[A] [B] [C] [D] [E] [F] [G] [H] [I] [J] [K] [L] [M] [N]

[O] [P] [Q] [R] [S] [T] [U] [V] [W] [X] [Y] [Z]


4 canonical gospels  See Gospel

5 books of Moses  See Five Books of Moses from the Torah

5 books of the Pentateuch  See Five Books of Moses from the Torah

5 Cities of the Plain  See Five Cities of the Plain

5 Megillot  See Five Megillot

5 Scrolls  See Five Megillot

10 Commandments   See ten Commandments

12 Apostles  See Twelve Apostles

12 Prophets  See Minor Prophet

613 Mitzvot   also "613 Mitzvos"

The 613 Mitzvot ("commandments")  are statements and principles of law and ethics contained in the Torah or Five Books of Moses. These principles of Biblical law are sometimes called commandments (mitzvot) or collectively as the "Law of Moses" (Torat Moshe), "Mosaic Law," or simply "the Law."

Although there have been many attempts to codify and enumerate the commandments contained in the Torah, the traditional view is based on Maimonides' enumeration. The 613 commandments are either "positive commandments" to perform an act (mitzvot aseh) or "negative commandments" to abstain from certain acts (mitzvot lo taaseh). There are 365 negative commandments, corresponding to the number of days in a solar year, and 248 positive commandments, ascribed to the number of bones and significant organs in the human body. Though the number 613 is mentioned in the Talmud, its real significance increased in later medieval rabbinic literature, including many works listing or arranged by the mitzvot.

Three categories of negative commandments fall under the category of yehareg ve'al ya'avor, meaning "One should let himself be killed rather than violate it". These are murder, idolatry, and forbidden sexual relations.

Many of the mitzvot cannot be observed following the destruction of the Second Temple, though they still retain religious significance. According to one standard reckoning,  there are 77 negative and 194 positive commandments that can be observed today. There are 26 commands that apply only within the Land of Israel. Furthermore, there are some time-based commandments from which women are exempt (examples include shofar, sukkah, lulav, tzitzit and tefillin). Some depend on the special status of a person in Judaism (such as kohenim), while others apply only to men and others only to women.

See The 613 Mitzvot here


Aaron    See Aaron Here in Names in The Bible

Aaronites  the descendants of Aaron, and therefore priests

Males descended from Aaron, the brother of Moses. According to the Pentateuch, only male descendents of Aaron were entitled to the status of kehunah, i.e., members of the Jewish ritual priesthood.

Jehoiada, the father of Benaiah, led 3,700 Aaronites as "fighting men" to the support of David at Hebron (1 Chr. 12:27). Eleazar (Num. 3:32), and at a later period Zadok (1 Chr. 27:17), was their chief.

Aaron's Rod   a rod mentioned on two dramatic occasions in the Old Testament. When Moses and Aaron appeared before Pharaoh, Aaron cast down his rod and it became a serpent. When the magicians of Egypt did the same thing, “Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods” (Ex. 7:12). Later, Aaron struck the waters of Egypt with his rod and they turned to blood (7:15–20).

During the wilderness wandering, Aaron's rod was the only staff that produced buds, blossoms, and almonds, indicating God's choice of Aaron and his descendants as priests (Num. 17:1–10).

Abaddon   also "abaddown" and "abaddoh." Abaddon is Hebrew for destruction.

Abaddon is the Hebrew name (equivalent to the Greek Apollyon, i.e., destroyer) of "the angel of the bottomless pit" (Rev. 9:11).

The name "Abaddon" appears only once in the King James Bible, NKJV and NIV, but seven times in the NRSV.

"Abaddown" is translated "destruction" in Job 28:22; 31:12; 26:6; Prov. 15:11; 27:20. In all of these passages the NRSV simply uses the word "Abaddon." This word can be thought of as a personification of the idea of destruction, or as sheol, the realm of the dead.

Abagtha  one of the seven eunuchs in Ahasuerus's court (Esther 1:10; 2:21).

Abana  Meaning: stony (Hebrew: Abanah).

This was the name of the main river of Damascus (2 Kings 5:12). Its modern name is Barada, the Chrysorrhoas, or "golden stream," of the Greeks. It rises in a canyon of the Anti-Lebanon range, about 23 miles northwest of Damascus, and after flowing southward for a little way parts into three smaller streams, the central one flowing through Damascus, and the other two on each side of the city, diffusing beauty and fertility where otherwise there would be barrenness.

Abarim  Meaning: regions beyond; i.e., on the east of Jordan, a mountain, or rather a mountain-chain, near Jericho, to the east and southeast of the Dead Sea, in the land of Moab.

From "the top of Pisgah", i.e., Mount Nebo (q.v.), one of its summits, Moses surveyed the Promised Land (Deut. 3:27; 32:49), and there he died (34:1,5). The Israelites had one of their encampments in the mountains of Abarim (Num. 33:47-48) after crossing the Arnon.

Abase An old English word meaning to humble; humiliate; to make or bring low

Abate / Abated  to make in less amount; reduction of intensity, force, degree, etc.

Abba  Abba is a Chaldee word for father, used in a respectful, affectionate, and familiar way, like papa, dad, or daddy. Often used in prayer to refer to our Father in Heaven.

This Syriac or Chaldee word is found three times in the New Testament (Mark 14:36; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6), and in each case is followed by its Greek equivalent, which is translated "father." It is a term expressing warm affection and confidence. It has no perfect equivalent in our language. It has passed into European languages as an ecclesiastical term, "abbot."

Abda  Meaning: servant, worshiper.

This was the name of two biblical men:

1. The father of Adoniram, who Solomon put in charge of the tribute (1 Kings 4:6); i.e., the forced labor.

2. A Levite of the family of Jeduthun (Neh. 11:17), also called Obadiah (1 Chr. 9:16).

Abdeel  See Abdeel Here in Names in The Bible

abhor   to hate with great contempt, detest, spurn.

abhorrest  see abhor above.

Abia, course of  -  Zechariah (KJV spells his name: Zacharias) the priest, father of John the Baptist was a member of the "course of Abia." Actually Abia is a KJV version of Abijah. All priests in the tribe of Levi were assigned to a "course." This is something like a platoon or a squadron in the military. It is a grouping of priests who always work together. Because there was only one Temple, but thousands of priests the priests were rotated from one course of priests to the next course of priests. In New Testament times there were so many priests that a priest was fortunate to get to do what Zechariah did once or twice in a lifetime. See Luke 1:5,9.

Abilene  located North East of Mount Hermon and West of Damascus. It was a district under a tetrarch.

Abimael  See Abimael Here in Names in The Bible

abomination(s)  detestable, that which is horribly hated, horrible in the sight of God.

abounded  overflowed with plenty, above and beyond all expectation.

abusers of themselves with mankind
"abusers of themselves with mankind"  the KJV uses this five word phrase to translate a single word in the Greek. That word means "sodomites," or homosexuals. 1st Corinthians 6:9 is where this is found.

Abraham  See Abraham Here in Names in The Bible

Accad   (also spelt Akkad and Agade)  Accad became prominent when king Sargon (c. 2400BC) overcame the Sumerians (non-Semites who had moved into the Mesopotamian region and who developed the first urban civilization there). Sargon and his descendants built up an empire which enveloped the region, but only lasted four generations. It ensured however that the Akkadian language became dominant in Mesopotamia.


Bible Terminology  

All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version,
Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

If you are searching for a name of a person found in the Bible,
 please go to our Names In The Bible Page.

Achaia  the Roman province that was made up of almost all of ancient Greece south of another province called Macedonia. If you look at a map of modern Greece, Achaia was located on the very Southern portion of modern Greece that is almost an island but for a tiny finger of land that bridges back to the larger land body.

Achaia was a region of Greece on the north coast of the Peloponnesus. The topography of Achaia was filled with mountains and therefore was difficult to travel through and this was one of the reasons why ancient Greece was difficult to unify.

The geography of Greece forced most of the population to dwell in the beautiful sea ports and thus spread their culture throughout the Mediterranean. Achaia was a Roman Province in New Testament times. Paul spent much time there and expressed his love toward the churches in Achaia, and commended them for their liberal giving.   

2 Corinthians 1:1 - Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy [our] brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:

Achor  The valley where Achan and his family were executed for stealing loot that was dedicated for destruction in Jericho. And so Achor means trouble, or Valley of Trouble. Achan got into deadly trouble by stealing forbidden things. His sin brought a curse on the whole Nation causing the deaths of many. They had to cleanse him and his family out of the Nation.

Acts of the Apostles Sometimes called the fifth Gospel. Thought to have been composed by Luke, a physician and friend of Paul (Saul of Tarsus).

AD  [Latin anno Domini], "year of our Lord"; indicates that a time division falls within the Christian era; same as CE.

(indicating years numbered from the supposed year of the birth of Christ) in the year of the Lord

Adam   See Adam Here in Names in The Bible

Adam and Eve  See Adam and Eve Here in Names in The Bible

Adbeel  See Adbeel Here in Names in The Bible

Adonai   See Adonai Here in Names in The Bible

Adoniram   See Adoniram Here in Names in The Bible

Adullam   a Canaanite town 27 miles due East, airline, from the coastal town of Ashkelon (Ascalon) and 25 miles due West of the shore of the Dead Sea. In other words about halfway between the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. **Not far from the town is thought to be the location of a cave, by the same name, that David used as a hideout and headquarters when King Saul was seeking to take his life. The Hebrew word for Adullam means "refuge," "retreat."

adultery  Adultery is having sexual intercourse with someone besides your own husband or wife. In the Bible, the only legitimate sexual intercourse is between a man and a woman who are married to each other.

Jesus clarifies the definition even more. HE says that "adultery" is committed when a person simply looks longingly upon another person even though they never do anything beyond the mental exercise of longing!! Spiritually adultery is when a person turns away from the true God to worship an idol or to elevate something else as god.

adjure  to command on oath before God.

Adramyttium  a harbor in Mysia in the Northwestern corner of what is now Turkey, minus that part of Turkey that is on the Northwest side of the passage to the Black Sea. This was part of what was then called the Roman province of Asia.

Adria  the sea that is between Italy and Greece, but also that is South of both countries.

Aenon  a location near the Jordan river, not terribly far from Jericho. Different experts have suggested different locations. This place is mentioned in John's Gospel as a locale where John the Baptist ministered.

After death  See afterlife

After life
Afterlife  (also: life after death and hereafter)

The afterlife is the proposed continued existence of the soul, spirit or mind of a being after physical death. The major views on the afterlife derive from religion, esotericism and metaphysics. In many popular views, this continued existence often takes place in a spiritual or immaterial realm. Deceased persons are usually believed to go to a specific realm or plane of existence after death, usually determined by their actions during life. By contrast, the term reincarnation refers to an afterlife that is a continuation of physical life in this world.

Ahab  See Ahab Here in Names in The Bible

Ahaz  See Ahaz Here in Names in The Bible

Ai  this was a city in the Jewish tribal area of Ephraim. It was located just about two miles, a bit South of true East of the spot named Bethel, where Jacob had his dream of the ladder into Heaven. Ai was a city that first defeated the invading Israelites because Achan had secretly kept forbidden loot from the defeat of Jericho. And this brought a curse upon Israel's armies and the death of many soldiers. After Achan was executed Joshua destroyed Ai. Later Aiath and and Aija were built very close to the spot Ai had been built on. And so Aiath and Aija are approximately on the same spot.

Aiath  See Ai above.

Aija  See Ai above

al Buraq Wall
al-Buraq Wall  See Western Wall

Alexandria  was the capital city of Egypt during the Greek and Roman eras. It was located on the coast at the western side of the Nile river delta. During the Roman period it was second only to Rome itself in World importance. It was a noted center of knowledge with one of the Worlds most complete libraries of the time.

Alexandrians  generally citizens of the city of Alexandria in Egypt. However in Acts 6:9 it is referring to Jews of the Diaspora or dispersion who live or are from Alexandria and visit or have returned to Jerusalem.

Allah   See Allah Here in Names in The Bible

alms  anything given to relieve the plight of the poor and their suffering such as money, food and clothes.

almsdeeds  You can find this word in Acts 9:36. Almsdeeds are acts of generosity to the poor. See Alms

A (alpha)  alpha, the first letter of the Greek alphabet (Omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet.)

These letters occur in the text of Rev. 1:8,11; 21:6; 22:13, and are represented by "Alpha" and "Omega" respectively

(omitted in the Revised Version, New International Version, and the New Revised Standard Version 1:11). They mean "the first and last.".

In the symbols of the early Christian Church, these two letters are frequently combined with the cross or with Christ's monogram to indicate his divinity.

altar  Altars are places where sacrifices were offered. There were two or three different sorts. The large constructions found outside some temple buildings may be better classified as "high places" than as altars. Inside the building were both largish rectangular altars made of plastered stone or mud brick, and smaller stone "pillars", called horned altars, whose flat tops curved up at the corners.

Amalek   See Amalek Here in Names in The Bible

Amalekites  This was a tribe of people that lived in Arabia Petraea, between the Dead Sea and the Red Sea. They were not the descendants of Amalek, the son of Eliphaz, for they existed in the days of Abraham (Gen. 14:7). They were probably a tribe that migrated from the shores of the Persian Gulf and settled in Arabia. "They dwelt in the land of the south&ldots; from Havilah until thou comest to Shur" (Num. 13:29; 1 Sam. 15:7).

They were apparently a pastoral, and therefore probably a nomadic people. Their kings bore the hereditary name of Agag (Num. 24:7; 1 Sam. 15:8). They attempted to stop the Israelites when they marched through their territory (Deut. 25:18), attacking them at Rephidim (Ex. 17:8-13; compare Deut. 25:17; 1 Sam. 15:2).

Afterwards, they attacked the Israelites at Hormah (Num. 14:45).

We read of them subsequently as being in league with the Moabites (Judg. 3:13) and the Midianites (Judg. 6:3). Saul finally desolated their territory and destroyed their power (1 Sam. 14:48; 15:3), and David recovered booty from them (1 Sam. 30:18-20).

In the Babylonian inscriptions they are called “Sute,” in those of Egypt “Sittiu,” and the Amarna tablets include them under the general name of “Khabbati,” or “plunderers.”

Amarna letters  The Amarna letters (sometimes "Amarna correspondence" or "Amarna tablets") are an archive of correspondence on clay tablets, mostly diplomatic, between the Egyptian administration and its representatives in Canaan and Amurru during the New Kingdom. The letters were found in Upper Egypt at Amarna, the modern name for the Egyptian capital founded by pharaoh Akhenaten (1350s - 1330s BC) during the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt. The Amarna letters are unusual in Egyptological research, being mostly written in Akkadian cuneiform, the writing system of ancient Mesopotamia rather than ancient Egypt. The known tablets currently total 382 in number, 24 further tablets having been recovered since the Norwegian Assyriologist Jørgen Alexander Knudtzon's landmark edition of the Amarna correspondence, Die El-Amarna-Tafeln in two volumes (1907 and 1915).

Amarna Tablets  See Amarna Letters

 amen  this word originated in Hebrew and has spread to most all languages.  Amen means "truly", "so be it" or "it is certainly so."

We know it as the final word spoken in a prayer.

See Amun

American Standard Version  The Revised Version, Standard American Edition of the Bible, more commonly known as the American Standard Version (ASV), is a version of the Bible that was released in 1901. It was originally best known by its full name, but soon came to have other names, such as the American Revised Version, the American Standard Revision, the American Standard Revised Bible, and the American Standard Edition. By the time its copyright was renewed in 1929, it had come to be known at last by its present name, the American Standard Version. Because of its prominence in seminaries, however, it was sometimes simply called the "Standard Bible".

Ammonite  Paleontologists know the “ammonite” as an extinct group of shelled sea creatures. However, biblically, “Ammonite” was the usual name of the descendants of Ammon, the son of Lot (Gen. 19:38).

From the very beginning (Deut. 2:16-20) of their history till we lose sight of them (Judg. 5:2), this tribe is closely associated with the Moabites (Judg. 10:11; 2 Chr. 20:1; Zeph. 2:8).

Both of these tribes hired Balaam to curse Israel (Deut. 23:4). The Ammonites were probably more of a predatory tribe, moving from place to place, while the Moabites were more settled. They inhabited the country east of the Jordan and north of Moab and the Dead Sea, from which they had expelled the Zamzummims or Zuzims (Deut. 2:20; Gen. 14:5). They are known as the Beni-ammi (Gen. 19:38), Ammi or Ammon being worshipped as their chief god.

They were of Semitic origin, and closely related to the Hebrews in blood and language.

They showed no kindness to the Israelites when passing through their territory, and therefore they were prohibited from "entering the congregation of the Lord to the tenth generation" (Deut. 23:3).

Afterwards, they became hostile to Israel (Judg. 3:13). Jephthah waged war against them, and took "twenty cities&ldots; with a very great slaughter" (Judg. 11:33). They were again defeated by Saul (1 Sam. 11:11). David also defeated them and their allies the Syrians (2 Sam. 10:6-14), and took their chief city, Rabbah, with much spoil (2 Sam. 10:14; 12:26-31). The subsequent events of their history are noted in 2 Chr. 20:25; 26:8; Jer. 49:1; Ezek. 25:3,6.

One of Solomon's wives was Naamah, an Ammonite. She was the mother of Rehoboam (1 Kings 14:31; 2 Chr. 12:13).

The prophets predicted fearful judgments against the Ammonites because of their hostility to Israel (Zeph. 2:8; Jer. 49:1-6; Ezek. 25:1-5,10; Amos 1:13-15).

The national idol worshipped by this people was Molech or Milcom, at whose altar they offered human sacrifices (1 Kings 11:5,7). The high places built for this idol by Solomon, at the instigation of his Ammonite wives, were not destroyed till the time of Josiah (2 Kings 23:13).

Amorite   refers to a Semitic people who occupied the country west of the Euphrates from the second half of the third millennium BC. The term Amurru refers to them, as well as to their principal deity.

Ammon  See Amun

Amon  See Amun

Amoun  See Amun

Amun   reconstructed Egyptian Yama-nu (also spelled Amon, Amoun, Amen, and rarely Imen, Greek Ammon, and Hammon), was the name of a deity in Egyptian mythology who gradually rose from being an abstract concept to the patron deity of Thebes and one of the most important deities in Ancient Egypt before fading into obscurity.

Amurru  See Amurru Here in Names in The Bible

Amurru's Wife  See Amurru's Wife Here in Names in The Bible

An See An Here in Names in The Bible

Ancient Egypt  Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization in eastern North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern nation of Egypt. The civilization began around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh, and it developed over the next three millennia. Its history occurred in a series of stable periods, known as kingdoms, separated by periods of relative instability known as Intermediate Periods. After the end of the last kingdom, known as the New Kingdom, the civilization of ancient Egypt entered a period of slow, steady decline, during which Egypt was conquered by a succession of foreign powers. The rule of the pharaohs officially ended in 31 BC when the early Roman Empire conquered Egypt and made it a province.

The civilization of ancient Egypt thrived from its ability to adapt to the conditions of the Nile River Valley. Controlled irrigation of the fertile valley produced surplus crops, which fueled social development and culture. With resources to spare, the administration sponsored mineral exploitation of the valley and surrounding desert regions, the early development of an independent writing system, the organization of collective construction and agricultural projects, trade with surrounding regions, and a military that defeated foreign enemies and asserted Egyptian dominance. Motivating and organizing these activities was a bureaucracy of elite scribes, religious leaders, and administrators under the control of a pharaoh who ensured the cooperation and unity of the Egyptian people through an elaborate system of religious beliefs.

The many achievements of the ancient Egyptians included a system of mathematics, quarrying, surveying and construction techniques that facilitated the building of monumental pyramids, temples, obelisks, faience and glass technology, a practical and effective system of medicine, new forms of literature, irrigation systems and agricultural production techniques, and the earliest known peace treaty. Egypt left a lasting legacy: art and architecture were copied and antiquities paraded around the world, and monumental ruins have inspired the imaginations of tourists and writers for centuries.

The pyramids are among the most recognizable symbols of the civilization of ancient Egypt.

With the Great Pyramid built in 2560 BC as a tomb for Khufu. It was the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3,800 years. Caused awe and wonder for millenia. Probably wasn’t so popular with the people who built it, what with the whips, and the lugging of massive stones and all that.

A newfound respect for antiquities and excavations in the early modern period led to the scientific investigation of Egyptian civilization and a greater appreciation of its cultural legacy for Egypt and the world.

angel  "Angel" literally means "messenger" or "envoy," and is usually used to refer to spiritual beings who normally are invisible to us, but can also appear as exceedingly strong creatures or as humans.

An angel is a spiritual supernatural being found in many religions. Although the nature of angels and the tasks given to them vary from tradition to tradition, in Christianity, Judaism and Islam, they often act as messengers from God. Other roles in religious traditions include acting as warrior or guard; the concept of a "guardian angel" is popular in modern Western culture.

Angels are usually viewed as emanations of a supreme divine being, sent to do the tasks of that being. Traditions vary as to whether angels have free will or are merely extensions of the supreme being's will. While the appearance of angels also varies, many views of angels give them a human shape.

Antediluvian  (or pre-diluvian - both meaning "before the deluge")

The antediluvian period is that period in the biblical history between the Creation of the earth and the Deluge. The story takes up chapters 1-6 (excluding the Flood narrative) of Genesis.

Antilegomena   meaning things contradicted or disputed, literally spoken agains was an epithet used by the Church Fathers to denote those books of the New Testament which, although sometimes publicly read in the churches, were not for a considerable amount of time considered to be genuine, or received into the canon of Scripture. They were thus contrasted with the Homologoumena or universally acknowledged writings.

The term is sometimes applied also to certain books in the Hebrew Bible. There are records in the Mishna of controversy in some Jewish circles during the second century A.D. relative to the canonicity of the Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, and Esther. Some doubts were expressed about Proverbs during this period as well. The Gemara notes that the book of Ezekiel had also been questioned about its authority until objections to it were settled in 66 A.D. Also, in the first century B.C. the disciples of Shammai contested the canonicity of Ecclesiastes because of its pessimism, whereas the school of Hillel just as vigorously upheld it. At the school of Jamnia (circa 90 A.D.) there was further discussion, see Development of the Jewish Bible canon for details.

The first church historian, Eusebius, circa AD 303-325, applied the term Antilegomena to the Epistle of James, the Epistle of Jude, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, the Acts of Paul, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Apocalypse of Peter, the Epistle of Barnabas, the Didache, the Apocalypse of John, and the Gospel according to the Hebrews:

Among the disputed writings, which are nevertheless recognized by many, are extant the so-called epistle of James and that of Jude, also the second epistle of Peter, and those that are called the second and third of John, whether they belong to the evangelist or to another person of the same name. Among the rejected writings must be reckoned also the Acts of Paul, and the so-called Shepherd, and the Apocalypse of Peter, and in addition to these the extant epistle of Barnabas, and the so-called Teachings of the Apostles; and besides, as I said, the Apocalypse of John, if it seem proper, which some, as I said, reject, but which others class with the accepted books. And among these some have placed also the Gospel according to the Hebrews, with which those of the Hebrews that have accepted Christ are especially delighted. And all these may be reckoned among the disputed books. "

The Epistle to the Hebrews is also listed earlier:

It is not indeed right to overlook the fact that some have rejected the Epistle to the Hebrews, saying that it is disputed by the church of Rome, on the ground that it was not written by Paul."

Codex Sinaiticus, a fourth century text, includes the Shepherd of Hermas and the Epistle of Barnabas.

The original Peshitta excluded 2-3 John, 2 Peter, Jude and Revelation. Some modern editions, such as the Lee Peshitta of 1823, include them.

During the Reformation, Luther brought up the issue of the Antilegomena among the Church Fathers Since he questioned Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation, these books are sometimes termed Luther's Antilegomena.

F. C. Baur used the term in his classification of the Pauline Epistles, classing Romans, 1-2 Corinthians and Galatians as homologoumena; Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1-2 Thessalonians and Philemon as antilegomena; and the Pastoral Epistles as notha (spurious writings).

In current Lutheran usage antilegomena describes those of the New Testament books which have obtained a doubtful place in the Canon. These are the Epistles of James and Jude, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, the Apocalypse of John, and the Epistle to the Hebrews.


The name of two biblical cities:

1.  In Syria, on the river Orontes, about 16 miles from the Mediterranean, and some 300 miles north of Jerusalem. It was the metropolis of Syria, and afterwards became the capital of the Roman province in Asia. It ranked third, after Rome and Alexandria in importance, of the cities of the Roman empire. It was called the "first city of the East."

Christianity was introduced early into this city (Acts 11:19,21,24), and the name “Christian” was first applied here to its professors (Acts 11:26). It is intimately connected with the early history of the gospel (Acts 6:5; 11:19, 27,28,30; 12:25; 15:22-35; Gal. 2:11-12). It was the great central point from where missionaries to the Gentiles were sent forth. It was the birthplace of the famous Christian father Chrysostom, who died A.D. 407. It bears the modern name of Antakia . Like Philippi, it was raised to the rank of a Roman colony. Such colonies were ruled by “praetors” (Acts 16:20,21).

2.   Another Antioch existed in the extreme north of Pisidia. It was visited by Paul and Barnabas on the first missionary journey (Acts 13:14). Here they found a synagogue and many proselytes. They met with great success in preaching the gospel, but the Jews stirred up a violent opposition against them, and they were obliged to leave the place. On his return, Paul again visited Antioch for the purpose of confirming the disciples (Acts 14:21). It has been identified with the modern Yalobatch, lying to the east of Ephesus.

Antiquities of the Jews  Antiquities of the Jews (Antiquitates Judaicae in Latin) was a work published by the important Jewish historian Flavius Josephus about the year 93 or 94. Antiquities of the Jews is a history of the Jewish people, written in Greek for Josephus' gentile patrons. Beginning with the creation of Adam and Eve, it follows the events of the historical books of the Hebrew Bible, but sometimes omits or adds information.

This work, along with Josephus's other major work, The Jewish Wars, provides valuable background material to historians wishing to understand first-century Judaism and the early Christian period.

Anu  See An

Apocalypse   (Greek: Apokálypsis; "lifting of the veil")

Apocalypse is a term applied to the disclosure to certain privileged persons of something hidden from the majority of humankind. Today the term is often used to refer to the end of the world, which may be a shortening of the phrase apokalupsis eschaton which literally means "revelation at the end of the æon, or age".

In the Bible, the term apocalypse refers to a revelation of God's will. Thus, in Revelation, we see a clear pattern of future events: the various periods of the church, shown through the letters to the seven churches; the throne of God in Heaven and His Glory; the judgments that will occur on the earth; the final form of gentile power; God' re-dealing with the nation Israel based upon covenants mentioned in the Old Testament; the second coming proper; the one-thousand year reign of Messiah; the last test of Mankind's sinful nature under ideal conditions by the loosing of Satan, with the judgment of fire coming down from Heaven that follows; the Great White Throne Judgment, and the destruction of the current heavens and the earth, to be recreated as a "New Heaven and New Earth" ushering in the beginning of Eternity.

apocalyptic   Literature, and associated beliefs, revealing the future, particularly the "End of Days" as revealed in visions, dreams and interpretations; often revealed by angels. See also eschatology.

Apocalyptic literature was a new genre of prophetical writing that developed in post-Exilic Jewish culture and was popular among millennialist early Christians.

"Apocalypse" is from the Greek word for "revelation" which means "an unveiling or unfolding of things not previously known and which could not be known apart from the unveiling" (Goswiller 1987 p. 3). The poetry of the Book of Revelation that is traditionally ascribed to John is well known to many Christians who are otherwise unaware of the literary genre it represents.

The apocalyptic literature of Judaism and Christianity embraces a considerable period, from the centuries following the exile down to the close of the middle ages. In the present survey we shall limit ourselves to the great formative periods in this literature--in Judaism from 200 BCE to 100 CE, and in Christianity from 50 to approximately 350 CE.

Apocrypha  Books by authors written between 150 BCE and 100 CE, included in the Septuagint and Vulgate, but excluded from Jewish and Protestant canons of the Old Testament. For Catholics the word has a much broader meaning to include all extra biblical books not included in the canon during the Constantine reformation of the Christian texts.

The word "apocrypha" means "hidden writings" and comes from the Greek through Latin. The general term is usually applied to the books that were considered by the church as useful, but not divinely inspired. As such, to refer to Gnostic writings as "apocryphal" is misleading since they would not be classified in the same category by orthodox believers.

New Testament apocrypha are a number of writings of the early Christian church that give accounts of the teachings of Jesus, aspects of the life of Jesus, accounts of the nature of God, or the teachings of his apostles and of their lives. These writings often have links with those books which are regarded as "canonical". Not every branch of the Christian church is in agreement as to which writings are to be regarded as "canonical" and which are "apocryphal".

Apollyon  Apollyon is Greek for destroyer.

apostle  "Apostle" means a delegate, messenger, or one sent forth with orders. This term is applied in the New Testament in both a general sense connected with a ministry of establishing and strengthening church fellowships, as well as in a specific sense to "The 12 Apostles of the Lamb" (Revelation 21:14). The former category applies to a specific ministry that continues in the Church (Ephesians 4:11-13) and which includes many more than 12 people, while the latter refers to the apostles named in Matthew 10:2-4, except with Judas Iscariot replaced by Matthias (Acts 1:26).

Apostles Creed
Apostles' Creed

The Apostles' Creed, sometimes titled Symbol of the Apostles, is an early statement of Christian belief, a creed or "symbol". It is widely used by a number of Christian denominations for both liturgical and catechetical purposes, most visibly by liturgical Churches of Western tradition, including the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church, Lutheranism, the Anglican Communion, and Western Orthodoxy. It is also used by Presbyterians, Methodists, and Congregationalists.

The theological specifics of this creed appear to have been originally formulated as a refutation of Gnosticism, an early heresy. This can be seen in almost every phrase. For example, the creed states that Christ, Jesus, was born, suffered, and died on the cross. This seems to be a statement directly against the heretical teaching that Christ only appeared to become man and that he did not truly suffer and die but only appeared to do so. The Apostles' Creed, as well as other baptismal creeds, is esteemed as an example of the apostles' teachings and a defense of the Gospel of Christ.

The name of the Creed comes from the probably fifth-century legend that, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit after Pentecost, each of the Twelve Apostles dictated part of it. It is traditionally divided into twelve articles.

Because of its early origin, it does not address some Christological issues defined in the later Nicene and other Christian Creeds. It thus says nothing explicitly about the divinity of either Jesus or of the Holy Spirit. This makes it acceptable to many Arians and Unitarians. Nor does it address many other theological questions that became objects of dispute centuries later.

Aqaba   also known as Eloth

Aqaba is a coastal town in the far south of Jordan. It is the capital of Aqaba Governorate. Aqaba is strategically important to Jordan as it is the country's only seaport. The town borders Eilat, Israel, and there is a border post where it is possible to cross between the two countries. Both Aqaba and Eilat are at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba.

The town is best known today as a diving and beach resort. However, industrial activity remains important to the area, and the town is an exporter of phosphate and some shells. The town is also an important administrative center within the far south of Jordan.

Aqaba has been an inhabited settlement since 4000 BC profiting from its strategic location at the junction of trading routes between Asia, Africa, and Europe. The early settlement was presumably Edomite in ancient times. It was a center of the Edomites, and then of the Arab Nabataeans, who populated the region extensively.

The Bible refers to the area in (1 Kings 9:26) "King Solomon also built ships in Ezion-Geber, which is near Elath in Edom, on the shores of the Red Sea." This verse probably refers to an Iron Age port city on the same ground as modern Aqaba.


1. A member of a Semitic people inhabiting Arabia, whose language and Islamic religion spread widely throughout the Middle East and northern Africa from the seventh century.

2. A member of an Arabic-speaking people.

Arabah  Hebrew: “arabah.” / Meaning: plain (in the sense of sterility); a desert

This name appears in only one verse of the King James Bible (KJV) (Josh. 18:18), but it appears many times in other versions. Except for Josh. 18:18 and Amos 6:14, the KJV always translates “arabah” as “plain.” In Amos 6:14, the KJV translates it as “wilderness.”

This name was especially associated with the generally sterile and hollow depression through which the Jordan flows from the Lake of Galilee to the Dead Sea. The Arabs later called it el-Ghor. But the Ghor is sometimes spoken of as extending 10 miles south of the Dead Sea, and from there to the Gulf of Akabah on the Red Sea it is called the Wady el-Arabah.

Arab Christians  Christianity in the Arab world traces its history back to the first century. Prior to the Muslim Arab conquest in the 7th century, much of the Middle East was part of the Christian Byzantine Empire. Even after the advent of Islam, some Christian populations did not become Muslim converts, thus by remaining Christians they maintained their religious identity through to the present day. Some Christian sects that were persecuted as heretical under the Byzantine rule enjoyed greater freedom under their Muslim rulers. Whether the Christians in the Middle East are considered Arab depends on what aspects of the word Arab one wishes to emphasize (political, linguistic, ethnic). (See Arab). For example, some Lebanese Maronites go so far as to emphasize Lebanon's link to the ancient Phoenicians and to limit the label Arab to people living in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.

Like Arab Muslims, Arab Christians and Arab Jews for that matter, refer to God as Allah. The use of the term Allah in Arab Christian churches predates its use in Islam by several centuries. In more recent times (especially since the mid 1800's), Arabs from the Levant region have been converted from these churches to Protestant ones, most notably Baptist and Methodist churches. This is mostly due to an influx of Western, predominantly American, missionaries.

Large numbers of Arab Christians can be found in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Israel and especially the United States. The largest population is found in Egypt, numbering several million. Lebanon contains the highest proportion; it is believed to be about 39% Christian (mainly Maronite, with sizable numbers of Greek Orthodox, Syrian Catholic and other churches). In Syria, Christians form just under 15% of the population. About 6% of all Palestinians are Christian. Some of the Palestinian Christians were converted by American or European missionaries during the colonial period. (see Palestinian Christians). There are significant Christian populations in Iraq (including Assyrian and Chaldean Christians) and Syria. Another major group of Arab Christians are the Copts, including some six million Arab-speaking people in Egypt and hundreds of thousands more abroad. This church has historically been seen by Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches as heretical, although in recent years there have been considerable strides to reconciliation with the Eastern Orthodox communion. There are tiny communities of Roman Catholics in Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. Most of the members in North Africa however, are foreign missionaries or workers or converted Arabs.

Arabic  in terms of the number of speakers, is the largest living member of the Semitic language family. In ISO 639-3, modern Arabic is classified as a macrolanguage with 27 sub-languages. These varieties are spoken throughout the Arab world, and Standard Arabic is widely studied and used throughout the Islamic world.

Modern Standard Arabic derives from Classical Arabic, the only surviving member of the Old North Arabian dialect group, attested in Pre-Islamic Arabic inscriptions dating back to the 4th century. Classical Arabic has also been a literary language and the liturgical language of Islam since its inception in the 7th century.

Arabic has lent many words to other languages of the Islamic world. During the Middle Ages, Arabic was a major vehicle of culture in Europe, especially in science, mathematics and philosophy. As a result, many European languages have also borrowed numerous words from it. Arabic influence is seen in Mediterranean languages, particularly Spanish, Portuguese, and Sicilian, due to both the proximity of European and Arab civilization and 700 years of Berber and Arab rule in the Iberian peninsula (see Al-Andalus).

Arabic has also borrowed words from many languages, including Greek, Persian and Sanskrit in early centuries, and contemporary European languages in modern times.

Aram  Aram is the name of a region mentioned in the Bible located in central Syria, including where the city of Aleppo (aka Halab) now stands. Aram stretched from the Lebanon mountains eastward across the Euphrates, including the Habur valley in northwestern Mesopotamia. The name is traditionally derived from Aram, son of Shem, a grandson of Noah in the Bible.

An inscription of Naram-Sin of Akkad (c. 2250 BC) provides the earliest reference to Aram as a place name, but scholars have disagreed as to its actual location and significance. Other early references to a place or people of Aram have appeared at the archives of Mari (c. 1900 BC) and at Ugarit (c. 1300 BC). The indisputable presence of the Aramaeans (speakers of Aramaic) in the region dates to the late 12th century BC.

Two medium-sized Aramaean kingdoms, Aram-Damascus and Hamath, along with several smaller kingdoms and independent city-states, developed in the region during the first millennium BCE. A few stele that name kings of this period have been found. The Chaldeans who settled in southern Babylonia around 1000 BCE were founders of the Neo-Babylonian Empire in 625 BCE are also believed to have been an Aramaean tribe. However, this is not certain and some dispute the alleged Aramaean ethnicity among the Chaldean dynasty.

As Christians began to inhabit that area of Syria, a dialect of Aramaic, Syriac, was born. Hence Syriac has been associated with Christian Syrians.

Today in this same area, there are several Eastern Catholic Churches that are distinct from the Latin Rite. Two of these are the Maronite Church and the Melkite Greek-Catholic Church, both common to Syria and Lebanon.

Aram of Two Rivers   See Aram-Naharaim

Aram Naharaim
Aram-Naharaim  or "Aram of Two Rivers," is a region that is mentioned five times in the Hebrew Bible. It is commonly identified with Nahrima mentioned in three tablets of the Amarna correspondence as a geographical description of the kingdom of Mitanni. It was the land in which the city of Haran lay. According to one rabbinical Jewish tradition, the birthplace of Abraham was also situated in Aram-Naharaim.

The actual rivers referred to are not explicitly named in the Bible, although it is generally agreed that the first was the Upper Euphrates (called N-h-r-n by the Egyptians). The name Nahrima in the Amarna letters denoted the region of the Upper Euphrates and its tributaries - the Balikh and Khabur.

Both Josephus and the Septuagint translate the name as Mesopotamia. Ancient writers elsewhere used the name "Mesopotamia" for the land between the Tigris and Euphrates. According to the Book of Jubilees, when the entire Earth was divided among the sixteen grandsons of Noah, Aram, the son of Shem received as an inheritance for his offspring, lands bordered by the Euphrates and the Tigris (Jubilees 9:5); it also associates the city of Ur Kesed not with the descendants of Aram, but rather with those of Arphaxad, his brother, who was Abram's ancestor.

However the usage of the Hebrew name "Aram-Naharaim" does not match the general usage of "Mesopotamia", the former being used exclusively for a northern region. Moreover the translation of the name as "Mesopotamia" was not consistent - the Septuagint also uses a more precise translation "Mesopotamia of Syria" as well as "Rivers of Syria". Josephus refers to the subjects of Chushan, king of Aram Naharaim, as "Assyrians".

Hebrew has a distinct name Ashur for the region of Assyria containing the Tigris. Aram Naharaim lay west of Ashur as it contained Haran. Haran itself lies on the west bank of the Balikh, east of the Upper Euphrates. The traditional Jewish location of Ur Kasdim (at Edessa) and the Balikh itself lie west of the Khabur implying that the second river was understood to be the latter by those maintaining this tradition.

Aram Rehob   an early Aramaean kingdom, of which the chief city was Rehob or Beth-Rehob, associated with Aram-Zobah as hostile to King David. Num. xiii.21 and Judges xviii.28 place a Beth-Rehob in the Lebanon region near Tel Dan. Moore (Commentary on Judges, p. 399) conjecturally identifies it with Paneas.

Aramaic   A northwest Semitic language known since before the tenth century BCE until the rise of Islam; still used today in some places in the Near East; official language of the Persian empire; used extensively in southwest Asia and by the Jews after the Babylonian exile; the cursive script replaced the ancient paleo-Hebrew script for secular writing as well as for holy scriptures. One of the languages most widely used by the Jews at the time the scrolls were written or transcribed or translated.


1. A chest, or coffer.
Bearing that precious relic in an ark. 

2. (Jewish Hist.) The oblong chest of acacia wood, overlaid with gold, which supported the mercy seat with its golden cherubs, and occupied the most sacred place in the sanctuary. In it Moses placed the two tables of stone containing the ten commandments.
See Ark of the Covenant.

3. The large, chestlike vessel in which Noah and his family were preserved during the Deluge. --Gen. 6.    See Noah's Ark

4. A large flatboat used on Western American rivers to transport produce to market.

Ark of the Covenant  Israel's most potent symbol of God's presence and commitment to them. It is also called "ark of witness", "ark of Adonai's covenant", "ark of the lord Adonai", "ark of Adonai", "ark of God's covenant", "ark of God".

There are detailed descriptions of this gold plated acacia wood box. 2.5x1.5x1.5 cubits (130x78x78cms or 34x20x20 inches). It had two poles (also gold plated) so it could be carried, and had two cherubs as part of the lid.

The Ark of the Covenant is described in the Bible as a sacred container, wherein rested the Tablets of stone containing the Ten Commandments as well as Aaron's rod and manna. According to the Biblical account, the Ark was built at the command of God, in accord with Moses' prophetic vision on Mount Sinai (Exodus 25:9-10). God communicated with Moses "from between the two cherubim" on the Ark's cover (Exodus 25:22). The Ark and its sanctuary were "the beauty of Israel" (Lamentations 2:1). Rashi and some Midrashim suggest that there were two arks - a temporary one made by Moses, and a later one made by Bezalel.

The Biblical account relates that during the trip of the Israelites, the Ark was carried by the priests ~2,000 cubits (Numbers 35:5; Joshua 4:5) in advance of the people and their army or host (Num. 4:5-6; 10:33-36; Psalms 68:1; 132:8). When the Ark was borne by priests into the bed of the Jordan, the river was separated, opening a pathway for the whole of the host to pass over (Josh. 3:15-16; 4:7-18). The Ark was borne in a seven-day procession around the wall of Jericho by seven priests sounding seven trumpets of rams' horns, the city taken with a shout (Josh. 6:4-20). When carried, the Ark was always wrapped in a veil, in tachash skins (the identity of this animal is uncertain), and a blue cloth, and was carefully concealed, even from the eyes of the Levites who carried it.

Philistine captivity of the Ark

The Philistine captivity of the Ark was an episode in the history of the Israelites, in which the Ark of the covenant was in the possession of the Philistines, who had captured it after defeating the Israelites in a battle at a location between Eben-ezer, where the Israelites encamped, and Aphek, (probably Antipatris) where the Philistines encamped. According to the Books of Samuel, prior to the battle the Ark had been residing at the ancient sanctuary of Shiloh, but was brought out by the Israelites in hope of victory.

The text describes the Philistines as having to move the Ark to several parts of their territory, as boils suddenly afflicted the people in each town to which it was taken - Ashdod, then Gath, then Ekron; at Ashdod there was additionally a plague of mice. In Ashdod, when the Ark was placed in the temple of Dagon, the statue of Dagon was found prostrate in front of the Ark the next morning; after the statue of Dagon was restored to its place, it was again found prostrate the next morning, and this time it had also been broken. The narrative goes on to state that, on the advice of their mancers about how to end the bad luck, the Philistines made a guilt offering of five goldern tumors and five gold mice (representing the 5 Philistine rulers). They then placed the gold along with the ark on a cart drawn by two milch cows, assuming the cows would go and wander in the wilderness. Instead the cows headed strait for the Israelites and did not waver.

Textual scholars regard the account of the captivity as originating from a distinct source, referred to as the sanctuaries source, which was originally independent of those which constitute the rest of the books of Samuel[

Armageddon  See Har-magedon.

Asiongaber  See Eziongeber

Assyria  the name of an area derived from the city Asshur on the Tigris, the original capital of the country, was originally a colony from Babylonia, and was ruled by viceroys from that kingdom.

It was a mountainous region lying to the north of Babylonia, extending along the Tigris as far as to the high mountain range of Armenia, the Gordiaean or Carduchian mountains. It was founded in B.C. 1700 under Bel-kap-kapu, and became an independent and a conquering power, and shook off the yoke of its Babylonian masters. It subdued the whole of Northern Asia. The Assyrians were Semites (Gen. 10:22), but in process of time non-Semite tribes mingled with the inhabitants. They were a military people, the "Romans of the East."

Of the early history of the kingdom of Assyria little is positively known. In B.C. 1120 Tiglath-pileser I., the greatest of the Assyrian kings, "crossed the Euphrates, defeated the kings of the Hittites, captured the city of Carchemish, and advanced as far as the shores of the Mediterranean." He may be regarded as the founder of the first Assyrian empire. After this the Assyrians gradually extended their power, subjugating the states of Northern Syria. In the reign of Ahab, king of Israel, Shalmaneser II. marched an army against the Syrian states, whose allied army he encountered and vanquished at Karkar. This led to Ahab's casting off the yoke of Damascus and allying himself with Judah. Some years after this the Assyrian king marched an army against Hazael, king of Damascus. He besieged and took that city. He also brought under tribute Jehu, and the cities of Tyre and Sidon. 

Augustine of Hippo   See Augustine of Hippo Here in Names in The Bible

assarion  An assarion is a small Roman copper coin worth one tenth of a drachma, or about an hour's wages for an agricultural laborer.

ASV  American Standard Version of The Bible

aureus  An aureus is a Roman gold coin, worth 25 silver denarii. An aureus weighed from 115 to 126.3 grains (7.45 to 8.18 grams).



This was a town of the tribe of Dan (Josh. 19:44).

It was fortified by Solomon (1 Kings 9:18; 2 Chr. 8:6).

Some have identified it with Bel'ain, in Wady Deir Balut.

Babylon  Babylon was a city-state of ancient Mesopotamia (which was sometimes considered an Empire) , the remains of which can be found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers (55 mi) south of Baghdad.

All that remains today of the ancient famed city of Babylon is a mound, or tell, of broken mud-brick buildings and debris in the fertile Mesopotamian plain between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, in Iraq. Historical resources inform us that Babylon was at first a small town, that had sprung up by the beginning of the third millennium BC (the dawn of the dynasties). The town flourished and attained prominence and political repute with the rise of the first Babylonian dynasty. It was the "holy city" of Babylonia by approximately 2300 BC, and the seat of the Neo-Babylonian Empire from 612 BC. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

The form Babylon is the Greek variant of Akkadian Babilu (bab-ilû, meaning "Gateway of the god(s)", translating Sumerian Ka.dingir.ra). In the Bible, the name appears as, interpreted by Book of Genesis 11:9 to mean "confusion" (of languages), from the verb balbal, "to confuse".

Babylonia  Babylonia was an Amorite state in Lower Mesopotamia (modern southern Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged when Hammurabi (fl. ca. 1728 - 1686 BC, short chronology) created an empire out of the territories of the former kingdoms of Sumer and Akkad. The Amorites being a Semitic people, Babylonia adopted the written Semitic Akkadian language for official use, and retained the Sumerian language for religious use, which by that time was no longer a spoken language. The Akkadian and Sumerian cultures played a major role in later Babylonian culture, and the region would remain an important cultural center, even under outside rule.

The earliest mention of the city of Babylon can be found in a tablet from the reign of Sargon of Akkad, dating back to the 23rd century BC.

Following the collapse of the last Sumerian "Ur-III" dynasty at the hands of the Elamites (ca. 1940 (short)), the Amorites gained control over most of Mesopotamia, where they formed a series of small kingdoms. During the first centuries of what is called the "Amorite period", the most powerful city states were Isin and Larsa, although Shamshi-Adad I came close to uniting the more northern regions around Assur and Mari. One of these Amorite dynasties was established in the city-state of Babylon, which would ultimately take over the others and form the first Babylonian empire, during what is also called the Old Babylonian Period.

Babylonian captivity  in the history of Israel, the period from the fall of Jerusalem (586 B.C.) to the reconstruction in Palestine of a new Jewish state (after 538 B.C.). After the capture of the city by the Babylonians some thousands, probably selected for their prosperity and importance, were deported to Mesopotamia. The number of those who remained is disputed by scholars. Such deportations were commonplace in Assyrian and Babylonian policy. The exiles maintained close links with their kinsmen at home, as is clear from Ezekiel, the prophet of the early years of the Exile. In 538 B.C., Cyrus the Great, the new master of the empire, initiated a new attitude toward the nations and decreed the restoration of worship at Jerusalem. The century following this decree was critical in the history of the Jews, for it is the time of their reintegration into a national and religious unit. For parts of the period, Ezra and Nehemiah are the best sources. The prophesied 70 years of captivity were fulfilled when the new Temple was completed in 516 B.C. For the papal captivity at Avignon, which is also called the Babylonian Captivity

The Babylonian Captivity and the subsequent return to Israel were seen as one of the pivotal events in the drama between God and His people: Israel. Just as they had been predestined for, and saved from, slavery in Egypt, the Israelites were predestined to be punished by God through the Babylonians, and then saved once more. The Babylonian Captivity had a number of serious effects on Judaism and the Jewish culture, including changes to the Hebrew alphabet and changes in the fundamental practices and customs of the Jewish religion.

This period saw the last high-point of Biblical prophecy in the person of Ezekiel, followed by the emergence of the central role of the Torah in Jewish life. This process coincided with the emergence of scribes and sages as Jewish leaders (see Ezra and the Pharisees).

Prior to exile, the people of Israel had been organized according to tribe; afterwards, they were organized by clans, with only the tribe of Levi continuing in its special role. After the Babylonian captivity, there were always sizable numbers of Jews living outside Eretz Israel, thus marking one starting point of the "Jewish diaspora.

Baptism   In Christianity, baptism (a word derived from Greek baptizo: "immersing", "performing ablutions") is the ritual act, with the use of water, by which one is admitted as a full member of the Christian Church and, in the view of some, as a member of the particular Church in which the baptism is administered.

Some Christians, particularly Quakers and the Salvation Army, do not see baptism as necessary. Among those that do, differences can be found in the manner of baptizing and in the understanding of the significance of the rite. Most baptize "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit", but some baptize in Jesus' name only. Most baptize infants, others do not. Some insist on submersion or at least partial immersion of the person who is baptized, others consider that any form of washing by water is sufficient.

The most usual form of baptism among Early Christians was for the candidate to stand in water and water to be poured over the upper body. Other common forms of baptism now in use include pouring water three times on the forehead or complete submersion in water.

Baptism has traditionally been seen as necessary for salvation. Martyrdom was identified early in church history as baptism by blood, enabling martyrs who had not been baptized by water to be saved. Later, the Catholic church identified a baptism of desire, by which those preparing for baptism who die before actually receiving the sacrament are considered saved.

The English word "baptism" has been used in reference to any ceremony, trial, or experience by which one is initiated, purified, or given a name.

baptize  See Baptism

Baptize means to immerse in, or wash with something, usually water. Baptism in the Holy Spirit, fire, the Body of Christ, and suffering are also mentioned in the New Testament, along with baptism in water. Baptism is not just to cleanse the body, but as an outward sign of an inward spiritual cleansing and commitment. Baptism is a sign of repentance, as practiced by John the Baptizer, and of faith in Jesus Christ, as practiced by Jesus' disciples.

Bar Kokhba's revolt  ls also called the Second Jewish-Roman War (when Kitos War is not counted), or the Third (when the Kitos War is counted)

Bar Kokhba’s revolt (132–135 CE) against the Roman Empire, also known as The Second Jewish-Roman War or The Second Jewish Revolt (out of three Jewish-Roman Wars), was a second major rebellion by the Jews of Iudaea. Alternatively, some sources call it The Third Revolt, counting also the riots of 115–117, the Kitos War, suppressed by the general Quintus Lucius Quietus who governed the province at the time.

Bashan  Meaning: light soil

A biblical place first mentioned in Gen. 14:5, where it is said that Chedorlaomer and his confederates "smote the Rephaim in Ashteroth," where Og the king of Bashan had his residence. At the time of Israel's entrance into the Promised Land, Og came out against them, but was utterly routed (Num. 21:33-35; Deut. 3:1-7). This country extended from Gilead in the south to Hermon in the north, and from the Jordan on the west to Salcah on the east. Along with the half of Gilead it was given to the half-Tribe of Manasseh (Josh. 13:29-31). Golan, one of its cities, became a “city of refuge” (Josh. 21:27).

Argob, in Bashan, was one of Solomon's commissariat districts (1 Kings 4:13). The cities of Bashan were taken by Hazael (2 Kings 10:33), but were soon after reconquered by Jehoash (2 Kings 13:25), who overcame the Syrians in three battles, according to the word of Elisha (19). From this time Bashan almost disappears from history, although we read of the wild cattle of its rich pastures (Ezek. 39:18; Ps. 22:12), the oaks of its forests (Isa. 2:13; Ezek. 27:6; Zech. 11:2), and the beauty of its extensive plains (Amos 4:1; Jer. 50:19). Soon after the conquest, the name "Gilead" was given to the whole country beyond Jordan. After the Exile, Bashan was divided into four districts:

1. Gaulonitis, or Jaulan, the most western

2. Auranitis, the Hauran (Ezek. 47:16)

3. Argob or Trachonitis, now the Lejah

4.  Batanaea, now Ard-el-Bathanyeh, on the east of the Lejah, with many deserted towns almost as perfect as when they were inhabited.

bath   bath is a liquid measure of about 22 liters, 5.8 U. S. gallons, or 4.8 imperial gallons.

batos  A batos is a liquid measure of about 39.5 liters, 10.4 U. S. gallons, or 8.7 imperial gallons.

BC   Before Christ; indicates that a time division that falls before the Christian era; same as BCE.

BCE  BCE stands for "Before the Common Era" and it is basically equivalent to "BC", except that it doesn't have the Christian religious connotations of BC. That makes it preferable for some scholars. Unfortunately, in our contentious world, using BCE also sometimes offends people, some of whom have suggested that we use plus signs and minus signs to indicate the years before the Julian calendar start date of 0.

Beelzebul  literally, lord of the flies. A name used for the devil.

Beersheba  Beersheba is Hebrew for "well of the oath" or "well of the seven."
The largest city in the Negev desert of southern Israel. Often referred to as the "Capital of the Negev", it is the seventh-largest city in Israel, located in the Southern District of the country.

behold  Look! See! Wow! Notice this! Lo!

Bela   Meaning: a thing swallowed

The name of a biblical city and three men and ldols;

A city on the shore of the Dead Sea, not far from Sodom, called also Zoar. It was the only one of the five cities that was spared at Lot's intercession (Gen. 19:20,23). It is first mentioned in Gen. 14:2,8.

Belial   Satan.

Bereishit  Bereishit is a Hebrew word, which is the first word of the Torah (the first five books of the Tanach, or Hebrew Bible). It may be translated as the phrase "In the beginning of".

Bereishit may refer to:

  • The Hebrew title of the biblical Book of Genesis

  • Bereishit (parsha), the first weekly parsha in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah readings

Bereishit, Bereshit, Bereishis, B'reshith, Beresheet, or Bereshees
 (Hebrew for "in beginning," the first word in the parshah) is the first weekly Torah portion (parshah) in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading. Jews in the Diaspora read it the first Sabbath after Simchat Torah, generally in October. Jews also read the beginning part of the parshah, Genesis 1:1-2:3, as the second Torah reading for Simchat Torah, after reading the last parts of Deuteronomy, parshah V'Zot HaBerachah, Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12.

The parshah consists of Genesis 1:1-6:8. In the parshah, God creates the world, and Adam and Eve. They commit the first sin, however, and God expels them from the Garden of Eden. One of their sons, Cain, becomes the first murderer by killing his brother Abel out of jealousy. Adam and Eve also have other children, whose descendants populate the Earth, but each generation becomes more and more degenerate until God, despairing, decides to destroy humanity. Only one man, Noah, finds grace in the eyes of God.

Bethel  Meaning: house of God

1. A place in Central Palestine, about 10 miles north of Jerusalem, at the head of the pass of Michmash and Ai.

It was originally the royal Canaanite city of Luz (Gen. 28:19).

The name Bethel was at first apparently given to the sanctuary in the neighborhood of Luz, and was not given to the city itself till after its conquest by Ephraim.

When Abram entered Canaan, he formed his second encampment between Bethel and Hai (Gen. 12:8); and on his return from Egypt he came back to it, and again "called upon the name of the Lord" (13:4).

Here Jacob, on his way from Beersheba to Haran, had a vision of the angels of God ascending and descending on the ladder whose top reached unto heaven (28:10, 19); and on his return he again visited this place, "where God talked with him" (35:1-15), and there he "built an altar, and called the place El-beth-el" (q.v.). To this second occasion of God's speaking with Jacob at Bethel, Hosea (12:4,5) makes reference.

In troublous times the people went to Bethel to ask counsel of God (Judg. 20:18, 31; 21:2). Here the ark of the covenant was kept for a long time under the care of Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron (20:26-28). Here also Samuel held in rotation his court of justice (1 Sam. 7:16).

It was included in Israel after the kingdom was divided, and it became one of the seats of the worship of the golden calf (1 Kings 12:28-33; 13:1). Hence the prophet Hosea (Hos. 4:15; 5:8; 10:5, 8) calls it in contempt Beth-aven, i.e., "house of idols."

Bethel remained an abode of priests even after the kingdom of Israel was desolated by the king of Assyria (2 Kings 17:28, 29). At length all traces of the idolatries were extirpated by Josiah, king of Judah (2 Kings 23:15-18); and the place was still in existence after the Captivity (Ezra 2:28; Neh. 7:32).

It has been identified with the ruins of Beitin, a small village amid extensive ruins some 9 miles south of Shiloh.

2.  Mount Bethel was a hilly district near Bethel (Josh. 16:1; 1 Sam. 13:2).

3.  A town in the south of Judah (Josh. 8:17; 12:16).


1: Bethlehem is a town in the Free State Province of South Africa that is situated in a fertile valley of the Maluti Mountains on the N5 highway. It is a wheat growing area and hence the name Bethlehem (from "Beit Lechem", Hebrew for "house of bread").

2: a small town near Jerusalem on the west bank of the Jordan River; early home of David and regarded as the place where Jesus was born.

Bethshean  Beth-shean  Meaning: house of security or rest

a city which belonged to Manasseh (1 Chr. 7:29), on the west of Jordan.

The bodies of Saul and his sons were fastened to its walls. In Solomon's time it gave its name to a district (1 Kings 4:12). The name is found in an abridged form, Bethshan, in 1 Sam. 31:10, 12 and 2 Sam. 21:12. It is on the road from Jerusalem to Damascus, about 5 miles from the Jordan, and 14 from the south end of the Lake of Gennesaret. After the Captivity it was called Scythopolis, i.e., "the city of the Scythians," who about B.C. 640 came down from the steppes of Southern Russia and settled in different places in Syria. It is now called Beisan.

Bethsaida (Beth Saida)   Meaning: house of fish

The name of one or two biblical cities . . .

1.  A town in Galilee, on the west side of the Sea of Galilee , in the "land of Gennesaret." It was the native place of Peter, Andrew, and Philip, and was frequently resorted to by Jesus (Mark 6:45; John 1:44; 12:21). It is supposed to have been at the modern 'Ain Tabighah, a bay to the north of Gennesaret.

2.   A city near which Christ fed 5,000 (Luke 9:10; compare John 6:17; Matt. 14:15-21), and where the blind man had his sight restored (Mark 8:22), on the east side of the lake, two miles up the Jordan. It stood within the region of Gaulonitis, and was enlarged by Philip the tetrarch, who called it “Julias,” after the emperor's daughter. Or, as some have supposed, there may have been but one Bethsaida built on both sides of the lake, near where the Jordan enters it. Now the ruins et-Tel.

BHS   See Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia

Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia  (BHS)

The Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, or BHS, is an edition of the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible as preserved in the Leningrad Codex, and supplemented by masoretic and text-critical notes. It is published by the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft (German Bible Society) in Stuttgart.

BHS is widely regarded (by Christians and Jews alike) as an accurate edition of the Hebrew scriptures, and a useful text-critical tool. It is the most widely used edition among biblical scholars.

For masoretic details, however, Israeli and Jewish scholars have shown a marked preference for alternative editions based upon the Aleppo Codex.

Bible  The Bible is the central religious text of Judaism and Christianity. The exact composition of the Bible is dependent on the religious traditions of specific denominations. Modern Judaism generally recognizes a single set of canonical books known as the Tanakh, or Hebrew or Jewish Bible. It comprises three parts: the Torah ("Teaching", also known as the Pentateuch or "Five Books of Moses"), the Prophets, and the Writings. It was primarily written in Hebrew with some small portions in Aramaic.

The Christian Bible includes the same books as the Tanakh (referred to in this context as the Old Testament), but usually in a different order, together with twenty-seven specifically Christian books collectively known as the New Testament. Those were originally written in Greek. Among some traditions, the Bible includes books that were not accepted in other traditions, often referred to as apocryphal. Eastern Orthodox Churches use all of the books that were incorporated into the Septuagint, to which they add the earliest Greek translation of the Deuterocanonicals; Roman Catholics include seven of these books in their canon; and many Protestant Bibles follow the modern Jewish canon, excluding the additional books. Some editions of the Christian Bible have a separate Biblical apocrypha section for books not considered canonical.

Read The Bible Here (King James Version)

Books of the Bible

Books of the Bible are listed differently in the canons of Jews, and Catholic, Protestant, Greek Orthodox, Slavonic Orthodox, Georgian, Armenian Apostolic, Syriac and Ethiopian Churches, although there is substantial overlap. For a detailed discussion of the differences, see "Biblical canon."

Christian Bible

Tanakh or Old Testament

Hebrew Bible
The Torah of Judaism

Old Testament
    Apocryphal or deuterocanonical books
New Testament
    Original language
     Historic editions
Christian theology


Hebrew Bible
Old and New Testaments
Ethiopian Orthodox canon

Bible versions and translations

English language translations of the Christian Bible Middle English 


16th-17th century 

Tyndale · Coverdale · Matthew · Great Bible · Taverner · Geneva · Bishops' · Douay-Rheims · Authorized King James

18th-19th century 

Challoner · Young's Literal · Revised · Darby · Joseph Smith · Quaker

20th century 

American Standard · Rotherham's Emphasized · Revised Standard · New World · New English Bible · New American Standard · Good News · Jerusalem · New American · Living · New International · New Century · New King James · New Jerusalem · Recovery · New Revised Standard · Revised English · Contemporary English · The Message · Clear Word · Knox · New International Reader's Version · New International Inclusive Language Edition · New Living · International Standard · Holman Christian Standard

21st century 

World English · English Standard · Today's New International · New English Translation · Orthodox Study Bible · 21st Century King James Version

Biblical canon  A Biblical canon or canon of scripture is a list or set of Biblical books considered to be authoritative as scripture by a particular religious community, generally in Judaism or Christianity. The term itself was first coined by Christians, but the idea is found in Jewish sources. The internal wording of the text can also be specified, for example: the Masoretic Text is the canonical text for Judaism, and the King James Version is the canonical text for the King-James-Only Movement, but this is not the general meaning of canon.

These lists, or canons, have been developed through debate and agreement by the religious authorities of those faiths. Believers consider these canonical books to be inspired by God or to express the authoritative history of the relationship between God and his people. Books excluded from a particular canon are considered non-canonical — however, many disputed books considered non-canonical or even apocryphal by some are considered Biblical apocrypha or Deuterocanonical or fully canonical, by others. There are differences between the Jewish and Christian canons, and between the canons of different Christian denominations. The differing criteria and processes of canonization dictate what the communities regard as the inspired books.

The canons listed below are usually considered closed (i.e., books cannot be added or removed). The closure of the canon reflects a belief that public revelation has ended and thus the inspired texts may be gathered into a complete and authoritative canon. By contrast, an open canon permits the addition of additional books through the process of continuous revelation. In Christian traditions, continuing revelation is most commonly associated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), and with some denominations of Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity.

Biblical Hebrew, also called Classical Hebrew, is an archaic form of the Hebrew language in which the Hebrew Bible and various Israelite inscriptions were written. It is believed to be the language which the ancient Israelite spoke.

It is not spoken in its pure form today, although it is often studied by religious Jews, Christian theologians, linguists, and Israeli archaeologists to help them gain a deeper understanding of the Hebrew Bible and Semitic philology. Classical Hebrew is also generally taught in public schools in Israel.

Biblical Hebrew and modern Hebrew differ with respect to grammar, vocabulary, and phonology. Although Modern and Biblical Hebrew's grammatical laws often differ, Biblical Hebrew is sometimes used in Modern Hebrew literature, much as archaic and Biblical constructions are used in Modern English literature.

Blessed Virgin Mary  See Blessed Virgin Mary Here in Names in The Bible

Blessed Virgin Mary (Roman Catholic)  See Blessed Virgin Mary Here in Names in The Bible

Blessing of Jacob  The Blessing of Jacob is a poem that appears in Genesis at 49:1-27.

The poem presents an opinion of the merits and attributes of each of the Tribes of Israel, and so can be compared with the Blessing of Moses, which has the same theme. However, there is very little in common between the poems, except for describing one of the tribes as a judge, and another as a lion's whelp, though in the Blessing of Jacob it is Dan that is the judge and Judah the whelp, whereas in the other poem it is Gad that is the judge and Dan the whelp.

Also, unlike the Blessing of Moses, that of Jacob is not afraid to castigate some of the tribes, in particular, Reuben, Simeon, and Levi. The poem appears to aim to describe why each of the tribes suffered the fate they did, and thus explains the small territory of Reuben, the firstborn, compared to Judah, as being due to Reuben's incest (abruptly mentioned at Genesis 49:3-4). Also, as Simeon's territory was completely within that of Judah, and Levi only had a few scattered cities, these fates were described as being due to their wickedness. Most of the other tribes have brief descriptions suiting their main characteristic, whether it be seafaring or beautiful princesses.

However, Judah and the Joseph tribes both receive extensive blessings, suited to their pre-eminence, Judah's as the major component of the Kingdom of Judah, and the Joseph tribes, in particular Ephraim, as the pre-eminent group in the Kingdom of Israel. In particular, Joseph is described as mighty, and thus as conquering, but Judah's authority is described as given directly by God, and consequently it suits the southern (i.e. Judah) bias of the Jahwist.

Blessing of Moses   The Blessing of Moses is a poem that appears in Deuteronomy at 33:2-27. According to the modern documentary hypothesis the poem was an originally separate text, that was inserted by the Deuteronomist into the second edition (of two) of the text which became Deuteronomy (i.e. was an addition in 'Dtr2').

The poem presents an opinion of the merits and attributes of each of the Tribes of Israel, and so can be compared with the Blessing of Jacob, which has the same theme. However, there is very little in common between the poems, except for describing one of the tribes as a judge, and another as a 'lion's whelp', though in the Blessing of Moses it is Gad that is the judge and Dan the whelp, whereas in the other poem it is Dan that is the judge and Judah the whelp. Also, unlike the Blessing of Jacob, that of Moses is positive towards all the mentioned tribes.

The poem notably does not describe Simeon, which may provide a date for the composition of the poem, as Simeon are believed to have gradually lost their tribal identity, since its traditional territory was wholly within that of Judah. The poem also only mentions each tribe briefly, except for the tribes of Joseph and Levi, which may indicate both that the poem originated within the Levite priesthood, within the territory of the Joseph tribes, or more generally the northern kingdom of Israel where Ephraim, part of the Joseph tribe, was the most prominent.

Boaz   See Boaz Here in Names in The Bible

Boethusians  A Jewish sect that opposed the Pharisees; sometimes identifies as a group of Sadducees. A recent review holds that the Hebrew term bytwsyn, bytysyn, traditionally rendered as "Boethusians," in reality were slightly altered forms of byt 'ysin"House of Essenes."

Book of Acts   Acts of the Apostles  The Acts of the Apostles is a book of the Bible, which now stands fifth in the New Testament. It is commonly referred to as simply Acts. The title "Acts of the Apostles" (Greek, Praxeis Apostolon) was first used by Irenaeus in the late second century, but some have suggested that the title "Acts" be interpreted as "the Acts of the Holy Spirit" or even "the Acts of Jesus," since 1:1 gives the impression that these acts are set forth as an account of what Jesus continued to do and teach, Jesus himself being the principal actor.

Acts tells the story of the Apostolic Age of the Early Christian church, with particular emphasis on the ministry of the Twelve Apostles and of Paul of Tarsus. The early chapters, set in Jerusalem, discuss Jesus' Resurrection, his Ascension, the Day of Pentecost, and the start of the Twelve Apostles' ministry. The later chapters discuss Paul's conversion, his ministry, and finally his arrest and imprisonment and trip to Rome.

It is almost universally agreed that the author of Acts also wrote the Gospel of Luke, see also Luke-Acts. The traditional view is that both books were written c. 60, though most scholars, believing the Gospel to be dependent (at least) on Mark's gospel, view the book(s) as having been written at a later date, sometime between 70 and 100.

'Scholars are about evenly divided on whether [the] attribution to Luke [the companion of Paul] should be accepted as historical.

Read Book of Acts Here

Book of Amos  The Book of Amos is one of the books of the Nevi'im (Hebrew: "prophets") and of the Christian Old Testament. Amos is one of the minor prophets.

Amos was the first biblical prophet whose words were recorded in a book, an older contemporary of Hosea and Isaiah. He was active c 750 BC during the reign of Jeroboam II. He lived in the kingdom of Judah but preached in the northern kingdom of Israel. His major themes of social justice, God's omnipotence, and divine judgment became staples of prophecy.

Without dispute, the Book of Amos has been accepted as canonical by Jews, the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholics, and Protestants.

Most scholars believe that Amos gave his message in the autumn of 750 BC or 749 BC. It is generally understood that his preaching at Bethel lasted only a single day at the least and a few days at the most. Leading up to this time, Assyrian armies battled against Damascus for a number of years, which greatly diminished Syria's threat to Israel. As a result of the fighting amongst its neighbors, Israel had the benefit of increasing its borders almost to those of the time of David and Solomon.

It should also be noted that Amos preached about two years before a very large earthquake, and made reference to it twice in his book. Zechariah remembers this earthquake over 200 years later (Zech 14:5).

The Book of Amos is set in a time when the people of Israel have reached a low point in their devotion to YHWH - the people have become greedy and have stopped following and adhering to their values. The wealthy elite are becoming rich at the expense of others. Peasant farmers who once practiced subsistence farming are being forced to farm what is best for foreign trade, mostly wine and oil.

YHWH speaks to Amos, a farmer and herder, and tells him to go to Samaria, the capital of the Northern kingdom. Through Amos, YHWH tells the people that he is going to judge Israel for its sins, and it will be a foreign nation that will enact his judgment.

The people understand judgment as the coming of "the Day of the Lord." "The Day of the Lord" was widely celebrated and highly anticipated by the followers of YHWH. However, Amos came to tell the people that "the Day of the Lord" was coming soon and that it meant divine judgment and justice for their own iniquity.

Book of Daniel  The Book of Daniel is a book in both the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) and the Christian Old Testament. Originally written in Hebrew and Aramaic, it is set during the Babylonian Captivity, a period when Jews were deported and exiled to Babylon following the Siege of Jerusalem of 597 BC. The book revolves around the figure of Daniel, an Israelite who becomes an adviser to Nebuchadnezzar, the ruler of Babylon from 605 to 562 BC.

This book tells about Nebuchadnezzar's dream in which he saw a big statue like a man. This book also contains the story of the three Hebrews who were put into a fiery furnace, but who were not burned to death because God protected them. The story of Daniel in the lions' den is also in this book.

God inspired Daniel to write that in these days in which we are now living, knowledge would be increased.

The book has two distinct parts: a series of six narratives (chapters one to six) and four apocalyptic visions (chapters seven to twelve). The narratives take the form of court stories which focus on tests of religious fidelity involving Daniel and his friends (chapters one, three and six), and Daniel's interpretation of royal dreams and visions (chapters two, four and five). In the second part of the book, Daniel recounts his reception of dreams, visions and angelic interpretations in the first person.

The dating and authorship of Daniel has been a matter of great debate among Jews and Christians. The traditional view holds that the work was written by a prophet named Daniel who lived during the sixth century BC, whereas many liberal Biblical scholars maintain that the book was written or redacted in the mid-second century BC and that most of the predictions of the book refer to events that had already occurred. A third viewpoint places the final editorial work in the fourth century BC.

Read Book of Daniel Here

Book of Deuteronomy  Deuteronomy is the fifth book of the Hebrew Bible and of the Old Testament. In form it is a set of three sermons delivered by Moses reviewing the previous forty years of wandering in the wilderness; its central element is a detailed law-code by which the Children of Israel are to live in the Promised Land.

This is the fifth book of the Bible. Its name means "giving the Law the second time." In this book there are three wonderful sermons by Moses. These sermons were preached just a little while before Moses died. In them Moses reminds the children of Israel about the Law which God had given to them, and how important it was for them to obey that Law. The closing chapter of this book tells about the death of Moses.

In theological terms the book constitutes a covenant between Yahweh and the "Children of Israel"; this is the culmination of the series of covenants which begins with that between Yahweh and all living things after the Flood (Genesis 9). One of its most significant verses constitutes the shema ("Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one!"), which today serves as the definitive statement of Jewish identity.

The majority scholarly opinion is that the bulk of the book appears to have been composed in the late 7th century BC, during the religious reforms carried out under king Josiah, with later additions from the period after the fall of Judah to the Neo-Babylonian empire in 586 BC; a minority view holds that the book is largely a creation of the post-Exilic, Persian period, i.e. the 4th century BC and even later. Its essential concerns mirror the thrust of Josiah's reforms: Yahweh is to be accepted as the sole God of Israel, and worshiped only in one place.

Read Book of Deuteronomy Here

Book of Ecclesiastes   See Ecclesiastes

Book of Esther  The Book of Esther is a book of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) and of the Old Testament. The Book of Esther or the Megillah is the basis for the Jewish celebration of Purim. Its full text is read aloud twice during the celebration, in the evening and again the following morning.

This book records the experiences of Esther, a Jewess, who became the wife of Ahasuerus, a king of the Medes and Persians during the time the Israelites were captives in Babylon. One of the king's chief servants, Haman, was jealous of Esther's cousin and foster father, Mordecai, and was a bitter enemy of all the Jewish people. He coaxed the king to issue a permit for all the Jews to be slain. Esther, the queen, used her influence with the king. He changed his mind, and the Jews were saved. Later Haman was put to death as an enemy of the king.

Read Book of Esther Here

Book of Ezekiel  The Book of Ezekiel is a book of the Hebrew Bible (of the Books of the Bible) named after the prophet Ezekiel.

Ezekiel is the name of one of God's prophets, and he wrote down many wonderful things that God asked him to write.He told the people of Israel that the time would come when they would be driven out of the land which God gave them, and that they would have to find homes in different places all over the earth. God also told Ezekiel to write that the Israelites, after a long, long time, would be brought back into the Promised Land.

The Book of Ezekiel was written for the captives of the tribe of Judah living in exile in Babylon following the Siege of Jerusalem of 597 BC. Up until that exile, their custom had been to worship their God in the Temple in Jerusalem. Exile raised important theological questions. How, the Judeans asked, could they worship their God when they were now in a distant land? Was their God still available to them? Ezekiel speaks to this problem. He first explains that the Judean exile is a punishment for disobedience and he then offers hope to the exiles, suggesting that the exile will be reversed once they return to God.

Unlike their ancestors, who were enslaved and socially marginalized while in exile in Egypt, the Jews of Ezekiel's time were able to become part of the society they found themselves in. The Exiles were told by Jeremiah not to worship the foreign gods, but Jeremiah did tell them that they could become part of the Babylonian culture. They did this well, often being called upon by the Babylonians to complete projects using their skills as artisans. Unlike other enemies, the Babylonians allowed the Jewish people to settle in small groups. While keeping their religious and national identities, many Jewish people did start to settle into their new environment. From building homes to opening businesses, the Jews seemed to settle into their exile land for the long haul.

This growing comfort in Babylon helps to explain why so many Jewish people decided not to return to their land. Many people would have been born in exile and would know nothing of their old land, so when the opportunity came for them to reclaim the land that was taken from them, many decided not to leave the Babylonian land they knew. This large group of people who decided to stay are known to be the oldest of the Jewish diaspora communities along with the Jews of Persia.

Read Book of Ezekiel Here

Book of Ezra  The Book of Ezra is a book of the Bible in the Old Testament and Hebrew Tanakh. It is the record of events occurring at the close of the Babylonian captivity. At one time, it included the Book of Nehemiah, and the Jews regarded them as one volume. The two are still distinguished in the Vulgate version as I and II Esdras.

The book is divided into two principal parts:

  • The history of the first return of exiles, in the first year of Cyrus the Great (536 B.C.), till the completion and dedication of the new Temple in Jerusalem, in the sixth year of Darius (515 B.C.). From the close of the sixth to the opening of the seventh chapter there is a period of about sixty years.

  • The history of the second return under Ezra, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes Longimanus, and of the events that took place at Jerusalem after Ezra's arrival there.

The book thus contains memorabilia connected with the Jews, from the decree of Cyrus to the reformation by Ezra (456 B.C.), extending over a period of about eighty years.

This book is named after a priest who served the Israelites during the time they were captives in Babylon, and tells more of the history of the Israelites following the capture of their last king, Zedekiah. After the Israelites had been in Babylon for seventy years they were allowed to go back to the land of Palestine, which was their home, and Ezra was a very important leader among them at that time. Ezra was asked to build the house of God, the temple at Jerusalem.

Read Book of Ezra Here

Book of Genesis  (Greek: "birth", "origin")

Genesis  is the first book of the Bible of Judaism and of Christianity, and the first of five books of the Pentateuch or Torah. It recounts Judeo-Christian beliefs regarding the world from Creation to the descent of the children of Israel into Egypt, and contains some of the best-known stories of the Old Testament, including Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah's Ark, the Tower of Babel, and the biblical Patriarchs.

For Jews the theological importance of Genesis centers on the Covenants linking God to his Chosen People and the people to the Promised Land. Christianity has reinterpreted Genesis as the prefiguration of Christian beliefs, notably the Christian view of Christ as the new Adam and the New Testament as the culmination of the covenants.

Structurally, Genesis consists of what biblical scholars refer to as primeval history (Genesis 1-11) and cycles of Patriarchal stories. The narrative of Joseph stands apart from these. It appears to have reached its final form in the 5th century BC, with a previous history of composition reaching back possibly to the 10th century.

{Read The Book of Genesis}

Book of  Hosea  The Book of Hosea is one of the books of the Hebrew Bible and of the Christian Old Testament. It stands first in order among what are known as the twelve Minor Prophets.

This book of the Bible is named after the Prophet Hosea. This prophet wrote that the time is coming when God will destroy death. When this promise comes true, no one will get sick and die. We know this is right because it is in the Bible.

Book of Isaiah  The Book of Isaiah is a book of the Bible traditionally attributed to the Prophet Isaiah, who lived in the second half of the 8th century BC. In the first 39 chapters, Isaiah prophesies doom for a sinful Judah and for all the nations of the world that oppose God. The last 27 chapters, called "The Book of Comfort," prophesy the restoration of the nation under a divine king. This section includes the Songs of the Suffering Servant.

This Book contains the wonderful things God inspired him to write. The Prophet Isaiah warned the people of Israel that God would punish them for their wrongdoing. Isaiah also recorded many wonderful promises of God which describe the good things lie plans to do for the people of the whole world.

Isaiah 11:6, 7 reads like this:

"The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox."

In Genesis, Adam named all the animals, and that they obeyed him because he was made king over them? Well, Isaiah explains that the time will come when all the animals will be tame again, and that thev will obey man just as they did in the Garden of Eden when Adam gave names to all of them.

Isaiah 35:5, 6 states another blessed promise of God. It reads:

"Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall writers break out, and streams in the desert."

God will make this promise come true when King Jesus rules the world.

{Read The Book of Isaiah}

Book of Jeremiah  The Book of Jeremiah, or Jeremiah, is part of the Hebrew Bible, Judaism's Tanakh, and later became a part of Christianity's Old Testament. It was originally written in a complex and poetic Hebrew (apart from verse 10:11, curiously written in Aramaic), recording the words and events surrounding the life of the Jewish prophet Jeremiah who lived at the time of the destruction of Solomon's Temple (587/6 BC) in Jerusalem during the fall of the Kingdom of Judah at the hands of Babylonia.

This book bears the name of one of God's prophets. God asked Jeremiah to write a great deal about the sins of the people of Israel, and also to warn them that they would be punished for their sins.

"God Gives Laws to His People." Moses was the leader of the Israelites at the time of this story. God gave them his laws, but they didn't obey them very well. Because they did not do what God wanted them to do, they finally did not have a king of their own to rule over them.

Besides, for hundreds of years they were kept out of the land which God gave to them. But God revealed to the Prophet Jeremiah that the time is comming when he will give them a new Law and that then he will forgive their sins. That new Law which God will give the Israelites is called a "new covenant." Jeremiah 31:31-34 tells all about it.

{Read The Book of Jeremiah}

Book of Job  The Book of Job is one of the books of the Hebrew Bible. It relates the story of Job, his trials at the hands of Satan, his theological discussions with friends on the origins and nature of his suffering, and finally a response from God. The Book itself comprises a didactic poem set in a prose framing device and has been called “the most profound and literary work of the entire Old Testament”. The Book itself, along with its numerous exegeses, are attempts to address the problem of evil, i.e. the problem of reconciling the existence of evil or suffering in the world with the existence of God. Scholars are divided as to the origin, intent, and meaning of the book.

There was an extremely pious man named Job. He was very prosperous and had seven sons, and three daughters. Constantly fearing that his sons may have sinned and "cursed God in their hearts" he habitually offered burnt offerings as a pardon for their sins.

The angels of heaven (the Hebrew word translated as "Angels" means "the Sons of God") and Satan (literally, the Hebrew word means "the accuser" or "the adversary") present themselves to God. God asks Satan his opinion on Job, apparently a truly pious man. Satan answers that Job is only pious because he is prosperous. In response to Satan's assertion, God gives Satan permission to destroy Job's possessions and family.

Satan, God's enemy, said that Job did what God asked him to do because he was always rewarded for it. Satan also claimed that if God allowed Job to suffer, Job would no longer do what God asked him to do.

The story explains that God allowed Satan to bring trouble upon Job

All of Job's possessions are destroyed and all of his offspring are killed. Job does not curse God after this but instead shaves his head, tears his clothes and says "Naked I came out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return : the Lord has given, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord"

As Job endures these calamities without reproaching Divine Providence, Satan solicits permission to afflict his person as well, and God says, "Behold he is in your hand, but don’t touch his life." Satan, therefore, smites him with dreadful boils, and Job, seated in ashes, scrapes his skin with broken pottery.

Then Job's wife turned against him. His wife prompts him to "curse God, and die" but Job answers, "Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" In all of this, Job doesn't sin by cursing God.

In the meantime, only three of Job's friends come to visit him in his misfortune — Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. A fourth, Elihu the Buzite, first begins talking in chapter 32 and bears a distinguished part in the dialogue; his arrival is not noted. The friends spend 7 days sitting on the ground with Job, without saying anything to him because they see that he is suffering and in much pain. Job at last breaks his silence and "curses the day he was born".

But the story says that Job still trusted God, and did what God wanted him to do. Then Job's health returned. Other children were given to him. His wife loved him again, and the Lord gave him all the cattle he needed so that he was richer than ever before.

{Read The Book of Job}

Book of Joel  The Book of Joel is part of the Jewish Tanakh, and also the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. Joel is part of a group of twelve prophetic books known as the Minor Prophets or simply as The Twelve; the distinction 'minor' indicates the short length of the text in relation to the larger prophetic texts known as the "Major Prophets".

Joel was probably a resident of Judah, as his commission was to that people. He made frequent visits to Jerusalem (1:14; 2:1, 15, 32; 3:1, 12, 17, 20, 21). The name Joel was common in Israel and is usually interpreted as meaning Yahweh is God.

Book of Joshua  the sixth book in both the Hebrew Tanakh and the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. This book stands as the first in the Former (or First) Prophets covering the history of Israel from the possession of the Promised Land to the Babylonian Captivity.

The book of Joshua contains a history of the Israelites from the death of Moses to that of Joshua. After Moses' death, Joshua, by virtue of his previous appointment as Moses' successor, receives from God the command to cross the Jordan. In execution of this order Joshua issues the requisite instructions to the stewards of the people for the crossing of the Jordan; and he reminds the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half of Manasseh of their pledge given to Moses to help their brethren.

The book essentially consists of three parts:

1. The history of the conquest of the land (1-12).

2. The allotment of the land to the different tribes, with the appointment of cities of refuge, the provision for the Levites (13-22), and the dismissal of the eastern tribes to their homes. This section has been compared to the Domesday Book of the Norman Conquest.

3. The farewell addresses of Joshua, with an account of his death (23, 24)

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Book of Jubilees  sometimes called the Lesser Genesis (Leptogenesis), is an ancient Jewish religious work, considered one of the Pseudepigrapha by most Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox Christians. It was well known to Early Christian writers in the East and the West, as well as by the Rabbis. Later it was so thoroughly suppressed that no complete Hebrew, Greek or Latin version has survived. It is considered canonical for the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, where it is known as the Book of Division (Ge'ez: Mets'hafe Kufale). In the modern scholarly view, it reworks material found in the Biblical books of Genesis and Exodus in the light of concerns of some 2nd century BC Jews.

The Book of Jubilees claims to present "the history of the division of the days of the Law, of the events of the years, the year-weeks, and the jubilees of the world" as secretly revealed to Moses (in addition to the Torah or "Law") by angels while Moses was on Mount Sinai for forty days and forty nights. The chronology given in Jubilees is based on multiples of seven; the jubilees are periods of 49 years, seven 'year-weeks', into which all of time has been divided. According to the author of Jubilees, all proper customs that mankind should follow are determined by God's decree.

{Read The Book of Jubilees}

Book of Judges (Hebrew: Sefer Shoftim )  Books of Nevi'im 

Book of Judges  is a book of the Bible originally written in Hebrew. It appears in the Tanakh and in the Christian Old Testament. Its title refers to its contents; it contains the history of Biblical judges (not to be confused with modern judges), who helped rule and guide the ancient Israelites, and of their times.

This book is a history of the children of Israel during a period of four hundred and fifty years, when they were ruled by what the Bible calls judges. That was before the Israelites had a king.

As Judges stands today, the last judge it mentions is Samson, and although there are two further stories, the traditional view is that Samson's exploits probably synchronise with the period immediately preceding Eli, who was both high priest and judge. Both academic views and traditional thought hence view the narrative of the judges as ending at Samson, picking up again at 1 Samuel 1:1 to consider Eli, and continuing through to 1 Samuel 7:2. As for the stories at the end of the Book, which are set in the same time period as the judges but discuss people other than the judges, there is much affinity between these and the Book of Ruth, and many people believe Ruth originally belonged amongst them. There were thirteen Biblical Judges.

{Read The Book of Judges}

Book of Lamentations  The Book of Lamentations is a book of the Bible Old Testament and Jewish Tanakh. It is traditionally read by the Jewish people on Tisha B'Av, the fast day that commemorates the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.

It is called in the Hebrew canon 'Eikhah, meaning "How", being the formula for the commencement of a song of wailing. It is the first word of the book (2 Sam. 1:19-27). The Septuagint adopted the name rendered "Lamentations" (Greek threnoi = Hebrew qinoth) now in common use, to denote the character of the book, in which the prophet mourns over the desolations brought on Jerusalem and the Holy Land by the Chaldeans. In the Hebrew Bible it is placed among the Ketuvim, the Writings.

The word "Lamentations" means "mourning," . This book was also written by the Prophet Jeremiah who also wrote The Book of Jeremiah, and he tells of all the trouble that had come upon the people of Israel because they had not done what God wanted them to do. But the prophet trusted God and knew that after awhile God would bless the Israelites and also all other people in the world.

According to tradition, authorship is assigned to the Prophet Jeremiah, who was a court official during the conquest of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, during which the First Temple was destroyed and King Jehoiachin was taken prisoner (cf. Is 38 ff and Is 52). In the Septuagint and the Vulgate the Lamentations are placed directly after the Prophet.

It is said that Jeremiah retired to a cavern outside the Damascus gate, where he wrote this book. That cavern is still pointed out by tour guides.

"In the face of a rocky hill, on the western side of the city, the local belief has placed 'the grotto of Jeremiah.' There, in that fixed attitude of grief which Michelangelo has immortalized, the prophet may well be supposed to have mourned the fall of his country"
(Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, History of the Jewish Church).

However, the strict acrostic style of four of the five poems is not found at all in the Book of Jeremiah itself and Jeremiah's name is not found anywhere in the book itself (nor any other name, for that matter), so authorship of Lamentations is disputed. The Book of Chronicles says that Jeremiah did write a lament on the death of King Josiah. The work is probably based on the older Mesopotamian genre of the "city lament", of which the Lament for Ur is among the oldest and best-known.

According to F. W. Dobbs-Allsopp, "the widely observed unity of form and point of view . . .  and general resemblance in linguistic detail throughout the sequence are broadly suggestive of the work of a single author," though other scholars see Lamentations as the work of multiple authors

{Read The Book of Lamentations}

Book of Malachi  (or Malachias, Mál'akhî)

Malachi is a book of the Bible Old Testament and Jewish Tanakh, written by the prophet Malachi. Possibly this is not the name of the author, since Malachi means 'my messenger' or 'my angel' in Hebrew.

{Read The Book of Malachi}

Book of Nehemiah  This book is about Israel during and after the time they returned to Palestine following their captivity in Babylon, and tells how Nehemiah rebuilt the walls around Jerusalem after the Israelites returned to Palestine.

The Book of Nehemiah is a book of the Hebrew Bible, historically regarded as a continuation of the Book of Ezra, and is sometimes called the second book of Ezra.

Traditionally, the author of this book is believed to be Nehemiah himself, although some dispute this. There are portions of the book written in the first person (ch. 1-7; 12:27-47, and 13). But there are also portions of it in which Nehemiah is spoken of in the third person (ch. 8; 9; 10). Some, following the traditional attribution to Nehemiah, suppose that these portions may have been written by Ezra (of this, however, there is no distinct evidence), and had their place assigned them in the book probably by Nehemiah, as the responsible author of the whole book, with the exception of ch. 12:11, 22, 23. Other authors think that the historical order of events in both Ezra and Nehemiah has become jumbled, from which they conclude that at least the final arrangement and revision of their text must have occurred at a later period.

If Nehemiah was the author, the date at which the book was written was probably about 431 - 430 BC, when Nehemiah had returned the second time to Jerusalem after his visit to Persia.

The book consists of four parts:

  1. An account of the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem, and of the register Nehemiah had found of those who had returned from Babylon. Details describe how Nehemiah became governor of Judah; various forms of opposition generated by Sanballat and others; describes earlier return under Zerubbabel (ch. 1-7).

  2. An account of the state of religion among the Jews during this time (8-10).

  3. Increase of the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the census of the adult male population, and names of the chiefs, together with lists of priests and Levites (11-12:1-26).

  4. Dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, the arrangement of the temple officers, and the reforms carried out by Nehemiah (12:27-ch. 13).

This book closes the history of the Old Testament, if The Book of Esther is considered unhistorical and the deuterocanonical books are regarded as Apocrypha. Malachi the prophet was possibly contemporary with Nehemiah (although scholars debate whether Malachi actually existed - many think that the Book of Malachi was accidentally detached from the preceding book, and named from its first words ...messenger...).

A work ascribed to Nehemiah, but bearing in some canons the title Esdras II. or Esdras III., having been attributed to Ezra on the ground that Nehemiah's self-assertion deserved some punishment (Sanh. 93b), or because, having ordinarily been written on the same scroll with the Book of Ezra, it came to be regarded as an appendix to it. The book consists ostensibly (i. 1) of the memoirs of Nehemiah, compiled, or at any rate completed, toward the close of his life, since he alludes to a second visit to Jerusalem "at the end of days" (xiii. 6, A. V. margin), which must mean a long time after the first. In xiii. 28 he speaks of a grandson (comp. xii. 10, 11) of the high priest Eliashib as being of mature years; whence it appears that the latest event mentioned in the book, the high-priesthood of Jaddua, contemporary of Alexander the Great (xii. 11, 22), may have fallen within Nehemiah's time. The redaction of his memoirs occurred probably later than 360 B.C., but how much later can not easily be determined. The first person is employed in ch. i.-vii. 5, xii. 31-42, xiii. 6 et seq. Sometimes, however, Nehemiah prefers to speak in the name of the community (ii. 19, iii. 33-38, x.), and in some places he himself is spoken of in the third person, either with the title "tirshatha" (viii. 9, x. 2) or "peh.ah" (xii. 26, claimed by him in v. 14; A. V. "governor"), or without title (xii. 47). The style of these last passages implies somewhat that Nehemiah is not the writer, especially that of the third and fourth: "in the days of Nehemiah the governor, and of Ezra"; "in the days of Zerubbabel, and in the days of Nehemiah." The portions of the book in which the first person is used are marked by repeated prayers for recognition of the author's services, and imprecations on his enemies (iii. 36, 67; v. 19; vi. 13; xiii. 14, 22, 29, 31), which may be taken as characteristic of an individual's style; and indeed the identity of the traits of character which are manifested by the writer of the opening and closing chapters can not escape notice. Moreover, the author's enemies, Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite, figure in both parts.

{Read The Book of Nehemiah}

Book of Numbers  (Bamidbar, meaning in the desert)

The Book of Numbers is the fourth book of the Torah, the Tanakh, and the Old Testament. In the Greek Septuagint it is called Arithmoi, or Numbers, because it contains a record of the numbering of the Israelites in the wilderness of Sinai and later on the plain of Moab.

The fourth book of the Bible is called Numbers because it tells of the numbering, or counting, of the people of Israel. This is a history book. It acquaints us with the experiences of the children of Israel from the time they left Egypt until they were ready to cross over the river Jordan into the Promised Land. This was a period of forty years.

This book may be divided into three parts:

1.The numbering of the people at Sinai, and preparations for resuming their march (1-10:10). The sixth chapter gives an account of the vow of a Nazirite.

2.An account of the journey from Sinai to Moab, the sending out of the spies and the report they brought back, and the murmurings (eight times) of the people at the hardships by the way (10:11-21:20).

3.The transactions in the plain of Moab before crossing the Jordan River (21:21-36).

The period comprehended in the history extends from the second month of the second year after the Exodus to the beginning of the eleventh month of the fortieth year, in all about thirty-eight years and ten months; a dreary period of wanderings. They were fewer in number at the end of their wanderings than when they left the land of Egypt.

According to tradition, Moses authored all five books of the Torah. According to the documentary hypothesis, Numbers, with its dry style and emphasis on censuses, derives from the priestly source, c. 550-400 BC, and was combined with the other three sources to create the Torah c. 400

{Read The Book of Numbers}

Book of Obadiah  The Book of Obadiah is found in both the Hebrew Bible and the Old Testament of the Christian Bible, where it is the shortest book, only one chapter long. Its authorship is generally attributed to a person named Obadiah, which means “servant (or worshipper) of the Lord”. Obadiah is classified as a "minor prophet" in the Christian Bible due to the brevity of the writing (only 21 verses) and the content (prophetic material). An Old Testament prophet was (professedly) not only a person who was given divine insight into future events, but a person whom the Lord used to declare his word.

The first nine verses in the book foretell total destruction in the land of Edom at the hand of the Lord. Obadiah writes that this destruction will be so complete that it will be even worse than a thief who comes at night, for not even a thief would destroy everything. The Lord will allow all allies of Edom to turn away and help chase Edom out of its land. What is the reason for such a harsh punishment? Verses ten through fourteen explain that when Israel (the Lord’s chosen people) was attacked, Edom refused to help them, thus acting like an enemy. What is even worse is that Edom and Israel share a common blood line through their founders who were brothers, Jacob and Esau. Because of this gross neglect of a relative, Edom will be covered with shame and destroyed forever. The final verses, fifteen through twenty-one, depict the restoration of Israel and the wiping out of the Edomites. Verse eighteen says that there will be no survivors from the house of Esau once the destruction is complete. Israel will become a holy place and its people will return from exile and inhabit the land once inhabited by the Edomites. The final verse of the prophecy places the Lord as King who will rule over all the mountains of Edom.

Book of Proverbs  The Book of Proverbs is a book of the Hebrew Bible (the Christian Old Testament), included in the collected works known as the "Writings" or Ketuvim.

This is a book of wise sayings nearly all of which were written by King Solomon. If you have read the story of King Solomon, you will have learned that he was a very wise man, because God gave him wisdom. Some of Solomon's wisdom is shown in the Book of Proverbs. In chapter 3, verses 5 and 6, the king very wisely wrote,

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."

The authorship of Proverbs has long been a matter of dispute. Solomon’s name appears in Proverbs 1:1, "The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, King of Israel." There are also references within Proverbs to Agur (30:1) and Lemuel (31:1) as authors distinct from Solomon. These names are missing in the Greek translation of the Septuagint. Medieval scholars used in the Vulgate the Hebrew rendering of these two verses, and in their eyes the words "Agur" and "Lemuel" were but symbolical names of Solomon. Solomon is often mentioned as someone who has extensive wisdom in the Bible as well as in extra-biblical literature. However at the time of composition it was often the custom to place the name of the King or someone of prominence in writings in order to honor them, or to give those writings more prestige. In 1 Kings 4:29-34, 3000 proverbs and over 1000 songs are said to have come from Solomon and it is also said that people came from all over to hear the wisdom of Solomon. The general assumption is that Solomon was a part of the authorship to some extent, but that the book was not solely his work. Not only are the names "Agur" and "Lemuel" linked to other sections of the book, there are elements of disunity within the book that suggest more than one author. Some of the authorship is attributed to "Men of Hezekiah" (25:1), though it is stated that they simply transcribed the proverbs rather than writing them of their own accord.

In terms of the text itself there are at least eight specific instances where authorship is mentioned:

Proverbs Authors/Collectors 

1:1 Solomon 

10:1 Solomon 

25:1 Solomon (as copied by Hezekiah’s men)

30:1 Agur son of Jakeh 

31:1 Lemuel (or his mother)

31:10-31 author unstated 

As for the eighth section there are scholars who consider the poem at the end of the book vs. 10-31 as written by an unknown author. The attributions of authorship are as follows in accordance with the scriptures above; Solomon, Solomon, Wise Men, Wise Men, Solomon (as copied by Hezekiah’s men), Agur son of Jakeh, Lemuel (or his mother), and the unknown author. With this possibility it is speculated that the sections written by the Wise Men were studied by Solomon and added in and that they influenced his writing. With this possibility it is likely that there would be similarities in the section written by Solomon as well as the sections by the Wise Men. Studies of word usage have indicated that the highest percentage of commonalities are between the three Solomon sections. The next most common are the Wise Men sections, showing that they could have influenced Solomon’s writing, and the least commonalities were with the Agur, Lemuel, and the unknown author. A majority of critical scholars, including James L. Crenshaw, Roland E. Murphy and L.G. Perdue, hold to the belief that much of Proverbs was brought together from a time well after Solomon. However, many well respected theologians continue to attribute most of the book to Solomon, including J. I. Packer, John Piper, John F. MacArthur, and Albert Mohler.

{Read The Book of Proverbs}

Book of Psalms  ("praises")   a book of the Hebrew Bible (the Christian Old Testament), included in the collected works known as the "Writings" or Ketuvim.

Collection of Biblical hymns, i.e. sacred songs or poems used in worship and non-canonical passages.

The Book of Psalms contains the beautiful writings of King David and other servants of God. Psalms mean "hymns." David was a musician who played the harp, and he was also a poet. In the poetic Psalms which David wrote, he expresses his love for God, and thanks God for all the wonderful things he had done for him.

Chapter 23 of the Book of Psalms is one of the most beautiful of all the Psalms. If you have read the story of David, you know that at one time he was a shepherd boy who cared for his father's sheep. When writing the 23rd Psalm, he was thinking of God as his shepherd, and of how tenderly God cared for him.

As a prophet, God caused him to write of many wonderful things that would be done for the people when Jesus becomes King. In the 46th Psalm, David records God's promise that the time is coming when there will be no more wars.

In the 72nd Psalm and the 8th verse, David writes about King Jesus, and says, "He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth." In the 12 verse of this Psalm, David says that Jesus "shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper."

Raed The Book of Psalms

Book of Revelation  The Book of Revelation, also called Revelation to John, Apocalypse of John, and Revelation of Jesus Christ is the last canonical book of the New Testament in the Christian Bible. It is the only biblical book that is wholly composed of apocalyptic literature.

The Apocalypse, the closing book and the only prophetical book of the New Testament canon.

The author of this book was undoubtedly John the apostle. His name occurs four times in the book itself (1:1, 4, 9; 22:8), and there is every reason to conclude that the “John” here mentioned was the apostle.

In a manuscript of about the twelfth century he is called “John the divine,” but no reason can be assigned for this appellation.

The date of the writing of this book has generally been fixed at A.D. 96, in the reign of Domitian. There are some, however, who contend for an earlier date, A.D. 68 or 69, in the reign of Nero. Those who are in favor of the later date appeal to the testimony of the Christian father Irenaeus, who received information relative to this book from those who had seen John face to face. He says that the Apocalypse "was seen no long time ago."

As to the relation between this book and the Gospel of John, it has been well observed that . . .

"the leading ideas of both are the same. The one gives us in a magnificent vision, the other in a great historic drama, the supreme conflict between good and evil and its issue. In both Jesus Christ is the central figure, whose victory through defeat is the issue of the conflict.

In both the Jewish dispensation is the preparation for the gospel, and the warfare and triumph of the Christ is described in language saturated with the Old Testament. The difference of date will go a long way toward explaining the difference of style." Plummer's Gospel of St. John, Introd.

{Read The Book of Revelation}

Book of Ruth  one of the books of the Ketuvim ("Writings") of the Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible) and of the Writings of the Old Testament. It is a rather short book, in both Jewish and Christian scripture, consisting of only four chapters.

The Book of Ruth is the story of a very good woman whose home was in the land of Moab, but later she went to the land of Israel and married an Israelite by the name of Boaz

An Israelitish woman whose name was Naomi, together with her husband, left the land of Israel and moved to the land of Moab. They thought they would be more prosperous there. They had two sons, and after awhile, these two sons married women of the land of Moab. One of these women was Ruth. Soon after that, Naomi's husband and both her sons died. She was very sad and lonely, and decided to return to the land of Israel. Ruth went with her. When they arrived in Israel, Ruth went to work in a harvest field belonging to Boaz, a relative of Naomi. After awhile Ruth married Boaz. They had a son, who was the forefather, or ancestor, of Mary, the mother of Jesus.

{Read The Book of Ruth}

Book of the Twelve  See Minor Prophet

Books of Chronicles  See Chronicles

Books of Kings  The Books of Kings are a part of Judaism's Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible. They were originally written in Hebrew and were later included by Christianity as part of the Old Testament. According to Biblical chronology, the events in the Books of Kings occurred between the 10th and 6th centuries BC.

These two books give the history of Israel during the time that kings reigned over them, beginning with King David, and ending with Zedekiah, their last king. It was Zedekiah who was captured by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and taken to the city of Babylon as a prisoner. The Bible says that he would not see Babylon, and he didn't, because he was blinded by the soldiers who captured him. These books also tell the experiences of the prophets Elijah and Elisha.

The books contain accounts of the kings of the ancient Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah. They contain the annals of the Jewish commonwealth from the accession of Solomon until the subjugation of the kingdom by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians (apparently a period of about four hundred and fifty-three years). The Books of Kings synchronize with 1 Chronicles 28 - 2 Chronicles 36:21. While in the Chronicles greater prominence is given to the priestly or Levitical office, in the Kings greater prominence is given to the royal and prophetic offices. Kings appears to have been written considerably earlier than Chronicles and as such is generally considered a more reliable historical source.

{Read The Books of Kings}
The First Book of Kings         The Second Book of Kings


Books of the Minor Prophets  See Minor Prophet

Books of the Prophets  see Nevi'im



Books of Samuel  The Books of Samuel are part of the Tanakh (part of Judaism's Hebrew Bible) and also of the Christian Old Testament. The work was originally written in Hebrew, and the Book(s) of Samuel originally formed a single text, as they are often considered today in Hebrew bibles.

The two books in the Bible named after Samuel the prophet. These books tell about the birth and life of Samuel. Samuel was the prophet of God who chose Saul to be Israel's first king. He later appointed David king to take the place of Saul. These two books also tell the story of both Saul and David up to the time Saul died and David became the king in Israel.

Together with what is now referred to as the Book(s) of Kings, the translators who created the Greek Septuagint divided the text into four books, which they named the Books of the Kingdoms. In the Latin Vulgate version, these then became the Books of the Kings, thus 1 and 2 Samuel were referred to as 1 and 2 Kings, with 3 and 4 Kings being what are called 1 and 2 Kings by the King James Bible and its successors.

{Read The Books of  Samuel}
The First Book of Samuel         The Second Book of Samuel

Bronze Age  The Bronze Age is, with respect to a given prehistoric society, the period in that society when the most advanced metalworking (at least in systematic and widespread use) included smelting copper and tin from naturally-occurring outcroppings of copper and tin ores, creating a bronze alloy by melting those metals together, and casting them into bronze artifacts. These naturally-occurring ores typically included arsenic as a common impurity. Copper/tin ores are rare, as reflected in the fact that there were no tin bronzes in western Asia before 3000 BC. The Bronze Age is regarded as the second part of a three-age system for prehistoric societies, though there are some cultures that have extensive written records during their Bronze Age. In this system, in some areas of the world the Bronze Age followed the Neolithic age. On the other hand, in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, the Neolithic age is directly followed by the Iron Age. In some parts of the world, a Copper Age follows the Neolithic Age and precedes the Bronze Age.


Cairo (Arabic: al-Qa-hira), which means "the triumphant",

Cairo is the capital and largest city of Egypt. It is the Arab World's largest and Africa's most populous city. While Al-Qahirah is the official name of the city, in Egyptian Arabic it is called by the dialect's name for the country, Masr. (Egypt's first Arab capital, Fustat, was known as Misr al-Fustat, "City of the Tents".)

Cairo was founded by the Fatimid caliphs as a royal enclosure. It replaced Fustat as the seat of the government. It later came under the Mamluks, was ruled by the Ottomans 1517 to 1798, and briefly occupied by Napoleon. Muhammad Ali of Egypt made Cairo the capital of his independent empire from 1805 to 1882, after which the British took control of it until Egypt attained independence in 1922.

Cairo has a mix of historic towns and modern districts. This includes the Pyramids, the Hanging Church, Saladin's Citadel, the Virgin Mary's Tree, the Sphinx, and Heliopolis, Al-Azhar, the Mosque of Amr ibn al-A'as, Saqqara, the Cairo Tower, and the Old City. Cairo is nicknamed "The City of A Thousand Minarets".

Cairo Genizah manuscripts  Contents of the genizah (storage area) of the Palestinian synagogue of the Jews in medieval Fustat (Old Cairo, Egypt). Includes letters, legal documents and literary texts many of which contain dates and datable historical references.

Caleb   Meaning: bold; impetuous. A dog. Wholehearted. Hearty.

The name of three biblical men and a place&ldots;

Caleb gave his name, apparently, to a part of the south country (1 Sam. 30:14) of Judah, the district between Hebron and Carmel, which had been assigned to him. When he gave up the city of Hebron to the priests as a city of refuge, he retained possession of the surrounding country (Josh. 21:11,12; compare 1 Sam. 25:3).

Canaan  Canaan is an ancient term for a region encompassing modern-day Israel and Lebanon, the Arab Palestinian Authority, plus adjoining coastal lands and parts of Jordan, Syria and northeastern Egypt. In the Hebrew Bible, the "Land of Canaan" extends from Lebanon southward across Gaza to the "Brook of Egypt" and eastward to the Jordan River Valley, thus including modern Israel and the area presently ruled by the Arab Palestinian Authority. In far ancient times, the southern area included various ethnic groups. The Amarna Letters found in Ancient Egypt mention Canaan (Akkadian: Kinah(h(u) in connection with Gaza and other cities along the Phoenician coast and into Upper Galilee. Many earlier Egyptian sources also make mention of numerous military campaigns conducted in Ka-na-na, just inside Asia.

Various Canaanite sites have been excavated by archaeologists. Canaanites spoke Canaanite languages, closely related to other West Semitic languages. Canaanites are mentioned in the Bible, Mesopotamian and Ancient Egyptian texts. Although the residents of ancient Ugarit in modern Syria do not seem to have considered themselves Canaanite, and did not speak a Canaanite language (but one that was closely related), archaeologists have considered the site, which was rediscovered in 1928, as quintessentially Canaanite. Much of the modern knowledge about the Canaanites stems from excavation in this area. It is generally thought that they originally migrated from the Arabian Peninsula, as that is the most generally accepted Semitic urheimat. More recently Juris Zarins has suggested that Canaanite culture developed in situ from the Circum Arabian Nomadic Pastoral Complex, which in turn developed from a fusion of Harifian hunter gatherers with PPNB farming cultures, practicing animal domestication, during the 6,200 BC climatic crisis.

Also known as  Holy Land, Palestine, Promised Land

Canaanites  the descendants of Canaan, the son of Ham

Migrating from their original home, they seem to have reached the Persian Gulf, and to have there sojourned for some time. They thence "spread to the west, across the mountain chain of Lebanon to the very edge of the Mediterranean Sea, occupying all the land which later became Palestine, also to the northwest as far as the mountain chain of Taurus.

This group was very numerous, and broken up into a great many peoples, as we can judge from the list of nations (Gen. 10), the 'sons of Canaan.'" Six different tribes are mentioned in Ex. 3:8, 17; 23:23; 33:2; 34:11. In Ex. 13:5 the "Perizzites" are omitted. The "Girgashites" are mentioned in addition to the foregoing in Deut. 7:1; Josh. 3:10.

The “Canaanites,” as distinguished from the Amalekites, the Anakim, and the Rephaim, were "dwellers in the lowlands" (Num. 13:29), the great plains and valleys, the richest and most important parts of Palestine.

Tyre and Sidon, their famous cities, were the centers of great commercial activity; and hence the name “Canaanite” came to signify a “trader” or "merchant" (Job 41:6; Prov. 31:24, lit. “Canaanites;” compare Zeph. 1:11; Ezek. 17:4). The name “Canaanite” is also sometimes used to designate the non-Israelite inhabitants of the land in general (Gen. 12:6; Num. 21:3; Judg. 1:10).

The Israelites, when they were led to the Promised Land, were commanded utterly to destroy the descendants of Canaan then possessing it (Ex. 23:23; Num. 33:52,53; Deut. 20:16,17. This was to be done "by little and little," lest the beasts of the field should increase (Ex. 23:29; Deut. 7:22,23).

The history of these wars of conquest is given in the Book of Joshua. The extermination of these tribes, however, was never fully carried out. Jerusalem was not taken till the time of David (2 Sam. 5:6-7). In the days of Solomon bond-service was exacted from the fragments of the tribes still remaining in the land (1 Kings 9:20,21). Even after the return from captivity survivors of five of the Canaanitish tribes were still found in the land.

In the Tell-el-Amarna tablets Canaan is found under the forms of Kinakhna and Kinakhkhi. Under the name of Kanana the Canaanites appear on Egyptian monuments, wearing a coat of mail and helmet, and distinguished by the use of spear and javelin and the battle-axe. They were called Phoenicians by the Greeks and Poeni by the Romans. They were famous as merchants and seamen, as well as for their artistic skill. The chief object of their worship was the sun-god, who was addressed by the general name of Baal, “lord.” Each locality had its special Baal, and the various local Baals were summed up under the name of Baalim, “lords.”

Canticles  See Song of Songs

Cainites  The Cainites, or Cainians, were a Gnostic and Antinomian sect who were known to worship Cain as the first victim of the Demiurge Jehovah, the Old Testament God, who was identified by many groups of gnostics as evil. They venerated Cain, on the basis that by creating murder Cain allowed men to deny it, and thus have a greater chance at redemption from Original Sin. The sect following was relatively small. They were mentioned by Tertullian and Irenaeus as existing in the eastern Roman Empire during the 2nd century. One of their purported religious texts was the Gospel of Judas.

Given that the only known references to the Cainites as a sect derive from the writing of anti-heretical theologians (and not, thus, from the Cainites or any other Gnostic sect themselves, nor from anything close to an impartial source,) the possibility remains that the sect may well have been nothing more than the invention of the Orthodoxy (much as, for instance, Catholic theologians of the Middle Ages wrote of psychopathic, cannibalistic and sodomitic devil-worshiping sects whose factual basis was almost certainly nil)

Canaanite language  The Canaanite languages or Hebraic languages are a subfamily of the Semitic languages, which were spoken by the ancient peoples of the Canaan region, including Canaanites, Israelites, Phoenicians, and Philistines. All of them became extinct as native languages in the early 1st millennium CE, although Hebrew remained in continuous literary and religious use among Jews, and was revived as a spoken, everyday language in the 19th century by Eliezer Ben Yehuda. The Phoenician (and especially Carthaginian) expansion spread their Canaanite language to the Western Mediterranean for a time, but there too it died out, although it seems to have survived slightly longer than in Phoenicia itself.

canon  A Biblical canon or canon of scripture is a list or set of Biblical books considered to be authoritative as scripture by a particular religious community, generally in Judaism or Christianity. The term itself was first coined by Christians, but the idea is found in Jewish sources. The internal wording of the text can also be specified, for example: the Masoretic Text is the canonical text for Judaism, and the King James Version is the canonical text for the King-James-Only Movement, but this is not the general meaning of canon.

These lists, or canons, have been developed through debate and agreement by the religious authorities of those faiths. Believers consider these canonical books to be inspired by God or to express the authoritative history of the relationship between God and his people. Books excluded from a particular canon are considered non-canonical - however, many disputed books considered non-canonical or even apocryphal by some are considered Biblical apocrypha or Deuterocanonical or fully canonical, by others. There are differences between the Jewish and Christian canons, and between the canons of different Christian denominations. The differing criteria and processes of canonization dictate what the communities regard as the inspired books.

The canons listed below are usually considered closed (i.e., books cannot be added or removed). The closure of the canon reflects a belief that public revelation has ended and thus the inspired texts may be gathered into a complete and authoritative canon. By contrast, an open canon permits the addition of additional books through the process of continuous revelation. In Christian traditions, continuing revelation is most commonly associated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), and with some denominations of Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity.

Jewish canon
Samaritan canon
Christian canons

Capernaum (Capharnaum, Kfar Nahum) 

Capernaum was a large Galilean fishing village and busy trading center. This place is of special interest to Christians because of its frequent mention in the history of Jesus Christ. Peter, Andrew, James and John also lived here. It played a unique and important part in Christ's life and ministry, and in his outreach to the people of Israel. The inhabitants of Capernaum, including various high ranking citizens, were given unique and abundant opportunities to hear Jesus Christ's message firsthand and witness His awesome power and love.

2.5 miles (4 km) from the Jordan River, Capernaum stood on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee (modern Lake Kinneret, which the Bible also called the lake of Gennesaret, Sea of Chinnereth and the Sea of Tiberias). The ancient city of Capernaum was abandoned about a thousand years ago or more, and was rediscovered by archaeologists beginning in the 1800s. In modern times, it is called Kefar Nahum (Hebrew) and Talhum (Arabic).

The Gennesaret area was one of the most prosperous and crowded districts of Palestine. Capernaum lay on the great Via Maris highway between Damascus (Syria) and Caesarea Maritima on the Mediterranean Sea, and between Tyre and Egypt. Customs taxes were collected from travelers at this crossroads (Matthew 9:9). This was the job of Levi, the tax collector, who became Christ's disciple and was later named Matthew. Jews criticized Jesus for befriending him and other tax collectors.

Caravans stopped at Capernaum to resupply themselves with produce and dried fish. At the lake shore, where Peter and other fishermen worked, archaeologists discovered a fish sales area.

 This well-built structure measured 2 meters in width and 5 meters in length and contained two large, rather shallow, semicircular pools, one at each end, with a rectangular platform in the middle on which, presumably, the fish were cleaned and sold&ldots; The two pools had a thick coat of watertight plaster. [Herold Weiss, "Recent Work at Capernaum," Bible and Spade, Vol. 10, No. 1 (Associates for Biblical Research, 1981),

After our Lord's expulsion from Nazareth (Matt. 4:13-16; Luke 4:16-31), Capernaum became his "own city." It was the scene of many acts and incidents of his life (Matt. 8:5, 14,15; 9:2-6, 10-17; 15:1-20; Mark 1:32-34, etc.).

Catholic  Catholic is an adjective derived from the Greek adjective (katholikos), meaning "whole" or "complete". In the context of Christian ecclesiology, it has a rich history and several usages. For Roman Catholics, the term "Catholic Church" refers to the Church, both Western and Eastern, in full communion with the Bishop of Rome. Protestants use it to refer to the entire body of believers in Jesus Christ. Catholicity is one of Four Marks of the Church, the others being unity, sanctity, and apostolicity. according to the Nicene Creed of 381: "I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church."

Catholic Epistles    See General epistles

CE  Abbreviation for Common Era. It indicates that a time division falls within the Common/Christian era; same as AD.

Chaldea  The southern portion of Babylonia, Lower Mesopotamia, lying chiefly on the right bank of the Euphrates, but commonly used of the whole of the Mesopotamian plain. The Hebrew name is Kasdim, which is usually rendered “Chaldeans” (Jer. 50:10; 51:24,35).

The country so named is a vast plain formed by the deposits of the Euphrates and the Tigris, extending to about 400 miles along the course of these rivers, and about 100 miles in average breadth. "In former days the vast plains of Babylon were nourished by a complicated system of canals and water-courses, which spread over the surface of the country like a network. The wants of a teeming population were supplied by a rich soil, not less bountiful than that on the banks of the Egyptian Nile. Like islands rising from a golden sea of waving corn stood frequent groves of palm-trees and pleasant gardens, affording to the idler or traveller their grateful and highly-valued shade. Crowds of passengers hurried along the dusty roads to and from the busy city. The land was rich in corn and wine."

Recent discoveries, more especially in Babylonia, have thrown much light on the history of the Hebrew patriarchs, and have illustrated or confirmed the Biblical narrative in many points. The ancestor of the Hebrew people, Abram, was, we are told, born at "Ur of the Chaldees." "Chaldees" is a mistranslation of the Hebrew Kasdim, Kasdim being the Old Testament name of the Babylonians, while the Chaldees were a tribe who lived on the shores of the Persian Gulf, and did not become a part of the Babylonian population till the time of Hezekiah. Ur was one of the oldest and most famous of the Babylonian cities. Its site is now called Mugheir, or Mugayyar, on the western bank of the Euphrates, in Southern Babylonia. About a century before the birth of Abram it was ruled by a powerful dynasty of kings. Their conquests extended to Elam on the one side, and to the Lebanon on the other. They were followed by a dynasty of princes whose capital was Babylon, and who seem to have been of South Arabian origin. The founder of the dynasty was Sumu-abi ("Shem is my father"). But soon afterwards Babylonia fell under Elamite dominion. The kings of Babylon were compelled to acknowledge the supremacy of Elam, and a rival kingdom to that of Babylon, and governed by Elamites, sprang up at Larsa, not far from Ur, but on the opposite bank of the river. In the time of Abram the king of Larsa was Eri-Aku, the son of an Elamite prince, and Eri-Aku, as has long been recognized, is the Biblical "Arioch king of Ellasar" (Gen. 14:1). The contemporaneous king of Babylon in the north, in the country termed Shinar in Scripture, was Khammu-rabi.

Chaldeans  See Chaldea above

cherub  A cherub is a kind of angel with wings and hands that is associated with the throne room of God and guardian duty. See Ezekiel 10.

In Jewish, Christian, and Islamic literature, a celestial winged being with human, animal, or birdlike characteristics. They are included among the angels, and in the Hebrew scriptures they are described as the throne bearers of God. In Christianity and Islam they are celestial attendants of God and praise him continually. Known as karubun in Islam, they repeat "Glory to God" ceaselessly, and they dwell in a section of heaven inaccessible to attacks by the Devil. In art they are often depicted as winged infants.

Winged bulls or geniuses are a standard feature of Assyrian monuments, reliefs, and seals, where they often appear ministering to the gods or worshiping a sacred tree. After the expulsion of Adam and Eve, God stationed cherubim east of the Garden of EDEN "to guard the way to the tree of life" (Gen. 3:24).
God Himself is portrayed as the "Lord of Hosts enthroned on the Cherubim" (I Sam. 4:4; II Kings 19:15; Ps. 80:2; Isa. 37:16)
and He also flies through the air mounted on a cherub (II Sam. 22:11; Ps. 18:11).
Two wooden cherubim overlaid with gold, facing each other with outstretched wings, were placed at either end of the mercy seat above the Ark in the Sanctuary of the wilderness, thereby serving as God's throne (Ex. 25:18-22, 37:7-9).
Cherub motifs were also embroidered on the curtains of the Sanctuary as well as on the veil separating the "Holy" from the Holy of Holies (Ex. 26:1, 36:8; and 26:31, 36:35). Two of these figures, each ten cubits (approx. 15 feet) in height with a similar measurement across the wings, mounted guard over the Holy of Holies (I Kings 6:23-28, 8:6-7). Carved reliefs depicting cherubim, palms, and other motifs were also set on all the walls, doors, and panels of the Temple (ibid. 6:29, 32, 35, 7:29, 36). Certain discrepancies are apparent, however, in the various biblical accounts. Each of the two cherubim designed for the Sanctuary and later for Solomon's Temple has one pair of wings and one face (Ex. 25:20; I Kings 6:24, 27), whereas the creatures in Ezekiel's chariot vision have two sets of wings and four faces (Ezek. 1:6, 23). They are also described as having the faces of a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle (1:10), although the face of a cherub is substituted for that of the ox in a later chapter (10:14). Archetypal portrayals may well account for the fact that each cherub is given two faces only---that of a man and that of a lion---in Ezekiel's Temple vision (41:18-19). Phoenician cherub motifs likewise decorated Ahab's ivory palace in Samaria, but these (along with the First Temple structure in Jerusalem) fell victim to invading armies. According to rabbinic sources (Yoma 21a), no cherubim were re-created for the Second Temple and the term keruv was understood to mean "childlike" (Suk. 5b; H?ag. 13b). This presumably explains the cherub's subsequent transformation in Christian iconography and Western art, where a beautiful angelic child usually symbolizes Divine justice and wisdom. Cherubim are of peripheral importance in Jewish ritual art, although Maimonides assigned them a place next to the seraphim in his angelic constellation (Yad, Yesode? ha-Torah 2:7).

cherubim  Cherubim means more than one cherub or a mighty cherub.

Chinnereth  Meaning: lyre  

See also Sea Of Galilee

the singular form of the word (Deut. 3:17; Josh. 19:35), which is also used in the plural form, Chinneroth, the name of a fenced city which stood near the shore of the lake of Galilee, a little to the south of Tiberias

The town seems to have given its name to a district, as appears from 1 Kings 15:20, where the plural form of the word is used.

The Sea of Chinnereth (Num. 34:11; Josh. 13:27), or of Chinneroth (Josh. 12: 3), was the "lake of Gennesaret" or “sea of Tiberias” (Deut. 3:17; Josh. 11:2). Chinnereth was probably an ancient Canaanitish name adopted by the Israelites into their language.

choenix  A choenix is a dry volume measure that is a little more than a liter (which is a little more than a quart). A choenix was the daily ration of grain for a soldier in some armies.

Chrismation  Chrismation is the name given in Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches, as well as in the Assyrian Church of the East, Anglican, and in Lutheran initiation rites, to the Sacrament or Sacred Mystery more commonly known in the West as confirmation, although Italian normally uses cresima (chrismation), rather than confermazione (confirmation).

The term chrismation is used because of the chrism (perfumed holy oil, usually containing myrrh, and consecrated by a bishop) with which the recipient of the sacrament is anointed, while the priest speaks the words sealing the initiate with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Christ  The Anointed; an appellation given to Jesus, the Savior. It is synonymous with the Hebrew {Messiah}.

a teacher and prophet born in Bethlehem and active in Nazareth; his life and sermons form the basis for Christianity (circa 4 BC - AD 29)

Christian canons   The Biblical canon is the set of books Christians regard as divinely inspired and thus constituting the Christian Bible.

Earliest Christian Communities

Though the early Church used the Old Testament according to the canon of the Septuagint (LXX), the apostles did not otherwise leave a defined set of new scriptures; instead the New Testament developed over time.

The writings attributed to the apostles circulated amongst the earliest Christian communities. The Pauline epistles were circulating in collected form by the end of the first century AD. Justin Martyr, in the early second century, mentions the "memoirs of the apostles," which Christians called "gospels" and which were regarded as on par with the Old Testament.

Apostolic Fathers

A four gospel canon (the Tetramorph) was asserted by Irenaeus, c. 160. By the early 200's, Origen of Alexandria may have been using the same 27 books found in modern New Testament editions, though there were still disputes over the canonicity of Hebrews, James, II Peter, II and III John, and Revelation (see also Antilegomena). Likewise by 200 the Muratorian fragment shows that there existed a set of Christian writings somewhat similar to what is now the New Testament, which included four gospels and argued against objections to them. Thus, while there was a good measure of debate in the Early Church over the New Testament canon, the major writings were accepted by almost all Christians by the middle of the second century.

Greek Fathers

In his Easter letter of 367, Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, gave a list of exactly the same books as what would become the New Testament canon, and he used the word "canonized" (kanonizomena) in regards to them.

Latin Fathers

The African Synod of Hippo, in 393, approved the New Testament, as it stands today, together with the Septuagint books, a decision that was repeated by Councils of Carthage in 397 and 419. These councils were under the authority of St. Augustine, who regarded the canon as already closed. Pope Damasus I's Council of Rome in 382, if the Decretum Gelasianum is correctly associated with it, issued a biblical canon identical to that mentioned above, r if not the list is at least a sixth century compilation. Likewise, Damasus's commissioning of the Latin Vulgate edition of the Bible, c. 383, was instrumental in the fixation of the canon in the West. In 405, Pope Innocent I sent a list of the sacred books to a Gallic bishop, Exsuperius of Toulouse. When these bishops and councils spoke on the matter, however, they were not defining something new, but instead "were ratifying what had already become the mind of the Church." Thus, from the fourth century, there existed unanimity in the West concerning the New Testament canon (as it is today), and by the fifth century the East, with a few exceptions, had come to accept the Book of Revelation and thus had come into harmony on the matter of the canon.

Reformation Period

Nonetheless, a full dogmatic articulation of the canon was not made until the Council of Trent of 1546 for Roman Catholicism,[27] the Thirty-Nine Articles of 1563 for the Church of England, the Westminster Confession of Faith of 1647 for British Calvinism, and the Synod of Jerusalem of 1672 for the Greek Orthodox.

Also see Canon

Christian  A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, a monotheistic religion centered on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth and interpreted by Christians to have been prophesied in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament.

The word comes from Greek (khristianos), from (khristos) meaning "the anointed." In the (Greek) Septuagint version of the Hebrew Bible, khristos was used to translate the Hebrew (Mašía) (messiah), meaning "[one who is] anointed."

The first known usage of the term khristianos can be found in the New Testament in Acts 11:26: "the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch." The name Christian was first used to denote those known to be teachers or leaders of the church (saints). They were disciples and followers of Jesus Christ. The other two New Testament uses of the word also refer to the public identity of those who follow Jesus. The Jewish king said the Apostle Paul had almost persuaded the king "to become a Christian" (Acts 26:28). Writing in 1 Peter 4:16, The Message translation, the Apostle Peter encouraged believers who are abused "because you're a Christian, don't give it a second thought. Be proud of the distinguished status reflected in that name!"

The earliest recorded use of the term outside the Bible was when Tacitus recorded that Nero blamed the "Christians" for the Great Fire of Rome in AD 64.

"Christian" also means a member or adherent of a church or other organized group within Christianity. As an adjective, the term may describe anything associated with Christianity or even remotely thought to be consistent with Christianity, as in "the Christian thing to do."

What is a Christian?

The American Heritage Dictionary defines a Christian as "one who professes belief in Jesus as Christ or follows the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus; one who lives according to the teachings of Jesus."

A wide range of beliefs and practices is found across the world among those who call themselves Christian. A 2007 survey in the United States identified the following typical categories:

1. Active Christians: Committed to attending church, Bible reading, and sharing their faith that salvation comes through Jesus Christ.

2. Professing Christians: Also committed to "accepting Christ as Savior and Lord" as the key to being a Christian, but focus on personal relationships with God and Jesus more than on church, Bible reading or sharing faith.

3. Liturgical Christians: High level of spiritual activity, mainly expressed by attending and recognising the authority of the church, and by serving in it or in the community.

4. Private Christians: Believe in God and in doing good things, but not within a church context. In the American survey, this was the largest and youngest segment.

5. Cultural Christians: Do not view Jesus as essential to salvation. They are the least likely to align their beliefs or practices with biblical teachings, or attend church. They favor a universal theology that sees many ways to God.

Other countries may not show the same variety, especially where there is active persecution of Christians.

People who have a distinct heritage and come to believe in Jesus may also identify themselves differently. Messianic Jews believe that they are a sect of Judaism and that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah and the Divine Savior. They seek to live in obedience to the Hebrew Scriptures, including the Torah and Halakha.

Crete  now called Candia, one of the largest islands in the Meditterranean, about 140 miles long and 35 broad

It was at one time a very prosperous and populous island, having a “hundred cities.” The character of the people is described in Paul's quotation from "one of their own poets" (Epimenides) in his epistle to Titus: "The Cretans are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies" (Titus 1:12). Jews from Crete were in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:11). The island was visited by Paul on his voyage to Rome (Acts 27). Here Paul subsequently left Titus (1:5) “to ordain elders.” Some have supposed that it was the original home of the Caphtorim (q.v.) or Philistines

Christian Bible  The Christian Bible consists of the Hebrew scriptures, which have been called the Old Testament, and some later writings known as the New Testament. Some groups within Christianity include additional books as part one or both of these sections of their sacred writings – most prominent among which are the biblical apocrypha or deuterocanonical books.

In Judaism, the term Christian Bible is commonly used to identify only those books like the New Testament which have been added by Christians to the Masoretic Text, and excludes any reference to an Old Testament

Christian church

1. One of the groups of Christians who have their own beliefs and forms of worship

2. A Protestant church that accepts the Bible as the only source of true Christian faith and practices baptism by immersion

Christianity  A religious tradition whose roots reach deeply into the Judaic traditions current in the first century BCE. There are several descendants of the original Christian faiths that use unique variants of the biblical texts. There are the Amharic, or Ethiopians. There are the Greek Orthodox. There are Gnostics. There are also the descendants of the church of James. It is clear that it is much easier to define Christianity in terms of its current Catholic Canon, and its protestant variants, complex as that may be, than in terms of historical roots which are clouded by the effects of time, mishap and generations of intervening redactors.

Eastern Christianity

Eastern Christianity refers collectively to the Christian traditions and churches which developed in the Balkans, Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, the Middle East, Northeastern Africa and southern India over several centuries of religious antiquity. It is contrasted with Western Christianity which developed in Western Europe.

Western Christianity

Western Christianity is a term used to cover the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church, the Churches of the Anglican Communion and Protestant Churches, which share common attributes that can be traced back to their medieval heritage. The term is used in contrast to Eastern Christianity. It developed and came to be predominant in most of Western, Northern, and Southern Europe, parts of Eastern Europe, much of Southern Africa, and throughout Australia and the Western Hemisphere.


1.  The theological study of the person and deeds of Jesus.

2. A doctrine or theory based on Jesus or Jesus's teachings.

Christology is the study of the nature of Jesus Christ. Because the traditional and orthodox Christian position has been the Jesus was both fully human and fully divine, one of the key questions in Christology has been to explain how that might be possible.

Books of Chronicles

 see Chronicles 1 and Chronicles 2

These two books contain stories of the Israelites that were not written in the first and second Books of Kings. They also are Israel's history books down to the time when King Cyrus of Persia overthrew Babylon and let the captive Israelites return to Palestine, their homeland.

The Books of Chronicles (Hebrew Divrei Hayyamim, Greek Paraleipomêna) are part of the Hebrew Bible (Jewish Tanakh and Christian Old Testament). In the masoretic text, it appears as the first or last book of the Ketuvim (the latter arrangement also making it the final book of the Jewish bible). Chronicles largely parallels the Davidic narratives in the books of Samuel (First Book of Samual - Second Book of Samual) and the Books of Kings. For this reason it was called "Supplements" in the Septuagint, where it appears in two parts (I & II Chronicles), immediately following 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Kings as a supplement to them. The division of Chronicles and its place in the Christian canon of the Old Testament are based upon the Septuagint.

Chumash (also Humash) is one of the Hebrew names for the Five Books of Moses, also known as the Pentateuch, used in Judaism. The word comes from the Hebrew word for five, chamesh. A more formal term is "Chamishah Chumshei Torah."

    Also refered to modern times people, a Native American people located in California

Church  Church may refer to:

In Christianity:

  • Church (building), building used for religious services and worship. 


  • Christian Church, worldwide body of Christians.

  • Church body, Christian religious body (local, national, or worldwide) made up of congregation(s), members, and clergy.
  • Invisible church, the "invisible" body of the elect who according to Christianity are known only to God.
  • Roman Catholic Church, Christian church that adheres to the teaching of the Papacy.
  • Orthodox Church, Christian Churches rejecting the supremacy of the Pope, separated from the Roman Catholic Church since the 11th century East-West Schism.
  • Protestant Church, form of Christian faith and church organization originating from the doctrines of the Protestant Reformation.
  • National church, various Christian Churches limited in scope to a nation state.
  • Church service, time for communal worship, often on Sundays. 
  • Christian clergy, formal Christian religious leadership. 

Church Fathers   The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, or Fathers of the Church are the early and influential theologians and writers in the Christian Church, particularly those of the first five centuries of Christian history. The term is used of writers and teachers of the Church, not necessarily saints. Teachers particularly are also known as doctors of the Church.

circa (often abbreviated c., ca., ca or cca. and sometimes italicized to show it is Latin)
literally means "about" or "around". It is widely used in genealogy and historical writing, when the dates of events are approximately known.

Circumcision  Male circumcision is the removal of some or all of the foreskin (prepuce) from the penis. The word "circumcision" comes from Latin circum (meaning "around") and cædere (meaning "to cut").

Early depictions of circumcision are found in cave drawings and Ancient Egyptian tombs, though some pictures may be open to interpretation. Male circumcision is considered a commandment from God in Judaism. In Islam, though not discussed in the Qur'an, circumcision is widely practiced and most often considered to be a sunnah. It is also customary in some Christian churches in Africa, including some Oriental Orthodox Churches. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), global estimates suggest that 30% of males are circumcised, of whom 68% are Muslim. The prevalence of circumcision varies mostly with religious affiliation, and sometimes culture.

There is controversy surrounding circumcision. Advocates for circumcision state that it provides important health advantages which outweigh the risks, has no substantial effects on sexual function, has a low complication rate when carried out by an experienced physician, and is best performed during the neonatal period. Opponents of circumcision state that it is extremely painful, adversely affects sexual pleasure and performance, may increase the risk of certain infections, and when performed on infants and children violates the individual's human rights.

The American Medical Association stated in 1999: "Virtually all current policy statements from specialty societies and medical organizations do not recommend routine neonatal circumcision, and support the provision of accurate and unbiased information to parents to inform their choice."

The World Health Organization (WHO; 2007), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS; 2007), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC; 2008) state that evidence indicates male circumcision significantly reduces the risk of HIV acquisition by men during penile-vaginal sex, but also state that circumcision only provides partial protection and should not replace other interventions to prevent transmission of HIV.

Classical Hebrew  See Biblical Hebrew

Common Era  The period beginning with the year traditionally thought to have been birth of Jesus.

concubine  a woman who is united to a man for the purpose of providing him with sexual pleasure and children, but not being honored as a full partner in marriage; a second-class wife. In Old Testament times (and in some places now), it was the custom of middle-eastern kings, chiefs, and wealthy men to marry multiple wives and concubines, but God commanded the Kings of Israel not to do so (Deuteronomy 17:17) and Jesus encouraged people to either remain single or marry as God originally intended: one man married to one woman (Matthew 19:3-12; 1 Corinthians 7:1-13).

Confirmation (Catholic Church)  known also as Chrismation, is one of the seven sacraments through which Catholics pass in the process of their religious upbringing. In this sacrament they are said to receive the Holy Spirit.

Catholics believe that Confirmation is based on Biblical precedent such as Acts of the Apostles 8:14-17:

A sacrament in which the Holy Ghost is given to those already baptized in order to make them strong and perfect Christians and soldiers of Jesus Christ.

 Confirmation is the sacrament in which the Holy Spirit comes to us in a special way to join us more closely to Jesus and his Church and to seal and strengthen us as Christ's witnesses. It is the completion of baptismal grace

congregation   A group of people who adhere to a common faith and habitually attend a given church.

Conversion  the turning of a sinner to God (Acts 15:3)

In a general sense the heathen are said to be “converted” when they abandon heathenism and embrace the Christian faith; and in a more special sense men are converted when, by the influence of divine grace in their souls, their whole life is changed, old things pass away, and all things become new (Acts 26:18). Thus we speak of the conversion of the Philippian jailer (16:19-34), of Paul (9:1-22), of the Ethiopian treasurer (8:26-40), of Cornelius (10), of Lydia (16:13-15), and others.

cor  A cor is a dry measure of about 391 liters, 103 U. S. gallons, or 86 imperial gallons.

corban  Corban is a Hebrew word for an offering devoted to God.

Corinth   a Grecian city, on the isthmus which joins the Peloponnesus to the mainland of Greece.

It is about 48 miles west of Athens. The ancient city was destroyed by the Romans (B.C. 146), and that mentioned in the New Testament was quite a new city, having been rebuilt about a century afterwards and peopled by a colony of freedmen from Rome. It became under the Romans the seat of government for Southern Greece or Achaia (Acts 18:12-16). It was noted for its wealth, and for the luxurious and immoral and vicious habits of the people. It had a large mixed population of Romans, Greeks, and Jews. When Paul first visited the city (A.D. 51 or 52), Gallio, the brother of Seneca, was proconsul. Here Paul resided for eighteen months (18:1-18). Here he first became aquainted with Aquila and Priscilla, and soon after his departure Apollos came to it from Ephesus. After an interval he visited it a second time, and remained for three months (20:3). During this second visit his Epistle to the Romans was written (probably A.D. 55). Although there were many Jewish converts at Corinth, yet the Gentile element prevailed in the church there.

Some have argued from 2 Cor. 12:14; 13:1, that Paul visited Corinth a third time (i.e., that on some unrecorded occasion he visited the city between what are usually called the first and second visits). But the passages referred to only indicate Paul's intention to visit Corinth (compare 1 Cor. 16:5, where the Greek present tense denotes an intention), an intention which was in some way frustrated. We can hardly suppose that such a visit could have been made by the apostle without more distinct reference to it.

Coverdale Bible  The Coverdale Bible, compiled by Myles Coverdale and published in 1535, was the first complete Modern English translation of the Bible (not just the Old Testament or New Testament), and the first complete printed translation into English (cf. Wycliffe's Bible in manuscript). The later editions (folio and quarto) published in 1539 were the first complete Bibles printed in England. The 1539 folio edition carried the royal licence and was therefore the first officially approved Bible translation in English.

The place of publication of the 1535 edition was long disputed. The printer was assumed to be either Froschover in Zurich or Cervicornus and Soter (in Cologne or Marburg). Since the discovery of Guido Latré in 1997, the printer has been identified as Merten de Keyser in Antwerp. The publication was partly financed by Jacobus van Meteren in Antwerp, whose sister-in-law, Adriana de Weyden, married John Rogers. The other backer of the Coverdale Bible was Jacobus van Meteren's nephew, Leonard Ortels (†1539), father of Abraham Ortelius (1527-1598), the famous humanist geographer and cartographer.

Although Coverdale was also involved in the preparation of the Great Bible of 1539, the Coverdale Bible continued to be reprinted. The last of over 20 editions of the whole Bible or its New Testament appeared in 1553.

Coverdale based his New Testament on Tyndale's translation. For the Old Testament, Coverdale used Tyndale's published Pentateuch and possibly his published Jonah. He apparently did not make use of any of Tyndale's other, unpublished, Old Testament material (cf. Matthew Bible). Instead, Coverdale himself translated the remaining books of the Old Testament and the Apocrypha. Not being a Hebrew or Greek scholar, he worked primarily from German Bibles-Luther's Bible and the Swiss-German version (Zürich Bible) of Zwingli and Juda-and Latin sources including the Vulgate.

Creation   Creation according to Genesis is the creation myth found in the first two chapters of the Bible, Genesis 1-2. It describes the making of the Heavens and the Earth over a period of six days through the spoken word of God, and includes such things as a seven day week, the setting apart of the seventh day as a day of rest (a Sabbath), the creation of man and woman, the sun, moon, and the stars, and the planting of the Garden of Eden.

Genesis 1-11 is based on Mesopotamian creation myths, differing in that it presents the theological message of Yahwistic monotheism. For Jews and Christians this creation account is considered to be sacred history.

There has been considerable debate concerning this account with regards to the language, structure, and interpretation. The discussion around the language of the original Hebrew concerns whether or not it supports the teaching of creatio ex nihilo ("creation out of nothing") and that of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. When looking at the structure of these two chapters, the question is whether or not they consist of simply one creation account or of two creation accounts that have been merged together. Then interpretively there are two popular views of the Genesis account that exist today within religious scholarship: The first understands it as being an accurate record of the creation of the universe while the second view interprets it as being allegorical.

Creed  A creed is a statement of belief — usually religious belief — or faith often recited as part of a religious service. The word derives from the Latin: credo for I believe and credimus for we believe. It is sometimes called symbol, signifying a "token" by which persons of like beliefs might recognize each other.

The most definitive creed in Christianity is the Nicene Creed, formulated in AD 325 at the First Council of Nicaea, the first of the Twenty One Ecumenical Councils of the Catholic Church (See Catholic Ecumenical Councils.

Affirmation of this creed, which describes the Trinity, is generally taken as a fundamental test of orthodoxy. The Apostle's Creed is also broadly accepted.

Yet many Christians, including Unitarians, Quakers, Baptist, Messianics, Restorationists and others have rejected the authority of those creeds.

Whether Judaism is creedal has been a point of some controversy. Though some say Judaism is noncreedal in nature, others say it recognizes a single creed, the Shema. "Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One."

Muslims declare the shahada, "there is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet."

The terms "creed" and "faith" are sometimes used to mean religion. Where "creed" appears alongside "religion" or "faith" it can also refer to a person's political or social beliefs.

crucify  Crucify means to execute someone by nailing them to a cross with metal spikes. Their hands are stretched out on the crossbeam with spikes driven through their wrists or hands. Their feet or ankles are attached to a cross with a metal spike. The weight of the victim's body tends to force the air out of his lungs. To rise up to breathe, the victim has to put weight on the wounds, and use a lot of strength. The victim is nailed to the cross while the cross is on the ground, then the cross is raised up and dropped into a hole, thus jarring the wounds. Before crucifixion, the victim was usually whipped with a Roman cat of nine tails, which had bits of glass and metal tied to its ends. This caused chunks of flesh to be removed and open wounds to be placed against the raw wood of the cross. The victim was made to carry the heavy crossbeam of his cross from the place of judgment to the place of crucifixion, but often was physically unable after the scourging, so another person would be pressed into involuntary service to carry the cross for him. Roman crucifixion was generally done totally naked to maximize both shame and discomfort. Eventually, the pain, weakness, dehydration, and exhaustion of the muscles needed to breathe make breathing impossible, and the victim suffocates.

crucifixion  A form of execution under Roman law reserved for revolutionary activity  See crucify

Crucifixion of Jesus  The crucifixion of Jesus is an event recorded in all four gospels which takes place immediately after his arrest and trial. In Christian theology, the death of Jesus by crucifixion is a core event on which much depends. It represents a critical aspect of the doctrine of salvation, portraying the suffering and death of the Messiah as necessary for the forgiveness of sins. According to the New Testament, Jesus rose from the dead after three days and appeared to his Disciples before his ascension to Heaven

cubit   a cubit is any one of many units of measure used by various ancient peoples and is among the first recorded units of length.

The cubit is based on measuring by comparing – especially cords and textiles, but also for timbers and stones – to one's forearm length. The Egyptian hieroglyph for the unit shows this symbol. It was employed consistently through Antiquity, the Middle-Ages up to the Early Modern Times.

The distance between thumb and another finger to the elbow on an average person measures about 24 digits or 6 palms or 1½ feet. This is about 45 cm or 18 inches. This so-called "natural cubit" of 1½ feet is used in the Roman system of measures and in different Greek systems.

Over time, units similar in type to the cubit have measured:

  • 6 palms  =  24 digits, i.e. ~45.0 cm or 18 inches (1.50 ft)


  • 7 palms  =  28 digits, i.e. ~52.5 cm or 21 inches (1.75 ft)

  • 8 palms  =  32 digits, i.e. ~60.0 cm or 24 inches (2.00 ft)
  • 9 palms  =  36 digits, i.e. ~67.5 cm or 27 inches (2.25 ft)

From late Antiquity, the Roman ulna, a four-foot cubit (about 120 cm) is also attested. This length is the measure from a man's hip to the fingers of the outstretched opposite arm.

The English yard could be considered to be a type of cubit, measuring 12 palms, ~90 cm, or 36 inches (3.00 ft). This is the measure from the middle of a man's body to his fingers, always with outstretched arm. The English ell is essentially a kind of great cubit of 15 palms, 114 cm, or 45 inches (3.75 ft).

cummin  Cummin is an aromatic seed from Cuminum cyminum, resembling caraway in flavor and appearance. It is used as a spice.

Curse of Ham The Curse of Ham (also called the curse of Canaan) refers to the curse that Ham's father Noah placed upon Ham's son Canaan, after Ham "saw his father's nakedness" because of drunkenness in Noah's tent. It is related in the Book of Genesis (Gen 9:20-27).

Some Biblical scholars see the "curse of Ham" story as an early Hebrew rationalization for Israel's conquest and enslavement of the Canaanites, who were presumed to descend from Canaan.

The "curse of Ham" had been used by some members of Abrahamic religions to justify racism and the enslavement of people of Black African ancestry, who were believed to be descendants of Ham. They were often called Hamites and were believed to have descended through Canaan or his older brothers. This racist theory was widely held during the 18th-20th centuries, but it has been largely abandoned since the mid-20th century.

Cush   See Cush Here in Names in The Bible


Dan   formerly named Laish, is a town mentioned by the Bible, in which it is portrayed as the northernmost town of the Kingdom of Israel, and formerly as the main town of the Tribe of Dan. Dan was initially identified by E Robinson in 1838 and has been securely identified with the archaeological site known as Tel el-Qadi, which consequently has become known in Israel as Tel Dan.

To the west of Dan are the southern mountains of the Lebanon range, while to the east and north were the Hermon mountains. Melting snow from the Hermon mountains provides the majority of the water of the Jordan River, and passes through Dan making the immediate area highly fertile. The lush vegetation that results makes the area around Dan seem somewhat out of place in the otherwise arid region around it.

According to the archaeological remains of Tel el Qadi, the town was originally occupied in the late Neolithic era (c 4500BC), although at some time in the fourth millennium BC it became abandoned; the abandonment lasting for up to 1000 years.

According to the Book of Judges, prior to the Tribe of Dan occupying the land, the town was known as Laish, and allied with the Sidonians; this presumably indicates they were Phoenicians (Sidonians were one of the Phoenician groups), who may or may not have been Canaanite. The alliance had little practical benefit due to the remoteness of the town from Sidon, and the intervening Lebanon mountains. As a consequence of the Hermon mountains, the town was also isolated from the Assyrians and Aram;[4] the Septuagint mentions that the town was unable to have an alliance with the Aramaeans. The masoretic text does not mention the Aramaeans, but instead states that the town had no relationship with any man - textual scholars believe that this is a typographic error, with adham (man) being a mistake for aram.

Damascus  Meaning: activity.

This was the name of the most ancient of Oriental cities, the capital of Syria (Isa. 7:8; 17:3) located about 133 miles north of Jerusalem. The location of this city is said to be the most beautiful of all Western Asia.

Damascus is mentioned among the conquests of the Egyptian king Thothmes III. (B.C. 1500), and in the Amarna tablets (B.C. 1400).

It is first mentioned in Scripture in connection with Abraham's victory over the confederate kings under Chedorlaomer (Gen. 14:15). It was the native place of Abraham's steward (15:2). It is not again noticed till the time of David, when "the Syrians of Damascus came to succour Hadadezer" (q.v.), 2 Sam. 8:5; 1 Chr. 18:5. In the reign of Solomon, Rezon became leader of a band who revolted from Hadadezer (1 Kings 11:23), and betaking themselves to Damascus, settled there and made their leader king. There was a long war, with varying success, between the Israelites and Syrians, who at a later period became allies of Israel against Judah (2 Kings 15:37).

The Syrians were at length subdued by the Assyrians, the city of Damascus was taken and destroyed, and the inhabitants carried captive into Assyria (2 Kings 16:7-9; compare Isa. 7:8). In this, prophecy was fulfilled (Isa. 17:1; Amos 1:4; Jer. 49:24). The kingdom of Syria remained a province of Assyria till the capture of Nineveh by the Medes (B.C. 625), when it fell under the conquerors. After passing through various vicissitudes, Syria was invaded by the Romans (B.C. 64), and Damascus became the seat of the government of the province. In A.D. 37 Aretas, the king of Arabia, became master of Damascus, having driven back Herod Antipas.

This city is memorable as the scene of Saul's conversion (Acts 9:1-25). The street called "Straight," in which Judas  lived, in whose house Saul was found by Ananias, is known by the name Sultany, or "Queen's Street." It is the principal street of the city. Paul visited Damascus again on his return from Arabia (Gal. 1:16, 17). Christianity was planted here as a center (Acts 9:20), from which it spread to the surrounding regions.

In A.D. 634 Damascus was conquered by the growing Islamic power. In A.D. 1516 it fell under the dominion of the Turks, its present rulers.

darnel  Darnel is a weed grass (probably bearded darnel or Lolium temulentum) that looks very much like wheat until it is mature, when the seeds reveal a great difference. Darnel seeds aren't good for much except as chicken feed or to burn to prevent the spread of this weed.

David   See David Here in Names in The Bible

David and Goliath  See David and Goliath Here in Names in The Bible

David and Solomon  See David and Solomon Here in Names in The Bible

Davidic line  (also referred to as the House of David) (known in Hebrew as Malkhut Beit David - "Monarchy of the House of David")

The Davidic Line refers to the tracing of lineage to the King David referred to in the Hebrew Bible, as well as the New Testament. Though this is especially relevant to kings claiming royal lineage and to major leaders in Jewish history, it is also relevant in a general sense to anyone who claims descent from King David.


a: the rank or essential nature of a god : divinity
b: God 1 , supreme being

2: a god or goddess  <the deities of ancient Greece>
3: one exalted or revered as supremely good or powerful

Dead Sea  See Lake Asphaltitus

Dead Sea scrolls   The Dead Sea Scrolls consist of roughly 900 documents, including texts from the Hebrew Bible, discovered between 1947 and 1956 in eleven caves in and around the Wadi Qumran near the ruins of the ancient settlement of Khirbet Qumran, on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea. The texts are of great religious and historical significance, as they include some of the only known surviving copies of Biblical documents made before 100 AD, and preserve evidence of considerable diversity of belief and practice within late Second Temple Judaism. They are written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, mostly on parchment, but with some written on papyrus.  These manuscripts generally date between 150 BC to 70 AD.

Publication of the scrolls has taken many decades, and the delay has been a source of academic controversy. As of 2007 two volumes remain to be completed, with the whole series, Discoveries in the Judean Desert, running to thirty nine volumes in total. Many of the scrolls are now housed in the Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem. According to The Oxford Companion to Archeology, "The biblical manuscripts from Qumran, which include at least fragments from every book of the Old Testament, except perhaps for the Book of Esther, provide a far older cross section of scriptural tradition than that available to scholars before. While some of the Qumran biblical manuscripts are nearly identical to the Masoretic, or traditional, Hebrew text of the Old Testament, some manuscripts of the books of Exodus and Samuel found in Cave Four exhibit dramatic differences in both language and content. In their astonishing range of textual variants, the Qumran biblical discoveries have prompted scholars to reconsider the once-accepted theories of the development of the modern biblical text from only three manuscript families: of the Masoretic text, of the Hebrew original of the Septuagint, and of the Samaritan Pentateuch. It is now becoming increasingly clear that the Old Testament scripture was extremely fluid until its canonization around A.D. 100."

Six of the Dead Sea Scrolls are currently on exhibit at the Jewish Museum in New York City until January 4, 2009, and six are on display at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh until December 28. The Royal Ontario Museum of Toronto will host an exhibition on the scrolls from June 27, 2009 to January 3, 2010

Deluge  The story of a Great Flood (also known as the Deluge) sent by a deity or deities to destroy civilization as an act of divine retribution is a widespread theme among many cultural myths. Though it is best known in modern times through the Biblical story of Noah's Ark and in the Hindu Puranic story of Manu, it is also known as Deucalion in Greek mythology and Utnapishtim in the Epic of Gilgamesh.

denarii  plural form of denarius, Roman Republican coins, originally cast in silver and worth 10 asses; known as a "penny" in the New Testament. The Library of Congress exhibition includes coins from the mid-first century BCE.

denarius  A denarius is a silver Roman coin worth about a day's wages for an agricultural laborer. A denarius was worth 1/25th of a Roman aureus.

The tribute penny of the Bible is widely regarded as a denarius of the Emperor Tiberius, who ruled Rome from A.D. 14 to 37. It shows Tiberius on the front and the legend "Tiberius Caesar Augustus, Son of the Divine Augustus." The back shows his mother, Livia, seated and the words "High Priest," one of Tiberius' many titles.

The denarius was a day's pay for a worker, such as a vineyard laborer (Matthew 20:2).

Deuterocanonical books   "Deuterocanonical books" is a term used since the sixteenth century in the Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Christianity to describe certain books and passages of the Christian Old Testament that are not part of the Jewish Bible. The term is used in contrast to the "protocanonical books", which are contained in the Hebrew Bible. This distinction had previously contributed to debate in the early church about whether they should be read in the churches and thus be classified as canonical texts.


The word deuterocanonical comes from the Greek meaning 'belonging to the second canon'. The etymology of the word is misleading, but it does indicate the hesitation with which these books were accepted into the canon by some.


Strictly, the term does not mean non-canonical; accordingly, many who do not accept these books as part of the canon of Scripture designate them instead by the term "Apocrypha", and either omit them from the Bible or include them in a section designated Apocrypha. This difference in terminology sometimes causes confusion.

Deuteronomist  The Deuteronomist (D) is one of the sources of the Torah postulated by the documentary hypothesis (DH) that treats the texts of Scripture as products of human intellect, working in time. Martin Noth argued that there was an underlying unity in language and cultural content of the books from Deuteronomy to 2 Kings (Noth 1943). He presented the persona of "The Deuteronomist" as a single author who was using pre-Exilic material but was editing and writing in the age of Babylonian exile, the mid-sixth century BCE. Others suggest that "the Deuteronomist" is a close-knit group of Temple scholars rather than a sole individual. The majority of scholars follow Noth's opinion, that the Deuteronomist also wrote the Deuteronomistic history (Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel, and 1 & 2 Kings). Some suggest that the same source may also have written the account of Jeremiah. Since Noth's work, some scholars attribute two separate stages to the text, a first (referred to as Dtr1) and second (referred to as Dtr2) edition of the text, although most still consider that both editions were the result of the same author.

The actual identity of the Deuteronomist is less secure than the body of his editing work: scholars postulate that the author was Baruch (Neriyah's son), Jeremiah's scribe, or possibly Jeremiah, due to the similarities in style between Jeremiah, and the inclusion in Jeremiah of direct (unattributed) quotes of D, as well as the affiliation of Jeremiah to the Shiloh priests, the time period at which Jeremiah lived.

This definition describes the opinion of the DH without taking into account alternative opinions;

Deuteronomy See deuteronomy

devil  The word "devil" comes from the Greek "diabolos," which means "one prone to slander; a liar." "Devil" is used to refer to a fallen angel, also called "Satan," who works to steal, kill, destroy, and do evil. The devil's doom is certain, and it is only a matter of time before he is thrown into the Lake of Fire, never to escape.

DH  See Documentary hypothesis

divine  See Divinity

Divine promise  The promise that is the basis of the term is contained in Genesis 15:18-21 of the Hebrew Bible:

On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates - the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites."

The verse is said to describe what are known as "Borders of the Land" (Gevulot Ha-aretz). In Jewish tradition these borders define the maximum extent of the land promised to the descendants of Abraham through his son Isaac and grandson Jacob.

Divinity   Divinity and divine (sometimes 'the Divinity' or 'the Divine') are broadly applied but loosely defined terms, used variously within different faiths and belief systems - and even by different individuals within a given faith - to refer to some transcendent or transcendental power, or its attributes or manifestations in the world. The root of the words is literally 'Godlike' (from the Latin 'Deus', cf. Dyaus, closely related to Greek 'Zeus', Divan in Persian and Deva in Sanskrit), but the use varies significantly depending on which god is being discussed. This article outlines the major distinctions in the conventional use of the terms.

didrachma  A didrachma is a Greek silver coin worth 2 drachmas, about as much as 2 Roman denarii, or about 2 days wages. It was commonly used to pay the half-shekel temple tax.

Disciple  Meaning: a scholar

The Twelve Apostles, sometimes referred to as "The Disciples"

The name disciple was sometimes applied to the followers of John the Baptist (Matt. 9:14), and of the Pharisees (22:16), but principally to the followers of Christ. A disciple of Christ is one who&ldots;

1. believes his doctrine
2. rests on his sacrifice
3. imbibes his spirit
4. imitates his example ( Matt. 10:24; Luke 14:26,27, 33; John 6:69).

In Christianity, the disciples were the students of Jesus during his ministry. Though often restricted to the Twelve Apostles, the gospels and the Book of Acts refer to varying numbers of disciples that range between 70 and 120 and Paul refers to 500. In the book of Acts, the Apostles themselves have disciples. The word disciple is used today as a way of self-identification for those who seek to learn from the life of Jesus.

The term disciple is derived from the New Testament, coming to English by way of the Latin discipulus meaning "a learner". Disciple should not be confused with apostle, meaning "messenger, he that is sent". While a disciple is one who learns from a teacher, a student, an apostle is sent to deliver those teachings to others. The word disciple appears two hundred and thirty two times in the four gospels and the Book of Acts.

Also see: Apostles

Read about some of the biblical twelve disciples of Jesus Christ:

1. Matthew (Levi)
2. Mark (John)
3. John (brother of James)
4. Andrew
5. Bartholomew (Nathanael)
6. James (son of Zebedee)
7. James (son of Alphaeus)
8. Judas (called also Lebbaeus or Thaddaeus)
9. Judas Iscariot (replaced by Matthias)
10. Peter (Simon Peter)
11. Simon (Zelotes)
12. Thomas

Seventy Disciples

The Seventy Disciples or Seventy-two Disciples were early followers of Jesus mentioned in the Gospel of Luke 10:1-24. According to Luke, the only gospel in which they appear, Jesus appointed them and sent them out in pairs to spread his message. In Western Christianity it is usual to refer to them as Disciples while in Eastern Christianity they are usually referred to as Apostles.Using the original Greek words, both titles are descriptive as an apostle is one sent on a mission whereas a disciple is a student, but the two traditions differ on the scope of the word apostle.

distaff  part of a spinning wheel used for twisting threads.

Documentary hypothesis  The documentary hypothesis (DH), proposes that the first five books of the Old Testament (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, known collectively as the Torah or Pentateuch) represent a combination of documents from originally independent sources. According to the influential version of the hypothesis formulated by Julius Wellhausen (1844-1918), there were four main sources, and these sources and the approximate dates of their composition were:

  • the J, or Jahwist, source; written c. 950 BC in the southern kingdom of Judah. (The name Yahweh begins with a J in Wellhausen's native German.)

  • the E, or Elohist, source; written c. 850 BC in the northern kingdom of Israel.

  • the D, or Deuteronomist, source; written c. 621 BC in Jerusalem during a period of religious reform.

  • the P, or Priestly, source; written c. 450 BC by Aaronid priests.

The editor who combined the sources into the final Pentateuch is known as R, for Redactor, and might have been Ezra.

"Starting from the simple question of how to reconcile inconsistencies in the text, and refusing to accept forced explanations to harmonize them, scholars eventually arrived at the theory that the Torah was composed of selections woven together from several, at times inconsistent, sources dealing with the same and related subjects. The reasoning followed in this kind of analysis is somewhat similar to that of the Talmudic sages and later rabbis who held that inconsistent clauses and terminology in a single paragraph of the Mishna must have originated with different sages, and who recognized that Moses could not have written passages of the Torah that contain information unavailable to him, such as the last chapter of Deuteronomy, which describes his death and its aftermath."

According to Wellhausen, the four sources present a picture of Israel's religious history, which he saw as one of ever-increasing centralization and priestly power. Wellhausen's hypothesis became the dominant view on the origin of the Pentateuch for much of the 20th century. Most contemporary Bible experts accept some form of the documentary hypothesis, and scholars continue to draw on Wellhausen's terminology and insights. In the area of New Testament scholarship, proposed solutions to the synoptic problem often bear a strong resemblance to the documentary hypothesis.

Donatist  The Donatists (named for the Berber Christian Donatus Magnus) were followers of a belief considered a schism by the broader churches of the Catholic tradition, and most particularly within the context of the religious milieu of the provinces of Roman North Africa in Late Antiquity. They lived in the Roman province of Africa and flourished in the fourth and fifth centuries.

Like the Novatianist schism of the previous century, the Donatists were rigorists, holding that the church must be a church of saints, not sinners, and that sacraments, such as baptism, administered by traditores (Christians who surrendered the Scriptures to the authorities who outlawed possession of them) were invalid. Probably in 311, a new bishop of Carthage was consecrated by someone who had allegedly been a traditor; his opponents consecrated a short-lived rival, who was succeeded by Donatus, after whom the schism was named. In 313, a commission appointed by Pope Miltiades found against the Donatists, but they continued to exist, viewing themselves, and not what was known as the Catholic Church, as the true Church, the only one with valid sacraments. Because of their association with the circumcellions, they brought upon themselves repression by the imperial authorities, but they drew upon African regional sentiment, while the Catholic party had the support of Rome. They were still a force at the time of Saint Augustine of Hippo at the end of the fourth century, and disappeared only after the Arab conquest of the 7th-8th century.

Dothan  Meaning: two wells

a famous pasture-ground where Joseph found his brethren watching their flocks

Here, at the suggestion of Judah, they sold him to the Ishmaelite merchants (Gen. 37:17). It is mentioned on monuments in B.C. 1600.

It was the residence of Elisha (2 Kings 6:13), and the scene of a remarkable vision of chariots and horses of fire surrounding the mountain on which the city stood. It is identified with the modern Tell-Dothan, on the south side of the plain of Jezreel, about 12 miles north of Samaria, among the hills of Gilboa. The “two wells” are still in existence, one of which bears the name of the “pit of Joseph” (Jubb Yusuf).

Douai Bible  See Douay-Rheims Bible

Douay Rheims Bible
Douay-Rheims Bible  The Douay-Rheims Bible, also known as the Rheims-Douai Bible or Douai Bible and abbreviated as D-R, is a translation of the Bible from the Latin Vulgate into English. The New Testament was published in one volume with extensive commentary and notes in 1582. The Old Testament followed in 1609-10 in two volumes, also extensively annotated. The notes took up the bulk of the volumes and had a strong polemical and patristic character. They also offered insights on issues of translation, and on the Hebrew and Greek source texts of the Vulgate. The purpose of the version, both the text and notes, was to uphold Catholic tradition in the face of the Protestant Reformation which was heavily influencing England. As such it was an impressive effort by English Catholics to support the Counter-Reformation.

Although the Jerusalem Bible, New American Bible (in the United States), the Revised Standard Version, the New Revised Standard Version and the New Jerusalem Bible are the most commonly used in English-speaking Catholic churches, the Challoner revision of the Douay-Rheims is still often the Bible of choice of English-speaking Traditionalist Catholics.

D-R  See Douay-Rheims Bible

drachma  A drachma is a Greek silver coin worth about one Roman denarius, or about a day's wages for an agricultural laborer.

Duke  derived from the Latin dux, meaning “a leader;” Arabic, “a sheik”

This word is used to denote the phylarch or chief of a tribe (Gen. 36:15-43; Ex. 15:15; 1 Chr. 1:51-54).

Dynamic and formal equivalence  
Dynamic equivalence and formal equivalence are two approaches to translation. The dynamic (also known as functional equivalence) attempts to convey the thought expressed in a source text (if necessary, at the expense of literalness, original word order, the source text's grammatical voice, etc.), while formal attempts to render the text word-for-word (if necessary, at the expense of natural expression in the target language). The two approaches represent emphasis, respectively, on readability and on literal fidelity to the source text. There is, however, in reality no sharp boundary between dynamic and formal equivalence. Broadly, the two represent a spectrum of translation approaches.

The terms "dynamic equivalence" and "formal equivalence" are associated with the translator Eugene Nida, and were originally coined to describe ways of translating the Bible, but the two approaches are applicable to any translation.

Theory and practice

Because dynamic equivalence eschews strict adherence to the original text in favor of a more natural rendering in the target language, it is sometimes used when the readability of the translation is more important than the preservation of the original wording. Thus a novel might be translated with greater use of dynamic equivalence so that it may read well, while in diplomacy the precise original meaning may be the uppermost consideration, favoring greater adherence to formal equivalence.

Completely unambiguous formal translation of larger works is more goal than reality, if only because one language may contain a word for a concept which has no direct equivalent in another language. In such cases a more dynamic translation may be used or a neologism may be created in the target language to represent the concept (sometimes by borrowing a word from the source language).

The more the source language differs from the target language, the more difficult it may be to understand a literal translation. On the other hand, formal equivalence can sometimes allow readers familiar with the source language to see how meaning was expressed in the original text, preserving untranslated idioms, rhetorical devices (such as chiastic structures in the Hebrew Bible), and diction.

Bible translation

The concept of dynamic equivalence, applied to Bible translation, was developed especially by the linguist Eugene A. Nida.

Translators of the Bible have taken various approaches in rendering it into English, ranging from an extreme use of formal equivalence, to extreme use of dynamic equivalence.

Formal equivalence

A balance between dynamic and formal equivalence

  • Today's New International Version


  • New International Version

  • New English Translation
  • New Revised Standard Version
  • Holman Christian Standard Bible called "optimal" equivalence

Extensive use of dynamic equivalence

  • New Living Translation


  • Good News Bible (formerly "Today's English Version")

  • The Message



(E)  See The Elohist

Eber  See Eber Here in Names in The Bible

Ecclesiastes Qohelet  (often abbreviated Ecc) (Hebrew: Kohelet, variously transliterated as Qoheleth, Göhalath, Koheles, Koheleth, or Coheleth)

Ecclesiastes is a book of the Hebrew Bible. The English name derives from the Greek translation of the Hebrew title.

The name of this book means "the preacher." It is believed to have been written by Solomon.

Like the Book of Proverbs, it contains many things which are good for all of us to follow.

The main speaker in the book, identified by the name or title Qohelet, introduces himself as "son of David, and king in Jerusalem." The work consists of personal or autobiographic matter, at times expressed in aphorisms and maxims illuminated in terse paragraphs with reflections on the meaning of life and the best way of life. The work emphatically proclaims all the actions of man to be inherently "vain", "futile", "empty", "meaningless", "temporary", "transitory", or "fleeting," depending on translation, as the lives of both wise and foolish men end in death. While Qohelet clearly endorses wisdom as a means for a well-lived earthly life, he is unable to ascribe eternal meaning to it. In light of this perceived senselessness, he suggests that one should enjoy the simple pleasures of daily life, such as eating, drinking, and taking enjoyment in one's wife and work, which are gifts from the hand of God.

According to Talmud however, the point of Qohelet is to state that all is futile under the sun. One should therefore ignore physical pleasures and put all one's efforts towards that which is above the Sun. This is summed up in the second to last verse: "

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God, and keep his commandments; for that is the whole duty of everyone."

1.  worldwide or general in extent, influence, or application


a: of, relating to, or representing the whole of a body of churches

b: promoting or tending toward worldwide Christian unity or cooperation

Edom  ("red")

Edom is a name given to Esau in the Hebrew Bible, as well as to the nation descending from him. The nation's name in Assyrian was Udumi; in Latin, Idumæa or Idumea.

The Edomite people were a Semitic-speaking tribal group inhabiting the Negev Desert and the Arabah valley of what is now southern Dead Sea and adjacent Jordan. The region has much reddish sandstone, which may have given rise to the name "Edom". The nation of Edom is known to have existed back to the 8th or 9th century BC, and the Bible dates it back several centuries further. Recent archaeological evidence may indicate an Edomite nation as long ago as the 11th century BC, but the topic is controversial. The nation ceased to exist as a settled state with the Jewish-Roman Wars.

Edomite  The Edomite language was a Canaanite language spoken by the Edomites in southwestern Jordan in the first millennium BC. It is known only from a very small corpus. In early times, it seems to have been written with a Canaanite alphabet; like the Moabite language, it retained feminine -t. However, in the 6th century BC, it adopted the Aramaic alphabet. Meanwhile, Aramaic or Arabic features such as whb ("gave") and tgr "merchant" entered the language, with whb becoming especially common in proper names.

Biblically, "Edom" is an alternate name of Esau, a descendant of Eber through Abraham, and the Edomites are regarded as being a Hebrew people, as are the Moabites and Ammonites.

Egypt   a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Western Asia. Covering an area of about 1,010,000 square kilometers (390,000 sq mi), Egypt borders the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south and Libya to the west.

Egypt is one of the most populous countries in Africa and the Middle East. The great majority of its estimated 82 million live near the banks of the Nile River, in an area of about 40,000 square kilometers (15,000 sq mi), where the only arable agricultural land is found.


The large areas of the Sahara Desert are sparsely inhabited. About half of Egypt's residents live in urban areas, with the majority spread across the densely-populated centres of greater Cairo, Alexandria and other major cities in the Nile Delta.

Egypt is famous for its ancient civilization and some of the world's most famous monuments, including the Giza pyramid complex and its Great Sphinx. The southern city of Luxor contains numerous ancient artifacts, such as the Karnak Temple and the Valley of the Kings. Egypt is widely regarded as an important political and cultural nation of the Middle East.

Upper Egypt  is a narrow strip of land that extends from the cataract boundaries of modern-day Aswan to the area between El-Aiyat and Zawyet Dahshur, south of modern-day Cairo. The northern section of Upper Egypt, between El-Aiyat and Asyut is sometimes known as Middle Egypt. Modern inhabitants of Upper Egypt are known as Sa'idis; they generally speak Sa'idi Arabic.

Upper Egypt is on the Western side of the Nile River, which runs over 4,000 miles long.

Upper Egypt was known as Ta Shemau which means "the land of reeds." It was divided into twenty-two districts called nomes. The first nome was roughly where modern Aswan is and the twenty-second was at modern Atfih (Aphroditopolis), just to the south of Cairo.

The main city of predynastic Upper Egypt was Nekhen (Greek Hierakonpolis), whose patron deity was the vulture goddess Nekhbet. For most of pharaonic Egypt's history Thebes was the administrative center of Upper Egypt. After its devastation by the Assyrians its importance declined. Under the Ptolemies the city of Ptolemais took over the role of capital of Upper Egypt. Upper Egypt was represented by the tall White Crown Hedjet, and its symbol was the flowering lotus.

In modern Egypt, the title Prince of the Sa'id (meaning Prince of Upper Egypt) was used by the heir apparent to the Egyptian throne. Although the Egyptian monarchy was abolished in 1953, the title continues to be used by Muhammad Ali, Prince of Said.

Lower Egypt  Lower Egypt is the northern-most section of Egypt. It refers to the fertile Nile Delta region, which stretches from the area between El-Aiyat and Zawyet Dahshur, south of modern-day Cairo, and the Mediterranean Sea.

Today there are two principal channels that the Nile takes through the river's delta: one in the west at Rashid and one in the east at Damietta. In ancient times, Pliny the Elder (N.H. 5.11) said that upon reaching the delta the Nile split into seven branches (from east to west): the Pelusiac, the Tanitic, the Mendesian, the Phatnitic, the Sebennytic, the Bolbitine, and the Canopic. Today the delta region is well watered, crisscrossed by channels and canals.

Lower Egypt was known as Ta-Mehu which means "land of papyrus." It was divided into twenty districts called nomes, the first of which was at el-Lisht. Because Lower Egypt was mostly undeveloped scrubland, undeveloped for human life and filled with all types of plant life such as grasses and herbs, the organization of the nomes underwent several changes.

The climate in Lower Egypt is milder than that of Upper Egypt owing primarily to its proximity to the Mediterranean Sea. Temperatures are less extreme and rainfall is more abundant.

The capital of Lower Egypt was Buto. Its patron goddess was the cobra goddess Wadjet. Lower Egypt was represented by the Low Red Crown Deshret, and its symbol was the papyrus.

Eilat   Eilat is Israel's southernmost city, a busy port as well as a popular resort, located at the northern tip of the Red Sea, on the Gulf of Eilat. Home to 46,900 people, the city is part of the Southern Negev Desert, at the southern end of the Arava. The city is adjacent to the Egyptian village of Taba, to the south, and the Jordanian port city of Aqaba, to the east.

Eilat's semi-arid desert climate is moderated by proximity to a warm sea. Temperatures often exceed 40 °C (104 °F) in summer, and 18 °C (64 °F) in winter, while water temperatures range between 20 and 26 °C (68-79 °F). The city's beaches, nightlife and desert landscapes make it a popular destination for domestic and international tourism.

El   (God)

El, al, iah, yah or Eli is a Western Semitic word which means power.

In the Levant as a whole, el, al, iah, Yah Eli or Izer were the powers of the supreme being, the creator god of humankind and all creatures and the husband of the goddess Asherah as attested in the tablets of Ugarit. In the Egyptian pantheon the creator god was Ptah who is portrayed as green to represent the earth and blue to represent the sky. He is the smith who builds the iron frame on which the sky sits. In most early afroasiatic semitic AD IE languages *pitar, pater, peter and father are cognate with abu. Thus we have Zeus pitar, jupitar, and a host of other sky gods seen as creators

The word Eli was found at the top of a list of gods as the "ancient of gods" or the "father of all gods", in the ruins of the Royal Library of the Ebla civilization, in the archaeological site of Tell Mardikh in Syria dated to 2300 BCE. He may have been a desert god at some point, as the myths say that he had two wives and built a sanctuary with them and his new children in the desert. El had fathered many gods, but most important were Hadad, Yam and Mot, each of whom has similar attributes to the Greek gods Zeus, Poseidon or Ophion, and Hades or Thanatos respectively. Ancient Greek mythographers identified El with Cronus (not Chronos).

In the story of Abraham four powers are introduced: El Shaddai (translated in the NRSV as "God Almighty") or Shamsi Adad the lord of the land and the power of the earth. Yahwah (generally rendered "the LORD" in English translations), the power of the air, is a western semitic storm god associated with Bael. El Roi (which the NRSV suggests may mean "God of seeing" or "God who sees") is the lord of the well or the power of water in the sense that in a desert he who controls the water controls the land. In Biblical times Egypt fortified the wells between Egypt and a place called in the Akkadian cuneiform of the Amarna letters URU URU salaam KI. The final power is Moloch, the power of the fire through who Abraham is instructed to pass his son.

(The name "Moloch" does not actually appear in Genesis, although it is possible that the story relates in some way to this deity.)


1. an ancient country in southwestern Asia

2.  son of Shem  See Elam Here in Names in The Bible

Elam (place)

Elam was an ancient civilization located in what is now southwest Iran.

Elam was centered in the far west and southwest of modern-day Iran, stretching from the lowlands of Khuzestan and Ilam Province (which takes its name from Elam), as far as Jiroft in Kerman province and Burned City in Zabol, as well as a small part of southern Iraq.

Situated just to the east of Mesopotamia, Elam was part of the early urbanization during the Chalcolithic. The emergence of written records from around 3000 BC also parallels Mesopotamian history. In the Old Elamite period (Middle Bronze Age), Elam consisted of kingdoms on the Iranian plateau, centered in Anshan, and from the mid-2nd millennium BC, it was centered in Susa in the Khuzestan lowlands. Its culture played a crucial role in the Gutian Empire, especially during the Achaemenid dynasty that succeeded it, when the Elamite language remained among those in official use.

The Elamite language has no established affinities with any other, and seems to be a language isolate such as Sumerian; however some researchers have posited the existence of a larger group known as Elamo-Dravidian.


The original settlement of Eilat was probably Elat at the northern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba. Elat is mentioned in antiquity as a major trading partner with Elim, Thebes Red Sea Port as early as the Twelfth dynasty of Egypt. Trade between Elim and Elat furnished Frankincense, and Myrrh, brought up from Ethiopia and Punt; Bitumen and Natron, from the Dead Sea, finely woven Linenfrom Byblos, copper amulets from Timnah, all as mentioned in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea. Elat which is now on the border with Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia was anciently on the border of the states of Edom, and Midian and the tribal territory of the Rephidim the indiginous inhabitants of the Sinai. The commercial port city and copper based industrial center were maintained by Egypt in antiquity until rebuilt by Solomon.

Eilat is first mentioned in the Bible in the Book of Exodus in the stations. The first six stations of the Exodus are in Egypt. The 7th is the crossing of the Red Sea and The 9th-13th are in and around Elat after they have left Egypt and crossed the Red Sea. Station 12 refers to a dozen campsites in and around Timna in Modern Israel near Elat.

When King David conquered Edom, which up to then had been a common border of Edom and Midian, he took over Eilat, the border city shared by them as well. In Kings 2 14:21-22: "And all the people of Judah took Azariah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in the room of his father Amaziah. He built Elath, and restored it to Judah, after that the king slept among his fathers." And again in Kings 2 16:6: "At that time Rezin king of Aram recovered Elath to Aram, and drove the Jews from Elath; and the Edomites came to Elath, and dwelt there, unto this day".

During the Roman period a road was built to link the area with the Nabataean city of Petra (modern-day Jordan). The remains of a large copper smelting and trading community which flourished during the Ummayad Period (700-900 CE) were also found between what is now Eilat's industrial zone and nearby Kibbutz Eilot.

The Darb el Hajj or "Pilgrim's Road", from Africa through Egypt to Mecca, passed out of Sinai from the west at Eilat before skirting the sea and continuing south into Arabia.

Elath   Elath is an ancient city in the Hebrew Bible on the northern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba. It was in the same vicinity as Eloth and Eziongeber.

  • Historically, the city of Aqaba, Jordan has been associated with the ancient site.

  • The modern city of Eilat, Israel is adjacent to Aqaba and named after the ancient Elath.

Elath is first mentioned in Deut. 2:8. It is also mentioned along with Ezion-geber in 1 Kings 9:26. It was within the limits of Solomon's dominion, but afterwards revolted. It was, however, recovered and held for a time under king Uzziah (2 Kings 14:22). Now the ruin Aila.

El-Elohe-Israel  El-Elohe-Israel means "God, the God of Israel" or "The God of Israel is mighty."

Ellasar  Meaning: the oak or heap of Assyria

a territory in Asia of which Arioch was king (Gen. 14:1, 9) 

It is supposed that the old Chaldean town of Larsa was the metropolis of this kingdom, situated nearly halfway between Ur (now Mugheir) and Erech, on the left bank of the Euphrates. This town is represented by the mounds of Senkereh, a little to the east of Erech.

Elohim  a Hebrew word which expresses concepts of divinity. It is apparently related to the Hebrew word el, though morphologically it consists of the Hebrew word Eloah with a plural suffix. Elohim is the third word in the Hebrew text of Genesis and occurs frequently throughout the Hebrew Bible. Its exact significance is often disputed.


1:1 First Reading
In the beginning God created heaven and earth.
Bereshit bara Elohim et hashamayim ve'et ha'arets.

In some cases (e.g. Exodus 3:4, "... Elohim called unto him out of the midst of the bush ..."), it acts as a singular noun in Hebrew grammar, and is then generally understood to denote the single God of Israel. In other cases, Elohim acts as an ordinary plural of the word Eloah, and refers to the polytheistic notion of multiple gods (for example, Exodus 20:3, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."). This may reflect the use of the word "Elohim" found in the late Bronze Age texts of Canaanite Ugarit, where Elohim ('lhm) denoted the entire Canaanite pantheon (the family of El, the patriarchal creator god). It may also refer to a Henotheistic strand of Judaism. In still other cases, the meaning is not clear from the text, but may refer to powerful beings (e.g. Genesis 6:2, "... the sons of Elohim saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them for wives... ," Exodus 4:16, "He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you [Moses] were Elohim to him [Aaron] . . . ," Exodus 22:28, "Thou shalt not revile Elohim, or curse a ruler of your people... ," where the parallelism suggests that Elohim may refer to human rulers).

See Sons of God for more information

Elohist  The Elohist (E) is one of four sources of the Torah described by the Documentary Hypothesis. Its name comes from the term it uses for God: Elohim. It portrays a God who is less anthropomorphic than YHWH of the earlier Jahwist source ("J").

Since the end of the 19th century, it has been argued that the Elohist was composed in northern Israel (Ephraim) c 850 BC, combined with the Yahwist to form JE c 750 BC, and finally incorporated into the Torah c 400 BC. The Elohist promotes Israel over Judah, and Levitical priests over Judah's Aaronite priests. E includes Abraham's mission to sacrifice Isaac, Moses calling down plagues on Egypt, Aaron and the golden calf, the Covenant Code, and Joseph as an interpreter of dreams.

Recent reconstructions suggest that the Elohist may have been written before the Jahwist, or else they leave out the Elohist altogether, proposing a DJP sequence, written from the reign of Josiah into post-exilic times.

Eloth  See Aqaba

ephah  An ephah is a measure of volume of about 22 liters, 5.8 U. S. gallons, 4.8 imperial gallons, or a bit more than half a bushel.

Elephantine  Island in upper Egypt, near Aswan, where a Judaean military colony was located in the fifth century BCE. Approximately forty Aramaic autograph texts, written by or to the inhabitants of the colony, and some legal documents were discovered there in 1906. The precise geological references contained therein show that they were written locally.

Emmaus   Meaning: hot baths.

This was the name of a village "three-score furlongs" from Jerusalem, where our Lord had an interview with two of his disciples on the day of his resurrection (Luke 24:13).

LOCATION: Its site, however, has been much disputed. This village has been identified with the modern el-Kubeibeh, lying over 7 miles northwest of Jerusalem. This name, el-Kubeibeh, meaning “little dome,” is derived from the remains of the Crusaders' church still there. Others have identified it with the modern Khurbet Khamasa i.e., "the ruins of Khamasa", about 8 miles southwest of Jerusalem, where there are ruins also of a Crusaders' church.

Emmor  Meaning: an ass (Acts 7:16)

Endogamy  custom enjoining one to marry within one’s own group. The penalties for transgressing endogamous restrictions have varied greatly among cultures and have ranged from death to mild disapproval. When marriage to an outside group is mandated, it is referred to as exogamy.

En Gedi  An ancient city less than 10 miles north of Masada. The hills above En Gedi are the location of the Essene community described by Pliny according to some readings of this Natural History. The consensus view is that Qumran is the Essene community and the "above" in Pliny should be read as north, about 20 miles north, in fact. Of course, it is also possible that Pliny made it up. He was never there and the identity and reliability of his sources is uncertain.

Enoch  See Enoch Here in Names in The Bible

Ephraim  Ephraim was the name of one biblical man and a biblical town:

The tribe of Ephraim

The tribe of Ephraim took precedence over that of Manasseh by virtue of Jacob's blessing (Gen. 41:52; 48:1). The descendants of Joseph formed two of the tribes of Israel, whereas each of the other sons of Jacob was the founder of only one tribe. Thus, there were in reality thirteen tribes; but the number twelve was preserved by excluding that of Levi when Ephraim and Manasseh are mentioned separately (Num. 1:32-34; Josh. 17:14, 17; 1 Chr. 7:20).

Territory of the tribe of Ephraim. At the time of the first census in the wilderness this tribe numbered 40,500 (Num. 1:32,33); forty years later, when about to take possession of the Promised Land, it numbered only 32,500.

During the march (see CAMP) Ephraim's place was on the west side of the tabernacle (Num. 2:18-24).

When the spies were sent out to spy the land, “Oshea the son of Nun” of this tribe signalized himself.

The boundaries of the portion of the land assigned to Ephraim are given in Josh. 16:1-10. It included most of what was afterwards called Samaria as distinguished from Judea and Galilee. It thus lay in the center of all traffic, from north to south, and from Jordan to the sea, and was about 55 miles long and 30 broad.

The tabernacle and the ark were deposited within its limits at Shiloh, where it remained for four hundred years.

During the time of the judges and the first stage of the monarchy this tribe manifested a domineering and haughty and discontented spirit.

"For more than five hundred years, a period equal to that which elapsed between the Norman Conquest and the War of the Roses, Ephraim, with its two dependent tribes of Manasseh and Benjamin, exercised undisputed pre-eminence.

Joshua the first conqueror, Gideon the greatest of the judges, and Saul the first king, belonged to one or other of the three tribes. It was not till the close of the first period of Jewish history that God 'refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim, but chose the tribe of Judah, the Mount Zion which he loved' (Ps. 78:67,68). When the ark was removed from Shiloh to Zion the power of Ephraim was humbled.”

Among the causes which operated to bring about the disruption of Israel was Ephraim's jealousy of the growing power of Judah. From the settlement of Canaan till the time of David and Solomon, Ephraim had held the place of honor among the tribes.

It occupied the central and fairest portions of the land, and had Shiloh and Shechem within its borders. But now when Jerusalem became the capital of the kingdom, and the center of power and worship for the whole nation of Israel, Ephraim declined in influence. The discontent came to a crisis by Rehoboam's refusal to grant certain redresses that were demanded (1 Kings 12).

Epistle  (Greek epistole, "letter")

An epistle is a writing directed or sent to a person or group of persons, usually a letter and a very formal, often didactic and elegant one. The letters in the New Testament from Apostles to Christians are usually referred to as epistles. Those traditionally attributed to Paul are known as Pauline epistles and the others as "catholic" or general epistles.


Epistles are written in strict accordance to formalized, Hellenistic tradition, especially the Pauline epistles. This reflects the amount of Hellenistic influence upon the epistle writers. Any deviancy is not the result of accident but indicates an unusual motive of the writer.


In contrast to modern letters, epistles usually named the author at the very beginning, followed by the recipient (for example, see Philippians 1:1). The scribe (or more correctly, the amanuensis) who wrote down the letter may be named at the end of the episte (e.g. Romans 16:22). In the absence of a postal system, the courier may also be named (e.g. Ephesians 6:21-22).

After the names of the author and recipient, Pauline epistles often open with the greeting, "Grace and peace to you." "Grace" was a common Hellenistic greeting, while "peace" (shalom) was the common Jewish greeting; this reflected Paul's dual identity in Jewish faith and Hellenistic culture. There may also be a word of thanks to the audience. In secular letters, a prayer or wish for health followed.


The body begins with a brief statement introducing the main topic of the entire body.


To English readers, the epistles may appear more formalized than originally read, due to the process of translation. The writer sought to establish philophronesis, an intimate extension of their relationship as similar as a face to face encounter as possible. The writer hoped to revive the friendship, making the epistle a substitute for the actual writer. Letters written to a group of people, which include most of the New Testament epistles, were not read individually but read aloud to the entire church congregation.

The content is concise compared to modern letters. Writing required a great financial expense of paper and ink and long process of time.

The letter often intends to establish theological points (as in many of Paul's epistles), to comfort in the face of persecution (for example, 1 Peter), or to exhort Christians to do good works (James).

New Testament epistles

There are epistles that are written to particular areas, and general epistles that are written to groups or communities. Taking at face value the traditional ascription of epistles to their superscribed authors, Paul wrote more epistles to particular churches, as well as personal letters to Timothy, Philemon, and Titus. Peter was the author of his own, John was the author of his own, James was the author of his own, Jude was the author of his own. Sometimes Paul's epistles are divided into subgroups. For instance, the "prison epistles" are the ones written by Paul while he was in prison, while the "pastoral epistles" are the letters to Timothy and Titus, since they contain advice about providing pastoral care to their churches.

Questions of historical authorship or of date and authenticity are addressed in the entries to individual Epistles. Usually the Epistles of the New Testament Canon are divided as follows:

The authorship of many of these epistles is contested by the majority of modern scholars and historians. In particular, with respect to the authorship of the Pauline epistles, the pastoral epistles are rejected by two thirds of modern academics, and only seven of the Pauline epistles are regarded as uncontested. The authorship of the Epistles of John is also questioned.

Non canonical epistles

  • Epistle to Seneca the Younger


  • Third Epistle to the Corinthians (canonical for a time in the Armenian Orthodox)

  • Epistle to the Laodiceans (found in Codex Fuldensis)
  • Epistle of the Corinthians to Paul (addressed to Paul, not written by him)
  • Letter of Peter to Philip

Lost epistles

  • The first Epistle to Corinth referenced at 1 Corinthians 5:9


  • The third Epistle to Corinth called Severe Letter referenced at 2 Corinthians 2:4 and 2 Corinthians 7:8-9

  • The Corinthian letter to Paul referenced at 1 Corinthians 7:1
  • The Earlier Epistle to the Ephesians referenced at Ephesians 3:3-4
  • The Epistle to the Laodiceans referenced at Colossians 4:16
  • The Earlier Epistle of Jude referenced at Jude 1:3
  • The Earlier Epistle of John referenced at 3 John 1:9

Epistles of Apostolic Fathers

These are letters written by some very early Christian leaders, in the first or second century, which are not part of the New Testament. They are generally considered to form part of the basis of Christian tradition. The ennobling word "epistle" is used partly because these were all written in Greek, in a time period close to when the epistles of the New Testament were written, and thus "epistle" lends additional weight of authority.

  • Epistle of the Romans to the Corinthians (1 Clement)


  • Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians

  • Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians
  • Epistle of Ignatius to the Trallians
  • Epistle of Ignatius to the Romans
  • Epistle of Ignatius to the Philadelphians
  • Epistle of Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans
  • Epistle of Ignatius to Polycarp
  • Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians
  • Epistle of Barnabas
  • Epistle to Diognetus

Liturgical use

In the context of a liturgy, epistle may refer more specifically to a particular passage from a New Testament epistle (the Pauline epistles and the Catholic epistles) — sometimes also from the Book of Acts or the Revelation of John, but not the Four Gospels — that is scheduled to be read on a certain day or at a certain occasion.

In the Roman Catholic Mass and Anglican Communion, epistles are read between the Collect and the Gospel reading. The corresponding Gregorian chants have a special tone (tonus epistolae). When the epistle is sung or chanted at Solemn Mass it is done so by the subdeacon.

In the Divine Liturgy of the Eastern Orthodox Church the Epistle reading is called the Apostol (the same name is given to the lectionary from which it is read). The Apostol includes the Acts of the Apostles as well as the Epistles, but never the Apocalypse (Revelation of John). There are Epistle lessons for every day of the year, except for weekdays during Great Lent, when the Divine Liturgy is not celebrated. These daily Epistle readings are a part of the Paschal cycle, being ultimately dependent upon the date of Pascha (Easter). There are also lessons appointed for the feast days of numerous saints and commemorations. There may be one, two, or three readings from the Apostol during a single Liturgy. The Epistle reading is always chanted (never simply read in a spoken voice) between the Prokeimenon and the Alleluia. The Epistle reading is always linked to a reading from the Gospel, though some services, such as Matins, will have a Gospel lesson, but no Epistle. A number of services besides the Divine Liturgy will have an Epistle and Gospel reading. Such services often include a Prokeimenon and Alleluia as well. The Epistle is chanted by the reader, though at a Hierarchical Liturgy (a Divine Liturgy celebrated by a bishop), it is read by a deacon. The one who chants the Epistle also reads the verses of the Prokeimenon and Alleluia.

Epistle to the Corinthians  The Letter of Paul to the Corinthians  The Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians

Either of two New Testament letters, or epistles, addressed from the apostle Paul to the Christian community that he had founded at Corinth, Greece. The First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians and The Second Letter of Paul to the Corinthians are now respectively the seventh and eighth books of the New Testament canon.

The First Epistle to the Corinthians

The First Epistle to the Corinthians is a book of the Bible in the New Testament, often referred to simply as 1 Corinthians. The book is a letter from Paul of Tarsus and Sosthenes to the Christians of Corinth, Greece. This epistle contains some of the best-known phrases in the New Testament, including (depending on the translation)

"all things to all men" (9:22), "without love, I am nothing" (13:1), "through a glass, darkly" (13:12), and "when I was a child, I spoke as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child"

The epistle was written from Ephesus (16:8). According to Acts of the Apostles, Paul founded the church in Corinth (Acts 18:1-17), then spent approximately three years in Ephesus (Acts 19:8, 19:10, 20:31). The letter was written during this time in Ephesus, which is usually dated as being in the range of 53 to 57 AD.

The traditional subscription to the epistle, translated in the Authorized Version, states that this epistle was written at Philippi, perhaps arising from a misinterpretation of 16:5, "For I do pass through Macedonia," as meaning, "I am passing through Macedonia." In 16:8 Paul declares his intention of staying in Ephesus until Pentecost. This statement, in turn, is clearly reminiscent of Paul's Second Missionary Journey, when Paul travelled from Corinth to Ephesus, before going to Jerusalem for Pentecost (cf. Acts 18:22). Thus, it is possible that I Corinthians was written during Paul's first (brief) stay in Ephesus, at the end of his Second Journey, usually dated to early 54 AD.

Throughout the letter, Paul presents issues that are troubling the community in Corinth and offers ways to fix them. Paul states that this letter is not meant to make them feel ashamed but to “admonish” them as beloved children. They are expected to become imitators of Jesus and follow the ways in Christ as he, Paul, teaches in all his churches (1 Cor. 4:14-16).

Read  Pauls' First Epistle to the Corinthians

Second Epistle to the Corinthians

The Second Epistle to the Corinthians is a book in the New Testament, written by Paul the Apostle.

While there is little doubt among scholars that Paul is the author, there is discussion over whether the letter was originally one letter or a combination of two or more of Paul's letters.

Although the New Testament only contains two letters to the Corinthians, the evidence from the letters themselves is that he wrote at least four:

1. 1 Cor 5:9 ("I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people", NIV) refers to an early letter, sometimes called the "warning letter".

2. 1 Corinthians

3. Paul refers to an earlier "letter of tears" in 2 Corinthians 2:3-4 and 7:8. 1 Corinthians does not match that description; so this "letter of tears" must be between 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians.

4. 2 Corinthians

The abrupt change of tone from being previously harmonious to bitterly reproachful in 2 Corinthians 10-13 has led many to speculate that chapters 10-13 form part of the "letter of tears" which were in some way tagged on to Paul's main letter. Those who disagree with this assessment usually say that the "letter of tears" is no longer extant.

Some scholars also find fragments of the "warning letter", or of other letters, in chapters 1-9, for instance that part of the "warning letter" is preserved in 2 Cor 6:14-7:1, but these hypotheses are less popular.

The abrupt change of tone from being previously harmonious to bitterly reproachful in 2 Corinthians 10-13 has led many to speculate that chapters 10-13 form part of the "letter of tears" which were in some way tagged on to Paul's main letter. Those who disagree with this assessment usually say that the "letter of tears" is no longer extant.

Some scholars also find fragments of the "warning letter", or of other letters, in chapters 1-9, for instance that part of the "warning letter" is preserved in 2 Cor 6:14-7:1, but these hypotheses are less popular.

Read  Pauls' Second Epistle to the Corinthians

Epistle to the Galatians  The Epistle to the Galatians is a book of the New Testament. It is a letter from Paul of Tarsus to a number of early Christian communities in the Roman province of Galatia in central Anatolia. It is principally concerned with the controversy surrounding Gentile Christians and the Mosaic Law within Early Christianity. Along with the Epistle to the Romans, it is the most theologically significant of the Pauline epistles, and has been particularly influential in Protestant thought.

This epistle addresses the question "Was the Mosaic Law binding on Christians?" The epistle is designed to counter the position that men cannot be justified by faith without the works of the law; see also the Epistle of James and the Expounding of the Law. After an introductory address (Gal 1:1–10), the apostle discusses the subjects which had occasioned the epistle.

In Chapter 1 he defends his apostolic authority (1:11–19; 2:1–14). Chapters 2, 3, and 4 show the influence of the Judaizers in destroying the very essence of the gospel. Chapter 3 exhorts the Galatian believers to stand fast in the faith as it is in Jesus, and to abound in the fruit of the Spirit. Chapter 4 then concludes with a summary of the topics discussed and with the benediction, followed by 5; 6:1–10 teaching about the right use of their Christian freedom. For example, it is clear that some took "freedom in Christ" as justification of antinomianism.

In the conclusion of the epistle (6:11), Paul writes, "Ye see how large a letter I have written with mine own hand." It is implied that this was different from his ordinary usage, which was simply to write the concluding salutation with his own hand, indicating that the rest of the epistle was written by another hand. Regarding this conclusion, Lightfoot, in his Commentary on the epistle, says:

"At this point the apostle takes the pen from his amanuensis, and the concluding paragraph is written with his own hand. From the time when letters began to be forged in his name (2 Thess 2:2; 3:17) it seems to have been his practice to close with a few words in his own handwriting, as a precaution against such forgeries . . .  In the present case he writes a whole paragraph, summing up the main lessons of the epistle in terse, eager, disjointed sentences. He writes it, too, in large, bold characters (Gr. pelikois grammasin), that his hand-writing may reflect the energy and determination of his soul."

Galatians also contains a catalogue of vices and virtues, a popular formulation of Christian ethics.

An interesting literary interpretation of this period of Christianity and the character of Paul can be found in Rudyard Kipling's short story "The Church that was at Antioch". A Roman soldier and follower of Mithraism discovers the faith on his death bed, after having tried to defuse tension between the Gentile and Jewish Christians over issues of Mosaic Law such as circumcision and the preparation of food.

No original of the letter is known to exist. The earliest reasonably complete version available to scholars today, named P46, dates to approximately the year 200 A.D., approximately 150 years after the original was presumably drafted. This fragmented papyrus, parts of which are missing, almost certainly contains errors introduced in the process of being copied from earlier manuscripts. However, through careful research relating to paper construction, handwriting development, and the established principles of textual criticism, scholars can be rather certain about where these errors and changes appeared and what the original text probably said.

Epistle to the Romans  The Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Romans is one of the letters by Paul of the New Testament canon of the Christian Bible. Often referred to simply as Romans, it is one of the seven currently undisputed letters of Paul. It is even counted among the four letters accepted as authentic (known in German scholarship as Hauptbriefe) by Ferdinand Christian Baur and the Tübingen School of historical criticism of texts in the 19th century.

The book, according to Joseph Fitzmyer, "overwhelms the reader by the density and sublimity of the topic with which it deals, the gospel of the justification and salvation of Jew and Greek alike by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, revealing the uprightness and love of God the father." N. T. Wright notes that Romans is "neither a systematic theology nor a summary of Paul's lifework, but it is by common consent his masterpiece. It dwarfs most of his other writings, an Alpine peak towering over hills and villages. Not all onlookers have viewed it in the same light or from the same angle, and their snapshots and paintings of it are sometimes remarkably unalike. Not all climbers have taken the same route up its sheer sides, and there is frequent disagreement on the best approach. What nobody doubts is that we are here dealing with a work of massive substance, presenting a formidable intellectual challenge while offering a breathtaking theological and spiritual vision".

Read The Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Romans

Epistle of Peter  

There are two books in the New Testament called Epistles of Peter:

    * First Epistle of Peter
    * Second Epistle of Peter

eschatology  That branch of religious literature and belief having to do with various aspects of the afterlife, the Final Judgement, bodily resurrection, immortality of the soul, etc.

Eshcol   Meaning: bunch; brave

1.  A young Amoritish chief who joined Abraham in the recovery of Lot from the hands of Chedorlaomer (Gen. 14:13, 24).

2.  A valley in which the spies obtained a fine cluster of grapes (Num. 13:23, 24; "the brook Eshcol," A.V.; "the valley of Eshcol," R.V.), which they took back with them to the camp of Israel as a specimen of the fruits of the Promised Land. On their way back they explored the route which led into the south (the Negeb) by the western edge of the mountains at Telilat el-'Anab, i.e., “grape-mounds”, near Beersheba. "In one of these extensive valleys, perhaps in Wady Hanein, where miles of grape-mounds even now meet the eye, they cut the gigantic clusters of grapes, and gathered the pomegranates and figs, to show how goodly was the land which the Lord had promised for their inheritance.", Palmer's Desert of the Exodus

Ethiopia  country of burnt faces; the Greek word by which the Hebrew Cush is rendered (Gen. 2:13; 2 Kings 19:9; Esther 1:1; Job 28:19; Ps. 68:31; 87:4), a country which lay to the south of Egypt, beginning at Syene on the First Cataract (Ezek. 29:10; 30:6), and extending to beyond the confluence of the White and Blue Nile. It corresponds generally with what is now known as the Soudan (i.e., the land of the blacks). This country was known to the Hebrews, and is described in Isa. 18:1; Zeph. 3:10. They carried on some commercial intercourse with it (Isa. 45:14). Its inhabitants were descendants of Ham (Gen. 10:6; Jer. 13:23; Isa. 18:2, "scattered and peeled," A.V.; but in R.V., "tall and smooth"). Herodotus, the Greek historian, describes them as "the tallest and handsomest of men." They are frequently represented on Egyptian monuments, and they are all of the type of the true negro. As might be expected, the history of this country is interwoven with that of Egypt. Ethiopia is spoken of in prophecy (Ps. 68:31; 87:4; Isa. 45:14; Ezek. 30:4-9; Dan. 11:43; Nah. 3:8-10; Hab. 3:7; Zeph. 2:12)

Ethnarch  A Greek term meaning 'ruler of a nation', a less prestigious title than 'king', but still implying a degree of independence under an overlord.

Ethnoreligious  (or ethno-religious)

The term ethnoreligious refers to an ethnic group of people whose members are also unified by a common religious background. Ethnoreligious communities define their ethnic identity neither exclusively by ancestral heritage nor simply by religious affiliation, but often through a combination of both.

In an ethnoreligious group, particular emphasis is placed upon religious endogamy, and the concurrent discouragement of interfaith marriages or intercourse, as a means of preserving the stability and historical longevity of the community and culture. This adherence to religious endogamy can also, in some instances, be tied to ethnic nationalism if the ethnoreligious group possesses a historical base in a specific region.

Eucharist  The Eucharist, also called Holy Communion or Lord's Supper and other names, is a Christian sacrament commemorating, by consecrating bread and wine, the Last Supper, the final meal that Jesus Christ shared with his disciples before his arrest, and eventual crucifixion, when he gave them bread saying, "This is my body", and wine saying, "This is my blood."

There are different interpretations of the significance of the Eucharist, but "there is more of a consensus among Christians about the meaning of the Eucharist than would appear from the confessional debates over the sacramental presence, the effects of the Eucharist, and the proper auspices under which it may be celebrated."

The phrase "the Eucharist" may refer not only to the rite but also to the bread and wine used in the rite, and, in this sense, communicants may speak of "receiving the Eucharist", rather than "celebrating the Eucharist".

Eucharist (in the Catholic Church) 

Eucharist in the Catholic Church refers to both the celebration of the Mass, that is the Eucharistic Liturgy, and the consecrated bread and wine which according to the faith become the body and blood of Christ. Blessed Sacrament is a devotional term used in the Roman Catholic Church to refer to the Eucharistic species (the Body and Blood of Christ).

Euphrates   Hebrew, Perath; Assyrian, Purat (“the stream,” or “the great stream”); Persian cuneiform, Ufratush, whence Greek Euphrates (meaning “sweet water”).

The Euphrates is first mentioned in Gen. 2:14 as one of the rivers of Paradise. In the original Hebrew, it is actually named Perath. This has been translated as Euphrates. This was the name of two different rivers, one created by God in the original paradise and existing up to the time of the worldwide Flood. After the Flood, a new river was given this same name, possibly by Noah or his family.

Matthew G. Easton: a Scottish Presbyterian preacher and writer. His most known work is the Easton's Bible Dictionary, published three years after his death. The English translations of two of Franz Delitzsch's commentaries are among his other works.

[The post-Flood river] is first mentioned in connection with the covenant which God entered into with Abraham (15:18), when he promised to his descendants the land from the river of Egypt to the river Euphrates (compare Deut. 11:24; Josh. 1:4), a covenant promise afterwards fulfilled in the extended conquests of David (2 Sam. 8:2-14; 1 Chr. 18:3; 1 Kings 4:24). This is most likely a different river given the same name as the pre-Flood river. At the time of Abraham, it was the boundary of the kingdom to the northeast. In the ancient history of Assyria, and Babylon, and Egypt many events are recorded in which mention is made of the “great river.” Just as the Nile represented in prophecy the power of Egypt, so the Euphrates represented the Assyrian power (Isa. 8:7; Jer. 2:18).

    It is by far the largest and most important of all the rivers of Western Asia. From its source in the Armenian mountains to the Persian Gulf, into which it empties itself, it has a course of about 1,700 miles. It has two sources, (1) the Frat or Kara-su (i.e., “the black river”), which rises 25 miles northeast of Erzeroum; and (2) the Muradchai (i.e., "the river of desire"), which rises near Ararat, on the northern slope of Ala-tagh. At Kebban Maden, 400 miles from the source of the former, and 270 from that of the latter, they meet and form the majestic stream, which is at length joined by the Tigris at Koornah, after which it is called Shat-el-Arab, which runs in a deep and broad stream for above 140 miles to the sea. It is estimated that the alluvium brought down by these rivers encroaches on the sea at the rate of about one mile in thirty years.

    It is generally called in the Bible simply “the river” (Ex. 23:31), or “the great river” (Deut. 1:7).

Exodus  (exodos = "departure")

1: a journey by a large group to escape from a hostile  environment 

2: the second book of the Jewish Torah and of the Christian Old Testament.

The name Exodus means "going out." It was given this name because it tells about the children of Israel "going out" of Egypt

It tells of the departure of the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt led by Moses; God gave them the Ten Commandments and the rest of Mosaic Law on Mount Sinai during the Exodus. The book ends with the construction of the Tabernacle.

{Read the Book of Exodus}

According to tradition, Exodus and the other four books of the Torah were written by Moses in the latter half of the 2nd millennium BC. Modern biblical scholarship sees it reaching its final textual form around 450 BC.

Books of the Torah

1. Genesis
2. Exodus
3. Leviticus
4. Numbers
5. Deuteronomy

exogamy  custom enjoining marriage outside one’s own group. In some cases, the rules of exogamy may also specify the outside group into which an individual must marry. The severity of enforcement of exogamous restrictions varies greatly across cultures and may range from death to mild disapproval. Mandatory marriage within one’s own group is known as endogamy.

Exuperius  See Exuperius Here in Names in The Bible

Evangelist  Meaning: a "publisher of glad tidings"

a missionary preacher of the gospel (Eph. 4:11)

This title is applied to Philip (Acts 21:8), who appears to have gone from city to city preaching the word (8:4, 40). Judging from the case of Philip, evangelists had neither the authority of an apostle, nor the gift of prophecy, nor the responsibility of pastoral supervision over a portion of the flock. They were itinerant preachers, having it as their special function to carry the gospel to places where it was previously unknown. The writers of the four Gospels are known as the Evangelists.

Eve See Eve Here in Names in The Bible


 Meaning: the giant's backbone (so called from the head of a mountain which runs out into the sea)

an ancient city and harbor at the northeast end of the Elanitic branch of the Red Sea, the Gulf of Akabah, near Elath or Eloth (Num. 33:35; Deut. 2:8)

Here Solomon built ships, “Tarshish ships,” like those trading from Tyre to Tarshish and the west, which traded with Ophir (1 Kings 9:26; 2 Chr. 8:17); and here also Jehoshaphat's fleet was shipwrecked (1 Kings 22:48; 2 Chr. 20:36). It became a populous town, many of the Jews settling in it (2 Kings 16:6, “Elath”). It is supposed that anciently the north end of the gulf flowed further into the country than now, as far as 'Ain el-Ghudyan, which is 10 miles up the dry bed of the Arabah, and that Ezion-geber may have been there.

Ezra  See Ezra Here in Names in The Bible

Ezra Nehemiah

The books of Ezra and Nehemiah in the Hebrew Bible are often thought to constitute a unity. William Dumbrell notes that their common authorship is generally accepted. H. G. M. Williamson, Sara Japhet and Gary Knoppers are among many scholars who agree that Ezra-Nehemiah is a single work. The division of Ezra-Nehemiah into two parts is first found in the third century. In modern Hebrew Bibles, the Masoretic notes at the end of Nehemiah list the middle verse as Nehemiah 3:32, which indicates that a complete work of Ezra-Nehemiah is in view.


Fair Havens

a harbor in the south of Crete, some 5 miles to the east of which was the town of Lasea (Acts 27:8)

Here the ship of Alexandria in which Paul and his companions sailed was detained a considerable time waiting for a favorable wind. Contrary to Paul's advice, the master of the ship determined to prosecute the voyage, as the harbor was deemed incommodious for wintering in (9-12). The result was that, after a stormy voyage, the vessel was finally wrecked on the coast of Malta (27:40-44).

Faith  Faith is a belief, characteristically without proof. It is the confident belief in the truth of or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing. Formal usage of the word "faith" is usually reserved for concepts of religion, as in theology, where it almost universally refers to a trusting belief in a transcendent reality, or else in a Supreme Being and said being's role in the order of transcendent, spiritual things.

Informal usage of the word "faith" can be quite broad, and may be used standardly in place of "trust", "belief", or "hope". For example, the word "faith" can refer to a religion itself or to religion in general.

Fenced cities  There were in Palestine (1) cities, (2) unwalled villages, and (3) villages with castles or towers (1 Chr. 27:25). Cities, so called, had walls, and were thus fenced. The fortifications consisted of one or two walls, on which were towers or parapets at regular intervals (2 Chr. 32:5; Jer. 31:38). Around ancient Jerusalem were three walls, on one of which were ninety towers, on the second fourteen, and on the third sixty. The tower of Hananeel, near the northeast corner of the city wall, is frequently referred to (Neh. 3:1; 12:39; Zech. 14:10). The gateways of such cities were also fortified (Neh. 2:8; 3:3, 6; Judg. 16:2, 3; 1 Sam. 23:7).

The Hebrews found many fenced cities when they entered the Promised Land (Num. 13:28; 32:17, 34-42; Josh. 11:12, 13; Judg. 1:27-33), and we may estimate the strength of some of these cities from the fact that they were long held in possession by the Canaanites. The Jebusites, e.g., were enabled to hold possession of Jerusalem till the time of David (2 Sam. 5:6, 7; 1 Chr. 11:5).

Several of the kings of Israel and Judah distinguished themselves as fortifiers or “builders” of cities.

Firmament  Firmament is the usual English translation of the Hebrew "raqiya`" (pronounced rä·ke-'·ah) meaning an extended solid surface or flat expanse, considered to be a hemisphere above the ground. The word is derived from the Hebrew raqa, meaning "to spread out" by stamping, stretching, beating, or making broad., e.g. the process of making a metal bowl by hammering metal flat, or "to make a spreading (of clouds)". Thus, in the Bible, Elihu asks Job “Can you beat out [raqa] the vault of the skies, as he does, hard as a mirror of cast metal (Job 37:18)?” In the Vulgate, the word firmamentum is used, which in Classical Latin means a strengthening or support. For Jewish and Christian astronomers familiar with Greek astronomy, the firmament was the eighth sphere carrying the fixed stars and surrounding the seven spheres of the planets in the geocentric model.

The word is mentioned in the King James Bible, in the course of the creation story of (Genesis 1:6–8):

God said, "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

The Jewish Encyclopaedia describes the Firmament as follows:

    "The Hebrews regarded the earth as a plain or a hill figured like a hemisphere, swimming on water. Over this is arched the solid vault of heaven. To this vault are fastened the lights, the stars. So slight is this elevation that birds may rise to it and fly along its expanse."

The book of Genesis goes on to mention lights being placed in the firmament (Genesis 1:14-17):

And God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth": and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: the stars also.

The Sun and Moon were thought to move in and out of the Firmament dome through a series of openings (reflecting the apparent movement of their rising and setting points throughout the year). This is explained in considerable detail in the Book of Enoch (the following is an excerpt):

This is the first commandment of the luminaries: The sun is a luminary whose egress is an opening of heaven, which is (located) in the direction of the east, and whose ingress is (another) opening of heaven, (located) in the west. I saw six openings through which the sun rises and six openings through which it sets. The moon also rises and sets through the same openings, and they are guided by the stars; together with those whom they lead, they are six in the east and six in the west heaven. All of them (are arranged) one after another in a constant order. There are many windows (both) to the right and the left of these openings. First there goes out the great light whose name is the sun; its roundness is like the roundness of the sky; and it is totally filled with light and heat. The chariot in which it ascends is (driven by) the blowing wind. The sun sets in the sky (in the west) and returns by the northeast in order to go to the east; it is guided so that it shall reach the eastern gate and shine in the face of the sky (1 Enoch 72:2-5).

Biblical references to this cosmology (specifically, the notion of a solid Firmament with Heaven above it) include the creation of the Firmament in Genesis 1:6; God opening windows in the Firmament in Genesis 7:11 to let water rain down, and closing them again in Genesis 8:2; the construction of a tall tower to reach Heaven in Genesis 11:4; celestial warehouses for snow and hail in Job 38:22, the sky as a strong crystalline material in Job 37:18 and Ezekiel 1:22; the sky as a tent in Isaiah 40:22; stars as small objects attached to the Firmament (which can fall off) in Daniel 8:10, Matthew 24:29, Mark 13:25, Revelation 6:13, Revelation 8:10, Revelation 9:1 and Revelation 12:4 (it is sometimes claimed that these "falling stars" are meteors, but the swipe of a dragon's tail dislodges "one-third of all the stars in the sky" in Revelation 12:4).

The heavens are "rolled back like a scroll" in Revelation 6:14: however, as stars are apparently still being knocked off the Firmament in subsequent verses, it is unclear which layer is being removed at this point.

The Book of Baruch elaborates on the Tower of Babel story, with the builders reaching the Firmament and attempting to pierce it:

And they took a gimlet, and sought to pierce the heaven, saying, Let us see (whether) the heaven is made of clay, or of brass, or of iron. When God saw this He did not permit them, but smote them with blindness and confusion of speech, and rendered them as thou seest. (3 Baruch 3:7-8)

First Epistle of Peter  The First Epistle of Peter is a book of the New Testament. It has traditionally been held to have been written by Saint Peter the apostle during his time as bishop of Rome. The letter is addressed to various churches in Asia Minor suffering religious persecution.

Some scholars believe the author was not Peter, but an unknown author writing after Peter's death. Estimates for the date of composition range from 60 to 112 AD.

First Jewish – Roman War  See Great Revolt

First Revolt  See Great Revolt

First Temple  See Solomon's Temple

First Temple Period  ca. 950 - 586 BCE The period of Jewish history from the construction of Solomon's temple to the destruction of the First Temple and exile of the Hebrews to Babylonia.

Five Megillot   The Five Scrolls or The Five Megillot  are parts of the third major section of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh), which is Ketuvim ("The Writings"). These five relatively short biblical books are grouped together in Jewish tradition.

The Five Scrolls are:

  1. The Song of Songs


  2. Book of Ruth

  3. Lamentations
  4. Ecclesiastes
  5. Book of Esther

An early testimony that these five scrolls were grouped together is in the Midrash Rabba. This midrash was compiled on the Pentateuch and on the Five Scrolls.

All five of these megillot ("scrolls") are traditionally read publicly in the synagogue over the course of the year in many Jewish communities. In common printed editions of the Tanakh they appear in the order that they are read in the synagogue on holidays (beginning with Passover), thus:

   1. The Song of Songs (Hebrew: Shir ha-Shirim;) is read publicly in some communities, especially by Ashkenazim, on the Sabbath of Passover. In most Eastern Jewish communities it is read publicly each week at the onset of the Sabbath. There is also a widespread custom to read it at the end of the Passover seder.

   2. Book of Ruth  is read in some communities, especially by Ashkenazim, before the reading of the Torah on the morning of Shavuot. Others read it in the Tikkun at night, or not at all.

   3. Lamentations (Hebrew: Eikhah or Kinnot) is read on the Ninth of Av in all Jewish communities.

   4. Ecclesiastes (Hebrew: Kohelet) is read publicly in some communities, especially by Ashkenazim, on the Sabbath of Sukkot. In other communities it is not read at all.

   5. Book of Esther  is read in all Jewish communities on Purim. The public reading is done twice, on the evening of Purim and once again the next morning.

When read in the synagogue, these five books are sung with cantillation.  In most communities, Esther is the only book accompanied by blessings before and after. But certain communities adopted the custom of the Vilna Gaon to recite blessings before the other four megillot (besides Esther) as well.

Similarly, the very term megillah ("scroll") is most widely used for the book of Esther, even though it is applied the rest as well. (As noted in Leo Rosten's The Joys of Yiddish, the term megillah is also used in a joking way, in reference to any lengthy story).

As indicated above, however, only two of the megillot are traditionally read in all Jewish communities, namely: Esther on Purim and Lamentations on the Ninth of Av. The practice to read the other three books on the Three Pilgrimage Festivals is widespread but by no means universal: To read them is a venerable custom among Ashkenazic Jews, but many Sephardic Jews do not associate the three books with the three festivals. The association is thus weaker also among Hasidic Jews who were influenced by Sephardic customs.

Five Cities of the Plain  The five cities are Sodom, Gomorrah, Zoar, Admah, and Zeboiim. Some modern scholarship suggests but has yet to prove that these five cities sit at or near the mouths of five of the six major wadis that feed into the southeastern corner of the Dead Sea. All five wadis feed into the region above the Gohr which in earlier days may have been above water; thus the plain associated with these particular cities.

Five Scrolls  See Five Megillot

Furlong  a stadium, a Greek measure of distance equal to 606 feet and 9 inches [184.9374 meters] (Luke 24:13; John 6:19; 11:18; Rev. 14:20; 21:16).


Gallia  See Gual

Galatia  Ancient Galatia was an area in the highlands of central Anatolia in modern Turkey. Galatia, an ancient region of Asia Minor, was named for the immigrant Gauls from Thrace (cf. Tylis), who settled here and became its ruling caste in the 3rd century BC. It has been called the "Gallia" of the East, Roman writers calling its inhabitants Galli.


1. a native or inhabitant of Galatia in Asia Minor (especially a member of a people believed to have been Gauls who conquered Galatia in the 3rd century BC)

2. a New Testament book containing the epistle from Saint Paul to the Galatians

Galilean  Meaning: an inhabitant or native of Galilee

This word was used as a name of contempt as applied to our Lord's disciples (Luke 22:59; Acts 2:7). All the apostles, with the exception of Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:11), were Galileans. Peter was detected by his Galilean accent (Matt. 26:69; Mark 14:70).

This was also one of the names of reproach given to the early Christians. Julian the Apostate, as he is called, not only used the epithet himself when referring to Christ and his apostles, but he made it a law that no one should ever call the Christians by any other name.

Galilee  E6 on the Map

Region. The northern part of Palestine, also referred to as Galilee of the gentiles because of the Assyrian conquest (Is 9:1). The S border was the Valley of Jezreel, the E border was to Sea of Galilee, the N border was Lebanon, and the W border was the Plain of Acre. It is the highest region in the country, with the coolest temperature. It was well watered by the winter rains and had numerous and abundant springs. The area is divided into two parts by a deep valley, thus upper Galilee and lower Galilee. Upper Galilee rose to a height of more than 3000 feet above sea level. Galilee's lush territory and fertile soil for agriculture provide a basis for rich economy in this region. It also contained a major road which brought the peoples of the Mediterranean to the lands of the East.

Galilee is referred to only seven times in the O.T. Josh. 12:23; 20:7; 21:32 (1 Chr. 6:76); 1 Kgs. 9:11; 2 Kgs. 15:29. In the territory was first conquered under Joshua the tribes that inhabited the territory dwelt among the Canaanite inhabitants. In 732 Tiglath-Pileser III conquered Galilee, and a region became an Assyrian Satrapy, known in the Assyrian documents as the Satrapy of Megiddo. In the Persian period Galilee was outside the Jewish state, and Galilee and Samaria were both a single district. Under the Seleucids this district was called an eparchy, and under the Ptolemies Galilee formed a separate hyparchy. At this time there were many Greeks and Phoenicians there, and some Jewish settlements. In 104-103 B.C. the Hasmonean Aristobulus conquered Galilee and added it to his kingdom. It remained a Jewish territory even after Palestine had been conquered by Pompey in 64 B.C., and later it became part of Herod's kingdom. After Herod's death in 4 B.C. Galilee and Perea was passed on to his son Herod Antipas who became Tetrarch, he founded the city of Tiberias and made it capital of Galilee.

Most of the early ministry of Jesus took place in Galilee. He lived in Nazareth (Matt 21:11) and performed his first miracle at Cana (John 2:1-11). When he ministry in Galilee the crowds received him gladly (Mark 12:37), and it was in Judea were Jesus was put to death. During the last supper Jesus told his disciples that after he been raised from the dead, He would go before them to meet them (Mark 14:28). After his resurrection an angel informed the disciples that Jesus had preceded them in Galilee were they would see him as he had promised (Mark 16:7).

During the Jewish war against the Romans Galilee was where the first battles were fought and the city was fortified by Josephus. After the revolt was put down Galilee was made part of the Roman province of Judea. The area of thrived after the period of the Second Jewish Revolt (A.D. 132-135), with numerous cities and villages.

Luke 1:26; 2:4; 3:1; Mark. 1:9; 1:14, 28; Matt. 4:23; 28:26; John 7:1; Acts 9:31.

Galli  See Gual

Gallim  Meaning: heaps, (1 Sam. 25:44; Isa. 10:30)

The native place of Phalti, to whom Michal was given by Saul. It was probably in Benjamin, to the north of Jerusalem.

Garden of Eden  The Garden of Eden is described in the Book of Genesis as being the place where the first man, Adam, and his wife, Eve, lived after they were created by God. This garden forms part of the creation myth and theodicy of the Abrahamic religions, and is often used to explain the origin of sin and mankind's wrongdoings. The creation story in Genesis relates the geographical location of both Eden and the garden to four rivers (Pishon, Gihon, Tigris, Euphrates), and three regions (Havilah, Assyria, and kush (often incorrectly translated as Ethiopia which was also known as Cush, but in this case thought to be referring to Cossaea which unlike Ethiopia does lie within the region being described).

Eden's location remains the subject of controversy and speculation among some Christians. There are hypotheses that locate Eden at the headwaters of the Tigris and Euphrates, in Iraq (Mesopotamia), Africa, and the Persian Gulf, among others though some Christians see it as metaphorical.

Gathas  The Gathas are 17 hymns believed to have been composed by Zarathushtra (Zoroaster) himself. They are the most sacred texts of the Zoroastrian faith.

Gaul  Gaul is the name used for the region of Western Europe comprising present day northern Italy, France, Belgium, western Switzerland and the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the west bank of the River Rhine.

The Latin name for Gaul, still used as the modern Greek word for France, is Gallia.

Geba  Meaning: the hill

(2 Sam. 5:25 [1 Chr. 14:16, "Gibeon"]; 2 Kings 23:8; Neh. 11:31), a Levitical city of Benjamin (1 Kings 15:22; 1 Sam. 13:16; 14:5, wrongly "Gibeah" in the A.V.), on the north border of Judah near Gibeah (Isa. 10:29; Josh. 18:24, 28)

"From Geba to Beersheba" expressed the whole extent of the kingdom of Judah, just as "from Dan to Beersheba" described the whole length of Palestine (2 Kings 23:8). It has been identified with Gaba (Josh. 18:24; Ezra 2:26; Neh. 7:30), now Jeb'a, about 5 1/2 miles north of Jerusalem.

Gebal  Meaning:a line (or natural boundary, as a mountain range)

The name of two biblical places&ldots;

1.  A tract in the land of Edom south of the Dead Sea (Ps. 83:7); now called Djebal.

2. A Phoenician city, not far from the sea coast, to the north of Beyrout (Ezek. 27:9); called by the Greeks Byblos. Now Jibeil. Mentioned in the Amarna tablets.

An important Phoenician text, referring to the temple of Baalath, on a monument of Yehu-melek, its king (probably B.C. 600), has been discovered.

Gehenna  Gehenna is one word used for Hell. It comes from the Hebrew Gey-Hinnom, literally "valley of Hinnom." This word originated as the name for a place south of the old city of Jerusalem where the city's rubbish was burned. At one time, live babies were thrown crying into the fire under the arms of the idol, Moloch, to die there. This place was so despised by the people after the righteous King Josiah abolished this hideous practice that it was made into a garbage heap. Bodies of diseased animals and executed criminals were thrown there and burned.

General epistles   (also called Catholic Epistles)

Also See Epistle

General epistles are books in the New Testament in the form of letters. They are termed "general" because for the most part their intended audience seems to be Christians in general rather than individual persons or congregations as is the case with the Pauline epistles. However, 2 John and 3 John are included in this group despite their addresses respectively to the "elect lady", speculated by many to be the church itself, and to "crom", about whom there has been much speculation but little in the way of conclusive proof as to his identity.

There has been considerable speculation as to the authorship of these works. Some scholars believe 2 Peter to be a pseudepigraphal work.

The epistles of James and Jude are traditionally attributed to Jesus' "brothers" James and Jude

Listed in order of their appearance in the New Testament, the General Epistles are:

It was traditionally thought that Paul wrote Hebrews, but its style of writing and theological emphases have led scholars to conclude that it is not Pauline.

Genesis  See Book of Genesis

genizah  (Hebrew: "storage room') A designated place, often in a synagogue, for storing worn out, damaged or defective Hebrew writings and ritual articles which cannot be destroyed because of their holiness.

Gennesaret (Gennesareth)  Meaning: a garden of riches

1.  A town of Naphtali, called Chinnereth (Josh. 19:35), sometimes in the plural form Chinneroth (11:2). In later times the name was gradually changed to Genezar and Gennesaret (Luke 5:1). This city stood on the western shore of the lake to which it gave its name. No trace of it remains. The plain of Gennesaret has been called, from its fertility and beauty, "the Paradise of Galilee." It is now called el-Ghuweir.

2.  The Lake of Gennesaret, the Grecized form of CHINNERETH (q.v.). (See SEA OF GALILEE)

ALSO SEE: Capernaum

Gennesareth  See Gennesaret above

Gentile  (from Latin, gentilis, meaning of or belonging to a clan or tribe)

The term Gentile refers to non-Israelite tribes or nations in translations of the Bible, most notably the English King James Version.

It serves as the Latin and subsequenly English translation of the Hebrew words (goy) and (nochri) in the Old Testament and the Greek word (éthne) in the New Testament.

Today, the primary meaning of gentile is "non-Jew".

Gibbethon   Meaning: a height

a city of the Philistines in the territory of Dan, given to the Kohathites (Josh. 19:44; 21:23)

Nadab the king of Israel, while besieging it, was slain under its walls by Baasha, one of his own officers (1 Kings 15:27). It was in the possession of the Philistines after the secession of the ten tribes (2 Chr. 11:13, 14).


a hill or hill-town, "of Benjamin" (1 Sam. 13:15), better known as “Gibeah of Saul” (11:4; Isa. 10:29)

It was here that the terrible outrage was committed on the Levite's concubine which led to the almost utter extirpation of the Tribe of Benjamin (Judg. 19; 20), only six hundred men surviving after a succession of disastrous battles. This was the birthplace of Saul, and continued to be his residence after he became king (1 Sam. 10:26; 11:4; 15:34). It was reckoned among the ancient sanctuaries of Palestine (10:26; 15:34; 23:19; 26:1; 2 Sam. 21:6-10), and hence it is called “Gibeah of God” (1 Sam. 10:5, R.V. marg.). It has been identified with the modern Tell el-Ful (i.e., "hill of the bean"), about 3 miles north of Jerusalem.

Gihon  Gihon is the name of a river first mentioned in the second chapter of the Biblical book of Genesis. The Gihon is mentioned as one of four rivers (along with the Tigris, Euphrates, and Pishon) issuing out of the Garden of Eden that branched from a single river within the garden. The name (Hebrew Gihôn) may be interpreted as "Bursting Forth, Gushing".

The Gihon is described as "encircling the entire land of Cush", a name associated with Ethiopia elsewhere in the Bible. This is one of the reasons that Ethiopians have long identified the Gihon with the Abay River, which encircles the former kingdom of Gojjam. From a current geographic standpoint this would seem impossible, since two of the other rivers said to issue out of Eden, the Tigris and the Euphrates, are in Mesopotamia. However, the scholar Edward Ullendorff has argued in support of this identification. The city in the Mesopotamian area which best fits the description is called Kish (derivative of Kush or Cush) located in a plain area (Sumerian 'edin') and resembles an area that is repeatedly flooded by the rivers today called Euphrates and Tigris.

Nineteenth century, Modern, and Arabic scholars have sought to identify the "land of Cush" with Hindu Kush, and Gihon with Amu Darya (Jihon/Jayhon of the Islamic texts). Amu Darya was known in the medieval Islamic writers as Jayhun or Ceyhun in Turkish. This was a derivative of Jihon, or Zhihon as it is still known by the Persians.

Gihon has also been associated with the Araxes (modern Aras) river of Armenia. Another proposed idea is that the Gihon river no longer exists, or has significantly altered its course, since the topography of the area has supposedly been altered by the Noachian Flood.

Some modern secular scholars note that the Gihon river remains unidentified, since the geographical ideas of the author(s) of Genesis cannot be reconstructed and need not conform with actual geography as known today: In Genesis 2, the Euphrates, Tigris, Gihon and Pishon rivers are all said to issue out of Eden and become 'four heads', but the Euphrates and the Tigris do not take their rise in the same place, and the Pishon river remains as unidentified.

First-century Jewish historian Josephus associated the Gihon river with the Nile (Jewish Antiquities, 1.39). However, a quite different Hebrew word is used to designate the Nile elsewhere in the Bible, and even in ancient times it should have been obvious that the Nile could not have a common source with the Tigris and the Euphrates.

Gihon is also the name of the only natural spring of water in the vicinity of Jerusalem. It feeds the Pool of Siloam. The Book of Jasher refers to the "Great Sea Gihon", which is believed to mean the Atlantic Ocean.

gittith  Gittith is a musical term possibly meaning "an instrument of Gath."

gnosticism  A popular alternative form of Christianity widespread in the Roman Empire before Constantine, and adopted in various forms. Taking its name from the Greek word for "knowledge," it taught that its adherents could receive secret knowledge from God. Its most characteristic belief was a "dualism" emphasizing that the world and matter were inherently evil and that the Holy Spirit alone was good.

goad  a sharp, pointed prodding device used to motivate reluctant animals (such as oxen and mules) to move in the right direction.


  • The supernatural being conceived as the perfect and omnipotent and omniscient originator and ruler of the universe; the object of worship in . . .

  • deity: any supernatural being worshipped as controlling some part of the world or some aspect of life or who is the personification of a force

1.  the supreme or ultimate reality: as

 a:  the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe

b:  Christian Science : the incorporeal divine Principle ruling over all as eternal Spirit : infinite Mind

2: a being or object believed to have more than natural attributes and powers and to require human worship  ; specifically : one controlling a particular aspect or part of reality

3: a person or thing of supreme value

4: a powerful ruler

  • a man of such superior qualities that he seems like a deity to other people; "he was a god among men"

  • idol: a material effigy that is worshipped; "thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image"; "money was his god"

Existence of God

Many arguments for and against the existence of God have been proposed and rejected by philosophers, theologians, and other thinkers. In philosophical terminology, such arguments concern schools of thought on the epistemology of the ontology of God.

There are many philosophical issues concerning the existence of God. Some definitions of God are sometimes nonspecific, while other definitions can be self-contradictory. Arguments for the existence of God typically include metaphysical, empirical, inductive, and subjective types, while others revolve around holes in evolutionary theory and order and complexity in the world. Arguments against the existence of God typically include empirical, deductive, and inductive types. Conclusions reached include: "God exists and this can be proven"; "God exists, but this cannot be proven or disproven" (theism in both cases); "God does not exist" (strong atheism); "God almost certainly does not exist" (de facto atheism); and "no one knows whether God exists" (agnosticism). There are numerous variations on these positions.

A recent argument for the existence of God is intelligent design, which asserts that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection." It is a modern form of the traditional argument from design, modified to avoid specifying the nature or identity of the designer. Its primary proponents, all of whom are associated with the Discovery Institute, believe the designer to be the Abrahamic God.

Godhead may refer to:

  • God


  • any deity

  • divinity, the quality of being God
  • Conceptions of God

  • Godhead (Judaism) – In Judaism, the term "Godhead" is sometimes used to refer to the unknowable aspect of God which lies beyond His actions or emanations (as it were).

  • Godhead (Christianity) - In Christianity, the divinity of Trinity is sometimes referred to as the "Godhead". In some nontrinitarian sects, several divine beings are referred to collectively as "the Godhead."

  • Supreme Personality of Godhead - in Gaudiya Vaishnavism, the divine person from all emanates.

  • Binitarianism - the belief that the Godhead is composed of two separate beings, Father and the Son, while the Holy Spirit is the power of God and not a separate being.

  • Godhead (Latter Day Saints)

  • God in Hinduism


God of Israel  or God in Judaism

The conception of God in Judaism is monotheistic. The God of Israel was known by two principal names in the Bible. One is YHWH, known as the Tetragrammaton. This name is sometimes vocalized theoretically by scholars as Yahweh, and for tabuistic reasons is replaced with Adonai "Lord" in liturgy. The other commonly used name in the Bible, Elohim, may be related to the Northwest Semitic generic term for "god", El, though plural forms of El, such as elim and the diminutive elilim, are found in the Bible.


1.  A district in Egypt where Jacob and his family settled, and in which they remained till the Exodus (Gen. 45:10; 46:28, 29, 31, etc.). It is called "the land of Goshen" (47:27), and also simply “Goshen” (46:28), and "the land of Rameses" (47:11; Ex. 12:37), for the towns Pithom and Rameses lay within its borders; also Zoan or Tanis (Ps. 78:12). It lay on the east of the Nile, and apparently not far from the royal residence. It was "the best of the land" (Gen. 47:6, 11), but is now a desert. It is first mentioned in Joseph's message to his father. It has been identified with the modern Wady Tumilat, lying between the eastern part of the Delta and the west border of Palestine. It was a pastoral district, where some of the king's cattle were kept (Gen. 47:6). The inhabitants were not exclusively Israelites (Ex. 3:22; 11:2; 12:35, 36).

2.  A district in Palestine (Josh. 10:41; 11:16). It was a part of the maritime plain of Judah, and lay between Gaza and Gibeon.

3.  A town in the mountains of Judah (Josh. 15:51).

gospel  Gospel means "good news" or "glad tidings," specifically the Good News of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection for our salvation, healing, and provision; and the hope of eternal life that Jesus made available to us by God's grace.

In Christianity, a gospel is generally one of the first four books of the New Testament that describe the birth, life, ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus.

The four canonical texts

The four canonical texts are the Gospel of Matthew, Gospel of Mark, Gospel of Luke and Gospel of John, probably written between 65 and 100 AD. They appear to have been originally untitled; they were quoted anonymously in the first half of the second century (ie 100 - 150) but the names by which they are currently known appear suddenly around the year 180.

The first canonical gospel written is Mark (c 65-70), which was probably used as a source for the gospels of Matthew and Luke. Matthew and Luke appear also to have used a common source, the hypothetical Q document. These first three gospels are called the synoptic Gospels because they share a similar view. The last gospel, the gospel of John, presents a very different picture of Jesus and his ministry from the synoptics. Scholars maintain that the gospels and all the books of the New Testament were written in Greek.

The synoptic gospels are the source of many popular stories, parables, and sermons, such as Jesus' humble birth in Bethlehem, the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, the Last Supper, and the Great Commission. John provides a theological description of Jesus as the eternal Word, the unique savior of humanity. All four attest to his Sonship, miraculous power, crucifixion, and resurrection.

More generally, gospels compose a genre of early Christian literature. Gospels that did not become canonical circulated in early Christianity. Some, such as the Gospel of Thomas, lack the narrative framework typical of a gospel. These gospels are later than the canonical gospels, though in the case of Thomas, scholarship is divided on the exact date.

Gospel of James  The Gospel of James, also sometimes known as the Infancy Gospel of James or the Protoevangelium of James, is an apocryphal Gospel probably written about AD 150. The Gospel of James may be the earliest surviving document attesting the veneration of Mary by stating her perpetual virginity (19-20) and presenting her as the New Eve.

The document presents itself as written by James: "I, James, wrote this history in Jerusalem." Thus the purported author is James the Just, whom the text claims is a son of Joseph from a prior marriage, and thus a stepbrother of Jesus.

Scholars have established that, based on the style of the language, and the fact that the author is apparently not aware of contemporary Jewish customs while James the Just certainly was, the work is pseudepigraphical (written by someone other than the person it claims to be written by). The echoes and parallels of the Old Testament appear to derive from its Greek translation, the Septuagint, as opposed to the Hebrew Masoretic Text, which is noticeable due to several peculiarities and variations present in the Septuagint. It apparently embellishes on what is told of events surrounding Mary, prior to and at the moment of, Jesus' birth, in the Gospel of Matthew and in the Gospel of Luke.

As for its estimated date, the consensus is that it was actually composed some time in the 2nd century AD. The first mention of it is by Origen of Alexandria in the early third century, who says the text, like that of a "Gospel of Peter", was of dubious, recent appearance and shared with that book the claim that the 'brethren of the Lord' were sons of Joseph by a former wife.

Read The Gospel of James here

Gospel of John  The Gospel of John is the fourth gospel in the canon of the New Testament, traditionally ascribed to John the Evangelist. Like the three synoptic gospels, it contains an account of some of the actions and sayings of Jesus of Nazareth, but differs from them in ethos and theological emphases. The Gospel appears to have been written with an evangelistic purpose, primarily for Greek-speaking Jews who were not believers, or to strengthen the faith of Christians. A second purpose was to counter criticisms or unorthodox beliefs of Jews, John the Baptist's followers, and those who believed Jesus was only spirit and not flesh.

As a gospel, John is a story about the life of Jesus. John tells this story in four parts: the Prologue, the Book of Signs, the Passion narrative, and the Epilogue. The Prologue (1:1-18) is a hymn identifying Jesus as the Logos and as God. The Book of Signs (1:19 - 12) recounts Jesus' public ministry, and includes the signs worked by Jesus and some of his teachings. The Passion narrative (13-20) recounts the Last Supper (focusing on Jesus' farewell discourse), Jesus' arrest and crucifixion, his burial, and resurrection. The Epilogue (John 21) records a resurrection appearance of Jesus to the disciples in Galilee.

Of the four gospels, John presents the highest Christology, describing Jesus as the Logos who was in the Arche (a Greek term for "the beginning" or "the ultimate source of all things"), teaching at length about his identity as savior, and declaring him to be God.

Compared to the Synoptic Gospels, John focuses on Jesus' mission to bring the Logos ("Word", "Wisdom", "Reason" or "Rationality") to his disciples. Only in John does Jesus talk at length about himself, including a substantial amount of material Jesus shared with the disciples only. Here Jesus' public ministry consists largely of miracles not found in the Synoptics, including raising Lazarus from the dead. In John, Jesus, not his message, has become the object of veneration. Certain elements of the synoptics (such as parables, exorcisms, and possibly the Second Coming) are not found in John.

Since "the higher criticism" of the 19th century, critical scholars have questioned the gospel of John as a reliable source of information about the historical Jesus.

Read The Gospel of John here

Gospel of Luke  The Gospel of Luke is a synoptic Gospel, and is the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels of the New Testament. The text narrates the life of Jesus of Nazareth. The gospel opens with the miraculous births of John the Baptist and of Jesus. Jesus, born to the Virgin Mary, has a humble birth in a stable, and is attended by shepherds. Jesus leads a ministry of preaching, exorcism, and miracles in Galilee. His divine nature is revealed to chosen disciples at the Transfiguration, after which he and his disciples travel to Jerusalem, where he stolidly accepts crucifixion according to divine plan. The resurrected Jesus appears to his disciples on Sunday and ascends bodily to heaven that evening.

The author, traditionally identified as Luke the Evangelist, is characteristically concerned with social ethics, the poor, women, and other oppressed groups. Certain popular stories on these themes, such as the prodigal son and the good Samaritan, are found only in this gospel. This gospel also has a special emphasis on prayer, the activity of the Holy Spirit, and joyfulness. Donald Guthrie claimed,

The author intended to write a historical account bringing out the theological significance of the history. The author's purpose was to portray Christianity as divine, respectable, law-abiding, and international. Scholarship is in wide agreement that the author of Luke also wrote the Acts of the Apostles.

Contemporary scholars conclude that Luke, like Matthew, relied on Mark for its chronology and on the sayings gospel Q for many of Jesus' teachings. Luke might also rely on independent written records. It is probably the work of a Gentile Christian, writing c 85-90.

Read The Gospel of Luke here

Gospel of Mark  The Gospel of Mark is the second of the four canonical gospels in the New Testament and was probably the first of the three synoptic gospels to be written. It was written anonymously but has been traditionally ascribed to Mark the Evangelist (also known as John Mark), a cousin of Barnabas. The gospel narrates the life of Jesus of Nazareth from his baptism by John the Baptist to the resurrection (or to the empty tomb in the shorter recension), but it concentrates particularly on the last week of his life (chapters 11-16, the trip to Jerusalem). Its swift narrative portrays Jesus as a heroic man of action, an exorcist, a healer and miracle worker. It calls him the Son of Man[3], the Son of God, and the Christ(the Greek translation of Messiah).

Two important themes of Mark are the Messianic secret and the obtuseness of the disciples. In Mark, Jesus often commands secrecy regarding aspects of his identity and certain actions. Jesus uses parables to explain his message and fulfill prophecy (4:10-12). At times, the disciples have trouble understanding the parables, but Jesus explains what they mean, in secret (4:13-20, 4:33-34). They also fail to understand the implication of the miracles that he performs before them.

Following Augustine of Hippo, see also Augustinian hypothesis, the Gospel of Mark was traditionally believed by Christian churches to be based on the Gospel of Matthew, an epitome, and accordingly, it is placed after that gospel in most Bibles. However, most contemporary scholars regard it as the earliest of the canonical gospels (c 70). According to the two-source hypothesis, it was one source for material in the other synoptic gospels, Matthew and Luke.

Read The Gospel of Mark here

Gospel of Matthew  The Gospel of Matthew is one of the four canonical gospels in the New Testament and is a synoptic gospel. It narrates an account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It describes his genealogy, his miraculous birth and childhood, his baptism and temptation, his ministry of healing and preaching in Galilee, his trip to Jerusalem marked by an incident in the Temple, and finally his crucifixion and resurrection. The resurrected Jesus commissions his Apostles to "go and make disciples of all nations."

Read The Gospel of Matthew here

Gospel of Peter  The Gospel of Peter was a prominent passion narrative in the early history of Christianity, but over time it passed out of common usage. Only fragments survive. The surviving text is notable for ascribing responsibility for the crucifixion of Jesus to Herod Antipas rather than to Pontius Pilate and for representing the true Cross as miraculously capable of speech.

In modern times it is known from early quotations, especially from a reference by Eusebius to a letter publicly circulated by Serapion, Bishop of Antioch in 190–203, who had found upon examining it that "most of it belonged to the right teaching of the Saviour," but that some parts might encourage its hearers to fall into the Docetist heresy. Serapion's rebuttal of the Gospel of Peter is otherwise lost.

Origen of Alexandria also mentions that the Gospel of Peter, together with "the book of James", was the source for the story, which later became Church doctrine, that the brothers of Jesus were sons of Joseph "by a former wife who had lived with him before Mary":

"They [of Nazareth] thought, then, that He was the son of Joseph and Mary. But some say, basing it on a tradition in the Gospel according to Peter, as it is entitled, or "The Book of James," that the brethren of Jesus were sons of Joseph by a former wife, whom he married before Mary. Now those who say so wish to preserve the honour of Mary in virginity to the end, so that that body of hers which was appointed to minister to the Word which said, "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee," might not know intercourse with a man after that the Holy Ghost came into her and the power from on high overshadowed her."

It is strange that Origen includes the Gospel Of Peter with "The Book of James", as no version of the Gospel Of Peter has been found which contains any narrative of the birth or infancy of Jesus or his mother. It is quite possible that Origen was referring to another Gospel Of Peter which perhaps is evidenced by two papyrus fragments from Oxyrhynchus, both in the Ashmolean Museum: P.Oxy 4009 and P.Oxy 2949. However, these two fragments also give no support to the identification of this work with "The Book of James", also called Protevangelium of James; this work and the Gospel Of Peter should be kept quite distinct, with the Gospel Of Peter a source only on the Passion narrative.

Read The Gospel of Peter 1 here     Read The Gospel of Peter 2 here

Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew  The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew is a part of the New Testament apocrypha, and sometimes goes by the name of The Infancy Gospel of Matthew, but the actual name of the text in antiquity was The Book About the Origin of the Blessed Mary and the Childhood of the Savior. Pseudo-Matthew is one of a genre of "Infancy gospels" that seek to fill out the details of the life of Jesus of Nazareth up until the age of 12, that are very briefly given in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. In the West it was the dominant source for pictorial cycles of the Life of Mary, especially before the late Middle Ages.

The narrative is prefaced by a series of letters between the early Church father Jerome and the Bishops Comatius and Heliodorus. In these letters the Bishops request that Jerome translate a "Hebrew volume, written by the hand of the most blessed Evangelist Matthew," concerning the birth of the virgin mother and the infancy of Jesus. Though the work is attributed to St. Jerome, it is unlikely that St. Jerome actually wrote or translated it: "no one who is acquainted with the style of Jerome's letters will think this one authentic."

"Jerome" complied and translated the work, taking care to "render it word for word, exactly as it is in the Hebrew, since it is asserted that it was composed by the holy Evangelist Matthew, and written at the head of his Gospel," though he expressed doubt as to their authenticity.

The first half of the narrative tells the story of St. Joachim and St. Anne, the parents of Mary; Joachim's sorrow and persecution on account of their lack of progeny, his exile and return to Anna with child, and the birth of Mary; her entering service as a temple virgin, her prayerful life and vow of chastity, and the choosing of Joseph as her husband and guardian upon her becoming too old to continue as a temple virgin; the Annunciation; Joseph's distress at finding her pregnant, and his eventual acceptance of her honesty; his and Mary's being tested in the temple, and the acceptance of the people in the temple of Mary's and Joseph's innocence.

The content of the text is primarily an edited reproduction of the Protevangelium of James, followed by an account of the Flight into Egypt (it is not known on what this is based), and subsequently an edited reproduction of the Infancy Gospel of Thomas. Essentially, it is a (fairly successful) attempt to redact these texts into a single work. To its sources, the Gospel adds the first known mention of an ox and ass being present at the nativity of Jesus.

It had a strong influence in mediaeval thought, partly due to its inclusion in the Golden Legend. One of the consequences of this is the creation of derivative works, such as the Libellus de Nativitate Sanctae Mariae, which consists of just the early part of the text concerning the birth of Mary. Another text to be based on Pseudo Matthew is the Arabic Infancy Gospel, which includes many supernatural embellishments.

Gospel of the Nativity of Mary

The Gospel of the Nativity of Mary - A Non-Canonical New Testament Writing

The Gospel of the Nativity of Mary presents a story about Mary's origin and gives a brief account of her life leading to the birth of Christ. This account of Mary states that her birth was foretold to her parents by an angel of the Lord who also said that she would give birth to the Messiah. In both accounts her parents were told to give her the name Mary just as Mary was told to give her son the name of Jesus.       

The text states Mary's father was named Joachim and his wife, Anna, was barren. Joachim had been publicly ridiculed for not having children. When the angel appeared to him he pointed to past accounts of barren women who had given birth and said that such births were often intended for something wonderful. He then appeared to Anna and declared that she would give birth to a child that would be more blessed than any other woman. This again is similar to the Biblical account of an angel appearing to Mary to announce the birth Christ thus giving a since that Mary was like Jesus in the way her birth was foretold and her divine purpose in life.

The account states that Mary's parents had vowed that if they had a child they would dedicate it the Lord so when she was three years old they brought her to the temple where she was raised and trained. When they arrived she climbed the steps to the temple without assistance which was seen as a miraculous sign. It also states that Mary was visited by angels and had visions on a daily bases.

The account then presents a story how Joseph was chosen by the priest through a sign given by God to be Mary's husband. It wraps up by telling how an angel appeared to Marry and Joseph to declare the coming birth of Christ.

This account has a strong cultural impact that persists to this day. It provides much of the legend of Mary and also contributes to her standing in the Catholic Church. It has led to traditions that are still held to some extent. Scott P. Richert explains a Catholic perspective in his blog,

 "In earlier centuries, the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary was celebrated with greater fanfare. Now, most Catholics probably don't even realize that the Church has a special feast day set aside to celebrate it. But, like the Immaculate Conception, the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary is an important date in our salvation history. Christ needed a mother, and Mary's own conception and birth, therefore, are events without which Christ's own birth would have been impossible. It's no surprise, then, that the Christians of the second century A.D. recorded the details of Mary's birth in such documents as the Protoevangelium of James and the Gospel of the Nativity of Mary. While neither document bears the authority of Scripture, they provide us with everything that we know about the life of Mary before the Annunciation . . ."

Gospel of Thomas   The Gospel According to Thomas, also known as The Gospel of Thomas, is a New Testament-era apocryphon, nearly completely preserved in a Coptic papyrus manuscript discovered in 1945 at Nag Hammadi, Egypt.

The text is in the form of a codex, bound in a method now called Coptic binding. It was written for a school of early Christians who claimed Thomas the Apostle as their founder. Unlike the four canonical gospels, Thomas is not a narrative account of the life of Jesus and is not worked into any overt philosophical or rhetorical context. Rather, it is logia, or gospel sayings, with short dialogues and sayings attributed to Jesus.

In the incipit, the writer is styled Didymus Judas Thomas. Didymus (Greek) and Thomas (Hebrew) both mean twin, and the name Judas, also Jude or Judah, is the anglicized Greek rendering of the Hebrew name Yehudah.

The work comprises 114 sayings attributed to Jesus. Some of these sayings resemble those found in the four canonical Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), while others were not known until its discovery. No major Christian group accepts this gospel as canonical or authoritative.

When this Coptic version of the complete text of Thomas was found, scholars realized that three separate portions of a Greek version of it had already been discovered in Oxyrhynchus, Egypt, in 1897. In 1903 two more different fragments were discovered in Oxyrhynchus, seemingly originating from the same collection of sayings bearing the Greek fragments of the Gospel of Thomas (P. Oxy. I 1; IV 654; IV 655) dating from between AD 200 to AD 250, with another Greek fragment discovered in 1905 predating AD 200; the manuscript of the Coptic version dates to about 340. Although the Coptic version is not quite identical to any of the Greek fragments, it is believed that the Coptic version was translated from an earlier Greek version, itself recorded from an earlier oral version.

The original text was published in photographic facsimile in 1975. The James M. Robinson translation was first published in 1977, as part of The Nag Hammadi Library in English, (E.J. Brill and Harper & Row). The Gospel of Thomas has been translated and annotated in several languages. The original manuscript is the property of Egypt's Department of Antiquities. The first photographic edition was published in 1956, and its first critical analysis appeared in 1959.

Read The Gospel of Thomas here

Gospels  Texts written in the style of first hand accounts of the events taking place during and following the time of Jesus. Popularly attributed to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Extended by some to include the Acts of the Apostles, attributed to Luke.

Great Bible   The Great Bible was the first authorized edition of the Bible in English, authorized by King Henry VIII of England to be read aloud in the church services of the Church of England.

The Great Bible was prepared by Myles Coverdale, working under commission of Sir Thomas Cromwell, Secretary to Henry VIII and Vicar General. In 1538, Cromwell directed the clergy to provide:

"&ldots;one book of the bible of the largest volume in English, and the same set up in some convenient place within the said church that ye have care of, whereas your parishioners may most commodiously resort to the same and read it."

Although called the Great Bible because of its large size, it is known by several other names as well: the Cromwell Bible, since Thomas Cromwell directed its publication; Whitchurch's Bible after its first English printer; also the Chained Bible, since it was chained in "some convenient place within the said church". It has also been termed less accurately Cranmer's Bible, since Thomas Cranmer's preface appeared only in the second edition.

The Great Bible was based on Matthew's Bible. It therefore includes, with very slight revision, the New Testament and the Old Testament portions that had been translated by William Tyndale. The remaining books of the Old Testament had been translated by Coverdale, who used mostly the Latin Vulgate and German translations as sources rather than working from the original Greek and Hebrew texts.

The Great Bible's New Testament revision is chiefly distinguished from Tyndale's source version by the interpolation of numerous phrases and sentences found only in the Vulgate. For example, here is the Great Bible's version of Acts 23:24-25 (as given in The New Testament Octapla):

    "...And delyver them beastes, that they maye sett Paul on, and brynge him safe unto Felix the hye debyte (For he dyd feare lest happlye the Jewes shulde take hym awaye and kyll him, and he hym selfe shulde be afterwarde blamed, as though he wolde take money.) and he wrote a letter after thys maner."

The non-italicized portions are taken over from Tyndale without change, but the italicized words, which are not found in the Greek text translated by Tyndale, have been added from the Latin. (The added sentence can also be found, with minor verbal differences, in the Douai-Rheims New Testament.) These inclusions appear to have been done to make the Great Bible more palatable to conservative English churchmen, many of whom considered the Vulgate to be the only legitimate Bible.

The psalms in the Book of Common Prayer are taken from the Great Bible rather than the King James Bible.

In 1568, the Great Bible was superseded as the authorised version of the Anglican Church by the Bishops' Bible. The last of over 30 editions of the Great Bible appeared in 1569

Great Revolt  The Jewish rebellion against the Roman rule that began in 66 CE and ended in 74 CE with the capture of the Jewish held fortress at Masada by the Romans. Its climax occurs with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Second Temple in 70 CE.

The first Jewish-Roman War (66–73), sometimes called The Great Revolt was the first of three major rebellions by the Jews of Iudaea Province against the Roman Empire (the second was the Kitos War in 115–117; the third was Bar Kokhba's revolt, 132–135).

It began in the year 66, stemming from Greek and Jewish religious tension. It ended when legions under Titus besieged and destroyed Jerusalem, looted and burned Herod's Temple (in the year 70) and Jewish strongholds (notably Gamla in 67 and Masada in 73), and enslaved or massacred a large part of the Jewish population.

The defeat of the Jewish revolts by the Roman Empire substantially altered the Jewish diaspora, as many Jews were scattered or sold into slavery after losing their state.

Great Sea  See Mediterranean Sea

Gulf of Aqaba   The Gulf of Aqaba in Israel known as the Gulf of Eilat. It is a large gulf of the Red Sea. It is located to the east of the Sinai peninsula and west of the Arabian mainland. Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia all have coastlines on the Gulf of Aqaba.

The Gulf of Aqaba is one of two gulfs created by the Sinai Peninsula's bifurcation of the northern Red Sea, the Gulf of Suez lying to the west of the Sinai Peninsula and the Gulf of Aqaba lying to its east. The Gulf of Aqaba measures 24 km at its widest point and stretches some 160 km north from the Straits of Tiran to a point where the border of Israel meets the borders of Egypt and Jordan. At this northern end of the Gulf are three important cities: Taba in Egypt, Eilat in Israel, and Aqaba in Jordan. All three cities serve both as strategically important commercial ports and as popular resort destinations for tourists seeking to enjoy the warm climate of the region. Further south, Haql is the largest Saudi Arabian city on the gulf. On Sinai, Sharm el-Sheikh and Dahab are the major centers.


Hades  Hades: The nether realm of the disembodied spirits. Also known as "hell."

Hagar  See Hagar Here in Names in The Bible

Hagiographa  See Kethubim

Halacha  See Halakha below

Halocho  See Halakha below

Halakha  also transliterated Halocho and Halacha
Halakha is the collective body of Jewish religious law, including biblical law (the 613 mitzvot) and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions. Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life. Hence, Halakha guides not only religious practices and beliefs, but numerous aspects of day-to-day life. Halakha is often translated as "Jewish Law", although a more literal translation might be "the path" or "the way of walking." The word is derived from the Hebrew root that means to go or to walk.

Historically, Halakha served many Jewish communities as an enforceable avenue of civil and religious law. In the modern era, Jewish citizens may be bound to Halakha only by their voluntary consent. Under contemporary Israeli law, however, certain areas of Israeli family and personal status law are governed by rabbinic interpretations of Halakha. Reflecting the diversity of Jewish communities, somewhat different approaches to Halakha are found among Ashkenazi, Mizrahi, Sephardi, and Yemenite Jews. Among Ashkenazi Jews, disagreements over Halakha, and over whether Jews should continue to follow Halakha, have played a pivotal role in the emergence of the Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist streams of Judaism.

halakhah  See Halakha above

Ham  See Ham Here in Names in The Bible

Hammon  See Amun

Hananeel   Meaning: God has graciously given

a tower in the wall of Jerusalem (Neh. 3:1; 12:39)

It is mentioned also in Jer. 31:38; Zech. 14:10.

Har-magedon  Har-magedon, also called Armegeddon, is most likely a reference to hill ("har") of Megiddo, near the Carmel Range in Israel. This area has a large valley plain with plenty of room for armies to maneuver.

Hasidim  "Pietists", "pious ones"; a religious sect of Jews devoted to strict observance of the law and opposed to the adoption of aspects of Greek culture by other Jews. They were the forerunners of both the Pharisees and the Essenes. They are first supported the Maccabean movement, but subsequently opposed it, regarding it as too political. It arose before the outbreak of the persecution by Antiochus Epiphanes (167 BCE), and continued to exist well into the time of the Hasmonaean dynasty.

Hasmonean  A family (a dynasty) of Jewish patriots to which the Maccabees belonged; period of Jewish history from the Maccabean Revolt (ca.167 BCE) to the Roman conquest of Judaea (ca. 67 BCE). Sometimes the period is extended as 167-30 BCE. The dynasty included Judas  Maccabaeus, Jonathan, Simon, John Hyrcanus, Aristobolus I, Alexander Jannaeus, Alexandra Salome, Hyrcanus II, and Aristobolus II.

Havdalah  Havdalah comes from the Hebrew word "l'havdil," meaning "to separate." The Mitzvah of havdalah is performed at the conclusion of Shabbat, and it involves making a verbal separation between Shabbat and the rest of the week. Havdalah functions as a time divider, separating the serenity of Shabbat from the workaholism of the weekdays. Havdalah is to the end of Shabbat what Kiddush is to the beginning-Kiddush ushers Shabbat in, Havdalah ushers Shabbat out. This mitzvah is actually rooted in one of the Ten Commandments: "Remember to sanctify Shabbat." The sages interpreted this as a directive to sanctify the Shabbat when it enters - the Friday night kiddush - and when it departs - the havdalah. 

Havilah  (literally meaning "stretch of sand")

 Havilah is the name of various lands and/or people mentioned in the Bible. The first mention is in Genesis 2:11 in relation to the Garden of Eden: "The name of the first river is the Pishon; it is the one that winds through the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold." Havilah is known for its abundance. In addition to gold, Havilah is reported as having bdellium (a resin similar to myrrh and produced by related plants) and onyx stone. - Genesis 2:12

In addition to the region described in Genesis 2, two individuals named Havilah are listed in the Table of Nations which lists the descendants of Noah, who are considered eponymous ancestors of nations. They are mentioned in Genesis 10:7,29, 1 Chronicles 1:9,23. One is the son of Cush, the son of Ham; the other, a son of Joktan and descendant of Shem. The former is listed with names associated with the region of the Gulf of Aden while the latter is listed with names associated with the Arabian desert. Such a land in the Arabian desert is mentioned in Genesis 25:18, where it defines the border of the territory inhabited by the Ishmaelites, and in 1 Samuel 15:7, which states that king Saul of Israel attacked the Amalekites who were living there.

Heaven  Heaven may refer to the physical heavens, the sky or the seemingly endless expanse of the universe beyond. This is the traditional literal meaning of the term in English, however since at least AD 1000, it is typically also used to refer to an afterlife plane of existence (often held to exist in another realm) in various religions and spiritual philosophies, often described as the holiest possible place, accessible by people according to various standards of divinity, goodness, piety, faith etc.

While there are abundant and varied sources for conceptions of Heaven, the typical believer's view appears to depend largely on his religious tradition and particular sect. Some religions conceptualize Heaven as pertaining to some type of peaceful life after death related to the immortality of the soul. Heaven is generally construed as a place of happiness, sometimes eternal happiness. A psychological reading of sacred religious texts across cultures and throughout history would describe it as a term signifying a state of "full aliveness" or wholeness.

In ancient Judaism, the belief in Heaven and afterlife was connected with that of Sheol (mentioned in Isaiah 38:18, Psalms 6:5 and Job 7:7-10). Some scholars asserted that Sheol was an earlier concept, but this theory is not universally held. One later Jewish sect that maintained belief in a Resurrection of the dead was known as the Pharisees. Opposed to them were the Sadducees who denied the doctrine of Resurrection (Matt. 22:23). In most forms of Christianity, belief in the afterlife is professed in the major Creeds, such as the Nicene Creed, which states: "We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come."

Hebrew alphabet   (Hebrew: alephbet ’ivri)

The Hebrew alphabet consists of 22 letters used for writing the Hebrew language. Five of these letters have a different form when appearing as the last letter in a word. The Hebrew letters are also used in mildly adapted forms for writing several languages of the Jewish diaspora, most famously Yiddish, Ladino, and Judeo-Arabic (for a full and detailed list, see Jewish languages). Hebrew is written from right to left.

The Hebrew word for "alphabet" is (alephbet), named after the first two letters of the Greek (and Hebrew) alphabet (Alpha/aleph, Beta). The Hebrew alphabet is an abjad, having letters only for consonants, but means were later devised to indicate vowels by separate vowel points or niqqud. In rabbinic Hebrew, the consonant letters are used as matres lectionis to represent vowels.

The number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet, their order, their names, and their phonetic values are virtually identical to those of the Aramaic alphabet, as both Hebrews and Arameans borrowed the Phoenician alphabet for their uses during the end of the 2nd millennium BCE.

According to contemporary scholars, the modern script used for writing Hebrew (usually called the Jewish script by scholars, and also traditionally known as the square script, block script, or Assyrian script — not to be confused with the Eastern variant of the Syriac alphabet) evolved during the 3rd century BCE from the Aramaic script, which had been used by Jews for writing Hebrew since the 6th century BCE, retaining the old script only for the Name of God. Prior to that, Hebrew was written using the old Hebrew script, which evolved during the 10th century BCE from the Phoenician script; the Samaritans still write Hebrew in a variant of this script for religious works (see Samaritan alphabet).

Hebrew Bible   The term Hebrew Bible is a generic reference to those books of the Bible originally written in Biblical Hebrew (and Biblical Aramaic). The term closely corresponds to contents of the Jewish Tanakh and the Protestant Old Testament but does not include the deuterocanonical portions of the Roman Catholic or the Anagignoskomena portions of the Eastern Orthodox Old Testaments. The term does not imply naming, numbering or ordering of books, which varies, see also Biblical canon.

Hebrew language  (‘Ivrit)

Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afro-Asiatic language family. Modern Hebrew is spoken by more than seven million people in Israel and used for prayer or study in Jewish communities around the world. It is one of the official languages of Israel, along with Arabic. Hebrew is also spoken as a mother tongue by the Samaritans, though today fewer than a thousand Samaritans remain. As a foreign language it is studied mostly by Jews and students of Judaism and Israel, archaeologists and linguists specializing in the Middle East and its civilizations and by theologians.

The modern word "Hebrew" is derived from the word "ivri" which in turn may be based upon the root "`avar" meaning "to cross over". The related name Ever occurs in Genesis 10:21 and possibly means "the one who traverses". In the Bible "Hebrew" is called Yehudith because Judah (Yehuda) was the surviving kingdom at the time of the quotation, late 8th century (Is 36, 2 Kings 18). In Isaiah 19:18, it is also called the "Language of Canaan" ,

The core of the Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible) is written in Classical Hebrew, and much of its present form is specifically the dialect of Biblical Hebrew that scholars believe flourished around the 6th century BCE, around the time of the Babylonian exile. For this reason, Hebrew has been referred to by Jews as Leshon HaKodesh, "The Holy Language", since ancient times.

Hebrews   (or Hebertes, Eberites, Hebreians; Hebrew:  "traverse or pass over")

Hebrews are an ancient people defined as descendants of biblical Patriarch Abraham, a descendent of Noah.

They were called Ibri, meaning the people from over on the other side of the Jordan River. They lived in the Land of Canaan (the Levant).

Some authors believe Hebrew/Ibri denotes the descendents of the biblical patriarch Eber, a great grandson of Noah and a Abraham's ancestor, though the term has not been found in biblical or extra-biblical sources for any tribe or nation other than Abraham and his descendents. Note however that Abraham is once referred to as "Abram the Hebrew" (Genesis 14:13).

Hebrews are known as the ancestors of the Israelites, who used the Hebrew language. Israelites, whose remnant is the Jews, were the writers of the Hebrew Bible. They are also the spiritual and historical forerunners of the Christians and Muslims. In the Bible and in current language, the word Hebrews is often used as a synonym for Israelites, and sometimes for the users of the Hebrew language (Jews and Israelis).

Hebron   Meaning: a community; Alliance

This was the name of two biblical cities and one man.

1.  A city in the south end of the valley of Eshcol, about midway between Jerusalem and Beersheba, from which it is distant about 20 miles in a straight line. It was built "seven years before Zoan in Egypt" (Gen. 13:18; Num. 13:22). It still exists under the same name, and is one of the most ancient cities in the world. Its earlier name was Kirjath-arba (Gen. 23:2; Josh. 14:15; 15:3). But "Hebron would appear to have been the original name of the city, and it was not till after Abraham's stay there that it received the name Kirjath-arba, who [i.e., Arba] was not the founder but the conqueror of the city, having led thither the tribe of the Anakim, to which he belonged. It retained this name till it came into the possession of Caleb, when the Israelites restored the original name Hebron" (Keil, Com.). The name of this city does not occur in any of the prophets or in the New Testament. It is found about forty times in the Old. It was the favorite home of Abraham. Here he pitched his tent under the oaks of Mamre, by which name it came afterwards to be known; and here Sarah died, and was buried in the cave of Machpelah (Gen. 23:17-20), which he bought from Ephron the Hittite. From this place the patriarch departed for Egypt by way of Beersheba (37:14; 46:1). It was taken by Joshua and given to Caleb (Josh. 10:36, 37; 12:10; 14:13). It became a Levitical city and a city of refuge (20:7; 21:11). When David became king of Judah this was his royal residence, and he resided here for seven and a half years (2 Sam. 5:5); and here he was anointed as king over all Israel (2 Sam. 2:1-4, 11; 1 Kings 2:11). It became the residence also of the rebellious Absalom (2 Sam. 15:10), who probably expected to find his chief support in the tribe of Judah, now called el-Khulil.

In one part of the modern city is a great mosque, which is built over the grave of Machpelah. The first European who was permitted to enter this mosque was the Prince of Wales in 1862. It was also visited by the Marquis of Bute in 1866, and by the late Emperor Frederick of Germany (then Crown-Prince of Prussia) in 1869.

One of the largest oaks in Palestine is found in the valley of Eshcol, about 3 miles north of the town. It is supposed by some to be the tree under which Abraham pitched his tent, and is called "Abraham's oak."

2. A town in the north border of Asher (Josh. 19:28).

Hekhalot  Mystical Jewish writings composed during the first few centuries after the destruction of the Second Temple, and characterized by descriptions of the "palaces" or "halls" (Hebrew, hekhalot) to be encountered by those (mystics) worthy of beholding the "Divine Chariot" (merkabah) of the Lord described in the Book of Ezekiel.


1. One in Hellenistic times who adopted the Greek language and culture, especially a Jew of the Diaspora.
2. A devotee or student of Greek civilization, language, or literature.

Hellenistic  Pertaining to the Hellenists

relating to or characteristic of the classical Greek civilization.

Hellenistic language, dialect, or idiom, the Greek spoken or used by the Jews who lived in countries where the Greek language prevailed; the Jewish-Greek dialect or idiom of the Septuagint.

That mixture of Greek and Near Eastern culture that began to develop after the conquests of Alexander the Great. (ca. 332 BCE). This movement was still very device at the time of Jewish Revolt in 66 CE.

The term Hellenistic itself is derived from (Hélle-n), the Greeks' traditional name for themselves. It was coined by the historian Johann Gustav Droysen to refer to the spreading of Greek culture and colonization over the non-Greek lands that were conquered by Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC. There has been much debate about the validity of Droysen's ideas; leading many to reject the label 'Hellenistic' (at least in the specific meaning of Droysen). However, the term Hellenistic can still be usefully applied to this period in history; and moreover, no better general term exists to do so.

Hellenistic Judaism  Hellenistic Judaism was a movement which existed in the Jewish diaspora before the Siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD, that sought to establish a Hebraic-Jewish religious tradition within the culture and language of Hellenism. The major literary product of the contact of Judaism and Hellenistic culture is the Septuagint.

Henry VIII of England   See Henry VIII of England Here in Names in The Bible

Hereafter  See afterlife

heresiographers  Religious scholars specializing in the study of heresies. They collected the works, and wrote detailed descriptions of the beliefs, of sectarians primarily to refute them.

herodian  Associated especially with Herod the Great's reign 37-4BCE; a period of Jewish history from 30 BCE - 70 CE

Herodium  Another Jewish fortress of ancient Palestine, built in the style of Masada and Machaerus, located southeast of Bethlehem and approximately 20 kilometers march from Qumran.

heterodoxy  Departure, in the eyes of later analysts, from the normative beliefs and practices of a religion. With respect to Judaism of the intertestamental period and Christianity of the early New Testament period, "orthodoxy" is difficult to define because of the state of fluctuation of Judaism during the earlier period, and the lack of the primary, unedited Christian documents from the latter.

Hexateuch   The first six books of the Old Testament.

The Hexateuch ("six scrolls") is the first six books of the Hebrew Bible (the Torah or Pentateuch and the book of Joshua). Some scholars propose that Joshua represents part of the northern Yahwist source (c 950 BC), detached from JE document by the Deuteronomist (c 650-621) and incorporated into the Deuteronomic history, with the books of Judges, Kings, and Samuel.

Reasons for this unity, in addition to the presumed presence of the other documentary traditions, are taken from comparisons of the thematic concerns that underlie the narrative surface of the texts. For instance, the Book of Joshua stresses the continuity of leadership from Moses to Joshua. Furthermore the theme of Joshua, the fulfillment of God's promise to lead the Israelites to the Promised Land, complements the thematic material of the Pentateuch, which had ended with the Israelites on the border of the Promised Land ready to enter.

The theory that Joshua completes the Torah in a 'Hexateuch' is advanced by critical scholars in the new field of "history of traditions", but the majority of traditional scholars follow the older rabbinic tradition, as it was expressed by the compilers of the Jewish Encyclopedia a century ago, that the Pentateuch is a complete work in itself. The Torah has always consisted of only the first five books of the Hebrew Bible.

Hiddekel  called by the Accadians id Idikla; i.e., "the river of Idikla", the third of the four rivers of Paradise (Gen. 2:14). Gesenius interprets the word as meaning "the rapid Tigris." The Tigris rises in the mountains of Armenia, 15 miles south of the source of the Euphrates, which, after pursuing a south-east course, it joins at Kurnah, about 50 miles above Bassorah. Its whole length is about 1,150 miles.

hin  A hin was about 6.5 liters or 1.7 gallons.

Hivites  one of the original tribes scattered over Palestine, from Hermon to Gibeon in the south

The name is interpreted as “midlanders” or “villagers” (Gen. 10:17; 1 Chr. 1:15). They were probably a branch of the Hittites. At the time of Jacob's return to Canaan, Hamor the Hivite was the "prince of the land" (Gen. 34:2-28).

They are next mentioned during the Conquest (Josh. 9:7; 11:19). They principally inhabited the northern confines of Western Palestine (Josh. 11:3; Judg. 3:3). A remnant of them still existed in the time of Solomon (1 Kings 9:20).

Holiness code   The Holiness Code is a term used in Biblical Criticism to refer to Leviticus 17-26, and is so called due to its highly repeated use of the word Holy. It has no special traditional religious significance and traditional Jews and Christians do not regard it as having any distinction from any other part of the Book Leviticus. Biblical scholars have regarded it as a distinct unit and have noted that the style is noticeably different from the main body of Leviticus: unlike the remainder of Leviticus, the many laws of the Holiness code are expressed very closely packed together, and very briefly. According to the documentary hypothesis, the holiness code represents an earlier text that was edited and incorporated into the Priestly source and the Torah as a whole.

The Holiness code also uses a noticeably different choice of vocabulary, repeating phrases such as I, The LORD, am holy, I am the LORD, and I the LORD, which sanctify . . .  an unusually large number of times. Additionally, Leviticus 17 begins with This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, saying . . . and Leviticus 26 strongly resembles the conclusion of a law code, despite the presence of further laws afterward, such as at Leviticus 27, giving the Holiness Code the appearance of a single distinct unit.

Among Christian fundamentalists it is debated as to how much of this passage can be applicable today, as the Levitical priesthood and animal sacrifices ended with the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in AD 70. Many in these groups see all of the laws regarding sexuality as being of binding applicability today and as being reiterated for emphasis elsewhere in the Biblical text. Orthodox Jews continue many of the practices, and generally regard precepts not in current practice as being in temporary abeyance until a Third Temple can be rebuilt and they can be restored.

Holy Ghost  A member of the Godhead, a personage of spirit, knows all things, and is known by many names.

Third Member of the Godhead: The Godhead consists of three separate persons or beings:

Being a part of the Godhead means he is one in purpose, in perfect harmony or unity, with the other members of the Godhead.

A Personage of Spirit: "The Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us" Spirit is made from matter that is too fine for our eyes to behold and the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit or a spirit being.

Knows All Things: We believe that the Holy Ghost is omniscient, that he knows everything, just as Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ do. "Wherefore, watch over him that his faith fail not, and it shall be given by the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, that knoweth all things" (D&C 35:195.)

Known by Many Names: The Holy Ghost is called by many different names some of which are:

Holy Spirit
Light of Christ
Spirit of God
Spirit of the Lord
Spirit of Truth
Still Small Voice

The doctrine of the Catholic Church concerning the Holy Ghost forms an integral part of her teaching on the mystery of the Holy Trinity, of which St. Augustine (On the Holy Trinity I.3.5), speaking with diffidence, says: "In no other subject is the danger of erring so great, or the progress so difficult, or the fruit of a careful study so appreciable". The essential points of the dogma may be resumed in the following propositions:

    * The Holy Ghost is the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity.

    * Though really distinct, as a Person, from the Father and the Son, He is consubstantial with Them; being God like Them, He possesses with Them one and the same Divine Essence or Nature.

    * He proceeds, not by way of generation, but by way of spiration, from the Father and the Son together, as from a single principle.

Such is the belief the Catholic faith demands. 

Holy Land  Also known as Canaan, Palestine, Promised Land

Holy Spirit  See also Holy Ghost

In Christianity, the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost is the spirit of God as present in the being. The term Christ is also used to refer to this presence, that is, the Spirit is considered to act in concert with and share an essential nature with God the Father and God the Son (Jesus Christ). The Christian theology of the Holy Spirit, or pneumatology, was the last piece of Trinitarian theology to be fully explored and developed. For this reason, there is greater theological diversity among Christian understandings of the Spirit than there is among understandings of the Son (Christology) and of the Father. Within Trinitarian theology, the Holy Spirit is sometimes referred to as the "Third Person" of the Triune God - with the Father being the First Person and the Son the Second Person. There are also distinct understandings of the Holy Spirit by non-Trinitarian groups and some non-Christian groups who use the term as well. In the Gospel of John, Jesus said, "I am going to sit at the right hand of my father and when I do I will send a helper to you." Most Christians believe that the "helper" Jesus was referring to was the Holy Spirit.

homer  One homer is about 220 liters, 6.2 U. S. bushels, 6.1 imperial bushels, 58 U. S. gallons, or 48.4 imperial gallons.

Horeb  a mountain usually identified with Mt. Sinai: Ex. 3:1

Desert or mountain of the dried-up ground, a general name for the whole ountain range of which Sinai was one of the summits ( Ex. 3:1; 17:6; 33:6; Ps. 106:19, etc.). The modern name of the whole range is Jebel Musa. It is a huge mountain block, about 2 miles long by about 1 in breadth, with a very spacious plain at its north-east end, called the Er Rahah, in which the Israelites encamped for nearly a whole year.

See Mount Sinai 

Horites   Meaning: cave-men; cave-dwellers

a race of troglodytes who dwelt in the limestone caves which abounded in Edom

Their ancestor was "Seir," who probably gave his name to the district where he lived. They were a branch of the Hivites (Gen. 14:6; 36:20-30; 1 Chr. 1:38,39). They were dispossessed by the descendants of Esau, and as a people gradually became extinct (Deut. 2:12-22).

Hormah  Meaning: banning; i.e., placing under a “ban,” or devoting to utter destruction

After the manifestation of God's anger against the Israelites, on account of their rebellion and their murmurings when the spies returned to the camp at Kadesh, in the wilderness of Paran, with an evil report of the land, they quickly repented of their conduct, and presumed to go up "to the head of the mountain," seeking to enter the Promised Land, but without the presence of the Lord, without the ark of the convenant, and without Moses. The Amalekites and the Canaanites came down and "smote and discomfited them even unto Hormah" (Num. 14:45). This place, or perhaps the watch-tower commanding it, was originally called Zephath (Judg. 1:17), the modern Sebaiteh. Afterwards (Num. 21:1-3) Arad, the king of the Canaanites, at the close of the wanderings, when the Israelites were a second time encamped at Kadesh, "fought against them, and took some of them prisoners." But Israel vowed a vow unto the Lord utterly to destroy the cities of the Canaanites; they “banned” them, and hence the place was now called Hormah. But this “ban” was not fully executed till the time of Joshua, who finally conquered the king of this district, so that the ancient name Zephath became “Hormah” (Josh. 12:14; Judg. 1:17).

House of Joseph  See Tribe of Joseph

Humash  See Chumash

hypocrite  a stage actor; someone who pretends to be someone other than who they really are; a pretender; a dissembler



Idumaeans  The inhabitants of Idumaea (Edom), who during intertestamental times continued to inhabit a large area east and south of the Dead Sea.

Imen  See Amun

Incarnation    The Incarnation of God

The Incarnation is the belief in Christianity that Jesus Christ is God (cf. God of Israel) in the flesh. The word Incarnate derives from Latin (in=in, carnis=flesh) meaning “In the flesh.” The incarnation is a fundamental theological teaching of orthodox (Nicene) Christianity, based on its understanding of the New Testament. The incarnation represents the belief that Jesus, who is the non-created second person of the triune God; took on a human body and nature and became both man and God. In the Bible its clearest teaching is in the Gospel of John, where in chapter 1 verse 14 (abbreviated as “John 1:14”), it says “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us,”

In the Incarnation, as traditionally defined, the divine nature of the Son was joined but not mixed with human nature in one divine Person, Jesus Christ, who was both "truly God and truly man". The Incarnation is commemorated and celebrated each year at the Feast of the Incarnation, which is better known as the Annunciation.

This is central to the traditional Christian faith held by the Roman Catholic and Eastern Catholic Churches, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Church, the Anglican Communion, and most Protestants. Alternative views on the subject have been proposed throughout the centuries, but all were rejected by mainstream Christian bodies.

In recent decades, an alternative doctrine known as "Oneness" has gained credence amongst various Pentecostal groups, but has been rejected by the remainder of Christendom.

INRI   INRI is an acronym of the Latin phrase IESVS·NAZARENVS·REX·IVDÆORVM, which translates to English as "Jesus Nazarene, King of the Jews." The Greek equivalent of this phrase appears in the New Testament of the Christian Bible in the Gospel of John (19:19). Each of the other accounts of Jesus' death have a slightly different version for the inscription on Jesus cross:
Matthew (27:37), "This is Jesus, the King of the Jews";
Mark (15:26), "The King of the Jews";
and Luke (KJV), "This is the King of the Jews."
Both Luke and John state it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, while Matthew and Mark describe it as the charge for crucifying Jesus.

In the Gospel of John (19:19-20), the inscription is explained:

And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. (King James Version)

In Hebrew, the phrase is commonly rendered which translates instead to "Jesus the Nazarite and King of the Jews." This version was most probably chosen in order that the acronym constitute the tetragrammaton name corresponding with Yahweh or Jehovah. It is possible that the titulus was written in Aramaic—the local vernacular—rather than Hebrew.

According to the Gospels, Pilate was loath to crucify Jesus without justification and used the standing Roman treaty with the Jews, which allowed them limited self-government. When the Jewish priests complained that Jesus was interfering with that self-rule by claiming to be the Son of God, Pilate challenged him to deny that he was the "King of the Jews." Jesus did not deny the accusation. Pilate's reluctance to crucify Jesus, according to Christian texts, stands in contrast to his willingness to crucify countless thousands of other Jews and Samaritans during his rule.

Some believe that the justification for his crucifixion was his claim to an illegitimate title. However, John 19:21-22 implies that Pilate rejected the charge that Jesus was crucified because he falsely claimed to be king and instead stated that Jesus was crucified because he was the King of the Jews. Thus, some Christians as early as the second century report that Pilate was convinced that Jesus was the Messiah.

intercalation  The addition of an extra month to the lunar year in order to adjust it more closely to the solar year. The lunar year is 11 days shorter than the solar year. To partially compensate for this difference, the rabbis would intercalate a month at the end of the year twice in every seven years. This was necessary to keep the various holidays falling in their proper seasons.

intertestamental  The period between the end of the time described in the latest books of the Hebrew Bible and the opening of the New Testament.

Invisible church  The invisible church or church invisible is a theological concept originally taught by Saint Augustine of Hippo as part of his refutation of the Donatist sect. It refers to the "invisible" body of the elect who are known only to God, and contrasts with the "visible church"-that is, the institutional body on earth which preaches the gospel and administers the sacraments. Every member of the invisible church is saved, while the visible church contains some individuals who are saved and others who are unsaved. (Compare Matthew 7:21-24.)

The concept was revived again at the Protestant reformation as a way of distinguishing between the "visible" Catholic church, which according to the Reformers was largely corrupt, and those within it who are truly believers. Later Pietism took this one step further with its ecclesiolae in ecclesia.

Roman Catholic theology of the current era favors a sacramental approach to the idea of the Invisible Church : the Invisible Church must have true sacraments and authentic apostolic succession. This allows contemporary interpreters of Vatican Council II (cf declaration subsistit in) to state that the Catholic and Orthodox are part of the Invisible Church, while Protestants are mere ecclesial communities which do not form a true Church.

Irenaeus   See Irenaeus Here in Names in The Bible

Iron Age  In archaeology, the Iron Age was the stage in the development of any people in which tools and weapons whose main ingredient was iron were prominent. The adoption of this material coincided with other changes in some past societies often including differing agricultural practices, religious beliefs and artistic styles, although this was not always the case.

In history, the Iron Age is the last principal period in the three-age system for classifying prehistoric societies, preceded by the Bronze Age. Its date and context vary depending on the country or geographical region.

No firm ending date is set for the Iron Age in any particular society; there is simply a point where archaeology becomes less important than surviving history and traditions. Iron alloys remain popular as the steels in most metallic objects.

Iron Age II  Archaeological term for the period, particularly for Palestine, from the beginning of the United Monarchy (ca. 1200 - 1000 BCE) to the Babylonian Exile , 586 BCE, corresponding roughly to the First Temple period. Some modern scholars bring the Bronze Age forward to include the reign of Solomon so that the Iron Age starts closer to 900 BCE than to 1000 BCE. This is reasonable because the later part of the Bronze Age was a time of relative prosperity and that is more in accordance with the state of the court of Solomon than the rather austere style of the later Iron Age sites that have been excavated.

Isa  See Jesus in Islam

Isaac  See Isaac Here in Names in The Bible

Iscariot  See JUDAS

Ishmael   See Ishmael Here in Names in The Bible

Ishmaelites According to both Biblical and Qur'anic tradition, Ibrahim (Abraham) had two wives: Sarah and Hagar. In the Bible Hagar is Sarah's Maid Servant (not Abraham's Wife) who was offered to Abraham to produce an off-spring. He had a son by each women: Ismail (Ishmael) from Hagar and Is'haq (Isaac) from Sarah. It was stated by God that each son would be the father of a nation. The Israelites descended from Isaac and the Ishmaelites from Ishmael.

Islam  Islam is a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion originating with the teachings of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, a 7th century Arab religious and political figure. The word Islam means "submission", or the total surrender of oneself to God (Arabic: Allah). An adherent of Islam is known as a Muslim, meaning "one who submits [to God]". The word Muslim is the participle of the same verb of which Islam is the infinitive. There are between 1 billion and 1.8 billion Muslims, making Islam the second-largest religion in the world, after Christianity.

Muslims believe that God revealed the Qur'an to Muhammad, God's final prophet, through the angel Gabriel, and regard the Qur'an and the Sunnah (words and deeds of Muhammad) as the fundamental sources of Islam. They do not regard Muhammad as the founder of a new religion, but as the restorer of the original monotheistic faith of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and other prophets. Islamic tradition holds that Jews and Christians distorted the revelations God gave to these prophets by either altering the text, introducing a false interpretation, or both.

Islam includes many religious practices. Adherents are generally required to observe the Five Pillars of Islam, which are five duties that unite Muslims into a community. In addition to the Five Pillars, Islamic law (sharia) has developed a tradition of rulings that touch on virtually all aspects of life and society. This tradition encompasses everything from practical matters like dietary laws and banking to warfare and welfare

Almost all Muslims belong to one of two major denominations, the Sunni (85%) and Shi'a (15%). The schism developed in the late 7th century following disagreements over the religious and political leadership of the Muslim community. Islam is the predominant religion in much of Africa and the Middle East, as well as in major parts of Asia. Large communities are also found in China, the Balkan Peninsula in Eastern Europe and Russia. There are also large Muslim immigrant communities in other parts of the world, such as Western Europe. About 20% of Muslims live in Arab countries, 30% in the Indian subcontinent and 15.6% in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country by population

Israel  officially the State of Israel

- is a state in Western Asia located on the eastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea. It borders Lebanon in the north, Syria in the northeast, Jordan in the east, and Egypt on the southwest, and contains geographically diverse features within its relatively small area. The West Bank and Gaza Strip are also adjacent. With a population of about 7.28 million, the majority of whom are Jews, Israel is the world's only Jewish state. It is also home to other ethnic groups, including most numerously Arab citizens of Israel, as well as many religious groups including Muslims, Christians, Druze, Samaritans and others.

The modern state of Israel has its roots in the Land of Israel (Eretz Yisrael), a concept central to Judaism since ancient times, and the heartland of the ancient Kingdom of Judah to which modern Jews are usually attributed. After World War I, the League of Nations approved the British Mandate of Palestine with the intent of creating a "national home for the Jewish people.It being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine" In 1947, the United Nations approved the partition of Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab. On May 14, 1948 the state of Israel declared independence and this was followed by a war with the surrounding Arab states, which refused to accept the plan. The Israelis were subsequently victorious in a series of wars confirming their independence and expanding the borders of the Jewish state beyond those in the UN Partition Plan. Since then, Israel has been in conflict with many of the neighboring Arab countries, resulting in several major wars and decades of violence that continue to this day. Since its foundation, Israel's boundaries and even the State's very right to exist have been subject to dispute, especially among its Arab neighbors. Israel has signed peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, and efforts are being made to reach a permanent accord with the Palestinians. However several countries, including Syria and Iran, refuse to recognise Israel's right to exist.

Israel is a representative democracy with a parliamentary system and universal suffrage. The Prime Minister serves as head of government and the Knesset serves as Israel's legislative body. In terms of nominal gross domestic product, the nation's economy is estimated as being the 44th-largest in the world. Israel ranks highest among Middle Eastern countries on the bases of human development, freedom of the press, and economic competitiveness. Jerusalem is the country's capital, seat of government, and largest city, while Israel's main financial center is Tel Aviv.

History of ancient Israel and Judah

The history of Ancient Israel and Judah is known to us from ancient sources including Judaism's Tanakh or Hebrew Bible (known to Christianity as the Old Testament), and later classical writings such as the Talmud, the writings of Nicolaus of Damascus, Artapanas, Philo of Alexandria and Josephus, critical examination of medieval material such as the Ethiopian Kebra Nagast, and supplemented by ancient sources uncovered by archaeology including Egyptian, Moabite, Assyrian, Babylonian as well as Israelite and Judean inscriptions. William Dever suggests that rather than there being just one history there are in fact multiple histories and that we can distinguish nine types of history of Israel and Judah as follows.

   1. Theological history – the relationship between the God(s) and their believers.

   2. Political history – usually the account of “Great Men”, is generally episodic, chauvinistic and propagandist

   3. Narrative history – a running chronology of events

   4. Socio-cultural history – a history of institutions, including their social underpinnings in family, clan, tribe and social class and the state

   5. Intellectual history – the literary history of ideas and their development, context and evolution as expressed through texts and documents

   6. Cultural history – is based upon a larger context of overall cultural evolution, demography, socio-economic and political structure and ethnicity

   7. Technological history – a history of the techniques by which humans adapt to, exploit and make use of the resources of their environment

   8. Natural history – is a geographic history of how humans discover and adapt to the ecological understandings of their natural environment

   9. Material history – as shown in the study of artifacts as correlates of human changes in behaviour.

Archeology can provide assistance in 3,4,6,7,8,9. Conventional “Biblical” textual history can provide assistance in 1,2, 3 and 5.

Israelites According to the Bible, the Israelites were the dominant group living in the Land of Israel from the time of the conquest of the territory by Joshua until they were conquered by the Babylonians in c.586 BCE and taken into exile. They were divided in twelve tribes, each claiming descent from one of twelve sons and grandsons of Jacob.

The Israelites were divided along family lines, each called a shevet or mateh in Hebrew meaning literally a "staff" or "rod". The term is conventionally translated as "tribe" in English, although the divisions were not small isolated distinct ethnic groups in the modern sense of the term.

In Egypt the house of Joseph was divided into two tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh, by virtue of Jacob's blessing. (Genesis 48:8-21)

The term Israelite derives from Israel the name given to the biblical Patriarch Jacob after he struggled with God and man and prevailed( Genesis 32:28-29). His descendants are called the House of Jacob, the Children of Israel, the People of Israel, or the Israelites.

The Hebrew Bible is mainly concerned with the Israelites. According to it, the Land of Israel was promised to them by God. Jerusalem was their capital and the site of the temple at the center of their faith.

The Israelites became a major political power with the United Monarchy of Kings Saul, David and Solomon, from c. 1025 BCE. Zedekiah, king of Judah (597-586 BCE), is considered the last king from the House of David.

The term Israelites is the English term, first adopted in the King James translation of the Bible, to describe the ancient people directly descended from the Biblical patriarch Jacob (who was renamed as Israel; Genesis 32:29). It is a translation of the Hebrew Bnei Yisrael (literally "Sons of Israel", also translated "Children of Israel"). The singular "Israelite" is typically a translation of the adjective Yisraeli which in Biblical Hebrew refers to a member of the Bnei Yisrael (e.g Leviticus 24:10). Other Biblical names for this patriarchal clan include "Daughters of Israel", "House of Jacob" or, following the death of Jacob, simply "Israel".

"Israelites" as used in the Bible includes both descendants of Jacob who followed the Jewish faith as well as apostates who turned to other gods. In contrast the term Jew is used in English for members of the Jewish faith, regardless of the historical period or ancestry.

In modern Hebrew Bnei Yisrael can denote the Jewish people at any time in history and is typically used to emphasize Jewish religious identity and thus does not include apostates. The adjective Yisraeli is used in modern Hebrew for any citizen of the modern State of Israel, regardless of religion or ethnicity and translated into English as "Israeli".

Another term is Hebrews which typically refers to the same people as the Israelites. They gave their name to Hebrew, the language of Israelites, Jews and the State of Israel.

It should be noted that these three words, Israelites, Hebrews and Jews, are historically related and often used (incorrectly) as synonyms. "Israelites" and "Hebrews" are occasionally used in English as synonyms for Jews.


Jacob  See Jacob Here in Names in The Bible



The Jahwist, also referred to as the Jehovist, Yahwist, or simply as J, is one of the four major sources of the Torah postulated by the Documentary Hypothesis (DH). It is the oldest source, whose narratives make up half of Genesis and the first half of Exodus, plus fragments of Numbers. J describes a human-like God, called Yahweh (or rather YHWH) throughout, and has a special interest in the territory of the Kingdom of Judah and individuals connected with its history. J was composed c 950 BC and later incorporated into the Torah (c 400 BC)

James  See James Here in Names in The Bible

James the Just  See Saint James the Just

James the Less   See James The Less Here in Names in The Bible

James, son of Alphaeus   See James The son of Alphaeus Here in Names in The Bible

James, son of Zebedee See James The son of Zebedee Here in Names in The Bible


Japheth   See Japheth Here in Names in The Bible

Jehoshuah  See Joshua

Jehovah  also Yehowah, is an English reading of  , the most frequent form of the Tetragrammaton , the principal and personal name of God in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament).

It is a direct phonetic transliteration based on the Hebrew Bible text with vowel points handed down by the Masoretes. By long tradition, in modern Jewish culture the Tetragrammaton is not pronounced. Instead the above vocalization indicates to the reverent Jewish reader that the term Adonai is to be used. In places where the preceding or following word already is Adonai, the reading Elohim is used instead, indicated by a different vocalization of the Tetragrammaton. It is generally refered, in line with the Jewish tradition, that (Jehovah) is a "hybrid form", created when the Masoretes added the vowel pointing of Adonai to the consonants of YHWH. Early English translators, thought to have been unacquainted with Jewish tradition, read this word as they would any other word, and transcribed it (in very few places, namely those where the Name itself was referred to) as Jehovah.

The form thus achieved wide currency in the translations of the Protestant Reformation, though it was already in use by Roman Catholic authors. As an Adonist Hebraist, John Drusius critiqued this form of God's name in 1604 A.D., and later regarded by both Jews and some Christians as a mispronunciation, it has nevertheless found a place in Christian liturgical and theological usage. It is the regular English rendition of in the American Standard Version, and occurs seven times in the King James Version. It is also used in Christian hymns such as "Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah".

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 8, 1910 edition, page 329, states: "Jehovah, the proper name of God in the Old Testament."

The name Jehovah is used by Jehovah's Witnesses as the personal name of God. They give the following position:

The truth is, nobody knows for sure how the name of God was originally pronounced. Nevertheless, many prefer the pronunciation Jehovah. Why? Because it has a currency and familiarity that Yahweh does not have. Would it not, though, be better to use the form that might be closer to the original pronunciation? Not really, for that is not the custom with Bible names. To take the most prominent example,consider the name of Jesus. Do you know how Jesus' family and friends addressed him in day-to-day conversation while he was growing up in Nazareth? The truth is, no human knows for certain, although it may have been something like Yeshua (or perhaps Yehoshua). It certainly was not Jesus.)

Some however question the received view that the vowels of Jehovah originate with the word Adonai rather than an ancient pronunciation of YHWH. They note that details of vocalization differ between the various early extant manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible, and note that the vowel points of Jehovah and Adonai are not precisely the same, and that scholars are not in total agreement as to why this should be.

Jehovahs Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses  

Jehovah's Witnesses is a restorationist, millenialist Christian religious movement. Sociologists of religion have classified the group as an Adventist sect. The religion emerged from the Bible Student Movement, founded in the late 19th century by Charles Taze Russell. It underwent significant changes between 1917 and the 1940s as its authority structure was centralized and its preaching methods brought under greater regimentation. The religion today claims an active worldwide membership of approximately 7 million.

They are most well-known for their door-to-door preaching, and their refusal of military service and blood transfusions. The religion's stance of conscientious objection to military service has brought it into conflict with governments that conscript citizens for military service, and activities of Jehovah's Witnesses have subsequently been banned in some countries. The refusal of Jehovah's Witnesses to accept blood transfusions has necessitated advances in the medical practice of bloodless surgery.

Since 1876, adherents have believed that they are living in the last days of the present world. In the years leading up to 1925 and 1975, the religion's publications expressed strong expectations that Armageddon would occur in those years, both times resulting in surges in membership and subsequent defections.

The organization's teachings and practices diverge greatly from traditional Christian theology, which has caused several major Christian denominations to denounce the group as either a cult or heretical sect. Medical ethicists have criticized Jehovah's Witnesses as an authoritarian group that coerces members to obey doctrines including the ban on blood transfusions. Former adherents have claimed that the religion demands unquestioning obedience from members, with the consequence of expulsion and shunning facing any who fail to comply with, express doubts about, or disagree with its doctrines

Jeremiah  See Jeremiah Here in Names in The Bible

Jerome See Jerome Here in Names in The Bible

Jericho  Ancient city on the plain north of the Dead Sea and due north of Qumran.

Jerusalem  Ancient city, center of Palestinian and Judaean history and culture. City of the Temple of Solomon and many other well known structures. Center of Jewish, Islamic and Christian religious history and culture.

Located in the Judean Mountains, between the Mediterranean Sea and the northern tip of the Dead Sea, modern Jerusalem has grown up outside the Old City.

The city has a history that goes back to the 4th millennium BCE, making it one of the oldest cities in the world. Jerusalem has been the holiest city in Judaism and the spiritual center of the Jewish people since the 10th century BCE, contains a number of significant ancient Christian sites, and is considered the third-holiest city in Islam.

Old City (Jerusalem)
(Hebrew: HaIr HaAtika, Arabic: al-Balda al-Qadimah)

The Old City is a 0.9 square kilometre (0.35 square mile) area within the modern city of Jerusalem. Until the 1860s this area constituted the entire city of Jerusalem. The Old City is home to several sites of key religious importance: the Temple Mount and its Western Wall for Jews, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Christians, and the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque for Muslims.

Traditionally, the Old City has been divided into four quarters, although the current designations were introduced only in the 19th century. Today, the Old City is roughly divided into the Muslim Quarter, the Christian Quarter, the Jewish Quarter and the Armenian Quarter.

Damascus · Dung · Golden · Herod's · Jaffa · Lions' · New · Zion · Huldah Gates

The Jewish Quarter of the Old City was largely destroyed by Jordan following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. In 1980, Jordan proposed the Old City to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site List. It was added to the List in 1981. In 1982, Jordan requested that it be added to the List of World Heritage Sites in danger.

Jesse  See Jesse Here in Names in The Bible

Jesus  See Jesus Here in Names in The Bible

Jesus Christ  See Jesus

Jew  (Hebrew: Yehudi (sl.);, Yehudim (pl.); Ladino: , Djudio (sl.); , Djudios (pl.); Yiddish: Yid (sl.); , Yidn (pl.))

A Jew  is a member of the Jewish people, an ethnoreligious group originating from the Israelites or Hebrews of the ancient Middle East. The Jewish people and the religion of Judaism are strongly interrelated, and converts to Judaism have been absorbed into the Jewish community throughout the millennia.

By traditional accounts, Jewish history began during the second millennium BCE with the Biblical Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The Jews enjoyed two periods of political autonomy in their national homeland, the Land of Israel, during ancient history. The first era spanned from 1350 to 586 BCE, and encompassed the periods of the Judges, the United Monarchy, and the Divided Monarchy of the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah, ending with the destruction of the First Temple. The second era was the period of the Hasmonean Kingdom spanning from 140 to 37 BCE. Since the destruction of the First Temple, the diaspora has been the home of most of the world's Jews. Except in the modern State of Israel, established in 1948, Jews are a minority in every country in which they live and they have frequently experienced persecution throughout history, resulting in a population that fluctuated both in numbers and distribution over the centuries.

According to the Jewish Agency, as of 2007 there were 13.2 million Jews worldwide, 5.3 million of whom lived in Israel, 5.3 million in the United States, and the remainder distributed in communities of varying sizes around the world; this represents 0.2% of the current estimated world population. These numbers include all those who consider themselves Jews whether or not affiliated with a Jewish organization, and, with the exception of Israel's Jewish population, do not include those who do not consider themselves Jews or who are not Jewish by halakha (Jewish religious law). The total world Jewish population, however, is difficult to measure. In addition to halakhic considerations, there are secular, political, and ancestral identification factors in defining who is a Jew that increase the figure considerably.

"Who is a Jew?" is a basic question about Jewish identity. The question has gained particular prominence in connection with several high-profile legal cases in Israel since the founding of the Jewish state in 1948.

The definition of who is a Jew varies according to whether it is being considered by Jews for self-identification or by non-Jews for their own particular purposes. As Jewish identity can include characteristics of an ethnicity and of a religion, the definition of who is a Jew has varied, depending on whether a religious, sociological, or ethnic aspect was being considered. This article is concerned with Jewish self-identification issues.

According to the simplest definition used by Jews for self-identification, a person is a Jew by birth, or becomes one through religious conversion. However, there are differences of opinion among the various branches of Judaism in the application of this definition, including:

  • Mixed parentage: i.e. whether a person of mixed Jewish and non-Jewish parentage should be considered Jewish.

  • Conversion: i.e. what process of religious conversion should be considered valid.
  • Life circumstances issues: i.e. whether a person's actions (such as conversion to a different religion) or circumstances in their lives (such as being unaware of Jewish parentage) should affect their Jewish status.

Jewess  Meaning: a woman of Hebrew birth

Jewish ethnic divisions  

The most commonly used terms to describe ethnic divisions among Jews presently are: Ashkenazi (meaning "German" in Hebrew, denoting the Central European base of Jewry); and Sephardi (meaning "Spanish" in Hebrew, denoting their Spanish and North African location). They refer to both religious and ethnic divisions. (Some scholars hold that Ashkenazi Jews are descendants of those who originally followed the Palestinian Jewish religious tradition, and Sephardic Jews are descendants of those who originally followed the Babylonian religious tradition.)

Jews have historically been divided into four major ethnic groups: 

  1. Ashkenazim are Jews from Germany or Eastern Europe who later migrated elsewhere.

  2. Sephardim are Jews from Spain or Portugal. They were expelled in 1492 by Ferdinand and Isabella and migrated to North Africa, the Mediterranean, Latin America, Holland, and other parts of Europe.

  3. Oriental or "Mizrahi" Jews (edut hamizrach in Hebrew are Jews from the Middle East with some spreading to Central Asia and South Asia). (Note: In modern common usage, most Oriental Jews are now referred to as Sephardic, as the religious rites of Oriental and Sephardic Jews are similar.)

  4. Yemenite Jews are Oriental Jews whose geographical and social isolation from the rest of the Jewish community allowed them to develop a liturgy and set of practices sufficiently distinct from other Oriental Jewish groups so as to be recognized as a different group.

Of these communities, the largest by far are the Ashkenazim, comprising approximately 70 percent of the Jewish total, with Oriental Jews comprising most of the remainder. Many Sephardim live in France (the majority of French Jews are Sephardic), Eastern Europe and Central Asia (small numbers), and the United States (a very small number), but most are in Israel (about 50 percent of Israelis), where they have created their own large ethnic political party called Shas guided by rabbis such as Ovadia Yosef. (Note that not all Sephardim belong to or support Shas.)

Note: In Israel, Jews with origins in Western (Christian) countries are called Ashkenazi though many are not. The Jews of Italy are Bené Roma; the Georgian are Gruzim; the Greek are Romaniotes; and many of the Dutch, Bulgarian, and Latin American are Sephardic. These groups claim distinct cultures and histories.

Those with origins in Muslim and Arab lands are commonly called Sephardi though many are not. The Jews of Iran and Iraq are Mizrahi and the Yemenite and Omani are Temani. None of these groups include the Beta Israel of Ethiopia who were brought to Israel during Operation Solomon and Operation Moses, as well as other groups.

Smaller groups

These groups are described in terms of their historic geography; significant numbers of these Jews live today in Israel.

  • Gruzim are Georgian-speaking Jews from Georgia in the Caucasus. 

  • Juhurim are mountain Jews mainly from Daghestan in the eastern Caucasus.
  • Bene Israel are the Jews of Mumbai, India. 
  • Cochin Jews are also Indian Jews. 
  • Romaniotes are Greek-speaking Jews from the Balkans that lived there from the Hellenistic era until today.
  • Ethiopian Jews and various other small African Jewish populations are also found.
  • Bukharan Jews are Jews from Central Asia. They get their name from the Uzbek city of Bukhara, which once had a large community.
  • Baghdadi Jews  Those Jews came from Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Arab countries and settled in India in 18th Century.
  • Bnei Menashe. A group of Jews living in Manipur and Mizoram in northeastern India, claiming descent from the dispersed Biblical Tribe of Menasseh.
  • Krymchaks and Karaim are Turkic-speaking Jews of the Crimea and Eastern Europe. The Krymchaks practice rabbinical Judaism, while the Karaim are Karaites. Whether they are primarily the descendents of Israelite Jews who adopted Turkic language and culture, or the descendents of Turkic converts to Judaism, is still debated.
  • Kaifeng Jews - An ancient Jewish community in China, descended from merchants living in China from at least the era of the Tang dynasty. Today functionally extinct, yet descendents are beginning to explore and reclaim their heritage.

These smaller groups number in the thousands or tens of thousands, with the Gruzim being most numerous at about 100,000. Many members of these groups have now emigrated from their traditional homelands, largely to Israel. For example, only about 10 percent of the Gruzim remain in Georgia.

Jewish canon  Rabbinic Judaism recognizes the twenty-four books of the Masoretic Text, commonly called the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible. Evidence suggests that the process of canonization occurred between 200 BCE and 200 CE, indeed a popular position is that the Torah was canonized circa 400 BCE, the Prophets circa 200 BCE, and the Writings circa 100 CE perhaps at a hypothetical Council of Jamnia—however this position is increasingly criticised by modern scholars. The book of Deuteronomy includes a prohibition against adding or subtracting (4:2, 12:32) which might apply to the book itself (i.e. a closed book, a prohibition against future scribal editing) or to the instruction received by Moses on Mt. Sinai. The book of 2 Maccabees, itself not a part of the Jewish canon, describes Nehemiah (around 400 BCE) as having "founded a library and collected books about the kings and prophets, and the writings of David, and letters of kings about votive offerings" (2:13-15). The Book of Nehemiah suggests that the priest-scribe Ezra brought the Torah back from Babylon to Jerusalem and the Second Temple (8-9) around the same time period. Both I and II Maccabees suggest that Judas Maccabeus (around 167 BCE) likewise collected sacred books (3:42-50, 2:13-15, 15:6-9), indeed some scholars argue that the Jewish canon was fixed by the Hasmonean dynasty. However, these primary sources do not suggest that the canon was at that time closed; moreover, it is not clear that these particular books were identical in content to those that later became part of the Masoretic text. Today, there is no scholarly consensus as to when the Jewish canon was set.

Jewish Christians  (sometimes called also "Hebrew Christians" or "Christian Jews")

 a term which can have two meanings, a historical one and a contemporary one.

The historical term refers to early Christians of or attracted to Jewish culture. This concept deals with the relation between the traditional ethnic religious beliefs and practices of Judaism (including Jewish proselytes) and the then-emergent universal religious concepts of Hellenistic Judaism and then Christianity.

The contemporary concept simply refers to individuals of certain Jewish ancestry or heritage, who is an adherent of some form of Christianity and not Judaism. This includes "converts" from Judaism to Christianity and ethnic Jews who for one reason or another had not been indoctrinated into Judaism.

Jewish diaspora  (Hebrew: Tefutzah, "scattered", or Galut "exile")

The Jewish diaspora is the dispersion of the Jewish people throughout the world. The notion the diaspora is commonly accepted to have begun with the 8th-6th century BCE conquests of the ancient Jewish kingdoms and expulsions of enslaved Jewish population.

    Also see Canon

Jewish-Roman wars   The Jewish-Roman wars were a series of revolts by the Jews of Iudaea Province against the Roman Empire. Some sources use the term to refer only to the First Jewish-Roman War (66–73) and Bar Kokhba revolt (132-135). Other sources include the Kitos War (115–117) as one of the Jewish-Roman wars; however this revolt started in Cyrenaica, and merely its final stages were actually fought in Iudea Province.

  • First Jewish-Roman War (66–73) - also called the First Jewish Revolt or the Great Jewish Revolt.

  • Kitos War (115–117) - sometimes called the Second Jewish-Roman War.

  • Bar Kokhba revolt (132-135), also called the Second Jewish-Roman War (when Kitos War is not counted), or the Third (when the Kitos War is counted).

 Further revolts by the Jews in Iudaea Province:
  • War against Gallus (351), the Jewish revolt originating in Sepphoris.

  • Revolt against Heraclius (613), the Jewish revolt originating in Tiberias.

JHVH or JHWH    Variants of YHWH.

JHWH  or JHVH   Variants of YHWH.

Joktan   See Joktan Here in Names in The Bible

Jordan    Hebrew: Yarden, meaning: “the descender;” Arabic: Nahr-esh-Sheriah, “the watering-place”

The chief river of Palestine

The Jordan is mentioned in the Old Testament about one hundred and eighty times, and in the New Testament fifteen times.

It flows from north to south down a deep valley in the center of the country. The name descender is significant of the fact that there is along its whole course a descent to its banks; or it may simply denote the rapidity with which it “descends” to the Dead Sea.

It originates in the snows of Hermon, which feed its perennial springs. Two sources are generally spoken of:

1.  From the western base of a hill on which once stood the city of Dan, the northern border-city of Palestine, there gushes forth a considerable spring called the Leddan, which is the largest spring in Syria and the principal source of the Jordan.

2.  Beside the ruins of Banias, the ancient Caesarea Philippi and the yet more ancient Panium, is a lofty cliff of limestone, at the base of which is a spring. This is the other source of the Jordan, and has always been regarded by the Jews as its true source. It rushes down to the plain in a foaming torrent, and joins the Leddan about 5 miles south of Dan (Tel-el-Kady).

3.   But besides these two historical springs there is a third, called the Hasbany, which rises in the bottom of a valley at the western base of Hermon, 12 miles north of Tel-el-Kady. It joins the main stream about a mile below the junction of the Leddan and the Banias.

The river thus formed is at this point about 45 feet wide, and flows in a channel from 12 to 20 feet below the plain. After this it flows, "with a swift current and a much-twisted course," through a marshy plain for some 6 miles, when it falls into the Lake Huleh, "the waters of Merom" (q.v.).

During this part of its course the Jordan has descended about 1,100 feet. At Banias it is 1,080 feet above sea-level. Flowing from the southern extremity of Lake Huleh, here almost on a level with the sea, it flows for 2 miles "through a waste of islets and papyrus," and then for 9 miles through a narrow gorge in a foaming torrent onward to the Sea of Galilee (q.v.).

    " Along the whole eastern bank of the river and the lakes, from the base of Hermon to the ravine of Hieromax, a region of great fertility, 30 miles long by 7 or 8 wide . Ruins are numerous enough. Every mile or two is an old site of town or village . The words of Scripture here recur to us with peculiar force: 'I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation&ldots; And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it&ldots; And your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate' (Lev. 26:31-34).", Dr. Porter's Handbook.

From the Sea of Galilee, at the level of 682 feet below the Mediterranean, the river flows through a long, low plain called "the region of Jordan" (Matt. 3:5), and by the modern Arabs the Ghor, or “sunken plain.” This section is properly the Jordan of Scripture. Down through the midst of the “plain of Jordan” there winds a ravine varying in breadth from 200 yards to half a mile, and in depth from 40 to 150 feet. Through it the Jordan flows in a rapid, rugged, tortuous course down to the Dead Sea.

The whole distance from the southern extremity of the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea is in a straight line about 65 miles, but following the windings of the river about 200 miles, during which it falls 618 feet. The total length of the Jordan from Banias is about 104 miles in a straight line, during which it falls 2,380 feet.

There are two considerable affluents which enter the river between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea, both from the east.

1.  The Wady Mandhur, called the Yarmuk by the Rabbins and the Hieromax by the Greeks. It formed the boundary between Bashan and Gilead. It drains the plateau of the Hauran.

2.  The Jabbok or Wady Zerka, formerly the northern boundary of Ammon. It enters the Jordan about 20 miles north of Jericho.

The first historical notice of the Jordan is in the account of the separation of Abraham and Lot (Gen. 13:10). "Lot beheld the plain of Jordan as the garden of the Lord." Jacob crossed and recrossed “this Jordan” (32:10). The Israelites passed over it as “on dry ground” (Josh. 3:17; Ps. 114:3).

Twice afterwards its waters were miraculously divided at the same spot by Elijah and Elisha (2 Kings 2:8, 14).

The chief events in gospel history connected with it are:

1.  John the Baptist's ministry, when "there went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and were baptized of him in Jordan" (Matt. 3:6).

2. Jesus also "was baptized of John in Jordan" (Mark 1:9)

Jordan River   a river in Southwest Asia which flows into the Dead Sea. Historically and religiously, it is considered to be one of the world's most sacred rivers. It is 251 kilometers (156 miles) long.

Jordan Valley (Middle East)

The Jordan Valley is a geographical region that forms part of the larger Jordan Rift Valley. It is 120 kilometers long and 15 kilometers wide, where it runs from the northern Dead Sea in the south to Lake Tiberias in the north. It runs for an additional 155 kilometer south of the Dead Sea to Aqaba - an area also known as Wadi Arabah or the Arava valley. It forms the border between Israel and Jordan in the north, and the eastern strip of the West Bank in the south.

Some 47,000 Palestinians live in the part of the valley that lies in the West Bank in about twenty permanent communities, among them the city of Jericho; thousands more, largely Bedouins, live in temporary communities.[1] About 11,000 Israelis live in 17 kibbutzim that form part of the Emek HaYarden Regional Council in Israel.[2] An additional 7,500 live in twenty-six Israeli settlements and five Nahal brigade encampments that have been established in the part of the Jordan Valley that lies in the West Bank since the 1970s.[1] The Jordanian population of the valley is over 85,000 people,[3] most of whom are farmers, and 80% of the farms in the Jordanian part of the valley are family farms no larger than 30 dunams in size

Joshua  See Joshua Here in Names in The Bible

Judaea  Southern region of ancient Palestine. Like Galilee is was a region of dense Jewish settlement during the intertestamental period. Qumran lies in a barren area within the Judaean Desert known as the Judaean Wilderness.

Judaean wilderness or desert  The low-lying steppeland of Judaea west of the Dead Sea and east of the Central hill country, or simply south of Jerusalem and west of the Dead Sea. It is an arid region with some springs and a fair amount of rain in the winter.

Judah    See Judah Here in Names in The Bible

Judaism   (from the Greek Ioudaïsmos, derived from the Hebrew  Yehudah, "Judah"; in Hebrew: , Yahedut, the distinctive characteristics of the Judean eáqnov)

Judaism is a set of beliefs and practices originating from the saga of the ancient Israelites, as embodied and codified in the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh), as later further explored and explained in the Talmud and other texts. Judaism presents itself as the covenental relationship between the Children of Israel (later, the Jewish nation) and God. As such, many consider it the first monotheistic religion although many aspects of Judaism correspond to Western concepts of ethics and civil law. Judaism is among the oldest religious traditions still being practised today, and many of its texts and traditions are central to other Abrahamic religions. As such, Jewish history and the principles and ethics of Judaism have influenced various other religions, including Christianity and Islam.

Followers of Judaism are called Jews, and while Judaism is open to converts, the Jewish collective is regarded as an ethno-religious group, for reasons derived from the sacred texts that define them as a nation, rather than followers of a faith. In 2007, the world Jewish population was estimated at 13.2 million people, 41% of whom lived in Israel.

In modern Judaism, central authority is not vested in any single person or body, but in sacred texts, religious law, and learned Rabbis who interpret those texts and laws. According to Jewish tradition, Judaism begins with the Covenant between God and Abraham (ca. 2000 BCE), the Patriarch and progenitor of the Jewish nation. Throughout the ages, Judaism has adhered to a number of religious principles, the most important of which is the belief in a single, omniscient, omnipotent, benevolent, transcendent God, who created the universe and continues to govern it. According to Jewish tradition, the God who created the world established a covenant with the Israelites and their descendants, and revealed his laws and commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai in the form of both the Written and Oral Torah. Judaism has traditionally valued Torah study and the observance of the commandments recorded in the Torah and as expounded in the Talmud.

Judas Iscariot   See Judas Here in Names in The Bible

Judge  Hebrew: shophet, plural: shophetim

properly a magistrate or ruler, rather than one who judges in the sense of trying a cause

This is the name given to those rulers who presided over the affairs of the Israelites during the interval between the death of Joshua and the accession of Saul (Judg. 2:18), a period of general anarchy and confusion. "The office of judges or regents was held during life, but it was not hereditary, neither could they appoint their successors. Their authority was limited by the law alone, and in doubtful cases they were directed to consult the divine King through the priest by Urim and Thummim (Num. 27:21).

Their authority extended only over those tribes by whom they had been elected or acknowledged. There was no income attached to their office, and they bore no external marks of dignity. The only cases of direct divine appointment are those of Gideon and Samson, and the latter stood in the peculiar position of having been from before his birth ordained “to begin to deliver Israel.”

Deborah was called to deliver Israel, but was already a judge. Samuel was called by the Lord to be a prophet but not a judge, which ensued from the high gifts the people recognized as dwelling in him; and as to Eli, the office of judge seems to have devolved naturally or rather ex officio upon him." Of five of the judges, Tola (Judg. 10:1), Jair (3), Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon (12:8-15), we have no record at all beyond the bare fact that they were judges. Sacred history is not the history of individuals but of the kingdom of God in its onward progress.

In Ex. 2:14 Moses is so styled. This fact may indicate that while for revenue purposes the “taskmasters” were over the people, they were yet, just as at a later time when under the Romans, governed by their own rulers.

Justin Martyr   See Justin Martyr Here in Names in The Bible


Kadesh   Not to be confused with Kedesh

the sacred city of the Hittites, on the left bank of the Orontes, about 4 miles south of the Lake of Homs.

It is identified with the great mound Tell Neby Mendeh, some 50 to 100 feet high, and 400 yards long. On the ruins of the temple of Karnak, in Egypt, has been found an inscription recording the capture of this city by Rameses II. Here the sculptor "has chiselled in deep work on the stone, with a bold execution of the several parts, the procession of the warriors, the battle before Kadesh, the storming of the fortress, the overthrow of the enemy, and the camp life of the Egyptians."

Karaite Judaism  Karaite Judaism or Karaism is a Jewish movement characterized by the recognition of the Tanakh as its scripture, and the rejection of Rabbinic Judaism and the Oral Law (the Mishnah and the Talmud) as binding. The movement crystallized in Baghdad, in present day Iraq.

When interpreting the Tanakh, Karaites strive to adhere to the plain meaning (p'shat) of the text. This is in contrast to Rabbinical Judaism, which employs the methods of p'shat, remez (implication or clue), drash ("deep interpretation," based on breaking down individual words, e.g., breaking down "be'ra'shit" to "beit" "ra'shit", which means two startings of) and sod ("secret," the deeper meaning of the text, drawing on the Kabbalah). In modern times Karaite Judaism has formed its own independent Jewish organization, and is not a member of any Rabbinic organization.

At one time Karaites were a significant portion of the Jewish population .

Kedesh  Not to be confused with Kadesh

The ruins of the ancient Canaanite village of Kedesh are located within the modern Kibbutz Malkiya in Israel on the Israeli-Lebanese border.

Kedesh was first documented in the Book of Joshua as a Canaanite citadel that was conquered by the Israelites under the leadership of Joshua. Ownership for Kedesh was turned over, by lot, to the tribe of Naphtali and subsequently, at the command of God, Kedesh was set apart by Joshua as one of the Cities of Refuge along with Shechem and Kiriath Arba (Hebron) (Joshua 20:7).

In the 8th century BCE during the reign of Pekah king of Israel, Tiglath-Pileser III king of Assyria took Kedesh and deported its inhabitants to Assyria (2 Kings 15:29).

Later, in the 5th century BCE Kedesh may have become the capital for the Persian controlled, Tyrian administrated province of the Upper Galilee.

In 259 BC Kedesh was mentioned by Zenon, a traveling merchant from Egypt.

Between 145 BC and 143 BC Kedesh (Cades) was overthrown by Jonathan Maccabeus in his fight against the Seleucid king Demetrius I Soter. It remains abandoned until this day. Tel Kedesh continues to be excavated by the University of Michigan.

Kenite  In the ancient Levant, the Kenites were a nomadic clan sent under Jethro to priest Midian. According to the Hebrew Bible, they played an important role in the history of ancient Israel. The Kenites were coppersmiths and metalworkers. Moses' father-in-law, Jethro, was a shepherd and a priest of the Kenites. The Kenites apparently assimilated into the Israelite population, though the Kenites descended from Rechab maintained a distinct, nomadic lifestyle for some time.

Moses apparently identified Jethro's god, El Shaddai, with Yahweh, the Israelites' god. According to the Kenite hypothesis, Yahweh was originally the tribal god of the Kenites, borrowed and adapted by the Hebrews.

Kethubim  See Ketuvim

Ketuvim  Ketuvim is the third and final section of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible), after Torah and Nevi'im.The Hebrew word (ketuvim) means "writings." In English translations of the Hebrew Bible, this section is usually entitled "Writings" or "Hagiographa."In the Jewish textual tradition, Chronicles is counted as one book.  Ezra and Nehemiah are also counted together as a single book called "Ezra." Thus, there is a total of eleven books in the section called Ketuvim

Khirbet  A ruin or destroyed place; Khirbet Qumran = "ruin of Qumran."

King David  See King David here

Kingdom of God   "Kingdom of Heaven

The Kingdom of God or Reign of God is a foundational concept in the three Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

The phrase occurs in the New Testament more than 100 times, not at all in the Hebrew Bible and only once in the deuterocanonical/apocryphal Wisdom of Solomon (10:10) and is defined almost entirely by parable. According to Jesus, the Kingdom of God is within (or among) people, is approached through understanding, and entered through acceptance like a child, spiritual rebirth, and doing the will of God. It is a kingdom peopled by the righteous and is not the only kingdom.

Kingdom of Heaven  Of note is the phrase "Kingdom of Heaven" used often in the gospel of Matthew, as opposed to the phrase "Kingdom of God" used in other synoptic gospels such as Luke. The phrase "Kingdom of Heaven" is used 32 times in 31 verses in the Gospel of Matthew. It is speculated that this indicates that this particular Gospel was written to a primarily Jewish audience, such as the Jewish Christians, as many Jewish people of the time felt the name of God was too holy to be written. Matthew's abundance of Old Testament references also supports this theory.

The theme "Kingdom of Heaven" as discussed in Matthew seems to be at odds with what was a circulating Jewish expectation—that the Messiah would overthrow Roman rulership and establish a new reign as the new King of the Jews. Christian scholars, including N. T. Wright (The Challenge of Jesus) have long discussed the ways in which certain 1st-century Jews (including Zealots) misunderstood the sayings of Jesus—that while Jesus had been discussing a spiritual kingdom, certain Jews expected a physical kingdom.

Kingdom of Israel  (KJV Israel in Samaria)

The Kingdom of Israel  was one of the successor states to the older United Monarchy (also often called the 'Kingdom of Israel'). It existed roughly from the 930s BC until about the 720s BC. This article follows its history until its destruction by the Assyrian Empire, and considers the fate of its population and territory following its destruction. Capital cities (in order): Shechem, Tirza, and Shomron (Samaria).

Historians often refer to ancient Israel as the Northern Kingdom to differentiate it from the Southern Kingdom of Judah. The Hebrew Scriptures sometimes referred to the separate kingdom idiomatically as the "House of Joseph" n order to distinguish it principally from the "House of Judah"

Kingdom of Judah  ("The praised one")  (c.930-586 BCE)

The Kingdom of Judah was one of the successor states to the "United Monarchy" often known as the Kingdom of Israel. It is often referred to as the Southern Kingdom to distinguish it from the Northern Kingdom (of Israel).

According to the Hebrew Bible, the Kingdom of Judah first emerged after the death of Saul the King, when the tribe of Judah elevated King David to rule over them. The area of Har Yehudah (=the mountain (district) of the gorge(s)) seems to have originally been occupied by Kenites, Calebites, Othnielites, and in Jerusalem Jebusites. The tribe of Judah was Biblically initially the only one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel to follow the House of David to found the Southern Kingdom.

Soon after, the Tribe of Benjamin joined the tribe of Judah. According to the 2 Samuel (5:6&7), Jerusalem became the capital of the new kingdom.

After the death of Saul's son Ish-bosheth, David came to rule the other tribes of Israel, creating a united Kingdom of Israel. David's grandson Rehoboam was rejected by ten of the twelve Tribes of Israel during the disruption at Shechem, leaving only the Kingdom of Judah ruled by the Davidic line. The Northern Kingdom fell to the Assyrian Empire c. 720 BCE but the Kingdom of Judah survived until it was conquered in 586 BCE by the Babylonian Empire under Nebuzar-adan, captain of Nebuchadnezzar's body-guard.(2 Kings 25:8-21). This event coincided with the destruction of the First Temple of Jerusalem and with the Babylonian Captivity.

King James Version   In 1604, King James I of England authorized that a new translation of the Bible into English be started. It was finished in 1611, just 85 years after the first translation of the New Testament into English appeared (Tyndale, 1526). The Authorized Version, or King James Version, quickly became the standard for English-speaking Protestants. Its flowing language and prose rhythm has had a profound influence on the literature of the past 300 years. The King James Version present on the Bible Gateway matches the 1987 printing. The KJV is public domain in the United States.

Read more about The King James Version Bible here

Kitos War  sometimes called the Second Jewish-Roman War

The Kitos War (115—117) is the name given to the second of the Jewish-Roman wars. The name comes from the Mauretanian Roman general Lucius Quietus who ruthlessly suppressed a Jewish revolt in Mesopotamia and was sent to Iudaea to handle the revolt there as procurator under Trajan, a position he held till he was recalled to Rome and executed by Hadrian.

Kittim  The name referred originally to inhabitants of Kiti, capital of the isle of Cyprus, then to any Cypriots, later to Greeks, in general, and eventually even to Romans.

KJV  See King James Version

kodrantes  A kodrantes is a small coin worth one half of an Attic chalcus or two lepta. It is worth less than 2% of a day's wages for an agricultural laborer.

Kohathites  Meaning: the descendants of Kohath

They formed the first of the three divisions of the Levites (Ex. 6:16, 18; Num. 3:17). In the journeyings of the Israelites they had the charge of the most holy portion of the vessels of the tabernacle, including the ark (Num. 4). Their place in the marching and encampment was south of the tabernacle (Num. 3:29, 31). Their numbers at different times are specified (3:28; 4:36; 26:57, 62). Samuel was of this division.

kohen  or cohen

A kohen (priest") has a separate status in Judaism. A kohen is a direct male descendant of the Biblical Aaron, brother of Moses. Another term for the descendants of Aaron are the Aaronites or Aaronids.

During the existence of the Temple in Jerusalem, kohanim performed specific duties vis-à-vis the daily and festival sacrificial offerings. The Kohen Gadol (High Priest) played a special role during the service of Yom Kippur. Today, kohanim retain a lesser though still somewhat distinct status within Judaism and remain bound by additional laws in Orthodox and, to a lesser extent, in Conservative Jewish communities. The Kohen, while having an exclusive role, is intended to be symbolic of all Jewish life: what Kohanim did inside the temple, other Jews should do outside in their daily lives. What rabbis and Torah scholars do inside the Yeshiva, other Jews should do outside in their daily lives.

Korban  (Hebrew: "sacrifice") (plural: Korbanot)

Not to be confused with Eid al-Adha, an Islamic festival which is known as Korban in some Asian cultures.

Korban, in Judaism, is the term for a variety of sacrificial offerings described and commanded in the Torah. Such sacrifices were offered in a variety of settings by the ancient Israelites, and later by the Jewish priesthood, the Kohanim, at the Temple in Jerusalem. A Korban was usually an animal sacrifice, such as a sheep or a bull that underwent shechita (Jewish ritual slaughter), and was often cooked and eaten by the offerer, with parts given to the Kohanim and parts burned on the Temple mizbe'ah (altar). Korbanot could also consist of turtle-doves, grain, incense, fruit, and a variety of other offerings.

The Torah narrates that God commanded the Jewish People to offer korbanot on various altars, and describes the offering of sacrifices in the Tabernacle and in the Temple in Jerusalem until the Second Temple was destroyed in 70 CE. The word Korban shares the Hebrew verb root (QRV), with the word for "nearness" or "close,", and suggesting the sacrifice was related to drawing closer to God, a meaning the standard English translations of "sacrifice" or "offering" do not fully convey.

The practice of sacrifice in Judaism mostly ended with the destruction of the Temple, although it was briefly reinstated during the Jewish-Roman Wars of the 2nd Century CE and was continued in certain communities thereafter. The rise of Rabbinic Judaism promulgated an alternative form of Judaism that allowed observance of Jewish law without animal sacrifice. However, the practice and nature of Korbanot continue to have relevance to Jewish theology and law, particularly in Orthodox Judaism.

Kotel  See Western Wall 


Laish   Meaning: a lion

The name of two biblical places and one man . . .

1.  A city of the Sidonians, in the extreme north of Palestine (Judg. 18:7, 14); called also Leshem (Josh. 19:47) and Dan (Judg. 18:7, 29; Jer. 8:16). It lay near the sources of the Jordan, about 4 miles from Paneas. The restless and warlike Tribe of Dan (q.v.), looking out for larger possessions, invaded this country and took Laish with its territory. It is identified with the ruin Tell-el-Kady, "the mound of the judge," to the north of the Waters of Merom (Josh. 11:5).

2.  A place mentioned in Isa. 10:30. It has been supposed to be the modern el-Isawiyeh, about a mile northeast of Jerusalem.

Lake Asphaltitus (Dead Sea)  The Arabs call it Bahr Lut, i.e., the Sea of Lot. Asphaltitis is the Greek name for Dead Sea. In Scripture it is called the Salt Sea (Gen 14:3; Num 34:12; etc.), the Sea of the Arabah (Deut 3:17; 4:49; etc.), Eastern Sea (Ezek 47:18; Joel 2:20; Zech 14:8). The name Dead Sea has been applied to it since the 2nd cent AD, and it was also called the Asphalt Sea by early writers or Lake Asphaltitis.

 It lies about 16 miles in a straight line to the east of Jerusalem, S end of the Jordan Valley. Its surface is 1,292 feet below the surface of the Mediterranean Sea, which makes it the lowest dry point on earth, the bottom is just as deep.

It covers an area of about 300 square miles. Its depth varies from 1,310 to 11 feet. From various phenomena that have been observed, its bottom appears to be still subsiding. It is about 53 miles long, and of an average breadth of 10 miles. It has no outlet, the great heat of that region causing such rapid evaporation (often so great as to form a very heavy vapor) that its average depth, notwithstanding the rivers that run into it (see JORDAN), is maintained with little variation. This evaporation causes the bitterness of the sea. The Jordan alone discharges into it no less than six million tons of water every twenty-four hours.

Chemicals have been found in the waters of the sea, probably introduced by hot springs in the sea bottom. Along the shores are deposits of sulfur and petroleum springs making the surrounding strata rich in bituminous matter. At the SE end a ridge of rock salt three hundred feet high runs for five miles, and the bed of the sea appears to be covered with salt crystals. The water of the ocean contains from 4 to 6 percent of solids in solution, the Dead Sea holds from 30 to 33 percent. The water is nauseating to the taste and oily to the touch, leaving upon the skin, when it dries, a thick crust of salt. But it is very brilliant. Its buoyance is so great that it is difficult to sink the limbs deep enough for swimming.

To the E is the long range of Moab, at a 3000 feet above the shore, broken only by the great valley of the Arnon. On the W coast the hills touch the water at two points, but elsewhere leave between themselves and the sea the shore is sometimes 1 1/2 miles in breadth.

The prophet Ezekiel (Ezek 47:1-12) gives a wonderful vision of a stream of water issuing from the Temple and with increasing volume sweeping down to the Dead Sea and healing its bitter waters, "teaching that there is nothing too sunken, too useless, too doomed, but by the grace of God it may be redeemed, lifted, and made rich with life"

The waters of the Dead Sea contain 24.6 per cent. of mineral salts, about seven times as much as in ordinary seawater; thus they are unusually buoyant. Chloride of magnesium is most abundant; next to that chloride of sodium (common salt). But terraces of alluvial deposits in the deep valley of the Jordan show that formerly one great lake extended from the Waters of Merom to the foot of the watershed in the Arabah. The waters were then about 1,400 feet above the present level of the Dead Sea, or slightly above that of the Mediterranean, and at that time were much less salt.

Nothing living can exist in this sea.

    "The fish carried down by the Jordan at once die, nor can even mussels or corals live in it; but it is a fable that no bird can fly over it, or that there are no living creatures on its banks. Dr. Tristram found on the shores three kinds of kingfishers, gulls, ducks, and grebes, which he says live on the fish which enter the sea in shoals, and presently die. He collected one hundred and eighteen species of birds, some new to science, on the shores, or swimming or flying over the waters.

    The cane-brakes which fringe it at some parts are the homes of about forty species of mammalia ; and innumerable tropical or semi-tropical plants perfume the atmosphere wherever fresh water can reach. The climate is perfect and most delicious, and indeed there is perhaps no place in the world where a sanatorium could be established with so much prospect of benefit as at Ain Jidi (Engedi).", Geikie's Hours, etc.

Land of Goshen  See Goshen

Land of Israel   The Land of Israel is the region which, according to the Hebrew Bible, was promised by God to the descendants of Abraham through his son Isaac and to the Israelites, descendants of Jacob, Abraham's grandson. It constitutes the Promised Land and forms part of the Abrahamic, Jacob and Israel covenants. Mainstream Jewish tradition regards the promise as applying to all Jews, including descendants of converts.

The term should not be confused officially with the State of Israel, which is a smaller modern political state within its Biblical and historical limits.

Since the Six Day War in 1967, the term and concept have been politicized and used to justify the policies of right wing Israeli political parties like the Likud. These groups have had more influence in Israeli governments since the 1977 elections.

Land of Nod  The Land of Nod is a place in the Book of Genesis of the Hebrew Bible, located "to the east of Eden", to which Cain chose to flee after murdering his brother Abel. The Hebrew word nod means "wandering".

And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden." (Genesis 4:16, King James Version)

"Nod" is the Hebrew root of the verb "to wander" and is possibly an etymological etiology intended to explain the peripatetic lifestyle of Cain and his descendants, the Cainites. One interpretation of Genesis 4:16 is that Cain was cursed to wander the land forever, not that he was exiled to a "Land of Wanderers", otherwise absent from the Old Testament.

Land of Rameses   See Goshen

Last Supper   In the Christian Gospels, the Last Supper (also called the Lord's Supper or Mystical Supper) was the last meal Jesus shared with his Twelve Apostles and disciples before his death. The Last Supper has been the subject of many paintings, perhaps the most famous by Leonardo da Vinci.

According to what Paul the Apostle recounted in 1 Corinthians 11:23–26, in the course of the Last Supper, and with specific reference to eating bread and drinking from a cup, Jesus told his disciples, "Do this in remembrance of me". Other events and dialogue are recorded in the synoptic gospels and the Gospel of John. Many Christians describe this as the "Institution of the Eucharist"

The vessel which was used to serve the wine is sometimes called the Holy Chalice, and has been the one of the supposed subjects of Holy Grail literature in Christian mythology.

Latin alphabet  the Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most widely used alphabetic writing system in the world today. It evolved from the western variety of the Greek alphabet called the Cumaean alphabet, and was initially developed by the ancient Romans to write the Latin language.

During the Middle Ages, it was adapted to the Romance languages, the direct descendants of Latin, as well as to the Celtic, Germanic, Baltic, and some Slavic languages, and finally to most of the languages of Europe.

With the age of colonialism and Christian proselytism, the Latin alphabet was spread overseas, and applied to Amerindian, Indigenous Australian, Austronesian, East Asian, and African languages. More recently, western linguists have also tended to prefer the Latin alphabet or the International Phonetic Alphabet (itself largely based on the Latin alphabet) when transcribing or devising written standards for non-European languages, such as the African reference alphabet.

In modern usage, the term "Latin alphabet" is used for any straightforward derivation of the alphabet first used to write Latin. These variants may discard letters from the classical Roman script (like the Rotokas alphabet) or add new letters to it (like the Danish and Norwegian alphabet). Letter shapes have changed over the centuries, including the creation of entirely new lower case forms.

Leah  See Leah Here in Names in The Bible

lepta   Lepta are very small, brass, Jewish coins worth half a Roman quadrans each, which is worth a quarter of the copper assarion. Lepta are worth less than 1% of an agricultural worker's daily wages.

Levant  The word Levant is the name applied to the geographical region, defined by natural frontiers, encompassing the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea from roughly the Isthmus of Suez to the Taurus Mountains, including present-day Israel, Lebanon, western Jordan, the Sinai in Egypt, and that part of Syria defined by the Orontes Valley and the region of Aleppo. It is a more or less heterogeneous region, encompassing an area of about 75,000 square miles, divided into specific areas of diverse ecological and environmental character surprisingly similar to that of southern California.

To the north the Taurus Mountains lie between the Levant and the Anatolian plateau. To the east and southeast the Syrian desert separates it from Mesopotamia and Arabia. To the southwest the Isthmus and Gulf of Suez set the boundary between the Levant and biblical Egypt

Until the time of the Israelite conquest under Joshua, the southern part of the Levant, often called Palestine, was known as the land of Canaan. The Hebrew Scriptures refer to the people occupying the land as the Canaanites. With the conquest it became, along with other conquered territories, the land of Israel (eretz Israel). From "Dan to Beersheba," the usual the way of describing Palestine and for most periods the limits of settlement, is about 150 miles. After CE 132 the Romans renamed the region Palestina. Aware of Jewish history, the Romans chose to name the land after Israel's most bitter enemy, the Philistines, to humiliate their vanquished Jewish subjects. The Romans made the point, after Jewish zealots rebelled twice against Roman authority, that this region was no longer eretz Israel but rather Roman turf. The word Palestine comes from the Latin Palestina meaning "land of the Philistines."

Levi   See Levi Here in Names in The Bible

Leviathan  Leviathan is a poetic name for a large aquatic creature, posssibly a crocodile or a dinosaur.


in the Jewish tradition, a Levite is a member of the Hebrew tribe of Levi. When Joshua led the Israelites into the land of Canaan, the Levites were the only Israelite tribe who received cities but no tribal land "because the Lord the God of Israel himself is their possession". The Tribe of Levi served particular religious duties for the Israelites and had political responsibilities as well. In return, the landed tribes were expected to give tithe to the Levites, particularly the tithe known as the Maaser Rishon or Levite Tithe.

Members of the Israelite tribe of Levi (one of the twelve ancient tribes of Israel) or their descendents. The Levites were responsible for the maintenance of the Temple and sacrificial system, and it was to this tribe that the Aaronic priests belonged.

The tribe is named after Levi, one of the twelve sons of Jacob (also called Israel). Levi had three sons: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari (Genesis 46:11)

Levi   Melcha   Gershon   Kohath   Merari   Jochebed   Amram   Izhar   Hebron   Uzziel   Miriam   Aaron   Moses

Leviticus  (from Greek "relating to the Levites")

In Judaism it is third book of the Torah which are the five books of Moses, its transliteration is 'Vayikra'. In the Christian Bible it is also the third book of what is referred to as the Old Testament.

The third book of the Bible tells about the family of Levi. There were twelve families or tribes of the Israelites, and the family of Levi was the one which God selected to do his work for him.

The Book of Leviticus is often described as a set of legal rules, and priestly rituals, but it is also seen as the central core of a larger narrative - the Torah or Pentateuch. In this view, Leviticus is about the outworking of God'ss covenant with Israel, set out in Genesis and Exodus - what is seen in the Torah as the consequences of entering into a special relationship with God. These consequences are spelt out in terms of community relationships and behaviour.

The first 16 chapters and the last chapter of the book describe the Priestly Code, detailing ritual cleanliness, sin-offerings, and the Day of Atonement, including Chapter 12 which mandates male circumcision. Chapters 17-26 describe the holiness code, including the injunction in chapter 19 to "love one's neighbor as oneself" (the Great Commandment). Among its many prohibitions, the book uses the word "abomination" 16 times, including dietary restrictions prohibiting shellfish, certain fowl, and "Whatsoever goeth upon the belly, and whatsoever goeth upon all four, or whatsoever hath more feet among all creeping things that creep upon the earth, them ye shall not eat; for they are an abomination"(chapter 11); and sexual restrictions, prohibiting adultery, incest, and lying "with mankind, as with womankind" (chapter 18, see also chapter 20); the book similarly prohibits eating pork and rabbits because they are "unclean animals." The rules in Leviticus are generally addressed to the descendants of Israel, except for example the prohibition in chapter 20 against sacrificing children to rival god Molech, which applies equally to "the strangers that sojourn in Israel", see also proselytes.

According to tradition, Moses authored Leviticus as well as the other four books of the Torah. According to the documentary hypothesis, Leviticus derives almost entirely from the priestly source (P), marked by emphasis on priestly concerns, composed c 550-400 BC, and incorporated into the Torah c 400 BC.

Leviticus 18   Leviticus 18 is a chapter of the Biblical book of Leviticus. It narrates part of the instructions given to Moses by God on Mount Sinai. The chapter deals with a number of sexual activities considered 'unclean' or 'abominable'. Although the chapter is principally concerned with incest, it also contains laws related to bestiality and "lying with a man as with a woman." This single reference to homosexual activity (verse 22) has, in recent years, made its interpretation a focus of debate among Christians and Jews.

Leviticus 18 is generally regarded as part of the holiness code of Leviticus 11–26, and its sexual prohibitions are largely paralleled by Leviticus 20 (except that chapter has more emphasis on punishment).


1. One who has power and authority; a master; a ruler; a governor; a prince; a proprietor, as of a manor.

But now I was the lord Of this fair mansion. --Shak.
Man over men He made not lord. --Milton.

2. A titled nobleman., whether a peer of the realm or not; a bishop, as a member of the House of Lords; by courtesy; the son of a duke or marquis, or the eldest son of an earl; in a restricted sense, a boron, as opposed to noblemen of higher rank. [Eng.]

3. A title bestowed on the persons above named; and also, for honor, on certain official persons; as, lord advocate, lord chamberlain, lord chancellor, lord chief justice, etc. [Eng.]

4. A husband. ``My lord being old also.'' --Gen. xviii. 12.

Thou worthy lord Of that unworthy wife that greeteth thee. --Shak.

5. (Feudal Law) One of whom a fee or estate is held; the male owner of feudal land; as, the lord of the soil; the lord of the manor.

6. The Supreme Being; Jehovah.

Note: When Lord, in the Old Testament, is printed in small capitals, it is usually equivalent to Jehovah, and might, with more propriety, be so rendered.


7. The Savior; Jesus Christ.

Lower Egypt  See Lower Egypt here

Lydda  a town in Ephraim, mentioned only in the New Testament (Acts 9:32, 35, 38) as the scene of Peter's miracle in healing the paralytic AEneas

It lay about 9 miles east of Joppa, on the road from the sea-port to Jerusalem. In the Old Testament (1 Chr. 8:12) it is called Lod. It was burned by the Romans, but was afterwards rebuilt, and was known by the name of Diospolis. Its modern name is Ludd. The so-called patron saint of England, St. George, is said to have been born here.



Maccabaeans  A priestly Jewish family which ruled Palestine in the second and first centuries BCE (164 - 67 BCE) and wrested Judaea from the rule of the Seleucids and their Greek practices. The Jewish holiday Hanukkah commemorates the Maccabees' recapture of Jerusalem and re-consecration of the Temple in December 164 BCE A name often used for the Hasmonaeans. The term derives from the surname of Judas Maccabeus, the early leader of the revolt against Antiochus Epiphanes.

Macedon or Macedonia

Macedon was the name of a kingdom centred in the northernmost part of ancient Greece. The homeland of the ancient Macedonians, it was bordered by the kingdom of Epirus to the west and the region of Thrace to the east. For a brief period it became the most powerful state in the world after Alexander the Great conquered most of the world known to the Greeks, inaugurating the Hellenistic period of world history.

Machaerus  Another Jewish fortress of ancient Palestine lying southeast of Qumran across the Dead Sea at a distance of only twenty kilometers. Qumran lies almost halfway, as the crow flies, between Jerusalem and Machaerus. This fortress was built or at least strengthened by the Hasmonaean Alexander Jannaeus after he subjugated Moab to the east of the Dead Sea sometime before 90 BCE. It was designated as a bulwark to fend off attacks by the Aramaic-speaking Nabataeans who occupied Petra and areas to the south. Destroyed by Gabinius, the governor of Syria, circa 60 BCE, it was rebuilt by Herod the Great, and his son Antipas murdered John the Baptist there.

Madaba map  A sixth century CE map of Palestine, forming the mosaic floor of a Byzantine church located in the ancient town of Madaba (Medeba) modern al-'Asimah, in what is now west-central Jordan. It preserves many important details of the geography of Roman and Byzantine Palestine.

Magistrate  a public civil officer invested with authority

The Hebrew shophetim, or judges, were magistrates having authority in the land (Deut. 1:16-17). In Judg. 18:7, the word “magistrate” (A.V.) is rendered in the Revised Version “possessing authority,” i.e., having power to do them harm by invasion.

In the time of Ezra (9:2) and Nehemiah (2:16; 4:14; 13:11) the Jewish magistrates were called seganim, properly meaning “nobles.”

In the New Testament, the Greek word archon, rendered “magistrate” (Luke 12:58; Titus 3:1), means one first in power, and hence a prince, as in Matt. 20:25, 1 Cor. 2:6, 8.

This term is used of the Messiah, “Prince of the kings of the earth” (Rev. 1:5).

In Acts 16:20, 22, 35-36, 38, the Greek term strategos, rendered “magistrate,” properly signifies the leader of an army, a general, one having military authority. The strategoi were the duumviri, the two praetors appointed to preside over the administration of justice in the colonies of the Romans. They were attended by the sergeants (properly lictors or “rod bearers”).

Mahalath  Mahalath is the name of a tune or a musical term.

Malakh  (plural Malakhim)

A Malakh is a messenger angel who appears throughout the Hebrew Bible, Rabbinic literature, and traditional Jewish liturgy. In modern Hebrew, mal'akh is the general word for "angel."

The Hebrew Bible reports that Malakhim appeared to each of the Patriarchs (Bible), to Moses, Joshua, and numerous other figures. They appear to Hagar in Genesis 16:9, to Lot in Genesis 19:1, and to Abraham in Genesis 22:11, they ascend and descend Jacob's Ladder in Genesis 28:12 and appear to Jacob again in Genesis 31:11-13. God promises to send one to Moses in Exodus 33:2, and sends one to stand in the way of Balaam in Numbers 23:31.

Isaiah speaks of Malakh Panov, "the angel of His presence" (Isaiah 3:9).

The Book of Psalms says "For malakhav (His angels) He will charge for you, to protect you in all your ways" (Psalms 91:11)

manna  Name for the food that God miraculously provided to the Israelites while they were wandering in the wilderness between Egypt and the promised land. From Hebrew man-hu (What is that?) or manan (to allot). See Exodus 16:14-35.

marriage  the union of a husband and a wife for the purpose of cohabitation, procreation, and to enjoy each other's company. God's plan for marriage is between one man and one woman (Mark 10:6-9; 1 Corinthians 7). Although there are many cases of a man marrying more than one woman in the Old Testament, being married to one wife is a requirement to serve in certain church leadership positions (1 Timothy 3:2,12; Titus 1:5-6).

Masada  Important Jewish fortress of ancient Palestine situated on a butte west of the Dead Sea; last stronghold of the 960 Jewish Zealots, including their wives and children, who volunteered to be killed or committed suicide, rather than surrender to the besieging Roman army at the end of the final battle of the revolt that marks the end of the Second Temple Period. Located thirty-three miles South of Qumran.

Maschil  Maschil is a musical and literary term for "contemplation" or "meditative psalm."

Masoretes  The Masoretes were groups of scribes and Bible scholars working between the 7th and 11th centuries, based primarily in Israel in the cities of Tiberias and Jerusalem, as well as in Babylonia. Each group compiled a system of pronunciation and grammatical guides in the form of diacritical notes on the external form of the Biblical text in an attempt to fix the pronunciation, paragraph and verse divisions and cantillation of the Jewish Bible, the Tanakh, for the worldwide Jewish community.

The Ben Asher family of masoretes was largely responsible for the preservation and production of the Masoretic Text, although an alternate Masoretic text of the Ben Naphtali masoretes which differs slightly from the Ben Asher text existed. The halakhic authority Maimonides endorsed the Ben Asher as superior, although Saadya Gaon had preferred the Ben Naphtali system.


The Masoretes devised the vowel notation system for Hebrew that is still widely used as well as the trope symbols used for cantillation.

Masoretic Text (MT)  (from Hebrew masoreth, “tradition”)

The Masoretic Text is the Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible (Tanakh). It defines not just the books of the Jewish canon, but also the precise letter-text of the biblical books in Judaism, as well as their vocalization and accentuation for both public reading and private study. The MT is also widely used as the basis for translations of the Old Testament in Protestant Bibles, and in recent decades also for Catholic Bibles.

The MT was primarily copied, edited and distributed by a group of Jews known as the Masoretes between the seventh and tenth centuries AD. Though the consonants differ little from the text generally accepted in the early second century (and also differ little from some Qumran texts that are even older), it has numerous differences of both greater and lesser significance when compared to (extant 4th century) manuscripts of the Septuagint, a Greek translation (made in the 3rd to 2nd centuries BC) of the Hebrew Scriptures that was in popular use in Egypt and Palestine and that is often quoted in the Christian New Testament.

The Hebrew word mesorah refers to the transmission of a tradition. In a very broad sense it can refer to the entire chain of Jewish tradition (see Oral law), but in reference to the masoretic text the word mesorah has a very specific meaning: the diacritic markings of the text of the Hebrew Bible and concise marginal notes in manuscripts (and later printings) of the Hebrew Bible which note textual details, usually about the precise spelling of words.

The oldest extant fragments of the Masoretic Text date from approximately the ninth century AD, and the Aleppo Codex (the oldest copy of the Masoretic Text, but missing the Torah) dates from the tenth century.

Matriarchy (also gynecocracy) refers to a hypothetical gynecocentric form of society, in which the leading role is taken by the women and especially by the mothers of a community.

There are no known societies that are unambiguously matriarchal, although there are a number of attested matrilinear, matrilocal and avunculocal societies, especially among indigenous peoples of Asia, such as those of the Minangkabau or Mosuo. Strongly matrilocal societies sometimes are referred to as matrifocal, and there is some debate concerning the terminological delineation between matrifocality and matriarchy. Note that even in patriarchical systems of male-preference primogeniture there may occasionally be queen regnants, as in the case of Elizabeth I of England or Victoria of the United Kingdom.

In 19th century scholarship, the hypothesis of matriarchy representing an early stage of human development — now mostly lost in prehistory, with the exception of some "primitive" societies — enjoyed popularity. The hypothesis survived into the 20th century and was notably advanced in the context of feminism and especially second wave feminism, but it is mostly discredited today.

Martin Noth   See Martin North Here in Names in The Bible

Mary See Mary Here in Names in The Bible



a. Public celebration of the Eucharist in the Roman Catholic Church and some Protestant churches.

b. The sacrament of the Eucharist.

2. A musical setting of certain parts of the Mass, especially the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei.

Matthew Bible  Matthew's Bible, also known as the Matthew Bible, was first published in 1537 under the pseudonym "Thomas Matthew". It combined Coverdale's work with the maximum of Tyndale's, and thus began the main sequence of English Bible translations.

Matthew's Bible was the combined work of three individuals, working from numerous sources in at least five different languages.

The Pentateuch, the Books of Joshua, Judges, Ruth, First and Second Samuel, First and Second Kings, and First and Second Chronicles-as well as the entire New Testament first published in 1526 and later revised-were the work of William Tyndale. Tyndale worked directly from the Hebrew and Greek, occasionally consulting the Vulgate and Erasmus's Latin version, and referencing Luther's Bible for the prefaces and marginal notes. The use of the pseudonym "Thomas Matthew" resulted from the need to conceal from Henry VIII the participation of Tyndale in the translation.

The remaining books of the Old Testament and the Apocrypha were the work of Myles Coverdale. Coverdale translated primarily from German and Latin sources (see Coverdale Bible).

The Prayer of Manasses was the work of John Rogers. Rogers translated from a French Bible printed two years earlier (in 1535). Rogers compiled the completed work and added the preface, some marginal notes, a calendar and almanac.

Of the three translators, two were burned at the stake. Tyndale was burned on 6 October 1536 in Vilvoorde, Belgium at the instigation of agents of Henry VIII and the Anglican Church. John Rogers was "tested by fire" on 4 February 1554/55 at Smithfield, England; the first to meet this fate under Mary I of England. Myles Coverdale was employed by Cromwell to work on the Great Bible of 1539, the first officially authorized English translation of the Bible.

Historians often tend to treat Coverdale and Tyndale like competitors in a race to complete the monumental and arduous task of translating the biblical text. One is often credited to the exclusion of the other. In reality they knew each other and occasionally worked together. Foxe states that they were in Hamburg translating the Pentateuch together as early at 1529.

Time and extensive scholastic scrutiny have judged Tyndale the most gifted of the three translators. Dr Westcott in his History of the English Bible states that "The history of our English Bible begins with the work of Tyndale and not with that of Wycliffe." The quality of his translations has also stood the test of time, coming relatively intact even into modern versions of the Bible.

Mediterranean Sea  C3 on the Map

Mare Internum (Mare Nostrum). Lat. names for Mediterranean (Biblical name 'Great Sea'). Great Sea, The (Mediterranean Sea) Biblical name: Num. 34:6, 7; Josh. 1:4; 9:1; 15:12; 23:4; Ezek. 47:10; 48:28. Assyrian-Babylonian name 'The Upper Sea', 'The Western Sea'; Latin 'Mare Internum', 'Mare Nostrum.'

All the rains that shower the hills and water the valleys of Palestine come from the Mediterranean. And the wonderful dews which, with the regularity of clockwork, settle during the rainless season in the cool of the evening upon the Palestinian hills. The harvest, whether of grain or fruit, is nourished by these heavy dews.

Merom  Meaning: height

a lake in Northern Palestine through which the Jordan flows

It was the scene of the third and last great victory gained by Joshua over the Canaanites (Josh. 11:5-7). It is not again mentioned in Scripture. Its modern name is Bakrat el-Huleh. "The Ard el-Huleh, the center of which the lake occupies, is a nearly level plain of 16 miles in length from north to south, and its breadth from east to west is from 7 to 8 miles. On the west it is walled in by the steep and lofty range of the hills of Kedesh-Naphtali; on the east it is bounded by the lower and more gradually ascending slopes of Bashan; on the north it is shut in by a line of hills hummocky and irregular in shape and of no great height, and stretching across from the mountains of Naphtali to the roots of Mount Hermon, which towers up at the northeastern angle of the plain to a height of 10,000 feet. At its southern extremity the plain is similarly traversed by elevated and broken ground, through which, by deep and narrow clefts, the Jordan, after passing through Lake Huleh, makes its rapid descent to the Sea of Galilee."

The lake is triangular in form, about 4 1/2 miles in length by 3 1/2 at its greatest breadth. Its surface is 7 feet above that of the Mediterranean. It is surrounded by a morass, which is thickly covered with canes and papyrus reeds, which are impenetrable. Macgregor with his canoe, the Rob Roy, was the first that ever, in modern times, sailed on its waters. (See Jordan.)

Mesha (Vulgate: Messa)  Meaning: middle district

The name of one place and two biblical men&ldots;

A plain in that part of the boundaries of Arabia inhabited by the descendants of Joktan (Gen. 10:30).

Messiah  The expected king and deliverer of the Hebrews; the Savior;    Christ.

Messiah literally means "anointed (one)". Figuratively, anointing (in antiquity done with holy anointing oil) is done to signify being chosen for a task; so, messiah means "the chosen (one)", particularly someone divinely chosen.

In Jewish messianic tradition and eschatology, messiah refers to a future King of Israel from the Davidic line, who will rule the people of united tribes of Israel and herald the Messianic Age of global peace. In Standard Hebrew, The Messiah is often referred to as literally meaning "the Anointed King."

Christians believe that prophecies in the Hebrew Bible refer to a spiritual savior, and believe Jesus to be that Messiah (Christ). In the (Greek) Septuagint version of the Old Testament, khristos was used to translate the Hebrew, meaning "anointed."

In Islam, Isa (Jesus) is also called the Messiah (Masih), but like in Judaism he is not considered to be the Son of God.

The Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek translates all thirty-nine instances of the word messiah as (Khristós). The New Testament records the Greek transliteration Messias, twice, in John 1:41 and 4:25.

Messianic Secret  The Messianic Secret refers to Jesus having commanded his followers not to reveal to others that he is the Messiah, in certain passages of the New Testament, notably in the Gospel of Mark.

The most prominent instance of this occurs in Mark 8:27-30:

Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, 'Who do people say I am?' (28) And they answered him, 'John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.' (29) He asked them, 'But who do you say that I am?' Peter answered him, 'You are the Messiah.' (30) And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him.

As noted pointedly by W. R. Telford, Jesus commands his followers to silence after healings and exorcisms. When Jesus heals a leper, he commands the man not to spread the news of his miraculous healing:

(43) After sternly warning him he sent him away at once, (44) saying to him, 'See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.' (45) But he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the word, so that Jesus could no longer go into a town openly, but stayed out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter. (Mark 1.43-45)

Luke 8:10:

He said, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, " 'though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.'" (NIV)

Matthew 13:10-12:

The disciples came to him and asked, "Why do you speak to the people in parables?" He replied, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him." (NIV)

Michmash   Meaning: something hidden

a town of Benjamin (Ezra 2:27), east of Bethel and south of Migron, on the road to Jerusalem (Isa. 10:28)

It lay on the line of march of an invading army from the north, on the north side of the steep and precipitous Wady es-Suweinit ("valley of the little thorn-tree" or "the acacia"), and now bears the name of Mukhmas. This wady is called "the passage of Michmash" (1 Sam. 13:23). Immediately facing Mukhmas, on the opposite side of the ravine, is the modern representative of Geba, and behind this again are Ramah and Gibeah.

This was the scene of a great battle fought between the army of Saul and the Philistines, who were utterly routed and pursued for some 16 miles towards Philistia as far as the valley of Aijalon. "The freedom of Benjamin secured at Michmash led through long years of conflict to the freedom of all its kindred tribes." The power of Benjamin and its king now steadily increased. A new spirit and a new hope were now at work in Israel.

michtam  A michtam is a poem.

Midian  Midian was a land bordered by the Arabah between Moab and Elat and by the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea. Its East had no borders.

In Bible history, Midian was where Moses spent the 40 years between the time that he fled Egypt after killing an Egyptian who had been beating an Israelite, and his return for leading the Israelites. During those years, he married Zipporah, the daughter of Jethro, the priest of Midian. Exodus 3:1 implies that God's appearance in the burning bush at Mount Horeb occurred in Midian. As the Bible asserts, in later years the Midianites were often oppressive and hostile to the Israelites, at least partly as God's punishment for their idolatry. By the time of the Judges, the Midianites, led by two princes Oreb (Hebrew: Orev) and Zeeb (Hebrew: Z'ev) were raiding Israel with the use of swift camels, until they were decisively defeated by Gideon. Today, the former territory of Midian is located in what is now a small area of western Saudi Arabia, southern Jordan, southern Israel and the Sinai.

Midian spaned from Mount Horhab located at Elat at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba North to Moab sharing a border with Edom which runs up the Arabah through Petra to the Dead Sea. Midian contains the land to the southeast of that border as far south as Jokuban and as far east as the Crystal Plateau containing much of northwestern Saudi Arabia.

In the Book of Genesis, Midian was the son of Abraham and his last wife Keturah whom he married after the death of his old wife Sarah. Midian's five sons, Ephah, Epher, Enoch, Abida, and Eldaah, were the progenitors of the Midianites. The term "Midian", which may be derived from the Semitic root word for judgment, denotes also the nation of the Midianites; the plural form occurring only in Genesis 37:28,36 and Numbers 25:17, 31:2. In Genesis Midian is described as having been to the east of Canaan; Abraham sends the sons of his concubines, including Midian, eastward.

Its geographic location is anchored in Exodus by the statement that Moses led the flocks of Jethro, the priest of Midian, to Mount Horeb Exodus 3:1) and by the fact that Moses met up with Jethro in Midian while the sons of Israel were at Mount Horab after crossing the Red Sea and Voyaging up the Gulf of Aqaba to Elat.

9. Dophkah Nu. 33:12-13 "Dophkah" from the semitic root for Adonis, a Phoenician emporia at Elat Egyptiam suburb of modern Elat

10. Alush Nu. 33:13-14 the summit of Horeb where the water flowed from the rock Mt Horab at modern Elat and where Moses met up with Jethro

11. Rephidim Ex. 17:1, 19:2; Nu. 33:14-15 near Mt. Horab at Elat Place of rhe First Contact with the Amalek and Rephidim of the Negev, Edom, and Canaan

12. Sinai Wilderness Ex. 19:1-2; Nu. 10:12, 33:15-16 The campsites near Elat A dozen sites with Egyptian artifacts have been found at Timnah near Elat

13. Kibroth-Hattaavah Taberah Nu. 11:1, Nu. 11:35, 33:16-17 lit. Graves of Longing or Graves of Lust The burials of those who fought the Amalek at Horab

The remainder of the stations of the Exodus circumnavigate Edom heading north up the border of Edom with the Sinai to the brook of Egypt, then East to Moab and the Dead Sea, then south through Petra to Elat and back to Canaan.

The Midianites dwelt in the Arabah bordering the Negev occupied by Edom and Northwestern Saudia Arabia up as far as Moab which is modern Jordan.[10] Midian is likewise described as in the vicinity of Moab: the Midianites were beaten by the Edomite king Hadad ben Bedad "in the field of Moab",[11] and in the account of Balaam it is said that the elders of both Moab and Midian called upon him to curse Israel.

Middle Kingdom of Egypt  See The Middle Kingdom

Migron  Meaning: precipice or landslip

a place between Aiath and Michmash (Isa. 10:28)

The town of the same name mentioned in 1 Sam. 14:2 was to the south of this.

mina  A mina is a Greek coin worth 100 Greek drachmas (or 100 Roman denarii), or about 100 day's wages for an agricultural laborer.

Minor prophet  A minor prophet is one of the writings in the Twelve Prophets section of the Hebrew Bible, also known to Christians as the Minor Prophets of the Old Testament. Twelve individuals had their names attributed to a section of the Hebrew Bible which has become known by the Aramaic term as the Trei Asar ("Twelve") in traditional Jewish editions and "Books of the Minor Prophets" or the "Minor Prophets" in Christian editions.

In the Hebrew Bible the writings of the minor prophets are counted as a single book, in Christian Bibles as twelve individual books. The "Twelve" are listed below in order of their appearance in Hebrew and most Protestant and Catholic Christian bibles:


The Septuagint of the Eastern churches has the order: Hosea, Amos, Micah, Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, the rest as above. It also puts the "Minor Prophets" before, instead of after, the "Major prophets".

Recent biblical scholarship has focused on reading the "Book of the Twelve" as a unity.

The term "minor" refers to the length of the books, not their importance. See Major Prophets for the longer books of prophecies in the Bible and the Tanakh.

The twelve minor prophets are collectively commemorated in the Calendar of saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church on July 31.

In the Roman Catholic Church, the twelve minor prophets are read in the Breviary during the fourth and fifth weeks of November, which are the last two weeks of the liturgical year.

Minor Prophets  See Minor Prophet

Mishnah  The central legal collection of early rabbinic (= Tannaitic) Judaism. Based on rabbinic traditions compiled about 200 CE, it contains ordinances on such matters as marriage, Sabbath observance, sacrifices, ritual purification, civil law, etc; part of the Talmud. See also Tannaitic and Tosephta.

The Mishneh Torah, subtitled Sefer Yad ha-Chazaka, is a code of Jewish religious law (Halakha) by one of the important Jewish authority Maimonides (Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, also known by the Hebrew abbreviation RaMBaM, usually written "Rambam" in English). The Mishneh Torah was compiled between 1170 and 1180, while he was living in Egypt, and is regarded as Maimonides' magnum opus.

The work consists of 14 books, subdivided into sections, chapters and paragraphs. It is the only Medieval work that details all of Jewish observance, including those laws which are only applicable when the Holy Temple is in place.

Mitzvah   "commandment"

 Mitzvah is a word used in Judaism to refer to the 613 commandments given in the Torah and the seven rabbinic commandments instituted later for a total of 620. The term can also refer to the fulfilment of a mitzvah.

The term mitzvah has also come to express any act of human kindness, such as the burial of the body of an unknown person. According to the teachings of Judaism, all moral laws are, or are derived from, divine commandments.

The opinions of the Talmudic rabbis are divided between those who seek the purpose of the mitzvot and those who do not question them. The latter argue that if the reason for each mitzvah could be determined, people might try to achieve what they see as the purpose of the mitzvah, without actually performing the mitzvah itself.

Mizrahi Jew or Oriental Jews or Arab Jews

 Mizrahi Jews are those Jews of Middle Eastern origin; that is to say, their ancestors never left the Middle East.

Though many Mizrahim now follow the liturgical traditions of the Sephardim, and although in modern Israel they may be colloquially referred to as Sephardic Jews, the Mizrahim are not Sephardic since they have never lived in Sepharad (Spain and Portugal) nor are they descended of those who were expelled from the Iberian peninsula during the Spanish Inquisition. Many Mizrahim may consider it culturally insensitive or ignorant not to distinguish between the two communities, even if some Mizrahi may themselves have come to accept the generalized label, despite its erroneous application.

Prior to the emergence of the term "Mizrahi", which dates from their transportation and incorporation into the newly created state of Israel - Arab Jews was a commonly used designation, though not by Mizrahi Jews. The term, however, is rarely used today, and Mizrahi Jews generally self-identify by their country of origin (e.g. "Iraqi Jew") or often simply as Sephardi. Compare with the synonymity of Ashkenazi and European Jew, or Sephardi and Iberian Jew.

Unlike the terms Ashkenazi and Sephardi, Mizrahi is simply a convenient way to refer collectively to a wide range of Jewish communities, most of which are as unrelated to each other as they are to either the Sephardi or Ashkenazi communities.

See also: Jewish ethnic divisions.

Mizraim  Mizraim is the Hebrew name for the land of Egypt, with the dual suffix -ayim, perhaps referring to the "two Egypts": Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt.

Ugaritic inscriptions refer to Egypt as Msrm, in the Amarna tablets it is called Misri, and Assyrian and Babylonian records called Egypt Musur and Musri. The Arabic word for Egypt is Misr (pronounced Masr in colloquial Arabic), and Egypt's official name is Gumhuriyah Misr al-'Arabiyah (the Arab Republic of Egypt).

According to Genesis (Ge-10), Mizraim was the younger brother of Cush and elder brother of Phut and Canaan, whose families together made up the Hamite branch of Noah's descendants. Mizraim's sons were Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim, Pathrusim, Casluhim (out of whom came the Philistines), and Caphtorim.

According to Eusebius' Chronicon, Manetho had suggested that the great age of antiquity in which the later Egyptians boasted had actually preceded the flood, and that they were really descended from Mizraim, who settled there anew. A similar story is related by mediaeval Islamic historians such as Sibt ibn al-Jawzi, the Egyptian Ibn Abd-el-Hakem, and the Persians al-Tabari and Muhammad Khwandamir, stating that the pyramids, etc. had been built by the wicked races before the deluge, but that Noah's descendant Mizraim (Masar or Mesr) was entrusted with reoccupying the region afterward. The Islamic accounts also make Masar the son of a Bansar or Beisar and grandson of Ham, rather than a direct son of Ham, and add that he lived to the age of 700. Some scholars think it likely that Mizraim is a dual form of the word Misr meaning "land", and was translated literally into Ancient Egyptian as Ta-Wy (the Two Lands) by early pharaohs at Thebes, who later founded the Middle Kingdom.

But according to George Syncellus, the Book of Sothis, supposedly by Manetho, had identified Mizraim with the legendary first pharaoh Menes, said to have unified the Old Kingdom and built Memphis. Misraim also seems to correspond to Misor, said in Phoenician mythology to have been father of Taautus who was given Egypt, and later scholars noticed that this also recalls Menes, whose son or successor was said to be Athothis.

In Judaism, Mitzrayim has been connected with the word meitzar, meaning "sea strait", possibly alluding to narrow gulfs from both sides of Sinai peninsula. It also can mean "boundaries, limits, restrictions" or "narrow place".

Moab  the historical name for a mountainous strip of land in modern-day Jordan running along the eastern shore of the Dead Sea. In ancient times, it was home to the kingdom of the Moabites, a people often in conflict with their Israelite neighbors to the west. The Moabites were a historical people, whose existence is attested to by numerous archeological findings, most notably the Mesha Stele, which describes the Moabite victory over an unnamed son of King Omri of Israel. Their capital was Dibon, located next to the modern Jordanian town of Dhiban.


Moabite may refer to:

  •    a person from Moab, the former country of the Moabite people, currently located in the area of Jordan east of the Dead Sea

  •    the Moabite language, an extinct Hebrew Canaanite dialect once spoken in Moab

Moabite language  The Moabite language is an extinct Canaanite language, spoken in Moab (modern-day northwestern Jordan) in the early first millennium BC. Most of our knowledge about Moabite comes from the Mesha Stele, as well as the El-Kerak Stela;. The main features distinguishing Moabite from fellow Canaanite languages such as Hebrew are: a plural in -în rather than -îm (eg mlkn "kings" for Biblical Hebrew m?la-kîm), like Aramaic and Arabic; retention of the feminine ending -at which Biblical Hebrew reduces to -a-h (e.g. qryt "town", Biblical Hebrew qirya-h) but retains in the construct state nominal form (e.g.qiryát yisrael "town of Israel"); and retention of a verb form with infixed -t-, also found in Arabic and Akkadian (w-’lth.m "I began to fight", from the root lh.m.

Monotheism   Belief in the existence of one God. It is distinguished from polytheism. The earliest known instance of monotheism dates to the reign of Akhenaton of Egypt in the 14th century BC. Monotheism is characteristic of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, all of which view God as the creator of the world, who oversees and intervenes in human events, and as a beneficent and holy being, the source of the highest good. The monotheism that characterizes Judaism began in ancient Israel with the adoption of Yahweh as the single object of worship and the rejection of the gods of other tribes and nations without, initially, denying their existence. Islam is clear in confessing one, eternal, unbegotten, unequaled God, while Christianity holds that a single God is reflected in the three persons of the Holy Trinity.

Moriah  (Hebrew:Moriyya = "ordained/considered by YHWH")

Moriah is the name given to a mountain range by the book of Genesis, in which context it is given as the location of the near sacrifice of Isaac. Traditionally Moriah has been interpreted as the name of the specific mountain at which this occurred, rather than just the name of the range. The exact location referred to is currently a matter of some debate.

See Temple Mount

Moses See Moses Here in Names in The Bible

Mountains of Ararat   Not to be confused with Mount Ararat

Coordinates:  39°42?N 44°17?E / 39.7°N 44.283°E / 39.7; 44.283 

The Mountains of Ararat is the place named in the Book of Genesis where Noah's ark came to rest after the great flood (Genesis 8:4). Abrahamic tradition associates the mountains of Ararat with Mount Ararat in Turkey located 750 miles (1200 kilometers) northeast of Jerusalem. Mount Ararat was, for many centuries, part of the Armenian states, it eventually fell into the hands of the Ottoman Empire and later the Persian Empire (Iran). After the Russo-Persian War, 1826-1828 and the Treaty of Turkmenchay it was incorporated into the Russian Empire as part of the Armenian Oblast and later the Erivan Governate. After World War I, it came under the administration of the Democratic Republic of Armenia as part of the Ararat province but was ceded to Turkey by the Soviet Union in the Treaty of Kars.

Historians have long sought to corroborate the biblical reference to the "mountains of Ararat" with Mount Ararat, or to ascertain the actual location of the mountains mentioned in the account. The Book of Jubilees specifies that the Ark came to rest on one of the peaks of the "Mountains of Ararat" called "Lubar".

Some have sought to connect the name "Ararat" with ancient states in the area such as Urartu, and the even older "Aratta" found in Sumerian records. These cultures were centered around Lake Van in ancient Armenia during Biblical times (currently in Turkey). Mount Ararat has the distinction of holding this tradition among its surrounding cultures for centuries, and is also geographically within ancient Urartu, giving it the most legitimate potential claim as the Biblical Ararat. However, the Biblical account could plausibly have been intended to refer to any of the mountain ranges associated with Urartu.

An obvious problem associated with identifying the resting place of the Ark is that its elevation must be lower than the ultimate depth of the flood water, since the Biblical account indicates that the highest point of land was covered to a depth of about twenty feet. An elevation higher than a certain point would require an impossible rate of rainfall to cover it. In the view of some biblical literalists, it is dubious that a peak of over 16,000 feet would even exist at the time of the Flood; hence the facts imply that the mountains of "Ararat" were much lower than today, even if they were the highest in the world, a position not supported by modern geomorphology.

Other potential Ararat candidates have been proposed over the millennia at locales as widely distributed as Ethiopia, Ireland, and Iran.

The Latin Vulgate says "requievitque arca super montes Armeniae", which means literally "and the ark rested on the mountains of Armenia", which was corrected to " mountains of Ararat" (montes Ararat) in the Nova Vulgata (New Vulgate).

In the book, Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus wrote:

“The Ark landed on an Armenian mountain peak. Noah, aware now that the earth was safely through the flood, waited for seven days more. Then he released the animals and went out with his family. He offered a sacrifice to God and then celebrated with a family feast."

Mount Ararat   is the tallest peak in east Turkey. This snow-capped, dormant volcanic cone is located in the Igdir Province, near the northeast corner of Turkey, 16 km (10 mi) west of the Iranian and 32 km (20 mi) south of the Armenian border. The Ararat plain runs along its northwest to western side.

Ararat anomaly

The Ararat anomaly is an object appearing on photographs of the snowfields near the summit of Mount Ararat and is advanced by some believers in Biblical literalism as the remains of Noah's Ark.

see Mountains of Ararat

Mount Ephraim  Mount Ephraim was the historical name for the central mountainous district of Israel once occupied by the tribe of Ephraim (Josh. 17:15; 19:50; 20:7), extending from Bethel to the plain of Jezreel. In Joshua's time (Josh. 17:18), approximately sometime between the 18th century BCE and the 13th century BCE, these hills were densely wooded. They were intersected by well-watered, fertile valleys, referred to in Jer. 50:19.

Joshua was buried at Timnath-heres among the mountains of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill of Gaash (Judg. 2:9). This region is also called the "mountains of Israel" (Josh. 11:21) and the "mountains of Samaria" (Jer. 31:5, 6: Amos 3:9).

Mount Gaash   the name of a hill in ancient Israel, in the mountainous region of Ephraim. (Book of Judges 2:9) It is mentioned as a place of torrent valleys, which may refer to ravines in the vicinity. (2 Samuel 23:30)

Mount Sinai 

The Biblical Mount Sinai is an ambiguously located mountain at which the Hebrew Bible states that the Ten Commandments were given to Moses by God. In certain biblical passages these events are described as having transpired at Horeb. Sinai and Horeb are generally considered to refer to the same place although there is a small body of opinion that they refer to different locations.

Passages earlier in the narrative text than the Israelite encounter with Sinai indicate that the ground of the mountain was considered holy, but according to the rule of Ein mukdam u'meuchar baTorah  -- "[There is] not 'earlier' and 'later' in [the] Torah," that is, the Torah is not authored in a chronological fashion, classical biblical commentators regard this as insignificant. Some modern day scholars, however, who do not recognize the authority of the Oral Law, explain it as having been a sacred place dedicated to one of the Semitic deities, long before the Israelites had ever encountered it. Some modern biblical scholars regard these laws to have originated in different time periods from one another, with the later ones mainly being the result of natural evolution over the centuries of the earlier ones, rather than all originating from a single moment in time.

In Classical rabbinical literature, Mount Sinai became synonymous with holiness; indeed, it was said that when the Messiah arrives, God will bring Sinai together with Mount Carmel and Mount Tabor, rebuild the Temple upon the combined mountain, and the peaks would sing a chorus of praise to God. According to early aggadic midrash, Tabor and Carmel had previously been jealous of Sinai having been chosen as the place that the laws were delivered, but were told by God that they had not been chosen because only Sinai had not had idols placed upon it; according to the Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer, God had chosen Sinai after discovering that it was the lowest mountain.

MT  See Masoretic Text

Muhammad  See Muhammad Here in Names in The Bible

Muslim  A Muslim is a believer in or follower of Islam. The word Muslim means one who submits and implies complete submission to the will of God (Allah). Muslims believe that nature is itself Islamic, since it follows natural laws placed by God. Thus, a Muslim strives to surrender to God's commands every step of the way.

The holiest book for Muslims is the Qur'an, or the 'Koran' in English. Muslims consider the Arabic Qur'an as the direct revelation of God; translations do exist to other languages but are not regarded as the literal word of God.

Other canonical texts of the Muslim include the hadith which are recordings of the life of the prophet made by the people who were around him. Many matters not specifically mentioned in the Qur'an are covered in the hadith. The degree to which the hadith are authoritative depends on the sect which a Muslim is from.

The basic beliefs of Muslims are: belief in God, His angels, His revealed Books, His Messengers, the Day of Judgement, and the Al Qadar (which is a form of divine pre-destination). The revealed books of Islam also include the Injil (Christian Gospels), the Torah and the Psalms.

The Five Pillars of Islam on which a Muslim's life is founded are: 

"The Testimony that there is none worthy of worship except God and that Muhammad is his messenger.

"Establishing of the five daily Prayers (Salaah). These prayers are ritualistic in nature and adherence to the ritual practice is required. The location at which one prays is not strictly defined as long as one is able to establish the Qiblat.

"The Giving of Zakaah (charity), which is generally 2.5% of the yearly savings for a rich man working in trade or industry, and 10% or 20% of the produce for agriculturists. This money or produce is distributed among the poor.

"Refraining from eating, drinking and having sex from dawn to dusk in the month of Ramadhaan (Sawm).

"The Pilgrimage (Hajj) to Mecca during the month of Zul Hijjah, which is compulsory once in a lifetime for one who has the ability to do it. This ability includes the financial means and the physical strength since the hajj can be strenuous. Also, one has to obtain a permit from the Saudi government which is granted based on an annual quota based on country.

Until recently the word was also spelled Moslem. Muslims do not recommend this spelling because it is often pronounced "mawzlem," which sounds like an Arabic word for "oppressor." Many English-language writers used to call Muslims "Mohammedans" or "Mahometans", meaning "followers of Mohammed", but this terminology is considered incorrect and insulting, because Muslims think it implies that they worship the prophet Muhammad, contrary to the fundamental principles of Islam itself.

Muslims share many prophets in common with both the Jews and the Christians. However, neither the Jewish nor the Christian faiths recognize Muhammad.

Jesus ("Isa") is believed by Muslims to have been a prophet of God. The virgin birth is also accepted by Muslims Quran 3:45-48. Muslims do not consider Jesus as divine but do believe that he was born without sin Qu'ran 19:19. Muslims do not believe in original sin, so everyone according to Islam is born sinless.

myrrh  Myrrh is the fragrant substance that oozes out of the stems and branches of the low, shrubby tree commiphora myrrha or comiphora kataf native to the Arabian deserts and parts of Africa. The fragrant gum drops to the ground and hardens into an oily yellowish-brown resin. Myrrh was highly valued as a perfume, and as an ingredient in medicinal and ceremonial ointments.



Naamah  Meaning: the beautiful

The name of two biblical women and one city . . .

A city in the plain of Judah (Josh. 15:41), supposed by some to be identified with Na'aneh, some 5 miles southeast of Makkedah.

Naioth   Meaning: dwellings

the name given to the prophetical college established by Samuel near Ramah

It consisted of a cluster of separate dwellings, and hence its name. David took refuge here when he fled from Saul (1 Sam. 19:18, 19, 22, 23), and here he passed a few weeks in peace (compare Ps. 11). It was probably the common residence of the "sons of the prophets."

NAS   abbreviation for New American Standard Bible

NASB  abbreviation for New American Standard Bible

Nazareth  is the capital and largest city in the North District of Israel. It also serves as an Arab capital for Israel's Arab citizens who make up the vast majority of the population there. In the New Testament, the city is described as the childhood home of Jesus, and as such is a center of Christian pilgrimage, with many shrines commemorating biblical associations.

Nazerines  One of the names for the original Christians in Judaea; also known as Jesseans according to Epiphanius, an early Christian writer.

Nazirite  Not to be confused with Nazarene

A nazirite or nazarite refers to a Jew who took the ascetic vow described in Numbers 6:1-21. The term "nazirite" comes from the Hebrew word nazir meaning "consecrated" or "separated". This vow required the man or woman to:

  • Abstain from wine, wine vinegar, grapes, raisins, and according to some — alcohol and vinegar from alcohol

  • Refrain from cutting the hair on one's head 

  • Avoid corpses and graves, even those of family members, and any structure which contains such

After following these requirements for a designated period of time (which would be specified in the individual's vow, and not to be less than 30 days), the person would immerse in a Mikvah and make three offerings, a lamb as a burnt offering (olah), an ewe as a sin-offering (hatat), and a ram as a peace offering (shelamim), in addition to a basket of unleavened bread, grain offerings and drink offerings, which accompanied the peace offering.

The nazirite is described as being "holy unto the LORD" (Numbers 6:8), yet at the same time must bring a sin offering. This contradiction has led to divergent approaches to the nazirite in the Talmud, and later authorities.

Nevi im

Nevi'im (Correct spelling)

(Hebrew: "Prophets") is the second of the three major sections in the Hebrew Bible, the Tanakh, between the Torah and Ketuvim (writings).

Nevi'im is traditionally divided into two parts:

Former Prophets or Nevi'im Rishonim, which contains the narrative books of Joshua through Kings.

Latter Prophets or Nevi'im Aharonim, which mostly contains prophecies in the form of biblical poetry.

In the Jewish tradition, Samuel and Kings are each counted as one book. In addition, twelve relatively short prophetic books are counted as one in a single collection called Trei Asar or "The Twelve Minor Prophets". The Jewish tradition thus counts a total of eight books in Nevi'im out of a total of 24 books in the entire Tanakh. In the Jewish liturgy, selections from the books of Nevi'im known as the Haftarah are read publicly in the synagogue after the reading of the Torah on each Sabbath, as well as on Jewish festivals and fast days.

According to Jewish tradition, Nevi'im is divided into eight books. Contemporary translations subdivide these into seventeen books.

The Nevi'im comprise the following eight books:

Joshua, Js—Yehoshua
Judges, Jg—Shoftim
Samuel, includes First and Second, 1Sa–2Sa—Shemuel
Kings, includes First and Second, 1Ki–2Ki—Melakhim
Isaiah, Is—Yeshayahu
Jeremiah, Je—Yirmiyahu
Ezekiel, Ez—Yekhezkel

Twelve, includes all Minor Prophets—Tre Asar

Hosea, Ho—Hoshea
Joel, Jl—Yoel
Amos, Am—Amos
Obadiah, Ob—Ovadyah
Jonah, Jh—Yonah
Micah, Mi—Mikhah
Nahum, Na—Nahum
Habakkuk, Hb—Havakuk
Zephaniah, Zp—Tsefanya
Haggai, Hg—Khagay
Zechariah, Zc—Zekharyah
Malachi, Ml—Malakhi

New American Standard Bible   NASB or NAS

Derived from: American Standard Version (ASV)
Textual Basis: New Testament: High Correspondence to the 23rd edition of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece.
Old Testament: Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia with Septuagint influence.
Translation type: Formal Equivalence
Version Revised: 1995

The New American Standard Bible is an English translation of the Bible. The New Testament was first published in 1963. The complete Bible was published in 1971. The most recent edition of the NASB text was published in 1995. Copyright and trademark to the NASB text are owned by the Lockman Foundation.

The NASB was published in the following stages

Gospel of John (1960)
The Gospels (1962)
New Testament (1963)
Psalms (1968)
Complete Bible, Old and New Testaments (1971)
Modified Editions (1972, 1973, 1975, 1977)
Updated Edition (1995)

New Covenant  The term New Covenant is used in the Bible (both in the Hebrew Bible and the Greek New Testament) to refer to an epochal relationship of restoration and peace following a period of trial and judgment. As are all covenants between God and man described in the Bible, it is "a bond in blood sovereignly administered by God."

Christians believe that Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant (see Hebrews 8:6). In his famous Sermon on the Mount in which he commented on the Law. Some scholars (see Antithesis of the Law) consider this to be an antitype of the proclamation of the Ten Commandments or Mosaic Covenant by Moses from the Biblical Mount Sinai.

New Testament  The New Testament is the name given to the second major division of the Christian Bible, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament. The New Testament is sometimes called the Greek New Testament or Greek Scriptures, or the New Covenant - which is the literal translation of the original Greek. The original texts were written in Koine Greek by various authors after c. AD 45. Its 27 books were gradually collected into a single volume over a period of several centuries. Although certain Christian sects differ as to which works are included in the New Testament, the vast majority of denominations have settled on the same twenty-seven book canon: it consists of the four narratives of Jesus Christ's ministry, called "gospels"; a narrative of the Apostles' ministries in the early church, which is also a sequel to the third Gospel; twenty-one early letters, commonly called "epistles" in Biblical context, written by various authors and consisting mostly of Christian counsel and instruction; and an Apocalyptic prophecy, which is technically the twenty-second epistle. Although the traditional timeline of composition may have been taken into account by the shapers of the current New Testament format, it is not, nor was it meant to be, in strictly chronological order. Though Jesus speaks Aramaic in it, the New Testament (including the Gospels) was written in Greek because that was the lingua franca of the Roman Empire.

New Testament apocrypha  See apocrypha

New Kingdom  See The New Kingdom

Nicolaitans  Nicolaitans were most likely Gnostics who taught the detestable lie that the physical and spiritual realms were entirely separate and that immorality in the physical realm wouldn't harm your spiritual health.

Nicene Creed  Ecumenical Christian statement of faith accepted by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and major Protestant churches. Originally written in Greek, it was long thought to have been drafted at the Council of Nicaea (325), but is now believed to have been issued by the Council of Constantinople (381), based on a baptismal creed already in existence.

Read more on The Nicene Creed and the different versions here

Nile  Meaning: dark; blue

a major north-flowing river in Africa, generally regarded as the longest river in the world

not found in Scripture, but frequently referred to in the Old Testament under the name of Sihor, i.e., “the black stream” (Isa. 23:3; Jer. 2:18) or simply “the river” (Gen. 41:1; Ex. 1:22, etc.) and the “flood of Egypt” (Amos 8:8)

It consists of two rivers, the White Nile, which takes its rise in the Victoria Nyanza, and the Blue Nile, which rises in the Abyssinian Mountains. These unite at the town of Khartoum, whence it pursues its course for 1,800 miles, and falls into the Mediterranean through its two branches, into which it is divided a few miles north of Cairo, the Rosetta and the Damietta branch.

The northern section of the river flows almost entirely through desert, from Sudan into Egypt, a country whose civilization has depended on the river since ancient times. Most of the population of Egypt and all of its cities, with the exception of those near the coast, lie along those parts of the Nile valley north of Aswan; and nearly all the cultural and historical sites of Ancient Egypt are found along the banks of the river. The Nile ends in a large delta that empties into the Mediterranean Sea.

Nile Delta  The Nile Delta is the delta formed in Northern Egypt (Lower Egypt) where the Nile River spreads out and drains into the Mediterranean Sea. It is one of the world's largest river deltas—from Alexandria in the west to Port Said in the east, it covers some 240 km of Mediterranean coastline—and is a rich agricultural region. From north to south the delta is approximately 160 km in length. The Delta begins slightly down-river from Cairo.

Nimrod   See Nimrod Here in Names in The Bible

Niqqud   In Hebrew orthography, niqqud or nikkud is the system of diacritical signs used to represent vowels or distinguish between

alternative pronunciations of consonants of the Hebrew alphabet. Several systems for representing Hebrew vowels were developed in the Early Middle Ages. The most widespread system, and the only one still used to a significant degree today, was created by the Masoretes of Tiberias in the second half of the first millennium in the Land of Israel (see Masoretic Text, Tiberian Hebrew).

Niqqud marks are small compared to consonants, so they can be added without retranscribing texts whose writers did not anticipate them.

Among those who do not speak Hebrew, niqqud are the sometimes unnamed focus of controversy regarding the interpretation of those written with the Tetragrammaton. The interpretation affects discussion of the authentic ancient pronunciation of the name whose other conventional English forms are "Jehovah" and "Yahweh". 

Noah  See Noah Here in Names in The Bible

Noah's ark  The ship built by Noah according to God's command, as related in the Bible.

According to the Book of Genesis 6, was a large vessel built at God's command to save Noah, his family, and stock of all the world's animals from the deluge.

North, Martin  See Martin North

Novum Testamentum Graece  Novum Testamentum Graece is the Latin name of the Greek language version of the New Testament. The first printed edition was produced by Erasmus. Today the designation Novum Testamentum Graece normally refers to the Nestle-Aland editions, named after the scholars who led the critical editing work. The text, edited by the Institut für neutestamentliche Textforschung is currently in its 27th edition, abbreviated NA27. NA27 is used as the basis of most contemporary New Testament translations, as well as being the standard for academic work in New Testament studies.

The Greek text as presented is based on what biblical textual critics refer to as the "critical text". The critical text is an eclectic text compiled by a committee that examines a large number of manuscripts in order to weigh which reading is thought closest to the lost original. They use a number of factors to help determine probable readings, such as the date of the witness (earlier is usually better), the geographical distribution of a reading, and possibly accidental or intentional corruptions. In the book, a large number of textual variants, or differences between manuscripts, are noted in the critical apparatus-the extensive footnotes that distinguish the Novum Testamentum Graece from other Greek New Testaments.

A few authors (such as New Testament scholar Maurice A. Robinson and linguist Wilbur Pickering) claim that the minuscule texts more accurately reflect the "autographs" or original texts than an eclectic text like NA27 that relies heavily on manuscripts of the Alexandrian text-type. This view has been criticized by Gordon Fee and Bruce Metzger among others. Since the majority of old manuscripts in existence are minuscules, they are often referred to as the Majority Text. It is worth noting, though, that the Majority Text as a whole is classified by the editors of the NA27 (of which Metzger is one) as a "consistently cited witness of the first order."

The Novum Testamentum Graece apparatus summarizes the evidence (from manuscripts and versions) for, and sometimes against, a selection of the most important variants for the study of the text of the New Testament. While eschewing completeness (in the range of variants and in the citation of witnesses), this edition does provide informed readers with a basis by which they can judge for themselves which readings more accurately reflect the originals. The Greek text of the 27th edition is the same as that of the 4th edition of the United Bible Societies Greek New Testament (abbreviated UBS4) although there are a few differences between them in paragraphing, capitalization, punctuation and spelling. The critical apparatus is different in the two editions; the UBS4 edition is prepared for the use of translators, and includes fewer textual variants, but adds extra material helpful for the translation team.

Numbers  See Book of Numbers


1.  A biblical man in the bible - click here

2.  a woman who has taken special vows committing her to a religious life. She may be an ascetic who voluntarily chooses to leave mainstream society and live her life in prayer and contemplation in a monastery or convent. The term "nun" is applicable to Roman Catholics, Eastern Christians, Anglicans, Lutherans, Jains, Buddhists, and Taoists, for example. While in common usage the terms nun and sister are often used interchangeably, properly speaking a nun is a female religious who lives a contemplative life of prayer and meditation within a monastery while a sister (in the Christian religions) lives an active vocation of service to the needy, sick, poor, and uneducated


Obed  See Obed Here in Names in The Bible

Old Kingdom  See The Old Kingdom

Old Testament  In Western Christianity, the Old Testament refers to the books that form the first of the two-part Christian Biblical canon. These works correspond to the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh), with some variations and additions. In the Eastern Orthodox Church the comparable texts are known as the Septuagint, from the original Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures. The term "Old Testament" itself is credited to Melito of Sardis.

Tertullian also used the Latin vetus testamentum in the second century. It is sometimes called the First Testament.

Most scholars agree that the Hebrew Bible was composed and compiled between the 12th and the 2nd century BC, before Jesus' birth. Jesus and his disciples referenced it when discussing Jesus's newer teachings, referring to it as "the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms ... the scriptures". (Luke 24:44-45) The accounts of Jesus and his disciples are recorded in the New Testament.

omega  Omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet. It is sometimes used to mean the last or the end.

Oral Torah  A term used to denote the legal and interpretative traditions which were transmitted orally, and which were not written in the Torah. According to Rabbinic Judaism, the oral Torah, oral Law, or oral tradition was given by God orally to Moses in conjunction with the written Torah. The Mishnah is the record of the oral Torah.

While other cultures and Jewish groups maintained oral traditions, only the Rabbi's gave ideological significance to the fact that they transmitted their tradition orally. According to Rabbinic tradition, Moses and the Israelites received an oral as well as the written Torah ("teaching") from God at Mount Sinai. The books of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) were relayed with an accompanying oral tradition passed on by each generation. Jewish law and tradition thus is not based on a strictly literal reading of the Tanakh, but on combined oral and written traditions.

Rabbis of the Talmudic era conceived of the Oral Law in two distinct ways. First, Rabbinic tradition conceived of the Oral law as an unbroken chain of transmission. The distinctive feature of this view was that Oral Law was "converyed by word of mouth and memorized." Second, the Rabbis also conceived of the Oral law as an interprative tradition, and not merely as memorized traditions. In this view, the written Torah was seen as containing many levels of interpretation. It was left to later generations, who were steeped in the oral tradition of interpretation to discover those ("hidden") interpretations not revealed by Moses.

The "oral law" was ultimately recorded in the Mishnah, the Talmud and Midrash.


1. Adhering to the accepted or traditional and established faith, especially in religion.

2. Adhering to the Christian faith as expressed in the early Christian ecumenical creeds.

3. Orthodox

a. Of or relating to any of the churches or rites of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

b. Of or relating to Orthodox Judaism.

4. Adhering to what is commonly accepted, customary, or traditional: an orthodox view of world affairs.

Orthodox Christianity  The form of Christianity maintained by the Eastern Orthodox Church. Orthodox means “correct in teaching”; Orthodox Christians consider the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant churches to be incorrect in some teachings, including the relations between the persons of the Trinity.

The term Orthodox Christianity may refer to:

  • The Eastern Orthodox Church: the Eastern Christian churches of Byzantine tradition that adhere to the first seven Ecumenical Councils, and are in full communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and with each other.

  • The Oriental Orthodox Churches: the Eastern Christian churches adhering to the teachings of only the first three Ecumenical Councils (plus the Second Council of Ephesus).

  • Eastern Christianity: Any Christian tradition tracing its origins to the East (the Balkans, Asia Minor, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, etc.) including the Eastern Catholic churches. This usage is generally considered improper although it is not uncommon.

  • Any Christian faith that adheres to the teachings of the first seven (or three) Ecumenical Councils of the Church.

  • Any particular Christian "faith" believed by its followers to be correct by comparison to other faiths. In this sense every Church considers its own faith orthodox.

Note: The Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches are generally not in communion and do not represent a unified religious tradition. (However the Syriac Orthodox Church of the Oriental Orthodox Communion and the Antiochian Orthodox Church of the Eastern Orthodox Communion are in communion with one another.) As such, the term Orthodox Christianity when used to refer to these two Churches collectively refers more to a common eastern influence than to doctrinal matters.

Orthodox Christians believe in God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit (The Trinity).

Orthodox Judaism   the formulation of Judaism that adheres to a relatively strict interpretation and application of the laws and ethics first canonized in the Talmudic texts ("Oral Torah") and as subsequently developed and applied by the later authorities known as the Gaonim, Rishonim, and Acharonim.

Orthodox Judaism is characterized by belief that the Torah and its laws are Divine, were transmitted by God to Moses, are eternal, and are unalterable; belief that there is also an oral law in Judaism, which contains the authoritative interpretation of the written Torah's legal sections, and is also Divine by virtue of having been transmitted by God to Moses along with the Written Law, as embodied in the Talmud, Midrash, and innumerable related texts, all intrinsically and inherently entwined with the written law of the Torah; belief that God has made an exclusive, unbreakable covenant with the Children of Israel to be governed by the Torah; adherence to Halakha, or Jewish law, including acceptance of codes, mainly the Shulchan Aruch, as authoritative practical guidance in application of both the written and oral laws, as well as acceptance of halakha-following Rabbis as authoritative interpreters and judges of Jewish law; belief in Jewish eschatology. Orthodox beliefs may be most found in their adherence to the thirteen Jewish principles of faith as stated by the Rambam (Maimonides).

Although Orthodox Jews are expected to observe all 613 mitzvot, certain core practices are generally considered essential to being Orthodox and converts are generally required to promise to observe:

  • Refraining from murder, idolatry, and certain biblically-prohibited sexual practices such as adultery and incest (See Self-sacrifice under Jewish law).

  • Shabbat, refraining from activities that violate the Jewish sabbath, and Jewish holidays.
  • Kashrut, the Jewish dietary laws.
  • Taharat Hamishpacha, the laws of family purity, restricting sexual relations for a prescribed period around menstruation and after childbirth.
  • Circumcision for males.

Our Lady  See Blessed Virgin Mary



Palestine  Also called  Holy Land.  Biblical name,  Canaan.  an ancient country in SW Asia, on the E coast of the Mediterranean.

Palestine is a name which has been widely used since Roman times to refer to the region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. In its broader meaning as a geographical term, Palestine can refer to an area that includes contemporary Israel and the Palestinian territories, parts of Jordan, and parts of Lebanon and Syria. In its narrow meaning, it refers to the area within the boundaries of the former British Mandate of Palestine (1920-1948) west of the Jordan River.

Palestine can also refer to the State of Palestine, declared by the Palestinian National Authority and recognized by over 100 countries. Within the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the use of the term Palestine can arouse fierce controversy.

Also known as  Holy Land, Canaan, Palestine, Promised Land

Pantheism    (Greek: ( 'pan' ) = all and ( 'theos' ) = God, which literally means "God is All" and "All is God"

Pantheism is the view that everything is part of an all-encompassing immanent abstract God; or that the Universe, or nature, and God are equivalent. More detailed definitions tend to emphasize the idea that natural law, existence, and the Universe (the sum total of all that is, was, and shall be) is represented in the theological principle of an abstract 'god' rather than a personal, creative deity or deities of any kind. This is the key feature which distinguishes them from panentheists and pandeists. As such, although many religions may claim to hold pantheistic elements, they are more commonly panentheistic or pandeistic in nature.

Some argue that pantheism is little more than a redefinition of the word "God" to mean "existence", "life" or "reality". Many pantheists would say that if this is so, such a shift in the way we think about these ideas can serve to create both a new and a potentially far more insightful conception of both existence and God.

Perhaps the most significant debate within the pantheistic community is about the nature of God. Classical pantheism believes in a personal, conscious, and omniscient God, and sees this God as uniting all true religions. Naturalistic pantheism believes in an unconscious, non-sentient Universe, which, while being holy and beautiful, is seen as being a God in a non-traditional and impersonal sense.

The viewpoints encompassed within the pantheistic community are necessarily diverse, but the central idea of the Universe being an all-encompassing unity and the sanctity of both nature and its natural laws are found throughout. Some pantheists also posit a common purpose for nature and man, while others reject the idea of purpose and view existence as existing "for its own sake."

Paran  Meaning: abounding in foliage, or abounding in caverns, (Gen. 21:21)

a desert tract forming the northeastern division of the peninsula of Sinai, lying between the 'Arabah on the east and the wilderness of Shur on the west

It is intersected in a northwestern direction by the Wady el-'Arish. It bears the modern name of Badiet et-Tih, i.e., "the desert of the wanderings." This district, through which the children of Israel wandered, lay three days' march from Sinai (Num. 10:12, 33). From Kadesh, in this wilderness, spies (q.v.) were sent to spy the land (13:3, 26). Here, long afterwards, David found refuge from Saul (1 Sam. 25:1, 4).

parchment  Prepared animal skin on which text is written.

Passover  (Hebrew, Yiddish: He-Pesach.ogg Pesach, Israeli: Pesah, Pesakh, Yiddish: Peysekh)

Passover is a Jewish and Samaritan holy day and festival commemorating God sparing the Jews when He killed the first born of Egypt. Followed by the seven day Feast of the Unleavened Bread commemorating the Exodus from Egypt and the liberation of the Israelites from slavery.

Passover begins on the 15th day of the month of Nisan, the full moon of that month, the first month of the Hebrew calendar's festival year according to the Hebrew Bible.

In the story of the Exodus, the Bible tells that God inflicted ten plagues upon the Egyptians before Pharaoh would release his Israelite slaves, with the tenth plague being the killing of firstborn sons. However, the Israelites were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a spring lamb, and upon seeing this, the spirit of the Lord passed over these homes, hence the term "passover".[3] When Pharaoh freed the Israelites, it is said that they left in such a hurry that they could not wait for bread to rise. In commemoration, for the duration of Passover, no leavened bread is eaten, for which reason it is also called (Chag HaMatzot), "The Festival of the Unleavened Bread". Matza (unleavened bread) is the primary symbol of the holiday. This bread that is flat and unrisen is called Matzo.

Together with Shavuot ("Pentecost") and Sukkot ("Tabernacles"), Passover is one of the three pilgrim festivals (Shalosh Regalim) during which the entire Jewish populace historically made a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem. Samaritans still make this pilgrimage to Mount Gerizim, but only men participate in public worship.

Pastoral epistles  The three pastoral epistles are books of the canonical New Testament:

  • the First Epistle to Timothy (1 Timothy) 

  • the Second Epistle to Timothy (2 Timothy), 
  • and the Epistle to Titus. 

They are presented as letters from Paul of Tarsus to Timothy and to Titus. They are generally discussed as a group (sometimes with the addition of the Epistle to Philemon) and are given the title pastoral not because they are uniquely caring or addressing personal needs, but because they are distinctive in being addressed to an individual person rather than a whole church or group of churches.

See epistle

Patriarch    See Patriarch Here in Names in The Bible

Patriarchs  See Patriarchs Here in Names in The Bible

Paul  See Paul Here in Names in The Bible

Pauline epistles   The Pauline epistles, Epistles of Paul, or Letters of Paul, are the thirteen New Testament books which have the name Paul as the first word, hence claiming authorship by Paul the Apostle. Among these letters are some of the earliest extant Christian documents. They provide an insight into the beliefs and controversies of formative Christianity and, as part of the canon of the New Testament, they have also been, and continue to be, foundational to Christian theology and ethics.

In the order they appear in the New Testament, the Pauline epistles are:

Paul the Apostle  See Saint Paul

Peleg  See Peleg Here in Names in The Bible

Peniel  Peniel is Hebrew for "face of God."

Pentecost (Ancient Greek: "the fiftieth day")

Pentecost is one of the prominent feasts in the Christian liturgical year, celebrated the 49th day (7 weeks) after Easter Sunday-or the 50th day, inclusively, whence its name is derived from the Greek. Pentecost falls on the tenth day after Ascension Thursday. Historically and symbolically related to the Jewish harvest festival of Shavuot or the day, fifty days after the Exodus, on which God gave the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai. In the New Testment times, Pentecost now commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus as described in the Book of Acts, Chapter 2. Pentecost is also called Whitsun, Whitsunday, or Whit Sunday, especially in the United Kingdom.

Pentecostal  any fundamentalist Protestant Church that uses revivalistic methods to achieve experiences comparable to the Pentecostal experiences of the first Christian disciples.

Pentecostalism is a renewalist religious movement within Christianity that places special emphasis on the direct personal experience of God through the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. The term Pentecostal is derived from Pentecost, or the Jewish Feast of Weeks, which commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the followers of Jesus Christ as described in the Book of Acts, Chapter 2.

Pentecostalism is an umbrella term which includes a wide range of different theological and organizational perspectives. As a result, there is no central organization or church which directs the movement. Most Pentecostals consider themselves part of broader Christian groups. For example, Pentecostals often identify as Evangelicals. Furthermore, many embrace the term Protestant, while others the term Restorationist. Pentecostalism is also theologically and historically close to the Charismatic Movement as the latter was influenced by the Pentecostal movement, and some Pentecostals use the two terms interchangeably.

Within Pentecostalism there are two major groups, Trinitarian and Oneness. Examples of Trinitarian denominations include the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) and the Assemblies of God while some Oneness denominations are the United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI) and Pentecostal Assemblies of the World (PAW). There are more than 130 million adherents to Pentecostalism. When Charismatics are included the number increases to nearly a quarter of the world's 2 billion Christians.


Pronounced As: "penttyook"

The first of three divisions of the Hebrew Scriptures comprising the first five books of the Hebrew Bible considered as a unit.

The first five books of the Old Testament. In the Hebrew Bible these books are called the Torah.

The five-fold volume, consisting of the first five books of the Old Testament. This word does not occur in Scripture, nor is it certainly known when the roll was thus divided into five  portions Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Probably that was done by the LXX. translators. Some modern  critics speak of a Hexateuch, introducing the Book of Joshua as one of the group. But this book is of an entirely different  character from the other books, and has a different author. It stands by itself as the first of a series of historical books  beginning with the entrance of the Israelites into Canaan. The books composing the Pentateuch are properly but one book, the "Law of Moses," the "Book of the Law of Moses," the "Book of Moses," or, as the Jews designate it, the "Torah" or "Law." That in its present form it "proceeds from a single author is proved  by its plan and aim, according to which its whole contents refer  to the covenant concluded between Jehovah and his people, by the instrumentality of Moses, in such a way that everything before  his time is perceived to be preparatory to this fact, and all  the rest to be the development of it. Nevertheless, this unity  has not been stamped upon it as a matter of necessity by the latest redactor: it has been there from the beginning, and is  visible in the first plan and in the whole execution of the work.", Keil, Einl. i.d. A. T. A certain school of critics have set themselves to reconstruct  the books of the Old Testament. By a process of "scientific  study" they have discovered that the so-called historical books  of the Old Testament are not history at all, but a miscellaneous  collection of stories, the inventions of many different writers, patched together by a variety of editors! As regards the Pentateuch, they are not ashamed to attribute fraud, and even  conspiracy, to its authors, who sought to find acceptance to their work which was composed partly in the age of Josiah, and partly in that of Ezra and Nehemiah, by giving it out to be the work of Moses! This is not the place to enter into the details  of this controversy. We may say frankly, however, that we have  no faith in this "higher criticism." It degrades the books of the Old Testament below the level of fallible human writings, and the arguments on which its speculations are built are  altogether untenable. The evidences in favour of the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch are conclusive. We may thus state some of them  briefly: (1.) These books profess to have been written by Moses in the name of God (Ex. 17:14; 24:3, 4, 7; 32:7-10, 30-34; 34:27; Lev. 26:46; 27:34; Deut. 31:9, 24, 25). (2.) This also is the uniform and persistent testimony of the Jews of all sects in all ages and countries (comp. Josh. 8:31, 32; 1 Kings 2:3; Jer. 7:22; Ezra 6:18; Neh. 8:1; Mal. 4:4; Matt. 22:24; Acts 15:21). (3.) Our Lord plainly taught the Mosaic authorship of these  books (Matt. 5:17, 18; 19:8; 22:31, 32; 23:2; Mark 10:9; 12:26; Luke 16:31; 20:37; 24:26, 27, 44; John 3:14; 5:45, 46, 47; 6:32, 49; 7:19, 22). In the face of this fact, will any one venture to allege either that Christ was ignorant of the composition of the Bible, or that, knowing the true state of the case, he yet  encouraged the people in the delusion they clung to? (4.) From the time of Joshua down to the time of Ezra there  is, in the intermediate historical books, a constant reference  to the Pentateuch as the "Book of the Law of Moses." This is a point of much importance, inasmuch as the critics deny that there is any such reference; and hence they deny the historical  character of the Pentateuch. As regards the Passover, e.g., we  find it frequently spoken of or alluded to in the historical  books following the Pentateuch, showing that the "Law of Moses" was then certainly known. It was celebrated in the time of Joshua (Josh. 5:10, cf. 4:19), Hezekiah (2 Chr. 30), Josiah (2 Kings 23; 2 Chr. 35), and Zerubbabel (Ezra 6:19-22), and is  referred to in such passages as 2 Kings 23:22; 2 Chr. 35:18; 1 Kings 9:25 ("three times in a year"); 2 Chr. 8:13. Similarly we  might show frequent references to the Feast of Tabernacles and other Jewish institutions, although we do not admit that any  valid argument can be drawn from the silence of Scripture in such a case. An examination of the following texts, 1 Kings 2:9; 2 Kings 14:6; 2 Chr. 23:18; 25:4; 34:14; Ezra 3:2; 7:6; Dan. 9:11, 13, will also plainly show that the "Law of Moses" was  known during all these centuries. Granting that in the time of Moses there existed certain oral  traditions or written records and documents which he was  divinely led to make use of in his history, and that his writing  was revised by inspired successors, this will fully account for certain peculiarities of expression which critics have called  "anachronisms" and "contradictions," but in no way militates  against the doctrine that Moses was the original author of the whole of the Pentateuch. It is not necessary for us to affirm  that the whole is an original composition; but we affirm that the evidences clearly demonstrate that Moses was the author of those books which have come down to us bearing his name. The Pentateuch is certainly the basis and necessary preliminary of the whole of the Old Testament history and literature. (See DEUTERONOMY)



officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, formerly known internationally as Persia until 1935, is a country in Central Eurasia, located on the northeastern shore of the Persian Gulf and the southern shore of the Caspian Sea. Since 1949, both the names "Persia" and "Iran" are used, however, Iran is used for an official and political context. The name Iran is a cognate of Aryan, and means "Land of the Aryans"

Persian People

Historical name for a region roughly coterminous with modern Iran. The term was used for centuries, chiefly in the West, and originally described a region of southern Iran formerly known as Persis or Parsa. Parsa was the name of an Indo-European nomadic people who migrated into the area c. 1000 BC; the use of the name was gradually extended by the ancient Greeks and other Western peoples to apply to the whole Iranian plateau. The people of Iran have always called their country Iran, and in 1935 the government requested that the name Iran be used instead of Persia.

Peshitta  (Syriac: simple, common)

The Peshitta is the standard version of the Christian Bible in the Syriac language.

The Old Testament of the Peshitta was translated from the Hebrew, probably in the second century. The New Testament of the Peshitta, which originally excluded certain disputed books, had become the standard by the early 5th century, replacing two early Syriac versions of the gospels.

Peter  See Peter Here in Names in The Bible

Pharaoh  the official title borne by the Egyptian kings down to the time when that country was conquered by the Greeks.

The name is a compound, as some think, of the words Ra, the “sun” or “sun-god,” and the article phe, “the,” prefixed; hence phera, “the sun,” or “the sun-god.” But others, perhaps more correctly, think the name derived from Perao, “the great house” = his majesty = in Turkish, “the Sublime Porte.”

1. The Pharaoh who was on the throne when Abram went down into Egypt (Gen. 12:10-20) was probably one of the Hyksos, or “shepherd kings.” The Egyptians called the nomad tribes of Syria Shasu, “plunderers,” their king or chief Hyk, and hence the name of those invaders who conquered the native kings and established a strong government, with Zoan or Tanis as their capital. They were of Semitic origin, and of kindred blood accordingly with Abram. They were probably driven forward by the pressure of the Hittites. The name they bear on the monuments is “Mentiu.”

2.  The Pharaoh of Joseph's days (Genesis 41) was probably Apopi, or Apopis, the last of the Hyksos kings.

To the old native Egyptians, who were an African race, shepherds were “an abomination;” but to the Hyksos kings these Asiatic shepherds who now appeared with Jacob at their head were congenial, and being akin to their own race, had a warm welcome (Gen. 47:5,6).

Some argue that Joseph came to Egypt in the reign of Thothmes III., long after the expulsion of the Hyksos, and that his influence is to be seen in the rise and progress of the religious revolution in the direction of monotheism which characterized the middle of the Eighteenth Dynasty.

The wife of Amenophis III., of that dynasty, was a Semite. Is this singular fact to be explained from the presence of some of Joseph's kindred at the Egyptian court? Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Thy father and thy brethren are come unto thee: the land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and brethren to dwell" (Gen. 47:5-6).

3.  The "new king who knew not Joseph" (Ex. 1:8-22) has been generally supposed to have been Aahmes I., or Amosis, as he is called by Josephus. Recent discoveries, however, have led to the conclusion that Seti was the “new king.”

For about seventy years the Hebrews in Egypt were under the powerful protection of Joseph. After his death their condition was probably very slowly and gradually changed. The invaders, the Hyksos, who for some five centuries had been masters of Egypt, were driven out, and the old dynasty restored. The Israelites now began to be looked down upon. They began to be afflicted and tyrannized over.

In process of time a change appears to have taken place in the government of Egypt. A new dynasty, the Nineteenth, as it is called, came into power under Seti I., who was its founder. He associated with him in his government his son, Rameses II., when he was yet young, probably ten or twelve years of age.

Note: Professor Maspero, keeper of the museum of Bulak, near Cairo, had his attention in 1870 directed to the fact that scarabs, i.e., stone and metal imitations of the beetle (symbols of immortality), originally worn as amulets by royal personages, which were evidently genuine relics of the time of the ancient Pharaohs, were being sold at Thebes and different places along the Nile.

This led him to suspect that some hitherto undiscovered burial-place of the Pharaohs had been opened, and that these and other relics, now secretly sold, were a part of the treasure found there. For a long time he failed, with all his ingenuity, to find the source of these rare treasures. At length one of those in the secret volunteered to give information regarding this burial-place.

The result was that a party was conducted in 1881 to Dier el-Bahari, near Thebes, when the wonderful discovery was made of thirty-six mummies of kings, queens, princes, and high priests hidden away in a cavern prepared for them, where they had lain undisturbed for thirty centuries.

"The temple of Deir el-Bahari stands in the middle of a natural amphitheatre of cliffs, which is only one of a number of smaller amphitheatres into which the limestone mountains of the tombs are broken up. In the wall of rock separating this basin from the one next to it some ancient Egyptian engineers had constructed the hiding-place, whose secret had been kept for nearly three thousand years.”

The exploring party being guided to the place, found behind a great rock a shaft 6 feet square and about 40 feet deep, sunk into the limestone. At the bottom of this a passage led westward for 25 feet, and then turned sharply northward into the very heart of the mountain, where in a chamber 23 feet by 13, and 6 feet in height, they came upon the wonderful treasures of antiquity. The mummies were all carefully secured and brought down to Bulak, where they were deposited in the royal museum, which has now been removed to Ghizeh.

Among the most notable of the ancient kings of Egypt thus discovered were Thothmes III., Seti I., and Rameses II. Thothmes III. was the most distinguished monarch of the brilliant Eighteenth Dynasty. When this mummy was unwound "once more, after an interval of thirty-six centuries, human eyes gazed on the features of the man who had conquered Syria and Cyprus and Ethiopia, and had raised Egypt to the highest pinnacle of her power.

The spectacle, however, was of brief duration. The remains proved to be in so fragile a state that there was only time to take a hasty photograph, and then the features crumbled to pieces and vanished like an apparition, and so passed away from human view for ever."

"It seems strange that though the body of this man," who overran Palestine with his armies two hundred years before the birth of Moses, "mouldered to dust, the flowers with which it had been wreathed were so wonderfully preserved that even their colour could be distinguished" (Manning's Land of the Pharaohs).

Seti I. (his throne name Merenptah), the father of Rameses II., was a great and successful warrior, also a great builder. The mummy of this Pharaoh, when unrolled, brought to view "the most beautiful mummy head ever seen within the walls of the museum. The sculptors of Thebes and Abydos did not flatter this Pharaoh when they gave him that delicate, sweet, and smiling profile which is the admiration of travellers. After a lapse of thirty-two centuries, the mummy retains the same expression which characterized the features of the living man. Most remarkable of all, when compared with the mummy of Rameses II., is the striking resemblance between the father and the son. Seti I. is, as it were, the idealized type of Rameses II. He must have died at an advanced age. The head is shaven, the eyebrows are white, the condition of the body points to considerably more than threescore years of life, thus confirming the opinions of the learned, who have attributed a long reign to this king."

4.  Rameses II., the son of Seti I., is probably the Pharaoh of the Oppression. During his forty years' residence at the court of Egypt, Moses must have known this ruler well. During his sojourn in Midian, however, Rameses died, after a reign of sixty-seven years, and his body embalmed and laid in the royal sepulchre in the Valley of the Tombs of Kings beside that of his father. Like the other mummies found hidden in the cave of Deir el-Bahari, it had been for some reason removed from its original tomb, and probably carried from place to place till finally deposited in the cave where it was so recently discovered.

In 1886, the mummy of this king, the “great Rameses,” the “Sesostris” of the Greeks, was unwound, and showed the body of what must have been a robust old man. The features revealed to view are thus described by Maspero:

"The head is long and small in proportion to the body. The top of the skull is quite bare. On the temple there are a few sparse hairs, but at the poll the hair is quite thick, forming smooth, straight locks about two inches [5.08 centimeters] in length. White at the time of death, they have been dyed a light yellow by the spices used in embalmment. The forehead is low and narrow; the brow-ridge prominent; the eye-brows are thick and white; the eyes are small and close together; the nose is long, thin, arched like the noses of the Bourbons; the temples are sunk; the cheek-bones very prominent; the ears round, standing far out from the head, and pierced, like those of a woman, for the wearing of earrings; the jaw-bone is massive and strong; the chin very prominent; the mouth small, but thick-lipped; the teeth worn and very brittle, but white and well preserved.

The moustache and beard are thin. They seem to have been kept shaven during life, but were probably allowed to grow during the king's last illness, or they may have grown after death. The hairs are white, like those of the head and