Mosera - a bond, one of the stations of the Israelites in the wilderness (Deut. 10:6), at the foot of Mount Hor. (Comp. Num. 33:37, 38). It has been identified with el-Tayibeh, a small fountain at the bottom of the pass leading to the ascent of Mount Hor.
Moses - drawn (or Egypt. mesu, "son;" hence Rameses, royal son). On the invitation of Pharaoh (Gen. 45:17-25), Jacob and his sons went down into Egypt. This immigration took place probably about 350 years before the birth of Moses. Some centuries before Joseph, Egypt had been conquered by a pastoral Semitic race from Asia, the Hyksos, who brought into cruel subjection the native Egyptians, who were an African race. Jacob and his retinue were accustomed to a shepherd's life, and on their arrival in Egypt were received with favour by the king, who assigned them the "best of the land", the land of Goshen, to dwell in. The Hyksos or "shepherd" king who thus showed favour to Joseph and his family was in all probability the Pharaoh Apopi (or Apopis).
Thus favoured, the Israelites began to "multiply exceedingly" (Gen. 47:27), and extended to the west and south. At length the supremacy of the Hyksos came to an end. The descendants of Jacob were allowed to retain their possession of Goshen undisturbed, but after the death of Joseph their position was not so favourable. The Egyptians began to despise them, and the period of their "affliction" (Gen. 15:13) commenced. They were sorely oppressed. They continued, however, to increase in numbers, and "the land was filled with them" (Ex. 1:7). The native Egyptians regarded them with suspicion, so that they felt all the hardship of a struggle for existence.
In process of time "a king [probably Seti I.] arose who knew not Joseph" (Ex. 1:8). (See PHARAOH.) The circumstances of the country were such that this king thought it necessary to weaken his Israelite subjects by oppressing them, and by degrees reducing their number. They were accordingly made public slaves, and were employed in connection with his numerous buildings, especially in the erection of store-cities, temples, and palaces. The children of Israel were made to serve with rigour. Their lives were made bitter with hard bondage, and "all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour" (Ex. 1:13, 14). But this cruel oppression had not the result expected of reducing their number. On the contrary, "the more the Egyptians afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew" (Ex. 1:12).
The king next tried, through a compact secretly made with the guild of midwives, to bring about the destruction of all the Hebrew male children that might be born. But the king's wish was not rigorously enforced; the male children were spared by the midwives, so that "the people multiplied" more than ever. Thus baffled, the king issued a public proclamation calling on the people to put to death all the Hebrew male children by casting them into the river (Ex. 1:22). But neither by this edict was the king's purpose effected.
One of the Hebrew households into which this cruel edict of the king brought great alarm was that of Amram, of the family of the Kohathites (Ex. 6:16-20), who with his wife Jochebed and two children, Miriam, a girl of perhaps fifteen years of age, and Aaron, a boy of three years, resided in or near Memphis, the capital city of that time. In this quiet home a male child was born (B.C. 1571). His mother concealed him in the house for three months from the knowledge of the civic authorities. But when the task of concealment became difficult, Jochebed contrived to bring her child under the notice of the daughter of the king by constructing for him an ark of bulrushes, which she laid among the flags which grew on the edge of the river at the spot where the princess was wont to come down and bathe. Her plan was successful. The king's daughter "saw the child; and behold the child wept." The princess (see PHARAOH'S DAUGHTER ) sent Miriam, who was standing by, to fetch a nurse. She went and brought the mother of the child, to whom the princess said, "Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages." Thus Jochebed's child, whom the princess called "Moses", i.e., "Saved from the water" (Ex. 2:10), was ultimately restored to her.
As soon as the natural time for weaning the child had come, he was transferred from the humble abode of his father to the royal palace, where he was brought up as the adopted son of the princess, his mother probably accompanying him and caring still for him. He grew up amid all the grandeur and excitement of the Egyptian court, maintaining, however, probably a constant fellowship with his mother, which was of the highest importance as to his religious belief and his interest in his "brethren." His education would doubtless be carefully attended to, and he would enjoy all the advantages of training both as to his body and his mind. He at length became "learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians" (Acts 7:22). Egypt had then two chief seats of learning, or universities, at one of which, probably that of Heliopolis, his education was completed. Moses, being now about twenty years of age, spent over twenty more before he came into prominence in Bible history. These twenty years were probably spent in military service. There is a tradition recorded by Josephus that he took a lead in the war which was then waged between Egypt and Ethiopia, in which he gained renown as a skilful general, and became "mighty in deeds" (Acts 7:22).
After the termination of the war in Ethiopia, Moses returned to the Egyptian court, where he might reasonably have expected to be loaded with honours and enriched with wealth. But "beneath the smooth current of his life hitherto, a life of alternate luxury at the court and comparative hardness in the camp and in the discharge of his military duties, there had lurked from childhood to youth, and from youth to manhood, a secret discontent, perhaps a secret ambition. Moses, amid all his Egyptian surroundings, had never forgotten, had never wished to forget, that he was a Hebrew." He now resolved to make himself acquainted with the condition of his countrymen, and "went out unto his brethren, and looked upon their burdens" (Ex. 2:11). This tour of inspection revealed to him the cruel oppression and bondage under which they everywhere groaned, and could not fail to press on him the serious consideration of his duty regarding them. The time had arrived for his making common cause with them, that he might thereby help to break their yoke of bondage. He made his choice accordingly (Heb. 11:25-27), assured that God would bless his resolution for the welfare of his people. He now left the palace of the king and took up his abode, probably in his father's house, as one of the Hebrew people who had for forty years been suffering cruel wrong at the hands of the Egyptians.
He could not remain indifferent to the state of things around him, and going out one day among the people, his indignation was roused against an Egyptian who was maltreating a Hebrew. He rashly lifted up his hand and slew the Egyptian, and hid his body in the sand. Next day he went out again and found two Hebrews striving together. He speedily found that the deed of the previous day was known. It reached the ears of Pharaoh (the "great Rameses," Rameses II.), who "sought to slay Moses" (Ex. 2:15). Moved by fear, Moses fled from Egypt, and betook himself to the land of Midian, the southern part of the peninsula of Sinai, probably by much the same route as that by which, forty years afterwards, he led the Israelites to Sinai. He was providentially led to find a new home with the family of Reuel, where he remained for forty years (Acts 7:30), under training unconsciously for his great life's work.
Suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared to him in the burning bush (Ex. 3), and commissioned him to go down to Egypt and "bring forth the children of Israel" out of bondage. He was at first unwilling to go, but at length he was obedient to the heavenly vision, and left the land of Midian (4:18-26). On the way he was met by Aaron (q.v.) and the elders of Israel (27-31). He and Aaron had a hard task before them; but the Lord was with them (ch. 7-12), and the ransomed host went forth in triumph. (See EXODUS.) After an eventful journey to and fro in the wilderness, we see them at length encamped in the plains of Moab, ready to cross over the Jordan into the Promised Land. There Moses addressed the assembled elders (Deut. 1:1-4; 5:1-26:19; 27:11-30:20), and gives the people his last counsels, and then rehearses the great song (Deut. 32), clothing in fitting words the deep emotions of his heart at such a time, and in review of such a marvellous history as that in which he had acted so conspicious a part. Then, after blessing the tribes (33), he ascends to "the mountain of Nebo (q.v.), to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho" (34:1), and from thence he surveys the land. "Jehovah shewed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan, and all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea, and the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar" (Deut. 34:2-3), the magnificient inheritance of the tribes of whom he had been so long the leader; and there he died, being one hundred and twenty years old, according to the word of the Lord, and was buried by the Lord "in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Beth-peor" (34:6). The people mourned for him during thirty days.
Thus died "Moses the man of God" (Deut. 33:1; Josh. 14:6). He was distinguished for his meekness and patience and firmness, and "he endured as seeing him who is invisible." "There arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, in all the signs and the wonders, which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land, and in all that mighty hand, and in all the great terror which Moses shewed in the sight of all Israel" (Deut. 34:10-12).
The name of Moses occurs frequently in the Psalms and Prophets as the chief of the prophets.
In the New Testament he is referred to as the representative of the law and as a type of Christ (John 1:17; 2 Cor. 3:13-18; Heb. 3:5, 6). Moses is the only character in the Old Testament to whom Christ likens himself (John 5:46; comp. Deut. 18:15, 18, 19; Acts 7:37). In Heb. 3:1-19 this likeness to Moses is set forth in various particulars.
In Jude 1:9 mention is made of a contention between Michael and the devil about the body of Moses. This dispute is supposed to have had reference to the concealment of the body of Moses so as to prevent idolatry.
Gr. ses, thus rendered in Matt. 6:19, 20; Luke 12:33. Allusion is thus made to the destruction of clothing by the larvae of the clothes-moth. This is the only lepidopterous insect referred to in Scripture.
Mouldy - Of the Gibeonites it is said that "all the bread of their provision was dry and mouldy" (Josh. 9:5, 12). The Hebrew word here rendered "mouldy" (nikuddim) is rendered "cracknels" in 1 Kings 14:3, and denotes a kind of crisp cake. The meaning is that the bread of the Gibeonites had become dry and hard, hard as biscuits, and thus was an evidence of the length of the journey they had travelled.
Mount - Palestine is a hilly country (Deut. 3:25; 11:11; Ezek. 34:13). West of Jordan the mountains stretch from Lebanon far down into Galilee, terminating in Carmel. The isolated peak of Tabor rises from the elevated plain of Esdraelon, which, in the south, is shut in by hills spreading over the greater part of Samaria. The mountains of Western and Middle Palestine do not extend to the sea, but gently slope into plains, and toward the Jordan fall down into the Ghor.
East of the Jordan the Anti-Lebanon, stretching south, terminates in the hilly district called Jebel Heish, which reaches down to the Sea of Gennesareth. South of the river Hieromax there is again a succession of hills, which are traversed by wadies running toward the Jordan. These gradually descend to a level at the river Arnon, which was the boundary of the ancient trans-Jordanic territory toward the south.
The composition of the Palestinian hills is limestone, with occasional strata of chalk, and hence the numerous caves, some of large extent, found there.
Mount of corruption - (2 Kings 23:13; Vulg., "mount of offence"), the name given to a part of the Mount of Olives, so called because idol temples were there erected in the time of Solomon, temples to the Zidonian Ashtoreth and to the "abominations" of Moab and Ammon.
Mount of the congregation - only in Isa. 14:13, a mythic mountain of the Babylonians, regarded by them as the seat of the gods. It was situated in the far north, and in Babylonian inscriptions is described as a mountain called Im-Kharasak, "the mighty mountain of Bel, whose head reaches heaven, whose root is the holy deep." In their geography they are said to have identified it with mount El-wend, near Ecbatana.
Mount of the valley - (Josh. 13:19), a district in the east of Jordan, in the territory of Reuben. The "valley" here was probably the Ghor or valley of the Jordan, and hence the "mount" would be the hilly region in the north end of the Dead Sea. (See ZARETH-SHAHAR.)
(1.) Mourning for the dead. Abraham mourned for Sarah (Gen. 23:2); Jacob for Joseph (37:34, 35); the Egyptians for Jacob (50:3-10); Israel for Aaron (Num. 20:29), for Moses (Deut. 34:8), and for Samuel (1 Sam. 25:1); David for Abner (2 Sam. 3:31, 35); Mary and Martha for Lazarus (John 11); devout men for Stephen (Acts 8:2), etc.
(2.) For calamities, Job (1:20, 21; 2:8); Israel (Ex. 33:4); the Ninevites (Jonah 3:5); Israel, when defeated by Benjamin (Judg. 20:26), etc.
(3.) Penitential mourning, by the Israelites on the day of atonement (Lev. 23:27; Acts 27:9); under Samuel's ministry (1 Sam. 7:6); predicted in Zechariah (Zech. 12:10, 11); in many of the psalms (51, etc.).
Mourning was expressed,
(1) by weeping (Gen. 35:8, marg.; Luke 7:38, etc.);
(2) by loud lamentation (Ruth 1:9; 1 Sam. 6:19; 2 Sam. 3:31);
(3) by the disfigurement of the person, as rending the clothes (Gen. 37:29, 34; Matt. 26:65), wearing sackcloth (Gen. 37:34; Ps. 35:13), sprinkling dust or ashes on the person (2 Sam. 13:19; Jer. 6:26; Job 2:12), shaving the head and plucking out the hair of the head or beard (Lev. 10:6; Job 1:20), neglect of the person or the removal of ornaments (Ex. 33:4; Deut. 21:12, 13; 2 Sam. 14:2; 19:24; Matt. 6:16, 17), fasting (2 Sam. 1:12), covering the upper lip (Lev. 13:45; Micah 3:7), cutting the flesh (Jer. 16:6, 7), and sitting in silence (Judg. 20:26; 2 Sam. 12:16; 13:31; Job 1:20).
In the later times we find a class of mourners who could be hired to give by their loud lamentation the external tokens of sorrow (2 Chr. 35:25; Jer. 9:17; Matt. 9:23).
The period of mourning for the dead varied. For Jacob it was seventy days (Gen. 50:3); for Aaron (Num. 20:29) and Moses (Deut. 34:8) thirty days; and for Saul only seven days (1 Sam. 31:13). In 2 Sam. 3:31-35, we have a description of the great mourning for the death of Abner.
Mouse - Heb. 'akhbar, "swift digger"), properly the dormouse, the field-mouse (1 Sam. 6:4). In Lev. 11:29, Isa. 66:17 this word is used generically, and includes the jerboa (Mus jaculus), rat, hamster (Cricetus), which, though declared to be unclean animals, were eaten by the Arabs, and are still eaten by the Bedouins. It is said that no fewer than twenty-three species of this group ('akhbar=Arab. ferah) of animals inhabit Palestine. God "laid waste" the people of Ashdod by the terrible visitation of field-mice, which are like locusts in their destructive effects (1 Sam. 6:4, 11, 18). Herodotus, the Greek historian, accounts for the destruction of the army of Sennacherib (2 Kings 19:35) by saying that in the night thousands of mice invaded the camp and gnawed through the bow-strings, quivers, and shields, and thus left the Assyrians helpless. (See SENNACHERIB.)
Mowing - (Heb. gez), rendered in Ps. 72:6 "mown grass." The expression "king's mowings" (Amos 7:1) refers to some royal right of early pasturage, the first crop of grass for the cavalry (comp. 1 Kings 18:5).
(1.) One of the sons of Caleb (1 Chr. 2:46).
(2.) The son of Zimri, of the posterity of Saul (1 Chr. 8:36, 37; 9:42, 43).
Mulberry - Heb. bakah, "to weep;" rendered "Baca" (R.V., "weeping") in Ps. 84:6. The plural form of the Hebrew bekaim is rendered "mulberry trees" in 2 Sam. 5:23, 24 and 1 Chr. 14:14, 15. The tree here alluded to was probably the aspen or trembling poplar. "We know with certainty that the black poplar, the aspen, and the Lombardy poplar grew in Palestine. The aspen, whose long leaf-stalks cause the leaves to tremble with every breath of wind, unites with the willow and the oak to overshadow the watercourses of the Lebanon, and with the oleander and the acacia to adorn the ravines of Southern Palestine" (Kitto). By "the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees" we are to understand a rustling among the trees like the marching of an army. This was the signal that the Lord himself would lead forth David's army to victory. (See SYCAMINE.)
Mule - (Heb. pered), so called from the quick step of the animal or its power of carrying loads. It is not probable that the Hebrews bred mules, as this was strictly forbidden in the law (Lev. 19:19), although their use was not forbidden. We find them in common use even by kings and nobles (2 Sam. 18:9; 1 Kings 1:33; 2 Kings 5:17; Ps. 32:9). They are not mentioned, however, till the time of David, for the word rendered "mules" (R.V. correctly, "hot springs") in Gen. 36:24 (yemim) properly denotes the warm springs of Callirhoe, on the eastern shore of the Dead Sea. In David's reign they became very common (2 Sam. 13:29; 1 Kings 10:25).
Mules are not mentioned in the New Testament. Perhaps they had by that time ceased to be used in Palestine.
Murder - Wilful murder was distinguished from accidental homicide, and was invariably visited with capital punishment (Num. 35:16, 18, 21, 31; Lev. 24:17). This law in its principle is founded on the fact of man's having been made in the likeness of God (Gen. 9:5, 6; John 8:44; 1 John 3:12, 15). The Mosiac law prohibited any compensation for murder or the reprieve of the murderer (Ex. 21:12, 14; Deut. 19:11, 13; 2 Sam. 17:25; 20:10). Two witnesses were required in any capital case (Num. 35:19-30; Deut. 17:6-12). If the murderer could not be discovered, the city nearest the scene of the murder was required to make expiation for the crime committed (Deut. 21:1-9). These offences also were to be punished with death, (1) striking a parent; (2) cursing a parent; (3) kidnapping (Ex. 21:15-17; Deut. 27:16).
Murmuring - of the Hebrews in the wilderness, called forth the displeasure of God, which was only averted by the earnest prayer of Moses (Num. 11:33, 34; 12; 14:27, 30, 31; 16:3; 21:4-6; Ps. 106:25). Forbidden by Paul (1 Cor. 10:10).
Murrain - Heb. deber, "destruction," a "great mortality", the fifth plague that fell upon the Egyptians (Ex. 9:3). It was some distemper that resulted in the sudden and widespread death of the cattle. It was confined to the cattle of the Egyptians that were in the field (9:6).
Music - Jubal was the inventor of musical instruments (Gen. 4:21). The Hebrews were much given to the cultivation of music. Their whole history and literature afford abundant evidence of this. After the Deluge, the first mention of music is in the account of Laban's interview with Jacob (Gen. 31:27). After their triumphal passage of the Red Sea, Moses and the children of Israel sang their song of deliverance (Ex. 15).
But the period of Samuel, David, and Solomon was the golden age of Hebrew music, as it was of Hebrew poetry. Music was now for the first time systematically cultivated. It was an essential part of training in the schools of the prophets (1 Sam. 10:5; 19:19-24; 2 Kings 3:15; 1 Chr. 25:6). There now arose also a class of professional singers (2 Sam. 19:35; Eccl. 2:8). The temple, however, was the great school of music. In the conducting of its services large bands of trained singers and players on instruments were constantly employed (2 Sam. 6:5; 1 Chr. 15; 16; 23;5; 25:1-6).
In private life also music seems to have held an important place among the Hebrews (Eccl. 2:8; Amos 6:4-6; Isa. 5:11, 12; 24:8, 9; Ps. 137; Jer. 48:33; Luke 15:25).
Musician, Chief - (Heb. menatstseah), the precentor of the Levitical choir or orchestra in the temple, mentioned in the titles of fifty-five psalms, and in Hab. 3:19, Revised Version. The first who held this office was Jeduthun (1 Chr. 16:41), and the office appears to have been hereditary. Heman and Asaph were his two colleagues (2 Chr. 35:15).
(1.) The kinnor, the "harp."
(2.) The nebel, "a skin bottle," rendered "psaltery."
(3.) The sabbeka, or "sackbut," a lute or lyre.
(4.) The gittith, occurring in the title of Ps. 8; 8; 84.
(5.) Minnim (Ps. 150:4), rendered "stringed instruments;" in Ps. 45:8, in the form minni, probably the apocopated (i.e., shortened) plural, rendered, Authorized Version, "whereby," and in the Revised Version "stringed instruments."
(6.) Machalath, in the titles of Ps. 53 and 88; supposed to be a kind of lute or guitar.
Of wind instruments mention is made of,
(1.) The 'ugab (Gen. 4:21; Job 21:12; 30:31), probably the so-called Pan's pipes or syrinx.
(2.) The qeren or "horn" (Josh. 6:5; 1 Chr. 25:5).
(3.) The shophar, rendered "trumpet" (Josh. 6:4, 6, 8). The word means "bright," and may have been so called from the clear, shrill sound it emitted. It was often used (Ex. 19:13; Num. 10:10; Judg. 7:16, 18; 1 Sam. 13:3).
(4.) The hatsotserah, or straight trumpet (Ps. 98:6; Num. 10:1-10). This name is supposed by some to be an onomatopoetic word, intended to imitate the pulse-like sound of the trumpet, like the Latin taratantara. Some have identified it with the modern trombone.
(5.) The halil, i.e, "bored through," a flute or pipe (1 Sam. 10:5; 1 Kings 1:40; Isa. 5:12; Jer. 48:36) which is still used in Palestine.
(6.) The sumponyah, rendered "dulcimer" (Dan. 3:5), probably a sort of bagpipe.
(7.) The maskrokith'a (Dan. 3:5), rendered "flute," but its precise nature is unknown.
Of instruments of percussion mention is made of,
(1.) The toph, an instrument of the drum kind, rendered "timbrel" (Ex. 15:20; Job 21:12; Ps. 68:25); also "tabret" (Gen. 31:27; Isa. 24:8; 1 Sam. 10:5).
(2.) The paamon, the "bells" on the robe of the high priest (Ex. 28:33; 39:25).
(3.) The tseltselim, "cymbals" (2 Sam. 6:5; Ps. 150:5), which are struck together and produce a loud, clanging sound. Metsilloth, "bells" on horses and camels for ornament, and metsiltayim, "cymbals" (1 Chr. 13:8; Ezra 3:10, etc.). These words are all derived from the same root, tsalal, meaning "to tinkle."
(4.) The menaan'im, used only in 2 Sam. 6:5, rendered "cornets" (R.V., "castanets"); in the Vulgate, "sistra," an instrument of agitation.
(5.) The shalishim, mentioned only in 1 Sam. 18:6, rendered "instruments of music" (marg. of R.V., "triangles or three-stringed instruments").
The words in Eccl. 2:8, "musical instruments, and that of all sorts," Authorized Version, are in the Revised Version "concubines very many."
Mustard - a plant of the genus sinapis, a pod-bearing, shrub-like plant, growing wild, and also cultivated in gardens. The little round seeds were an emblem of any small insignificant object. It is not mentioned in the Old Testament; and in each of the three instances of its occurrence in the New Testament (Matt. 13:31, 32; Mark 4:31, 32; Luke 13:18, 19) it is spoken of only with reference to the smallness of its seed. The common mustard of Palestine is the Sinapis nigra. This garden herb sometimes grows to a considerable height, so as to be spoken of as "a tree" as compared with garden herbs.
Muth-labben - occurring only in the title of Psalm 9. Some interpret the words as meaning "on the death of Labben," some unknown person. Others render the word, "on the death of the son;" i.e., of Absalom (2 Sam. 18:33). Others again have taken the word as the name of a musical instrument, or as the name of an air to which the psalm was sung.
Muzzle - Grain in the East is usually thrashed by the sheaves being spread out on a floor, over which oxen and cattle are driven to and fro, till the grain is trodden out. Moses ordained that the ox was not to be muzzled while thrashing. It was to be allowed to eat both the grain and the straw (Deut. 25:4). (See AGRICULTURE.)
Myra - one of the chief towns of Lycia, in Asia Minor, about 2 1/2 miles from the coast (Acts 27:5). Here Paul removed from the Adramyttian ship in which he had sailed from Caesarea, and entered into the Alexandrian ship, which was afterwards wrecked at Melita (27:39-44).
(1.) First mentioned as a principal ingredient in the holy anointing oil (Ex. 30:23). It formed part of the gifts brought by the wise men from the east, who came to worship the infant Jesus (Matt. 2:11). It was used in embalming (John 19:39), also as a perfume (Esther 2:12; Ps. 45:8; Prov. 7:17). It was a custom of the Jews to give those who were condemned to death by crucifixion "wine mingled with myrrh" to produce insensibility. This drugged wine was probably partaken of by the two malefactors, but when the Roman soldiers pressed it upon Jesus "he received it not" (Mark 15:23). (See GALL.)
This was the gum or viscid white liquid which flows from a tree resembling the acacia, found in Africa and Arabia, the Balsamodendron myrrha of botanists. The "bundle of myrrh" in Cant. 1:13 is rather a "bag" of myrrh or a scent-bag.
(2.) Another word lot is also translated "myrrh" (Gen. 37:25; 43:11; R.V., marg., "or ladanum"). What was meant by this word is uncertain. It has been thought to be the chestnut, mastich, stacte, balsam, turpentine, pistachio nut, or the lotus. It is probably correctly rendered by the Latin word ladanum, the Arabic ladan, an aromatic juice of a shrub called the Cistus or rock rose, which has the same qualities, though in a slight degree, of opium, whence a decoction of opium is called laudanum. This plant was indigenous to Syria and Arabia.
Myrtle - (Isa. 41:19; Neh. 8:15; Zech. 1:8), Hebrew hadas, known in the East by the name as, the Myrtus communis of the botanist. "Although no myrtles are now found on the mount (of Olives), excepting in the gardens, yet they still exist in many of the glens about Jerusalem, where we have often seen its dark shining leaves and white flowers. There are many near Bethlehem and about Hebron, especially near Dewir Dan, the ancient Debir. It also sheds its fragrance on the sides of Carmel and of Tabor, and fringes the clefts of the Leontes in its course through Galilee. We meet with it all through Central Palestine" (Tristram).
Mystery - the calling of the Gentiles into the Christian Church, so designated (Eph. 1:9, 10; 3:8-11; Col. 1:25-27); a truth undiscoverable except by revelation, long hid, now made manifest. The resurrection of the dead (1 Cor. 15:51), and other doctrines which need to be explained but which cannot be fully understood by finite intelligence (Matt. 13:11; Rom. 11:25; 1 Cor. 13:2); the union between Christ and his people symbolized by the marriage union (Eph. 5:31, 32; comp. 6:19); the seven stars and the seven candlesticks (Rev. 1:20); and the woman clothed in scarlet (17:7), are also in this sense mysteries. The anti-Christian power working in his day is called by the apostle (2 Thess. 2:7) the "mystery of iniquity."
(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).
(3.) A city in the plain of Judah (Josh. 15:41), supposed by some to be identified with Na'aneh, some 5 miles south-east of Makkedah.
Naaman - pleasantness, a Syrian, the commander of the armies of Benhadad II. in the time of Joram, king of Israel. He was afflicted with leprosy; and when the little Hebrew slave-girl that waited on his wife told her of a prophet in Samaria who could cure her master, he obtained a letter from Benhadad and proceeded with it to Joram. The king of Israel suspected in this some evil design against him, and rent his clothes. Elisha the prophet hearing of this, sent for Naaman, and the strange interview which took place is recorded in 2 Kings 5. The narrative contains all that is known of the Syrian commander. He was cured of his leprosy by dipping himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of Elisha. His cure is alluded to by our Lord (Luke 4:27).
Nabal - foolish, a descendant of Caleb who dwelt at Maon (1 Sam. 25), the modern Main, 7 miles south-east of Hebron. He was "very great, and he had 3,000 sheep and 1,000 goats...but the man was churlish and evil in his doings." During his wanderings David came into that district, and hearing that Nabal was about to shear his sheep, he sent ten of his young men to ask "whatsoever cometh unto thy hand for thy servants." Nabal insultingly resented the demand, saying, "Who is David, and who is the son of Jesse?" (1 Sam. 25:10, 11). One of the shepherds that stood by and saw the reception David's messengers had met with, informed Abigail, Nabal's wife, who at once realized the danger that threatened her household. She forthwith proceeded to the camp of David, bringing with her ample stores of provisions (25:18). She so courteously and persuasively pled her cause that David's anger was appeased, and he said to her, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel which sent thee this day to meet me."
On her return she found her husband incapable from drunkenness of understanding the state of matters, and not till the following day did she explain to him what had happened. He was stunned by a sense of the danger to which his conduct had exposed him. "His heart died within him, and he became as a stone." and about ten days after "the Lord smote Nabal that he died" (1 Sam. 25:37, 38). Not long after David married Abigail (q.v.).
Naboth - fruits, "the Jezreelite," was the owner of a portion of ground on the eastern slope of the hill of Jezreel (2 Kings 9:25, 26). This small "plat of ground" seems to have been all he possessed. It was a vineyard, and lay "hard by the palace of Ahab" (1 Kings 21:1, 2), who greatly coveted it. Naboth, however, refused on any terms to part with it to the king. He had inherited it from his fathers, and no Israelite could lawfully sell his property (Lev. 25:23). Jezebel, Ahab's wife, was grievously offended at Naboth's refusal to part with his vineyard. By a crafty and cruel plot she compassed his death. His sons also shared his fate (2 Kings 9:26; 1 Kings 21:19). She then came to Ahab and said, "Arise, take possession of the vineyard; for Naboth is not alive, but dead." Ahab arose and went forth into the garden which had so treacherously and cruelly been acquired, seemingly enjoying his new possession, when, lo, Elijah suddenly appeared before him and pronounced against him a fearful doom (1 Kings 21:17-24). Jehu and Bidcar were with Ahab at this time, and so deeply were the words of Elijah imprinted on Jehu's memory that many years afterwards he refers to them (2 Kings 9:26), and he was the chief instrument in inflicting this sentence on Ahab and Jezebel and all their house (9:30-37). The house of Ahab was extinguished by him. Not one of all his great men and his kinsfolk and his priests did Jehu spare (10:11).
Ahab humbled himself at Elijah's words (1 Kings 21:28, 29), and therefore the prophecy was fulfilled not in his fate but in that of his son Joram (2 Kings 9:25).
The history of Naboth, compared with that of Ahab and Jezebel, furnishes a remarkable illustration of the law of a retributive providence, a law which runs through all history (comp. Ps. 109:17, 18).
(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).
Nahaliel - possession, or valley of God, one of the encampments of the Israelites in the wilderness (Num. 21:19), on the confines of Moab. This is identified with the ravine of the Zerka M'ain, the ancient Callirhoe, the hot springs on the east of the Jordan, not far from the Dead Sea.
Nahallal - pasture, a city in Zebulun on the border of Issachar (Josh. 19:15), the same as Nahalol (Judg. 1:30). It was given to the Levites. It has been by some identified with Malul in the plain of Esdraelon, 4 miles from Nazareth.
(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).
(1.) One of the four sons of Reuel, the son of Esau (Gen. 36:13, 17).
(2.) A Kohathite Levite (1 Chr. 6:26).
(3.) A Levite, one of the overseers of the sacred offerings of the temple (2 Chr. 31:13).
(1.) The father of Terah, who was the father of Abraham (Gen. 11:22-25; Luke 3:34).
(2.) A son of Terah, and elder brother of Abraham (Gen. 11:26, 27; Josh. 24:2, R.V.). He married Milcah, the daughter of his brother Haran, and remained in the land of his nativity on the east of the river Euphrates at Haran (Gen. 11:27-32). A correspondence was maintained between the family of Abraham in Canaan and the relatives in the old ancestral home at Haran till the time of Jacob. When Jacob fled from Haran all intercourse between the two branches of the family came to an end (Gen. 31:55). His grand-daughter Rebekah became Isaac's wife (24:67).
Nahshon - sorcerer, the son of Aminadab, and prince of the children of Judah at the time of the first numbering of the tribes in the wilderness (Ex. 6:23). His sister Elisheba was the wife of Aaron. He died in the wilderness (Num. 26:64, 65). His name occurs in the Greek form Naasson in the genealogy of Christ (Matt, 1:4; Luke 3:32).
Nahum - consolation, the seventh of the so-called minor prophets, an Elkoshite. All we know of him is recorded in the book of his prophecies. He was probably a native of Galilee, and after the deportation of the ten tribes took up his residence in Jerusalem. Others think that Elkosh was the name of a place on the east bank of the Tigris, and that Nahum dwelt there.
Nahum, Book of - Nahum prophesied, according to some, in the beginning of the reign of Ahaz (B.C. 743). Others, however, think that his prophecies are to be referred to the latter half of the reign of Hezekiah (about B.C. 709). This is the more probable opinion, internal evidences leading to that conclusion. Probably the book was written in Jerusalem (soon after B.C. 709), where he witnessed the invasion of Sennacherib and the destruction of his host (2 Kings 19:35).
The subject of this prophecy is the approaching complete and final destruction of Nineveh, the capital of the great and at that time flourishing Assyrian empire. Assur-bani-pal was at the height of his glory. Nineveh was a city of vast extent, and was then the centre of the civilzation and commerce of the world, a "bloody city all full of lies and robbery" (Nah. 3:1), for it had robbed and plundered all the neighbouring nations. It was strongly fortified on every side, bidding defiance to every enemy; yet it was to be utterly destroyed as a punishment for the great wickedness of its inhabitants.
Jonah had already uttered his message of warning, and Nahum was followed by Zephaniah, who also predicted (Zeph. 2:4-15) the destruction of the city, predictions which were remarkably fulfilled (B.C. 625) when Nineveh was destroyed apparently by fire, and the Assyrian empire came to an end, an event which changed the face of Asia. (See NINEVEH.)
Nail - for fastening. (1.) Hebrew yathed, "piercing," a peg or nail of any material (Ezek. 15:3), more especially a tent-peg (Ex. 27:19; 35:18; 38:20), with one of which Jael (q.v.) pierced the temples of Sisera (Judg. 4:21, 22). This word is also used metaphorically (Zech. 10:4) for a prince or counsellor, just as "the battle-bow" represents a warrior.
(2.) Masmer, a "point," the usual word for a nail. The words of the wise are compared to "nails fastened by the masters of assemblies" (Eccl. 12:11, A.V.). The Revised Version reads, "as nails well fastened are the words of the masters," etc. Others (as Plumptre) read, "as nails fastened are the masters of assemblies" (comp. Isa. 22:23; Ezra 9:8). David prepared nails for the temple (1 Chr. 22:3; 2 Chr. 3:9). The nails by which our Lord was fixed to the cross are mentioned (John 20:25; Col. 2:14).
Nail of the finger (Heb. tsipporen, "scraping"). To "pare the nails" is in Deut. 21:12 (marg., "make," or "dress," or "suffer to grow") one of the signs of purification, separation from former heathenism (comp. Lev. 14:8; Num. 8:7). In Jer. 17:1 this word is rendered "point."
Nain - (from Heb. nain, "green pastures," "lovely"), the name of a town near the gate of which Jesus raised to life a widow's son (Luke 7:11-17). It is identified with the village called Nein, standing on the north-western slope of Jebel ed-Duhy (=the "hill Moreh" = "Little hermon"), about 4 miles from Tabor and 25 southwest of Capernaum. At the foot of the slope on which it stands is the great plain of Esdraelon.
This was the first miracle of raising the dead our Lord had wrought, and it excited great awe and astonishment among the people.
Naioth - dwellings, the name given to the prophetical college established by Samuel near Ramah. It consisted of a cluster of separate dwellings, and hence its name. David took refuge here when he fled from Saul (1 Sam. 19:18, 19, 22, 23), and here he passed a few weeks in peace (comp. Ps. 11). It was probably the common residence of the "sons of the prophets."
(1) absolute nakedness (Gen. 2:25; Job 1:21; Eccl. 5:15; Micah 1:8; Amos 2:16);
(2) being poorly clad (Isa. 58:7; James 2:15). It denotes also
(3) the state of one who has laid aside his loose outer garment (Lat. nudus), and appears clothed only in a long tunic or under robe worn next the skin (1 Sam. 19:24; Isa. 47:3; comp. Mark 14:52; John 21:7). It is used figuratively, meaning "being discovered" or "made manifest" (Job 26:6; Heb. 4:13). In Ex. 32:25 the expression "the people were naked" (A.V.) is more correctly rendered in the Revised Version "the people were broken loose", i.e., had fallen into a state of lawlessness and insubordination. In 2 Chr. 28:19 the words "he made Judah naked" (A.V.), but Revised Version "he had dealt wantonly in Judah," mean "he had permitted Judah to break loose from all the restraints of religion."
Naomi - the lovable; my delight, the wife of Elimelech, and mother of Mahlon and Chilion, and mother-in-law of Ruth (1:2, 20, 21; 2:1). Elimelech and his wife left the district of Bethlehem-Judah, and found a new home in the uplands of Moab. In course of time he died, as also his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, who had married women of Moab, and three widows were left mourning the loss of their husbands. Naomi longs to return now to her own land, to Bethlehem. One of her widowed daughters-in-law, Ruth, accompanies her, and is at length married to Boaz (q.v.).
Naphtali - my wrestling, the fifth son of Jacob. His mother was Bilhah, Rachel's handmaid (Gen. 30:8). When Jacob went down into Egypt, Naphtali had four sons (Gen. 46:24). Little is known of him as an individual.
Naphtali, Tribe of - On this tribe Jacob pronounced the patriarchal blessing, "Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words" (Gen. 49:21). It was intended thus to set forth under poetic imagery the future character and history of the tribe.
At the time of the Exodus this tribe numbered 53,400 adult males (Num. 1:43), but at the close of the wanderings they numbered only 45,400 (26:48-50). Along with Dan and Asher they formed "the camp of Dan," under a common standard (2:25-31), occupying a place during the march on the north side of the tabernacle.
The possession assigned to this tribe is set forth in Josh. 19:32-39. It lay in the north-eastern corner of the land, bounded on the east by the Jordan and the lakes of Merom and Galilee, and on the north it extended far into Coele-Syria, the valley between the two Lebanon ranges. It comprehended a greater variety of rich and beautiful scenery and of soil and climate than fell to the lot of any other tribe. The territory of Naphtali extended to about 800 square miles, being the double of that of Issachar. The region around Kedesh, one of its towns, was originally called Galil, a name afterwards given to the whole northern division of Canaan. A large number of foreigners settled here among the mountains, and hence it was called "Galilee of the Gentiles" (q.v.), Matt. 4:15, 16. The southern portion of Naphtali has been called the "Garden of Palestine." It was of unrivalled fertility. It was the principal scene of our Lord's public ministry. Here most of his parables were spoken and his miracles wrought.
This tribe was the first to suffer from the invasion of Benhadad, king of Syria, in the reigns of Baasha, king of Israel, and Asa, king of Judah (1 Kings 15:20; 2 Chr. 16:4). In the reign of Pekah, king of Israel, the Assyrians under Tiglath-pileser swept over the whole north of Israel, and carried the people into captivity (2 Kings 15:29). Thus the kingdom of Israel came to an end (B.C. 722).
Naphtali is now almost wholly a desert, the towns of Tiberias, on the shore of the Lake of Galilee, and Safed being the only places in it of any importance.
Naphtuhim - a Hamitic tribe descended from Mizraim (Gen. 10:13). Others identify this word with Napata, the name of the city and territory on the southern frontier of Mizraim, the modern Meroe, at the great bend of the Nile at Soudan. This city was the royal residence, it is said, of Queen Candace (Acts 8:27). Here there are extensive and splendid ruins.
Napkin - (Gr. soudarion, John 11:44; 20:7; Lat. sudarium, a "sweat-cloth"), a cloth for wiping the sweat from the face. But the word is used of a wrapper to fold money in (Luke 19:20), and as an article of dress, a "handkerchief" worn on the head (Acts 19:12).
(1.) A prophet in the reigns of David and Solomon (2 Chr. 9:29). He is first spoken of in connection with the arrangements David made for the building of the temple (2 Sam. 7:2, 3, 17), and next appears as the reprover of David on account of his sin with Bathsheba (12:1-14). He was charged with the education of Solomon (12:25), at whose inauguration to the throne he took a prominent part (1 Kings 1:8, 10, 11, 22-45). His two sons, Zabad (1 Chr. 2:36) and Azariah (1 Kings 4:5) occupied places of honour at the king's court. He last appears in assisting David in reorganizing the public worship (2 Chr. 29:25). He seems to have written a life of David, and also a life of Solomon (1 Chr. 29:29; 2 Chr. 9:29).
(2.) A son of David, by Bathsheba (2 Sam. 5:14), whose name appears in the genealogy of Mary, the mother of our Lord (Luke 3:31).
(3.) Ezra 8:16.
Nathanael - given or gift of God, one of our Lord's disciples, "of Cana in Galilee" (John 21:2). He was "an Israelite indeed, in whom was no guile" (1:47, 48). 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.
Nativity of Christ - The birth of our Lord took place at the time and place predicted by the prophets (Gen. 49:10; Isa. 7:14; Jer. 31:15; Micah 5:2; Hag. 2:6-9; Dan. 9:24, 25). Joseph and Mary were providentially led to go up to Bethlehem at this period, and there Christ was born (Matt. 2:1, 6; Luke 2:1, 7). The exact year or month or day of his birth cannot, however, now be exactly ascertained. We know, however, that it took place in the "fulness of the time" (Gal. 4:4), i.e., at the fittest time in the world's history. Chronologists are now generally agreed that the year 4 before the Christian era was the year of Christ's nativity, and consequently that he was about four years old in the year 1 A.D.
Naughty figs - (Jer. 24:2). "The bad figs may have been such either from having decayed, and thus been reduced to a rotten condition, or as being the fruit of the sycamore, which contains a bitter juice" (Tristram, Nat. Hist.). The inferiority of the fruit is here referred to as an emblem of the rejected Zedekiah and his people.
Nazarene - This epithet (Gr. Nazaraios) is applied to Christ only once (Matt. 2:23). In all other cases the word is rendered "of Nazareth" (Mark 1:24; 10:47; 14:67, etc.). When this Greek designation was at first applied to our Lord, it was meant simply to denote the place of his residence. In course of time the word became a term of reproach. Thus the word "Nazarene" carries with it an allusion to those prophecies which speak of Christ as "despised of men" (Isa. 53:3). Some, however, think that in this name there is an allusion to the Hebrew netser, which signifies a branch or sprout. It is so applied to the Messiah (Isa. 11:1), i.e., he whom the prophets called the Netse, the "Branch."
The followers of Christ were called "the sect of Nazarenes" (Acts 24:5). All over Palestine and Syria this name is still given to Christians. (See NAZARETH.)
Nazareth - separated, generally supposed to be the Greek form of the Hebrew netser, a "shoot" or "sprout." Some, however, think that the name of the city must be connected with the name of the hill behind it, from which one of the finest prospects in Palestine is obtained, and accordingly they derive it from the Hebrew notserah, i.e., one guarding or watching, thus designating the hill which overlooks and thus guards an extensive region.
This city is not mentioned in the Old Testament. It was the home of Joseph and Mary (Luke 2:39), and here the angel announced to the Virgin the birth of the Messiah (1:26-28). Here Jesus grew up from his infancy to manhood (4:16); and here he began his public ministry in the synagogue (Matt. 13:54), at which the people were so offended that they sought to cast him down from the precipice whereon their city was built (Luke 4:29). Twice they expelled him from their borders (4:16-29; Matt. 13:54-58); and he finally retired from the city, where he did not many mighty works because of their unbelief (Matt. 13:58), and took up his residence in Capernaum.
Nazareth is situated among the southern ridges of Lebanon, on the steep slope of a hill, about 14 miles from the Sea of Galilee and about 6 west from Mount Tabor. It is identified with the modern village en-Nazirah, of six or ten thousand inhabitants. It lies "as in a hollow cup" lower down upon the hill than the ancient city. The main road for traffic between Egypt and the interior of Asia passed by Nazareth near the foot of Tabor, and thence northward to Damascus.
It is supposed from the words of Nathanael in John 1:46 that the city of Nazareth was held in great disrepute, either because, it is said, the people of Galilee were a rude and less cultivated class, and were largely influenced by the Gentiles who mingled with them, or because of their lower type of moral and religious character. But there seems to be no sufficient reason for these suppositions. The Jews believed that, according to Micah 5:2, the birth of the Messiah would take place at Bethlehem, and nowhere else. Nathanael held the same opinion as his countrymen, and believed that the great "good" which they were all expecting could not come from Nazareth. This is probably what Nathanael meant. Moreover, there does not seem to be any evidence that the inhabitants of Galilee were in any respect inferior, or that a Galilean was held in contempt, in the time of our Lord. (See Dr. Merrill's Galilee in the Time of Christ.)
The population of this city (now about 10,000) in the time of Christ probably amounted to 15,000 or 20,000 souls.
"The so-called 'Holy House' is a cave under the Latin church, which appears to have been originally a tank. The 'brow of the hill', site of the attempted precipitation, is probably the northern cliff: the traditional site has been shown since the middle ages at some distance to the south. None of the traditional sites are traceable very early, and they have no authority. The name Nazareth perhaps means 'a watch tower' (now en-Nasrah), but is connected in the New Testament with Netzer, 'a branch' (Isa. 4:2; Jer. 23:5; Zech. 3:8; 6:12; Matt. 2:23), Nazarene being quite a different word from Nazarite."
Nazarite - (Heb. form Nazirite), the name of such Israelites as took on them the vow prescribed in Num. 6:2-21. The word denotes generally one who is separated from others and consecrated to God. Although there is no mention of any Nazarite before Samson, yet it is evident that they existed before the time of Moses. The vow of a Nazarite involved these three things, (1) abstinence from wine and strong drink, (2) refraining from cutting the hair off the head during the whole period of the continuance of the vow, and (3) the avoidance of contact with the dead.
When the period of the continuance of the vow came to an end, the Nazarite had to present himself at the door of the sanctuary with
(1) a he lamb of the first year for a burnt-offering,
(2) a ewe lamb of the first year for a sin-offering, and
(3) a ram for a peace-offering. After these sacrifices were offered by the priest, the Nazarite cut off his hair at the door and threw it into the fire under the peace-offering.
For some reason, probably in the midst of his work at Corinth, Paul took on himself the Nazarite vow. This could only be terminated by his going up to Jerusalem to offer up the hair which till then was to be left uncut. But it seems to have been allowable for persons at a distance to cut the hair, which was to be brought up to Jerusalem, where the ceremony was completed. This Paul did at Cenchrea just before setting out on his voyage into Syria (Acts 18:18).
On another occasion (Acts 21:23-26), at the feast of Pentecost, Paul took on himself again the Nazarite vow. "The ceremonies involved took a longer time than Paul had at his disposal, but the law permitted a man to share the vow if he could find companions who had gone through the prescribed ceremonies, and who permitted him to join their company. This permission was commonly granted if the new comer paid all the fees required from the whole company (fee to the Levite for cutting the hair and fees for sacrifices), and finished the vow along with the others. Four Jewish Christians were performing the vow, and would admit Paul to their company, provided he paid their expenses. Paul consented, paid the charges, and when the last seven days of the vow began he went with them to live in the temple, giving the usual notice to the priests that he had joined in regular fashion, was a sharer with the four men, and that his vow would end with theirs. Nazarites retired to the temple during the last period of seven days, because they could be secure there against any accidental defilement" (Lindsay's Acts).
As to the duration of a Nazarite's vow, every one was left at liberty to fix his own time. There is mention made in Scripture of only three who were Nazarites for life, Samson, Samuel, and John the Baptist (Judg. 13:4, 5; 1 Sam. 1:11; Luke 1:15). In its ordinary form, however, the Nazarite's vow lasted only thirty, and at most one hundred, days. (See RECHABITES.)
This institution was a symbol of a life devoted to God and separated from all sin, a holy life.
Neapolis - new city, a town in Thrace at which Paul first landed in Europe (Acts 16:11). It was the sea-port of the inland town of Philippi, which was distant about 10 miles. From this port Paul embarked on his last journey to Jerusalem (Acts 20:6). It is identified with the modern Turco-Grecian Kavalla.
(1.) Ishmael's eldest son (Gen. 25:13), and the prince of an Israelitish tribe (16). He had a sister, Mahalath, who was one of Esau's wives (Gen. 28:9; 36:3).
(2.) The name of the Ishmaelite tribe descended from the above (Gen. 25:13,18). The "rams of Nebaioth" (Isa. 60:7) are the gifts which these wandering tribes of the desert would consecrate to God.
Nebo - proclaimer; prophet.
(1.) A Chaldean god whose worship was introduced into Assyria by Pul (Isa. 46:1; Jer. 48:1). To this idol was dedicated the great temple whose ruins are still seen at Birs Nimrud. A statue of Nebo found at Calah, where it was set up by Pul, king of Assyria, is now in the British Museum.
(2.) A mountain in the land of Moab from which Moses looked for the first and the last time on the Promised Land (Deut. 32:49; 34:1). It has been identified with Jebel Nebah, on the eastern shore of the Dead Sea, near its northern end, and about 5 miles south-west of Heshbon. It was the summit of the ridge of Pisgah (q.v.), which was a part of the range of the "mountains of Abarim." It is about 2,643 feet in height, but from its position it commands a view of Western Palestine. Close below it are the plains of Moab, where Balaam, and afterwards Moses, saw the tents of Israel spread along.
(3.) A town on the east of Jordan which was taken possession of and rebuilt by the tribe of Reuben (Num. 32:3,38; 1 Chr. 5:8). It was about 8 miles south of Heshbon.
(4.) The "children of Nebo" (Ezra 2:29; Neh. 7:33) were of those who returned from Babylon. It was a town in Benjamin, probably the modern Beit Nubah, about 7 miles north-west of Hebron.
Nebuchadnezzar - in the Babylonian orthography Nabu-kudur-uzur, which means "Nebo, protect the crown!" or the "frontiers." In an inscription he styles himself "Nebo's favourite." He was the son and successor of Nabopolassar, who delivered Babylon from its dependence on Assyria and laid Nineveh in ruins. He was the greatest and most powerful of all the Babylonian kings. He married the daughter of Cyaxares, and thus the Median and Babylonian dynasties were united.
Necho II., the king of Egypt, gained a victory over the Assyrians at Carchemish. (See JOSIAH; MEGIDDO.) This secured to Egypt the possession of the Syrian provinces of Assyria, including Palestine. The remaining provinces of the Assyrian empire were divided between Babylonia and Media. But Nabopolassar was ambitious of reconquering from Necho the western provinces of Syria, and for this purpose he sent his son with a powerful army westward (Dan. 1:1). The Egyptians met him at Carchemish, where a furious battle was fought, resulting in the complete rout of the Egyptians, who were driven back (Jer. 46:2-12), and Syria and Phoenicia brought under the sway of Babylon (B.C. 606). From that time "the king of Egypt came not again any more out of his land" (2 Kings 24:7). Nebuchadnezzar also subdued the whole of Palestine, and took Jerusalem, carrying away captive a great multitude of the Jews, among whom were Daniel and his companions (Dan. 1:1, 2; Jer. 27:19; 40:1).
Three years after this, Jehoiakim, who had reigned in Jerusalem as a Babylonian vassal, rebelled against the oppressor, trusting to help from Egypt (2 Kings 24:1). This led Nebuchadnezzar to march an army again to the conquest of Jerusalem, which at once yielded to him (B.C. 598). A third time he came against it, and deposed Jehoiachin, whom he carried into Babylon, with a large portion of the population of the city, and the sacred vessels of the temple, placing Zedekiah on the throne of Judah in his stead. He also, heedless of the warnings of the prophet, entered into an alliance with Egypt, and rebelled against Babylon. This brought about the final siege of the city, which was at length taken and utterly destroyed (B.C. 586). Zedekiah was taken captive, and had his eyes put out by order of the king of Babylon, who made him a prisoner for the remainder of his life.
An onyx cameo, now in the museum of Florence, bears on it an arrow-headed inscription, which is certainly ancient and genuine. The helmeted profile is said (Schrader) to be genuine also, but it is more probable that it is the portrait of a usurper in the time of Darius (Hystaspes), called Nidinta-Bel, who took the name of "Nebuchadrezzar." The inscription has been thus translated:, "In honour of Merodach, his lord, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, in his lifetime had this made."
A clay tablet, now in the British Museum, bears the following inscription, the only one as yet found which refers to his wars: "In the thirty-seventh year of Nebuchadnezzar, king of the country of Babylon, he went to Egypt [Misr] to make war. Amasis, king of Egypt, collected [his army], and marched and spread abroad." Thus were fulfilled the words of the prophet (Jer. 46:13-26; Ezek. 29:2-20). Having completed the subjugation of Phoenicia, and inflicted chastisement on Egypt, Nebuchadnezzar now set himself to rebuild and adorn the city of Babylon (Dan. 4:30), and to add to the greatness and prosperity of his kingdom by constructing canals and aqueducts and reservoirs surpassing in grandeur and magnificence everything of the kind mentioned in history (Dan. 2:37). He is represented as a "king of kings," ruling over a vast kingdom of many provinces, with a long list of officers and rulers under him, "princes, governors, captains," etc. (3:2, 3, 27). He may, indeed, be said to have created the mighty empire over which he ruled.
"Modern research has shown that Nebuchadnezzar was the greatest monarch that Babylon, or perhaps the East generally, ever produced. He must have possessed an enormous command of human labour, nine-tenths of Babylon itself, and nineteen-twentieths of all the other ruins that in almost countless profusion cover the land, are composed of bricks stamped with his name. He appears to have built or restored almost every city and temple in the whole country. His inscriptions give an elaborate account of the immense works which he constructed in and about Babylon itself, abundantly illustrating the boast, 'Is not this great Babylon which I have build?'" Rawlinson, Hist. Illustrations.
After the incident of the "burning fiery furnace" (Dan. 3) into which the three Hebrew confessors were cast, Nebuchadnezzar was afflicted with some peculiar mental aberration as a punishment for his pride and vanity, probably the form of madness known as lycanthropy (i.e, "the change of a man into a wolf"). A remarkable confirmation of the Scripture narrative is afforded by the recent discovery of a bronze door-step, which bears an inscription to the effect that it was presented by Nebuchadnezzar to the great temple at Borsippa as a votive offering on account of his recovery from a terrible illness. (See DANIEL.)
He survived his recovery for some years, and died B.C. 562, in the eighty-third or eighty-fourth year of his age, after a reign of forty-three years, and was succeeded by his son Evil-merodach, who, after a reign of two years, was succeeded by Neriglissar (559-555), who was succeeded by Nabonadius (555-538), at the close of whose reign (less than a quarter of a century after the death of Nebuchadnezzar) Babylon fell under Cyrus at the head of the combined armies of Media and Persia.
"I have examined," says Sir H. Rawlinson, "the bricks belonging perhaps to a hundred different towns and cities in the neighbourhood of Baghdad, and I never found any other legend than that of Nebuchadnezzar, son of Nabopolassar, king of Babylon." Nine-tenths of all the bricks amid the ruins of Babylon are stamped with his name.
Nebushasban - adorer of Nebo, or Nebo saves me, the "Rabsaris," or chief chamberlain, of the court of Babylon. He was one of those whom the king sent to release Jeremiah from prison in Jerusalem (Jer. 39:13).
Nebuzaradan - "the captain of the guard," in rank next to the king, who appears prominent in directing affairs at the capture of Jerusalem (2 Kings 25:8-20; Jer. 39:11; 40:2-5). He showed kindness toward Jeremiah, as commanded by Nebuchadnezzar (40:1). Five years after this he again came to Jerusalem and carried captive seven hundred and forty-five more Jews.
Necho II - an Egyptian king, the son and successor of Psammetichus (B.C. 610-594), the contemporary of Josiah, king of Judah. For some reason he proclaimed war against the king of Assyria. He led forth a powerful army and marched northward, but was met by the king of Judah at Megiddo, who refused him a passage through his territory. Here a fierce battle was fought and Josiah was slain (2 Chr. 35:20-24). Possibly, as some suppose, Necho may have brought his army by sea to some port to the north of Dor (comp. Josh. 11:2; 12:23), a Phoenician town at no great distance from Megiddo. After this battle Necho marched on to Carchemish (q.v.), where he met and conquered the Assyrian army, and thus all the Syrian provinces, including Palestine, came under his dominion.
On his return march he deposed Jehoahaz, who had succeeded his father Josiah, and made Eliakim, Josiah's eldest son, whose name he changed into Jehoiakim, king. Jehoahaz he carried down into Egypt, where he died (2 Kings 23:31; 2 Chr. 36:1-4). Four years after this conquest Necho again marched to the Euphrates; but here he was met and his army routed by the Chaldeans (B.C. 606) under Nebuchadnezzar, who drove the Egyptians back, and took from them all the territory they had conquered, from the Euphrates unto the "river of Egypt" (Jer. 46:2; 2 Kings 24:7, 8). Soon after this Necho died, and was succeeded by his son, Psammetichus II. (See NEBUCHADNEZZAR.)
Neck - used sometimes figuratively. To "lay down the neck" (Rom. 16:4) is to hazard one's life. Threatenings of coming judgments are represented by the prophets by their laying bands upon the people's necks (Deut. 28:48; Isa. 10:27; Jer. 27:2). Conquerors put their feet on the necks of their enemies as a sign of their subjection (Josh. 10:24; 2 Sam. 22:41).
Needle - used only in the proverb, "to pass through a needle's eye" (Matt. 19:24; Mark 10:25; Luke 18:25). Some interpret the expression as referring to the side gate, close to the principal gate, usually called the "eye of a needle" in the East; but it is rather to be taken literally. The Hebrew females were skilled in the use of the needle (Ex. 28:39; 26:36; Judg. 5:30).
Neginoth - i.e., songs with instrumental accompaniment, found in the titles of Ps. 4; 6; 54; 55; 67; 76; rendered "stringed instruments," Hab. 3:19, A.V. It denotes all kinds of stringed instruments, as the "harp," "psaltery," "viol," etc. The "chief musician on Neginoth" is the leader of that part of the temple choir which played on stringed instruments.
1.) Ezra 2:2; Neh. 7:7.
(2.) Neh. 3:16.
(3.) The son of Hachaliah (Neh. 1:1), and probably of the tribe of Judah. His family must have belonged to Jerusalem (Neh. 2:3). He was one of the "Jews of the dispersion," and in his youth was appointed to the important office of royal cup-bearer at the palace of Shushan. The king, Artaxerxes Longimanus, seems to have been on terms of friendly familiarity with his attendant. Through his brother Hanani, and perhaps from other sources (Neh. 1:2; 2:3), he heard of the mournful and desolate condition of the Holy City, and was filled with sadness of heart. For many days he fasted and mourned and prayed for the place of his fathers' sepulchres. At length the king observed his sadness of countenance and asked the reason of it. Nehemiah explained it all to the king, and obtained his permission to go up to Jerusalem and there to act as tirshatha, or governor of Judea. He went up in the spring of B.C. 446 (eleven years after Ezra), with a strong escort supplied by the king, and with letters to all the pashas of the provinces through which he had to pass, as also to Asaph, keeper of the royal forests, directing him to assist Nehemiah. On his arrival he set himself to survey the city, and to form a plan for its restoration; a plan which he carried out with great skill and energy, so that the whole was completed in about six months. He remained in Judea for thirteen years as governor, carrying out many reforms, notwithstanding much opposition that he encountered (Neh. 13:11). He built up the state on the old lines, "supplementing and completing the work of Ezra," and making all arrangements for the safety and good government of the city. At the close of this important period of his public life, he returned to Persia to the service of his royal master at Shushan or Ecbatana. Very soon after this the old corrupt state of things returned, showing the worthlessness to a large extent of the professions that had been made at the feast of the dedication of the walls of the city (Neh. 12. See EZRA). Malachi now appeared among the people with words of stern reproof and solemn warning; and Nehemiah again returned from Persia (after an absence of some two years), and was grieved to see the widespread moral degeneracy that had taken place during his absence. He set himself with vigour to rectify the flagrant abuses that had sprung up, and restored the orderly administration of public worship and the outward observance of the law of Moses. Of his subsequent history we know nothing. Probably he remained at his post as governor till his death (about B.C. 413) in a good old age. The place of his death and burial is, however, unknown. "He resembled Ezra in his fiery zeal, in his active spirit of enterprise, and in the piety of his life: but he was of a bluffer and a fiercer mood; he had less patience with transgressors; he was a man of action rather than a man of thought, and more inclined to use force than persuasion. His practical sagacity and high courage were very markedly shown in the arrangement with which he carried through the rebuilding of the wall and balked the cunning plans of the 'adversaries.' The piety of his heart, his deeply religious spirit and constant sense of communion with and absolute dependence upon God, are strikingly exhibited, first in the long prayer recorded in ch. 1:5-11, and secondly and most remarkably in what have been called his 'interjectional prayers', those short but moving addresses to Almighty God which occur so frequently in his writings, the instinctive outpouring of a heart deeply moved, but ever resting itself upon God, and looking to God alone for aid in trouble, for the frustration of evil designs, and for final reward and acceptance" (Rawlinson). Nehemiah was the last of the governors sent from the Persian court. Judea after this was annexed to the satrapy of Coele-Syria, and was governed by the high priest under the jurisdiction of the governor of Syria, and the internal government of the country became more and more a hierarchy.
Nehemiah, Book of - The author of this book was no doubt Nehemiah himself. There are portions of the book written in the first person (ch. 1-7; 12:27-47, and 13). But there are also portions of it in which Nehemiah is spoken of in the third person (ch. 8; 9; 10). It is supposed that these portions may have been written by Ezra; of this, however, there is no distinct evidence. These portions had their place assigned them in the book, there can be no doubt, by Nehemiah. He was the responsible author of the whole book, with the exception of ch. 12:11, 22, 23.
The date at which the book was written was probably about B.C. 431-430, when Nehemiah had returned the second time to Jerusalem after his visit to Persia.
The book, which may historically be regarded as a continuation of the book of Ezra, consists of four parts.
(1.) An account of the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem, and of the register Nehemiah had found of those who had returned from Babylon (ch. 1-7).
(2.) An account of the state of religion among the Jews during this time (8-10).
(3.) Increase of the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the census of the adult male population, and names of the chiefs, together with lists of priests and Levites (11-12:1-26).
(4.) Dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, the arrangement of the temple officers, and the reforms carried out by Nehemiah (12:27-ch. 13).
This book closes the history of the Old Testament. Malachi the prophet was contemporary with Nehemiah.
Nehiloth - only in the title of Ps. 5. It is probably derived from a root meaning "to bore," "perforate," and hence denotes perforated wind instruments of all kinds. The psalm may be thus regarded as addressed to the conductor of the temple choir which played on flutes and such-like instruments.
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