Barsabas  Meaning: son of Saba

This was the surname of two biblical men:

1. Joseph, also called Justus (Acts 1:23). Some identify him with Barnabas.

2. Judas, who was a “prophet.” Nothing more is known of him than what is mentioned in Acts 15:32.






Fatimah  Fatimah was a daughter of the Islamic prophet Muhammad from his first wife Khadija. She is regarded by Muslims as an exemplar for men and women. She remained at her father's side through the difficulties suffered by him at the hands of the Quraysh of Mecca. After migration to Medina, she married Ali ibn Abi Talib, Muhammad's cousin, and was mother to four of his children. She died a few months after her father, and was buried in Jannat al-Baqi in the city of Medina, although the exact location of her grave is unknown. Most Shias believe that she was injured when defending Ali against the first Khalifa, and that this incident led to her early death.

She seems to have performed only three acts of political significance, each recorded in almost all sources, both Sunni and Shia, though in different versions. First, after the conquest of Mecca she refused her protection to Abu Sufyan; second, after the death of the Prophet she defended Ali's cause, opposed the election of Abu Bakr, and had violent disputes with him and particularly with Umar; third, she laid claim to the property rights of her father and challenged Abu Bakr's categorical refusal to cede them, particularly Fadak and a share in the produce of Khaybar.


Gad  Meaning: fortune; luck

This was the name of two biblical men, a trible of Israel and a Diety

Gad, son of Jacob    Gad The Prophet      Gad (deity)

Gad  according to The Book of Genesis, the first son of Jacob and Zilpah, the seventh of Jacob overall, and the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Gad; however some Biblical scholars view this as postdiction, an eponymous metaphor providing an aetiology of the connectedness of the tribe to others in the Israelite confederation. The text of the Torah argues that the name of Gad means luck/fortunate, in Hebrew, deriving from a root meaning cut/divide, in the sense of divided out; classical rabbinical literature argues that the name was a prophetic reference to the manna; some Biblical scholars suspect that refers to a deity originally worshipped by the tribe, namely Gad, the Semitic deity of fortune, who, according to the Book of Isaiah, was still worshipped by certain Hebrews during the 6th century BC.

In the Biblical account, Gad's mother is only a handmaid, rather than a wife of Jacob, which scholars see as indicating that the authors saw the tribe of Gad as being not of entirely Israelite origin; many scholars believe that Gad was a late addition to the Israelite confederation, as implied by the Moabite Stone, which seemingly differentiates between the Israelites and the tribe of Gad, and the books of Samuel and Book of Kings, which appear to portray Gad as an enemy of Israel. Gad appears to have originally been a northwards-migrating nomadic tribe, at a time when the other tribes were quite settled in Canaan.

According to classical rabbinical literature, Gad was born on the tenth of Heshwan, and lived 125 years. These sources go on to state that, unlike his other brothers, Joseph didn't present Gad to the Pharaoh, since Joseph didn't want Gad to become one of Pharaoh's guards, an appointment that would have been likely had the Pharaoh realised that Gad had great strength

Gad (Bible prophet)

Gad was a seer or prophet in the Hebrew Bible. He was one of the personal prophets of King David of Israel and some of his writings are believed to be included in the Books of Samuel. He is first mentioned in 1 Samuel 22:5 telling David to return to the land of Judah.

The most important Biblical reference to Gad is 2 Samuel 24:11-13, where after David confesses his sin of taking a census of the people of Israel and Judah, God sends Gad to David to offer him his choice of three forms of punishment.

Gad is mentioned a last time in 2 Samuel 24:18, coming to David and telling him to build an altar to God after He stops the plague that David chose.

Gad (deity)

Gad was the name of the pan-Semitic god of fortune, and is attested in ancient records of Aram and Arabia. Gad is also mentioned by the Book of Isaiah (Isaiah 65:11 - some translations simply call him (the god of) Fortune), as having been worshipped by a number of Hebrews during the babylonian captivity. Gad apparently differed from the god of destiny, who was known as Meni. The root verb in Gad means cut or divide, and from this comes the idea of fate being meted out.

It is possible that the son of Jacob named Gad is named after This Gad, although the text presents a different reason, the (ketub) quotation of Zilpa (Gad's mother) giving the reason of Gad's name could be understood that way.

How wide-spread the cult of Gad, the deity, was in Canaanite times may be inferred from the names Baalgad, a city at the foot of Mount Hermon, and Migdal-gad, in the territory of Judah. Compare also the proper names Gaddi and Gaddiel in the tribes of Manasseh and Zebulun (Numbers 13:10, 11). At the same time it must not be supposed that Gad was always regarded as an independent deity. The name was doubtless originally an appellative, meaning the power that allots. Hence any of the greater gods supposed to favour men might be thought of as the giver of good fortune and be worshiped under that title; it is possible that Jupiter, the planet, may have been the Gad thus honoured - among the Arabs the planet Jupiter was called the greater Fortune (Venus was styled the lesser Fortune).

Gad is the patron of a locality, a mountain (Hul. 40a), of an idol (Gen. R. lxiv), a house, or the world (Gen. R. lxxi.). Hence "luck" may also be bad (Eccl. R. vii. 26). A couch or bed for this god of fortune is referred to in Ned. 56a.

See Also Tribe of Gad

Genghis Khan    (Temujin), Military Leader / Ruler

  • Born: ca. 1162 

  • Birthplace: Mongolia 
  • Died: August 1227 
  • Best Known As: 13th century Mongolian conqueror 

Genghis Khan was the official title of a Mongol warrior named Temujin, a 13th century ruler who founded an empire that included parts of China, Central Asia, the Middle East and Europe. After a childhood of violence and enslavement, Temujin became a powerful tribal chieftan. By 1206 he had unified rival clans and taken the title Genghis Khan (or Chinggis Khan), meaning "universal ruler." Over the next three decades he led a constant military campaign that ravaged vast areas and subjugated millions of people, earning him a reputation in the history books as a brutal monster. His successful military tactics included quick cavalry attacks and novel methods of siege warfare, and he is famous for adapting his methods to meet new challenges. In recent years his image in the West as a warmonger has been tempered somewhat with the acknowledgment that under his rule there was a beneficial transfer of culture and technology as his armies moved through Asia, the Middle East and Europe. An able administrator, Genghis Khan established an empire that lasted more than 150 years after his death. Over time his empire was divided and weakened and most of his conquests were lost; his last ruling descendant, Amil Khan of Bukhara, was deposed by Soviet forces in 1920.

Genghis Khan was the grandfather of another famous (and slightly more civilized) ruler, Kublai Khan.

Gilgamesh  (West Asian mythology)  Literary Hero / Royalty

  • Born: ca. 2700 B.C. 

  • Birthplace: Uruk, Babylonia (now Iraq) 
  • Died: ca. 2700 B.C. 
  • Best Known As: Sumerian king and hero of The Epic of Gilgamesh 

  • Gilgamesh is the central figure and hero of the Assyro-Babylonian myth The Epic of Gilgamesh, a story written on clay tablets that is considered to be the earliest known literary work. Gilgamesh was probably a real person who lived between 2,500 and 2,700 B.C., the fifth king in the First Dynasty of Uruk (modern-day Iraq). Fragments of the epic date from the second millennium B.C., and it's assumed the story was passed down orally, beginning a few hundred years after the death of Gilgamesh. The epic was lost until the middle of the 19th century, when tablets were discovered as part of the library of Nineveh's King Assurbanipal, who reigned in the 7th century B.C. The tablets found then are believed to be copies of 11 or 12 tablets recorded by a Babylonian named Sin-leqi-unninni around 1,200 B.C.

    In the story, Gilgamesh has a series of adventures with his companion, Enkidu, who then dies, causing Gilgamesh to grieve and reflect on his own mortality. While Enkidu goes to the netherworld, Gilgamesh sets out to find the secret to immortality. After a visit with Utnapishtim, the only human granted immortality by the gods, Gilgamesh learns that he must appreciate life as a mortal and accept that he won't live forever. The tablets are significant as an archeological record, and the story is significant because of parallels found in the Bible (especially the story of the Great Flood) and because it touches on the universal themes of the meaning of life, the dual nature of humanity and the differences between the divine and the human.

    Another text relates how Gilgamesh assisted Inanna in felling a tree, guarded by a snake, a wind, and an eagle. From the sacred timber they made a magic drum and drumstick, which Gilgamesh accidentally let fall into the nether world. When Enkidu tried to recover them, he forgot to observe the special instructions given for his protection, and was trapped forever. Out of a hole, opened in the ground by Ea, the spirit of the dead hero issued ‘like a puff of wind’, and described ‘the house of dust’, where princes were servants and earthly rank offered no protection at all.

    God   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"

    Etymology of the Word "God"
    (Anglo-Saxon God; German Gott; akin to Persian khoda; Hindu khooda).

    God can variously be defined as:

    • the proper name of the one Supreme and Infinite Personal Being, the Creator and Ruler of the universe, to whom man owes obedience and worship;

    • the common or generic name of the several supposed beings to whom, in polytheistic religions, Divine attributes are ascribed and Divine worship rendered;

    • the name sometimes applied to an idol as the image or dwelling-place of a god.

    The root-meaning of the name (from Gothic root gheu; Sanskrit hub or emu, "to invoke or to sacrifice to") is either "the one invoked" or "the one sacrificed to." From different Indo-Germanic roots (div, "to shine" or "give light"; thes in thessasthai "to implore") come the Indo-Iranian deva, Sanskrit dyaus (gen. divas), Latin deus, Greek theos, Irish and Gaelic dia, all of which are generic names; also Greek Zeus (gen. Dios, Latin Jupiter (jovpater), Old Teutonic Tiu or Tiw (surviving in Tuesday), Latin Janus, Diana, and other proper names of pagan deities. The common name most widely used in Semitic occurs as 'el in Hebrew, 'ilu in Babylonian, 'ilah in Arabic, etc.; and though scholars are not agreed on the point, the root-meaning most probably is "the strong or mighty one."

    Names of God
    The names of God revealed to ancient Israel in Old Testament times

    God of Israel   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.

    God the Father  In many religions, the supreme deity (God) is given the title and attributions of Father. In many forms of polytheism, the highest god has been conceived as a "father of gods and of men". In the Israelite religion and modern Judaism, God is called Father because he is the creator, law-giver, and protector. In Christianity, God is called Father for the same reasons, but especially because of the mystery of the Father-Son relationship revealed by Jesus Christ. In general, the name of Father applied to deity signifies that he is the origin of what is subject to him, a supreme and powerful authority, a patriarch, and protector.

    God the Son 

    Old Testament

    The New Testament considers the Old Testament to be prophetic of God the Son becoming the Son of God:


    • Psalm 2:7. You are my Son; today I have become your Father. [Cited by Luke in Acts 13:33; and in the Epistle to the Hebrews 1:5; 5:5]

    The expression "God the Son" is not used in the Old Testament; however it has the following, rather enigmatic, references to "sons" of God:

    • Genesis 6:2  That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.

    • Hosea 1:10. Israel, rejected now, will later be sons of the living God. [Cited by Paul in Romans 9:26.]

    • Psalm 82:6. All are gods, and sons of the Most High. [Cited by Jesus in John 10:34.]

    • Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7. The sons of God report to Yahweh, Satan among them (in 1:6; 2:1).

    New Testament 

    The exact phrase "God the Son" is not attested in the New Testament. Later theological use of this expression reflects what came to be standard interpretation of New Testament references, understood to imply Jesus' divinity, but the distinction of his person from that of the one God he called his Father. As such, the title is associated more with the development of the doctrine of the Trinity than with the Christological debates. There are many places in the New Testament where Jesus is given the title "the Son of God", but this is not considered to be an equivalent expression.

    Matthew cites Jesus as saying, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God (5:9)." The gospels go on to document a great deal of controversy over Jesus being the Son of God, in a unique way. The book of the Acts of the Apostles and the letters of the New Testament, however, record the early teaching of the first Christians - those who believed Jesus to be both the Son of God, the Messiah, a man appointed by God, as well as God himself. This is evident in many places, however, the early part of the book of Hebrews addresses the issue in a deliberate, sustained argument, citing the scriptures of the Hebrew Bible as authorities. For example, the author quotes Psalm 45:6 as addressed by Yahweh to Jesus.

    • Hebrews 1:8. About the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever."

    The author of Hebrews' description of Jesus as the exact representation of the divine Father has parallels in a passage in Colossians.

    • Colossians 2:9-10. "in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form"

    John's gospel quotes Jesus at length regarding his relationship with his heavenly Father. It also contains two famous attributions of divinity to Jesus.

    • John 1:1. "the Word was God" [in context, the Word is Jesus]

    • John 20:28. "Thomas said to him, 'My Lord and my God!'"

    The most direct references to Jesus as God are found in various letters.

    • Romans 9:5. "Christ, who is God over all"

    • Titus 2:13. "our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ"

    • 2 Peter 1:1. "our God and Savior Jesus Christ"

    The biblical basis for later trinitarian statements in creeds is the early baptism formula found in Matthew 28.

    • Matthew 28:19. Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name [note the singular] of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. See also Great Commission.

    Gomer   Gomer is the eldest son of Japheth (and therefore of the Japhetic line), and father of Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah, according to the "Table of Nations" in the Hebrew Bible. (Genesis 10).

    The eponymous Gomer, "standing for the whole family," as the compilers of the Jewish Encyclopedia expressed it is also mentioned in Book of Ezekiel 38:6 as the ally of Gog, the chief of the land of Magog.

    In Islamic folklore, the Persian historian Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari (c. 915) recounts a Persian tradition that Gomer lived to the age of 1000, noting that this record equalled that of Nimrod, but was unsurpassed by anyone else mentioned in the Torah


    Habakkuk  a prophet in the Hebrew Bible.

    Prophet of Judah whose date is uncertain but may have lived in the time of Kings Josiah and Jehoiakim. Nothing is known of him. The name may be derived from the Akkadian word for a type of a plant.

    He is the eighth of the twelve minor prophets and likely the author of the Book of Habakkuk, which bears his name.

    Habakkuk is unique among the prophets in that he openly questions the wisdom of God (1:3a, 1:13b). In the first part of the first chapter, the Prophet sees the injustice among his people and asks why God does not take action: "1:2 Yahweh, how long will I cry, and you will not hear? I cry out to you 'Violence!' and will you not save?" - (World English Bible).

    Hagar ("Stranger")

     In The Book of Genesis, Hagar is an Egyptian-born servant of Sarah, wife of Abraham.

    Hagar is the Egyptian slave of Abraham and Sarah, mentioned in Genesis 16. As was the custom, the childless Sarah offered Hagar to her husband Abraham to provide him with an heir. The son born from this union was Ishmael.

    The text avoids praise of these actions, and traditional readings often hold that this ignored God's promise to provide Abraham with an heir through Sarah herself. When this promise was fulfilled in the birth of Isaac, Ishmael's behavior was deemed unacceptable, and so Hagar and Ishmael were expelled from the camp of Abraham. This continues a theme of younger sons supplanting older ones that is found through out Torah.

    Ishmael is held by tradition to be the father of the Arab people, and a ancestor of Muhammad.

    Haggai   (Hebrew:  haggay or "Hag-i")

    For the prophetic book, see Book of Haggai.

    Haggai was one of the twelve minor prophets and the author of the Book of Haggai. His name means "my feast". He was the first of three prophets (with Zechariah, his contemporary, and Malachi, who lived about one hundred years later), whose ministry belonged to the period of Jewish history which began after the return from captivity in Babylon.

    Scarcely anything is known of his personal history. He may have been one of the captives taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. He began his ministry about sixteen years after the return of the Jews to Judah (ca. 520 BCE). The work of rebuilding the temple had been put to a stop through the intrigues of the Samaritans. After having been suspended for eighteen years, the work was resumed through the efforts of Haggai and Zechariah. They exhorted the people, which roused them from their lethargy, and induced them to take advantage of a change in the policy of the Persian government under Darius the Great.

    The name Haggai, with various vocalizations, is also found in the Book of Esther, as a eunuch servant of the Queen.

    Ham   ("hot")

    According to the Table of Nations in The Book of Genesis, Ham was a son of Noah and the father of Cush, Mizraim, Phut, and Canaan.

    Traditionally, it is held that Ham was one of the sons of Noah who moved southwest into Africa and parts of the near Middle East, and was the forefather of the nations there. The Bible refers to Egypt as "the land of Ham" in (Psalms 78:51; 105:23,27; 106:22; 1Ch 4:40). The Hebrew word for Egypt was Mizraim (probably literally meaning the two lands), and was the name of one of Ham's sons. The Egyptian word for Egypt was Khem, plausibly the origin of the name Ham, or vice versa, according to sound change between languages. The names of Ham's other children correspond to regions within Egyptian influence - Kush, Canaan, and Phut (probably identical with the Pitu, a Libyan tribe, though often associated with Punt, an ancient name for Benadir).

    Hamor   Meaning: he-ass

    a Hivite from whom Jacob purchased the plot of ground in which Joseph was afterwards buried (Gen. 33:19). He is called "Emmor" in Acts 7:16

    His son Shechem founded the city of that name which Simeon and Levi destroyed because of his crime in the matter of Dinah, Jacob's daughter (Gen. 34:20). Hamor and Shechem were also slain (ver. 26).

    Hannah (also occasionally transliterated as Chana)

    Hannah  was a wife of Elkanah mentioned in the Books of Samuel. According to the Hebrew Bible she was the mother of Samuel. The Hebrew word "Hannah" has many meanings and interpretations such as beauty or passion.

    In the Biblical narrative, Hannah is one of two wives of Elkanah; the other, Peninnah, bore a child to Elkanah, but Hannah remained childless. Nevertheless, Elkanah preferred Hannah. Every year Elkanah would offer a sacrifice at the Shiloh sanctuary, and give Hannah twice as big a portion of it as he would to Penninah. One day Hannah went up to the temple, and prayed silently, while Eli the High Priest was sitting on a chair near the doorpost. In her prayer she begs for a child in return for giving the child up, putting him in the service of the Shiloh priests, and raising him as a nazir.

    Eli thought she was drunk and questioned her, but when she explained herself he sends her away and effectively says that her prayer will be heard and her desire granted. That night she went home with her husband, they had marital relations, and she became pregnant. As promised, when the child was born, she raised him as a nazarite and put him into the service of the Shiloh priests, then she sang/prayed a song of praise for his birth - the Song of Hannah. Subsequently, when the child proved himself a good worker, Eli blesses Hannah again, and Hannah has four or five more children. (From the text it is unclear whether she had five children total, or five in addition to Samuel. See In Samuel 2:21.)

    Hanna or Chana is also the name of a woman found in the Talmud. The narrative is commonly referred to as "Chana and her seven sons". In 165 BCE, King Antiochos declared that Chana's seven sons bow down to him, and proclaim him as God. Each of the sons refused to bow down to His Highness, and they were each executed in front of their mother Chana, one by one. When Chana's last son was executed, the pain was unbearable, and she committed suicide. She is remembered with high regard for her religious stead-fastness, teaching her sons to keep to their faith, even if it means execution.

    Chana is a commonly used name in today's Jewish traditional culture, as remembrance of the women illustrated in the Bible. Children born with the name Chana are usually nicknamed "Chanie", as it is a child-friendly pronunciation, while keeping the root of the name "Chana" intact.

    Haran   In the Bible, Haran is the name of two men and of a place. Though usually spelled identically in English, they are not in Hebrew.

    The Book of Genesis records that a man named Haran was born and died in Ur of the Chaldees. He was a son of Terah and brother of Nahor and Abram (later Abraham). Haran was the father of Lot, Milcah, and Iscah (Genesis 11:27, 29).

    According to The Book of Genesis, sometime after Haran's death, Terah set out with Abram, Abram's wife Sarai, and Lot towards Canaan, along the way settling in the place called Haran (also spelled Harran, Charan, and Charran). After the death of Terah in Haran (also related in Acts 7:4), Abram, Sarai and Lot continued on to (southern) Canaan, current-day Israel. The city of Harran, in modern southern Turkey (32 km/20 mi southeast of S,anl?urfa, formerly Edessa) near the border with Syria, is probably the Haran of the Biblical accounts.

    Another Haran is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 2:46. He is a son of Caleb (great-grandson of Judah son of Jacob) and father of Gazez.

    Hebron   Meaning: a community; Alliance

    This was the name of two biblical cities and one man.

    1,  The third son of Kohath the Levite (Ex. 6:18; 1 Chr. 6:2, 18).

    2. The son of Mareshah (1 Chr. 2:42,43).

    Henry VIII of England   (28 June 1491 - 28 January 1547)

    Henry VIII was King of England and Lord of Ireland, later King of Ireland and claimant to the Kingdom of France, from 21 April 1509 until his death. Henry was the second monarch of the House of Tudor, succeeding his father, Henry VII.

    Henry VIII was a significant figure in the history of the English monarchy. Although in the great part of his reign he brutally suppressed the Protestant reformation of the church, a movement having roots with John Wycliffe of the 14th century, he is more popularly known for his political struggles with Rome. These struggles ultimately led to his separating the Anglican church from the Roman hierarchy, the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and establishing himself as the Supreme Head of the Church of England. Although some claim he became a Protestant on his death-bed, he advocated Catholic ceremony and doctrine throughout his life. Royal backing of the English Reformation was left to his heirs, the devout Edward VI and the renowned Elizabeth I, whilst daughter Mary I temporarily reinstated papal authority over England. Henry also oversaw the legal union of England and Wales (see Laws in Wales Acts 1535-1542). He is noted for his six marriages.

    Herod the Great  (Matt. 2:1-22; Luke 1:5; Acts 23:35)

    the son of Antipater, an Idumaean, and Cypros, an Arabian of noble descent.

    In the year B.C. 47 Julius Caesar made Antipater, a "wily Idumaean," procurator of Judea, who divided his territories between his four sons, Galilee falling to the lot of Herod, who was afterwards appointed tetrarch of Judea by Mark Antony (B.C. 40), and also king of Judea by the Roman senate.

    He was of a stern and cruel disposition. "He was brutish and a stranger to all humanity." Alarmed by the tidings of one "born King of the Jews," he sent forth and "slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under" (Matt. 2:16). He was fond of splendour, and lavished great sums in rebuilding and adorning the cities of his empire. He rebuilt the city of Caesarea (q.v.) on the coast, and also the city of Samaria (q.v.), which he called Sebaste, in honor of Augustus. He restored the ruined temple of Jerusalem, a work which was begun B.C. 20, but was not finished till after Herod's death, probably not till about A.D. 50 (John 2:20). After a troubled reign of thirty-seven years, he died at Jericho amid great agonies both of body and mind, B.C. 4, i.e., according to the common chronology, in the year in which Jesus was born.

    After his death his kingdom was divided among three of his sons. Of these, Philip had the land east of Jordan, between Caesarea Philippi and Bethabara, Antipas had Galilee and Peraea, while Archelaus had Judea and Samaria.

    Hezekiah  Meaning: whom Jehovah has strengthened

    son of Ahaz (2 Kings 18:1; 2 Chr. 29:1), whom he succeeded on the throne of the kingdom of Judah

    He reigned twenty-nine years (B.C. 726-697). The history of this king is contained in 2 Kings 18:20, Isa. 36-39, and 2 Chr. 29-32. He is spoken of as a great and good king. In public life he followed the example of his great-grandfather Uzziah. He set himself to abolish idolatry from his kingdom, and among other things which he did for this end, he destroyed the “brazen serpent,” which had been removed to Jerusalem, and had become an object of idolatrous worship (Num. 21:9). A great reformation was wrought in the kingdom of Judah in his day (2 Kings 18:4; 2 Chr. 29:3-36).

    On the death of Sargon and the accession of his son Sennacherib to the throne of Assyria, Hezekiah refused to pay the tribute which his father had paid, and "rebelled against the king of Assyria, and served him not," but entered into a league with Egypt (Isa. 30; 31; 36:6-9). This led to the invasion of Judah by Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:13-16), who took forty cities, and besieged Jerusalem with mounds. Hezekiah yielded to the demands of the Assyrian king, and agreed to pay him three hundred talents of silver and thirty of gold (18:14).

    But Sennacherib dealt treacherously with Hezekiah (Isa. 33:1), and a second time within two years invaded his kingdom (2 Kings 18:17; 2 Chr. 32:9; Isa. 36). This invasion issued in the destruction of Sennacherib's army. Hezekiah prayed to God, and "that night the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians 185,000 men." Sennacherib fled with the shattered remnant of his forces to Nineveh, where, seventeen years after, he was assassinated by his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer (2 Kings 19:37).

    The narrative of Hezekiah's sickness and miraculous recovery is found in 2 Kings 20:1, 2 Chr. 32:24, Isa. 38:1. Various ambassadors came to congratulate him on his recovery, and among them Merodach-baladan, the viceroy of Babylon (2 Chr. 32:23; 2 Kings 20:12). He closed his days in peace and prosperity, and was succeeded by his son Manasseh. He was buried in the "chiefest of the sepulchres of the sons of David" (2 Chr. 32:27-33). He had "after him none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him" (2 Kings 18:5).

    Hezron   Meaning: enclosed

    The name of two biblical men and one place&ldots;

    1.  One of the sons of Reuben (Gen. 46:9; Ex. 6:14).

    2. The older of the two sons of Pharez (Gen. 46:12).

    3.  A plain in the south of Judah, west of Kadesh-barnea (Josh. 15:3).

    Hilkiah   a Hebrew Priest at the time of King Josiah. His name is mentioned in II Kings. He was the High Priest over the Temple of priests that were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, and was the father of an influential family in the Kingdom of Judah. He is known for finding a lost copy of the Book of the Torah at the Temple in Jerusalem at the time that King Josiah commanded that the Holy Temple be refurbished (2 Kings 22:8). Hilkiah may have been the same Hilkiah who was the father of Jeremiah the prophet, and possibly also Ezekiel the priest, whose mother was Buzi (from the Hebrew root "Buz" which means contempt) His preaching may have helped spur Josiah to return Judah to the worship of Yahweh, the God of Israel.

    Many believe that the discovered "book" was ultimately added to the Hebrew canon as the Book of Deuteronomy. Scholars note that the so-called Deuteronomic Code differs in tone and narrative style from the preceding 4 books of the Pentateuch while still referring to them throughout. Scrolls and books of later antiquity, particularly those of the Greco-Roman overrule in Judea, were summarily discounted by Hebrew biblical redactors. Conversely this "book", whose discovery is touted in II Kings, was therefore believed to have been of an early enough authorship to validate, not only its inclusion, but the book's ultimate placement as the 5th of the "Five Books of Moses".

    Hophni  Meaning: pugilist or client

    This was the name one of the two sons of Eli, the high priest (1 Sam. 1:3; 2:34), who, because he was “very old,” resigned to them the active duties of his office. By their scandalous conduct they brought down a curse on their father's house (2:22, 12-36; 3:11-14).

    For their wickedness they were called "sons of Belial," i.e., worthless men (2:12). They both perished in the disastrous battle with the Philistines at Aphek (4:11).

    Hosea  ("may the Lord save")

    (The Hebrew Bible mentions five different persons named Hoshea. The KJV and subsequent English versions call the prophet, Hosea, and the others Hoshea.)

    Hosea the prophet was the son of Beeri (Hos 1:1). The information that Hosea experienced his revelation during the reigns of Uzziah (769-733 B.C.), Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah (727-698 B.C.), kings of Judah (Hos 1:1) appears to contradict the continuation of the verse which states that Hosea experienced prophetic revelation during the reign of Jeroboam II son of Joash (784-748 B.C.). The two statements have been explained as a conflation of the dates given to Isaiah in Isaiah 1:1 and to Amos in Amos 1:1. According to Hosea 1:2, the prophet's inaugural vision commanded him to marry a harlot and thereby symbolize Israel's disloyalty to the Lord. Hosea thereupon married Gomer, who bore him three children, given the symbolic names Jezreel, Lo-Ruhamah and Lo-Ammi (Hos 1:3-9). In a later vision, Hosea was commanded to befriend a woman who, while befriended by a companion (i.e., the prophet), consorts with others, just as the Lord befriended the Israelites; "who look to other gods" (Hos 3:1). Hosea then contracted with an unnamed woman that she should "not play the harlot" nor "have a man" for a long time (Hos 3:2). This arrangement is said to symbolize a period during which Israel would be without a king or any cultic installations (Hos 3:4). Thereafter Israel will repent and be duly rewarded (Hos 3:5). No further biographical information about Hosea is contained in the Bible.

    Concordance  Hos 1:1-2

    Hoshea  See Jesus  or  Joshua


    Hystaspes may refer to:



    Ibrahim   See Abraham

    Ichabod  meaning inglorious in Hebrew

    Ichabod is named by the Books of Samuel as the brother of Ahitub. Ichabod is also identified by the Books of Samuel as having been the son of Phinehas, and as having been born on the day that the Ark was taken into Philistine captivity. His mother went into labour due to the shock of hearing that her husband and father-in-law died and the Ark had been captured. The identity and name of his mother is not given, and she is said to have died shortly after having given birth to him, and having named him.

    In the masoretic version of the Books of Samuel, his name is said to be a reference to the fact that the glory is departed from Israel, either in reference to the death of his father, or of Eli, or a reference to the loss of the Ark. The Septuagint, however, states that his name was a complaint: woe to the glory of Israel. The Codex Vaticanus refers to him as ouai barchaboth, i.e. as I Bar Chabod - I, son of Chabod or No, son of Glory. According to textual scholars, this section of the Book of Samuel, the sanctuaries source, derives from a fairly late source compared with other parts, and hence this justification of his name may simply be a folk etymology.

    While Ichabod is barely mentioned in the current text of the Hebrew Bible, the fact that Ahitub is referred to as the brother of Ichabod, rather than as son of Phinehas (or of anyone else), has led textual scholars to suspect that Ichabod was once seen as a far more significant individual, although the reasons for his importance are no longer known. Some scholars have argued that Ichabod may be the historic figure underlying the biblical Jacob, having first concluded that both Jacob and Ichabod are corruptions of Jochebed/Jocabod, meaning yahweh is the [divine] glory.

    Ikhnaton  see Akhenaton

    Immanuel Kant  See Kant, Immanuel

    Ipepi  See Apepi

    Irad  was the son of Enoch in the biblical account of the descendants of Cain, listed at Genesis 4:18.

    Irenaeus   (Greek: , (b. 2nd century; d. end of 2nd/beginning of 3rd century)

     Irenaeus as bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul, which is now Lyon, France. His writings were formative in the early development of Christian theology, and he is recognized as a saint by both the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church; both consider him a Father of the Church. He was a notable early Christian apologist. He was also a disciple of Polycarp, who was said to be a disciple of John the Evangelist. His feast day is 28 June.

    Isa  See Jesus in Islam

    Isaac  (Hebrew: Yitzchak , "he will laugh")

    According to the Hebrew Bible, Isaac is the son of Abraham and Sarah, and the father of Jacob and Esau. His story is told in The Book of Genesis. Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born. (Genesis 21:1-5) Isaac was the longest-lived of the patriarchs, and the only biblical patriarch whose name was not changed. Isaac was the only patriarch who did not leave Canaan, although he once tried to leave and God told him not to do so. Compared to other patriarchs in the Bible, his story is less colorful, relating few incidents of his life.

    The New Testament contains few references to Isaac. The Christian Church views Abraham's willingness to follow God's command to sacrifice Isaac as an example of faith and obedience.

    Muslims honour Isaac as a prophet of Islam. A few of the children of Isaac appear in the Qur'an. The Qur'an views Isaac as a righteous man, servant of God and the father of Israelites. The Qur'an states that Isaac and his progeny are blessed as long as they uphold their covenant with God. Some early Muslims believed that Isaac was the son who was supposed to be sacrificed by Abraham. This view however ceased to find support among Muslim scholars in later centuries.

    Some academic scholars have described Isaac as "a legendary figure" while others view him "as a figure representing tribal history, though as a historical individual" or "as a seminomadic leader.

    Iscah  Meaning: spy
    Iscah is the daughter of Haran and sister of Milcah and Lot (Gen. 11:29, 31)

    Isaiah   Hebrew: Yesh'yahu, meaning: "the salvation of Jehovah"

    This was the name of various biblical men . . .

    The major character would be the first of the three major prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel. One of the 24 Books of the Bible. Isaiah is renowned for its message of consolation and hope and its vivid portrayal of the glory of the Messianic Era.

    The son of Amoz (Isa. 1:1; 2:1), who was apparently a man of humble rank. His wife was called “the prophetess” (8:3), either because she was endowed with the prophetic gift, like Deborah (Judg. 4:4) and Huldah (2 Kings 22:14-20), or simply because she was the wife of “the prophet” (Isa. 38:1). He had two sons, who bore symbolical names.

    He exercised the functions of his office during the reigns of Uzziah (or Azariah), Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah (1:1). Uzziah reigned fifty-two years (B.C. 810-759), and Isaiah must have begun his career a few years before Uzziah's death, probably B.C. 762. He lived till the fourteenth year of Hezekiah, and in all likelihood outlived that monarch (who died B.C. 698), and may have been contemporary for some years with Manasseh. Thus Isaiah may have prophesied for the long period of at least sixty-four years.

    His first call to the prophetical office is not recorded. A second call came to him "in the year that King Uzziah died" (Isa. 6:1). He exercised his ministry in a spirit of uncompromising firmness and boldness in regard to all that bore on the interests of religion. He conceals nothing and keeps nothing back from fear of man. He was also noted for his spirituality and for his deep-toned reverence toward "the holy One of Israel."

    In early youth Isaiah must have been moved by the invasion of Israel by the Assyrian monarch Pul (q.v.), 2 Kings 15:19; and again, twenty years later, when he had already entered on his office, by the invasion of Tiglath-pileser and his career of conquest. Ahaz, king of Judah, at this crisis refused to co-operate with the kings of Israel and Syria in opposition to the Assyrians, and was on that account attacked and defeated by Rezin of Damascus and Pekah of Samaria (2 Kings 16:5; 2 Chr. 28:5, 6). Ahaz, thus humbled, sided with Assyria, and sought the aid of Tiglath-pileser against Israel and Syria. The consequence was that Rezin and Pekah were conquered and many of the people carried captive to Assyria (2 Kings 15:29; 16:9; 1 Chr. 5:26). Soon after this Shalmaneser determined wholly to subdue the kingdom of Israel. Samaria was taken and destroyed (B.C. 722). So long as Ahaz reigned, the kingdom of Judah was unmolested by the Assyrian power; but on his accession to the throne, Hezekiah (B.C. 726), who "rebelled against the king of Assyria" (2 Kings 18:7), in which he was encouraged by Isaiah, who exhorted the people to place all their dependence on Jehovah (Isa. 10:24; 37:6), entered into an Alliance with the king of Egypt (Isa. 30:2-4). This led the king of Assyria to threaten the king of Judah, and at length to invade the land. Sennacherib (B.C. 701) led a powerful army into Palestine. Hezekiah was reduced to despair, and submitted to the Assyrians (2 Kings 18:14-16). But after a brief interval war broke out again, and again Sennacherib (q.v.) led an army into Palestine, one detachment of which threatened Jerusalem (Isa. 36:2-22; 37:8). Isaiah on that occasion encouraged Hezekiah to resist the Assyrians (37:1-7), whereupon Sennacherib sent a threatening letter to Hezekiah, which he "spread before the Lord" (37:14). The judgement of God now fell on the Assyrian host.

    "Like Xerxes in Greece, Sennacherib never recovered from the shock of the disaster in Judah. He made no more expeditions against either Southern Palestine or Egypt."

    The remaining years of Hezekiah's reign were peaceful (2 Chr. 32:23, 27-29). Isaiah probably lived to its close, and possibly into the reign of Manasseh, but the time and manner of his death are unknown. There is a tradition that he suffered martyrdom in the heathen reaction in the time of Manasseh (q.v.).

    2.  One of the heads of the singers in the time of David (1 Chr. 25:3,15, "Jeshaiah").

    3.  A Levite (1 Chr. 26:25).

    4.  Ezra 8:7.

    5.  Neh. 11:7.

    Iscariot  See JUDAS

    Ishaq   See Isaac

    Ish bosheth   Ishbóshet; also called Eshbaal, Ashbaal or Ishbaal
     Ish-bosheth  appears in the Hebrew Bible. He was born in c. 1047 BCE and was one of the four sons of King Saul with Ahinoam, daughter of Ahimaaz. Ish-bosheth was chosen as the second king over the Kingdom of Israel, which then consisted of all the twelve tribes of the Israelites, after the death of his father and three brothers at the Battle of Mount Gilboa.

    Ishmael   Ishmael is the son of Abraham and Hagar. Ishmael literally means, "God hears."

    Ishmael is mentioned in both the Tanakh and the Qur'an, is in traditional Jewish, Christian and Islamic belief, the ancestor of the Arabs.

    Ishmael in Islam

    In the Qur'an, Ishmael is known as the first-born son of Abraham from Hagar and an appointed Prophet of God (also mentioned in the Bible). Islamic tradition holds that Abraham married Hagar, the mother of Ishmael. As a result Ishmael was the first legitimate son of Abraham. Islam asserts that he was the one nearly sacrificed, not Isaac (or Ishaq in the Qur'an). Abraham'swillingness to sacrifice his son for God is celebrated in Eid ul-Adha every year by Muslims.

    Islamic tradition holds that Ishmael and Hagar were sent to the deserts of Arabia on the orders of God (Allah). He and his mother settled in Mecca (or "Makkah") and were without water. The frantic running of his mother in pursuit of water led to a miraculous spring appearing from the ground (from God) known as the Zamzam Well. Ishmael then helped his father, Abraham, build the House of God, or the Kaaba, in Mecca.

    Ishmael is stated to have been buried near the Kaaba on the grounds of the Masjid al Haram.

    Ishmael in Judaism and Christianity

    In the Old Testament's  Book of Genesis (xvi, xvii, xxi, xxv) and later texts, Ishmael or Yishma'el ("God will hear", Standard Hebrew Yišma?el, Tiberian Hebrew Yišma?êl) is Abraham's eldest son, born by his second wife Hagar. In Genesis 16 Sarai (Abram's wife) gives Abram her maid-servant Hagar to bear him children, since she acknowledged that God had kept her from having children (16:2).

    Hagar became pregnant and was despised by Sarai (16:4) who subsequently ill-treated her. As a result she ran away from home into the desert where an angel found her near a spring. Here the prophecy of Ishmael is recorded in Genesis 16:

    11 "You are now with child and you will have a son. You shall name him Ishmael (God hears), for the LORD has heard of your misery.

    12 "He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.

    The well of Hagar in Genesis 16 was named Beer lahai-roi ("Well of the Living One who Sees Me" or as some render it, "Well of the Vision of Life")

    Sarah became pregnant (Genesis 21) and bore Isaac. Christian and Jewish traditions hold that on the day of his weaning, Ishmael was mocking and so was driven out. They wandered in the desert of Beersheba (well of the oath) and when the water was gone she put the child under a bush and went a distance (a bowshot) away to die. The Bible does not explicitly mention the child crying but does mention Hagar sobbing. Strangely enough, (Genesis 21:17) it says God heard the boy crying (as opposed to the mother who was explicitly mentioned as crying). A well miraculously appears to save both child and mother.

    According to Genesis 21, he became a skilled archer and lived in the desert; his mother obtained a wife for him from Egypt.

    Ismail  See Ishmael above

    Issachar   Issachar/Yissachar  "Reward; recompense"

    Issachar was, according to The Book of Genesis, a son of Jacob and Leah (the fifth son of Leah, and ninth son of Jacob), and the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Issachar; however some Biblical scholars view this as postdiction, an eponymous metaphor providing an aetiology of the connectedness of the tribe to others in the Israelite confederation. The text of the Torah gives two different etymologies for the name of Issachar, which textual scholars attribute to different sources - one to the Yahwist and the other to the Elohist; the first being that it derives from ish sakar, meaning man of hire, in reference to Leah's hire of Jacob's sexual favours for the price of some mandrakes; the second being that it derives from yesh sakar, meaning there is a reward, in reference to Leah's opinion that the birth of Issachar was a divine reward for giving her handmaid Zilpah to Jacob as a concubine. Scholars suspect the former explanation to be the more likely name for a tribe, though some scholars have proposed a third etymology - that it derives from ish Sokar, meaning man of Sokar, in reference to the tribe originally worshipping Sokar, an Egyptian deity.

    In the Biblical account, Leah's status as the first wife of Jacob, is regarded by biblical scholars as indicating that the authors saw the tribe of Issachar as being one of the original Israelite groups; however, this may have been the result of a typographic error, as the names of Issachar and Naphtali appear to have changed places elsewhere in the text, and the birth narrative of Issachar and Naphtali is regarded by textual scholars as having been spliced together from its sources in a manner which has highly corrupted the narrative. A number of scholars think that the tribe of Issachar actually originated as the Shekelesh group of Sea Peoples - the name Shekelesh can be decomposed as men of the Shekel in Hebrew, a meaning synonymous with man of hire (ish sakar); scholars believe that the memory of such non-Israelite origin would have led to the Torah's authors having given Issachar a handmaiden as a matriarch.

    In classical rabbinical literature, it is stated that Issachar was born on the fourth of Ab, and lived 122 years. According to the midrashic Book of Jasher, Issachar married Aridah, the younger daughter of Jobab, a son of Joktan; the Torah states that Issachar had four sons, who were born in Canaan and migrated with him to Egypt with their descendants remaining there until the Exodus. The midrashic Book of Jasher portrays Issachar as somewhat cowardly, or at least pragmatic, with him taking a feeble part in military campaigns involving his brothers, and generally residing in strongly fortified cities, opening the gates whenever challenged.

    The Talmud argues that Issachar's description in the Blessing of Jacob - Issachar is a strong ass lying down between the sheepfolds: and he saw that settled life was good, and the land was pleasant; he put his shoulder to the burden, and became a slave under forced labour[ - is a reference to the religious scholarship of the tribe of Issachar, though scholars feel that it may more simply be a literal interpretation of Issachar's name, and the justification for the tribe of Issachar being a tributary to the Canaanites.

    Ithamar  Meaning: palm isle

    This was the name of the fourth and youngest son of Aaron (1 Chr. 6:3). He was consecrated to the priesthood along with his brothers (Ex. 6:23); and after the death of Nadab and Abihu, he and Eleazar alone discharged the functions of that office (Lev. 10:6, 12; Num. 3:4). He and his family occupied the position of common priest till the high priesthood passed into his family in the person of Eli (1 Kings 2:27), the reasons for which are not recorded.


    Jabal  Meaning: a stream

    a descendant of Cain, and brother of Jubal; "the father of such as dwell in tents and have cattle" (Gen. 4:20)

    This description indicates that he led a wandering life.

    Jacob  Jacob (Hebrew"holds the heel" ),
    also known as Israel  ("Struggled with God"),

    Jacob is the third Biblical Patriarch. Jacob was the son of Isaac with Rebekah, the twin brother of Esau, and grandson of Abraham. Jacob played a major part in some of the later events in The Book of Genesis.

    Jacob had twelve sons and one daughter by his two wives, Leah and Rachel, and his two concubines, Bilhah and Zilpah. He was the forefather of the twelve tribes of Israel. His sons were Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin and the daughter was Dinah.

    Jael    See Yael

    jah  Gods name as based on the Bible, commonly refered to as Jehovah, though the abbreviation is taken also from the Bible.- Jah

    Jah-Havah, Ja-Heva, Jah-Hovah. Also Jah-Eve, etc. Western Qabbalist term designating Jah or Yah as the masculine aspect and Hovah (or Eve) as the feminine aspect of Jehovah: the two when joined forming an androgynous being; it also refers to the time when humanity was androgynous, later separating into sexes.

    Ja Heva
    Ja-Heva  See jah

    Jah Eve
    Jah-Eve  See jah

    Jah Havah
    Jah-Havah  See jah

    Jah Hovah
    Jah-Hovah  See jah


    James the Just  See Saint James the Just

    James the Less  In the New Testament, James appears only in connection with his mother Mary of Clopas in Mark 15:40, Mark 16:1, Matthew 27:56. In Mark 15:40 and Matthew 27:56 he is accompanied by a brother called Joses or Joseph.

    James the Less is almost universally identified with James, son of Alphaeus, one of the Twelve Apostles. He is also sometimes identified with James the Just.

    He is also labelled "the minor", "the little", "the lesser", or "the younger", according to translation.

    For more information on these possible identities, see James, son of Alphaeus.

    James, son of Alphaeus was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus of Nazareth. He is often identified with James the Less and commonly known by that name in church tradition.

    James, the son of Alphaeus, is rarely mentioned in the New Testament, but he is sometimes identified with James the Just, an important leader in the New Testament church. He is clearly distinguished from James, son of Zebedee, another one of the Twelve Apostles.

    James, son of Alphaeus, only appears four times in the New Testament, each time in a list of the Twelve Apostles

    Possible identity with James the Less

    James, son of Alphaeus is often identified with James the Less, who is only mentioned three times, each time in connection with his mother. Mark 15:40 refers to "Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses", while Mark 16:1 and Matthew 27:56 refer to "Mary the mother of James".

    Since there was already a more prominent James (James, son of Zebedee) among the Twelve Apostles, equating James son of Alphaeus with James the Less made sense. (James son of Zebedee was sometimes called "James the Greater"). However, it also made it imperative to identify Clopas, the husband of Mary, with Alphaeus, the father of the Apostle James. (For the argument on this, see Alphaeus.) This identification was accepted by early church leaders and, therefore, tradition knows him more commonly as Saint James the Less.

    Modern Biblical scholars are divided on whether this identification is correct. John Paul Meier finds it unlikely. Amongst evangelicals, the New Bible Dictionary supports the traditional identification, while Don Carson and Darrell Bock both regard the identification as possible, but not certain.

    Possible identity with James, the brother of Jesus

    James, son of Alphaeus, has also been identified with James, the brother of Jesus. This was supported by Jerome and therefore widely accepted in the Roman Catholic Church, while the Eastern Orthodox and Protestant tend to distinguish between the two.

    Possible brother of Matthew

    Another Alphaeus is also the name of the father of the publican Levi mentioned in Mark 2:14. The publican appears as Matthew in Matthew 9:9, which has led some to conclude that James and Matthew might have been brothers. However, there is no Biblical account of the two being called brothers, even when they appear side by side in the synoptic list of the  Twelve Apostles, next to the fraternal pairs of Peter and Andrew and the sons of Zebedee.


    A tradition holds that Saint James, though strongly clinging to Jewish law, was sentenced to death for having violated the Torah. This however, is highly unlikely as the Jewish authorities did not practice crucifixion, and unless a possible rebellion was at hand, the Roman authority would not involve themselves in Jewish religious affairs. He is reported to have been martyred by crucifixion at Ostrakine in Lower Egypt, where he was preaching the Gospel. A carpenter's saw is the symbol associated with him in Christian art because it is also noted that his body was later sawed to pieces.

    James, son of Zebedee 
    Born: 1st century
    Died: 44 AD, Judea, beheaded

    Saint James, son of Zebedee (d. 44) or Yaakov Ben-Zebdi/Bar-Zebdi, was one of the Disciples of Jesus. He was a son of Zebedee and Salome, and brother of John the Apostle. He is called Saint James the Greater to distinguish him from James, son of Alphaeus, who is also known as James the Less. James is described as one of the first Disciples to join Jesus. The synoptic gospels state that James and John were with their father by the seashore when Jesus called them to follow him. According to the Gospel of Mark, James and John were called Boanerges, or the "Sons of Thunder".James was one of only three Apostles whom Jesus selected to bear witness to his Transfiguration. Acts of the Apostles records that Agrippa I had James executed by sword, making him the first of the Apostles to be martyred

    Japheth   one of the sons of Noah in the Bible. In Arabic citations, his name is normally given as Yafeth ibn Nuh (Japheth son of Noah).

    Jedidah   (one beloved)
    (B.C. 648.)
    Queen of Amon and mother of the good king Josiah. (2 Kings 22:1)

    Daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath (2 Kings 22:1).

    Jeffrey Lundgren   See Lundgren, Jeffrey

    Jehoshaphat  (alternately spelled Jehosaphat, Josaphat, or Yehoshafat)

    Meaning: Jehovah-judged

    Jehoshaphat was the successor of Asa, king of Judah. His children included Jehoram of Judah. Historically, his name has sometimes been connected with the Valley of Jehosaphat, where, according to Joel 3:2, the God of Israel will gather all nations for judgment.

    Jehoshaphat took the throne at the age of thirty-five (1 Kings 22:42). William F. Albright has dated the reign of Jehoshaphat to 873 – 849 BC. E. R. Thiele held that he became coregent with his father Asa in Asa's thirty-ninth year, 872/871 BC, the year Asa was afflicted with a severe disease in his feet, and then became sole regent when Asa died of the disease in 870/869 BC, his own death occurring in 848/847 BC. As explained in the Rehoboam article, Thiele's chronology for the first kings of Judah contained an internal inconsistency that later scholars corrected by dating these kings one year earlier, so that Jehoshaphat's dates are taken as one year earlier in the present article: coregency beginning in 873/871, sole reign commencing in 871/870, and death in 849/848 BC.

    Jehoshaphat spent the first years of his reign fortifying his kingdom against Israel (2 Chronicles 17:1, 2). The Bible lauds the king for the repression of sodomitic activity (1 Kings 22:46), and for destroying the cult images or "idols" of Baal in the land (1 Kings 22:43). In the third year of his reign Jehoshaphat sent out priests and Levites over the land to instruct the people in the Law (2 Chr. 17:7-9), an activity that was commanded for a Sabbatical year in Deuteonomy 31:10-13. The author of 2 Chronicles generally praises his reign, stating that the kingdom enjoyed a great measure of peace and prosperity, the blessing of God resting on the people "in their basket and their store."

    Jehoshuah  See Joshua

    Jehovah   The Living One

    Jehovah is translated as "The Existing One" or "Lord." The chief meaning of Jehovah is derived from the Hebrew word Havah meaning "to be" or "to exist." It also suggests "to become" or specifically "to become known" - this denotes a God who reveals Himself unceasingly.

    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.

    See also

    Ja-Heva  See jah
    Jah-Eve  See jah
    Jah-Havah  See jah
    Jah-Hovah  See jah
    Jehovah Mikadishkim
    Jehovah Rapha

    Jehovah Jireh
    Jehovah-jireh    The LORD will Provide

    According to the Book of Genesis, Jehovah-jireh (Jehovah/YHVH will see) was the place in the land of Moriah where God told Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a burnt offering. Abraham named this place after Jehovah provided a ram to sacrifice in place of Isaac. Genesis 22:14

    The contemporary English Translation of the Greek Septuagint Bible contains, "The Lord hath seen." Some translations render it "the LORD will provide", with "LORD" taking the place of the Tetragrammaton. One Latin version of the Bible rendered the name in Latin as Dominus videt ("The Lord sees")

    See also

    Ja-Heva  See jah
    Jah-Eve  See jah
    Jah-Havah  See jah
    Jah-Hovah  See jah
    Jehovah Mikadishkim
    Jehovah Rapha

    Jehovah Mikadishkim    (Yahweh Maccaddeschcem) - The Lord our Sanctifier or the Lord Who makes You Holy

    See also

    Ja-Heva  See jah
    Jah-Eve  See jah
    Jah-Havah  See jah
    Jah-Hovah  See jah
    Jehovah Mikadishkim
    Jehovah Rapha

    Jehovah Mikadishkem   (Yahweh Maccaddeschcem) - The Lord our Sanctifier or the Lord Who makes You Holy.

    Jehovah Nisi  See Jehovah-Nissi

    Jehovahnissi  See Jehovah-Nissi

    Jehovah Nissi
    Jehovah-Nissi  The LORD is my Banner

    Variant spellings: Jehovah Nisi; Jehovahnissi 

    In the Old Testament Jehovah-Nissi occurs only once in Exd 17:15.

    Jehovah is translated as "The Existing One" or "Lord." The chief meaning of Jehovah is derived from the Hebrew word Havah meaning "to be" or "to exist." It also suggests "to become" or specifically "to become known" — this denotes a God who reveals Himself unceasingly. Nes (nês), from which Nissi derived, means "banner" in Hebrew. In Exd 17:15, Moses, recognizing that the Lord was Israel's banner under which they defeated the Amalekites, builds an altar named Jehovah-Nissi (the Lord our Banner). Nes is sometimes translated as a pole with an insignia attached. In battle opposing nations would fly their own flag on a pole at each of their respective front lines. This was to give their soldiers a feeling of hope and a focal point. This is what God is to us: a banner of encouragement to give us hope and a focal point.

    According to the Book of Exodus, Jehovah-Nissi is the name of the memorial altar erected by Moses after the nation of Israel won the battle against the Amalekites at Rephidim in Exodus 17:8,13-16.

    In modern Biblical translations, such as the New International Version, the name is translated “the Lord is my banner." The Septuagint translators believed nis·si to be derived from nus (flee for refuge) and rendered it "Jehovah Is My Refuge", while in the Vulgate it was thought to be derived from na·sas (hoist; lift up) and was rendered "Jehovah Is My Exaltation".

    See also

    Ja-Heva  See jah
    Jah-Eve  See jah
    Jah-Havah  See jah
    Jah-Hovah  See jah
    Jehovah Mikadishkim
    Jehovah Rapha

    Jehovah Rapha     The LORD Who Heals

    In the Old Testament Jehovah-Rapha is used in Ex 15:26.

    Variant spellings: Jehovah-Rophe; Jehovah Rophecha; Jehovah Raphah

    Rapha (râpâ') means "to restore", "to heal" or "to make healthful" in Hebrew. When the two words Jehovah and Rapha are combined — Jehovah Rapha — it can be translated as "Jehovah Who Heals." (cf. Jer 30:17; Jer 3:22; Isa 30:26; Isa 61:1; Psa 103:3). Jehovah is the Great Physician who heals the physical and emotional needs of His people.

    See also

    Ja-Heva  See jah
    Jah-Eve  See jah
    Jah-Havah  See jah
    Jah-Hovah  See jah
    Jehovah Mikadishkim
    Jehovah Rapha

    Jehovah Raphah   See Jehovah Rapha

    Jehovah-Rophe   See Jehovah Rapha

    Jehovah Rophecha   See Jehovah Rapha

    Jehovah-shammah   Jehovah-Shammah is a Christian transliteration of the name applied to the city in Ezekiel's vision in Ezekiel 48:35. These are the final words of the book of Ezekiel. The Hebrew name means "The Lord is there" (KJV).

    Charles Spurgeon preached his New Year sermon in 1891 on this text, declaring:

        It is esteemed by the prophet to be the highest blessing that could come upon a city that its name should be, JEHOVAH-SHAMMAH, The Lord is there.

    See also

    Ja-Heva  See jah
    Jah-Eve  See jah
    Jah-Havah  See jah
    Jah-Hovah  See jah
    Jehovah Mikadishkim
    Jehovah Rapha


    Meaning: According to Matthew G. Easton (nimble, or a beholder). According to Dr. Judson Comwall and Dr. Stelman Smith [He will be beheld; i.e., cared for by God; for whom it is prepared; it will be prepared; he that beholds; appearing; regarding. He will be turned (prepared)].

    Jephunneh is the name of two biblical men:

    1.  The father of the Caleb who was Joshua's companion in exploring Canaan (Num. 13:6; 1 Chronicles 4:15), a Kenezite (Josh. 14:14). This Caleb received Hebron as an inheritance (Josh. 14:13).

    2.  a son of Jether / He was a descendant of Asher (1 Chr. 7:38). His brothers were Pispah and Ara.

    Jerahmeel  Meaning: loving God

    (1.) The son of Hezron, the brother of Caleb (1 Chr. 2:9, 25, 26, etc.).

    (2.) The son of Kish, a Levite (1 Chr. 24:29).

    (3.) Son of Hammelech (Jer. 36:26).

    Jeremiah  (Hebrew: Standard Yirm ya-hu- frequently misspelled as Yirmiyahu "Jehovah will raise" Tiberian ) was one of the 'greater prophets' of the Hebrew Bible. He was the son of Hilkiah, a priest of Anathoth.

    His writings are collected in the Book of Jeremiah and, according to tradition, the Book of Lamentations. Jeremiah is also famous as "the broken-hearted prophet" (who wrote or dictated a "broken-hearted book", which has been difficult for scholars to put into chronological order), whose heart-rending life, and true prophecies of dire warning went largely unheeded by the people of Israel. God told Jeremiah, "You will go to them; but for their part, they will not listen to you".

    Jerimoth  Meaning: heights

    (1.) One of the sons of Bela (1 Chr. 7:7).
    (2.) 1 Chr. 24:30, a Merarite Levite.
    (3.) A Benjamite slinger who joined David at Ziklag (1 Chr. 12:5).
    (4.) A Levitical musician under Heman his father (1 Chr. 25:4).
    (5.) 1 Chr. 27:19, ruler of Naphtali.
    (6.) One of David's sons (2 Chr. 11:18).
    (7.) A Levite, one of the overseers of the temple offerings (2 Chr. 31:13) in the reign of Hezekiah.

    Jeroboam  Meaning: increase of the people

    (yarobh`am; Hieroboam in the Septuagint; commonly held to have been derived from riyb and `am, and signifying "the people contend," or, "he pleads the people's cause" - alternatively translated to mean "his people are many" or "he increases the people"; or even "he that opposes the people") Jeroboam was the first king of the break-away ten tribes or Northern Kingdom of Israel, over whom he reigned twenty-two years.

    William F. Albright has dated his reign to 922 BC-901 BC, while Edwin R. Thiele offers the dates 931 BC-910 BC. He was the son of a widow of Zereda, and while still young was promoted by Solomon to be chief superintendent of the "burnden", i.e. the bands of forced laborers.

    According to 1 Kings 11:26-39, Jeroboam was born the son of Nebat an Ephraimite of Zereda whose mother's name was Zeruah (who later became a widow, and could have been leperous as her name translates).

    Influenced by the words of the prophet Ahijah, he began to form conspiracies with the view of becoming king of the ten tribes; but these having been discovered, he fled to Egypt (1 Kings 11:29-40), where he remained for a length of time under the protection of Shoshenq I. On the death of Solomon, the ten tribes, having revolted, sent to invite him to become their king. The conduct of Rehoboam favored the designs of Jeroboam, and he was accordingly proclaimed "king of Israel" (1 Kings 12:1-20). He rebuilt and fortified Shechem as the capital of his kingdom. He at once adopted means to perpetuate the division thus made between the two parts of the kingdom, and erected at Dan and Bethel, the two extremities of his kingdom, "golden calves," which he set up as symbols of God, enjoining the people not any more to go up to worship at Jerusalem, but to bring their offerings to the shrines he had erected. Thus he became distinguished as the man "who made Israel to sin." This policy was followed by all the succeeding kings of Israel.

    According to 1 Kings 13:1-6, 9, while he was engaged in offering incense at Bethel, a prophet from Judah appeared before him with a warning message from the Lord. Attempting to arrest the prophet for his bold words of defiance, his hand was "dried up," and the altar before which he stood was rent asunder. At his urgent entreaty his "hand was restored him again" (1 Kings 13:1-6, 9; compare 2 Kings 23:15); but the miracle made no abiding impression on him. His reign was one of constant war with the house of Judah. He died soon after his son Abijah (1 Kings 14:1-18).

    Born: c. 340-347, Stridon, on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia
    Died: 420, Bethlehem, Judea

     (c. 347 - September 30, 420) (Latin: Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus)

    Saint Jerome was a Christian priest  and Christian apologist best known for translating the Vulgate. He is recognized by the Catholic Church as a canonized saint and Doctor of the Church, and his version of the Bible is still an important text in Catholicism. He is also recognized as a saint by the Eastern Orthodox Church, where he is known as St Jerome of Stridonium or Blessed Jerome. He is presumed by some to have been an Illyrian, but this may just be conjecture.

    In the Catholic Church, it has been usual to represent him (the patron of theological learning) anachronistically, as a cardinal, by the side of Saint Augustine of Hippo, Ambrose, and Pope Gregory I. Even when he is depicted as a half-clad anchorite, with cross, skull and Bible for the only furniture of his cell, the red hat or some other indication of his rank as cardinal is as a rule introduced somewhere in the picture. He is also often depicted with a lion, due to a medieval story in which he removed a thorn from a lion's paw, and less often with an owl, the symbol of wisdom and scholarship. Writing materials and the trumpet of final judgment are also part of his iconography. He is commemorated on 30 September with a memorial.

    Jesse  Jesse or Yishay (Hebrew: Yee-šhay, meaning "God (Yahweh) Exists" or "God's gift") is the father of the Biblical David, who became the king of the nation of Israel. His son David is sometimes called simply "Son of Jesse" (ben yishay).

    Jesse was the son of Obed and he was the grandson of Ruth. He was a Bethlehemite.

    Jesse is important in Judaism because he was the father of one of the most famous kings of Israel. Jesse is important in Christianity because, in part, he is mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus Christ.

    Jesus  Meaning: Salvation, or “the Lord is salvation,” “the Lord Saves.” 

    "Jesus" is Greek for the Hebrew name "Yeshua," which is a short version of "Yehoshua," which comes from "Yoshia," which means "He will save."

    Jesusis the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua which was originally Hoshea (Oshea) (Num. 13:8, 16 - the King James Version of the Bible spells it “Oshea”), but changed by Moses into Jehoshua (Num. 13:16; 1 Chr. 7:27), or Joshua. After the Exile it assumed the form Jeshua, from which came the Greek form Jesus. It was given to our Lord to denote the object of his mission, to save. An angel told Joseph (his foster-father), “You are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21).

    JESUS CHRIST - Je'sus, the proper, as Christ is the official, name of our Lord. To distinguish him from others with the same name, he is spoken of as Jesus of Nazareth (John 18:7), and Jesus the son of Joseph” (John 6:42).

    The life of Jesus on earth may be divided into two great periods,

    (1) his private life, till he was about thirty years of age; and 

    (2) his public life, which lasted about three years.

    In the “fulness of time” he was born at Bethlehem, in the reign of the emperor Augustus, of Mary, who was betrothed to Joseph, a carpenter (Matt. 1:1; Luke 3:23; compare John 7:42). His birth was announced to shepherds (Luke 2:8-20). Wise men from the east came to Bethlehem to see him who was born “King of the Jews,” bringing gifts with them (Matt. 2:1-12). Herod's cruel jealousy led to Joseph's flight into Egypt with Mary and the infant Jesus, where they waited till the death of this king (Matt. 2:13-23), when they returned and settled in Nazareth, in Lower Galilee (2:23; compare Luke 4:16; John 1:46, etc.). At the age of twelve years he went up to Jerusalem to the Passover with his parents. There, in the temple, “in the midst of the doctors,” all that heard him were “astonished at his understanding and answers” (Luke 2:41, etc.).

    Eighteen years pass during which we have no record, except that he returned to Nazareth and “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52). [Some have claimed that during this period, Jesus went to India and learned from Hindu Gurus]

    He entered his public ministry when he was about thirty years of age. It is generally believed to have lasted about three years. Each of these years had particular features of its own.

    Read about Jesus here in more detail

    Jesus was also the name of four other men in the Bible . . .

    1.  Joshua, the son of Nun (the King James Version says “Jesus” in Acts 7:45 and Hebrews 4:8; all new translations avoid confusion by using the name “Joshua”)

    2.  A Jewish Christian surnamed Justus (Col. 4:11)

    3.  Jesus Barabbas (sometimes just called Barabbas) - prisoner released by Pontius Pilate (Matt. 27:16-17)

    4.  An ancestor of Christ (Luke 3:29). Translated as Jose in the King James Version and NJKV, Joshua in the NIV and NASB.

    Jesus of Nazareth  See Jesus

    Jesus Christ  See Jesus

    Jesus in Islam (Arabic: Isa)

     Jesus in Islam  is a messenger of God who had been sent to guide the Children of Israel with a new scripture, the Injil (Gospel). The Qur'an, believed by Muslims to be God's final revelation, states that Jesus was born to Mary (Arabic: Maryam) as the result of virginal conception, a miraculous event which occurred by the decree of God (Arabic: Allah). To aid him in his quest, Jesus was given the ability to perform miracles, all by the permission of God. According to Islamic texts, Jesus was neither killed nor crucified, but rather he was raised alive up to Heaven. Islamic traditions narrate that he will return to earth near the day of judgment to restore justice and defeat ("the false Messiah", also known as the Antichrist). Like all prophets in Islam, Jesus is considered to have been a Muslim, as he preached for people to adopt the straight path in submission to God's will. Islam rejects that Jesus was God incarnate or the son of God, stating that he was an ordinary man who, like other prophets, had been divinely chosen to spread God's message. Islamic texts forbid the association of partners with God (shirk), emphasizing the notion of God's divine oneness (tawhid). Numerous titles are given to Jesus in the Qur'an, such as al-Masi? ("the Messiah; the anointed one" i.e. by means of blessings), although it does not correspond with the meaning accrued in Christian belief. Jesus is seen in Islam as a precursor to Muhammad, and is believed by Muslims to have foretold the latter's coming.

    Jethro   "His Excellence/Posterity"

    the father-in-law of Moses

    In the Hebrew Bible, Jethro is the father-in-law of Moses, a Kenite shepherd and priest of El Shaddai. In the book of Judges, Mose's father-in-law is recorded as having the name Hobab. In Islam, Jethro is identified with Shoaib, one of the prophets in the Qur'an. He is also revered as a prophet in his own right in the Druze religion.

    Jim Jones  See Jones, Jim


    Job is a character in the Book of Job in the Hebrew Bible, as well as a prophet in Islam. In brief, the book begins with an introduction to Job's character — he is described as a blessed man who lives righteously. Satan, however, challenges Job's integrity, arguing that Job serves God simply because of the "hedge" with which God protects him. God progressively removes that protection, allowing Satan to take his wealth, his children, and his physical health. Job remains loyal throughout, and does not curse God. The main portion of the text consists of the discourse of Job and his three friends concerning why Job was so punished, after which God steps in to answer Job and his friends. The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning and he lived 140 years (Job 42:10,17).

    Job evidently lived about the time of Abraham.

    Except for the first eleven chapters of  Genesis, which almost certainly were originally written by Adam, Noah, the sons of Noah, and Terah, then eventually edited by Moses, the book of Job is probably the oldest book in the Bible. It contains more references to Creation, The Flood and other primeval events than any book of the Bible except Genesis, and provides more insight into the age-long conflict between God and Satan than almost any other book. Remarkably, it also seems to contain more modern scientific insights than any other book of the Bible.

    Uniform Jewish tradition ascribed the book of Job to Moses and also accepted it as part of the true canon of Scripture. This ascription seems quite reasonable if Moses is regarded as the editor and original sponsor of Job's book rather than its author. Undoubtedly, Job himself was the original author (Job 19:23,24), writing down his memoirs, so to speak, after his restoration to health and prosperity. Moses most likely came into possession of Job's record during his forty-year exile from Egypt in the land of Midian (not far from Job's own homeland in Uz), and quickly recognized its great importance, perhaps editing it slightly for the benefit of his own contemporaries. It was all probably similar to how he compiled and organized the primeval records from which he has also given us The Book of Genesis.

    Jochebed   Meaning: Jehovah is her glory

    the wife of Amram, and the mother of Miriam, Aaron, and Moses (Num. 26:59)

    She is spoken of as the sister of Kohath, Amram's father (Ex. 6:20; compare 16, 18; 2:1-10).

    Joel   Joel was a prophet of ancient Israel whose prophecies are recorded in the brief Biblical book that bears his name. His name occurs only once in the Old Testament. According to the New Testament, just after his prophesy of the outpouring of God's Spirit upon all flesh is quoted by the apostle Peter in Acts chapter 2. He lived anywhere from the 9th century BCE to the 5th century BCE. Certain date is unknown.

    Joel is the second of the twelve minor prophets and the author of the Book of Joel. He was the son of Pethuel. His personal history is known only from his book. The name Joel means "Jehovah is el (god)". On the Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar, his feast day is October 19. He is commemorated with the other Minor prophets in the Calendar of saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church on July 31.

    Despite it's Biblical and Middle Eastern origins, Joel is a common name in many Modern Western countries.


    The name “John” is mentioned 131 times in the King James Bible. This was the name of various biblical men, including:

    1.  One who, with Annas and Caiaphas, sat in judgment on the apostles Peter and John (Acts 4:6). He was of the relatives of the high priest; otherwise unknown.

    2.  John Mark: John was the Hebrew name of Mark (q.v.). He is designated by this name in the acts of the Apostles (Acts 12:12, 25; 13:5, 13; 15:37).  Also referred to as  John the Evangelist

    3John the Presbyter

    4.  John of Patmos

    5.   John THE APOSTLE, brother of James the “Greater” (Matt. 4:21; 10:2; Mark 1:19; 3:17; 10:35).

    He was one, probably the younger, of the sons of Zebedee (Matt. 4:21) and Salome (Matt. 27:56; compare Mark 15:40), and was born at Bethsaida. His father was apparently a man of some wealth (compare Mark 1:20; Luke 5:3; John 19:27).

    He doubtlessly received the same Hebrew education as did other Jewish youths. When he grew up, he became a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee. When John the Baptist began his ministry in the wilderness of Judea, John, with many others, gathered round him, and was deeply influenced by his teaching. There he heard the announcement, "Behold the Lamb of God," and forthwith, on the invitation of Jesus, became a Disciple and ranked among his followers (John 1:36,37) for a time.

    He and his brother then returned to their former avocation, for how long is uncertain.

    Jesus again called them (Matt. 4:21; Luke 5:1-11), and now they left all and permanently attached themselves to the company of his Disciples. He became one of the innermost circle (Mark 5:37; Matt. 17:1; 26:37; Mark 13:3). He was the Disciple “whom Jesus loved.”

    In zeal and intensity of character he was a "Boanerges" (Mark 3:17). This spirit once and again broke out (Matt. 20:20-24; Mark 10:35-41; Luke 9:49, 54).

    At the betrayal of Jesus, he and Peter follow Christ afar off, while the others hastily flee (John 18:15). At the trial he boldly follows Christ into the council chamber, and from there to the praetorium (18:16,19, 28) and to the place of crucifixion (19:26,27). To him and Peter, Mary first conveys tidings of the resurrection (20:2), and they are the first to go and see what her strange words mean.

    After the resurrection he and Peter again return to the Sea of Galilee, where the Lord reveals himself to them (21:1,7).

    We find Peter and John frequently together after this (Acts 3:1; 4:13).

    John apparently remained in Jerusalem as the leader of the church there (Acts 15:6; Gal. 2:9). His subsequent history is unrecorded. He was not there, however, at the time of Paul's last visit (Acts 21:15-40). He appears to have retired to Ephesus, but at what time is unknown.

    The seven churches of Asia were the objects of his special care (Rev. 1:11).

    He suffered under persecution, and was banished to Patmos (1:9). When he was eventually released, he apparently returned to Ephesus, where he died, probably about A.D. 98, having outlived all or nearly all his friends and companions, even those older than him. Some scholars, differ, believing that this John and the John of Ephesus, were not the same person.

    There are many interesting traditions concerning John during his residence at Ephesus, but these cannot be confirmed as historical truth.


    See also:

    John Mark  See John the Evangelist  an /or   Mark the Evangelist

    One in the same person

    John of Patmos   or  "John the Divine"

    John of Patmos is the name given to the author of the Book of Revelation (or Book of the Apocalypse) in the New Testament. According to the text of Revelation, the author, who gives his name as "John," is living on the Greek island of Patmos. Many believe John was in exile. In Revelation, he writes to the seven Christian churches in Asia to relate two apocalyptic visions he has had. John of Patmos is often referred to as John the Divine, or John the Theologian, and the message he received is considered divine Revelation by most Christians. Apocalypse is a Greek word for revelation or uncovering, and divine an old Anglican usage meaning theologian. He is also known as the Eagle of Patmos and John the Seer. Several Christian denominations regard him as a prophet and a saint.

    John of Patmos, the author of the Book of Revelation, was traditionally believed to be the same person as both John, the apostle of Jesus and John the Evangelist, author of the Gospel of John. Justin Martyr, writing in the early 2nd century, was the first to equate the author of Revelation with John the apostle. Some biblical scholars now contend that these were separate individuals.

    John the Presbyter, teacher of Papias, bishop of Hieropolis in the early 2nd century, is often conflated with John of Patmos or with the Apostle. Church historian Eusebius of Caesarea, and Dionysius of Alexandria both identified the John in Revelation as John the Presbyter. However, since John was a common name among early Christians it cannot be ruled out that John of Patmos was a John distinct from John the evangelist, John the apostle and John the author of the Johannine epistles.

    See also:

    John The Apostle   See John The Apostle here

    John the Baptist

    He was the "forerunner of our Lord." We have but fragmentary and imperfect accounts of him in the Gospels. He was of priestly descent. His father, Zacharias, was a priest of the course of Abia (1 Chr. 24:10), and his mother, Elisabeth, was of the daughters of Aaron (Luke 1:5).

    The mission of John was the subject of prophecy (Matt. 3:3; Isa. 40:3; Mal. 3:1). His birth, which took place six months before that of Jesus, was foretold by an angel. Zacharias, deprived of the power of speech as a token of God's truth and a reproof of his own incredulity with reference to the birth of his son, had the power of speech restored to him on the occasion of his circumcision (Luke 1:64). After this no more is recorded of him for thirty years than what is mentioned in Luke 1:80.

    John was a Nazarite from his birth (Luke 1:15; Num. 6:1-12). He spent his early years in the mountainous tract of Judah lying between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea (Matt. 3:1-12).

    At length he came forth into public life, and great multitudes from “every quarter” were attracted to him. The sum of his preaching was the necessity of repentance. He denounced the Sadducees and Pharisees as a "generation of vipers," and warned them of the folly of trusting to external privileges (Luke 3:8).

    "As a preacher, John was eminently practical and discriminating. Self-love and covetousness were the prevalent sins of the people at large. On them, therefore, he enjoined charity and consideration for others. The publicans he cautioned against extortion, the soldiers against crime and plunder."

    His doctrine and manner of life roused the entire south of Palestine, and the people from all parts flocked to the place where he was, on the banks of the Jordan. There he baptized thousands unto repentance.

    The fame of John reached the ears of Jesus in Nazareth (Matt. 3:5), and he came from Galilee to Jordan to be baptized of John, on the special ground that it became him to “fulfil all righteousness” (3:15).

    John's special office ceased with the baptism of Jesus, who must now “increase” as the King come to his kingdom. He continued, however, for a while to bear testimony to the Messiahship of Jesus. He pointed him out to his disciples, saying, "Behold the Lamb of God."

    His public ministry was suddenly (after about six months probably) brought to a close by his being cast into prison by Herod, whom he had reproved for the sin of having taken to himself the wife of his brother Philip (Luke 3:19). He was shut up in the castle of Machaerus (q.v.), a fortress on the southern extremity of Peraea, 9 miles east of the Dead Sea, and here he was beheaded.

    His disciples, having consigned the headless body to the grave, went and told Jesus all that had occurred (Matt. 14:3-12). John's death occurred apparently just before the third Passover of our Lord's ministry. Our Lord himself testified regarding him that he was a "burning and a shining light" (John 5:35).

    John the Divine  See John of Patmos

    John the Evangelist   St. John (active 1st century A.D.), one of the 12 Apostles chosen by Jesus, is traditionally considered the author of the Fourth Gospel, of the Book of Revelation, and of three Letters, or Epistles, bearing his name.

    The son of Zebedee and Salome, John was born in Galilee, probably between A.D. 10 and 15. His father was a fisherman, a trade which John was plying when he met and joined Jesus (Mark 5:37). His mother joined the women who served the followers of Jesus (Mark 15:40-41; 16:1). His brother James also followed Jesus. Jesus nicknamed both brothers Boanerges, meaning in Aramaic "sons of thunder" (Mark 3:17), a reference to their rather fiery attitude to Jesus.

    John and James, together with Peter, are presented throughout the Gospels as the most closely associated with Jesus of all his followers. John, with Peter and James, witnesses Jesus' supernatural communication with Moses and Elias on Mt. Tabor; he is present in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before Jesus dies. When all others leave the dying Jesus, John remains, and Jesus entrusts his mother, Mary, to John's care. After the death of Jesus, John is presented as one of the leaders of the Jerusalemite followers of Jesus. In the Acts, John testifies to Jesus with Peter and James. He goes to Samaria with Peter to confirm new converts (Acts 8:14, 25). When Paul is converted, he submits his orthodoxy to John, Peter, and James (Galatians 2:1-10).

    It is not known how John ended his life. Some traditions claim that he was martyred. Others claim he died at a ripe old age. Tradition from the 2d century claimed that John died and was buried at Ephesus.

    Considerable doubt, particularly by modern scholars, has been thrown on the identity of John as the author of the Fourth Gospel. Some claim that John, the son of Zebedee, is not the same as the author of the Gospel, the Book of Revelation, and the three Letters. It is certain that the Fourth Gospel was written a considerable time later than the other three Gospels. The Gospels speak of the "disciple whom Jesus loved" it was long assumed that this was John, but the Gospel never identifies this disciple by name. Doubt has also been created by some scholars who have concluded that the three Letters were not written by the author of the Fourth Gospel.

    Tradition relates that John was banished to the Greek island of Patmos during the persecution initiated by the Roman emperor Domitian (reigned A.D. 81-96). Here, it is said, John wrote the Book of Revelation. The Fourth Gospel apparently was composed sometime between A.D. 85 and 95.

    See also:

    John the Presbyter   John the Presbyter is an obscure figure in early Christian tradition, who is either distinguished from, or identified with, the Apostle John.

    See also:

    Joktan   or Yoktan  Joktan was the second of the two sons of Eber (Gen. 10:25; 1 Chr. 1:19) mentioned in the Hebrew Bible.

    There is an Arab tradition that Joktan (Arabic: Kahtan) was the progenitor of all the main tribes of Central and Southern Arabia. There are thirteen children of Joktan : Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Sheba (not in Arabia), Havilah (not in Arabia), Jobab (described in Chinese name books), and Ophir (not in Arabia). Seven of them are said to be each the founder of an Arabian tribe.

    Jones, Jim  Jim Jones was the founder and leader of Jonestown, Guyana, a community of over 900 members of The People's Temple Full Gospel Church, an offshoot of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Jones had been an untrained preacher in Indiana and California before moving his congregation to Guyana to avoid government scrutiny.

    Jim Jones and 911 of his followers committed suicide or were murdered.

    See People's Temple

    Born: c. 800 B.C. 
    Birthplace: Gath-hepher, Israel 
    Died: c. 740 B.C. 
    Best Known As: The prophet who was swallowed by a large fish 

    Jonah is the reluctant biblical prophet whose story appears in the book named for him. The short, fast-moving story opens with God instructing Jonah to go east from Israel to Assyria to "cry out" against wickedness in the city of Nineveh. Jonah flees in the opposite direction, by sea. A storm hits, the ship's sailors attribute it to Jonah's flight from God, and he volunteers to be thrown overboard. A fish swallows him and spews him out on land three days later. This time Jonah obeys God and goes to Nineveh, where his shouted warnings work: the people repent, and the mind of God, who would have punished the city, is changed. The story ends with Jonah arguing with God about why Nineveh was spared. Jesus of Nazareth mentions Jonah in Christian scriptures (Matthew and Luke), and Islamic scriptures also regard him as a prophet (Koran, suras 10, 21 and 37), also known as Yunus or Dhan-Nun.

    Most versions of the Bible translate the Hebrew word for what swallowed Jonah as "great fish" or "large fish." Some translations of Matthew quote Jesus as saying "whale," and popular stories and songs often speak of "Jonah and the whale"... The biblical book 2 Kings briefly mentions Jonah as a prophet, son of Amittai, "from Gath-hepher," who delivers an oracle to King Jeroboam (ruler of Israel, 786 to 746 B.C.).

    Joseph  Meaning: remover or increaser; may he add

    The name of twelve biblical men . . .

    1.  Great grandson of Abraham and the elder of two sons of Jacob by Rachel (Gen. 30:23,24), who, on the occasion of his birth, said,God hath taken away [Hebrew: 'Asaph] my reproach.” “The Lord shall add [Hebrew: yoseph] to me another son” (Gen. 30:24). He was a child of probably six years of age when his father returned from Haran to Canaan and took up his residence in the old patriarchal town of Hebron. “Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age,” and he “made him a long garment with sleeves” (Gen. 37:3, R.V. marg.), i.e., a garment long and full, such as was worn by the children of nobles. This seems to be the correct rendering of the words. The phrase, however, may also be rendered, “a coat of many pieces,” i.e., a patchwork of many small pieces of divers colors.

    When he was about seventeen years old Joseph incurred the jealous hatred of his brothers (Gen. 37:4). They “hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.” Their anger was increased when he told them his dreams (37:11).

    Jacob desiring to hear tidings of his sons, who had gone to Shechem with their flocks, some 60 miles from Hebron, sent Joseph as his messenger to make inquiry regarding them. Joseph found that they had left Shechem for Dothan, whither he followed them. As soon as they saw him coming they began to plot against him, and would have killed him had not Reuben interposed. They ultimately sold him to a company of Ishmaelite merchants for twenty pieces (shekels) of silver (about $2, 10s.), ten pieces less than the current value of a slave, for “they cared little what they had for him, if so be they were rid of him.” These merchants were going down with a varied assortment of merchandise to the Egyptian market, and thither they conveyed him, and ultimately sold him as a slave to Potiphar, an “officer of Pharaoh's, and captain of the guard” (Gen. 37:36). “The Lord blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake,” and Potiphar made him overseer over his house. At length, a false charge having been brought against him by Potiphar's wife, he was at once cast into the state prison (39; 40), where he remained for at least two years. After a while the “chief of the cupbearers” and the “chief of the bakers” of Pharaoh's household were cast into the same prison (40:2). Each of these new prisoners dreamed a dream in the same night, which Joseph interpreted, the event occurring as he had said.

    This led to Joseph's being remembered subsequently by the chief butler when Pharaoh also dreamed. At his suggestion Joseph was brought from prison to interpret the king's dreams. Pharaoh was well pleased with Joseph's wisdom in interpreting his dreams, and with his counsel with reference to the events then predicted; and he set him over all the land of Egypt (Gen. 41:46), and gave him the name of Zaphnath-paaneah. He was married to Asenath, the daughter of the priest of On, and thus became a member of the priestly class. Joseph was now about thirty years of age.

    As Joseph had interpreted, seven years of plenty came, during which he stored up great abundance of corn in granaries built for the purpose. These years were followed by seven years of famine “over all the face of the earth,” when “all countries came into Egypt to Joseph to buy corn” (Gen. 41:56-57; 47:13-14). Thus “Joseph gathered up all the money that was in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, for the corn which they bought.” Afterwards all the cattle and all the land, and at last the Egyptians themselves, became the property of Pharaoh.

    During this period of famine Joseph's brethren also came down to Egypt to buy corn. The history of his dealings with them, and of the manner in which he at length made himself known to them, is one of the most interesting narratives that can be read (Gen. 42-45). Joseph directed his brethren to return and bring Jacob and his family to the land of Egypt, saying, “I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and ye shall eat the fat of the land. Regard not your stuff; for the good of all the land is yours.” Accordingly Jacob and his family, to the number of threescore and ten souls, together with “all that they had,” went down to Egypt. They were settled in the land of Goshen, where Joseph met his father, and “fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while” (Gen. 46:29).

    The excavations of Dr. Naville have shown the land of Goshen to be the Wady Tumilat, between Ismailia and Zagazig. In Goshen (Egyptian Qosem) they had pasture for their flocks, were near the Asiatic frontier of Egypt, and were out of the way of the Egyptian people. An inscription speaks of it as a district given up to the wandering shepherds of Asia.

    Jacob at length died, and in fulfilment of a promise which he had exacted, Joseph went up to Canaan to bury his father in “the field of Ephron the Hittite” (Gen. 47:29-31; 50:1-14). This was the last recorded act of Joseph, who again returned to Egypt.

    “The ‘Story of the Two Brothers,’ an Egyptian romance written for the son of the Pharaoh of the Oppression, contains an episode very similar to the Biblical account of Joseph's treatment by Potiphar's wife. Potiphar and Potipherah are the Egyptian Pa-tu-pa-Ra, 'the gift of the sun-god.' The name given to Joseph, Zaphnath-paaneah, is probably the Egyptian Zaf-nti-pa-ankh, 'nourisher of the living one,' i.e., of the Pharaoh. There are many instances in the inscriptions of foreigners in Egypt receiving Egyptian names, and rising to the highest offices of state.”

    By his wife Asenath, Joseph had two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim (Gen. 41:50). Joseph having obtained a promise from his brethren that when the time should come that God would “bring them unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob,” they would carry up his bones out of Egypt, at length died, at the age of one hundred and ten years; and “they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin” (Gen. 50:26). This promise was faithfully observed. Their descendants, long after, when the Exodus came, carried the body about with them during their forty years' wanderings, and at length buried it in Shechem, in the parcel of ground which Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor (Josh. 24:32; compare Gen. 33:19). With the death of Joseph the patriarchal age of the history of Israel came to a close.

    The Pharaoh of Joseph's elevation was probably Apepi, or Apopis, the last of the Hyksos kings. Some, however, think that Joseph came to Egypt in the reign of Thothmes III, long after the expulsion of the Hyksos.

    The name Joseph denotes the two tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh in Deut. 33:13-17; the kingdom of Israel in Ezek. 37:16, 19; Amos 5:6; and the whole covenant people of Israel in Ps. 81:4.

    2.  the father of a spy that Moses sent into Canaan (Numbers 13:7)

    3.  one of the sons of Asaph, head of the first division of sacred musicians (1 Chr. 25:2, 9).

    4.  head of a family of priests of the family of Shebeniah (Nehemiah 12:14)

    5.  a Jew who had a pagan wife after the Exile (Ezra 10:42)
    Three Josephs are listed in the genealogy of Christ&ldots;

    6.  The foster-father of Jesus Christ  See Saint Joseph

    7.  The son of Judah, and father of Semei (Luke 3:26).

    8.  a man descended from Zerubbabel in the genealogy of Jesus Christ (3:24)

    9.  A brother of Jesus was named Joseph (after his father). He was also called Joses in Mark 6:3) (Matthew 13:55)

    10.  Joseph, a converted Jew and native of Arimathea, probably the Ramah of the Old Testament (1 Sam. 1:19), a man of wealth, and a member of the Sanhedrim (Matt. 27:57; Luke 23:50), an “honorable counsellor, who waited for the kingdom of God.” As soon as he heard the tidings of Christ's death, he “went in boldly” (lit. “having summoned courage, he went”) “unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.” Pilate having ascertained from the centurion that the death had really taken place, granted Joseph's request, who immediately, having purchased fine linen (Mark 15:46), proceeded to Golgotha to take the body down from the cross. There, assisted by Nicodemus, he took down the body and wrapped it in the fine linen, sprinkling it with the myrrh and aloes which Nicodemus had brought (John 19:39), and then conveyed the body to the new tomb hewn by Joseph himself out of a rock in his garden hard by. There they laid it, in the presence of Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Joses, and other women, and rolled a great stone to the entrance, and departed (Luke 23:53, 55). This was done in haste, “for the Sabbath was drawing on” (compare Isa. 53:9).

    11.  The Joseph that was called Barsabas (Acts 1:23); also called Justus. He was one of those who “companied with the Apostles all the time that the Lord Jesus went out and in among them” (Acts 1:21), and was one of the candidates for the place of Judas.

    12.  a Jewish Christian man named Barnabas—Joseph was his given name (Acts 4:36)

    Joshua  Joshua, Jehoshuah or Yehoshua

    born in Egypt, was a biblical Israelite leader who succeeded Moses. His story is told in the Hebrew Bible, chiefly in the books Exodus, Numbers and Joshua. He was one of the twelve spies sent on by Moses to explore the land of Canaan who would later lead the conquest of that land, the Bible's Promised Land.

    See also Book of Joshua

    Josiah or Yoshiyahu  ("supported of the Lord")
    (c. 649-609 BC
    Josiah was a king of Judah (641-609 BC) who instituted major reforms. Josiah is credited by some historians with having established or discovered important Jewish scriptures during the Deuteronomic reform that occurred during his rule.

    Josiah was the son of King Amon and Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath. His grandfather Manasseh was one of the kings blamed for turning away from the Israelite religion. Manasseh even adapted the Temple for idolatrous worship. Josiah's great-grandfather was King Hezekiah who was a noted reformer.

    Josiah had four sons: Johanan, Eliakim (born c. 634 BC) by Zebidah the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah, Mattanyahu (c. 618 BC) and Shallum (633/632 BC) both by Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.

    Shallum succeeded Josiah as king of Judah, under the name Jehoahaz. Shallum was succeeded by Eliakim, under the name Jehoiakim, who was succeeded by his own son Jeconiah; then Jeconiah was succeeded to the throne by Mattanyahu, under the name Zedekiah. Zedekiah was the last king of Judah before the kingdom was conquered by Babylon and the people exiled.

    Jubal   Meaning: jubilee, music

    Lamech's second son by Adah, of the line of Cain

    He was the inventor of "the harp" (Hebrew: kinnor, properly “lyre”) and "the organ" (Hebrew: 'ugab, properly “mouth-organ” or Pan's pipe), Gen. 4:21.

    Judah   ("Celebrated, praised")

     Judah is the name of several Biblical and historical figures. The original Greek text of the New Testament makes no difference between the names "Judah", "Judas" and "Jude", rendering them all as Ioudas; but in many English translations "Judah" is used for the figure in the Tanakh and the tribe named after him, "Judas" is used primarily for Judas Iscariot, and "Jude" for other New Testament persons of the same name.

    The Bible itself mentions no other people of the name, except the original one; however, it became a very common name among Jews in Hellenistic times and remains such up to the present.

    The name Judah can refer to:

    Judah  one of the sons of the Biblical Patriarch Jacob (Israel)

    All later individuals, groups and places of this name are directly or indirectly derived from this Judah.

    Tribe of Judah

    Judah and his three surviving sons went down with Jacob into Egypt (Gen. 46:12; Ex. 1:2). At the time of the Exodus, when we meet with the family of Judah again, they have increased to the number of 74,000 males (Num. 1:26,27). Its number increased in the wilderness (26:22). Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, represented the tribe as one of the spies (13:6; 34:19).

    This tribe marched at the van on the east of the tabernacle (Num. 2:3-9; 10:14), its standard, as is supposed, being a lion's whelp.

    Under Caleb, during the wars of conquest, they conquered that portion of the country which was afterwards assigned to them as their inheritance. This was the only case in which any tribe had its inheritance thus determined (Josh. 14:6-15; 15:13-19).

    The inheritance of the tribe of Judah was at first fully one-third of the whole country west of Jordan, in all about 2,300 square miles (Josh. 15). But there was a second distribution, when Simeon received an allotment, about 1,000 square miles, out of the portion of Judah (Josh. 19:9). That which remained to Judah was still very large in proportion to the inheritance of the other tribes. The boundaries of the territory are described in Joshua 15:20-63.

    This territory given to Judah was divided into four sections.

    1.  The south (Hebrew: negeb), the undulating pasture-ground between the hills and the desert to the south (Josh. 15:21.) This extent of pasture-land became famous as the favorite camping-ground of the old patriarchs.

    2.  The “valley” (15:33) or lowland (Hebrew: shephelah), a broad strip lying between the central highlands and the Mediterranean. This tract was the garden as well as the granary of the tribe.

    3.  The “hill-country,” or the mountains of Judah, an elevated plateau stretching from below Hebron northward to Jerusalem.

    “The towns and villages were generally perched on the tops of hills or on rocky slopes. The resources of the soil were great. The country was rich in corn, wine, oil, and fruit; and the daring shepherds were able to lead their flocks far out over the neighboring plains and through the mountains.”

          The number of towns in this district was thirty-eight (Josh. 15:48-60).

    4.   The “wilderness,” the sunken district next the Dead Sea (Josh. 15:61), “averaging 10 miles in breadth, a wild, barren, uninhabitable region, fit only to afford scanty pasturage for sheep and goats, and a secure home for leopards, bears, wild goats, and outlaws” (1 Sam. 17:34; 22:1; Mark 1:13). It was divided into the “wilderness of En-gedi” (1 Sam. 24:1), the “wilderness of Judah” (Judg. 1:16; Matt. 3:1), between the Hebron mountain range and the Dead Sea, the “wilderness of Maon” (1 Sam. 23:24). It contained only six cities.

    Nine of the cities of Judah were assigned to the priests (Josh. 21:9-19).

    Judah Bible  Judah/Yehuda was, according to The Book of Genesis, the fourth son of Jacob and Leah, and the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Judah; however some Biblical scholars view this as postdiction, an eponymous metaphor providing an aetiology of the connectedness of the tribe to others in the Israelite confederation. With Leah as a matriarch, Biblical scholars regard the tribe as having been believed by the text's authors to have been part of the original Israelite confederation; however, it is worthy of note that the tribe of Judah was not purely Israelite, but contained a large admixture of non-Israelites, with a number of Kenizzite groups, the Jerahmeelites, and the Kenites, merging into the tribe at various points.

    The text of the Torah argues that the name of Judah refers to Leah's intent to praise Yahweh, on account of having achieved four children, and derived from odeh, meaning I will give praise. In classical rabbinical literature, the name is interpreted as just being a combination of Yahweh and a dalet (the letter d); in Gematria, the dalet has the numerical value 4, which these rabbinical sources argue refers to Judah being Jacob's fourth son.

    Judas  Meaning: Praise / This is the Graecized form of Judah.

    Judas was the name of various biblical men and was probably a very common name among the Jews since it belonged to one of the patriarchs.

    1. Judas Iscariot, son of Simon (John 6:71; 13:2, 26), surnamed Iscariot, i.e., a man of Kerioth (Josh. 15:25). See: Matthew 26:14-25, 47-50; 27:3-10; Acts 1:16-25. He betrayed Christ for the sum of 30 silver coins.

    2. Son of Jacob; He was a patriarch, and was more commonly known as Judah (Matt. 1:2,3).

    3. A brother of Jesus Christ ( Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3). He authored the Epistle of Jude.

    4. Judas, Thaddaeus (Judas, son of James) the Apostle, also known as Jude. He was the son of James . He is mentioned in Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13.

    5. A Christian teacher, surnamed Barsabas. He was sent from Jerusalem to Antioch along with Paul, Barnabas and Silas with the decision of the council (Acts 15:22, 27, 32). He was a “prophet” and a “chief man among the brethren.”

    6. A Jew of Damascus who hosted the blinded Saul (Paul) (Acts 9:11). God sent Ananias to his house. "The street called ‘Straight’ in which it was situated is identified with the modern “street of bazaars,” where is still pointed out the so-called 'house of Judas'" (Matthew G. Easton).

    7. Judas of Galilee. He is mentioned only once in the Bible. He started a tax rebellion against Rome. He died and all his followers dispersed (Acts 5:37).

    Judas Iscariot   Judas Iscariot was, according to the New Testament, one of the twelve original Apostles of Jesus.

    His name is uniformly the last in the list of the Apostles, as given in the synoptic (i.e., the first three) Gospels.


    Among the twelve, he was apparently designated to keep account of the "money bag",  but he is most traditionally known for his role in Jesus' betrayal into the hands of Roman authorities.

    His name is also associated with a Gnostic gospel, the Gospel of Judas, that exists in an early fourth century Coptic text. Judas has been a figure of great interest to esoteric groups, such as many Gnostic sects, and has also been the subject of many philosophical writings, including The Problem of Natural Evil by Bertrand Russell and "Three Versions of Judas", a short story by Jorge Luis Borges.

    The term Judas has entered many languages as a synonym for betrayer, and Judas has become the archetype of the betrayer in Western art and literature. Judas is given some role in virtually all literature telling the Passion story, and appears in a number of modern novels and movies. Some scholars however have suggested that Judas was merely the negotiator who gave Jesus to the Roman authorities by mutual agreement or acted with Jesus' knowledge and consent to ensure the re-enactment of Biblical prophecy. Others see Judas as a literary invention reflecting divisions among early Christians or an attempt by Biblical authors to distance themselves from Judaism after the First Jewish-Roman War

    Judas Maccabeus  (or Judah Maccabee, also spelled Machabeus, or Maccabaeus, Yehudah HaMakabi, Judah the Hammer)

    Judas Maccabeus was a Kohen and the third son of the Jewish priest Mattathias. He led the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Empire (167 BCE-160 BCE) and is acclaimed as one of the greatest warriors in Jewish history alongside Joshua, Gideon and David.

    The Jewish feast of Hanukkah ("Dedication") commemorates the restoration of Jewish worship at the temple in Jerusalem in 165 BCE, after Judas Maccabee removed the pagan statuary.

    Judas Thomas Didymus

    Thomas was one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus Christ. In the Synoptic gospels and the Book of Acts he is listed with the other Apostles, but nothing else is written about him.

    However, we are provided with far more information in the Gospel of John where Thomas appears in several scenes, the best known being where doubts the resurrection and demanded to feel Jesus' wounds before being convinced (20:24-9) - from which comes the term Doubting Thomas. In three of these passages (11:16; 20:24; and 21:2), Thomas is identified as "Thomas, also called the Twin (Didymus)". The name Thomas comes from the Aramaic word for twin. Syrian tradition, apparently aware of the awkwardness of the name "Thomas the Twin", states that his full name as Judas Thomas, or Jude Thomas, and as early as the Acts of Thomas (written in east Syria in the early 3rd century) he was identified with Jude, one of the brothers of Jesus Christ (Mark 6:3), and thus said to be the twin brother of Jesus.

    Thomas is revered as a saint in both the Roman Catholic Church and in the Eastern Orthodox Church, and is remembered each year on St Thomas Sunday, which is always one week after Easter.

    Eusebius of Caesarea (Historia Ecclesiastica, III.1) quotes Origen as stating that Thomas was the Apostles to the Parthians, but Thomas is beter known as the missionary to India. This tradition has been traced back to the end of the 2nd century, and is believed today by the various denominations of Saint Thomas Christians. The Acts of Thomas describes in chapter 17 Thomas' visit to king Gundaphoros in northern India; however, chapters 2 and 3 depict him as embarking on a sea voyage to India, thus connecting Thomas to southern India.

    Thomas is also part of the legend of king Abgar of Edessa, for having sent Thaddaeus to preach in Edessa after the Ascension (Eusebius, HE 1.13; III.1; Ephraem also recounts this legend.)

    The Portuguese encountered Christians in 1498 while exploring the Malabar coast, who traced their foundations to Thomas. However, they did not accept the legitimacy of local Malabar traditions, and they began to impose Roman Catholic practices upon the Saint Thomas Christians, some of whom conformed to become the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church; others revolted and remained within the Indian Orthodox Church; and a number have since joined other Christian denominations.

    No written records of the Apostle's voyage to India exist. Modern scholars doubt that Thomas did reach India; KS Latourette, in A History of the Expansion of Christianity does not allow the possibility of Christians coming to India by any route before the third century AD. He states that Christianity was brought to India in AD 345 by Syrian Christians fleeing persecution, led by the merchant Thomas of Cana. However, within India, the descendents of Thomas of Cana's (Thoma Kinayi) group maintain a distinct identity within the Christian communities.

    Writings Attributed to Thomas

    In the first few centuries of the Christian era, a number of writings, some espousing a Gnostic doctrine, were circulated that claimed the authority of Thomas. It is unclear why Thomas was seen as an authority for doctrine, although this belief is documented in Gnostic groups as early as the Pistis Sophia which states that Thomas, along with Philip and Matthew, were directed by Jesus Christ after the Resurrection to commit to writing "all of his words"; an early, non-Gnostic tradition may lie behind this statement.

    The best known of these documents is the Gospel of Thomas, an apocryphal work. The introduction claims it is the work of "Didymos Judas Thomas" - who has been identified with Thomas. This work was discovered in a Coptic translation in 1948 at the Egyptian village of Nag Hammadi, near the site of the monastery of Chenoboskion. Once the Coptic text was published, scholars recognized that an earlier Greek translation had been published from fragments of papyrus in the 1890s. No Christian denomination has recognized this work as part of the Bible.

    Jude = Judas

    Among the Apostles there were two who bore this name:

    Judas (Jude 1:1; Matt. 13:55; John 14:22; Acts 1:13), called also Lebbaeus or Thaddaeus (Matt. 10:3; Mark 3:18)

    Judas Iscariot (Matt. 10:4; Mark 3:19). He who is called "the brother of James" (Luke 6:16), may be the same with the Judas surnamed Lebbaeus. The only thing recorded regarding him is in John 14:22.

    Judith   Meaning: Jewess 

    the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and one of Esau's wives (Gen. 26:34), elsewhere called Aholibamah (36:2-14)

    Justin Martyr  Saint Justin Martyr (also Justin the Martyr, Justin of Caesarea, Justin the Philosopher, Latin Iustinus Martyr or Flavius Iustinus) (100-165) was an early Christian apologist and saint. His works represent the earliest surviving Christian "apologies" of notable size.


    (1.) Another name for Joseph, surnamed Barsabas. He and Matthias are mentioned only in Acts 1:23. "They must have been among the earliest disciples of Jesus, and must have been faithful to the end; they must have been well known and esteemed among the brethren. What became of them afterwards, and what work they did, are entirely unknown" (Lindsay's Acts of the Apostles).

    (2.) A Jewish proselyte at Corinth, in whose house, next door to the synagogue, Paul held meetings and preached after he left the synagogue (Acts 18:7).

    (3.) A Jewish Christian, called Jesus, Paul's only fellow-laborer at Rome, where he wrote his Epistle to the Colossians (Col. 4:11).



    Kant, Immanuel  Philosopher

    Born: 22 April 1724 
    Birthplace: Königsberg, Prussia (now Kaliningrad, Russia) 
    Died: 12 February 1804 

    Best Known As: German philosopher who wrote Critique of Pure Reason 

    German philosopher Immanuel Kant's position as one of the greats in Western metaphysics comes from works he published late in life, including Critique of Pure Reason (1781) and The Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Ethics (1785).

    Kant grew up in Königsberg and never really left home, spending most of his professional life attached to the university there as a lecturer on philosophy. His lectures made him internationally famous, and he followed an outstanding academic career with published works that became standards in Western philosophy. Kant, influenced by the works of David Hume, held that we could only know what we experience, what he called the phenomenal, and that we could never know that which is beyond experience, what he called the noumenal. In doing so, Kant ruled out the possibility of our demonstrable knowledge of God, without ruling out the existence of God. But he also argued for an absolute morality based on free will and rationality, referred to as the categorical imperative: "Act as if the maxim from which you act were to become through your will a universal law." His brilliant, sometimes impenetrable arguments about the limits of human understanding are part of the canon of Western thought. His works include Prolegomena (his 1783 attempt to better explain Critique of Pure Reason), Critique of Practical Reason (1788) and Critique of Judgment (1790).

    Kant's belief that our understanding of objects would always be skewed by our limited capacity to understand can be seen in his famous quote: "Out of the crooked timber of humanity no straight thing can ever be made."

    See also physico-theological argument

    Kemuel   Meaning: helper of God, or assembly of God

    (1.) The third son of Nahor (Gen. 22:21).

    (2.) Son of Shiphtan, appointed on behalf of the tribe of Ephraim to partition the land of Canaan (Num. 34:24).

    (3.) A Levite (1 Chr. 27:17).

    King David  See King David here

    Kohath   Meaning: assembly

    the second son of Levi, and father of Amram (Gen. 46:11)

    He came down to Egypt with Jacob, and lived to the age of one hundred and thirty-three years (Ex. 6:18).

    Kong Fu-Zi   See Confucius

    Kuruš  See Cyrus the Younger


    Laish   Meaning: a lion

    The name of two biblical places and one man . . .

    The father of Phalti (1 Sam. 25:44).

    Lamech  Lamech is the name of two men in the genealogies of Adam in The Book of Genesis. One is the sixth generation descendant of Cain (Genesis 4:18); his father was named Methusael and he was responsible for the "Song of the Sword." He is also noted as the first polygamist mentioned in the Bible, taking two wives, Ada and Tselah.

    The other Lamech is an eighth generation descendant of Seth (Genesis 5:25). He is the son of Methuselah and was the father of Noah (Genesis 5:29).

    Because of the similarities between the two lines, some critical scholarship regards both Lamechs as one and the same individual. Many conservative scholars see no reason to confuse the two. One tradition from Genesis Rabba, relayed by Rashi's comment on Genesis 4:22, indicates that Na'amah, the daughter of Tselah and Lamech, son of Methushael, was the wife of Noah, the son of the other Lamech (son of Methuselah).

    Leah  (Hebrew: "Weary; tired")

    Leah  is the first of the four concurrent wives of the Hebrew Patriarch Jacob, and mother of six of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, along with one daughter. She is the daughter of Laban and the older sister of Rachel, whom Jacob originally wanted to marry. Leah is Jacob's first cousin, as her father Laban is the brother of Jacob's mother Rebecca.

    Lebbaeus  Meaning: courageous

    a surname of Judas (Jude), one of the twelve (Matt. 10:3), called also Thaddaeus, not to be confounded with the Judas who was the brother of our Lord.

    Levi   "joining", "adhesion"

    This was the name of four biblical men and a tribe of Israel:

    1. Levi was, according to The Book of Genesis, the third son of Jacob and Leah, and the founder of the Israelite tribe of Levi (the levites).

    The origin of the name is found in Leah's words (Gen. 29:34), “This time will my husband be joined [Hebrew: yillaveh] unto me.” He is mentioned as taking a prominent part in avenging his sister Dinah (Gen. 34:25-31). He and his three sons went down with Jacob (46:11) into Egypt, where he died at the age of one hundred and thirty-seven years (Ex. 6:16).

    The text of the Torah argues that the name of Levi refers to Leah's hope for Jacob to join with her, implying a derivation from yillaweh, meaning he will join.

    2. The father of Matthat, and son of Simeon, of the ancestors of Christ (Luke 3:29).

    3. Another ancestor of Jesus Christ. Father of another Matthat, son of Melchi, which was the son of Janna (Luke 3:24).

    4. One of the Apostles, the son of Alphaeus (Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27,29), called also Matthew (Matt. 9:9). He was formerly a tax collector.

    Born: ? 
    Birthplace: The Garden of Eden 
    Died: ? 
    Best Known As: In Hebrew lore, the first mate of Adam 

    According to Hebrew lore, Lilith was the original partner of Adam, the world's first man. Lilith and Adam argued -- some legends say she was too proud to submit to Adam's wishes -- and Lilith departed Eden, where she was succeeded as Adam's mate by Eve.

    In other ancient legends Lilith is considered a demon or a mother of demons, and is supposed to haunt desolate places. The name of Lilith is mentioned only once in the Bible, in Isaiah 34:14, where she is listed along with hyenas and jackals as those who dwell in the ruins of God-forsaken Edom. Late in the 20th century she became a symbol of female empowerment, giving her name to Lilith Fair, the travelling women's music festival organized by Sarah McLachlan.

    Lot   According to the Bible and the Quran, Lot was the nephew of the Patriarch, Abraham or Abram. He was the son of Abraham's brother Haran. (Gen. 11:27) Abraham's brother Nahor became Lot's brother in law by the marriage of Nahor (Abraham's brother) to Milcah (Lot's sister).

    Lucifer   Lucifer is a name frequently given to Satan in Christian belief. This usage as a reference to a fallen angel stems from a particular interpretation of a passage in the Bible (Isaiah 14:3-20) that speaks of someone who is given the name of "Day Star" or "Morning Star" (in Latin, Lucifer) as fallen from heaven. The same Latin word is used of the morning star in 2 Peter 1:19 and elsewhere with no relation to Satan. However, in many writings later than those of the Bible the Latin word has been used, without being translated as "Morning Star" and the like, as a proper name with which to designate Satan.

    In Latin, the word "Lucifer", meaning "Light-Bringer" (from lux, lucis, "light", and ferre, "to bear, bring"), is a name for the "Morning Star" (the planet Venus in its dawn appearances). The Latin Vulgate version of the Bible used this word twice to refer to the Morning Star: once in 2 Peter 1:19 to translate the Greek word (Phosphoros), which has exactly the same literal meaning of "Light-Bringer" that "Lucifer" has in Latin; and once in Isaiah 14:12 to translate (Hêle-l), which also means "Morning Star". In the latter passage the title of "Morning Star" is given to the tyrannous Babylonian king, who the prophet says is destined to fall. This passage was later applied to the prince of the demons, and so the name "Lucifer" came to be used for Satan, and was popularized in works such as Dante Alighieri's Inferno and John Milton's Paradise Lost, but for English speakers the greatest influence has been its use in the King James Version (more modern English versions translate the term as "Morning Star" or "Day Star").

    A similar passage in Ezekiel 28:11-19 regarding the "king of Tyre" was also applied to Satan, contributing to the traditional picture of Satan and his fall.

    Luke   (Ancient Greek Loukas)

    Luke the Evangelist was a Gentile and an early Christian leader who is said by tradition to be the author of both the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles.

    It is probable that he was a physician in Troas, and was there converted by Paul, to whom he attached himself. He accompanied him to Philippi, but did not there share his imprisonment, nor did he accompany him further after his release in his missionary journey at this time (Acts 17:1).

    The Roman Catholic Church venerates him as patron saint of physicians and surgeons; his feast day is 18 October.

    There are many passages in Paul's epistles, as well as in the writings of Luke, which show the extent and accuracy of his medical knowledge.

    Saint Luke was born of Greek origin in the city of Antioch.

    His earliest notice is in Paul's Epistle to Philemon, verse 24. He is also mentioned in Colossians 4:14 and 2 Timothy 4:11, two works commonly ascribed to Paul. The next earliest account of Luke is in the Anti-Marcionite Prologue to the Gospel of Luke, a document once thought to date to the 2nd century AD, but which has more recently been dated to the later 4th century. Helmut Koester, however, claims that the following part – the only part preserved in the original Greek – may have been composed in the late 2nd century:

    “ Luke, a native of Antioch, by profession a physician.[8] He had become a disciple of the apostle Paul and later followed Paul until his [Paul's] martyrdom. Having served the Lord continuously, unmarried and without children, filled with the Holy Spirit he died at the age of 84 years. (p. 335) ”

    Later tradition elaborates on these few facts. Epiphanius states that Luke was one of the Seventy (Panarion 51.11), and John Chrysostom indicates at one point that the "brother" Paul mentions in 2 Corinthians 8:18 is either Luke or Barnabas. J. Wenham asserts that Luke was "one of the Seventy, the Emmaus disciple, Lucius of Cyrene and Paul's kinsman." Not all scholars are as confident of all of these attributes as Wenham is, not least because Luke's own statement at the beginning of Acts freely admits that he was not an eyewitness to the events of the Gospel. According to his own statement (Luke 1:2), he was not an "eye-witness and minister of the word from the beginning."

    If we accept that Luke was in fact the author of the Gospel bearing his name and also the Acts of the Apostles, certain details of his personal life can be reasonably assumed. While he does exclude himself from those who were eyewitnesses to Jesus' ministry, he repeatedly uses the word "we" in describing the Pauline missions in Acts of the Apostles, indicating that he was personally there at those times. There is similar evidence that Luke resided in Troas, the province which included the ruins of ancient Troy, in that he writes in Acts in the third person about Paul and his travels until they get to Troas, where he switches to the first person plural. The "we" section of Acts continues until the group leaves Philippi, when his writing goes back to the third person. This change happens again when the group returns to Philippi. There are three "we sections" in Acts, all following this rule. Luke never stated, however, that he lived in Troas, and this is the only evidence that he did.

    On Paul's third visit to Philippi (20:5,6) we again meet with Luke, who probably had spent all the intervening time in that city, a period of seven or eight years. From this time Luke was Paul's constant companion during his journey to Jerusalem (20:6-21:18).

    He again disappears from view during Paul's imprisonment at Jerusalem and Caesarea, and only reappears when Paul sets out for Rome (27:1), whither he accompanies him (28:2, 12-16), and where he remains with him till the close of his first imprisonment (Philemon 1:24; Col. 4:14). The last notice of the “beloved physician” is in 2 Tim. 4:11.

    The composition of the writings, as well as the range of vocabulary used, indicate that the author was an educated man. The quote in the Letter of Paul to the Colossians differentiating between Luke and other colleagues "of the circumcision" has caused many to speculate that this indicates Luke was a Gentile. If this were true, it would make Luke the only writer of the New Testament who can clearly be identified as not being Jewish. However, that is not the only possibility. The phrase could just as easily be used to differentiate between those Christians who strictly observed the rituals of Judaism and those who did not.

    Luke died at age 84 in Boeotia, according to a "fairly early and widespread tradition". His tomb is said to be in Ephesus.

    Lundgren, Jeffrey   Jeffrey Don Lundgren was a self-proclaimed prophet, former leader of a destructive cult group, and convicted murderer.

    Lundgren was born in Missouri, U.S. and grew up as a member of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS Church).

    In 1987, Lundgren was dismissed as a lay minister by the RLDS.

    Lundgren and his family soon abandoned the religious group, and Lundgren began to feel a call to teach the Bible in the way he understood it. He formed his own sect soon after. Membership never exceeded more than twenty.

    Lundgren began to offer Bible study services at his home. He sought to convince his congregation that he was God's last prophet. He asked for money from his supporters, and some would give him their life savings, which often were calculated to be thousands of dollars.

    Lundgren then proclaimed he had received a call from God to move to Kirtland, Ohio, a small town near Cleveland which is the historic centre of the RLDS. According to Lundgren, he was told by God that he and his supporters would soon witness the second coming of Christ if they moved to Kirtland.

    By this time, seven of Lundgren's 12 followers had moved in to the family home. The remaining five were members of the Avery family. Lundgren felt that the Averys were committing a sin by not living in his house. The Avery family father, Dennis, sold his Missouri house in order for his family to move to Ohio. Avery decided to set apart a relatively small amount of money for his family's use, with a bank account. Once again, Lundgren considered this a sin, because he wanted all of his followers' money to be given exclusively to him.

    In 1984, Lundgren, his family, and his followers moved to Ohio. In Kirtland, Lundgren received a job as a tour guide at the Kirtland Temple, the first temple of the Latter Day Saints, and now primarily a tourist museum preserved by the RLDS church.

    In time, Lundgren convinced his followers that they had to seize the temple, from which he had stolen about $40,000, and to kill anyone who stood in their way. He changed his mind, however, and started telling his followers that they had to kill a family of five instead if they wanted to see God. As punishment for their "disloyalty," he chose the Averys. At some point, he referred to the slaughter of the Avery family as "pruning the vineyard," most likely a reference to the allegory of the olive tree found in chapter 5 of the Book of Jacob, part of The Book of Mormon.

    On April 10, 1989, Lundgren ordered two of his followers to dig a pit in the barn, in anticipation of burying the Averys' bodies there. The anticipation was that there could be five bodies buried in the pit. Lundgren told the rest of his followers, including the Averys, that they would go on a wilderness trip. A week later, on April 17, 1989, he rented a motel room and had dinner with all of his followers. He then called his group's men into his room. He questioned each as to their purpose in the action. All of the men assured Lundgren that they were with him in the sacrifice. Dennis Avery was not invited to the meeting in Lundgren's bedroom.

    According to followers' admissions, Lundgren later went inside the barn, with a church member named Ron Luff luring Dennis Avery into a place where the other men awaited by asking him for help with equipment for the camping trip. Luff attempted to render Avery unconscious with a stun gun, but due to a malfunction a stun bullet struck Avery but did not knock him out.

    Avery then was gagged and dragged to the place where Lundgren awaited. He was shot twice in the chest, dying almost instantly. To mask the sound of the gun, a chainsaw was left running. Luff then told Avery's wife, Cheryl, that her husband needed help. She was gagged, like her husband, but also had duct tape put over her eyes, and dragged to Lundgren. She was shot three times, twice in the breasts and once in the abdomen. Her body lay next to her husband's. The Averys' 15-year-old daughter, Trina, was shot twice in the head. The first shot missed, but the second killed her instantly. Thirteen year old Becky Avery was shot twice and left to die, while six-year-old Karen Avery was shot in the chest and head. Both died.

    Nine months after the killings, in 1990, police following a tip from an informant returned to the long-abandoned farm and uncovered the five bodies of the Avery family.

    The Lundgrens became fugitives. Media attention increased, and police began to track the cult members. The FBI joined in the hunt. Eventually, all of Lundgren's followers were found, and they helped catch him and his family.

    Thirteen of Lundgren's sect were arrested, including Lundgren and his wife. Alice Lundgren received five life sentences for conspiracy, complicity and kidnapping. Jeffrey Lundgren was given the death penalty. On October 24, 2006, Jeffrey Lundgren was executed at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility.

    The barn where the incident took place was demolished November 13, 2007.


    Mahalath  Meaning: a lute; lyre

    The name of two biblical women . . .

    1.  The daughter of Ishmael, and third wife of Esau (Gen. 28:9); called also Bashemath (Gen. 36:3).

    2.  The daughter of Jerimoth, who was one of David's sons. She was one of Rehoboam's wives (2 Chr. 11:18).

    Maimonides   Moses Maimonides, Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon also known as Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, the Rambam, and Musa ibn Maymun ,

    Maimonides was born in Cordova, Spain on March 30, 1135, and died in Egypt on December 13, 1204.

    One of the greatest Torah scholars of all time, he was a rabbi, physician, and philosopher in Spain, Morocco and Egypt during the Middle Ages. He was the preeminent medieval Jewish philosopher whose ideas also influenced the non-Jewish world.

    One of the central tenets of Maimonides's philosophy is that it is impossible for the truths arrived at by human intellect to contradict those revealed by God. Maimonides held to a strictly apophatic theology in which only negative statements toward a description of God may be considered correct. Thus, one does not say "God is One", but rather, "God is not multiple". Although many of his ideas met with the opposition of his contemporaries, Maimonides was embraced by later Jewish and many non-Jewish thinkers. St. Thomas Aquinas held him in high esteem, and the fourteen-volume Mishneh Torah today retains canonical authority as a codification of Talmudic law.

    Although his copious works on Jewish law and ethics were initially met with opposition during his lifetime, he was posthumously acknowledged to be one of the foremost rabbinical arbiters and philosophers in Jewish history. Today, his works and his views are considered a cornerstone of Jewish thought and study.

    Malachi   Malachias or Mal'achi (Hebrew: "My Messenger", see malakh) was a prophet in the Bible, the Christian Old Testament and Jewish Tanakh.

    He was the last of the minor prophets of David, and the writer of the Book of Malachi, the last book of the Christian edition Old Testament canon (Book of Malachi 4:4-6), and is the last book of the Neviim (prophets) section in the Jewish Tanakh. No allusion is made to him by Ezra, however, and he does not directly mention the restoration of the temple. The editors of the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia inferred that he prophesied after Haggai and Zechariah (Malachi 1:10; 3:1, 3:10) and speculated that he delivered his prophecies about 420 BCE, after the second return of Nehemiah from Persia (Book of Nehemiah13:6), or possibly before his return, comparing Malachi 2:8 with Nehemiah 13:15; Malachi 2:10-16 with Nehemiah 13:23).

    Malachias  See Malachi

    Manasseh  Hebrew: nashshani, meaning: who makes to forget. “God hath made me forget”

    Gen. 41:51

    This was the name of two biblical men and a tribe of Israel . . .

    1.  Manasseh of Judah  The elder of the two sons of Joseph. He and his brother Ephraim were afterwards adopted by Jacob as his own sons (48:1). There is an account of his marriage to a Syrian (1 Chr. 7:14); and the only thing afterwards recorded of him is, that his grandchildren were “brought up upon Joseph's knees” (Gen. 50:23; R.V., “born upon Joseph's knees”) i.e., were from their birth adopted by Joseph as his own children.

    The tribe of Manasseh   Hebrew: nashshani, meaning: who makes to forget. “God hath made me forget”

    The tribe of Manasseh was associated with that of Ephraim and Benjamin during the wanderings in the wilderness. They encamped on the west side of the tabernacle. According to the census taken at Sinai, this tribe then numbered 32,200 (Num. 1:10, 35; 2:20, 21). Forty years afterwards its numbers had increased to 52,700 (26:34, 37), and it was at this time the most distinguished of all the tribes.

    The half of this tribe, along with Reuben and Gad, had their territory assigned them by Moses on the east of the Jordan (Josh. 13:7-14); but it was left for Joshua to define the limits of each tribe. This territory on the east of Jordan was more valuable and of larger extent than all that was allotted to the nine and a half tribes in the land of Palestine. It is sometimes called “the land of Gilead,” and is also spoken of as “on the other side of Jordan.” The portion given to the half tribe of Manasseh was the largest on the east of Jordan. It embraced the whole of Bashan. It was bounded on the south by Mahanaim, and extended north to the foot of Lebanon. Argob, with its sixty cities, that “ocean of basaltic rocks and boulders tossed about in the wildest confusion,” lay in the midst of this territory.

    The whole “land of Gilead” having been conquered, the two and a half tribes left their wives and families in the fortified cities there, and accompanied the other tribes across the Jordan River, and took part with them in the wars of conquest. The allotment of the land having been completed, Joshua dismissed the two and a half tribes, commending them for their heroic service (Josh. 22:1-34). Thus dismissed, they returned over Jordan to their own inheritance.

    On the west of Jordan the other half of the tribe of Manasseh was associated with Ephraim, and they had their portion in the very center of Palestine, an area of about 1,300 square miles, the most valuable part of the whole country, abounding in springs of water. Manasseh's portion was immediately to the north of that of Ephraim (Josh. 16). Thus the western Manasseh defended the passes of Esdraelon as the eastern kept the passes of the Hauran.

    2.  The only son and successor of Hezekiah on the throne of Judah. He was twelve years old when he began to reign (2 Kings 21:1), and he reigned fifty-five years (B.C. 698-643). Though he reigned so long, yet comparatively little is known of this king. His reign was a continuation of that of Ahaz, both in religion and national polity. He early fell under the influence of the heathen court circle, and his reign was characterized by a sad relapse into idolatry with all its vices, showing that the reformation under his father had been to a large extent only superficial (Isa. 7:10; 2 Kings 21:10-15). A systematic and persistent attempt was made, and all too successfully, to banish the worship of Jehovah out of the land. Amid this wide-spread idolatry there were not wanting, however, faithful prophets (Isaiah, Micah) who lifted up their voice in reproof and in warning. But their fidelity only aroused bitter hatred, and a period of cruel persecution against all the friends of the old religion began. “The days of Alva in Holland, of Charles IX. in France, or of the Covenanters under Charles II. in Scotland, were anticipated in the Jewish capital. The streets were red with blood.” There is an old Jewish tradition that Isaiah was put to death at this time (2 Kings 21:16; 24:3, 4; Jer. 2:30), having been sawn asunder in the trunk of a tree. Psalms 49, 73, 77, 140, and 141 seem to express the feelings of the pious amid the fiery trials of this great persecution. Manasseh has been called the “Nero of Palestine.”

    Esarhaddon, Sennacherib's successor on the Assyrian throne, who had his residence in Babylon for thirteen years (the only Assyrian monarch who ever reigned in Babylon), took Manasseh prisoner (B.C. 681) to Babylon. Such captive kings were usually treated with great cruelty. They were brought before the conqueror with a hook or ring passed through their lips or their jaws, having a cord attached to it, by which they were led. This is referred to in 2 Chr. 33:11, where the Authorized Version reads that Esarhaddon “took Manasseh among the thorns;” while the Revised Version renders the words, “took Manasseh in chains;” or literally, as in the margin, “with hooks.” (Compare 2 Kings 19:28.)

    The severity of Manasseh's imprisonment brought him to repentance. God heard his cry, and he was restored to his kingdom (2 Chr. 33:11-13). He abandoned his idolatrous ways, and enjoined the people to worship Jehovah; but there was no thorough reformation. After a lengthened reign extending through fifty-five years, the longest in the history of Judah, he died, and was buried in the garden of Uzza, the “garden of his own house” (2 Kings 21:17, 18; 2 Chr. 33:20), and not in the city of David, among his ancestors. He was succeeded by his son Amon.

    In Judg. 18:30 the correct reading is Moses,” and not “Manasseh.” The name “Manasseh” is supposed to have been introduced by some transcriber to avoid the scandal of naming the grandson of Moses the great lawgiver as the founder of an idolatrous religion.

    Mark the Evangelist  Saint Mark the Evangelist, also known as John Mark, is traditionally believed to be the author of the Gospel of Mark and a companion of Saint Peter. He accompanied Paul of Tarsus and Barnabas on Paul's first missionary journey. After a sharp dispute, Barnabas separated from Paul, taking Mark to Cyprus (Acts 15:36-40). Later Paul called upon the services of Mark, the kinsman of Barnabas, and Mark was named as Paul's fellow worker.

    His feast day is celebrated on 25 April, the anniversary of his martyrdom. St Mark is also believed by various traditions to be the first bishop of Alexandria and the first Pope of Alexandria. He is considered the founder of the church in Alexandria, according to the Coptic church understanding, and thus the founder of Christianity in Africa. His evangelistic symbol is the lion.

    See also John Mark (John The Evangelist) They are one in the same person

    Martin Noth  (August 3, 1902 – May 30, 1968) was a German scholar of the Hebrew Bible who specialized in the pre-Exilic history of the Hebrews. With Gerhard von Rad he pioneered the traditional-historical approach to biblical studies, emphasising the role of oral traditions in the formation of the biblical texts.

    Mary  Hebrew: Miriam.

    Mary was the name of six women of the Bible, including the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, the sister of Lazarus, the wife of Cleopas, the mother of John Mark, and a Christian in Rome.

    1.  Mary, mother of Jesus

    2.  Mary the wife of Cleopas is mentioned (John 19:25) as standing at the cross in company with Mary of Magdala and Mary the mother of Jesus. By comparing Matt. 27:56 and Mark 15:40, we find that this Mary and "Mary the mother of James the little" are one and the same person, and that she was the sister of our Lord's mother. She was that “other Mary” who was present with Mary of Magdala at the burial of our Lord (Matt. 27:61; Mark 15:47); and she was one of those who went early in the morning of the first day of the week to anoint the body, and thus became one of the first witnesses of the resurrection (Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:1; Luke 24:1).

    3.  Mary Magdalene, i.e., Mary of Magdala, a town on the western shore of the Lake of Tiberias. She is for the first time noticed in Luke 8:3 as one of the women who "ministered to Christ of their substance." Their motive was that of gratitude for deliverances he had wrought for them. Out of Mary were cast seven demons. Gratitude to her great Deliverer prompted her to become his follower. These women accompanied him also on his last journey to Jerusalem (Matt. 27:55; Mark 15:41; Luke 23:55). They stood near the cross. There Mary remained till all was over, and the body was taken down and laid in Joseph's tomb.

    Again, in the earliest dawn of the first day of the week she, with Salome and Mary the mother of James (Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:2), came to the sepulchre [tomb], bringing with them sweet spices, that they might anoint the body of Jesus. They found the sepulchre empty, but saw the “vision of angels (Matt. 28:5). She hastens to tell Peter and John, who were probably living together at this time (John 20:1,2), and again immediately returns to the sepulchre. There she lingers thoughtfully, weeping at the door of the tomb. The risen Lord appears to her, but at first she knows him not. His utterance of her name “Mary” recalls her to consciousness, and she utters the joyful, reverent cry, “Rabboni.” She would fain cling to him, but he forbids her, saying, "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father." This is the last record regarding Mary of Magdala, who now returned to Jerusalem.

    The idea that this Mary was "the woman who was a sinner," or that she was unchaste, is altogether groundless.

    4.   Mary the sister of Lazarus is brought to our notice in connection with the visits of our Lord to Bethany. She is contrasted with her sister Martha, who was "cumbered about many things" while Jesus was their guest, while Mary had chosen “the good part.” Her character also appears in connection with the death of her brother (John 11:20, 31,33). On the occasion of our Lord's last visit to Bethany, Mary brought "a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus" as he reclined at table in the house of one Simon, who had been a leper (Matt. 26:6; Mark 14:3; John 12:2,3). This was an evidence of her overflowing love to the Lord. Nothing is known of her subsequent history. It would appear from this act of Mary's, and from the circumstance that they possessed a family vault (11:38), and that a large number of Jews from Jerusalem came to condole with them on the death of Lazarus (11:19), that this family at Bethany belonged to the wealthier class of the people.
    5.  Mary the mother of John Mark was one of the earliest of our Lord's Disciples. She was the sister of Barnabas (Col.4:10), and joined with him in disposing of their land and giving the proceeds of the sale into the treasury of the Church (Acts 4:37; 12:12). Her house in Jerusalem was the common meeting-place for the Disciples there.

    6.   A Christian at Rome who treated Paul with special kindness (Rom. 16:6).

    Mary (mother of Jesus)  
    Born: unknown; celebrated 8th of December
    Died: unknown; See Assumption of Mary

    (Aramaic: Maryam, later Hebrew Miriam)

    Mary called since medieval times Madonna, was a Jewish resident of Nazareth in Galilee and known from the New Testament as the mother of Jesus of Nazareth. The New Testament describes her as a young maiden - traditionally, Greek parthénos signifies an actual virgin - who conceived by the agency of the Holy Spirit while she was already the betrothed wife of Saint Joseph and was awaiting their imminent formal home-taking ceremony (i.e., the concluding Jewish wedding rite).

    The name "Mary" comes from the Greek,  This is a transliteration of the Hebrew/Aramaic name Maryam. In later Hebrew the vowel "a" changed (regularly) to "i" in a closed unaccented syllable, so that by the time the Jews began to use vowel points, they wrote it as Miryam.

    Also may want to see see Blessed Virgin Mary

    Mattathias  Mattathias was a Jewish priest whose role in the Jewish revolt against the Syrian Greeks is related in the Books of the Maccabees. Mattathias is accorded a central role in the story of Chanukah and, as a result, is named in the Al Hanissim prayer Jews add to Grace after meals and the Amidah during the festival's eight days.

    Matthew the Evangelist
    (flourished 1st century AD, Palestine; Western feast day September 21, Eastern feast day November 16)

    Meaning: gift of God  

    This was a common Jewish name after the Exile.

    He was the son of Alphaeus, and was a publican or tax-gatherer at Capernaum.

    Apostle and evangelist. Called Levi by Mark and Luke, Matthew was a publican, i.e. a taxcollector of Jewish race who worked for the Romans, before he left all at the call of Christ (Matt. 9: 9).

    On one occasion Jesus, coming up from the side of the lake, passed the custom-house where Matthew was seated, and said to him, “Follow me.” Matthew arose and followed him, and became his Disciple (Matt. 9:9).

    Formerly the name by which he was known was Levi (Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27); he now changed it, possibly in grateful memory of his call, to Matthew. The same day on which Jesus called him he made a “great feast” (Luke 5:29), a farewell feast, to which he invited Jesus and his Disciples, and probably also many of old associates. He was afterwards selected as one of the twelve (6:15). His name does not occur again in the Gospel history except in the lists of the Apostles. The last notice of him is in Acts 1:13. The time and manner of his death are unknown.

    From very early times he has been regarded as the author of the first of the four Gospels, to which both Irenaeus and Papias are witnesses.

    The Gospel of Matthew is directed at a Jewish-Christian audience in a Jewish environment and may have been written originally in Hebrew, but it is now doubted that the Apostle Matthew was its author. Tradition holds that Matthew conducted his ministry in Judaea, after which he served as a missionary to Ethiopia and Persia. Legend differs as to whether he died a martyr's death.

    [ read the book ]

    Matthew the Evangelist  See Matthew

    Mehujael  Meaning: smitten by God

    Mehujael is the son of Irad, and father of Methusael (Gen. 4:18)

    Merab  Meaning: increase

    the eldest of Saul's two daughters (1 Sam. 14:49)

    She was betrothed to David after his victory over Goliath, but does not seem to have entered heartily into this arrangement (18:2, 17, 19). She was at length, however, married to Adriel of Abel-meholah, a town in the Jordan valley, about 10 miles south of Bethshean, with whom the house of Saul maintained Alliance. She had five sons, who were all put to death by the Gibeonites on the hill of Gibeah (2 Sam. 21:8).

    Mesha (Vulgate: Messa)  Meaning: middle district

    The name of one place and two biblical men&ldots;

    1.  Hebrew: meysh'a, “deliverance,” the eldest son of Caleb (1 Chr. 2:42), and brother of Jerahmeel.

    2.  Hebrew: id, a king of Moab, the son of Chemosh-Gad, a man of great wealth in flocks and herds (2 Kings 3:4). After the death of Ahab at Ramoth-Gilead, Mesha shook off the yoke of Israel; but on the ascension of Jehoram to the throne of Israel, that king sought the help of Jehoshaphat in an attempt to reduce the Moabites again to their former condition. The united armies of the two kings came unexpectedly on the army of the Moabites, and gained over them an easy victory. The whole land was devastated by the conquering armies, and Mesha sought refuge in his last stronghold, Kir-harasheth (q.v.). Reduced to despair, he ascended the wall of the city, and there, in the sight of the allied armies, offered his first-born son a sacrifice to Chemosh, the fire-god of the Moabites. This fearful spectacle filled the beholders with horror, and they retired from before the besieged city, and recrossed the Jordan laden with spoil (2 Kings 3:25-27).

    The exploits of Mesha are recorded in the Phoenician inscription on a block of black basalt found at Dibon, in Moab, usually called the “Moabite stone” (q.v.).

    Methusael (Methushael)  Meaning: champion of El; man of God

    Methusael was a descendant of Cain (Gen. 4:18), the son of Mehujael and the father of Lamech.

    Micah   (active 8th century B.C.)

    Micah, a prophet of ancient Israel, is traditionally known as the author of the biblical book bearing his name. The Book of Micah is always placed sixth in the list of the 12 Minor Prophets.

    Micah was a later contemporary of the prophets Hosea and Isaiah. From his book it is clear that he began to preach to the Assyrians shortly before the fall of Samaria in 721 B.C. His writings also reflect the mass transportation of Israelites from northern Palestine between 734 and 721 and the conquest of all Judean towns between that time and 701. Micah was an eyewitness of the siege of Jerusalem in 700 by the Assyrian king Sennacherib. Micah's ministry therefore took place substantially in the last 25 years of the 8th century. He was not of the priestly or aristocratic class; he came from the class of small farmers and farm laborers.

    The Book of Micah falls into three distinct parts. Chapters 1-3 comment on the fall of Samaria, capital of the northern kingdom of Israel, to the Assyrian king Sargon in 721. This, Micah says, is a punishment of God for the sins of Israel. Micah then foretells the same doom for Jerusalem because the rich oppress the poor; the prophets of his time and the teachers condone this oppression; and moral cleanliness is not sought by men. Chapters 4-5 foretell the fall of Jerusalem and the restoration of its glory; he predicts that all the peoples of the earth will stream to the restored city in order to learn there how to observe the commandments of God and to attain holiness. Chapters 6-7 contain a series of oracles and denunciations. Israel's ingratitude, injustice, and cheating, the disappearance of godly behavior, and the rise of religious infidelity are all castigated by Micah. But the text ends with an expression of hope in the ultimate salvation of Israel and a petition for God's mercy and a fulfillment of God's promises to Abraham.

    Although all seven chapters of the Book of Micah bear his name, serious doubts have been raised by biblical scholars as to the authorship of certain chapters. There is general agreement that chapter 1-3 come from Micah. Chapters 4-5 speak of exile, of the abolition of royalty, and of Babylon - where the later exiles were transported. All these, if taken as referring to the later fall of Jerusalem into the hands of King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian exile in 597 B.C., cannot have come from the hand of Micah. Chapters 6-7 present difficulties of the same kind. One of the chief arguments against ascribing this material to Micah is the element of universalism and worldwide religious outlook. This became a conscious part of Judaism's thought and teaching only after the exile to Babylon. Indeed, in one passage of Micah (4: 1-5) where there is mention of this universalism, we find an identical or quasi-identical, passage in the Book of Isaiah (2: 2-4). This renders scholars suspicious.

    Micah's policies and his teachings were much in vogue after his death and in early Christian times. The prophet Jeremiah, 100 years later, pointed to Micah's ministry as justification for his own continual criticism and condemnation of sinners and of injustice in Israel. During the exile at Babylon, Micah's prophecies of restoration were reflected in the psalms composed in Babylon. The early Christian Gospel writers and the early theologians used Micah to establish the veracity of the Christian Church.

    Michal  Meaning: rivulet, or who as God?

    the younger of Saul's two daughters by his wife Ahinoam (1 Sam. 14:49, 50)

    "Attracted by the graces of his person and the gallantry of his conduct, she fell in love with David and became his wife" (18:20-28). She showed her affection for him by promoting his escape to Naioth when Saul sought his life (1 Sam. 19:12-17. Compare Ps. 59. After this she did not see David for many years. Meanwhile she was given in marriage to another man, Phalti or Phaltiel of Gallim (1 Sam. 25:44), but David afterwards formally reclaimed her as his lawful wife (2 Sam. 3:13-16). The relation between her and David soon after this was altered. They became alienated from each other. This happened on that memorable day when the ark was brought up in great triumph from its temporary resting-place to the Holy City. In David's conduct on that occasion she saw nothing but a needless humiliation of the royal dignity (1 Chr. 15:29). She remained childless, and thus the races of David and Saul were not mixed. In 2 Sam. 21:8 her name again occurs, but the name Merab should probably be here substituted for Michal (compare 1 Sam. 18:19).

    Milcah  (related to the Hebrew word for "queen")
    Milcah is the name of two women in the Hebrew Bible:

    • Milcah daughter of Haran and the wife of Nahor in The Book of Genesis, and

    • Milcah daughter of Zelophehad in Numbers and Joshua.

    Milcah daughter of Haran

    Milcah daughter of Haran was a woman of ancient Mesopotamia and an ancestor of the Patriarch Jacob. Milcah was born to the man Haran, who also had another daughter, Iscah, and a son, Lot. (Gen. 11:27, 29.) Milcah’s father Haran died in Ur before his father Terah. (Gen. 11:28.) Milcah married her uncle Nahor, Haran’s brother. (Gen. 11:29.)

    Although Leviticus would later outlaw marriages between aunt and nephew (Lev. 18:14, 20:19), it did not rule out marriage between uncle and niece. (See, e.g., Gunther Plaut, The Torah: a Modern Commentary, 881. New York: UAHC, 1981.) The Talmud approved of a man who married his sister’s daughter. (Yevamot 62b-63a.) And in the Talmud, Rabbi Isaac equates Milcah’s sister Iscah with Sarah (then Sarai), who married Abraham (then Abram), who was also their uncle. (Sanhedrin 69b.) Thus, according to Rabbi Isaac, the two sisters, Milcah and Iscah, married the two brothers, Nahor and Abraham.

    Milcah and Nahor had eight children, Uz, Buz, Kemuel, Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel. (Gen. 22:21.) Targum Jonathan says that Providence granted Milcah conception in the merit of her sister Sarah. (Targum Jonathan to Gen. 22:20.) Nahor also had four children by his concubine, Reumah. (Gen. 22:24.)

    Milcah’s son Bethuel moved to Padan-aram and fathered Rebekah. (Gen. 22:23; 24:15, 24, 47.) Milcah’s granddaughter Rebekah then married Milcah’s nephew Isaac (Gen. 24:67; 25:20), and gave birth to Jacob (Gen. 25:21–26), who became Israel. (Gen. 32:28; 35:10. According to a Midrash, Milcah was the forbearer of all the prophets in the world. (Yalkut Shimoni Balak 22:20.)

    Miriam   Meaning: their rebellion

    1. The sister of Moses and Aaron (Ex. 2:4-10; 1 Chr. 6:3).

    Her name is prominent in the history of the Exodus. She is called "the prophetess" (Ex. 15:20). She took the lead in the song of triumph after the passage of the Red Sea. She died at Kadesh during the second encampment at that place, toward the close of the wanderings in the wilderness, and was buried there (Num. 20:1).

    2.  Another woman named Miriam is mentioned in 1 Chr. 4:17, one of the descendants of Judah.

    Moloch  (West Asian mythology)

     A god mentioned repeatedly in connection with idolatrous worship. The name is most likely a deliberate misvocalization of melekh ("king") (Is 30:33) using the vowels of boshet which means "shame". The name also appears as "Milcom" in I Kings 11:5, 33 and II Kings 23:13 and twice as "Moloch" in the Septuagint (II Kgs 23:10; Amos 5:26).

    Child sacrifices are explicitly mentioned as characterizing the Molech cult. The Pentateuch and the Book of Kings use the phrase "Passing your son [or daughter] through fire to Molech" (Lev 18:21; Deut 18:10; II Kgs 16:3; 17:17; 21:6; 23:10). In the Prophets, stronger terms are employed such as "to slaughter" or "to burn" as well as "to cause to pass through fire" (Jer 7:31; 19:5; Ezek 16:21; 20:31; 23:37, 39). Some scholars interpret the "sacrificing and burning" of these children in a figurative sense, as understood by later traditions (Jubilees 30:7ff). The ritual would then be viewed as an initiation or consecration rite for dedicatory Temple service.

    The cult of Molech was connected with the worship of the Ammonites (I Kgs 11:5, 7); but the Moabites worshiped a god named Chemosh who was closely associated with, or even easily substituted for, Molech (I Kgs 11:7, 33; Judg 11:24; cf also II Kgs 23:13). Molech and Chemosh may have been local variations of the same deity.

    Moses said: ‘Thous shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech.’ It was formerly thought that Moloch, or Molech, could have been Melqart, the god worshipped in Tyre as well as Carthage, its colony. A Roman author records that in Carthage there was a bronze statue of a deity on the outstretched hands of which children were placed, so that they fell into the fire below. Because the Ras Shamra tablets do not mention child-sacrifice, the present view is that Molech was not a god but simply the term used for this primitive Canaanite rite. When Yahweh tempted Abraham, he said: ‘Take thou thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee to the land of land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.’ The patriarch was released from this gruesome obligation when Yahweh provided a ram instead. The ultimate sacrifice of the firstborn, for Christians, was the crucifixion of Jesus, ‘the Lamb of God’. This mode of death, which the Roman authorities reserved for the lowest criminals, originated in Canaan.

    Moses (Latin: Moyses, Hebrew: Standard Moshe Tiberian Mo-šeh; Greek: in both the Septuagint and the New Testament; Arabic: Mu-sa; Ge'ez:, Musse)
    Moses is a Biblical Hebrew religious leader, lawgiver, prophet, and military leader, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed. Also called Moshe Rabbeinu in Hebrew (Hebrew: Lit. "Moses our Teacher"), he is the most important prophet in Judaism, and also an important prophet of Christianity, Islam, the Bahá'í Faith, Rastafari, Chrislam and many other faiths.

    According to the book of Exodus, Moses was born to a Hebrew mother, Jochebed, who hid him when the Pharaoh ordered all newborn Hebrew boys to be killed, and he ended up being adopted into the Egyptian royal family. After killing an Egyptian slave-master, Moses fled and became a shepherd, and was later commanded by God to deliver the Hebrews from slavery. After the Ten Plagues were unleashed on Egypt, he led the Hebrew slaves out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, where they wandered in the desert for 40 years, during which time, according to the Bible, Moses received the Ten Commandments. Despite living to 120, Moses died before reaching the Land of Israel. According to the Torah, Moses was denied entrance to that destination because he himself disobeyed God's instructions about how to release water from a rock.

    Moses Maimonides  See Maimonides

    Moshe ben Maimon  See Maimonides

    Muhammad  "Muhammad" is a common male name for Muslims.  (also transliterated Mohammad, Mohammed, Muhammed, and formerly Mahomet, following the Latin)

    Muhammad ibn ‘Abdulla-h

    Muhammad is revered by Muslims as the final prophet of God. According to his traditional Muslim biographies (called sirah in Arabic), he was born c. 570 in Mecca (or "Makkah") and died June 8, 632 in Medina (Madinah), both cities in northern Arabia. His name is Arabic for "he who is highly praised".

    Pious Muslims consider that his work merely clarified and finalized the true religion, building on the work of other prophets of monotheism, and believe Islam to have existed before Muhammad. They will often give him the title Rasulu 'llah, "messenger of God", and follow his name in speech and in writing with the phrase sallallahu `alayhi wa s-salam, or, if using English, "peace be upon him".

    Muhammad is the founder of the religion of Islam and is regarded by Muslims as a messenger and prophet of God (Arabic: Alla-h), the last and the greatest law-bearer in a series of prophets. Muslims consider him the restorer of the uncorrupted original monotheistic faith (isla-m) of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and other prophets. He was also active as a diplomat, merchant, philosopher, orator, legislator, reformer, military general, and, according to Muslim belief, an agent of divine action.[

    Musa ibn Maymun  See Maimonides


    Naamah  Meaning: the beautiful

    The name of two biblical women and one city . . .

    1.  The daughter of Lamech and Zillah (Gen. 4: 22).

    2.  The daughter of the king of Ammon, one of the wives of Solomon, the only one who appears to have borne him a son, viz., Rehoboam (1 Kings 14:21, 31).

    Nadab  Meaning: liberal, generous

    (1.) The eldest of Aaron's four sons (Ex. 6:23; Num. 3:2). He with his brothers and their father were consecrated as priests of Jehovah (Ex. 28:1). He afterwards perished with Abihu for the sin of offering strange fire on the altar of burnt-offering (Lev. 10:1,2; Num. 3:4; 26:60).

    (2.) The son and successor of Jeroboam, the king of Israel (1 Kings 14:20). While engaged with all Israel in laying siege to Gibbethon, a town of southern Dan (Josh. 19:44), a conspiracy broke out in his army, and he was slain by Baasha (1 Kings 15:25-28), after a reign of two years (B.C. 955-953). The assassination of Nadab was followed by that of his whole house, and thus this great Ephraimite family became extinct (1 Kings 15:29).

    (3.) One of the sons of Shammai in the tribe of Judah (1 Chr. 2:28, 30).

    Nahash   Meaning: serpent

    (1.) King of the Ammonites in the time of Saul. The inhabitants of Jabesh-Gilead having been exposed to great danger from Nahash, sent messengers to Gibeah to inform Saul of their extremity. He promptly responded to the call, and gathering together an army he marched against Nahash. "And it came to pass that they which remained were scattered, so that two of them [the Ammonites] were not left together" (1 Sam. 11:1-11).

    (2.) Another king of the Ammonites of the same name is mentioned, who showed kindness to David during his wanderings (2 Sam. 10:2). On his death David sent an embassy of sympathy to Hanun, his son and successor, at Rabbah Ammon, his capital. The grievous insult which was put upon these ambassadors led to a war against the Ammonites, who, with their allies the Syrians, were completely routed in a battle fought at "the entering in of the gate," probably of Medeba (2 Sam. 10:6-14). Again Hadarezer rallied the Syrian host, which was totally destroyed by the Israelite army under Joab in a decisive battle fought at Helam (2 Sam. 10:17), near to Hamath (1 Chr. 18:3). "So the Syrians feared to help the children of Ammon any more" (2 Sam. 10:19).

    (3.) The father of Amasa, who was commander-in-chief of Abasolom's army (2 Sam. 17:25). Jesse's wife had apparently been first married to this man, to whom she bore Abigail and Zeruiah, who were thus David's sisters, but only on the mother's side (1 Chr. 2:16).

    Nahor (or Nacor)   is the name of two persons in Torah who were both descended from Arpachshad:

       1. The son of Serug and father of Terah, who was the father of Abraham. According to Jubilees, his mother was Milcah daughter of Kaber, and he married 'Iyoska, daughter of Nesteg of the kin of Ur Kasdim (the son of Arpachshad for whom Ur was named). He was 29 when his oldest son was born and lived to the age of 148.

       2. A grandson of 1., son of Terah, and elder brother of Abraham. He married Milcah, the daughter of his brother Haran, and lived in the land of his nativity on the east of the river Euphrates at Haran. He was the father of Bethuel and his granddaughter Rebekah became Isaac's wife. His great-granddaughters and Rebekah's nieces Rachel and Leah became Jacob's wives.

    Nahum   For the prophetic book, see Book of Nahum.


    Nahum was a minor prophet whose prophecy is recorded in the Hebrew Bible. His book comes in chronological order between Micah and Habakkuk in the Bible. He wrote about the end of the Assyrian Empire, and its capital city, Nineveh, in a vivid poetic style.

    Little is known about Nahum’s personal history. His name means "comforter," and he was from the town of Alqosh, (Nah 1:1) which scholars have attempted to identify with several cities, including the modern `Alqush of Assyria and Capharnaum of northern Galilee. He was a very nationalistic Hebrew however and lived amongst the Elkoshites in peace. His writings could be taken as prophecy or as history. One account suggests that his writings are a prophecy written in about 615 BC, just before the downfall of Assyria, while another account suggests that he wrote this passage as liturgy just after its downfall in 612 BC.

    Naomi  Pleasant; agreeable

    Naomi is Ruth's mother-in-law in the Old Testament Book of Ruth. Later, she called herself Mara, or "bitter" (Ruth 1:20-21): "She said to them, 'Do not call me Naomi call me "Mara" , for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.'" referring to the death of her husband, Elimelech, and her two sons (Maklon and Chilion). She had with her a very faithful daughter-in-law named Ruth who decided to follow her. Ruth would later become the great-grandmother of David, the future king.

    Naphtali  Meaning: my wrestling or "My struggle"

    according to The Book of Genesis(Gen. 30:8), Naphtali was the second son of Jacob and Bilhah, and the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Naphtali; however some Biblical scholars view this as postdiction, an eponymous metaphor providing an aetiology of the connectedness of the tribe to others in the Israelite confederation. The text of the Torah argues that the name of Naphtali refers to the struggle between Rachel and Leah for the favours of Jacob; Bilhah was the handmaid of Rachel, who had thought herself to be infertile, and had persuaded Jacob to have a child with Bilhah as a proxy for having one with herself.

    In the Biblical account, Bilhah's status as a handmaid, rather than an actual wife of Jacob, is regarded by biblical scholars as indicating that the authors saw the tribe of Naphtali as being not of entirely Israelite origin; this may have been the result of a typographic error, as the names of Naphtali and Issachar appear to have changed places elsewhere in the text, and the birth narrative of Naphtali and Issachar is regarded by textual scholars as having been spliced together from its sources in a manner which has highly corrupted the narrative.

    According" to the Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, Naphtali was a swift runner, though this appears to have been inferred from the Blessing of Jacob, which equates Naphtali to a hind. However, Biblical scholars believe this to actually be a description of the tribe of Naphtali, particularly since textual scholars regard the Blessing of Jacob as having been written long after the tribe settled permanently in Canaan. The Torah states that Naphtali had four sons, who migrated with him to Egypt, with their descendants remaining there until the Exodus.

    According to the apocryphal Testament of the Twelve patriarchs, he died aged 137 and was buried in Egypt.

    Nathanael   ("God has given")

    A man of Cana mentioned in the Gospel of John. It is not clear whether or not he was a disciple of Jesus. In Galilee "Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, 'Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile' '' (John 1:47). At first Nathanael did not believe in Jesus, doubting that anything good could come out of Nazareth; but after he met Jesus, Nathanael confessed that he was "the son of God" and "the king of Israel" (John 1:48-49). Jesus assured him that he would see the heaven open, and angels ascending and descending upon the Son of man (John 1:51).

    Nathanael was among those to whom Jesus appeared at the Sea of Galilee after his resurrection (John 21:2).

    Some scholars identify nathanael with Bartholomew, supposing that the latter name was a patronymic and that Nathanael was his personal name.

    His name occurs only in the Gospel of John, who in his list of the disciples never mentions Bartholomew, with whom he has consequently been identified. He was one of those to whom the Lord showed himself alive after his resurrection, at the Sea of Tiberias.

    Nathaniel  See Nathanael

    Nebat  Meaning: sight; aspect

    the father of Jeroboam, the king of Israel (1 Kings 11:26, etc.)

    Nebuchadnezzar II   also called King Nebuchadnezzar The Second
    (c 630-562 BC)
    Nebuchadnezzar II was a ruler of Babylon in the Chaldean Dynasty, who reigned c. 605 BC-562 BC. He is mentioned in the Book of Daniel, and he constructed the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. He conquered Judah and Jerusalem. He was traditionally called "Nebuchadnezzar the Great" (Daniel 1:1; Jeremiah 25:11).

    In contemporary Iraq and some other parts of the Middle East, he is glorified as a historic leader.

    Neb Khepesh Re
    Neb-Khepesh-Re  See Apepi

    Nehemiah or Nechemya ("Comforted of/is the LORD (YHWH),"

    Nehemiah is a major figure in the post-exile history of the Jews as recorded in the Bible, and is believed to be the primary author of the Book of Nehemiah. He was the son of Hachaliah, (Neh. 1:1) and probably of the Tribe of Judah. His ancestors resided in Jerusalem before his service in Persia. (Neh. 2:3).

    Nechemya  See Nehemiah above

    Nestorius  (born 4th century, Germanicia, Syria Euphratensis, Asia Minor — died c. 451, Panopolis, Egypt)

    Founder of Nestorian Christianity. Born of Persian parents, he studied in Antioch and was ordained a priest. As bishop of Constantinople from 428, he aroused controversy when he objected to Cyril of Alexandria's granting Mary the title of Theotokos ("God-Bearer"), which he believed compromised Christ's full humanity. In 431 the Council of Ephesus condemned his teaching as heresy on the ground that he denied the reality of Christ's incarnation, and Nestorius went into exile, first in the Libyan desert and then in Upper Egypt. Nestorianism was adopted by the Persian church, whose members still adhere to his ideas.

    Nimrod   a Mesopotamian monarch mentioned in The Book of Genesis, and who figures in many legends and folktales.

    Several ruins preserve Nimrod's name, and he is featured in the midrash. Tradition makes him out to be an impious tyrant who built the Tower of Babel.

    Mention of Nimrod in the Bible is rather limited. According to the "documentary hypothesis" of the Bible's origin, the Jahwist writer(s) make the earliest mention of Nimrod.

    He is described as the son of Cush, grandson of Ham, great-grandson of Noah; and as "a mighty one on the earth" and "a mighty hunter before the LORD".

    He also appears in the First Book of Chronicles and in the Book of Micah.

    Nimrod is said to be the founder and king of the first empire after the Flood, and his realm is connected with the Mesopotamian towns Babylon (Babel), Uruk, Akkad and Calneh. He is mentioned in the Table of Nations (Genesis 10), where he is said to have founded many cities.

    Owing to an ambiguity in the original Hebrew text, it is unclear whether it is he or Asshur who additionally founded Nineveh, Resen, Rehoboth-Ir and Calah, and both of these interpretations are reflected in the various English versions.(Genesis 10:8–10)

    Nissi  See Jehovah-Nissi

    Born: 1057 AM - 3167 BC
    Died:  2007 AM - 2217 BC

    Biblical References: The Book of Genesis
    Genesis 6 - 9

    Noah was, according to the Bible, the tenth and last of the antediluvian patriarchs; and a prophet according to the Qur'an. The biblical story of Noah is contained in The Book of Genesis, chapters 5-9, while the Qur'an has a whole sura named after and devoted to his story with other references elsewhere. In The Genesis account, Noah saves his family and representatives of all animals in groups of two or seven from The Flood, while the Islamic version of the story mentions a group of 72 others (although none reproduce after the Flood). He receives a covenant from God, and his sons repopulate the earth.

    While the Deluge and Noah's Ark are the best-known elements of the account of Noah, he is also mentioned in The Book of Genesis as the "first husbandman" and the inventor of wine, as well as in an episode of his drunkenness and the subsequent Curse of Ham. The account of Noah is the subject of much elaboration in the later Abrahamic traditions, and was immensely influential in Western culture. Jewish thinkers have debated the extent of Noah's righteousness. Christians have likened the Christian Church to Noah's ark.

    Nun  in the Hebrew Bible, Nun was a man from the Tribe of Ephraim, grandson of Ammihud, son of Elishama, and father of Joshua. (1 Chronicles 7:26-27) He grew up in and may have lived his entire life in the Israelites' Egyptian captivity, where the Egyptians "made life bitter for them with harsh labor at mortar and bricks and with all sorts of tasks in the field." (Exodus 1:14) In Aramaic, "nun" means "fish." Thus the Midrash tells: "[T]he son of him whose name was as the name of a fish would lead them [the Israelites] into the land." (Genesis Rabba 97:3.)



    Obadiah  Meaning: servant of the Lord

    Obadiah is a Biblical theophorical name, meaning "servant of Jehovah" It is cognate to the Arabic name `Ubaidallah (Obeidallah). The form of his name used in the Septuagint is Obdios; in Latin it is Abdias.

    Obadiah is:

    (1.) An Israelite who was chief in the household of King Ahab (1 Kings 18:3). Amid great spiritual degeneracy he maintained his fidelity to God, and interposed to protect The Lord's prophets, an hundred of whom he hid at great personal risk in a cave (4, 13). Ahab seems to have held Obadiah in great honor, although he had no sympathy with his piety (5, 6, 7). The last notice of him is his bringing back tidings to Ahab that Elijah, whom he had so long sought for, was at hand (9-16). “Go,” said Elijah to him, when he met him in the way, "go tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here."

    (2.) A chief of the tribe of Issachar (1 Chr. 7:3).

    (3.) A descendant of Saul (1 Chr. 8:38).

    (4.) A Levite, after the Captivity (1 Chr. 9:16).

    (5.) A Gadite who joined David at Ziklag (1 Chr. 12:9).

    (6.) A prince of Zebulun in the time of David (1 Chr. 27:19).

    (7.) One of the princes sent by Jehoshaphat to instruct the people in the law (2 Chr. 17:7).

    (8.) A Levite who superintended the repairs of the temple under Josiah (2 Chr. 34:12).

    (9.) One who accompanied Ezra on the return from Babylon (Ezra 8:9).

    (10.) A prophet, fourth of the minor prophets in the Hebrew canon, and fifth in the LXX. He was probably contemporary with Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Of his personal history nothing is known.

    Obed  In the Tanakh, Obed was a son of Boaz and Ruth (Ruth 4:21, 22), the father of Jesse, and the grandfather of David.

    In the Christian Scriptures, He is one of Jesus' ancestors through the aforementioned genealogy found in the gospels.

    The name Obed is cognate with Arabic "Abd", meaning "servant, worshipper".

    Ochus  see Darius II

    Og   Meaning: gigantic

    The king of Bashan, who was defeated by Moses in a pitched battle at Edrei, and was slain along with his sons (Deut. 1:4), and whose kingdom was given to the tribes of Reuben and Gad and half the Tribe of Manasseh  (Num. 21:32-35; Deut. 3:1-13)

    His bedstead (or rather sarcophagus) was of iron (or ironstone), 9 cubits in length and 4 cubits in breadth. His overthrow was afterwards celebrated in song (Ps. 135:11; 136:20).

    Oholibamah  see Aholibamah

    Omri  Meaning: servant of Jehovah

    When Elah was murdered by Zimri at Tirzah (1 Kings 16:15-27), Omri, his captain, was made king (B.C. 931). For four years there was continued opposition to his reign, Tibni, another claimant to the throne, leading the opposing party; but at the close of that period all his rivals were defeated, and he became king of Israel, "Tibni died and Omri reigned" (B.C. 927). By his vigour and power he gained great eminence and consolidated the kingdom. He fixed his dynasty on the throne so firmly that it continued during four succeeding reigns. Tirza was for six years the seat of his government. He then removed the capital to Samaria (q.v.), where he died, and was succeeded by his son Ahab. "He wrought evil in the eyes of the Lord, and did worse than all that were before him."

    Beth-omri, “the house” or “city of Omri,” is the name usually found on Assyrian inscriptions for Samaria. In the stele of Mesha (the "Moabite stone"), which was erected in Moab about twenty or thirty years after Omri's death, it is recorded that Omri oppressed Moab till Mesha delivered the land: "Omri, king of Israel, oppressed Moab many days, for Chemosh was angry with his land. His son succeeded him, and he also said, I will oppress Moab" (compare 2 Kings 1:1; 3:4, 5). The “Moabite stone” also records that "Omri took the land of Medeba, and occupied it in his day and in the days of his son forty years."

    Oshea  See Jesus

    Our Lady  See Blessed Virgin Mary



    Parysatis   was the 5th-century BCE illegitimate daughter of Artaxerxes I, Emperor of Persia and Andia of Babylon.

    She was the half-sister of Xerxes II, Sogdianus and Darius II. She married her half-brother Darius and had four sons, Artaxerxes II, Cyrus the Younger, Ostanes and Oxathres. Her favorite was Cyrus and it was on account of her influence that the then teenager was given supreme command in western Anatolia in around 407 BCE. When her husband died, she supported her younger son Cyrus. When Cyrus was defeated in the Battle of Cunaxa she blamed the satrap Tissaphernes for the death of her son. She later had Tissaphernes assassinated.

    Paul  See Saint Paul

    Paul the Apostle  See Saint Paul

    Paul of Tarsus   See Saint Paul

    Peleg  (Hebrew: Standard Péleg / Páleg Tiberian Péle? / Pale? ; "Division")

    Peleg, Phaleg in the Douay-Rheims, is one of the two sons of Eber, the ancestor of the Hebrews according to the so-called "Table of Nations" in Genesis x, xi and 1 Chronicles i. According to Genesis 10:25, it was during the time of Peleg that "the earth was divided" - traditionally, this is often assumed to be just before, during, or after the failure of Nimrod's Tower of Babel. Peleg's son was Reu, born when he was thirty. He is said to have lived to the age of 239.

    The meaning of the earth being divided has been speculated to be a patriarchal division of the world (or possibly just the eastern hemisphere) among the three sons of Noah for future occupation, as specifically described in the Book of Jubilees. Flavius Josephus (among others) also affirms this interpretation in his Antiquities of the Jews, Book I, Chapter VI, Paragraph 4.

    Peter  originally called Simon (= Simeon ,i.e., “hearing”), a very common Jewish name in the New Testament.

    Peter was one of the Twelve Apostles, chosen by Jesus as one of his first Disciples.

    He was the son of Jona (Matt. 16:17). His mother is nowhere named in Scripture. He had a younger brother called Andrew, who first brought him to Jesus (John 1:40-42). His native town was Bethsaida, on the western coast of the Sea of Galilee, to which also Philip belonged. Here he was brought up by the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and was trained to the occupation of a fisher. His father had probably died while he was still young, and he and his brother were brought up under the care of Zebedee and his wife Salome (Matt. 27:56; Mark 15:40; 16:1). There the four youths, Simon, Andrew, James, and John, spent their boyhood and early manhood in constant fellowship. Simon and his brother doubtless enjoyed all the advantages of a religious training, and were early instructed in an acquaintance with the Scriptures and with the great prophecies regarding the coming of the Messiah. They did not probably enjoy, however, any special training in the study of the law under any of the rabbis. When Peter appeared before the Sanhedrin, he looked like an “unlearned man” (Acts 4:13).

    He was with Jesus during events witnessed by only a few Apostles, such as the Transfiguration. Early Christian writers provided more details about his life. Tradition describes him as the first bishop of Rome, author of two canonical epistles, and a martyr under Nero, crucified head down and buried in Rome. His memoirs are traditionally cited as the source of the Gospel of Mark.

    Perez  See Pharez below

    Phalti  Meaning: deliverance of the Lord

    the son of Laish of Gallim (1 Sam. 25:44)= Phaltiel (2 Sam. 3:15)

    Michal, David's wife, was given to him.

    Phaltiel of Gallim  See Phalti

    Phanuel  Meaning: face of God

    father of the prophetess Anna (q.v.), Luke 2:36

    Phares  See Pharez below

    Pharez (Phares / Perez)  Meaning: breakthrough; breach; bursting forth

    He was a father, and the elder of twin sons of Judah (Neh. 11:4). His mother was Judah's daughter-in-law, Tamar. He was conceived as part of a revengeful deception. (Gen. 38:29; 46:12)

    From him the royal line of David sprang (Ruth 4:12, 18-22). He is in the genealogy of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:3; Luke 3:33).

    "The chief of all the captains of the host" was of the children of Perez (1 Chr. 27:3; Matt. 1:3).

    Four hundred and sixty-eight of his “sons” came back from captivity with Zerubbabel, who himself was one of them (1 Chr. 9:4; Neh. 11:6).

    Philip the Apostle   (1st century)

    Nearly everything known about him is in the New Testament. He came from Bethsaida (Galilee); he became a disciple of Jesus early on, probably after following John the Baptist; he then persuaded Nathanael (probably Bartholomew) to follow Jesus. At the feeding of the 5, 000 he remarked that two hundred pennyworth of bread would not be sufficient for each person to have even a little. Again, when the Greeks wanted to meet Jesus, they approached Philip first; at the last discourse Philip's request to Jesus to show them the Father elicited the reply: ‘He that sees me, sees the Father.’ (Cf. John 1: 43–51; 6: 5–7; 12: 21f.; 14: 8f.) Like the other Apostles he was in the upper room awaiting the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 1: 12–14), but after that there are only vague traditions. Some of these, which develop the role of Philip's supposed daughters in the early Church, are probably due to a confusion between him and Philip the Deacon (cf. Acts 8; 21: 8). Perhaps the most probable is the tradition which says that he preached the Gospel in Phrygia and died at Hierapolis, where he was also buried. His supposed relics were translated to Rome and placed in the basilica of the Twelve Apostles. But an ancient inscription there records that it was originally dedicated to SS. Philip and James. In art Philip is represented either with a cross, on which he was believed to have suffered, or else with loaves of bread to recall his part in feeding the 5, 000. Several screen paintings of him survive in Norfolk together with those of most or all the other Apostles (e.g. North Elmham, South Lynn, and Salle). Early manuscripts of the Martyrology of Jerome place the feast of Philip alone on 1 May, which may indicate that James was joined to his feast after this dedication; both figure on this day in the early Roman sacramentaries. This traditional feast day of 1 May was altered in recent years because May Day was devoted to the feast of Joseph ‘the Worker’ in 1955. In that year the feast of SS. Philip and James was transferred to 11 May, but in 1969 it was moved once more to 3 May. In the B.C.P. it has remained constant on 1 May, and the Eastern churches celebrate it on 14 November.

    Phinehas   Meaning: mouth of brass, or from old Egypt, the negro

    1.  Son of Eleazar, the high priest (Ex. 6:25). While yet a youth he distinguished himself at Shittim by his zeal against the immorality into which the Moabites had tempted the people (Num. 25:1-9), and thus “stayed the plague” that had broken out among the people, and by which twenty-four thousand of them perished. For his faithfulness on that occasion he received the divine approbation (10-13). He afterwards commanded the army that went out against the Midianites (31:6-8). When representatives of the people were sent to expostulate with the two and a half tribes who, just after crossing Jordan, built an altar and departed without giving any explanation, Phinehas was their leader, and addressed them in the words recorded in Josh. 22:16-20. Their explanation follows. This great altar was intended to be all ages only a witness that they still formed a part of Israel. Phinehas was afterwards the chief adviser in the war with the Benjamites. He is commemorated in Ps. 106:30-31.

    2.  One of the sons of Eli, the high priest (1 Sam. 1:3; 2:12). He and his brother Hophni were guilty of great crimes, for which destruction came on the house of Eli (31). He died in battle with the Philistines (1 Sam. 4:4, 11); and his wife, on hearing of his death, gave birth to a son, whom she called "Ichabod," and then she died (19-22).

    Pilate  See Pontius Pilate Pilate

    Pispa  see Pispah below

    Pispah (Pispa)  Meaning: Dispersion; expansion. Disappearance. (according to Dr. Judson Comwall and Dr. Stelman Smith)

    a son of Jether / He was a descendant of Asher (1 Chr. 7:38). His brothers were Jephunneh and Ara.

    Plato  (428/427 BC – 348/347 BC)

    Plato was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the foundations of Western philosophy. Plato was originally a student of Socrates, and was as much influenced by his thinking as by what he saw as his teacher's unjust death.

    Plato's sophistication as a writer is evident in his Socratic dialogues; thirty-five dialogues and thirteen letters have traditionally been ascribed to him, although modern scholarship doubts the authenticity of at least some of these. Plato's writings have been published in several fashions; this has led to several conventions regarding the naming and referencing of Plato's texts.

    Although there is little question that Plato lectured at the Academy that he founded, the pedagogical function of his dialogues, if any, is not known with certainty. The dialogues since Plato's time have been used to teach a range of subjects, mostly including philosophy, logic, rhetoric, mathematics, and other subjects about which he wrote.

    Pontius Pilate

    This man was probably connected with the Roman family of the Pontii, and called “Pilate” from the Latin pileatus, i.e., “wearing the pileus”, which was the "cap or badge of a manumitted slave," as indicating that he was a “freedman,” or the descendant of one.

    He was the sixth in the order of the Roman procurators of Judea (A.D. 26-36). His headquarters were at Caesarea, but he frequently went up to Jerusalem.

    His reign extended over the period of the ministry of John the Baptist and of Jesus Christ, in connection with whose trial his name comes into prominent notice.

    Pilate was a "typical Roman, not of the antique, simple stamp, but of the imperial period, a man not without some remains of the ancient Roman justice in his soul, yet pleasure-loving, imperious, and corrupt. He hated the Jews whom he ruled, and in times of irritation freely shed their blood. They returned his hatred with cordiality, and accused him of every crime, maladministration, cruelty, and robbery.

    He visited Jerusalem as seldom as possible; for, indeed, to one accustomed to the pleasures of Rome, with its theatres, baths, games, and gay society, Jerusalem, with its religiousness and ever-smouldering revolt, was a dreary residence. When he did visit it he stayed in the palace of Herod the Great, it being common for the officers sent by Rome into conquered countries to occupy the palaces of the displaced sovereigns."

    After his trial before the Sanhedrin, Jesus was brought to the Roman procurator, Pilate, who had come up to Jerusalem as usual to preserve order during the Passover, and was now residing, perhaps, in the castle of Antonia, or it may be in Herod's palace.

    Pilate came forth from his palace and met the deputation from the Sanhedrin, who, in answer to his inquiry as to the nature of the accusation they had to prefer against Jesus, accused him of being a “malefactor.” Pilate was not satisfied with this, and they further accused him:
    (1) of sedition,
    (2) preventing the payment of the tribute to Caesar, and 
    (3) of assuming the title of king (Luke 23:2).

    Pilate now withdrew with Jesus into the palace (John 18:33) and examined him in private (37-38); and then going out to the deputation still standing before the gate, he declared that he could find no fault in Jesus (Luke 23:4).

    This only aroused them to more furious clamour, and they cried that he excited the populace "throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee."

    When Pilate heard of Galilee, he sent the accused to Herod Antipas, who had jurisdiction over that province, thus hoping to escape the difficulty in which he found himself. But Herod, with his men of war, set Jesus at nought, and sent him back again to Pilate, clad in a purple robe of mockery (23:11-12).

    Pilate now proposed that as he and Herod had found no fault in him, they should release Jesus; and anticipating that they would consent to this proposal, he ascended the judgment-seat as if ready to ratify the decision (Matt. 27:19). But at this moment his wife (Claudia Procula) sent a message to him imploring him to have nothing to do with the “just person.”

    Pilate's feelings of perplexity and awe were deepened by this incident, while the crowd vehemently cried out, "Not this man, but Barabbas." Pilate answered, "What then shall I do with Jesus?" The fierce cry immediately followed. "Let him be crucified."

    Pilate, apparently vexed, and not knowning what to do, said, "Why, what evil hath he done?" but with yet fiercer fanaticism the crowd yelled out, "Away with him! crucify him, crucify him!" Pilate yielded, and sent Jesus away to be scourged. This scourging was usually inflicted by lictors; but as Pilate was only a procurator he had no lictor, and hence his soldiers inflicted this terrible punishment.

    This done, the soldiers began to deride the sufferer, and they threw around him a purple robe, probably some old cast-off robe of state (Matt. 27:28; John 19:2), and putting a reed in his right hand, and a crown of thorns on his head, bowed the knee before him in mockery, and saluted him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" They took also the reed and smote him with it on the head and face, and spat in his face, heaping upon him every indignity.

    Pilate then led forth Jesus from within the Praetorium (Matt. 27:27) before the people, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, saying, "Behold the man!" But the sight of Jesus, now scourged and crowned and bleeding, only stirred their hatred the more, and again they cried out, "Crucify him, crucify him!" and brought forth this additional charge against him, that he professed to be "The Son of God."

    Pilate heard this accusation with a superstitious awe, and taking him once more within the Praetorium, asked him, "Whence art thou?" Jesus gave him no answer. Pilate was irritated by his continued silence, and said, "Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee?" Jesus, with calm dignity, answered the Roman, "Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above."

    After this Pilate seemed more resolved than ever to let Jesus go. The crowd perceiving this cried out, "If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend." This settled the matter. He was afraid of being accused to the emperor.

    Calling for water, he washed his hands in the sight of the people, saying, "I am innocent of the blood of this just person." The mob, again scorning his scruples, cried, "His blood be on us, and on our children." Pilate was stung to the heart by their insults, and putting forth Jesus before them, said, "Shall I crucify your King?" The fatal moment had now come. They madly exclaimed, "We have no king but Caesar;" and now Jesus is given up to them, and led away to be crucified.

    By the direction of Pilate an inscription was placed, according to the Roman custom, over the cross, stating the crime for which he was crucified.


    As John is the only Gospel writer who mentions Pilate, or Nazareth, or who calls the inscription a 'title' (Latin titulus), it is abundantly evident that John is quoting the Latin which read:


    The letters "INRI" are initials for the Latin title that Pontius Pilate had written over the head of Jesus Christ on the cross (John 19:19). Latin was the official language of the Roman Empire.The words were "Iesus Nazarenvs Rex Ivdaeorvm." Latin uses "I" instead of the English "J", and "V" instead of "U" (i.e., Jesus Nazarenus Rex Judaeorum). The English translation is "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews."

    That this is the Latin is further confirmed by the fact that the Early Church adopted as a symbol the Latin letters 'INRI', which are the first letters of this inscription (only), and this symbol appears in many early paintings of the crucifixion.

    See INRI 

    Having ascertained from the centurion that he was dead, he gave up the body to Joseph of Arimathea to be buried.

    Pilate's name now disappears from the Gospel history. References to him, however, are found in the Acts of the Apostles (3:13; 4:27; 13:28), and in 1 Tim. 6:13.

    In A.D. 36 the governor of Syria brought serious accusations against Pilate, and he was banished to Vienne in Gaul, where, according to tradition, he committed suicide. [Gaul was the Roman name for a region now covered by France, Belgium and Holland. Vivenne is an area in central France named after the Vienne River.]

    Potiphar  Meaning: dedicated to Ra; i.e., to the sun-god

    the Egyptian to whom the Ishmaelites sold Joseph (Gen. 39:1)

    He was "captain of the guard", i.e., chief, probably, of the state police, who, while they formed part of the Egyptian army, were also largely employed in civil duties (37:36; marg., "chief of the executioners"). Joseph, though a foreigner, gradually gained his confidence, and became overseer over all his possessions. Believing the false accusation which his profligate wife brought against Joseph, Potiphar cast him into prison, where he remained for some years.



    Rabbi Moses ben Maimon  See Maimonides

    Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon  See Maimonides

    Rachel    the second and favorite wife of Jacob and mother of Joseph and Benjamin, first mentioned in The Book of Genesis of the Hebrew Bible. She was the daughter of Laban and the younger sister of Leah, Jacob's first wife. Jacob was her first cousin, as Jacob's mother Rebecca was Laban's sister.

    Rahab  Rahab is either

    (1) The prostitute who hid Joshua's 2 spies in Jericho (Joshua 2,6) and later became an ancestor of Jesus (Matthew 1:5) and an example of faith (Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25).

    (2) Literally, "pride" or "arrogance" -- possibly a reference to a large aquatic creature (Job 9:13; Job 26:12; Isaiah 51:9) or symbolically referring to Egypt (Psalm 87:4; 89:10).

    Rambam  See Maimonides

    Rebecca  (also Rebekah, also Rivkah, Hebrew: "to tie; to bind; captivating")

    Rebecca is the wife of Isaac and the second matriarch of the four matriarchs of the Jewish people. She is the mother of Jacob and Esau. Rebecca and Isaac are one of the three "pairs" buried in the Cave of Machpelah in Hebron, together with Abraham and Sarah and Jacob and Leah.

    Rehoboam  Meaning: he enlarges the people

    the successor of Solomon on the throne, and apparently his only son

    He was the son of Naamah (his mother) "the Ammonitess," some well-known Ammonitish princess (1 Kings 14:21; 2 Chr. 12:13).

    He was forty-one years old when he ascended the throne, and he reigned seventeen years (B.C. 975-958). Although he was acknowledged at once as the rightful heir to the throne, yet there was a strongly-felt desire to modify the character of the government. The burden of taxation to which they had been subjected during Solomon's reign was very oppressive, and therefore the people assembled at Shechem and demanded from the king an alleviation of their burdens. He went to meet them at Shechem, and heard their demands for relief (1 Kings 12:4).

    After three days, having consulted with a younger generation of courtiers that had grown up around him, instead of following the advice of elders, he answered the people haughtily (6-15). "The king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the Lord" (compare 11:31). This brought matters speedily to a crisis. The terrible cry was heard (compare 2 Sam. 20:1):

    "What portion have we in David?
    Neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse:
    To your tents, O Israel:
    Now see to thine own house, David" (1 Kings 12:16).

    And now at once the kingdom was rent in twain. Rehoboam was appalled, and tried concessions, but it was too late . The tribe of Judah, Rehoboam's own tribe, alone remained faithful to him. Benjamin was reckoned along with Judah, and these two tribes formed the southern kingdom, with Jerusalem as its capital; while the northern ten tribes formed themselves into a separate kingdom, choosing Jeroboam as their king.

    Rehoboam tried to win back the revolted ten tribes by making war against them, but he was prevented by the prophet Shemaiah (21-24; 2 Chr. 11:1-4) from fulfilling his purpose.

    In the fifth year of Rehoboam's reign, Shishak (q.v.), one of the kings of Egypt of the Assyrian dynasty, stirred up, no doubt, by Jeroboam his son-in-law, made war against him. Jerusalem submitted to the invader, who plundered the temple and virtually reduced the kingdom to the position of a vassal of Egypt (1 Kings 14:25,26; 2 Chr. 12:5-9).

    A remarkable memorial of this invasion has been discovered at Karnac, in Upper Egypt, in certain sculptures on the walls of a small temple there. These sculptures represent the king, Shishak, holding in his hand a train of prisoners and other figures, with the names of the captured towns of Judah, the towns which Rehoboam had fortified (2 Chr. 11:5-12).

    The kingdom of Judah, under Rehoboam, sank more and more in moral and spiritual decay. "There was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all their days." At length, in the fifty-eighth year of his age, Rehoboam "slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David" (1 Kings 14:31). He was succeeded by his son Abijah (also known as Abijam)

    Reu   or Ragau  (Hebrew: "Behold")
    Reu in The Book of Genesis was the son of Peleg and the father of Serug, thus being Abraham's great-great-grandfather. He was 32 when Serug was born and lived to the age of 239. (Genesis 11:20)

    The Book of Jubilees names his mother as Lomna of Shinar (10:28), and his wife as Ora, daughter of Ur Kesed (11:1). He is said to have been born at the time when the Tower of Babel was begun.

    Reuben   Meaning: behold a son!

    the eldest son of Jacob and Leah and the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Reuben in The Book of Genesis. (Gen. 29:32)

    His sinful conduct, referred to in Gen. 35:22, brought down upon him his dying father's malediction (48:4). He showed kindness to Joseph, and was the means of saving his life when his other brothers would have put him to death (37:21,22). It was he also who pledged his life and the life of his sons when Jacob was unwilling to let Benjamin go down into Egypt. After Jacob and his family went down into Egypt (46:8) no further mention is made of Reuben beyond what is recorded in ch. 49:3,4.

    Reuel  Meaning: friend of God

    This was the name of three biblical men . . . 

    1.  A son of Esau and Bashemath (Gen. 36:4, 10; 1 Chr. 1:35).

    2. “The priest of Midian,” Moses' father-in-law (Ex. 2:18) = Raguel (Num. 10:29). If he be identified with Jethro (q.v.), then this may be regarded as his proper name, and Jether or Jethro (i.e., “excellency”) as his official title.

    Moses’ father in law is also called Reuel (Exodus 2:18) and Raguel (Numbers 10:29). These are probably two forms of his given name, while the name Jethro was associated with his priestly office (Exodus 18:1)” (Dr. Henry M. Morris, The Defender's Bible).

    3.  The father of a Gadite captain named Eliasaph, a man mentioned in Numbers 2:14. He is also called Deuel (1:14; 7:42).

    Riphath (ree-fath)   Gomer's second son (Gen. 10:3, 1 Chronicles 1:6), supposed by Josephus to have been the ancestor of the Paphlagonians.

    Born: c. 1200 to 1000 B.C.
    Died: c. 1200 to 1000 B.C.
    Birthplace: Moab

    The name Ruth is found in the Old Testament only in the book which is so entitled. The Book of Ruth details the history of the one decisive episode owing to which Ruth became an ancestress of David and of the royal house of Judah.

    The short biblical book of Ruth is about a foreigner who, out of loyalty to her mother-in-law, adopts the Hebrew culture as her own and becomes an ancestor of Israel's most famous king. The story begins with a woman named Naomi immigrating eastward from the region of Judea to the land of Moab with her husband, Elimelech. He dies there and so do their two sons, who have married Moabite women. Before heading home, Naomi urges her daughters-in-law to return to their families. One of them, Ruth, refuses, declaring faithfulness to Naomi despite the hardships that await two widows in Judea. Once there, through obedience to Naomi and her own hard work as a field gleaner, Ruth gains security for both of them by persuading Boaz, Naomi's relative, to marry her and care for them both. Their son, Obed, fathers Jesse, who in turn fathers David, the famous young giant slayer and eventual king of Israel.

    Ruth professes her loyalty to Naomi in Chapter 1, verse 16: 

    "Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God"...

    The Book of Ruth is traditionally read on the Jewish holiday of Shauvot . . .

    In Jewish bibles, Ruth is in a section of "Writings" that starts with Psalms and Proverbs. In the Old Testament section of Christian Bibles it comes earlier, after Joshua and Judges. Most scholars believe it was written between 950 and 700 B.C.


    Saint Andrew   Andrew (d. c.60), apostle and martyr, brother of Simon Peter. He was a fisherman by trade, his home was at Capernaum. He was a disciple of John the Baptist before becoming an apostle of Christ. In all the Gospel lists of Apostles his name is among the first four; he is specially mentioned for his share in the feeding of the 5, 000 and in the episode of the Greeks who wished to meet Jesus (cf. John 12: 20–2).

    It is not certain where he preached the Gospel, where he died or (even in Chrysostom's time) where he was buried. The most ancient written tradition links him with Greece: Scythia and Epirus both claimed him as their apostle, while Patras in Achaia claimed to be the place where he was crucified and preached to the people for two days before he died. An early medieval forgery attributed to him the founding of the Church of Constantinople. This claim was strengthened by the translation of his supposed relics from Patras; it was intended to provide some counterweight to the more solid claim of Rome to possess the relics of Peter and Paul.

    There was also a notable cult in the West. His feast was universal from the 6th century: churches were dedicated to him from early times in Italy and France, as well as Anglo-Saxon England, where Rochester was the earliest of 637 medieval dedications. Ancient legends include that of a journey to Ethiopia, preserved in the Old English poem Andreas (once attributed to Cynewulf) and, even more influential, that of a translation of his relics from Patras to Scotland by Rule in the 8th century. He stopped at a place in Fife now called St. Andrews and built a church there, which became a centre for evangelization and eventually pilgrimage. This story, which survives in several irreconcilable forms, some of which posit angelic intervention, is the reason for the choice of Andrew as patron of Scotland.

    After the fall of Constantinople in 1204, the Crusaders took his body to Amalfi. The despot Thomas Palaeologus gave his head to the pope in 1461. The latter was one of the most treasured possessions of St. Peter's until it was returned to Constantinople by Pope Paul VI.

    In art Andrew is depicted with a normal Latin cross in the most ancient examples; the saltire cross (X), commonly called ‘St. Andrew's Cross’, which represents Scotland on the Union Jack, was associated with him from the 10th century at Autun, and became common in the 14th. His other attribute is a fishing-net. Cycles of paintings are based on his fictitious Acts, which form the basis of the Breviary Office. Andrew is also patron of Russia. Feast: 30 November; translation, 9 May.

    Saint James the Just   (Hebrew: Jacob)
    (died 62AD)

    Not to be confused with the original twelve disciples of Christ.

    Perhaps the author of the Epistle of James

    Also known as James the Just, James of Jerusalem, James Adelphotheos, James, the Brother of the Lord, was an important figure in Early Christianity.

    Our Lord had four younger brothers (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3). Although Jesus was related to his brothers by law, he was not genetically related to them. While his brothers were the offspring of his parents, Mary and Joseph, Jesus' was conceived in purity by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18,20) and placed into the womb of Mary (for further information, see: Mary, mother of Jesus.

    Of the brothers, the next oldest after Jesus was James (Matt. 13:55-56; Mark 6:3). Other verses which indicate the existence of Mary and Joseph's other children: Matthew 1:25; 12:47; Luke 2:7; John 2:12; Acts 1:14. The Bible reveals that there was some initial skepticism in Christ's family about his ministry (Matthew 12:46-50; Mark 3:31-35; Luke 8:19-21; John 7:5). This later changed when James witnessed the fact of his brother's resurrection from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:7). James personally talked to Jesus after his resurrection (1 Cor. 15:7). James became a strong believer and follower of Jesus, and the leader of the Jerusalem church (1 Corinthians 9:5; Galatians 2:9). In Galatians 1:19, Paul referred to James as an Apostle, like himself. James also endorsed Paul's ministry (Galatians 2:1-10). James presided over the council held to decide whether the Gentile Christians should follow the rules of the Jews (Acts 12:17; 15:13-29: 21:18-24).

    Note: Jesus' other brothers apparently became missionaries (1 Corinthians 9:5).

    James is also generally identified by Roman Catholics with James, son of Alphaeus and James the Less. According to Christian tradition, he was the first Bishop of Jerusalem, the author of the Epistle of James in the New Testament, the first of the Seventy of Luke 10:1–20, and originator of the Apostolic Decree of Acts 15:19-29. Paul of Tarsus in Galatians 2:9 (KJV) characterized James as such: " . . . James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars . . ." He is described in the New Testament as a "brother of the Lord" and in the Liturgy of St James as "the brother of God" (Adelphotheos).

    Saint Joseph   "of the House of David" (also known as Saint Joseph, Joseph the Betrothed, Joseph of Nazareth, Joseph the Worker and other titles)

    Joseph is known from the New Testament as the husband of Mary, mother of Jesus and although according to Christian tradition he was not the biological father of Jesus, he acted as his foster-father and as head of the Holy Family. Joseph is venerated as a saint within the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglican churches.

    The genealogy in the Gospel of Matthew says that Joseph's father was called Jacob; but according to the genealogy in the Gospel of Luke Joseph was a son of Heli. The canonical Gospels do not, however, give the date and place of Joseph's birth nor his death. All that is known from them is that Joseph lived at times in Nazareth in Galilee, stayed for a couple of years in Bethlehem in Judea, and was forced into exile for a time in Egypt.

    Joseph was a carpenter. Very little other information on Joseph is given in the Gospels, in which he never speaks. His places of birth and death are not given, and his dates have been presented very diffently at different periods; sometimes he has been seen as much older than Mary, and at other periods only slightly older. He is mentioned in the Gospels as present on the visit to Jerusalem when Jesus was twelve, but no mention can clearly be placed later than that one. Christian tradition, though vague on the time and place of his death, represents Mary as a widow during the adult ministry of her son. In the Roman Catholic and other traditions, Joseph is the patron saint of workers and has several feast days. He was also declared to be the patron saint and protector of the universal Catholic Church (along with Saint Peter) by Pope Pius IX in 1870, and is the patron of several countries and regions. He is a rare example of a saint from the early days of the church whose religious role has tended to increase in the centuries since the Middle Ages.

    Saint Mary  See Mary (Mother of Jesus)

    Saint Matthias   (1st century AD - 80)

    according to the New Testament Acts of the Apostles, Saint Matthias was the Apostle chosen by the remaining eleven Apostles to replace Judas Iscariot following Judas's betrayal of Jesus and his suicide (Acts 1:18-26).

    Saint Nicholas   patron of children and sailors, of Greece, Sicily, and Russia, and of many other places and persons. Little is known of him, but he is traditionally identified as a 4th-century bishop of Myra in Asia Minor. His relics were stolen from Myra in the Middle Ages and taken to Bari, Italy. St. Nicholas is the subject of many legends. He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him. He is credited with restoring to life three boys who had been chopped up and pickled in salt by a butcher. Another famous story concerns his giving three bags of gold to the daughters of a poor man and thus saving them from lives of prostitution. Later tradition transformed the bags into three gold balls, which became the symbol of pawnbrokers. In the Netherlands and elsewhere St. Nicholas's feast (Dec. 6) is a children's holiday, appropriate for gifts. The English in colonial New York adopted from the Dutch the now unrecognizable saint, calling him Santa Claus (a contraction of the Dutch Sint Nikolaas). They moved his feast day to the English gift holiday, Christmas. The career and qualities attributed to Santa Claus are all recently acquired.

    Nicholas was never officially canonised; his reputation simply evolved among the faithful, as was the custom in his time. In 1087, his relics were furtively translated to Bari in southern Italy. For this reason, he is also known as Saint Nicholas of Bari.

    The historical Saint Nicholas is remembered and revered among Catholic and Orthodox Christians. He is also honoured by various Anglican and Lutheran churches. Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, children, and students in Greece, Belgium, Romania, Bulgaria, Georgia, Russia, the Republic of Macedonia, Slovakia, Serbia and Montenegro. He is also the patron saint of Barranquilla (Colombia), Bari (Italy), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Beit Jala in the West Bank of Palestine, Liverpool (England) and Russia. In 1809, the New-York Historical Society convened and retroactively named Sancte Claus the patron saint of Nieuw Amsterdam, the Dutch name for New York City. He was also a patron of the Varangian Guard of the Eastern Roman Emperors, who protected his relics in Bari. So beloved is St. Nicholas by Russians, one commonly heard saying is "if God dies, at least we'll still have St. Nicholas."

    See also Santa Claus

    Saint Paul  (also called Paul the apostle, The Apostle Paul or Paul of Tarsus) 
    Born: no scholarly consensus on date,  in Tarsus according to Acts 22:3
    Died: 64-67 AD,  in Rome during Nero's Persecution according to Eusebius' Church History 3.1

    His circumcision-name was Saul, and probably the name Paul was also given to him in infancy "for use in the Gentile world," as “Saul” would be his Hebrew home-name.

    His father was of the straitest sect of the Jews, a Pharisee, of the Tribe of Benjamin, of pure and unmixed Jewish blood (Acts 23:6; Phil. 3:5). We learn nothing regarding his mother; but there is reason to conclude that she was a pious woman, and that, like-minded with her husband, she exercised all a mother influence in moulding the character of her son, so that he could afterwards speak of himself as being, from his youth up, "touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless" (Phil. 3:6).

    We read of his sister and his sister's son (Acts 23:16), and of other relatives (Rom. 16:7, 11,12). There is no indication that Paul was ever married.

    Saint Paul was a Hellenistic Jew, who called himself the "Apostle to the Gentiles", and was, together with Saint Peter and James the Just, the most notable of early Christian missionaries. Unlike the Twelve Apostles, there is no indication that Paul ever met Jesus before the latter's crucifixion. According to the Acts of the Apostles, his conversion took place  as he was traveling the road to Damascus. He experienced a vision of the resurrected Jesus after which he was temporarily blinded. Paul asserts that he received the Gospel not from man, but by "the revelation of Jesus Christ".

    Fourteen epistles in the New Testament are traditionally attributed to Paul, though in some cases the authorship is disputed. Paul had often employed an amanuensis, only occasionally writing himself. As a sign of authenticity, the writers of these epistles sometimes employ a passage presented as being in Paul's own handwriting. These epistles were circulated within the Christian community. They were prominent in the first New Testament canon ever proposed (by Marcion), and they were eventually included in the orthodox Christian canon of Scripture. They are believed to be the earliest-written books of the New Testament.

    Perhaps the most natural career for the youth to follow was that of a merchant. "But it was decided that . . .  he should go to college and become a rabbi, that is, a minister, a teacher, and a lawyer all in one."

    According to Jewish custom, however, he learned a trade before entering on the more direct preparation for the sacred profession. The trade he acquired was the making of tents from goats' hair cloth, a trade which was one of the commonest in Tarsus.

    His preliminary education having been completed, Paul {Saul} was sent, when about thirteen years of age probably, to the great Jewish school of sacred learning at Jerusalem as a student of the law. Here he became a pupil of the celebrated rabbi Gamaliel, and here he spent many years in an elaborate study of the Scriptures and of the many questions concerning them with which the rabbis exercised themselves. During these years of diligent study he lived "in all good conscience," unstained by the vices of that great city.

    After the period of his student-life expired, he probably left Jerusalem for Tarsus, where he may have been engaged in connection with some synagogue for some years. But we find him back again at Jerusalem very soon after the death of our Lord. Here he now learned the particulars regarding the crucifixion, and the rise of the new sect of the "Nazarenes."

    Paul's influence on Christian thinking arguably has been more significant than any other New Testament author. His influence on the main strands of Christian thought has been demonstrable: from Saint Augustine of Hippo to the controversies between Gottschalk and Hincmar of Reims; between Thomism and Molinism; Martin Luther, John Calvin and the Arminians; to Jansenism and the Jesuit theologians, and even to the German church of the twentieth century through the writings of the scholar Karl Barth, whose commentary on the Letter to the Romans had a political as well as theological impact. He is the patron saint of London.

    The church at Antioch proposed to send out missionaries to the Gentiles, and Paul {Saul} and Barnabas, with John Mark as their attendant, were chosen for this work. This was a great epoch in the history of the church. Now the disciples began to give effect to the Master's command: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."

    The three missionaries went forth on the first missionary tour.

    The three missionaries went forth on the first missionary tour. They sailed from Seleucia, the seaport of Antioch, across to Cyprus, some 80 miles to the southwest. Here at Paphos, Sergius Paulus, the Roman proconsul, was converted, and now Paul {Saul} took the lead, and was ever afterwards called Paul. They ended up sailing direct for Antioch, from which they had set out.

    After a short rest at Antioch, Paul said to Barnabas: "Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do." Mark proposed again to accompany them; but Paul refused to allow him to go. Barnabas was resolved to take Mark, and thus he and Paul had a sharp contention. They separated, and never again met. Paul, however, afterwards speaks with honor of Barnabas, and sends for Mark to come to him at Rome (Col. 4:10; 2 Tim. 4:11).

    Paul took with him Silas, instead of Barnabas, and began his second missionary journey about A.D. 51. This time he went by land, revisiting the churches he had already founded in Asia. Of this long journey from Antioch to Troas we have no account except some references to it in his Epistle to the Galatians (4:13).

    As he waited at Troas for indications of the will of God as to his future movements, he saw, in the vision of the night, a man from the opposite shores of Macedonia standing before him, and heard him cry, "Come over, and help us" (Acts 16:9). Paul recognized in this vision a message from the Lord, and the very next day set sail across the Hellespont, which separated him from Europe, and carried the tidings of the gospel into the Western world. He then sailed for Syria, that he might be in time to keep the feast of Pentecost at Jerusalem. He was accompanied by Aquila and Priscilla, whom he left at Ephesus, at which he touched, after a voyage of thirteen or fifteen days. He landed at Caesarea, and went up to Jerusalem, and having “saluted the church” there, and kept the feast, he left for Antioch, where he abode “some time” (Acts 18:20-23).

    He then began his third missionary tour. He journeyed by land in the “upper coasts” (the more eastern parts) of Asia Minor, and at length made his way to Ephesus.

    Very shortly before his departure from Ephesus, the apostle wrote his First Epistle to the Corinthians (q.v.). The silversmiths, whose traffic in the little images which they made was in danger, organized a riot against Paul, and he left the city, and proceeded to Troas (2 Cor. 2:12), whence after some time he went to meet Titus in Macedonia. Here, in consequence of the report Titus brought from Corinth, he wrote his second epistle to that church.

    Paul then came into Greece, where he abode three month, spending probably the greater part of this time in Corinth (Acts 20:2). During his stay in this city he wrote his Epistle to the Galatians, and also the great Epistle to the Romans. At the end of the three months he left Achaia for Macedonia, thence crossed into Asia Minor, and touching at Miletus, there addressed the Ephesian presbyters, whom he had sent for to meet him (Acts 20:17), and then sailed for Tyre, finally reaching Jerusalem, probably in the spring of A.D. 58.

    While at Jerusalem, at the feast of Pentecost, he was almost murdered by a Jewish mob in the temple. Rescued from their violence by the Roman commandant, he was conveyed as a prisoner to Caesarea, where, from various causes, he was detained a prisoner for two years in Herod's Praetorium (Acts 23:35). "Paul was not kept in close confinement; he had at least the range of the barracks in which he was detained. There we can imagine him pacing the ramparts on the edge of the Mediterranean, and gazing wistfully across the blue waters in the direction of Macedonia, Achaia, and Ephesus, where his spiritual children were pining for him, or perhaps encountering dangers in which they sorely needed his presence. It was a mysterious providence which thus arrested his energies and condemned the ardent worker to inactivity; yet we can now see the reason for it. Paul was needing rest. After twenty years of incessant evangelization, he required leisure to garner the harvest of experience&ldots; During these two years he wrote nothing; it was a time of internal mental activity and silent progress" (Stalker's Life of St. Paul).

    At the end of these two years Felix (q.v.) was succeeded in the governorship of Palestine by Porcius Festus, before whom the apostle was again heard. But judging it right at this crisis to claim the privilege of a Roman citizen, he appealed to the emperor (Acts 25:11). Such an appeal could not be disregarded, and Paul was at once sent on to Rome under the charge of one Julius, a centurion of the “Augustan cohort.” After a long and perilous voyage, he at length reached the imperial city in the early spring, probably, of A.D. 61. Here he was permitted to occupy his own hired house, under constant military custody. This privilege was accorded to him, no doubt, because he was a Roman citizen, and as such could not be put into prison without a trial. The soldiers who kept guard over Paul were of course changed at frequent intervals, and thus he had the opportunity of preaching the gospel to many of them during these “two whole years,” and with the blessed result of spreading among the imperial guards, and even in Caesar's household, an interest in the truth (Phil. 1:13). His rooms were resorted to by many anxious inquirers, both Jews and Gentiles (Acts 28:23, 30,31), and thus his imprisonment "turned rather to the furtherance of the gospel," and his “hired house” became the center of a gracious influence which spread over the whole city. According to a Jewish tradition, it was situated on the borders of the modern Ghetto, which has been the Jewish quarters in Rome from the time of Pompey to the present day. During this period the apostle wrote his epistles to the Colossians, Ephesians, Philippians, and to Philemon, and probably also to the Hebrews.

    This first imprisonment came at length to a close, Paul having been acquitted, probably because no witnesses appeared against him. Once more he set out on his missionary labors, probably visiting western and eastern Europe and Asia Minor. During this period of freedom he wrote his First Epistle to Timothy and his Epistle to Titus. The year of his release was signalized by the burning of Rome, which Nero saw fit to attribute to the Christians. A fierce persecution now broke out against the Christians. Paul was seized, and once more conveyed to Rome a prisoner.

    During this imprisonment he probably wrote the Second Epistle to Timothy, the last he ever wrote. "There can be little doubt that he appeared again at Nero's bar, and this time the charge did not break down. In all history there is not a more startling illustration of the irony of human life than this scene of Paul at the bar of Nero. On the judgment-seat, clad in the imperial purple, sat a man who, in a bad world, had attained the eminence of being the very worst and meanest being in it, a man stained with every crime, a man whose whole being was so steeped in every nameable and unnameable vice, that body and soul of him were, as some one said at the time, nothing but a compound of mud and blood; and in the prisoner's dock stood the best man the world possessed, his hair whitened with labors for the good of men and the glory of God. The trial ended: Paul was condemned, and delivered over to the executioner. He was led out of the city, with a crowd of the lowest rabble at his heels. The fatal spot was reached; he knelt beside the block; the headsman's axe gleamed in the sun and fell; and the head of the apostle of the world rolled down in the dust" (probably A.D. 66), four years before the fall of Jerusalem.

    Saint Peter  (c.1-64 AD)

    He was named Simon, son of Jonah or John. The synoptic gospels all recount how Peter's mother-in-law was healed by Jesus at their home in Capernaum (Matthew 8:14–17; Mark 1:29–31; Luke 4:38) which, coupled with 1 Corinthians 9:5, proves conclusively that Peter was married, contrary to traditions stating otherwise.

    Saint Peter was one of the Twelve Apostles, chosen by Jesus as one of his first Disciples.

    In the New Testament, he is the first of the disciples called during Jesus' ministry. It was during his first meeting with Jesus that Jesus named him Peter. Peter was to become the first Apostle ordained by Jesus in the early church.

    The Gospel of John gives a somewhat different account of "The First Disciples"(John 1:35–42). In John, we are told that it was two disciples of John the Baptist (Andrew and an unnamed disciple) who heard John the Baptist announce Jesus as the "Lamb of God," and then followed Jesus. Andrew then went and fetched his brother Simon, saying, "We have found the Messiah," and then brought Peter to Jesus. Jesus then gave Simon the name "Cephas." 

    Peter was the most prominent of the Twelve Apostles, listed first in the Gospels, and traditionally the first bishop of Rome. His original name was Simon, but Jesus gave him the nickname Cephas [Aramaic,=rock], which was translated into Greek as Petros [Gr. petra=rock]. Peter was a native of Bethsaida and the brother of St. Andrew. He and Andrew, both fishermen, were called by Jesus to be disciples at the same time as James and John, the sons of Zebedee (Mark 1.16–20, 29–31; 3.14–16; Luke 5.1–11; John 1.40–44). There are several feasts of St. Peter in the West: St. Peter and St. Paul, June 29; the Chair of St. Peter, Apostle, Feb. 22; and St. Peter in Chains, Aug. 1. A second feast commemorating the Chair of St. Peter (i.e., his episcopal throne) was celebrated on Jan. 18 until abolished in 1960.

    He is prominently featured in the New Testament Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. He was assigned a leadership role by Jesus and spokesman of the disciples, as Jesus most often addressed him when speaking to them (Mat. 10.2; 14.28; 15.15; Matthew 16:18; 17.24; 19.27; Luke 8.51; 12.41).

    Peter confessed Jesus to be the Christ and was told “Upon this rock I will build my church."

    He was with Jesus during events witnessed by only a few Apostles, such as the Transfiguration together with James and John. (Mat. 16.13–20; 17.1–13). After the Last Supper he, again with James and John, witnessed Jesus' agony in Gethsemane. When Jesus was betrayed, Peter drew his sword to defend him, but denied him later in the same night, as Jesus had predicted he would (John 13; Mat. 26.26–46, 57–75).

    All four canonical gospels recount that, during the Last Supper, Jesus foretold that Peter would deny him three times before the cock crowed twice (the next morning.) The three Synoptics describe the three denials as follows:

    1. A denial when a female servant of the high priest spots Simon Peter, saying that he had been with Jesus.

    2. A denial when Simon Peter had gone out to the gateway, away from the firelight, but the same servant girl or another told the bystanders he was a follower of Jesus.

    3. A denial came when Peter's Galilean accent was taken as proof that he was indeed a disciple of Jesus.

    In John's gospel, Peter is the first person to enter the empty tomb, although the women and the beloved disciple see it before him (John 20:1–9). In Luke's account, the women's report of the empty tomb is dismissed by the Apostles and Peter is the only one who goes to check for himself. In fact, he runs to the tomb. After seeing the graveclothes he goes home, apparently without informing the other disciples (Luke 24:1–12).

    In the final chapter of the Gospel of John, Peter, in one of the resurrection appearances of Jesus, three times affirmed his love for Jesus, balancing his threefold denial, and Jesus reconfirmed Peter's position (John 21:15–17). Some scholars hypothesize that it was added later to bolster Peter's status

    The first chapters of the Acts of the Apostles describe Peter's role as leader of the Twelve in the election of a replacement for Judas and in the public declaration at Pentecost (Acts 1.15–26; 2.14–40). Much attention is given to Peter's miracles and to his defense of Christianity; his deliverance from prison by an angel is a celebrated incident (Acts 3; 4; 5.1–11, 29–32; 8.14–25; 9.32–43; 10; 11.1–18; 12.1–19). He was a leader at the council of Jerusalem that was called to discuss the integration of non-Jews into the Christian organization; his hesitation to accept them freely was rebuked by St. Paul (Acts 15; Gal. 2).

    Early Christian writers provided more details about his life. Tradition describes him as the first bishop of Rome, author of two canonical epistles, and a martyr under Nero, crucified head down and buried in Rome. His memoirs are traditionally cited as the source of the Gospel of Mark.

    In the epilogue of the Gospel of John, Jesus hints at the death by which Peter would glorify God (John 21:18–19), saying "' . . . when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and take you where you do not want to go.'" This is understood as a reference to Peter's crucifixion.

    According to the 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia, St. Peter labored in Rome during the last portion of his life, and there ended his earthly course by martyrdom. The death of St. Peter is attested to by Tertullian at the end of the second century, and by Origen in Eusebius, Church History II.1. Origen says: "Peter was crucified at Rome with his head downwards, as he himself had desired to suffer". According to the noncanonical Acts of Peter, he was crucified upside down.

    The Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Anglican Communion consider Simon Peter a saint. According to Catholic and Orthodox tradition, Peter was the first bishop of Rome and Catholics argue that the Pope is Peter's successor and therefore the rightful superior of all other bishops. Eastern and Oriental Orthodox also recognize the Bishop of Rome as the successor of Saint Peter and the Ecumenical Patriarch sends a delegation each year to Rome to participate in the celebration of his feast. In the "Ravenna Document" of 13 October 2007, the representatives of the Eastern Orthodox Church agreed that "Rome, as the Church that 'presides in love' according to the phrase of St Ignatius of Antioch (To the Romans, Prologue), occupied the first place in the taxis, and that the bishop of Rome was therefore the protos among the patriarchs. They disagree, however, on the interpretation of the historical evidence from this era regarding the prerogatives of the bishop of Rome as protos, a matter that was already understood in different ways in the first millennium."

    In art, he is often depicted holding the keys to the kingdom of Heaven (interpreted by Roman Catholics as the sign of his primacy over the Church), a reference to Matthew 16:19.

    saints  See Saint

    Salah  Salah was a son of Arpachshad according to Genesis 10:24, Genesis 11:12-13, and Luke 3:36, and the father of Eber according to Genesis 11:14-15. According to the masoretic text's version of the genealogy, this Salah was the son of Arphachashad, but according to the Septuagint version he was the son of Cainan, and only the grandson of Arphachashad.

    Salome (disciple)    (Hebrew, "shalom", "peace")

    This Salome is distinct from Salomé the daughter of Herodias, who demanded the head of John the Baptist.

    The Salome spoken of is that of  the follower of Jesus

    Salome , the younger sister of Mary (mother of Jesus), was a follower of Jesus, who appears briefly in the canonical gospels, and who appears in more detail in apocryphal writings. She was the wife of Zebedee and the mother of James and John, two of the Apostles of Jesus.

    Salome  or Salomé   the Daughter of Herodias (c AD 14 - between 62 and 71), is known from the New Testament (Mark 6:21-29 and Matt 14:6-11, where, however, her name is not given) in connection with the death of John the Baptist. Another source from Antiquity, Flavius Josephus' Jewish Antiquities, gives her name and some detail about her family relations.

    Christian traditions depict her as an icon of dangerous female seductiveness, for instance depicting as erotic her dance mentioned in the New Testament (in some later transformations further iconised to the dance of the seven veils), or concentrate on her lighthearted and cold foolishness that, according to the Gospels, led to John the Baptist's death. A new ramification was added by Oscar Wilde, who in his play Salome let her devolve into a necrophiliac, killed the same day as the man whose death she had requested. This last interpretation, made even more memorable by Richard Strauss's opera based on Wilde, is not consistent with Josephus' account; according to the Romanized Jewish historian, she lived long enough to marry twice and raise several children. Few literary accounts elaborate the biographical data given by Josephus.

    Samuel  The Prophet Samuel

    a leader of ancient Israel in the Book(s) of Samuel in the Hebrew Bible.

    His status, as viewed by rabbinical literature, is that he was the last of the Hebrew Judges and the first of the major prophets who began to prophesy inside the Land of Israel. He was thus at the cusp between two eras.

    According to the text of the Book(s) of Samuel, he also selected/anointed the first two kings of the Kingdom of Israel: King Saul and King David.

    Sarah   Sarai  (Gen. 11:29)  ("a woman of high rank")

    Sarah is the wife of Abraham as described in the Hebrew Bible (The Book of Genesis) and the Quran.

    The Hebrew word sarah indicates a woman of high rank and is sometimes translated as "princess" or goddess, but it really means "high holy one". Semitic root Šarai or law. Like El has the sense power, authority, lord, deity, natural law, law

    Sarai  Meaning: my princess

    the name originally borne by Sarah (Gen. 11:29)

    Satan  Satan means "accuser." This is one name for the devil, an enemy of God and God's people.

    Satan is a term that originates from the Abrahamic religions, being traditionally applied to an angel in Judeo-Christian belief, and to a jinn in Islamic belief.

    Originally, this figure was the one who challenged the religious faith of humans in the Hebrew Bible. Since then, the Abrahamic religions have variously regarded Satan as a rebellious fallen angel or demon that tempts humans to sin or commit evil deeds. Others regard the Biblical Satan as an allegory that represents a crisis of faith, individualism, free will, wisdom and enlightenment.

    The word 'Satan', and the Arabic "shaitan", may derive from a Northwest Semitic root s't.n, meaning "to be hostile", "to accuse." An alternative explanation is provided by the Hebrew in Job 1:7. When God asks him whence he has come, Satan answers: "From wandering (mi's^ut.) the earth and walking on it". The root s^ut. signifies wandering on foot or sailing. 'Satan' would thus be "the Wanderer".

    Saul   ("asked for") (reigned 1047 - 1007 BC)

    Saul is identified in the Books of Samuel, 1 Chronicles and the Qur'an as the first king of the ancient United Kingdom of Israel and Judah. Saul reigned from Gibeah during the closing decades of the 2nd millennium BC. He died during a battle with the Philistines, when a part of his kingdom succumbed to Philistine control and occupation. The succession was contested by his surviving son Ish-bosheth and their common rival David. Saul's traditional biography in the Books of Samuel has been said by Biblical critics to reveal two main sources, independent of each other.

    Seir  Meaning: rough; hairy

    Seir was the name of two mountain ranges and one biblical man:

    A Horite; one of the "dukes" of Edom (Gen. 36:20-30).

    Serug  (Hebrew: "branch")

    Serug was the son of Reu and the father of Nahor, according to The Book of Genesis 11:20-23. He is also the great-grandfather of Abraham. In the Masoretic text that modern Bibles are based on, he was 30 when Nahor was born, and lived to the age of 230. (Other early versions give different figures).

    He is called Saruch in the Greek version of Luke 3:35.

    Further details are provided in Jubilees, where it gives the names of his mother, Ora (11:1), and wife Milcah (11:6). It also states that his original name was Seroh, but that it was changed to Serug in the time when Noah's children began to fight wars, and the city of Ur was built, where Serug lived. It says this Serug was the first of the patriarchal line to abandon monotheism and turn to idol worship, teaching sorcery to his son Nahor.

    Seth  ("Placed; appointed")

     in The Book of Genesis of the Hebrew Bible, is the third listed son of Adam and Eve and brother of Cain and Abel and is the only other son mentioned by name. According to Genesis 4:25, Seth was born after the slaying of Abel by Cain, and Eve believed God had appointed him as "replacement" for Abel "because Cain killed him."

    Shaphat  Meaning: judge

    This was the name of three biblical men:

    1.  One of the spies. He represented the tribe of Simeon (Num. 13:5).

    2. The father of Elisha (1 Kings 19:16-19).

    3. One of David's chief herdsmen (1 Chr. 27:29).

    Shechem  Meaning: shoulder

    This was the name of two biblical men and one city:

    1.  The son of Hamor the Hivite (Gen. 33:19; 34).

    2.  A descendant of Manasseh (Num. 26:31; Josh. 17:2).

    Shem  ("renown; prosperity; name")

    Shem was one of the sons of Noah in the Bible. He is most popularly regarded as the eldest son, though some traditions regard him as the second son. Genesis 10:21 refers to relative ages of Shem and his brother Japheth, but with sufficient ambiguity in each to have yielded different translations. The verse is translated in the KJV as "Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born.". However, the New American Standard Bible gives, "Also to Shem, the father of all the children of Eber, and the older brother of Japheth, children were born."

    Genesis 11:10 records that Shem was 100 years old at the birth of Arpachshad two years after the Flood, making him 98 at the time of the Flood; and that he lived for another 500 years after this, making his age at death 600 years.

    The children of Shem were Elam, Asshur, Aram, Arpachshad and Lud, in addition to daughters. Abraham, the patriarch of the Hebrews and Arabs, was one of the descendants of Arpachshad.

    The 1st century historian Flavius Josephus, among many others, recounted the tradition that these five sons were the progenitors of the nations of Elam, Assyria, Syria, Chaldea (from whom descended the Hebrews and Arabs), and Lydia, respectively.

    Terms like "Semite" and "Hamite" are less common now, and may sometimes even be perceived as offensive, because of their "racial" connotations. The adjectival forms "Semitic" and "Hamitic" are more common, though the vague term 'Hamitic' dropped out of mainstream academic use in the 1960s. Semitic is still a commonly used term for the Semitic languages, as a subset of the Afro-Asiatic languages, denoting the common linguistic heritage of Arabic, Aramaic, Akkadian, Ethiopic, Hebrew and Phoenician languages.

    'Semitic' also appears in the phrase "anti-Semitic" to refer to racial, ethnic or cultural prejudice aimed exclusively at Jews.

    According to some Jewish traditions (e.g., B. Talmud Nedarim 32b; Genesis Rabbah 46:7; Genesis Rabbah 56:10; Leviticus Rabbah 25:6; Numbers Rabbah 4:8.), Shem is believed to have been Melchizedek, King of Salem whom Abraham is recorded to have met after the battle of the four kings. Other legends say that he opened a religious academy, and, due to his long life, even his very-distant descendents who kept the belief in God, like Jacob, were able to attend it.

    In a few of the many extra-biblical sources that describe him, Shem is also credited with killing Nimrod, son of Cush.

    Shem is mentioned in Genesis 5:32, 6:10; 7:13; 9:18,23,26-27; 10; 11:10; also in 1 Chronicles 1:4.

    Shishak  See Shishaq

    Shishaq   Shishak or Shishaq or Shishak I or Sheshonk I is the biblical Hebrew form of the first ancient Egyptian name of a pharaoh mentioned in the Bible.

    =Sheshonk I., king of Egypt

    His reign was one of great national success, and a record of his wars and conquests adorns the portico of what are called the “Bubastite kings” at Karnak, the ancient Thebes. Among these conquests is a record of that of Judea. In the fifth year of Rehoboam's reign Shishak came up against the kingdom of Judah with a powerful army. He took the fenced cities and came to Jerusalem. He pillaged the treasures of the temple and of the royal palace, and carried away the shields of gold which Solomon had made (1 Kings 11:40; 14:25; 2 Chr. 12:2). (See Rehoboam.) This expedition of the Egyptian king was undertaken at the instigation of Jeroboam for the purpose of humbling Judah. Hostilities between the two kingdoms still continued; but during Rehoboam's reign there was not again the intervention of a third party.

    Sheshonk I  Hedjkheperre Setepenre Shoshenq I, also known as Shishak, Shishaq, Sheshonk or Sheshonq I, was a Meshwesh king of Egypt--of Libyan ancestry--and the founder of the Twenty-second Dynasty. Shoshenq I was the son of Nimlot A, Great Chief of the Ma, and his wife Tentshepeh A, a daughter of a Great Chief of the Ma herself. The majority of Egyptologists, including Kenneth Kitchen and Aidan Dodson, believe he is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible as Šîšaq (transliterated as Shishaq and Shishak) though this identification has been questioned by David Rohl, Peter James, and other adherents of the so-called New Chronology.

    See Shishaq

    Shiva   Major deity of Hinduism, believed to have many manifestations. Like Vishnu, he is the subject of an elaborate and sometimes contradictory mythology. He is both the destroyer and the restorer, the great ascetic and the symbol of sensuality, the benevolent herdsman of souls and the wrathful avenger. His female consort is known under various manifestations, including Parvati, Durga, and Kali. In Shaivism he is worshiped as the paramount lord.

    Sihon   according to the Old Testament, Sihon was an Amorite king, who refused to let the Israelites pass through his country. The Bible describes that as the Israelites in their Exodus came to the country east of the Jordan, near Heshbon, King Sih.on of the Amorites refused to let them pass through his country. The Israelites fought him in a battle, gaining complete victory. His walled towns were captured and the complete Amorite country was taken by the Israelites, who killed the king and "all his people." (Num. 21:21-30, Deut. 2:24-37).

    Numbers 21:35 So they smote him, and his sons, and all his people, until there was none left him remaining; and they possessed his land. (King James Version)

    Numbers 21:35 So they struck him down, together with his sons and his whole army, leaving them no survivors (New International Version)

    In a similar way the Israelites took the country of Og, and these two victories gave them possession of the complete country east of the Jordan River, from the Arnon to the foot of the Hermon. These victories, among the earliest successful campaigns of the Israelites, quickly became legendary among them, and are referred to numerous times in the Bible as prototypical examples of God-given victory.

    Simeon   Meaning: hearing

    This was the name of six biblical men:

    1.  The second son of Jacob by Leah, patriarch of the Tribe of Simeon. The text of Genesis (29:33) argues that the name of Simeon refers to Leah's belief that God had heard that she was hated by Jacob, in the sense of not being as favoured as Rachel.

    "Because the LORD had heard that I was hated, he had therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon."

    implying a derivation from the Hebrew term shama on, meaning "he has heard"; this is a similar etymology as the Torah gives for the theophoric name Ishmael ("God has heard"; Genesis 16:11), on the basis of which it has been argued that the tribe of Simeon may originally have been an Ishmaelite group. In classical rabbinical sources, the name is sometimes interpreted as meaning "he who listens [to the words of God]" (Genesis Rabbah 61:4), and at other times thought to derive from sham 'in, meaning "there is sin", which is argued to be a prophetic reference to Zimri's sexual miscegenation with a Midianite woman, a type of relationship which rabbinical sources regard as sinful

    Simeon was associated with Levi in the terrible act of vengeance against Hamor and the Shechemites (34:25, 26). He was detained by Joseph in Egypt as a hostage (42:24). His father, when dying, pronounced a malediction against him (49:5-7). The words in the Authorized Version (49:6), "they digged down a wall," ought to be, as correctly rendered in the Revised Version, "they houghed an ox."

    2.  An aged saint who visited the temple when Jesus was being presented before the Lord, and uttered lofty words of thankgiving and of prophecy (Luke 2:29-35).

    3.  One of the ancestors of Joseph (Luke 3:30).

    4.  Surnamed Niger, i.e., “black,” perhaps from his dark complexion, a teacher of some distinction in the church of Antioch (Acts 13:1-3). It has been supposed that this was the Simon of Cyrene who bore Christ's cross. Note the number of nationalities represented in the church at Antioch.

    5.  James (Acts 15:14) thus designates the apostle Peter (q.v.).

    6. Simeon of Jerusalem   Saint Simeon of Jerusalem, son of Clopas, was a Jewish Christian leader and according to most Christian traditions the second Bishop of Jerusalem.

    Simeon of Jerusalem is identified with one of the prophets and teachers in Antioch named "Simeon, who was called Niger" in Acts 13:1. Simeon is sometimes identified with Simon, the "brother of the Lord", who is mentioned in passing in the Bible (Matthew 13:55, Mark 6:3), considering the "brothers" as "cousins" and pointing to Hegesippus referring to him as the "second cousin" as bishop of Jerusalem. Other exegetes consider the brothers to be actual brothers and Hegesippus' wording as subsuming both James and Simeon under a more general term.

    He has also been identified with the Apostle Simon the Zealot.

    Simon  the abbreviated form of Simeon

    This was the name of nine biblical men:

    1.  Simon the Zealot  One of the twelve apostles, called the Canaanite (Matt. 10:4; Mark 3:18). This word Canaanitedoes not mean a native of Canaan, but is derived from the Syriac word Kanean or Kaneniah, which was the name of a Jewish sect. The Revised Version has “Cananaean;” marg., “or Zealot” He is also called "Zelotes" (Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13; R.V., “the Zealot”), because previous to his call to the apostleship he had been a member of the fanatical sect of the Zealots. There is no record regarding him.

    2.  The father of Judas Iscariot (John 6:71; 13:2, 26).

    3.  One of the brothers of our Lord (Matt. 13:55; Mark 6:3).

    4.  A Pharisee in whose house "a woman of the city which was a sinner" anointed our Lord's feet with ointment (Luke 7:36-38).

    5.  A leper of Bethany, in whose house Mary anointed our Lord's head with ointment "as he sat at meat" (Matt. 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9).

    6.  A Jew of Cyrene, in North Africa, then a province of Libya. A hundred thousand Jews from Palestine had been settled in this province by Ptolemy Soter (B.C. 323-285), where by this time they had greatly increased in number. They had a synagogue in Jerusalem for such of their number as went thither to the annual feasts. Simon was seized by the soldiers as the procession wended its way to the place of crucifixion as he was passing by, and the heavy cross which Christ from failing strength could no longer bear was laid on his shoulders. Perhaps they seized him because he showed sympathy with Jesus. He was the "father of Alexander and Rufus" (Matt. 27:32). Possibly this Simon may have been one of the "men of Cyrene" who preached the word to the Greeks (Acts 11:20).

    7.   A sorcerer of great repute for his magical arts among the Samaritans (Acts 8:9-11). He afterwards became a professed convert to the faith under the preaching of Philip the deacon and evangelist (12,13).

    His profession was, however, soon found to be hollow. His conduct called forth from Peter a stern rebuke (8:18-23). From this moment he disappears from the Church's history. The term “Simony,” as denoting the purchase for money of spiritual offices, is derived from him.

    8.  A Christian at Joppa, a tanner by trade, with whom Peter on one occasion lodged (Acts 9:43).

    9.  Simon Peter, one of Christ's twelve disciples (Matt. 4:18).

    Simon the Zealot  The Apostle called Simon Zelotes, Simon the Zealot, in Luke 6:15 and Acts 1:13; and Simon Kananaios ("Simon" signifying "hearkening; listening"), was one of the most obscure among the Apostles of Jesus. Little is recorded of him aside from his name, few pseudepigraphical writings were connected to him (but see below), and Jerome does not include him in De viris illustribus.

    The name of Simon occurs in all the passages of the synoptic gospels and Acts that give a list of Apostles, without further details.

    Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, and Judas ["the son" is interpolated] of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. (Luke 6:12-16, RSV)

    To distinguish him from Simon Peter, he is called Kananaios, or Kananites (Matthew 10:4; Mark 3:18), and in the list of Apostles in Luke 6:15, repeated in Acts 1:13, Zelotes, the "Zealot". Both titles derive from the Hebrew word qana, meaning The Zealous, though Jerome and others mistook the word to signify the Apostle was from the town of Cana (in which case his epithet would have been "Kanaios") or even from the region of Canaan. As such, the translation of the word as "the Cananite" or "the Canaanite" is purely traditional and without contemporary extra-canonic parallel.

    Robert Eisenman has pointed out contemporary talmudic references to Zealots as kanna'im "but not really as a group — rather as avenging priests in the Temple". (Eisenman's broader conclusions, that the zealot element in the original apostle group was disguised and overwritten to make it support the assimilative Pauline Christianity of the Gentiles is more controversial.)

    In the canonic New Testament, Simon the Zealot is never identified with Simon the brother of Jesus mentioned in Gospel of Mark 6:3 :

    "Isn't this the carpenter? Isn't this Mary's son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren't his sisters here with us?""

     —New International Version. 

    It is believed often that this is Simeon of Jerusalem, since he was born in Galilee.

    Sisera  mentioned in the Book of Judges 4:2 in the Hebrew Bible, was the captain of Jabin's army which was routed and destroyed by the army of Barak on the plain of Esdraelon.

    His name is usually regarded as Philistine, Hittite or Hurrian. Some speculated that its origins were Egyptian (Ses-Ra, "servant of Ra").

    After all was lost, he fled to the settlement of Heber the Kenite in the plain of Zaanaim. Jael, Heber's wife, received him into her tent with apparent hospitality and "gave him milk" "in a lordly dish." Having drunk the refreshing beverage, he lay down and soon sank into the sleep of the weary. While he lay asleep, Jael crept stealthily up to him and, taking in her hand one of the tent pegs, with a mallet she drove it with such force through his temples that it entered into the ground where he lay, and "at her feet he bowed, he fell; where he bowed, there he fell down dead." (Judges 5:24) It was because Sisera's mother cried a hundred cries when he did not return home that the shofar is blown for a total of 100 blasts on Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year.

    Sisera in the Midrash

    According to the Midrash, Sisera hitherto had conquered every country against which he had fought. His voice was so strong that, when he called loudly, the most solid wall would shake and the wildest animal would fall dead. Deborah was the only one who could withstand his voice and whom it did not cause to stir from her place. Sisera caught fish enough in his beard when bathing in the Kishon to provision his whole army. According to the same source, thirty-one kings followed Sisera merely for the opportunity of drinking, or otherwise using, the waters of Israel. The descendants of Sisera, according to B.Gittin 57b, were teachers of the young in Jerusalem.

    Socrates (c. 469 BC–399 BC])
    Socrates was a Classical Greek philosopher. Credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, in reality he is an enigmatic figure known only through other people's accounts. It is Plato's dialogues that have largely created today's impression of him.

    Details of his early life are scanty, although he appears to have had no more than an ordinary Greek education. He did, however, take a keen interest in the works of the natural philosophers, and Plato (Parmenides, 127C) records the fact that Socrates met Zeno of Elea and Parmenides on their trip to Athens, which probably took place about 450 B.C. Socrates wrote nothing; therefore evidence for his life and activities must come from the writings of Plato and Xenophon. It is likely that neither of these presents a completely accurate picture of him, but Plato's Apology, Crito, Phaedo, and Symposium contain details which must be close to fact.

    Through his portrayal in Plato's dialogues, Socrates has become renowned for his contribution to the field of ethics, and it is this Platonic Socrates who also lends his name to the concepts of Socratic irony and the Socratic method, or elenchus. The latter remains a commonly used tool in a wide range of discussions, and is a type of pedagogy in which a series of questions are asked not only to draw individual answers, but to encourage fundamental insight into the issue at hand. It is Plato's Socrates that also made important and lasting contributions to the fields of epistemology and logic, and the influence of his ideas and approach remains strong in providing a foundation for much western philosophy that followed.

    As one recent commentator has put it, Plato, the idealist, offers "an idol, a master figure, for philosophy. A Saint, a prophet of the 'Sun-God', a teacher condemned for his teachings as a heretic." Yet, the 'real' Socrates, like many of the other Ancient philosophers, remains at best enigmatic and at worst unknown.

    There was a strong religious side to Socrates's character and thought which constantly revealed itself in spite of his penchant for exposing the ridiculous conclusions to which uncritical acceptance of the ancient myths might lead. His words and actions in the Apology, Crito, Phaedo, and Symposium reveal a deep reverence for Athenian religious customs and a sincere regard for divinity. Indeed, it was a divine voice which Socrates claimed to hear within himself on important occasions in his life. It was not a voice which gave him positive instructions, but instead warned him when he was about to go astray. He recounts, in his defense before the Athenian court, the story of his friend Chaerephon, who was told by the Delphic Oracle that Socrates was the wisest of men. That statement puzzled Socrates, he says, for no one was more aware of the extent of his own ignorance than he himself, but he determined to see the truth of the god's words. After questioning those who had a reputation for wisdom and who considered themselves, wise, he concluded that he was wiser than they because he could recognize his ignorance while they, who were equally ignorant, thought themselves wise. He thus confirmed the truth of the god's statement.


    Sogdianus, king of Persia (424-423 BC). He is an obscure historical figure known primarily from the writings of Ctesias. He was reportedly an illegitimate son of Artaxerxes I by his concubine Alogyne of Babylon.

    The last inscription mentioning Artaxerxes I being alive can be dated to December 24, 424 BC. His death resulted in at least three of his sons proclaiming themselves Kings. The first was Xerxes II, who was reportedly his only legitimate son by Queen Damaspia and was formerly Crown Prince. He was apparently only recognized in Persia. The second was Sogdianus himself, possibly recognized in Elam. The third was Ochus, son of Artaxerxes I by his concubine Cosmartidene of Babylon and satrap of Hyrcania. Ochus was also married to their common half-sister Parysatis, daughter of Artaxerxes I and his concubine Andia of Babylon. The first inscription of Ochus as Darius II can be dated to January 10, 423 BC. He seems to have been recognized by Media, Babylonia and Egypt.

    This chaotic state of affairs would prove short-lived. Xerxes II only ruled for forty-five days. He was reportedly murdered while drunk by Pharnacyas and Menostanes on Sogdianus' orders. Sogdianus apparently gained the support of his regions. He was himself killed by Arbarios, commander of the cavalry. He had only reigned for six months and fifteen days. Darius II became the sole ruler of the Persian Empire and would reign till 404 BC.

    Solomon   Meaning: peaceful, (Hebrew: Shelomoh)

    David's second son by Bathsheba, i.e., the first after their legal marriage (2 Samuel 12). He was probably born about B.C. 1035 (1 Chr. 22:5; 29:1). He succeeded his father on the throne in early manhood, probably about sixteen or eighteen years of age. Nathan, to whom his education was intrusted, called him Jedidiah, i.e., "beloved of the Lord" (2 Sam. 12:24,25).

    He was the first king of Israel "born in the purple." His father chose him as his successor, passing over the claims of his elder sons:

     "Assuredly Solomon my son shall reign after me."

    His history is recorded in 1 Kings 1-11 and 2 Chr. 1-9. His elevation to the throne took place before his father's death, and was hastened on mainly by Nathan and Bathsheba, in consequence of the rebellion of Adonijah (1 Kings 1:5-40). During his long reign of forty years the Hebrew monarchy gained its highest splendor.

    This period has well been called the “Augustan age” of the Jewish annals. The first half of his reign was, however, by far the brighter and more prosperous; the latter half was clouded by the idolatries into which he fell, mainly from his heathen intermarriages (1 Kings 11:1-8; 14:21, 31).

    According to 1 Kings 11:3 Solomon had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines. The wives are described as foreign princesses, including Pharaoh's daughter and women of Moab, Ammon, Sidon and of the Hittites. These wives are depicted as leading Solomon astray. According to 1 Kings 11:4 "his wives turned his heart after other gods", their own national deities, to whom Solomon built temples, thus incurring divine anger and retribution in the form of the division of the kingdom after Solomon's death (1 Kings 11).

    Why did King Solomon have so many wives?

    Before his death David gave parting instructions to his son (1 Kings 2:1-9; 1 Chr. 22:7-16).

    As soon as he had settled himself in his kingdom, and arranged the affairs of his extensive empire, he entered into an Alliance with Egypt by the marriage of the daughter of Pharaoh (1 Kings 3:1).

    Pharaoh's daughter who was the wife of Solomon is a figure in Hebrew scriptures who married the king of the United Monarchy of Israel to cement a political alliance with Egypt. Out of his vast harem, she is the only wife singled out, although she is not given a name in the texts. Her influence on Solomon is seen as the downfall of his greatness. Nothing further is recorded of Pharaoh's daughter.

    He surrounded himself with all the luxuries and the external grandeur of an Eastern monarch, and his government prospered. He entered into an Alliance with Hiram, king of Tyre, who in many ways greatly assisted him in his numerous undertakings.

    For some years before his death David was engaged in the active work of collecting materials (1 Chr. 29:6-9; 2 Chr. 2:3-7) for building a temple in Jerusalem as a permanent abode for the ark of the covenant. He was not permitted to build the house of God (1 Chr. 22:8); that honor was reserved to his son Solomon.

    After the completion of the temple, Solomon engaged in the erection of many other buildings of importance in Jerusalem and in other parts of his kingdom. For the long space of thirteen years he was engaged in the erection of a royal palace on Ophel (1 Kings 7:1-12). It was 100 cubits long, 50 broad, and 30 high. Its lofty roof was supported by forty-five cedar pillars, so that the hall was like a forest of cedar wood, and hence probably it received the name of "The House of the Forest of Lebanon."

    In front of this “house” was another building, which was called the Porch of Pillars, and in front of this again was the “Hall of Judgment,” or Throne-room (1 Kings 7:7; 10:18-20; 2 Chr. 9:17-19), "the King's Gate," where he administered justice and gave audience to his people. This palace was a building of great magnificence and beauty. A portion of it was set apart as the residence of the queen consort, the daughter of Pharaoh. From the palace there was a private staircase of red and scented sandal wood which led up to the temple.

    Solomon also constructed great works for the purpose of securing a plentiful supply of water for the city (Eccl. 2:4-6).

    He then built Millo (LXX., “Acra”) for the defense of the city, completing a line of ramparts around it (1 Kings 9:15, 24; 11:27). He erected also many other fortifications for the defense of his kingdom at various points where it was exposed to the assault of enemies (1 Kings 9:15-19; 2 Chr. 8:2-6).

    Among his great undertakings must also be mentioned the building of Tadmor (q.v.) in the wilderness as a commercial depot, as well as a military outpost.

    During his reign Palestine enjoyed great commercial prosperity. Extensive traffic was carried on by land with Tyre, Egypt and Arabia, and by sea with Spain and India and the coasts of Africa, by which Solomon accumulated vast stores of wealth and of the produce of all nations (1 Kings 9:26-28; 10:11,12; 2 Chr. 8:17, 18; 9:21). This was the “golden age” of Israel. The royal magnificence and splendor of Solomon's court were unrivalled.

    He had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines, an evidence at once of his pride, his wealth, and his sensuality.

    The maintenance of his household involved immense expenditure. The provision required for one day was "thirty measures of fine flour, and threescore measures of meal, ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and an hundred sheep, beside harts, and roebucks, and fallow-deer, and fatted fowl" (1 Kings 4:22,23).

    Solomon's reign was not only a period of great material prosperity, but was equally remarkable for its intellectual activity. He was the leader of his people also in this uprising amongst them of new intellectual life.

    "He spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes" (1 Kings 4:32,33).

    His fame was spread abroad through all lands, and men came from far and near "to hear the wisdom of Solomon." Among others thus attracted to Jerusalem was "the queen of the south" (Matt. 12:42), the queen of Sheba, a country in Arabia Felix.

    "Deep, indeed, must have been her yearning, and great his fame, which induced a secluded Arabian queen to break through the immemorial custom of her dreamy land, and to put forth the energy required for braving the burdens and perils of so long a journey across a wilderness. Yet this she undertook, and carried it out with safety." (1 Kings 10:1-13; 2 Chr. 9:1-12.)

    She was filled with amazement by all she saw and heard: "there was no more spirit in her." After an interchange of presents she returned to her native land.

    But that golden age of Jewish history passed away. The bright day of Solomon's glory ended in clouds and darkness. His decline and fall from his high estate is a sad record.

    Chief among the causes of his decline were his polygamy and his great wealth.

    "As he grew older he spent more of his time among his favorites. The idle king living among these idle women, for 1,000 women, with all their idle and mischievous attendants, filled the palaces and pleasure-houses which he had built (1 Kings 11:3), learned first to tolerate and then to imitate their heathenish ways.

    He did not, indeed, cease to believe in the God of Israel with his mind. He did not cease to offer the usual sacrifices in the temple at the great feasts. But his heart was not right with God; his worship became merely formal; his soul, left empty by the dying out of true religious fervour, sought to be filled with any religious excitement which offered itself. Now for the first time a worship was publicly set up amongst the people of the Lord which was not simply irregular or forbidden, like that of Gideon (Judg. 8:27), or the Danites (Judg. 18:30,31), but was downright idolatrous." (1 Kings 11:7; 2 Kings 23:13.)

    This brought upon him the divine displeasure. His enemies prevailed against him (1 Kings 11:14-22, 23-25, 26-40), and one judgment after another fell upon the land. And now the end of all came, and he died, after a reign of forty years, and was buried in the city of David, and "with him was buried the short-lived glory and unity of Israel." "He leaves behind him but one weak and worthless son, to dismember his kingdom and disgrace his name."

    "The kingdom of Solomon is one of the most striking facts in the Biblical history. A petty nation, which for hundreds of years has with difficulty maintained a separate existence in the midst of warlike tribes, each of which has in turn exercised dominion over it and oppressed it, is suddenly raised by the genius of a soldier-monarch to glory and greatness. An empire is established which extends from the Euphrates to the borders of Egypt, a distance of 450 miles; and this empire, rapidly constructed, enters almost immediately on a period of peace which lasts for half a century.

    Wealth, grandeur, architectural magnificence, artistic excellence, commercial enterprise, a position of dignity among the great nations of the earth, are enjoyed during this space, at the end of which there is a sudden collapse. The ruling nation is split in twain, the subject-races fall off, the pre-eminence lately gained being wholly lost, the scene of struggle, strife, oppression, recovery, inglorious submission, and desperate effort, re-commences.", Rawlinson, Historical Illustrations.

    Sons of Noah 

    The table of nations in Genesis 10 begins by listing Noah's immediate children:

    Ham, forefather of the southern peoples (Hamitic Africa)
    Shem, forefather of the middle peoples (Semitic)
    Japheth, forefather of the northern peoples (Japhetic Eurasia)

    A literal interpretation of Genesis 10 suggests that the present population of the world was descended from Noah's three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and their wives. Until the mid-19th century, this was taken by many as historical fact. They are still taken as historical by many Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and some Christians.

    There are disputes as to how many of the peoples of the Earth it was intended to cover, and as to its accuracy.

    Many Jews, Christians, and Muslims, retain the belief that the table applies to the entire people of earth.

    In the Biblical view, the listed children of Japheth, Shem and Ham correspond to various historic nations and peoples. In the typical interpretation, these sons of Noah correspond to three races: Europeans, Semites, and Africans. Others read it as a guide only to local ethnic groups.

    Secular scholarship rejects this traditional view of historicity, and holds instead that the genealogy is merely a traditional one, aimed at explaining the relations between the ethnic groups of the ancient Near East, perhaps re-edited at the time of the text's final composition in the 7th century BC.

    Sophonias   See Zephaniah


    Tamar (Thamar)   Meaning: palm

    This was the name of three biblical women and one place&ldots;

     1.  The daughter-in-law of Judah, to whose eldest son, Er, she was married (Gen. 38:6). After her husband's death, she was married to Onan, his brother (8), and on his death, Judah promised to her that his third son, Shelah, would become her husband. This promise was not fulfilled, and hence Tamar's revenge and Judah's great guilt (38:12-30). She eventually bore twins (Pharez and Zerah (Zarah), with Judah as the father. From Pharez, the royal line of King David sprang.

    2.  A daughter of David (2 Sam. 13:1-32; 1 Chr. 3:9), whom Amnon shamefully outraged and afterwards “hated exceedingly,” thereby illustrating the law of human nature noticed even by the heathen, “Proprium humani ingenii est odisse quem laeseris,” i.e., “It is the property of human nature to hate one whom you have injured.”

    3.  A daughter of Absalom (2 Sam. 14:27).

    Terah   or Térach ( wild goat", or "Wanderer; loiterer")
    Terah was the father of Abraham mentioned in the Hebrew Bible.

    According to the Genesis 11, Terah was the son of Nahor, who was the son of Serug, who was the son of Reu, who was the son of Peleg, who was the son of Eber, who was the son of Shelah, who was the son of Arpachshad, who was the son of Shem, who was one of the sons of Noah.

    According to Genesis 11 Terah had three sons, Abram, Haran, and Nahor; according to Genesis 20:12 Sarah, Abraham's wife, was his half-sister (i.e., the daughter of Terah by a wife other than the mother of Abraham). He lived in "Ur of the Chaldees," where his son Haran died, leaving behind his son Lot. Nahor settled at Haran, a place on the way to Ur. Terah afterwards migrated with Abraham (probably his youngest son) and Lot (his grandson), together with their families, from Ur, intending to go with them to Canaan; however he stayed in Harran, where he died at the age of two hundred and five years (Genesis 11:24-32). Following his death, Abram moved his family out of Haran. (Acts 7:4) The Book of Joshua reports that Terah worshiped other gods. (Josh. 24:2.)

    Thaddaeus  Meaning: breast

    the name of one of the Apostles (Mark 3:18), called “Lebbaeus” in Matt. 10:3, and in Luke 6:16, "Judas the brother of James;" while John (14:22), probably referring to the same person, speaks of "Judas, not Iscariot"

    These different names all designate the same person, viz., Jude or Judas, the author of the epistle (Jude).

    Thaddaeus was one of the 12 Apostles. It is believed that he was also known as Judas, son of James (not to be confused with Judas Iscariot, the man who betrayed Jesus). In some New Testament passages, the name Thaddaeus appears among the list of 12 Apostles. But in other New Testament passages, the name Judas, son of James, appears instead. In ancient times, a person could have two or three different names, such as a Greek-language name and a Hebrew name. And, sometimes people were known primarily by their occupational title.

    The name Thaddaeus appears in the list of Apostles given in Matthew 10:3, between James, son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot. In Mark 3:18, the name Thaddaeus appears, again, in the same placement. In Acts 1:13, however, a man named Judas, son of James, is listed below Simon. And in Luke 6:16, Judas (son of James), is listed again among the 12 Apostles, between Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot. In John 14:22, there is a reference to Judas (not Iscariot) who spoke to Jesus. The two names, however, never appear in the same book, lending credence to the belief that they both refer to the same person.

    Thamar See Tamar

    The Apostle Paul  See Saint Paul

    the Rambam  See Maimonides

    Thomas Aquinas  See Aquinas, Thomas

    Thomas the Apostle   (born , probably Galilee — died c. AD 53, Madras, India; Western feast day December 21, feast day in Roman and Syrian Catholic churches July 3, in the Greek church October 6)

    Called Didymus (=the twin) in the Gospel of John but mentioned by all the evangelists, Thomas was impulsive enough to offer to die with Jesus on the way to Bethany, but dubious both about where Christ was going and the way there (John 11: 16 and 14: 5).

    He is best known for requiring physical proof of Jesus' Resurrection before he could believe it, hence the phrase "doubting Thomas." When Jesus reappeared and had Thomas touch his wounds, (John 20: 25–8) Thomas became the first person to explicitly acknowledge Jesus' divinity, saying "My Lord and my God." Because of this attitude for which the Fathers both blamed him for his lack of faith, and thanked him for his scepticism. This was the occasion for reassuring future generations of believers by his confession of Christ's Divinity. There is much uncertainty about his missionary work after Pentecost. One tradition placed it among the Parthians, but another, more persistent, placed it in India, where the Syrian Christians of Malabar claim that they were evangelized by Thomas, who was killed by a spear and buried at Mylapore, near Madras. An ancient cross of stone marks the place where his body rested before its translation to Edessa in 394; but another tradition claims that he is still buried in India at San Tome. The Indian connection with St. Thomas was so well accepted in the 9th century that King Alfred of Wessex sent alms not only to Rome but also ‘to India to St. Thomas and St. Bartholomew’. When the Portuguese arrived in 1522, they found the tomb at Mylapore.

    The translations of the relics of Thomas are a complex story and have left traces in the calendar. From Edessa they were supposed to have been moved to Chios in the Aegean Sea and from there to Ortona in the Abruzzi. Various writings such as the Acts of Thomas, the Apocalypse of Thomas, the Gospel of Thomas and the Infancy Gospel of Thomas are all apocryphal, dating from the 2nd to the 4th centuries; some of them are Gnostic or Manichean in origin.

    In art the most usual representation of him is the Incredulity of St. Thomas, but he is also depicted as one of the Twelve Apostles, holding the spear or lance with which he was martyred. But he is sometimes represented with a builder's T-square because in the Acts of Thomas (whence in the Golden Legend) he was said to have built a palace for an Indian king. Because of this he is the patron of architects and because of his earlier spiritual blindness he was invoked for sufferers from physical blindness. His life is represented on a 12th-century English bronze bowl in the British Museum (one of four surviving examples), in seven scenes which include one of the wedding-feast of the king's daughter. A feast of the translation was kept on 3 July as well as the traditional date of his death on 21 December. But in the Syrian churches and in Malabar, 3 July was believed to be the date of his death in the year 72. The latest Roman calendar adopts 3 July as his feast, although the B.C.P. retains 21 December, while the Greeks celebrate his feast on 6 October. There were forty-six dedications of ancient churches to him in England.

    Tubalcain  In Genesis 4:22 Tubalcain is a descendant of Cain, the son of Lamech and Zillah, brother of Naamah. According to the Bible, he invented metalworking.

    Tzfanya   See Zephaniah

    Uz    Meaning: fertile land

    This was the name of a land and three biblical men . . .

    1.  The son of Aram, and grandson of Shem (Gen. 10:23; 1 Chr. 1:17).

    2.  The land of Uz may have been named after the above man who settled this region. [See: Land of Uz]

    3.  One of the Horite “dukes” in the land of Edom (Gen. 36:28).

    4.  The eldest son of Nahor, Abraham's brother (Gen. 22:21, Revised Version).


    Virgin Mary   See Blessed Virgin Mary

    Vishtaspa (Vištaspa) was an ancient Iranian ruler and the first patron of Zoroaster, as primarily described in the Gathas, the oldest hymns of Zoroastrianism and believed to have been composed by the prophet Zoroaster himself.

    Later legend and tradition about the monarch are based on the Gathic account. Both scripture and tradition speak of Vishtaspa as having been a kavi or kay, that is, a member of the semi-mythological Kayanian dynasty.

    In the past, Vishtaspa has been identified with Hystaspes, the father of the Persian King Darius I, but recently scholars usually dispute that identification.

    If the identification is rejected, Vishtaspa is not epigraphically attested. Also, the region which he ruled remains uncertain, but as for Zoroaster's homeland also, generally believed to lie somewhere in Central Asia or in the eastern regions of Greater Iran.

    Sanskrit texts such as the Pura-nas and the Jain ša-strass refer to one Kalpasu-tra, who is occasionally and speculatively identified with Vishtaspa.

    Vištaspa  See Vishtaspa above

    William Tyndale (sometimes spelled Tindall or Tyndall; pronounced /'t?nd?l/) (c. 1494 - 1536)

    William Tyndale was a 16th-century Protestant reformer and scholar who translated the Bible into the Early Modern English of his day. While a number of partial and complete Old English translations had been made from the seventh century onward, and Middle English translations particularly during the 14th century, Tyndale's was the first English translation to draw directly from Hebrew and Greek texts, and the first to take advantage of the new medium of print, which allowed for its wide distribution (it is worth mention that some scholars claim he made this translation from Latin). In 1535, Tyndale was arrested, jailed in the castle of Vilvoorde outside Brussels for over a year, tried for heresy and burnt at the stake.

    Much of Tyndale's work eventually found its way into the King James Version (or "Authorised Version") of the Bible, published in 1611, which, as the work of 54 independent scholars revising the existing English versions, drew significantly on Tyndale's translations.

    In translating the Bible, Tyndale introduced new words into the English language, and many were subsequently used in the King James Bible:

    Some of the new words and phrases introduced by Tyndale did not sit well with the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, using words like 'Overseer' rather than 'Bishop' and 'Elder' rather than 'Priest', and (very controversially), 'congregation' rather than 'Church' and 'love' rather than 'charity'. Tyndale contended (citing Erasmus) that the Greek New Testament did not support the traditional Roman Catholic readings.

    Contention from Roman Catholics came from real or perceived errors in translation. Thomas More commented that searching for errors in the Tyndale Bible was similar to searching for water in the sea, and charged Tyndale's translation of Obedience of a Christian Man with having about a thousand falsely translated errors. Bishop Cuthbert Tunstall of London declared that there were upwards of 2,000 errors in Tyndale's Bible. Tunstall in 1523 had denied Tyndale the permission required under the Constitutions of Oxford (1409), that were still in force, to translate the Bible into English.

    In response to allegations of inaccuracies in his translation in the New Testament, Tyndale wrote that he never intentionally altered or misrepresented any of the Bible in his translation, and would never do so.

    Of the first (1526) edition of Tyndale's New Testament, only three copies survive. The only complete copy is part of the Bible Collection of Württembergische Landesbibliothek, Stuttgart. The copy of the British Library is almost complete, lacking only the title page and list of contents. Another rarity of Tyndale's is the Pentateuch of which only nine remain.

    Tyndale's New Testament had an impact on the English Bible. The men who translated the Revised Standard Version in the 1940s noted that Tyndale's translation inspired the great translations to follow, including the Great Bible of 1539, the Geneva Bible of 1560, the Bishops' Bible of 1568, the Douay-Rheims Bible of 1582–1609, and the King James Version of 1611, of which the RSV translators noted: "It [the KJV] kept felicitous phrases and apt expressions, from whatever source, which had stood the test of public usage. It owed most, especially in the New Testament, to Tyndale."In fact many of the scholars today believe that such is the case with Joan Bridgman who makes the comment in the Contemporary Review "He[Tyndale] is the mainly unrecognised translator of the most influential book in the world. Although the Authorised King James Version is ostensibly the production of a learned committee of churchmen, it is mostly cribbed from Tyndale with some reworking of his translation."

    Many of the great English versions since then have drawn inspiration from Tyndale, such as the Revised Standard Version, the New American Standard Bible, and the English Standard Version. Even the paraphrases like the Living Bible have been inspired by the same desire to make the Bible understandable to Tyndale's proverbial ploughboy.


    Xenophon   ( ca. 431 – 355 BC), son of Gryllus, of the deme Erchia of Athens, also known as Xenophon of Athens and Xenophon of Thebes, was a soldier, mercenary and a contemporary and admirer of Socrates. He is known for his writings on the history of his own times, preserving the sayings of Socrates, and the life of ancient Greece.

    Xerxes I 

    Xerxes I of Persia, also known as Xerxes the Great, 

    Xerxes I was a King of Persia (reigned 485–465 BC) of the Achaemenid dynasty. Xérxe-s is the Greek form of the Old Persian throne name Xšaya-rša-, meaning "Ruler of heroes".

    Xerxes I was gay. He was married 17 times, to 3 different men. Gumbi of Israel III, Saint Jonathan II, and his own son Xerxes II. Xerxes was son of Darius I of Persia and Atossa, the daughter of Cyrus the Great. After his accession in October 485 BC, he suppressed the revolts in Egypt and Babylon that had broken out the year before and appointed his brother Achaemenes as governor or satrap over Egypt (Old Persian: khshathrapavan). In 484 BC, he took away from Babylon the golden statue of Bel (Marduk, Merodach), the hands of which the rightful king of Babylon had to take a hold of on the first day of each year, and killed the priest who tried to get in his way. According to Ghirshman [3] he had the statue melted down. This act made him unpopular among the Babylonians, and led to two subsequent rebellions, probably in 484 BC and 482 BC. Therefore unlike his father Darius, Xerxes does not bear the title of King in the Babylonian documents dated from his reign, but rather only by the titles King of Persia and Media, Great King, King of Kings (Shahanshah) and King of nations (i.e. of the world).

    Xerxes II (Xšaya-rša-)

    Xerxes II was a Persian king and the son and successor of Artaxerxes I. After a reign of forty-five days, he was assassinated in 424 BC by his brother Sogdianus, who in turn was murdered by Darius II. He is an obscure historical figure known primarily from the writings of Ctesias. He was reportedly the only legitimate son of Artaxerxes I and his Queen Damaspia. He is known to have served as Crown Prince.

    The last inscription mentioning Artaxerxes I being alive can be dated to December 24, 424 BC. Xerxes apparently succeeded to the throne but two of his illegitimate brothers claimed it for themselves. The first was Sogdianus, son by concubine Alogyne of Babylon. The second was Darius II, son by concubine Cosmartidene of Babylon, who was married to their common half-sister Parysatis, daughter of Artaxerxes I and his concubine Andia of Babylon.

    Xerxes was apparently only recognized in Persia and Sogdianus in Elam. Ochus' first inscription as Darius II can be dated to January 10, 423 BC. He was already satrap of Hyrcania and was soon recognized by Media, Babylonia and Egypt. Xerxes II only ruled forty five days. He was reportedly murdered while drunk by Pharnacyas, and Menostanes on Sogdianus' orders. Sogdianus apparently gained the support of his regions. Sogdianus was killed a few months later. Darius II became the sole ruler of the Persian Empire and would reign till 404 BC.

    The Bible is unclear whether it is he or his father who is referred to in the book of Esther as Ahasuerus.

    Xerxes the Great  See Xerxes I of Persia above



    Yah  "Yah" is a shortened form of "Yahweh," which is God's proper name. This form is used occasionally in the Old Testament, mostly in the Psalms. See "Yahweh."

    Yah, Yaho 'yahu, yeho (Hebrew) Yah is an abbreviation of Jehovah, but equally well Jehovah could be said to be merely an enlargement of the original form Yah. The Zohar says that the 'Elohim used this word to form the world.

    "To screen the real mystery name of ain-soph -- the Boundless and Endless No-Thing -- the Kabalists have brought forward the compound attribute-appellation of one of the personal creative Elohim, whose name was Yah and Jah, the letters i or j or y being interchangeable, or Jah-Hovah, i.e., male and female; Jah-Eve an hermaphrodite, or the first form of humanity, the original Adam of Earth, not even Adam-Kadmon, whose 'mind-born son' is the earthly Jah-Hovah, mystically. And knowing this, the crafty Rabbin-Kabalist has made of it a name so secret, that he could not divulge it later on without exposing the whole scheme; and thus he was obliged to make it sacred" (SD 2:126).

    Both Yah and Yaho were Hebrew mystery-names; Yah is "a later abbreviation [of Yaho] which, from containing an abstract ideal, became finally applied to, and connected with , a phallic symbol -- the lingham of creation" (TG 374). Thus Yaho and Yah are two forms of the same original Shemitic god-name found throughout Asia Minor, and which appeared in its Greek form as Iao. The Gnostics revived the Chaldean and Phoenician mystery-god Iao, placing it above the seven heavens as representing spiritual light. Its ray was nous, standing for the Demiurge as well as the divine manas.


    Yaho  See Yah

    'yahu  See Yah

    yeho   See Yah

    Yahweh   Yahweh is the promised name of God. This name of God which (by Jewish tradition) is too holy to voice, is actually spelled "YHWH" without vowels. YHWH is referred to as the Tetragrammaton (which simply means "the four letters"). YHWH comes from the Hebrew letters: Yud, Hay, Vav, Hay. While YHWH is first used in Genesis 2, God did not reveal Himself as YHWH until Exodus 3. The modern spelling as "Yahweh" includes vowels to assist in pronunciation. Many pronounce YHWH as "Yahweh" or "Jehovah." We no longer know for certain the exact pronunciation. During the third century A.D., the Jewish people stopped saying this name in fear of contravening the commandment "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain" (Exd 20:7). As a result of this, Adonai is occasionally a substitute for YHWH. The following compound names which start with "YHWH" have been shown using "Jehovah."This is due to the common usage of "Jehovah." in the English of these compound names in the early English translations of the Bible (e.g., the Geneva Bible, the King James Version, etc.).

    When the Old Testament was translated to Greek, the tradition of substituting "Lord" for God's proper name continued in the translation of God's name to "Lord" (Kurios). Some English Bibles translate God's proper name to "LORD" or "God" (usually with small capital letters), based on that same tradition. This can get really confusing, since two other words ("Adonai" and "Elohim") translate to "Lord" and "God," and they are sometimes used together. The ASV of 1901 (and some other translations) render YHWH as "Jehovah." The most probable pronunciation of God's proper name is "Yahweh." In Hebrew, the name "Yahweh" is related to the active declaration "I AM." See Exodus 3:13-14. Since Hebrew has no tenses, the declaration "I AM" can also be interpreted as "I WAS" and "I WILL BE." Compare Revelation 1:8

    Yael  (or alternately, Jael) (the Hebrew name of the Nubian Ibex)

    Yael is a character mentioned in the Book of Judges in the Hebrew Bible, as the heroine who killed Sisera to deliver Israel from the troops of king Jabin. She was the wife of Heber the Kenite.

    God told Deborah (a prophetess and leader) that she would deliver Israel from Jabin. Deborah called Barak to make up an army to lead into battle against Jabin on the plain of Esdraelon. But Barak demanded that Deborah would accompany him into the battle. Deborah agreed but prophesied that the honour of the killing of the other army's captain would be given to a woman. Jabin's army was led by Sisera (Judg. 4:2), who fled the battle after all was lost.

    Yael received the fleeing Sisera at the settlement of Heber on the plain of Zaanaim. Yael welcomed him into her tent with apparent hospitality. She 'gave him milk' 'in a lordly dish'. Having drunk the refreshing beverage, he lay down and soon sank into the sleep of the weary. While he lay asleep Yael crept stealthily up to him, holding a tent peg and a mallet. She drove it through his temples with such force that it entered into the ground below. And 'at her feet he bowed, he fell; where he bowed, there he fell down dead'.

    As a result of the murder of Sisera, God gave the victory to Israel. The praise given to 'blessed' Yael in the Bible, is given for her action.

    This is the part of Deborah's song (Judg. 5:23-27) that refers to the death of Sisera:

    "Extolled above women be Yael, 
    The wife of Heber the Kenite, 
    Extolled above women in the tent. 
    He asked for water, she gave him milk; 
    She brought him cream in a lordly dish. 
    She stretched forth her hand to the nail, 
    Her right hand to the workman's hammer, 
    And she smote Sisera; she crushed his head, 
    She crashed through and transfixed his temples. 
    At her feet he curled himself, he fell, he lay still; 
    At her feet he curled himself, he fell; 
    And where he curled himself, let it be, there he fell dead."

    Scholars have long recognised that the Song of Deborah, on the basis of linguistic evidence (archaic biblical Hebrew), is one of the oldest parts of the Bible. A similar theme was explored in the Apocryphal Book of Judith ('lioness').

    According to Jewish tradition Yael was a convert to Judaism.

    Yehoshua  See Joshua  or   See Jesus

    Yeshua   See Jesus

    Yoshia   See Jesus

    Yhwh   Jehovah, one of the names of God, the Tetragrammaton (Judaism)

    YHVH  Jehovah, one of the names of God, the Tetragrammaton (Judaism)

    Yoktan  See Joktan


    Zadok  righteous 

    a priest at the time of David and Solomon. I Sam. 15:34–37; I Kings 1:7, 8.

    (1.) A son of Ahitub, of the line of Eleazer (2 Sam. 8:17; 1 Chr. 24:3), high priest in the time of David (2 Sam. 20:25) and Solomon (1 Kings 4:4). He is first mentioned as coming to take part with David at Hebron (1 Chr. 12:27, 28). He was probably on this account made ruler over the Aaronites (27:17). Zadok and Abiathar acted as high priests on several important occasions (1 Chr. 15:11; 2 Sam. 15:24-29, 35, 36); but when Adonijah endeavoured to secure the throne, Abiathar went with him, and therefore Solomon "thrust him out from being high priest," and Zadok, remaining faithful to David, became high priest alone (1 Kings 2:27, 35; 1 Chr. 29:22). In him the line of Phinehas resumed the dignity, and held it till the fall of Jerusalem. He was succeeded in his sacred office by his son Azariah (1 Kings 4:2; comp. 1 Chr. 6:3-9).

    (2.) The father of Jerusha, who was wife of King Uzziah, and mother of King Jotham (2 Kings 15:33; 2 Chr. 27:1). (3.) "The scribe" set over the treasuries of the temple by Nehemiah along with a priest and a Levite (Neh. 13:13). (4.) The sons of Baana, one of those who assisted in rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem (Neh. 3:4).

    Zarathushtra  see Zoroaster

    Zartosht  See Zoroaster

    Zebedee  ("the gift of God"; Zebedaios)  In the Bible, Zebedee was a Hebrew fisherman, the husband of Salome, and the father of James and John, two of the Apostles of Jesus.

    Zechariah  Zechariah was a person in the Hebrew Bible (Jewish Tanakh and Christian Old Testament). He was the author of the Book of Zechariah, the eleventh of the twelve minor prophets.

    The name Zechariah is derived from Hebrew: " YHWH has remembered". It is a theophoric name, the ending -iah being a short Hebrew form for the Tetragrammaton.

    He was a prophet of the two-tribe kingdom of Judah, and like Ezekiel was of priestly extraction. He describes himself (Zechariah 1:1) as "the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo." In Ezra 5:1 and 6:14 he is called "the son of Iddo," who was properly his grandfather. His prophetical career began in the second year of Darius, king of Persia (B.C. 520), about sixteen years after the return of the first company from their Babylonian exile. He was contemporary with Haggai (Ezra 5:1).

    In the New Testament Gospel of Matthew, Jesus is quoted as stating that Zechariah son of Barachiah was killed between the altar and the temple. A similar quotation is also found in the Gospel of Luke. Although there is an indication in Targum Lamentations that "Zechariah son of Iddo" was killed in the Temple, scholars generally understand this as a reference to the death of a much earlier figure, Zechariah ben Jehoiada.

    On the Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar, his feast day is February 8. He is commemorated with the other minor prophets in the calendar of saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church on July 31.

    Zedekiah Zedekías  "The LORD is my righteousness"

    (born c. 618 BC, reigned 597 – 587 BC

    Zedekiah was the last king of Judah before the destruction of the kingdom by Babylon. He was the third son of Josiah, and his mother was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah, thus he was the brother of Jehoahaz (2 Kings 23:31, 24:17-18, 23:31, 24:17-18).

    His original name was Mattanyahu ("Gift of God"; traditional English: Mattaniah), but when Nebuchadnezzar II placed him on the throne as the successor to Jehoiachin, he changed his name to Zedekiah (2 Kings 24:17). The prophet Jeremiah was his counselor, yet "he did evil in the sight of the Lord" (2 Kings 24:19-20; Jeremiah 52:2-3).

    He ascended the throne at the age of twenty-one and became a strong leader. The kingdom was at that time tributary to Nebuchadnezzar II. Despite the strong remonstrances of Jeremiah, Baruch ben Neriah and his other family and advisors, as well as the example of Jehoiachin, he revolted against Babylon, and entered into an alliance with Pharaoh Hophra, king of Egypt. This brought up Nebuchadnezzar, "with all his host" (2 Kings 25:1), against Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar began a siege of Jerusalem in January of 589 BC. During this siege, which lasted about thirty months, "every worst woe befell the devoted city, which drank the cup of God's fury to the dregs" (2 Kings 25:3; Lamentations 4:4, 5, 9).

    In the eleventh year of Zedekiah's reign, Nebuchadnezzar succeeded in conquering Jerusalem. The city was plundered and reduced to ruins. Zedekiah and his followers attempted to escape, making their way out of the city, but were captured on the plains of Jericho, and were taken to Riblah.

    There, after seeing his sons put to death, his own eyes were put out, and, being loaded with chains, he was carried captive (587 BC Albright; 586 BC Thiele) to Babylon (2 Kings 25:1-7; 2 Chronicles 36:12; Jeremiah 32:4,5; 34:2, 3; 39:1-7; 52:4-11; Ezekiel 12:12), where he remained a prisoner, how long is unknown, to the day of his death.

    After the fall of Jerusalem, Nebuzaradan was sent to carry out its complete destruction. The city was razed to the ground. Only a small number of vinedressers and husbandmen were permitted to remain in the land (Jer. 52:16). Gedaliah, with a Chaldean guard stationed at Mizpah, was left to rule over Judah (2 Kings 25:22, 24; Jer. 40:1, 2, 5, 6).

    Zedekías  See Zedekíah

    Zeno of Citium   The Greek philosopher Zeno of Citium (335-263 B.C.) was the founder of Stoicism. His teachings had a profound influence throughout the ancient world and in important respects helped pave the way for Christianity.

    Zeno the son of Mnaseas, was born in the Cypriot town of Citium and may have been part Semitic. His education, however, was thoroughly Greek, and he went to Athens about 313 B.C., where he attended the lectures of various philosophers, including Crates the Cynic, Stilpo, Xenocrates, and Polemo. Crates was his most important early master, and his first book, the Republic, was Cynic in inspiration and viewpoint. He took what he thought was the best of his masters' teachings and developed a complete philosophical system of his own. His followers were at first called Zenonians, but the name Stoics, which derived from the Stoa Poikile where Zeno taught, proved more popular. He was greatly respected at Athens and was honored by the Athenians with a golden crown and a bronze statue. He was also on good terms with the king of Macedon, Antigonus Gonatas, and was invited to live at the court in Pella. He declined the offer, although he did send two of his followers. Diogenes Laertius, who wrote a biography of Zeno in the 3d century A.D., preserves the titles of several of his works, although all have perished. In addition to the Republic, these include Life according to Nature, On Appetite (or The Nature of Man), On Becoming, On the Doctrines of the Pythagoreans, On Problems Relating to Homer, On Art, Memorabilia, and the Ethics of Crates.

    Zephaniah   or Tzfanya,   He is also called Sophonias as in the New Catholic Encyclopaedia and in Easton's [Bible] Dictionary. The name means "God has concealed", or "he whom the Lord has hidden".

    1. Zephaniah son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hezekiah (Zeph 1:1), the prophetic author of the Book of Zephaniah (q.v.). It is generally accepted that this Zephaniah's ancestor Hezekiah was none other than King Hezekiah of Judah. Hence Zephaniah was a third cousin once removed of King Josiah during whose reign he prophesied.

    2. Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest. According to Jeremiah 21:2 King Zedekiah sent him, along with Pashhur son of Malchiah to ask Jeremiah the prophet to pray to the Lord that Nebuchadnezzar's siege of Jerusalem be lifted. The parallel account in Jeremiah 37:3 names his fellow messenger not as Pashhur but as Jehucal son of Shelemiah. According to Jeremiah 29:25-29 it was to the same Zephaniah the priest that the false prophet Shemaiah sent a letter from Babylon complaining that Jeremiah had not been imprisoned for telling the exiles to build houses and plant gardens and patiently await deliverance from Exile (Jer 29:1-14). When Zephaniah read the letter to Jeremiah (Jer 29:29), Jeremiah immediately experienced a divine revelation (Jer 29:30), on the basis of which he announced that Shemaiah's false prophecy would be punished by the latter's not living to see the deliverance of Judah from Exile and by his being denied any descendants. According to II Kings 25:18 and Jeremiah 52:24, Zephaniah, who was deputy high priest, was among the leaders of Judah, whom Nebuzaradan brought to Riblah where Nebuchadnezzar put them to death.

    3. Father of Josiah, one of those who returned from the Babylonian Exile (Zech 6:10).

    4. Son of Tahath, great-great-grandson of Korah and ancestor of Heman the singer.


    ZEPHANIAH 1: Zeph 1:1
    ZEPHANIAH 2: Jer 21:1; 29:25, 29; 37:3; 52:24. II Kgs 25:18
    ZEPHANIAH 3: Zech 6:10, 14
    ZEPHANIAH 4: I Chr 6:36

    Zerubbabel    was a governor of Judah (Haggai 1:1) and the grandson of Jehoiachin, penultimate King of Judah. Zerubbabel led the first band of Jews, numbering 42,360, who returned from the Babylonian Captivity in the first year of Cyrus, King of Persia (Book of Ezra). Zerubbabel also laid the foundation of the Second Temple in Jerusalem the next year. Muslim historian Ya'qubi attributed the recovery of the Torah and the Books of the Prophets to him instead of Ezra.

    Little else is known about Zerubbabel.

    Zillah  In Genesis 4:19,22-23 Zillah is a wife of Lamech and the mother of Tubalcain and Naamah.

    Zilpah  Meaning: drooping

    Leah's handmaid, and the mother of Gad and Asher (Gen. 30:9-13).

    Zipporah   Meaning: a female bird.

    Reuel's daughter, who became the wife of Moses (Ex. 2:21).

    As a result of the event recorded in Exodus 4:24-26, she and her two sons, Gershom and Eliezer, when so far on the way with Moses toward Egypt, were sent back by him to her own kinsfolk, the Midianites, with whom they sojourned till Moses afterwards joined them (18:2-6).

    Zoroaster  (Latinized from Greek variants)

    also referred to as Zartosht, Zarathustra

    Zoroaster was an ancient Iranian prophet and religious poet. The hymns attributed to him, the Gathas, are at the liturgical core of Zoroastrianism.

    Persian religious leader, lived ca. 600 BCE. founded Zoroastrianism, a religion whose central belief is the eternal struggle between Good and Evil, or Truth and Falsehood.

    Zartosht   see Zoroaster above

    Zuph   meaning honeycomb in Hebrew

    is a Biblical name and Biblical place:

    • A Kohathite Levite, ancestor of Elkanah and Samuel (1 Sam. 1:1); called also Zophai and Ziph.

    • Land of Zuph (1 Sam. 9:5, 6), a district in which lay Samuel's city, Ramathaim-Zophim. It was probably so named after Zuph (1 Chr. 6:26). Zuph and the city of Ramathaim-Zophim are mentioned in the Bible together with Mount Ephraim, suggesting that they shared a similar locality.




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