thothmes III., B.C. 1500, and
inscriptions added by Rameses II. (Sesostris) two hundred years later.
They were taken to Alexandria by Augustus Caesar A.D. 23, from which they
were removed to their present places. -- ED.)


ONAM


(strong).

  • One of the sons of Shobal the son of Seir. (Genesis 36:23; 1
    Chronicles 1:40) (B.C. 1964.)

  • The son of Jerahmeel by his wife Atarah. (1 Chronicles 2:26,28)


ONAN


(strong), the second son of Judah by the Canaanitess, "the daughter
of Shua." (Genesis 38:4; 1 Chronicles 2:3) "What he did was evil in the
eyes of Jehovah and he slew him also, as he had slain his elder brother.
(Genesis 38:9) His death took place before the family of Jacob went down
into Egypt. (Genesis 46:12; Numbers 26:19) (B.C. 1706.)


ONESIMUS


(profitable, useful), the name of the servant or slave in whose
behalf Paul wrote the Epistle to Philemon. He was a native, or certainly
an inhabitant, of Colosse. (Colossians 4:9) (A.D. 58.) He fled from his
master end escaped to Rome, where he was led to embrace the gospel through
Paul's instrumentality. After his conversion the most happy and friendly
relations sprung up between the teacher and disciple. Whether Paul desired
his presence as a personal attendant or as a minister of the gospel is not
certain from verse 13 of the epistle.


ONESIPHORUS


(bringing profit) is named twice only in the New Testament, viz. (2
Timothy 1:16-18) and 2Tim 4:19 Paul mentions him in terms of grateful love
as having a noble courage and generosity in his behalf, amid his trials as
a prisoner at Rome, when others from whom he expected better things had
deserted him. (2 Timothy 4:16) Probably other members of the family were
also active Christians. (2 Timothy 4:19) It is evident from (2 Timothy
1:18) that Onesiphorus had his home at Ephesus. (A.D. 64.)


ONIAS


the name of five high priests in the period between the Old and the New
Testament.


ONION


This product is mentioned only in (Numbers 11:5) as one of the good things
of Egypt of which the Israel regretted the loss. Onions have been from
time immemorial a favorite article of food among the Egyptians, The onions
of Egypt are much milder in flavor and less pungent than those of this
country.


ONO


(strong), one of the towns of Benjamin, is first found in (1
Chronicles 8:12) A plain was attached to the town called "the plain of
Ono" (Nehemiah 6:2) perhaps identical with the valley of craftsmen"
(Nehemiah 11:35)


ONYCHA


spoken of in (Exodus 30:34) was one of the ingredients of the sacred
perfume. It consists of the shells of several kinds of mussels, which when
burned emit a strong odor.


ONYX


(a nail) is the translation of the Hebrew shoham ; but there
is some doubt as to its signification. Some writers believe that the
"beryl" is intended; but the balance of authority is in favor of some
variety of the onyx. ("The onyx is not a transparent stone, but as the
color of the flesh appears through the nail (Greek onyx) on the human
body, so the reddish mass which is below shines delicately through the
whitish surface of the onyx. There are several varieties. White and
reddish stripes alternating form the sardonyx; white and reddish gray, the
chalcedony. When polished it has a fine lustre, and is easily wrought into
a gem of great beauty."-Rosenmiller.


OPHEL


(hill), a part of ancient Jerusalem. Ophel was the swelling
declivity by which the mount of the temple slopes on its southern side
into the valley of Hinnom -- a long, narrowish rounded spur or promontory,
which intervenes between the mouth of the central valley of Jerusalem (the
Tyropoeon) and the Kidron, or valley of Jehoshaphat. Halfway down it on
its eastern face is the ("Fount of the Virgin," so called; and at its foot
the lower outlet of the same spring -- the Pool of Siloam. In (2
Chronicles 27:3) Jotham is said to have built much "on the wall of Ophel."
Manasseh, among his other defensive works, "compassed about Ophel." Ibid.
(2 Chronicles 33:14) It appears to have been near the "water-gate,"
(Nehemiah 3:26) and the "great tower that lieth out." ver. (Nehemiah 3:27)
It was evidently the residence of the Levites. (Nehemiah 11:21)


OPHIR


(abundane).

  • The eleventh in order of the sons of Joktan. (Genesis 10:29; 1
    Chronicles 1:23) (B.C. after 2450.)

  • A seaport or region from which the Hebrews in the time of Solomon
    obtained gold. The gold was proverbial for its fineness, so that "gold of
    Ophir" is several times used as an expression for fine gold, (1 Chronicles
    29:4; Job 28:16; Psalms 45:9; Isaiah 13:12) and in one passage (Job 22:24)
    the word "Ophir" by itself is used for gold of Ophir, and for gold
    generally. In addition to gold, the vessels brought from Ophir almug wood
    and precious stones. The precise geographical situation of Ophir has long
    been a subject of doubt and discussion. The two countries which have
    divided the opinions of the learned have been Arabia and India, while some
    have placed it in Africa. In five passages Ophir is mentioned by name - (1
    Kings 9:28; 10:11; 22:18; 2 Chronicles 8:18; 9:10) If the three passages
    of the book of Kings are carefully examined, it will be seen that all the
    information given respecting Ophir is that it was a place or region
    accessible by sea from Ezion-geber on the Red Sea, from which imports of
    gold, almug trees and precious stones were brought back by the Tyrian and
    Hebrew sailors. The author of the tenth chapter of Genesis certainly
    regarded Ophir as the name of some city, region or tribe in Arabia. It is
    almost certain that the Ophir of Genesis is the Ophir of the book of
    Kings. There is no mention, either in the Bible or elsewhere, of any other
    Ophir; and the idea of there having been two Ophirs evidently arose from a
    perception of the obvious meaning of the tenth chapter of Genesis on the
    one hand, coupled with the erroneous opinion, on the other that the Ophir
    of the book of Kings could not have been in Arabia. (Hence we conclude
    that Ophir was in southern Arabia, upon the border of the Indian Ocean;
    for even if all the things brought over in Solomon's ships are not now
    found in Arabia, but are found in India, yet, there is evidence that they
    once were known in Arabia and, moreover, Ophir may not have been the
    original place of production of some of them, but the great market for
    traffic in them.)


OPHNI


(mouldy), a town of Benjamin, mentioned in (Joshua 18:24) the same
as the Gophna of Josephus a place which at the time of Vespasian's
invasion was apparently so important as to be second only to Jerusalem. It
still survives in the modern Jifna or Jufna, 23 miles
northwest of Bethel.


OPHRAH


(fawn).

  • A town in the tribe of Benjamin. (Joshua 18:23; 1 Samuel 13:17) Jerome
    places it five miles east of Bethel. It is perhaps et-Taiyibeh, a
    small village on the crown of a conspicuous hill, four miles
    east-northeast of Beitin (Bethel).

  • More fully, OPHRAH OF THE ABIEZRITES, the native place of Gideon
    (Judges 6:11) and the scene of his exploits against Baal, ver. (Judges
    6:24) his residence after his accession to power ch. (Judges 9:5) and the
    place of his burial in the family sepulchre. ch. (Judges 8:32) It was
    probably In Manasseh, ch. (Judges 6:15) and not far distant from Shechem,
    (Judges 9:1,5)

  • The son of Meonothai. (1 Chronicles 4:14)


ORATOR


  • The Authorized Version rendering in (Isaiah 3:3) for what is literally
    "skillful in whisper or incantation."

  • The title applied to Tertullus, who appeared as the advocate of the
    Jewish accusers of St. Paul before Felix, (Acts 24:1)


ORCHARD


[GARDEN]


OREB


(raven), one of the chieftains of the Midianite host which invaded
Israel, and was defeated and driven back by Gideon. (Judges 7:25) (B.C.
1362.) Isaiah, (Isaiah 10:26) refers to the magnitude of this disaster.
Comp. (Psalms 83:1) ...


OREB, THE ROCK


the "raven's crag," the spot, east of Jordan, at which the Midianite
chieftain Oreb with thousands of his countrymen, fell by the hand of the
Ephraimites, and which probably acquired its name therefrom. It is
mentioned in (Judges 7:25; Isaiah 10:26) Perhaps the place called
’Orbo which in the Bereshith Rabba is stated to have
been in the neighborhood of Bethshean, may have some connection with
it.


OREN


(pine tree), one of the sons of Jerahmeel, the first-born of
Hezron. (1 Chronicles 2:25)


ORGAN


(Genesis 4:21; Job 21:12; 30:31; Psalms 150:4) The Hebrew word thus
rendered probably denotes a pipe or perforated wind-instrument. In
(Genesis 4:21) it appears to be a general term for all wind-instruments.
In (Job 21:12) are enumerated three kinds of musical instruments which are
possible under the general terms of the timbrel harp and oryan. Some
identify it with the pandean pipe or syrinx an instrument of
unquestionably ancient origin, and common in the East. [See Music]


ORION


(the giant), a large and bright constellation of 80 stars, 17 large
ones, crossed by the equinoctial line. It is named after a mythical
personage of the Greeks, of gigantic stature and "the handsomest man in
the world." The Arabs called it" the giant," referring to Nimrod, the
mighty hunter who was fabled to have been bound in the sky for his
impiety. (Job 9:9) Also alluded to in (Job 38:31)


ORNAMENTS, PERSONAL


The number, variety and weight of the ornaments ordinarily worn upon the
person form one of the characteristic features of Oriental costume, in
both ancient and modem times. The monuments of ancient Egypt exhibit the
persons of ladies load with rings, earrings Of vary great size, anklets,
armlets, bracelets of the most varied forms, richly-ornamented necklaces,
and chains of various kinds. There is sufficient evidence in the Bible
that the inhabitants of Palestine were equally devoted to finery. In the
Old Testament. Isaiah, (Isaiah 3:18-23) supplies us with a detailed
description of the articles with which the luxurious women of his day were
decorated. Eliezer decorated Rebekah with "a golden nose-ring of half a
shekel (1/4 oz.) weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels (4
1/2 oz.) weight of gold." (Genesis 23:22) Earrings were worn by Jacob's
wives. (Genesis 35:4) The number of personal ornaments worn by the
Egyptians, particularly by the females, 19 incidentally noticed in (Exodus
3:22)


ORNAN


(active). (1 Chronicles 21:15; 2 Chronicles 3:1) [ARAUNAH]


ORPAH


(a gazelle), a Moabite woman wife of Chilion son of Naomi, and
thereby sister-in-law to Ruth. (Ruth 2:4,14) (B.C. 1360.)


OSHEA


(salvation). [JOSHUA]


OSPREY


The Hebrew word occurs in (Leviticus 11:13) and Deuteronomy 14:12 So the
name of some unclean bird. It's probably either the osprey (Pandion
haliaetus
) or the white-tailed eagle (Haliaetus albicella).


OSSIFRAGE


(the bone-breaker). The Hebrew word occurs, as the name of an
unclean bird, in (Leviticus 11:13) and Deuteronomy 14:12 It is probably
the lammergeyer, or bearded vulture as it is sometimes called, one
of the largest of the birds of prey. It well deserves its name ossifrage,
bone breaker, for "not only does he push kids and lambs and even
men off the rocks, but he takes the bones of animals that other birds of
prey have denuded of the flesh high up into the air and lets them fall
upon a stone in order to crack them and render them more digestible even
for his enormous powers of deglutition. Marrow-bones are the dainties he
loves. This is probably the bird that dropped a tortoise on the bald head
of poor old AEschylus." -- N. H. Simpson.


OSTRICH


a large bird, native of African and Arabia, nearly ten feet high, having s
long neck and short wings. It seeks retired places, (Job 30:29;
Lamentations 4:13) and has a peculiar mournful cry that is sometimes
mistaken by the Arabs for that of the lion. (Micah 1:8) In (Job 39:13-18)
will be found a description of the bird's habits. Ostriches are
polygamous; the hens lay their eggs promiscuously in one nest, which is
merely a hole scratched in the sand; the eggs are then covered over to the
depth of about a foot, and are, in the case of those birds which are found
within the tropics, generally left for the greater part of the day to the
heat of the sun, the parent-birds taking their turns at incubation during
the night. The habit of the ostrich leaving its eggs to be matured by the
sun's heat is usually appealed to in order to confirm the scriptural
account, "she leaveth her eggs to the earth;" but this is probably the
case only with the tropical birds. We believe that the true explanation of
this passage is that some of the eggs are left exposed around the nest for
the nourishment of the young birds. It is a general belief among the Arabs
that the ostrich is a very stupid bird; indeed they have a proverb,
"stupid as an ostrich." As is well known, the ostrich will swallow almost
any substance, iron, stones, and even has been known to swallow "several
leaden bullets scorching hot from the mould." But in many other respects
the ostrich is not as stupid as this would indicate, and is very hard to
capture. It is the largest of all known birds, and perhaps the swiftest of
all cursorial animals. -The feathers so much prized are the long white
plumes of the wings. The best are brought from Barbary and the west coast
of Africa.


OTHNI


(lion of Jehovah), son of Shemaiah, the first-horn of Obed-edom. (1
Chronicles 26:7) (B.C. 1013.)


OTHNIEL


(lion of God), son of Kenaz and younger brother of Caleb. (Joshua
15:17; Judges 1:13; 3:9; 1 Chronicles 4:13) (B.C. 1460.) The first mention
of Othniel is on occasion of the taking of Kirjath-sepher, or Debir as it
was afterward called. Caleb promised to give his daughter Achsah to
whosoever should assault and take the city. Othniel won the prize. The
next mention of him is in (Judges 3:9) where he appears as the first judge
of Israel after the death of Joshua, and the deliverer of his countrymen
from the oppression of Chushahrishathaim (Judges 3:8-9)


OVEN


The eastern oven is of two kinds -- fixed and portable. The former is
found only in towns, where regular bakers are employed. (Hosea 7:4) The
latter ia adapted to the nomad state, it consists of a large jar made of
clay, about three feet high and widening toward the bottom, with a hole
for the extraction of the ashes. Each household possessed such an article,
(Exodus 8:3) and it was only in times of extreme dearth that the same oven
sufficed for several families. (Leviticus 26:26) It was heated with dry
twigs and grass, (Matthew 6:30) and the loaves were placed both inside and
outside of it.


OWL


A number of species of the owl are mentioned in the Bible, (Leviticus
11:17; 14:16; Isaiah 14:23; 34:15; Zephaniah 2:14) and in several other
places the same Hebrew word is used where it is translated ostrich. (Job
30:29; Jeremiah 50:39) Some of these species were common in Palestine,
and, as is well known, were often found inhabiting ruins. (Isaiah
34:11,13-15)


OX


There was no animal in the rural economy of the Israelites, or indeed in
that of the ancient Orientals generally, that was held in higher esteem
than the ox and deservedly so, for the ox was the animal upon whose
patient labors depended all the ordinary operations of farming. Oxen were
used for ploughing, (22:10; 1 Samuel 14:14) etc.; for treading out corn,
(25:4; Hosea 10:11) etc.; for draught purposes, when they were generally
yoked in pairs, (Numbers 7:3; 1 Samuel 6:7) etc.; as beasts of burden, (1
Chronicles 12:40) their flesh was eaten, (14:4; 1 Kings 1:9) etc.; they
were used in the sacrifices; cows supplied milk, butter, etc. (32:14; 2
Samuel 17:29; Isaiah 7:22) Connected with the importance of oxen in the
rural economy of the Jews is the strict code of laws which was mercifully
enacted by God for their protection and preservation. The ox that threshed
the corn was by no means to be muzzled; he was to enjoy rest on the
Sabbath as well as his master. (Exodus 23:12; 5:14) The ox was seldom
slaughtered. (Leviticus 17:1-6) It seems clear from (Proverbs 15:17) and
1Kin 4:23 That cattle were sometimes stall-fed though as a general rule it
is probable that they fed in the plains or on the hills of Palestine. The
cattle that grazed at large in the open country would no doubt often
become fierce and wild, for it is to be remembered that in primitive times
the lion and other wild beasts of prey roamed about Palestine. Hence the
force of the Psalmist's complaint of his enemies. (Psalms 22:13)


OZEM


(power).

  • The sixth son of Jesse, the next eldest above David. (1 Chronicles
    2:15) (B.C. 1055.)

  • Son of Jerahmeel. (1 Chronicles 2:25)


OZIAS


(strength from the Lord).

  • Uzzi, one of the ancestors of Ezra. 2, Esd. 2:2.

  • Uzziah, king of Judah. (Matthew 1:8,9)


OZNI


(hearing), one of the sons of Gad (Numbers 26:16) and founder of
the family of the Oznites. (Numbers 26:16)


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