Bible Dictionary N 2, O.

Numbers, Book of.

This is so-called because of the numbering of the Israelites, twice given in detail: Num. 1 and Num. 26. The book way be summarised under four divisions.

1.  The arrangements for the departure of the people from Sinai; Num. 1 — Num. 9

2.  The journey from Sinai to the borders of Canaan; Num. 10 — Num. 14.

3.  Laws and a few events during the thirty-eight years' journeyings; Num. 15 — Num. 19.

4.  The events of the last year, with a list of all the halting places from Egypt; Num. 20 — Num. 36. As a whole the book may be said to give the service and walk of the people, their trials and testings under responsibility: typical of the spiritual service and walk of Christians now in the wilderness. In the Hebrew the title of the book is "In the Wilderness."

The book opens with the numbering of the people, and then the arrangement of the tribes around the tabernacle. Each tribe had an individual place and interest before the Lord: type of God's saints being acknowledged and their place appointed in reference to His testimony. There were twelve tribes besides the Levites, who were reserved for the service of the tent of testimony, and would be located round the court. All were placed as appointed, and each was to pitch his tent near the standard to which he belonged. See CAMP.

Num. 3:  The Levites were to be offered to God in lieu of the firstborn, all of whom God took to Himself when He smote the firstborn of the Egyptians. As the number of the firstborn exceeded that of the Levites, the residue were redeemed: a type of the saints looked at as firstborn ones, and as redeemed, being wholly claimed as God's, and given to Aaron (that is to Christ), to serve in God's house, over which He is set as Lord. The Levites were arranged by their families, and the service of each was definitely assigned. The servant ever has his particular service from God, to be exercised under responsibility to the Lord, and he is in no way left to choose for himself as to his service.

Num. 4  gives instruction as to the moving of the tabernacle and the care to be taken. When journeying the sacred things of the tabernacle in general were to be covered with skins, to preserve from defilement, over a covering of blue: typical of the heavenly character of the assembly as the vessel of the testimony of Christ in the wilderness, in separation from evil. The brazen altar was covered with purple; the table of showbread was covered with scarlet (Israel's glory), and the ark alone had blue on the outside (Christ exhibiting the heavenly).

In Num. 5  laws are given as to the removing out of the camp all lepers, etc.; as to restitution in all cases of trespass; and as to the trial of jealousy (Israel in result became unfaithful in her relations with Jehovah).

Num. 6:  The law of the NAZARITES, q.v. This peculiar separation to Jehovah is followed by instructions to Aaron and his sons as to the manner of blessing the people, the words they were to use being given, closing with "They shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them." When unfaithfulness is complete, any witness of the position of God's people can be maintained only through chosen vessels, in absolute separation to God from natural interests, proprieties of life, and human springs of joy. Such is the testimony of God at such a time. Samson, Samuel, etc., are examples.

Num. 7:  Here are given the offerings of the princes at the dedication of the tabernacle and of the altar, each tribe having its appointed day. When Moses entered into the tabernacle he heard "one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubim:" cf. Ex. 29:42. He had access to the mercy-seat and received his directions from thence, while the place of approach for the people was at the brazen altar.

Num. 8; Num. 9:  Instructions were given as to the lighting of the lamps. (The light of the glory of Jehovah was in Israel; Isa. 60:1 shows that it will be made good in the kingdom.) The offering up of the Levites as a sacrifice (cf. Rom. 15:16), and the age and time of their service are prescribed. Before Israel started on their journey from Sinai, they were to keep the passover, the memorial of their redemption from Egypt. Those that were ceremonially unclean were graciously provided for by being allowed to keep it on another day. Then instructions were given as to their movements, depending on the cloud that covered the tabernacle. They were to proceed only when the cloud moved, thus they were to be guided by Jehovah. Whether it were a day, or a month, or a year, that the cloud rested, they were to move only at the command of the Lord: a striking type of the guidance which God accords now.

This ends the first division of the book.

Num. 10:  Details are given as to the use of the silver trumpets for summoning the people, and the tribes commence their journey. This was on the twentieth day of the second month of the second year. They went three days' journey. Moses begged of Hobab his father-in-law to go with them to be 'instead of eyes;' but he refused. This was well; for they might have depended on him instead of upon God, who had provided the cloud of glory to guide them. The pillar of cloud was above, and the ark went before them. The Lord was invoked at starting: "Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee." And at resting: "Return, O Lord, unto the many thousands of Israel."

Num. 11:  The people began their murmurings, and the fire of the Lord broke in among them. Then they despised the manna and turned back to the things of Egypt. Moses' heart failed him; the burden was greater than he could bear, and he asked God to kill him. Then God bade him appoint seventy men, to be elders of the people, and officers over them, on whom He put of Moses' spirit. God gave the people quails, but His anger was kindled and He smote them with a great slaughter.

Num. 12:  Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses, the meekest of men; the Lord vindicated Moses and smote Miriam with leprosy, but at the intercession of Moses it was removed from her, though she was shut out of the camp seven days. It was sin against God in His apostle, and was a type of God's people Israel, who, though occupying a privileged place, deny the rights of Christ to act in grace toward those who have no such place.

Num. 13; Num. 14:  detail the searching of the land by the spies, and the consequences of their want of faith. Forgetting God, and judging from their own standpoint, the spies (except Caleb and Joshua) gave an evil report of the land. The whole congregation exclaimed, "Would God that we had died in this wilderness," and proposed to return into Egypt. At the intercession of Moses, God graciously said that He would pardon the people, but that all the earth should be filled with the glory of Jehovah. Their failure under responsibility was now completely manifested, and God decreed that all of twenty years old and upwards should die in the wilderness, save Caleb and Joshua, and that their little ones should be brought into the land. In further rebellion they said they would go up into the land, but they were smitten by the Amalekites and Canaanites. This is the beginning of their wandering in the wilderness.

Num. 15 — Num. 19 — the third division of the book — show that God had in no way deviated from His purpose, and give some of the laws of the offerings when they should come into the land of their dwellings. See OFFERINGS. Then is recorded the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, that which is spoken of in the N.T. as the gainsaying of Core. It was the assumption of the priesthood by the Levites and rebellion against the anointing of God. See KORAH.

By the budding of Aaron's rod God bore witness as to whom He had chosen for the priesthood, and He gave instructions as to the responsibility and the portions of the priests and Levites; the people were not to draw nigh the tabernacle. See AARONIC PRIESTHOOD, and LEVITES. Then is given the law of the Red Heifer, a provision for defilement in the wilderness. See HEIFER.

Num. 20: opens with the Israelites at Kadesh, the place from whence the spies had been sent thirty-eight years previously. Here Miriam dies and is buried. The people murmur against Moses because they have no water. He is told to speak to the rock, with the rod of priestly grace in his hand, but he smites the rock as with his own rod of judgement, and calls the people rebels: for this failure he is forbidden to lead the people into Canaan. The lawgiver did not rise to the grace of God. See MOSES. From here they had to make a long detour to the Akaba Gulf of the Red Sea because the Edomites would not suffer them to pass through their land. Aaron dies in Mount Hor, and is succeeded by Eleazar.

Num. 21:  Arad and the Canaanites are smitten. The further journeying led the people again to murmur, and God sent among them fiery serpents. On the prayer of the people for the removal, of the serpents, Moses made by divine directions a SERPENT OF BRASS (q.v.) and put it on a pole, and whosoever looked (having been bitten) lived. After skirting the east of the land of Edom, the Israelites encountered the Amorites, who, refusing to let them pass, were smitten by Moses, and Heshbon was taken. The Israelites smote also Og the king of Bashan, and took his land.

Num. 22 — Num. 25  give the history of Balak hiring Balaam the prophet to curse Israel. In spite of Israel's failure in walk, the Lord turned the attempt to curse them into the pronouncing of blessings. Balaam saw in his successive visions the elect people of God, and announced their sanctification (Num. 23:8-10); justification (Num. 23:19-24); acceptance and consequent blessing (Num. 24:5-9); the rise of a Star out of Jacob, and the destruction of the hereditary enemies of Israel. (Num. 24:17-24.) The evil advice of Balaam, however, led the children of Israel into sin by allying themselves with the daughters of Moab, and so falling into idolatry. The zeal of Phinehas, who in a signal case executed judgement, is commended of God.

Num. 26; Num. 27:  The people are again numbered, with a view to inheriting the land, but all the men of war included in the first numbering, save Caleb and Joshua, had died. Details are given as to the distribution of the inheritance. Moses, being told of his approaching death, pleads with God to appoint a leader for the people, and Joshua is put in that place.

Num. 28 — Num. 30:  Directions are given as to the whole system of regularly instituted offerings, and as to ratification or otherwise of vows.

Num. 31:  The Midianites are smitten, among whom Balaam is slain: special directions are given as to the division of the spoil.

Num. 32:  Moses accedes to the request of the Reubenites and Gadites to have their possession on the east of the Jordan, provided in the first instance they go armed before their brethren over Jordan: type of Christians stopping short of the purpose of God in regard to them through refusing to accept death with Christ.

Num. 33 — Num. 36:  The various stations are recorded at which the Israelites had halted in their journeyings. Details follow as to the borders of the promised land; the forty-eight cities for the Levites; and the cities of refuge. The book closes with instruction as to the inheritance of daughters, so that the position belonging to each tribe should remain as allotted; ending with the words, "These are the commandments and the judgements which the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses unto the children of Israel in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho." Here, close to the land, Moses rehearsed to them all their evil ways, but spoke with certainty of their possessing the land, and named those who should aid in dividing it. God was about to fulfil to the children of Israel His promise made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in grace, which abounded over all their sin, and has abounded toward His people ever since.

In conclusion, a few words may be added on the spiritual import of the Book of Numbers. It literally considers the children of Israel in two aspects: first, in view of the wilderness; and secondly, in view of possessing the promised land. The link between the two numberings is Caleb and Joshua, the representatives of faith. The book is the obverse of Exodus, in which we have the actings of God — His redemption of the people; His resources for them in the wilderness; the declaration of His will; and the setting up among them of the tabernacle — all this was God's side. On the other hand, we have in Numbers the side of the people — they are taken into consideration, and hence their perversities and God's chastisements are prominent. These lead, in their spiritual significance, to the conclusion that the means necessary to conduct a people through the wilderness are the water of purification (Num. 19), and priestly ministration (Num. 20): Christ in death and Christ risen; the red heifer, and the budding rod. This part closes in Num. 20.

Then after the death of Aaron the high priest, which is the proper end of responsibility and its testing, we have a second part of the book, in which are seen the means by which the elect of God are brought to light, namely, the brazen serpent, and the springing well — the acceptance of the cross, and the power of the Spirit. In this part of Numbers there is but little reference to priesthood. We have following this the prophesies of Balaam, which speak of the elect people of God. The people are then numbered in view of possessing the land of promise, and Joshua succeeds Moses as leader. He is, what Moses was not, the type of a risen Christ.

In spiritual experiences the second part of the book runs concurrently with the first, for while in the type Israel did not come to the brazen serpent until they had been thirty-eight years in the wilderness, Christians begin their spiritual course with the cross, which is the antitype of the brazen serpent. John 3:14-15. The state of man in the flesh has been condemned in the cross, and the Christian begins in the Spirit; and in that way is able to appreciate the water of purification and priestly refreshment, while finding that no good dwells in the flesh.


An Ephraimite, father of Joshua, and referred to in scripture only to distinguish his son, who succeeded Moses. Ex. 33:11; Num. 11:28, etc.


Such in O.T. times were held in esteem, as was Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, Gen. 35:8. Twice the expression, 'nursing fathers,' occurs, and queens are to be 'nursing mothers' to Israel in the future. Num. 11:12; Isa. 49:23. Paul said, "We were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children." 1 Thess. 2:7.


1.  botnim. This is judged to be the fruit of the pistachio tree (Pistacia vera). These nuts were among the good things sent to Joseph by his father. Gen. 43:11.

2.  egoz. The bride "went down into the garden of nuts." Cant. 6:11. This word is considered to refer to the walnut tree (Juglans regia). Josephus and others speak of the walnut tree growing in Palestine.

Nymphas. [Nym'phas]

Saint at Colosse or Laodicea, to whom Paul sent his salutations. Col. 4:15. Several editors read, 'the church which is in their house.'


There are four Hebrew words so translated, but they are all apparently from the same root, signifying 'strong, hardy,' and are mostly applied to the oak, which lives to a great age. Three species of the Quercus are known in Palestine, the pseudo-coccifera, aegilops, and infectoria. It is symbolical of strength, and affords shade from the heat of the sun. Gen. 35:8; Joshua 24:26; Isa. 1:29; Isa. 2:13; Ezek. 27:6; Hosea 4:13; Amos 2:9; Zech. 11:2. The word elah is judged to refer to the terebinth (pistacia terebinthus), though generally translated oak. Gen. 35:4; Judges 6:11, 19; 2 Sam. 18:9-14; 1 Kings 13:14; 1 Chr. 10:12; Isa. 1:30; Ezek. 6:13.


A solemn asseveration with an appeal to God that what is said is true. The apostle said that among men an oath for confirmation is the "end of all strife" or dispute; and God, willing to show "the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath; that by two immutable things [His word and His oath] in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation." Heb 6:16-18. Jehovah swore that the Lord Jesus should be a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. Ps. 110:4.

Lev. 5:1 has been interpreted as signifying that when the voice of adjuration was heard, persons were compelled to confess what they knew as to any charge. Thus the Lord Jesus when adjured by the high priest answered him. The Lord was under an accusation, and was adjured to say if it was true. He acknowledged that He was "the Christ the Son of God." Matt. 26:63-64.

The Lord exposed the folly of the tradition that some oaths were not binding. Matt. 23:16-22.

In the common intercourse of life there should be no oaths, the simple 'yea' and 'nay' should be enough, "swear not at all," Matt. 5:34-37; James 5:12; the context of these passages shows that they do not refer to judicial oaths: cf. also Heb. 6:13, 16; Heb. 7:21; Rev. 10:6.

Obadiah. [Obadi'ah]

1.  The governor of Ahab's house. He feared the Lord greatly, and had the boldness, in spite of Ahab and Jezebel, to hide a hundred of the prophets of Jehovah, and feed them with bread and water, when Jezebel was cutting off the prophets. When Elijah sent Obadiah to tell Ahab that he was there, he feared that the Spirit of the Lord would catch away Elijah, and he would be slain; but he obeyed, and Elijah met the king . Obadiah is a remarkable instance of how a servant who feared the Lord could maintain his integrity amid flagrant wickedness, though otherwise he seems out of his right place, for he was not separate like Elijah. His false position may account for his dwelling upon his own work for the Lord, and his fear for his life before Ahab. 1 Kings 18:3-16.

2. Descendant of David. 1 Chr. 3:21.

3. Son of Izrahiah, a descendant of Issachar. 1 Chr. 7:3.

4. Son of Azel, a Benjamite. 1 Chr. 8:38; 1 Chr. 9:44.

5. Son of Shemaiah, a Levite. 1 Chr. 9:16. Apparently called ABDA in Neh. 11:17.

6. Gadite who resorted to David at Ziklag, 1 Chr. 12:9.

7. A Zebulunite, father of Ishmaiah. 1 Chr. 27:19.

8. Prince sent by Jehoshaphat to teach the people. 2 Chr. 17:7.

9. Levite who was overseer in the repairs of the temple. 2 Chr. 34:12.

10. Son of Jehiel: he returned from exile. Ezra 8:9.

11. Priest who sealed the covenant. Neh. 10:5.

12. Levite who acted as doorkeeper. Neh. 12:25.

13. The prophet, of whom personally nothing is known. Oba. 1:1.

Obadiah, Book of.

There is nothing in this prophecy to fix its date. The whole of it relates to Edom or the Edomites. Edom (Esau) is characterised in scripture by his deadly hatred to his 'brother Jacob,' Obadiah 10. His pride is spoken of, exalting himself as the eagle, setting his nest in the firmament of heaven, and seeking his safety in the high caves of the rocks, which well answers to their habitations in Idumea.

Part of the prophecy may refer to the time when Jerusalem was destroyed by Babylon. In Ps. 137:7-8, Edom is associated with Babylon as against Jerusalem. Obadiah 12 to 14 of the prophecy exactly describe the manner of a people like the Arabs when a city was captured. There are seven reproaches against them: they helped to pillage the place, stood in by-places to cut off any that escaped, and delivered them up to their enemies. These intimations of their assisting in the destruction of Jerusalem have led to the prophecy being usually dated B.C. 587, the year following the destruction.

The prophecy, however, probably looks onward to the last days, when Israel, restored to their land, will be attacked by Edom, and kindred nations. Ps. 83.  Idumea will be their rendezvous, and the sword of the Lord will be filled with blood. Isa. 34:5-6. Obadiah depicts the Jews themselves as God's instruments for the destruction of Esau; which agrees with Isa. 11:14; Dan. 11:41. "Upon mount Zion shall be deliverance . . . . the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble." Obadiah 17, 18. The destruction shall be complete: "every one of the mount of Esau" shall be cut off by slaughter; "there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau." Obadiah 9, 18.  Their land shall be possessed by Israel, for God's ways are retributive. The prophecy ends with "the kingdom shall be Jehovah's."

Obal. [O'bal]


Obed. [O'bed]

1.  Son of Boaz and Ruth the Moabitess, and father of Jesse. Ruth 4:17-22; 1 Chr. 2:12; Matt. 1:5; Luke 3:32.

2. Son of Ephlal, a descendant of Jarha, the Egyptian slave of Sheshan. 1 Chr. 2:37-38.

3. One of David's mighty men. 1 Chr. 11:47.

4. Son of Shemaiah, a Korhite. 1 Chr. 26:7.

5. Father of Azariah. 2 Chr. 23:1.

Obededom.  [O'bed-e'dom]

1.  The Gittite at whose house the ark rested for three months. 2 Sam. 6:10-12; 1 Chr. 13:13-14; 1 Chr. 15:25.

2. A Levite musician and doorkeeper of the sanctuary. 1 Chr. 15:18, 21, 24; 1 Chr. 16:5, 38; 1 Chr. 26:4, 8, 15.

3. A Levite, son of Jeduthun. 1 Chr. 16:38.

4. One who had charge of the vessels of the sanctuary in the days of Amaziah. 2 Chr. 25:24.

Obil. [O'bil]

An Ishmaelite, camel-herdsman of David. 1 Chr. 27:30.


Anything presented to God. All the Hebrew words so translated are also rendered 'offering,' except maseth in Ezek. 20:40; it signifies 'lifting up,' a gift. See OFFERINGS.

Oboth. [O'both]

One of the stations of the Israelites east of Moab. Num. 21:10-11; Num. 33:43-44.

Ocran. [Oc'ran]

Father of Pagiel, a chief of the tribe of Asher. Num. 1:13; Num. 2:27; Num. 7:72, 77; Num. 10:26.

Oded. [O'ded]

1.  A prophet and father of the prophet Azariah. 2 Chr. 15:1, 8.

2. Prophet in Samaria who protested against the captives from Judah being brought into the city. 2 Chr. 28:9.


See SIN.

Offering, Offering up.

There were two distinct actions connected with the sacrifices. Any Israelite could bring an offering, or offer a gift, or a sacrifice; but only the priest could offer up the sacrifice on the altar to God. In the N.T. there are two Greek words translated 'to offer.' One is προσφέρω, 'to bring to,' 'present.' This is used in Matt. 2:11, of the wise men who 'presented' their gifts unto the Lord. So too vinegar was 'offered' to the Lord on the cross. Luke 23:36. The word is referred to the Lord in Heb. 9:14, 25, 28; Heb. 10:12. The other word is ἀναφέρω, 'to bring up,' and hence 'to offer up.' In Matt. 17:1, Jesus, 'bringeth up' Peter, etc.; and in Luke 24:51 the Lord was 'carried up' into heaven. This word is employed in Heb. 7:27, both as to the high priest 'offering up' sacrifices and to Jesus who 'offered up' Himself.  It occurs also in Mark 9:2; Heb. 9:28; Heb. 13:15; James 2:21; 1 Peter 2:5, 24.

In the LXX the word προσφέρω is mostly a translation of qarab, 'to draw near,' which constantly occurs in Leviticus and Numbers in the laws respecting the offering of sacrifices, and is translated 'to offer.' On the other hand ἀναφέρω is chiefly the rendering adopted for alah, 'to ascend, to make to ascend.' The word alah is frequently translated 'to offer,' but only twice in Leviticus (Lev. 14:20; Lev. 17:8); and four times in Numbers (Num. 23:2, 4, 14, 30), when Balaam and Balak offered up sacrifices. Both Greek words are applied to Christ as to the offering of Himself. Heb. 9:14; Heb. 7:27. They are both also used of Abraham offering Isaac; he gave Isaac, and as a priest virtually offered him up. Heb. 11:17; James 2:21.

Offerings, The.

The sacrifices described in the O.T. show the ground and means of approach to God. They are all typical, having no intrinsic value, but they foreshadowed Christ, who, as antitype, fulfilled them all. The principal offerings are four: the Burnt offering, the Meat offering, the Peace offering, and the Sin offering, with which the Trespass offering may be associated. This is the order in which they are given in the opening chapters of Leviticus, where we have their significance presented from God's side, beginning with Christ in devotedness to God's glory even unto death, and coming down to the need of guilty man. If the question be of a sinner's approach to God, the sin offering must necessarily come first: the question of sin must be met for the conscience before the one who approaches can be in the position of a worshipper.

The offerings, in one respect, divide themselves into two classes, namely, the sweet-savour offerings, presented by worshippers, and the sin offerings, presented by those who having sinned needed to be restored to the position of worshippers. But even in the sin offering the fat was burnt on the brazen altar, and it is once said to be for a sweet savour (Lev. 4:31), thus forming a link with the burnt offering. The sweet-savour offerings represent Christ's perfect offering of Himself to God, rather than the laying of sins on the substitute by Jehovah.

The various kinds and the sex of the animals presented in the sin offerings are proportioned to the measure of responsibility in Lev. 4, and to the offerer's ability in Lev. 5.  Thus the priest or the whole congregation for a sin offering had to bring a bullock, but a goat or a lamb sufficed for one of the people. In the sweet-savour offerings the offerer was left free to choose a victim, and the different value of the animals offered gave evidence to the measure of appreciation of the sacrifice: thus if a rich man brought a sheep instead of a bullock, it would show that he undervalued the privileges within his reach.

The blood was sprinkled and poured out: it might not be eaten; the blood was the life, and God claimed it: cf. Lev. 17:11. The fat of the offerings was always to be burnt, for it represented the spontaneous and energetic action of the heart of Christ godward. Ps. 40:7-8.  Leaven, which always signifies what is human and hence evil (for if the human element is introduced into and works in the things of God it is evil), might never be burnt on the altar to God, nor be in any of the offerings except in one special form of the meat offering (Lev. 23:16-21), and in the bread accompanying a peace offering. Lev. 7:13. Honey was forbidden in the meat offering, as denoting mere human sweetness. Salt was to be added to the meat offering and used in the corbans. Lev. 2:13; Ezek. 43:24. Salt is preservative and gives a savour. Num. 18:19; 2 Chr. 13:5; Col. 4:6. The breast of the victim may be taken as emblematic of love, and the shoulder of strength.

The principal Hebrew words used in reference to the offerings are:
   1.  Olah, Alah, from 'to make to ascend.' Translated burnt offering.
   2.  Minchah, from 'a present, gift, oblation.' Translated meat offering. Others prefer to translate it meal offering.
   3.  Shelem, from 'to be whole, complete,' to be at peace, in friendship with any one. Translated peace offering. The ordinary form is plural, and may be rendered 'prosperities offering.'
   4.  Chattath, from 'to sin.' Constantly translated sin offering.
   5.  Asham, from 'to be guilty.' Translated trespass offering.
   6.  Tenuphah, from 'to lift up and down, wave.' Translated wave offering.
   7.  Terumah, from 'to be lifted up.' Translated heave offering.

As to the burning of the sacrifices different Hebrew words are employed. Besides the word alah, mentioned above, the word qatar is commonly used for burning on the altar: it signifies 'to burn incense,'  'to fumigate.' But where the carcase of the sin offering was burnt, the word used is saraph, which signifies 'to burn up, consume.' Thus what ascends as a sweet savour is distinguished from what is consumed under the judgement of God.

THE BURNT OFFERING. This is typical of Christ presenting Himself according to the divine will for the accomplishment of the purpose and maintenance of the glory of God where sin was taken account of. In the type the victim and the offerer were essentially distinct, but in Christ the two were necessarily combined. The burnt offering, where not specifically prescribed, was brought for a man's acceptance. The expression "of his own voluntary will " in Lev. 1:3 is better translated, "He shall offer it for his acceptance." The victim might be a male of the herd, or a sheep or a goat of the flock, or be turtle doves or young pigeons, according to the ability of the offerer, or the appreciation he had of the offering. These offerings were different in degree, but the same in kind. The male is the highest type of offering: no female is mentioned in the burnt offering.

After the offerer had laid his hands on the victim, he killed it (except in the case of birds, which the priest killed). From Leviticus 1 it would appear that the offerer also flayed it, cut it in pieces, and washed the inward parts and legs in water; but the expressions can be taken in an impersonal sense, 'Let it be flayed,' etc., and these acts may have been done by the priests or the Levites. (The Levites flayed the sacrifices in 2 Chr. 29:34, when the priests were too few.) The priest sprinkled the blood round about upon the altar, and, except the skin which was the priest's, the whole of the animal was burnt as a sweet savour on the altar. It made atonement for the offerer, who found acceptance in its value. It was typical of Christ's perfect offering up of Himself, being tested in His inmost parts by the searching fire of divine judgement. Lev. 1.  (This aspect of the cross is seen in such passages as Phil. 2:8; John 10:14-17; John 13:31; John 17:4; Rom. 5:18, etc.)

Leviticus 6 gives the law of the burnt offering. "It is the burnt offering because of the burning upon the altar all night unto the morning, and the fire of the altar shall be burning in it . . . . it shall not be put out." This refers to the morning and evening lambs; they formed a perpetual burnt offering. Ex. 29:38-41. It is to be remarked that it was "all night unto the morning" (although it was perpetual), doubtless to point out that Christ is for Israel ever a sweet savour to God, even during the present period of Israel's darkness and forgetfulness. Aaron had to put on his linen garments to remove the ashes from the altar to 'the place of ashes' beside the altar: he then changed his dress and carried the ashes outside the camp. The ashes were the proof that the sacrifice had been completely accepted (Ps. 20:3, margin.  In 'the morning' Israel will know that their acceptance and blessing is through the work of their Messiah on the cross. The daily sacrifice was offered by the priest as acting for the whole nation, and presented typically the ground of its blessings and privileges. Hence faith made much of it. Ezra 3:3; Dan. 8:11, 13, 26; Dan. 9:27.

THE MEAT OFFERING. In Lev. 2 the intrinsic character of this offering is given, though in offering the burnt offering a meat offering was added. Here was no blood-shedding, and consequently no atonement. The burnt offering typified the Lord Jesus in devotedness to death; the meat offering represents Him in His life — the pure humanity of Christ — in the power and energy of the Holy Ghost. It consisted of fine flour, unleavened, mingled with oil, and anointed with oil and with frankincense: in its simple elements a handful of flour with oil poured on was burnt on the altar; but it might, in the form of cakes, be baken in an oven, or in a pan, or frying pan. Only a part of the flour and of the oil but all the frankincense was burnt upon the altar, as a sweet savour unto Jehovah: the rest was food for the priest and his sons, not his daughters. The excellence of Christ as a man, in whom every motion even to death was for God, can only be enjoyed in priestly nearness: it is an offering which essentially belonged to the sanctuary.

All the savour of the Lord's life was to God. He lived not to men or for their praise: hence all the frankincense was to ascend from the altar. The fine flour is typical of the evenness of character in the Lord: in Him no special trait had undue prominence, as in man generally. With the Lord as man all was perfection, all evenness, and to the glory of God. He was begotten of the power of the Holy Ghost (antitype of the oil), and anointed at His baptism; His graces and moral glory answer to the frankincense. In beautiful connection with the perpetual burnt offering every morning and evening, there was a perpetual meat offering. It was 'most holy': neither leaven nor honey might be burnt with the meat offering, but salt must accompany it. The traits here symbolised were remarkably witnessed in the life of the Lord. Lev. 2; Lev. 6:14-18; Ex. 29:40-41.

In Lev. 23:17 there is leaven with the meat offering because it there represents the church, the first-fruits of God's creatures, presented at Pentecost in the sanctification of the Spirit.

THE PEACE OFFERING. This is distinct from both the burnt offering and the meat offering, though founded upon them. Its object was not to show how a sinner might get peace, nor to make atonement: it was rather the outcome of his having been blessed — the response of his heart to that blessing. The soul enters into the devotedness of Christ to God, the love and power of Christ as the blessing of the priestly family, and its own sustainment in life where death has come in. The peace offering might be of the herd or of the flock, male or female. The offerer laid his hands on the head of the offering and killed it. The blood was sprinkled round about the altar. All the fat, the two kidneys, and the caul above the liver were burnt upon the altar, an offering made by fire of a sweet savour unto the Lord. These were God's portions, literally His bread. The breast of the offering was waved for a wave offering, and was then food for Aaron and his sons and daughters. The right shoulder was a heave offering, and was for the offering priest. The offerer and his friends also ate of the offering on the same day; or, if it were a vow or a voluntary offering, it might be eaten on the second day. What remained was burnt with fire: indicating that communion to be real must be fresh, and not too far separated from the work of the altar.

The peace offering was accompanied by a meat offering, namely, unleavened cakes mingled with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil; together with leavened bread. The last named recognised the existence of sin in the worshipper (1 John 1:8), which, if inactive did not disqualify, though sin on him did disqualify. All that typified Christ was without leaven. That the peace offering typified communion is plain from the directions as to its disposal: part of it was accepted of God on the altar, called 'the food of the offering'; part was the food of the priest (Christ), and the priest's sons (Christians); and part was eaten by the offerer and his friends (the people, and perhaps also the Gentiles, who in the kingdom will 'rejoice with his people'). This thought of communion finds expression in the Lord's table, in the communion of the blood and of the body of the Lord. 1 Cor. 10:16. It is said of the peace offering that it 'pertains to Jehovah:' so all worship pertains to God: it is the fruit and expression of Christ in believers. Lev. 3; Lev. 7:11-21, 28-34.

THE SIN OFFERING. This and the trespass offering stand apart from all the other offerings. In the burnt offering and the peace offering the offerer came as a worshipper, and by the imposition of hands became identified with the acceptability and acceptance of the victim: whereas in the sin offering the victim was identified with the sin of the offerer.

The sin offering was to make an atonement for sin — to avert judgement from the offerer. This general characteristic is always the same, though the details differ, as will be seen in the following table:-

Comparison Table of Offerings

The Day of Atonement stands alone — the blood of the sin offering being taken then into the holy of holies, and sprinkled on and before the mercy seat. Atonement had to be made according to the requirement of the nature and majesty of God's throne. This type was repeated yearly to maintain the relationship of the people with God, because the tabernacle of Jehovah remained among them in the midst of their uncleanness. Atonement was also made for the holy place and the altar: all were reconciled by the blood of the sin offering, and on the ground of the same blood the sins of the people were administratively borne away into a land not inhabited. Lev. 16.

In the case of sin on the part of the priest or the whole congregation, all approach was interrupted: so the blood had to be carried into the holy place, sprinkled there seven times, and placed on the horns of the altar of incense — the place of the priest's approach — for the re-establishment of approach. See ATONEMENT, DAY OF.  In the case of a ruler or of one of the people the blood was sprinkled on the brazen altar, the place where the people approached: this also was to restore approach for the individual.

The sin offering is not, as a whole, said to be a sweet savour: sin is the prominent idea, yet the fat was burnt upon the altar for a sweet savour. Lev. 4:31. Christ was at all times (on the cross as elsewhere) a delight to God. The sin offering that was eaten by the priest is declared to be 'most holy.' Lev. 6:29. This is typical of Christ, priest as well as victim, having our cause at heart.

In the cases provided for in Lev. 5:1-13, where it was chiefly for acts which were sins by reason of infraction of some enactment or ordinance, the ability of the offerer was considered. If a person was unable to bring a goat for a sin offering, he was allowed to bring two doves; and if he were unable to bring even these, then he might bring the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour. This does not seem to agree with the necessity of blood-shedding for remission, but the memorial burnt upon the altar typified the judgement of God in dealing with sin. It brought the offering within the reach of all, so that the very poorest soul could have a way of meeting God as to its sin. Poverty represents little light or ignorance, not rejection of or indifference to Christ. And as the flour reached the fire of judgement on the altar, the death of Christ for sin was not left out in this most simple form of sin offering.

THE TRESPASS OFFERING differs from the sin offering in that it contemplates God's government, whereas the sin offering refers to God's holy nature, and hence His necessary dealing with sin in judgement. The Lord is also the true trespass offering, as seen in Isa. 53. 10-12; and Ps. 69. He restores more to God than the wrong done to Him by man's sin, and the effects of the trespass offering will be manifested in the kingdom.

The trespass offering is first found in Lev. 5 and Lev. 6 concerning cases of wrong done to the Lord or to a neighbour. In these cases a man needed to offer a trespass offering — for a trespass against a neighbour encroached on the rights of God — and to make restitution also, with a fifth added. In Lev. 5:6-9 the same offering is called both a trespass offering and a sin offering; but in Lev. 14, for the cleansing of a leper, both a sin offering and a trespass offering were needful; and the same two offerings were to be brought if a Nazarite were defiled. Num. 6:10-12. It appears therefore that the trespass offering is a variety of sin offering.

THE RED HEIFER was also a sin offering. In the A.V. it is called 'a purification for sin' in Num. 19:9, 17, but the meaning is a sin offering. It was for defilement by the way. See HEIFER, RED.

THE DRINK OFFERING. This was not usually offered alone, but see Gen. 35:14. It was offered with the morning and evening sacrifice, which was a burnt offering, accompanied by a meat offering. It consisted of wine, the quantity varying with the animal offered . Num. 28:14. "In the holy place shalt thou cause the strong wine to be poured unto the Lord for a drink offering." Num. 28:7. In the land of Canaan a drink offering was to be joined to the sweet savour oblations. The quantity of oil and of wine was equal, and proportionate to the importance of the victim. Num. 15:1-11. The drink offering may be typical of joy in the Spirit in the sense of the value of Christ's work as done to God's glory. Phil. 2:17 may allude to the drink offering.

THE HEAVE AND THE WAVE OFFERINGS. These are not separate offerings, but on some occasions certain portions of an offering were heaved or waved before the Lord. Thus at the consecration of Aaron and his sons, the fat, the fat tail, the caul, the kidneys, and the right shoulder of the ram, together with one loaf of bread, one cake of oiled bread, and one wafer, were placed in the hands of Aaron, and in the hands of his sons, to wave them for a wave offering before the Lord, and then they were burnt on the altar for a burnt offering. Lev. 8. The breast of the ram was also waved for a wave offering before the Lord, and the shoulder was heaved up for a heave offering; these were eaten by Aaron and his sons. Ex. 29:23-28. Of the peace offerings, the breast was always a wave offering, and the right shoulder a heave offering, and were for the priests. Lev. 7:30-34.

The rabbis explain that the heave shoulder was moved up and down, and the wave breast waved from side to side. The actions were done 'before the Lord,' and seem to symbolise that those who moved the offerings were really in His presence, with their hands filled with Christ.

Christ is thus the antitype of all the sacrifices: in them is foreshadowed His devotedness unto death; the perfection and purity of His life of consecration to God; the ground and subject of communion of His people; and, finally, the removal of sin by sacrifice. In the Epistle to the Hebrews is brought out in detail the contrast between the status of the Jew, for whom all the sacrifices needed to be repeated (the typical system existing on repetition), and that of Christians, who by the one sacrifice of Christ (non-repetition) are perfected for ever, and also have access to the holiest, because the great high Priest has entered in.

In the N.T. offerings are also alluded to in a moral sense. Christians being priests are exhorted to present their bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, Rom. 12:1; and are to lay down their lives for the brethren. 1 John 3:16. Having come as living stones to the living Stone, they are a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices. 1 Peter 2:5: cf. Phil. 4:18; Heb. 13:15-16; Mark 9:49.


This word is used in scripture indefinitely for any one in authority, there being seven Hebrew words so translated. In the N.T. are

1.  πράκτωρ, from 'to do or act,' it occurs only in Luke 12:58. It is used for the officer appointed to exact the money adjudicated by the judge.

2. ὑπηρέτης, lit. 'an under-rower,' a subordinate officer, who assisted the priests and the Roman governors. Matt. 5:25; John 7:32, 45, 46; John 18:3-22; John 19:6; Acts 5:22, 26. It is also translated 'minister' and 'servant.'


Scrapings, refuse. Lam. 3:45; 1 Cor. 4:13.


The Amorite king of Bashan, one of the giant warriors who ruled over sixty cities, inhabited by a hardy and warlike race. He came against Israel, but was smitten by Moses, and his land was possessed by the half-tribe of Manasseh. His bedstead is spoken of as measuring 9 cubits by 4 cubits, about 13 feet 6 inches in length by 6 feet wide. Num. 21:33; Deut. 3:1-13; Neh. 9:22; Ps. 135:11; Ps. 136:20. See BASHAN.

Ohad. [O'had]

Third son of Simeon. Gen. 46:10; Ex. 6:15.

Ohel. [O'hel]

Son of Zerubbabel. 1 Chr. 3:20.


In the description of the goodness of the land of promise one of the advantages mentioned is 'a land of oil olive'; and among the blessings enumerated with which God would endow His obedient people is that their oil should be multiplied. Deut. 7:13; Deut. 8:8.  It was an article of value, and the people had their olive yards as well as their vineyards. Oil was employed for various purposes. It was used as food, 2 Chr. 2:10, 15; 2 Chr. 11:11; Ps. 55:21; for anointing the kings, etc., 1 Sam. 10:1; 1 Sam. 16:1, 13; in the sacrifices of the meat offering, Lev. 2:1-16; as an ingredient in the holy ointment, Ex. 30:24-25, see OINTMENT; as a cosmetic, Ps. 23:5; Ps. 92:10; Luke 7:46; to give light in the lamps, Ex. 35:8, 14; as an emollient, Luke 10:34. Oil is a type of the Holy Spirit. Matt. 25:3-10; Heb. 1:9.

Oil Tree.

This occurs but once in the A.V. (Isa. 41:19), but the Hebrew (ets shemen) occurs also in 1 Kings 6:23, where it is translated 'olive tree;' and in Neh. 8:15, where it is rendered 'pine branches:' 'olive branches' being mentioned in the same verse would seem to indicate that the 'tree of oil' is distinct from the olive tree. Some believe it to be the Balanites AEgyptiaca; but others identify it with the Elaeagnus angustifolius.


Except in Ex. 30:25 (where the Hebrew words are mishchah and roqach, and may be translated "an oil of holy ointment, a perfume"), and in 1 Chr. 9:30; Job 41:31 (where the words are derived from roqach), the Hebrew word is shemen, which is constantly translated 'oil.' It is used for 'fatness, oil, spiced oil,' and hence 'ointment,' with which on joyful occasions the head was anointed, Ps. 133:2, and is elsewhere called the 'oil of gladness.' Ps. 45:7: cf. Prov. 27:9, 16; Ecc. 7:1; Ecc. 9:8; Amos 6:6. As an emollient it was applied to wounds or bruises. Isa. 1:6. In the N.T. the word is μύρον, 'oil mingled with fragrant spices:' with such Mary anointed the Lord, and its perfume filled the house, John 12:3, 5; it was also used by a woman 'which was a sinner.' Luke 7:37-38. The ointment would be more or less costly according to the ingredients.

Ointment, The Holy.

This was compounded of pure myrrh, sweet cinnamon, sweet calamus, cassia and olive oil. With it was anointed the whole tabernacle with all its vessels. Aaron and his sons also were anointed and consecrated to the priest's office. No one was allowed to make or to use such an ointment. After speaking of Aaron arid his sons, this remarkable injunction is given: "Upon man's flesh shall it not be poured:" that is, not upon man as man, only upon Aaron and his sons as priests. Ex. 30:22-33.  It is typical of the Holy Spirit, with whom only the Lord Jesus and believers are anointed. Acts 10:38; 1 John 2:20, 27; cf. Lev. 8:24, 30.

Old Man.

A term used in the N.T. to express a moral condition or order of man which has been superseded for the Christian by the introduction of the new man. "Our old man has been crucified with him [Christ], that the body of sin might be annulled, that we should no longer serve sin." Rom. 6:6. The old man is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and the Christian is appealed to as having put off the old man. Eph. 4:22; Col. 3:9. If he has learnt this in his soul, "as the truth is in Jesus," he has to maintain consistency with it, and to act in the character of the new man, which he has put on, and in which Christians are one in Christ Jesus.

Old Testament.


Old Time.

The Lord referred to what was said to 'the ancients' by Moses. Matt. 5:21, 33. (The words are omitted from Matt. 5:27 by the editors.) Moses had been proclaimed 'from old time' in the synagogues. Acts 15:21.

Olive, Olive Tree.

This was the principal source of oil in the East, the trees being extensively cultivated on the sides of the hills, and formed into 'olive yards.' See OIL.  In the temple, within the holy of holies, Solomon made two cherubim of olive wood; the doors into the oracle were also made of the same wood. 1 Kings 6:23-33.

Israel in general is called a green olive tree, fair and of goodly fruit, Jer. 11:16; and a good olive tree, with root and fatness; in contrast to the Gentiles who are compared to a wild olive tree. The fact that the wild olive tree needs grafting gives point to the passage in Rom. 11:17-24. God's two Jewish witnesses in a future day are called the two olive trees and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. They will then be the fruit and light bearers on the earth. Zech. 4:3, 11, 14; Rev. 11:3-4. The Hebrew is zayith, and the Arabic name is zeitun: it is the Olea Europaea.

Olives, Olivet, Mount of.

The mountain range on the east of Jerusalem, separated from the city by the Kidron valley. It doubtless derived its name from the olive-trees that grew on it. This name occurs but seldom in the O.T., and apparently the mountain is not referred to under any other name. David when he hastened from Jerusalem at the rebellion of Absalom ascended Mount Olivet. 2 Sam. 15:30. In a future day its configuration will be changed, for the prophet says the feet of the Lord will stand upon it and the mount will be cleft asunder. Zech. 14:4.

It comes into prominence in the N.T. because of the Lord's association with it: He was 'wont' to go there and "at night he went out and abode in the mount." Luke 21:37; Luke 22:39; John 8:1. The Lord sat on this mount, opposite to the temple, when He spoke to His disciples of the future tribulations and coming judgement. Mark 13:3. Apparently the Lord ascended to heaven from a low part of the mount near to Bethany, Luke 24:50; Acts 1:12; and, as noticed above, He will again stand on that mount on His return.

On the northern slope of the mount is a walled garden kept by the Franciscan monks, with a few old olive trees, said to be the garden of Gethsemane, but another site is now shown by the Greek church. There are two principal roads over the mount. One nearly due east from St. Stephen's gate which passes the old so-called garden of Gethsemane. This was doubtless the road most frequented by the Lord in retiring for the night. The other road, from the same gate but farther south, led to Bethany and thence to Jericho. It was doubtless by this road that the Lord came when riding on an ass.

A great part of the mount is cultivated with wheat and barley, with a vine here and there; also a few fig trees, but of trees there are still more of olives than any other. Its modern name is Jebel et Tor, 'Mount of the Summit,' signifying 'mount of importance,' or Jebel ez Zeitun, 'Mount of Olives.' It is 2,683 feet above the sea, and about 250 feet above Moriah. From its summit the best view of Jerusalem is obtained.

Olympas. [Olym'pas]

A Christian at Rome saluted by Paul. Rom. 16:15.

Omar. [O'mar]

Son of Eliphaz, a son of Esau. Gen. 36:11, 15; 1 Chr. 1:36. The name is supposed to survive in the Amir tribe of Arabs.

Omega. [O'mega]

The last letter of the Greek alphabet: with Alpha, the first letter, it is descriptive of Jehovah as the beginning and the ending of all purpose concerning man. Rev. 1:8, 11; Rev. 21:6; Rev. 22:13.




The word ταντοκράτωρ is only once translated 'omnipotent.' Rev. 19:6. Elsewhere it is rendered ALMIGHTY.  See GOD.

Omri. [Om'ri]

1.  Commander of the army under Elah, king of Israel. When this king was slain the soldiers made Omri king. He had to overcome first Zimri and then Tibni before he could reign alone: altogether he reigned from B.C. 929 to 918, and was succeeded by his son Ahab. It is recorded of him that "he did worse than all that were before him." 1 Kings 16:16-30. In Micah 6:16 it is said "the statutes of Omri are kept:" they with "all the works of the house of Ahab," were kept in remembrance for punishment. Omri is mentioned on the 'black obelisk' of Shalmaneser 2 in the British Museum, and on the Moabite Stone. See MOAB.

2. Son of Becher, a son of Benjamin. 1 Chr. 7:8.

3. Son of Imri, a descendant of Judah. 1 Chr. 9:4.

4. Son of Michael, and a ruler of Issachar. 1 Chr. 27:18.


1.  The 'city of the Sun,' in Egypt.  Poti-pherah, the father of Asenath, Joseph's wife, was priest of the city. Gen. 41:45, 50; Gen. 46:20. It is regarded as the same as BETH-SHEMESH in Jer. 43:13, and as AVEN in Ezek. 30:17; and is supposed to be alluded to in Isa. 19:18; see margin. Identified with the ruins of Heliopolis, 30 8' N, 31 23' E: about ten miles N.E. of Cairo. On has been found in the inscriptions as AN and AN-T.

2. Son of Peleth, a Reubenite: he joined with Korah in murmuring against Moses and Aaron. Num. 16:1. He is not mentioned after verse 1. The Jews say he separated from the guilty company and was saved.

Onam. [O'nam]

1.  Son of Shobal, a son of Seir. Gen. 36:23; 1 Chr. 1:40.

2. Son of Jerahmeel. 1 Chr. 2:26, 28.

Onan. [O'nan]

Second son of Judah by a Canaanitess, 'daughter of Shua': he was slain by Jehovah for his sin. Gen. 38:4-10; Gen. 46:12; Num. 26:19; 1 Chr. 2:3.

Onesimus. [One'simus]

Slave of Philemon, converted when with Paul, and sent back to his master not simply as a servant, but as 'a brother beloved.' Col. 4:9; Philemon 10. Christianity did not come in to set the world right thus: Onesimus was sent back to his master, and slaves are elsewhere exhorted to be faithful to their masters; but slavery is doubtless one of the fruits of man's sin.

Onesiphorus. [Onesiph'orus]

One who sought out Paul at Rome and ministered to him: Paul commended his household to God. 2 Tim. 1:16; 2 Tim. 4:19.


The well-known vegetable: only once mentioned. The Israelites, having enjoyed them in Egypt, lamented their loss in the wilderness. Num. 11:5. The onions in Egypt are mild in flavour, and sweet, and are much prized.

Ono. [O'no]

City and plain in Benjamin, some men of which returned from exile. 1 Chr. 8:12; Ezra 2:33; Neh. 6:2; Neh. 7:37; Neh. 11:35. Identified with Kefr Ana, 32 1' N, 34 52' E.


One of the ingredients of the holy 'perfume' which was burnt as incense. Ex. 30:34. The Hebrew is shecheleth; onycha is from the Greek ὄνυξ, 'nail or claw,' and it is supposed to refer to the operculum or claw of one or more species of the Strombus, a shell fish: the claw gave a sweet odour when burnt.


The precious stone in each shoulder piece of the ephod, and one of those in the breastplate of the high priest. Its Hebrew name is shoham; but this has five different translations in the LXX, and its identity is uncertain. Gen. 2:12; Ex. 25:7; Ex. 28:9, 20; Ex. 35:9, 27; Ex. 39:6, 13; 1 Chr. 29:2; Job 28:16 Ezek. 28:13.

Ophel. [O'phel]

A part of Jerusalem, first mentioned in 2 Chr. 27:3, where it is said that Jotham built much "on the wall of Ophel." Manasseh in his building, "compassed about Ophel and raised it up a very great height.' 2 Chr. 33:14. On the return from exile the Nethinim dwelt there. Neh. 3:26-27; Neh. 11:21. It is supposed to have been at the S.E. corner of Jerusalem, outside the present walls, near the Virgin's fountain. The same word is translated 'tower' in 2 Kings 5:24, as in the margin of some of the above passages.

Ophir. [O'phir]

1.  Son of Joktan, a descendant of Shem. Gen. 10:29; 1 Chr. 1:23. He is judged to have settled in Arabia.

2. Place from whence Solomon imported gold, precious stones, and almug trees. These were brought by ships to the Gulf of Akaba. Possibly southern Arabia is alluded to; but India and Africa have also been suggested. 1 Kings 9:28; 1 Kings 10:11; 1 Kings 22:48; 1 Chr. 29:4; 2 Chr. 8:18; 2 Chr. 9:10; Job 22:24; Job 28:16; Ps. 45:9; Isa. 13:12.

Ophni. [Oph'ni]

City in Benjamin. Joshua 18:24. Identified by some with Jufna, 31 58' N, 35 13' E.

Ophrah. [Oph'rah]

1.  City in Benjamin. Joshua 18:23; 1 Sam. 13:17. Perhaps the same as EPHRAIN in 2 Chr. 13:19 and EPHRAIM in John 11:54. Identified with et Taiyibeh, 31 57' N, 35 18' E.

2. City in Manasseh, the native place of Gideon. Judges 6:11, 24; Judges 8:27, 32; Judges 9:5. Identified by some with Fer'ata, the old name of which was Ophrah. It is six miles west of Shechem.

3. Son of Meonothai. 1 Chr. 4:14.


It was said of Ahithophel that his counsel was "as if a man had enquired at the oracle of God," or at the 'word' of God. 2 Sam. 16:23. In all other places in the O.T. the word 'oracle' applies to the holy of holies. It is doubtless so called because God said, "There I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel." Ex. 25:22. And it was from thence that Moses received many of the laws. 1 Kings 6:5-31; 1 Kings 7:49; 1 Kings 8:6, 8; 2 Chr. 3:16; 2 Chr. 4:20; 2 Chr. 5:7, 9; Ps. 28:2.

In the N.T. the word thus translated is λόγιον; it is applied to the law given to Moses, and committed to Israel; and also to truths revealed in N.T. times. Acts 7:38; Rom. 3:2; Heb. 5:12; 1 Peter 4:11. It signifies 'a message or answer given by God,' and thence the place from which such were given.

In the learned heathen world, Satan had places in imitation of this, at which it was professed that an answer from their gods could be obtained; but the answers were often purposely vague in order that afterwards they could be interpreted differently according as the event turned out. Thus the persons were duped who asked the questions.


1.  lachash. This is joined with 'eloquent' in Isa. 3:3, A.V., but signifies 'a whisper,' 'incantation,' and may be translated 'one versed in enchantments.' The R.V. has 'skilful enchanter.' See DIVINATION.

2.  ῥήτωρ, 'a speaker.' At the trial of Paul before Felix, Tertullus was hired to argue their case, and plead for Paul's condemnation. Acts 24:1.


In the O.T. there are eleven words so translated, with a variety of meanings and applications. God ordained the moon and the stars. Ps. 8:3. Jeroboam ordained priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which he had made. 2 Chr. 11:15. None of God's priests or prophets were ordained, in the sense now understood by that word, as inducting into some spiritual place, with power and authority imparted by man. In Jer. 1:5, where God said to the prophet, "I sanctified thee, and ordained thee a prophet unto the nations," the word translated 'ordained' is nathan, which means simply 'to give,' as in the margin. See also 2 Kings 23:5.

In the N.T. there are ten words translated 'ordain.' The passages that might seem to have some reference to the impartation of a sacerdotal supremacy are:

1. Christ ordained his twelve apostles. Mark 3:14. Here the word is ποιέω, 'to do, make.'

2. Matthias was ordained to take the place of Judas, Acts 1:22: γίγνομαι, 'to become.'

3. Paul ordained elders in every city, Acts 14:23: χειροτονέω, 'to appoint by stretching out the hand:' this is translated 'chosen' in 2 Cor. 8:19.

4. Paul said, "I am ordained a preacher and an apostle," 1 Tim. 2:7: τίθημι, 'to put, place:' cf. John 15:16.

5. Elders ordained, and high priests ordained, Titus 1:5; Heb. 5:1; Heb. 8:3: καθίστημι, 'to place, appoint.' The meanings of the Greek words show that, though elders were appointed by the apostles and were called 'bishops,' there was no sacerdotal power conveyed thereby, nor was any authority to continue such appointments handed down.


This term in the O.T. generally signifies that which God 'ordered' for His people to observe. "They kept his testimonies, and the ordinance that he gave them." Ps. 99:7. "Ye are gone away from mine ordinances." Mal. 3:7. It is also applied to things in creation: God giveth "the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night." Jer. 31:35. David made an ordinance. Ezra 3:10: cf. Neh. 10:32. In the N.T. it refers especially to the enactments of the law: "ordinances of divine service," Heb. 9:1, 10; "blotting out the handwriting of ordinances." Col. 2:14. It is also applied to human laws, Rom. 13:2; 1 Peter 2:13; and to the rules of the moralists. Col. 2:20. The directions that Paul had given to the Corinthians are in the A.V. called 'ordinances,' 1 Cor. 11:2; margin, 'traditions.'

Oreb. [O'reb]

Prince of Midian: he invaded Israel, but was defeated by Gideon, and slain at the ROCK OREB — this occurrence apparently giving to the rock its name. Judges 7:25; Judges 8:3; Ps. 83:11; Isa. 10:26.

Oren. [O'ren]

Son of Jerahmeel, the son of Hezron. 1 Chr. 2:25.


uggab, ugab. A wind musical instrument, of either one or several pipes. The Egyptian monuments show a double pipe, with holes as in a flute: several pipes of different lengths were also joined together. Gen. 4:21; Job 21:12; Job 30:31; Ps. 150:4. The syrinx, or Pan's pipe, is still used in Syria, and sometimes has as many as twenty-three pipes.

Orion, [Ori'on]

kesil, 'strong.' Supposed to refer to the constellation now known by this name, which Orientals call 'the giant.' Job 9:9; Job 38:31; Amos 5:8. In Isa. 13:10 kesil is translated 'constellations.'

Ornan. [Or'nan]


Orpah. [Or'pah]

Wife of Chilion son of Elimelech. She wept at parting from her mother-in-law, but she returned to Moab when Naomi with Ruth came to Canaan. Ruth 1:4, 14.  She stands in contrast to Ruth, whose faith and trust in the God of Israel were so highly rewarded.

Osee. [O'see]


Oshea. [Oshe'a]

Son of Nun, afterwards named JOSHUA. Num. 13:8, 16.

Ospray, (Osprey)

ozniyyah. The osprey is a bird allied to the large fish-eating eagles. It steadily balances itself over the water with scarcely a wing moving, and darts down upon a fish when it comes to the surface, strikes its sharp hooked talons into its side, and carries it to the shore. It was classed among the unclean birds. Lev. 11:13; Deut. 14:12. The osprey belongs to the family of Falconidae, of the order of birds which seize their food with violence. The Pandion haliaeetus is the species probably alluded to.


The Hebrew is peres, which signifies 'breaking,' and ossifrage signifies 'bone breaker.' This has led to the identifying the bird with the one now known as the Lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus), which is a species of vulture, though it has the appearance of an eagle its neck being covered with feathers. It attacks a carcase when the vultures have finished: picks the bones, and then breaks them to feed upon the marrow. It does this by carrying them up to a height and letting them fall upon a stone or rock till they break. The shells of tortoises are broken in the same way by them. In the Levitical economy it was an unclean bird. Lev. 11:13; Deut. 14:12.


This name occurs but twice in the A.V.

1. yaen, Lam. 4:3, where its cruelty is referred to. A kindred Hebrew word (preceded by bath, signifying the female), bath yaanah, 'daughter of howling,' is eight times translated 'owl.' Lev. 11:16; Deut. 14:15; Job 30:29; Isa. 13:21; Isa. 34:13; Isa. 43:20; Jer. 50:39; Micah 1:8. It is classed among the unclean birds, and is characterised by dwelling in waste places, and also by its wailing cry, which well agree with the habits of the ostrich. Though some passages may seem to point to the owl, doubtless the ostrich is referred to in all the above passages.

2. notsah, signifying 'plumage,' is translated ostrich in Job 39:13-18; the ostrich, however, is referred to in Job 39:13 by the word renanim, pl., which signifies, 'a crying or wailing,' but in the A.V. is translated 'peacocks.' The passage is obscure, but Job 39:13 may be better translated thus: "The wing of the ostrich beats joyously: but is it the stork's pinion and plumage?" The passage then speaks of the ostrich leaving its eggs unprotected, and being hardened against its young. The ostrich leaves its eggs in the sand, well covered up. The sun keeps them warm by day, and the parent sits upon them at night. Other eggs are left unprotected near by for the young birds when hatched to eat, and these may be trampled on. As to the indifference of the parents to their young, it is asserted that when a hunter approaches they will leave their nests and then often they cannot find the place again in the wide desert; but dead jackals have been found near the nests, which have been killed by the parent birds. Some suppose that Job 39:16 refers to other birds laying eggs in the ostrich's nest, from which are hatched birds that are 'not hers.' Job 39:18 refers to the speed of the bird, which has often exceeded that of the best horses. The ostrich is of the family Struthionidae, order Cursores.

Othni. [Oth'ni]

Son of Shemaiah, a Korhite. 1 Chr. 26:7.

Othniel. [Oth'niel]

Son of Kenaz, brother or nephew of Caleb. He took Kirjathsepher, and married Achsah, Caleb's daughter. He afterwards became one of the judges, and prevailed against Chushan-rishathaim, king of Mesopotamia. Under him the land had rest forty years. Joshua 15:17; Judges 1:13; Judges 3:9, 11; 1 Chr. 4:13. An Othniel is mentioned in 1 Chr. 27:15, which may be the same or a descendant.


Sockets or settings for gems. Ex. 28:11-25; Ex. 39:6-18.


Applied to any stranger or foreigner. Neh. 13:26.


Except in cities where there were those who followed the trade of the baker, with built-up ovens, it was customary for every household to have its own simple oven. A hole was dug in the ground and coated with clay, which hardened with the heat of the fire. Any species of grass soon dried in the sun and was then thrown into the oven to heat it. The bread was made into thin cakes which were baked by being stuck to the sides of the oven, or placed on a cover at the top. There are many instances in scripture where on the arrival of a visitor bread had to be kneaded and baked for them. Ex. 8:3; Lev. 2:4; Lev. 7:9; Lev. 11:35; Lev. 26:26; Lam. 5:10; Hosea 7:4-7; Matt. 6:30; Luke 12:28. The heat of the oven is used symbolically for rapid destruction. Ps. 21:9; Mal. 4:1.


Used in scripture for any one that had the oversight or leadership of others. Gen. 39:4-5, etc. In the A.V. it is once the translation of ἐπίσκοπος, Acts 20:28, which is elsewhere translated BISHOP, q.v.


In the passages that speak of the unclean birds "the owl . . . . the little owl . . . . and the great owl," are enumerated. Lev. 11:16-17; Deut. 14:15-16. The Hebrew for the first is bath yaanah. (See OSTRICH.) The second is kos: it occurs in the above two passages and in Ps. 102:6; and doubtless refers to the owl. The third, yanshuph, occurs also in Isa. 34:11. This in the LXX and Vulgate is the 'ibis,' and has been supposed by some to refer to the Ibis religiosa, a sacred bird of Egypt. There is also lilith in Isa. 34:14 only, translated 'screech owl,' (margin and R.V. 'night-monster'): its reference is doubtful. Also qippoz in Isa. 34:15 only, 'great owl,' (R.V. 'arrowsnake;' LXX and Vulgate 'hedgehog,' reading perhaps qippod with six Hebrew MSS.) There are several well-known species of the owl, but to which of them these various words refer cannot be specified with certainty. The Athene meridionalis is the owl most common in Palestine; the Strix flammea is the white owl.

Ox, Oxen.

Several Hebrew words are translated both Ox, Oxen, and Bull, Bullock. The principal word for 'bullock' is par, this is constantly spoken of as offered in the sacrifices. Ex. 29:3-14. The same word is used in Ps. 22:12: "many bulls have compassed me." The principal words translated 'oxen' are:

1. baqar, so called because used for labour, though also offered in sacrifice. Num. 7:3-88; 2 Chr. 35:8-12.

2, shor, so called from its strength, boldness, etc. Ex. 21:28-36; Prov. 14:4; Ezek. 1:10. In Ps. 22:12 for 'strong [bulls]' the word is abbir, signifying 'mighty one,' it is translated 'bulls' in Ps. 50:13; Ps. 68:30; Isa. 34:7; Jer. 50:11. The ox is typical of attributive power in patience as found in the living creatures in Ezek. 1:10; and in Rev. 4:7.

For WILD BULL in Isa. 51:20 the word is to; and the WILD OX in Deut. 14:5 is teo. Both of these are supposed to refer to some large antelope, which could be caught in a strong net.



Ozem. [O'zem]

1. Son of Jesse and brother of David. 1 Chr. 2:15.

2. Son of Jerahmeel, the son of Hezron 1 Chr. 2:25.

Ozias. [Ozi'as]

See UZZIAH. No. 1.

Ozni, [Oz'ni] Oznites. [Oz'nites]

Son of Gad and his descendants. Num. 26:16. Called EZBON in Gen. 46:16.

Paarai. [Pa'arai]


Padan, [Pa'dan] Padanaram. [Pa'dan-a'ram]

A cultivated district in Mesopotamia, in which was the city of Nahor, to which Terah and his family migrated from Ur of the Chaldees; and from whence Rebekah, Leah, and Rachel, the wives of Isaac and Jacob, were obtained. Gen. 25:20; Gen. 28:2-7; Gen. 31:18; Gen. 33:18; Gen. 35:9, 26; Gen. 46:15. It is strictly Paddan-aram, signifying 'table land of Aram.' Mesopotamia is the translation of Padan-aram both in the LXX and the Vulgate. In Gen. 48:7 it is simply PADAN.


Lit. 'a pin or nail'; probably a small spade. Deut. 23:13.

Padon. [Pa'don]

Ancestor of some Nethinim who returned from exile. Ezra 2:44; Neh. 7:47.

Pagiel. [Pagi'el]

Son of Ocran and a chief of the tribe of Asher. Num. 1:13; Num. 2:27; Num. 7:72, 77; Num. 10:26.

Pahathmoab,  [Pa'hath-mo'ab]

'Governor of Moab.' A family who returned from exile, one of whom sealed the covenant, and several had married strange wives. Ezra 2:6; Ezra 8:4; Ezra 10:30; Neh. 3:11; Neh. 7:11; Neh. 10:14.


City in Edom in which Hadad or Hadar reigned. 1 Chr. 1:50. Called PAU in Gen. 36:39. Not identified.


Only once applied to a house: 'painted with vermilion.' Jer. 22:14. Jezebel 'painted her eyes,' as 2 Kings 9:30 should read. Israel is compared to a lewd woman who painted her eyes. Ezek. 23:40. "Thou rentest thy face with painting" in Jer. 4:30 is 'enlarging the eyes.' The eyelids and eyebrows were painted with antimony or some other pigment, which made the eyes look larger. Small bottles and the short sticks which were used to apply the moistened powder have been found in the tombs of Egypt.


This term represents several Hebrew words, and may signify castle, fortress, the king's residence, or any large building. Thus the expression occurs, "the palace of the king's house." 2 Kings 15:25. Solomon built several for himself and for his wives. 2 Chr. 36:19. The temple built by Solomon is also called 'the palace.' 1 Chr. 29:1, 19. In the N.T. the palace of the high priest, αὐλή, signifies his court. Matt. 26:3, 58, 69. In Phil. 1:13 the word is πραιτώριον, 'the court of the praetor,' or governor, or perhaps 'the praetorian guard,' from which Paul's keepers were taken. Called PRAETORIUM in Mark 15:16.

Palal. [Pa'lal]

Son of Uzai: he helped to repair the wall of Jerusalem. Neh. 3:25.

Palestina, [Palesti'na] Palestine. [Pal'estine]

The Hebrew word, Pelesheth, occurs but four times, and did not allude to the whole of the land of Canaan, as the name Palestine is now applied; but was restricted to part of the coast of the Mediterranean, occupied by the Philistines. In Ex. 15:14-15, Palestina, Edom, and Moab are mentioned, and then 'all the inhabitants of Canaan.' In Joel 3:4, Tyre and Sidon are not included in the term. In these passages, and in Isa. 14:29, 31, it is usual now to translate the word PHILISTIA (as in the R.V.), the Hebrew being the same as in Ps. 60:8; Ps. 87:4; Ps. 108:9. See CANAAN and SYRIA.

Pallu, [Pal'lu] Palluites. [Pal'luites]

Second son of Reuben, and his descendants. Ex. 6:14; Num. 26:5, 8; 1 Chr. 5:3. He is called PHALLU in Gen. 46:9.



Palm, Palm Tree,

tamar. This is a lofty tree without lateral branches, with a large tuft of leafy branches clustering at the top several feet long. At the base of the branches grow the dates in large clusters. Ex. 15:27; Num. 33:9; Judges 4:5; Cant. 7:7-8; Jer. 10:5; Joel 1:12. The branches were used to construct the booths at the feast of tabernacles. Lev. 23:40; Neh. 8:15; and were strewn in the path on the Lord's last entrance into Jerusalem. John 12:13. There were many representations of palm-trees in the decorations of the temple, as there will also be in the future temple. 1 Kings 6:29-35; 1 Kings 7:36; 2 Chr. 3:5; Ezek. 40:16-37; Ezek. 41:18-26. The palm-tree is used as an emblem of fertility in Ps. 92:12; some trees will bear yearly more than a hundred-weight of dates and for a period of about seventy years. The palm-branches are a token of rest and peace after sorrow. Rev. 7:9. The palm is the Phoenix dactylifera.

CITY OF PALM-TREES. Name given several times to Jericho because of the palms that grew there. Deut. 34:3; Judges 1:16; Judges 3:13, etc.


The word is gazam, from a root signifying 'to cut off,' and is supposed to refer to some species of caterpillar, but to which is unknown. The devastations it causes are mentioned in Joel 1:4; Joel 2:25; Amos 4:9.


The Greek word, παραλύω, to loosen, shows that the disease was paralysis. Persons thus afflicted were brought to the Lord on beds or couches. Matt. 9:2-6; Mark 2:3-10; Luke 5:18, 24; Acts 8:7; Acts 9:33. The paralysed were a type of that thorough human helplessness which can be relieved and raised up by God only.

Palti. [Pal'ti]

Son of Raphu, a Benjamite. Num. 13:9.

Paltiel. [Pal'tiel]

Son of Azzan, and prince of Issachar. Num. 34:26.

Paltite. [Pal'tite]

Designation of Helez, one of David's mighty men. 2 Sam. 23:26. Connected by some with Beth-palet; but in 1 Chr. 11:27 Helez is called 'the Pelonite.'

Pamphylia. [Pamphyl'ia]

District in the south of Asia Minor, having Cilicia on the east and Lycia on the S.W. Acts 2:10; Acts 13:13; Acts 14:24; Acts 15:38; Acts 27:5.


Some of these were made of iron as mentioned in Ezek. 4:3, and were used for baking cakes, etc. Lev. 2:5; 1 Chr. 23:29. The iron plates that were laid on the small ovens, and on which bread and cakes were baked, are probably alluded to.


An unknown article of commerce, exported from Palestine to Tyre. Ezek. 27:17.

Paper, Paper Reeds.

The paper reeds, aroth, were the papyrus, much of which grew in the Nile, and of which paper was made. Some of such paper has been found in the tombs of Egypt, but it is very fragile. Isa. 19:7. The 'paper,' χάρτης, in 2 John 12 is supposed to be the same.


City at the west end of the Isle of Cyprus, visited by Paul. Acts 13:6, 13. It is now called Bafo.


In the O.T. the word is mashal, 'a similitude,' and is also translated 'proverb.' In the N.T. it is παραβολή. A parable is a mode of relation under which something is figured which is not expressed in the terms. Hence a parable usually necessitates an expositor. The Lord said on one occasion that He spoke in parables, so that the multitude should not understand His teaching: they had virtually rejected their Messiah, and were not morally in a condition to be taught. The Lord acted as expositor and explained the meaning privately to His disciples, for it was given unto them to know 'the mysteries of the kingdom.' Matt. 13:11. Some, however, of the Lord's parables were so pointed that they were understood even by His enemies, which doubtless was His intention; they were laid bare as in His presence. Some of those in the O.T. also were plain, but in the parable of the ewe lamb, David did not see the application till he had himself judged the culprit. So also with Ahab and the 'escaped captive.' These allegories were calculated to strike home the intended lesson, by portraying in an objective way the evil.

The word 'parable' is used many times in the O.T. for figurative language where no distinct parable is related, as when Balaam 'took up his parable,' Num. 23:7, 18, etc.; and Job 'continued his parable.' Job 27:1; Job 29:1. The word παραβολή is twice translated 'FIGURE.' Heb. 9:9; Heb. 11:19.

From the fact of the Lord connecting 'the mysteries of the kingdom' with the parables He uttered, we may be sure that there is much instruction to be gathered from them if rightly interpreted: they need the teaching of the Spirit of God as much as any other part of scripture.

It will be seen by the annexed list that some of the parables are recorded only by Matthew; two 'similes' are found in Mark only; several parables are given only by Luke; and none are recorded by the evangelist John. There must be divine reasons for this, and wisdom is needed to discern and profit by it. All is doubtless in harmony with the character of each of the Gospels. The word 'parable' occurs in John 10:6 in the A.V., but it is not the same word, and signifies 'allegory.' The teaching is not in the form of a parable: the Lord is speaking of Himself as the good Shepherd.

Some of the parables are grouped together. Thus in Matthew 13 there are seven parables, four of which were delivered in the hearing of the multitude, and three in private. The first was introductory, namely, the SOWER. The Lord came seeking fruit, but finding none He revealed that He had really been sowing 'the word of the kingdom,' and explained why much of the seed did not produce fruit. The next three parables give the outward aspect of the kingdom during Christ's absence, that which man has made of it. The second is the WHEAT AND THE TARES. The Lord sowed the good seed, but Satan at once sowed his seed, and both grew up together until the harvest at the end of the age. The third is the MUSTARD SEED. This grows up into a tree large enough for the birds (which caught away the good seed in the parable of the sower) to lodge in its branches. The fourth is the LEAVEN. A woman hid leaven (always a type of what is human, arid hence of evil, because sin is in the flesh) which diffused itself unseen amid the three measures of meal until all was leavened.

Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and in private explained first to His disciples the parable of the Wheat and the Tares, and then added parables that show the divine object and intent in the kingdom. The first is the HID TREASURE, for the sake of obtaining which a man buys the field in which it is hid. The second is the PEARL OF GREAT PRICE. The merchant-man seeks goodly pearls, and having found one pearl of great price, sells all that he has to be possessed of it. Christ renounced all that belonged to Him as man after the flesh and as Messiah on earth, in order that He might possess the church. The third is the parable of the NET, which gathers out of the sea of nations good and bad, as the gospel has done in Christendom. When the net is drawn to shore the servants make a selection of the good from the bad, but at the end of the age (it is added in the exposition) the angels will separate the wicked from the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire.

Another group of parables is in Luke 15, or in one sense a parable in three sections (Luke 15:3). It answers the charge brought against the Lord, "This man receiveth sinners."

1. THE LOST SHEEP was followed by the shepherd until it was found.

2. THE LOST PIECE OF MONEY. The piece of money was lost in the house, even as many persons in God's sight were lost in the outward profession of being Abraham's children (as many indeed are lost now in Christendom). The lost piece was sought by the light of the candle till it was found. It was precious, a piece of silver.

3. THE PRODIGAL SON was joyfully received by the father, a feast was prepared, and the recovery of the lost one was celebrated by music and dancing. This is the climax — the celebration of grace. In all three the joy is that of the finder. It is the joy of heaven over the recovery of lost sinners.

It is doubtless best to study each parable or each group, with its context, as the Holy Spirit has given them. Attempts have, however, been made to classify them according to the truth conveyed by them thus:

1. The setting aside of Israel.  THE TWO SONS, of which the Lord gives the interpretation. THE WICKED HUSBANDMEN: the rulers of Israel were among the Lord's hearers, and He explained the parable thus: "The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof." The BARREN FIG TREE: the Lord came seeking fruit in Israel as representing man under culture, but found none. He gave time for repentance, but the fig tree yielded no fruit and was to be cut clown: the destruction of Jerusalem was its actual removal.

2.  The introduction of the kingdom and Satan's opposition to it.  The SOWER. The WHEAT AND TARES. The GROWTH OF SEED:  notwithstanding the opposition of Satan, God in His own secret way makes His seed fructify and bring forth fruit. The LEAVEN; the HIDDEN TREASURE; the PEARL OF GREAT PRICE; and the NET.

3.  God's way of bringing into blessing. The LOST SHEEP; the LOST PIECE OF MONEY; and the PRODIGAL SON.  The MARRIAGE FOR THE KING'S SON: God will do honour to His Son. The Jews were invited to the feast, but would not come. Others, the Gentile outcasts, were invited. One without the wedding robe (Christ) was cast out. He had no sense of natural unfitness. The GREAT SUPPER: the feast of heavenly grace in contrast to the earthly things of the kingdom of God. All who were invited made excuses, not as prevented by evil but by earthly things; they were indifferent to the gracious invitation. Some, the poor and afflicted of the city, were brought in, and others were to be compelled to come in. God will have His house filled. The PHARISEE AND PUBLICAN: the Pharisee thanked God that he was not as other men; the publican cried for mercy, and went down to his house justified rather than the other. The TWO DEBTORS: the poor woman was forgiven much, and she loved much; not forgiven because she loved much. The UNJUST JUDGE: the Lord's point was that men "ought always to pray and not to faint." God will answer in His own time, and the earthly elect will be saved. The LABOURERS IN THE VINEYARD: God in His sovereignty asks, "Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?" Man claims this liberty for himself, yet murmurs against the sovereignty of God. "Many are called, but few chosen." Notice also in this parable the Lord's reply to Peter's question in Matt. 19:27; Matt. 20 continues the subject and shows us sovereign grace in contrast with the mercenary spirit of man's heart.

4. The various responsibilities of men.  The GOOD SAMARITAN: this was given in answer to "Who is my neighbour?"  The Lord was really the good Samaritan, and after describing the course He took He said, "Go thou and do likewise."  The FOOLISH RICH MAN: the moral is, "So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." The UNJUST STEWARD: he sacrificed the present for the future, for which his master commended him, not for his injustice but his wisdom. The Lord applies the parable thus: "Make to yourselves friends with the mammon of unrighteousness [worldly possessions] that when it fails ye may be received into eternal tabernacles." Giving to the poor is lending to the Lord, and laying up treasure in heaven. The Lord exhorted His hearers to be (unlike the unjust steward) faithful in their stewardship of the unrighteous mammon (which does not belong to the Christian), that the true riches might be entrusted to them.

The RICH MAN AND LAZARUS.  Nothing is said of the moral character of either of these men. It had been taught in the O.T. that outward prosperity should mark the upright man. Ps. 112:2-3. In the kingdom in its new phase, consequent upon Christ's rejection, the possession of riches is no sign of divine favour. This was a needful lesson for the Jew. It was very difficult for a rich man to be saved, but the poor had the gospel preached unto them. The poor man was carried into Abraham's bosom, and the rich man fell into perdition. Another world reverses the conditions of the present one. The teaching in the parable of the Unjust Steward is continued here: the rich man was not sacrificing the present for the future. It also gives a vivid picture of the unalterable condition of the lost.

The UNMERCIFUL SERVANT. This illustrates the government of God, which is not set aside by His grace. It is revealed that God will recompense to His people according as they act towards others. Matt. 7:2. Doubtless this parable has another application, bearing upon the Jews as to their jealousy of grace being shown to the Gentiles. The debt of the Gentiles to them is expressed in the hundred pence [perhaps a few months wages]; whereas the indebtedness of the Jews to God is seen in the ten thousand talents [millions of pounds or dollars]. Pardon was offered to them by Peter in Acts 3:19-26; but it was rejected, and their persecution of Paul and those who carried the gospel to the Gentiles showed that they could not forgive the Gentiles the hundred pence. They must now pay the uttermost farthing. Compare Isa. 40:2; Matt. 5:25-26; 1 Thess. 2:15-16.

The TEN VIRGINS. The explanation of this is simple. The normal attitude of Christians is that they have gone forth to meet the Bridegroom. This was the hope and expectation of the apostles. After their days all in this respect fell asleep. There may have been times of awakening, but when the last call goes forth it reveals the solemn fact that some have a profession only, without Christ — lamps without oil — who will be for ever shut out. "Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour." The virgins signify Christians, and not the faithful Jewish remnant, for these will not sleep (persecution will prevent that), nor be a mixed company, nor have to wait a long time for their Deliverer.

The TALENTS. This parable is similar in character to that of the POUNDS. The talents were distributed according to the ability of each servant, so that one had five, another two, and another one. This parable follows that of the Ten Virgins, showing that while the Christian waits for his Lord, he should be faithfully using the gifts entrusted to him. The POUNDS show the Lord Jesus leaving the earth to receive a kingdom, and giving to each of His servants a pound to trade with during His absence. All gifts are for the glory of the Lord, and the servant is responsible to Him for the faithful use of them.

Another arrangement of the principal parables has been suggested, namely, in three groups corresponding to different periods of the Lord's ministry.

1. In His early ministry, embracing the new teaching connected with the kingdom, and the mysterious form which it takes during His absence. This extends to Matt. 13 and Mark 4.  These parables will be easily distinguished in the following table.

2.  After an interval of some months. The parables are now of a different type, and are drawn from the life of men rather than from the world of nature. They are principally in answer to questions, not in discourses to the multitude. Most of them occur in Luke only, in which gospel the Son of man is for man. They fall chiefly between the mission of the seventy and the Lord's last approach to Jerusalem.

3.  This group falls towards the close of the Lord's ministry. They concern the kingdom in its consummation, and are prophetic of the rejection of Israel and the coming of the Lord.

In Matt. 13 the Lord asked His disciples if they understood what He had been saying to them. They said, "Yea, Lord." He added, "Every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven, is like unto a man that is a householder which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old."


Table of Parables and Similes


This is a Greek word, though sometimes used by English writers. It is translated 'Comforter,' referring to the Holy Spirit, in John 14:16, 26; John 15:26; John 16:7; and 'Advocate,' referring to the Lord Jesus, in 1 John 2:1. See ADVOCATE.


The word παράδεισος appears to have had an oriental origin. It is said of the king of Persia that he had gardens which were called paradises, full of everything beautiful and good that the earth could produce. The LXX, adopting this word for the garden of Eden, which signifies 'delights,' accounts for Eden being often called paradise, and may account for the use of the word in the N.T. as denoting some place of happiness and blessing in the heavens. The Lord on the cross called the place where the thief would be with Him that day Paradise. Luke 23:43. The name is also given to 'the third heaven,' to which Paul was caught up, 2 Cor. 12:4; and to the paradise of God, where there is the tree of life (type of Christ), of which the overcomer in the church at Ephesus would have authority to eat. Rev. 2:7.