There are several Hebrew words for the wells that were in Palestine. Some may have been dug in connection with springs of water and others have been principally supplied by water from the surrounding land. The word ayin differs from either of the above: it signifies literally 'an eye,' and was like an eye in the ground from which the waters sprang up, and is not said to be dug, and yet is called 'a well' in the A.V. It occurs in Gen. 24:13-45; Gen. 49:22; Ex. 15:27; Neh. 2:13, and the same word is often translated 'fountain.' From the same is mayan. Ps. 84:6; Isa. 12:3; etc. The words beer, bor refer to any well, cistern, or pit. Gen. 16:14; Gen. 24:11, 20; Deut. 6:11; etc.
There is the same difference in the N.T., and the two words πηγή, 'spring' or 'fountain,' and φρέαρ, 'well,' are both used respecting Jacob's well; so that apparently it was a fountain (John 4:6) within the well. John 4:11, 12.
In John 4:14 (πηγή) is used symbolically: it is 'a fountain' which Christ gives that springs up into eternal life. It is the Holy Spirit, the power of life that springs up in the soul towards its heavenly source.
In 2 Peter 2:17 an apostate is a spring or fountain 'without water:' he has left the only source of life.
A suppurating sore. Lev. 22:22.
This was expressed by
1. yam, 'the Sea,' referring to the Mediterranean, which lies on the west of Palestine, Gen. 12:8, etc.
2. maarab, δυσμή, 'sun-setting,' because the sun sets in the west. 1 Chr. 7:28; Matt. 8:11; etc.
3. maarabah, 'sun-setting,' only in Isa. 45:6.
4. mebo hashshemesh, from the 'going down of the sun,' only in Joshua 23:4; Zech. 8:7.
The word tannin, Gen. 1:21; Job 7:12; Ezek. 32:2; and κῆτος Matt. 12:40; refer to any sea monsters, without defining any particular one. In the case of Jonah the Hebrew word is dag, or dagah, a fish; it may not have been a whale: sharks have been known to swallow men entire, and whatever fish it was that swallowed him, it was a miracle that preserved him alive, and caused him to be safely landed on shore again. It is only by denying the miracle that any difficulty arises. The Hebrew word tannin is also translated in the A.V. 'dragon,' 'sea monster,' and 'serpent.'
This cereal was extensively grown in Palestine; the harvest was in May and June. In the parable it is used by the Lord as representing the children of the kingdom, the fruit of the good seed that He was sowing on the earth, in contrast to the tares, or darnel, which Satan secretly sowed among the good seed.
The Lord Himself, being the second Man 'out of heaven,' is compared to the grain of wheat that must have remained alone unless it had died, but which in dying would bring forth much fruit. This clearly shows that there was no union of Christ and natural man by His incarnation alone, and that through the death of Christ the fruit produced by His resurrection is of the same order as Christ Himself. Matt. 13:25-30; John 12:24; 1 Cor. 15:48, 49.
There are three or four varieties of Triticum grown in Palestine.
These are used symbolically in Ezekiel in connection with the living creatures of God's providential administration on earth. The Spirit was in the wheels, and the wheels had the appearance of a beryl, and were full of eyes: typical of the controlled but intelligent motion of events: wheels were within wheels, which mark the control of the events as mysterious and hidden.
This is often referred to in the Old Testament as one of the means wielded by God in His judgements on the earth. It is twice connected with the south. Job 37:9; Isa. 21:1; Isa. 40:24; Isa. 41:16; Jer. 23:19; Jer. 30:23.
This term and that of DESERT do not usually refer in scripture to such places as the vast sand-plains of Africa, though there are some such in Palestine, but the words mostly refer to non-arable plains where the vegetation but thinly covers the limestone with patches of verdure. In places where the ground is not worth cultivating it can be used for pasture. Some of such deserts are comparatively small, but others are extensive. The wilderness of JUDAH is a plain extending the whole length of the Dead Sea; but some of it can be used for pasture land. It may be said to include the wilderness of EN-GEDI, that of MAON, and probably that of ZIPH and of JERUEL.
The wilderness of BETH-AVEN and of GIBEON were in the allotment of Benjamin.
The wilderness of DAMASCUS was far north, and that of BEER-SHEBA far south; and that of SHUR, still farther south-west.
Those of KEDEMOTH, of EDOM, and of MOAB were east of the Dead Sea.
The rest were not in Palestine proper, but were the deserts through which the Israelites passed or were located in their wanderings: namely, ETHAM, KADESH, PARAN, SIN, SINAI, and ZIN. See WANDERINGS OF THE ISRAELITES.
Typically the wilderness was outside Canaan, and stands in contrast to it. The wilderness was the place of testing to the Israelites, and it is the same to the Christian, to humble him, and to prove what is in his heart. Deut. 8:2. He has to learn what he is in himself, and the God of all grace he has to do with. There is need of constant dependence or there is failure, while the experience is gained of knowing One who never fails to succour. Canaan is figuratively a heavenly position and conflict, corresponding with the need of the armour of Eph. 6:11, to stand against the wiles of the devil. For this one needs to realise what it is to be dead and risen with Christ. It is association in spirit with Christ in heaven.
Worship that springs from the will of man and which satisfies the flesh. Col. 2:23. Ordinances commanded by man come under this category, though their observance may be thought to be acceptable to God by the worshippers.
ereb. Supposed to be the Salix Babylonica. Its boughs were used at the Feast of Tabernacles, a season of joy; but at the captivity and since, it is a symbol of sorrow. It was on such that the captives hung their harps when in captivity, of which the Psalmist spoke prophetically. Lev. 23:40; Job 40:22; Ps. 137:2; Isa. 15:7; Isa. 44:4. In Ezek. 17:5 the word is tsaphtsaphah, supposed by some to be the Arabic safsâf, a willow or osier which grows by the water.
The wind, as all else, is used by God to work out His purposes with man. Ex. 10:13; Ps. 135:7; Ezek. 13:13. As the unseen wind comes and goes we know not whither, "so is every one that is born of the Spirit." John 3:8. Its power is felt, and the result abides. The wind is also used as a symbol of the unseen influence of Satan, Jude 12; and where permitted he carries out his evil designs by the wind. Job 1:19 .
There are several Hebrew words so translated. Windows were openings to admit light and for ventilation; not glazed, but furnished with latticed work, through which persons could, though themselves unobserved, see what was passing outside. Some had shutters attached. There was a window in the ark Noah built, and windows in the temple; and many are to be made in the temple described by Ezekiel. Gen. 6:16; Gen. 8:6; 1 Kings 7:4, 5; Ezek. 40:16-36.
In the East windows were usually made to open horizontally, which explains how a person sitting in a window could fall out. Acts 20:9. The passage in Isa. 54:12, "I will make thy windows of agates'' is better translated, "I will make thy battlements, or pinnacles, of rubies." At the flood the expression the 'windows of heaven' is in the sense of the 'floodgates,' as in the margin. Gen. 7:11.
There are several Hebrew words translated wine, and though various expressions are attached to it as 'sweet,' 'new,' 'strong,' 'good,' 'mixed,' 'spiced,' 'on the lees,' all are wine; and the wine was intoxicating, as seen already in the days of Noah. Gen. 9:21. Intemperance is the abuse of it, and against such abuse there are abundant protests and warnings in the scripture. Wine is mentioned with corn and oil, among the good gifts wherewith God would bless His earthly people. Deut. 7:13; Ps. 104:15. It was daily offered in the temple as a drink offering. Num. 28:7.
Wine was created by the Lord in His first recorded miracle. John 2:3-10. He was blasphemously spoken of as a wine-bibber; and He said at the last Passover, "I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God." Mark 14:25. He also instituted the Lord's Supper with the cup of wine. Paul recommended Timothy to take a little wine for his frequent sickness; and a bishop must not be given to much wine. There is therefore adequate evidence that wine is regarded as a beneficent gift of God, of which man may make a moderate use. If, however, a man has no power over his appetite, doubtless he had better abstain from wine altogether. Drunkards shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Cor. 6:10.
These are said to be 'trodden,' which signifies that the grapes were placed in a receptacle, and were trodden on by the feet, a pipe conveying the juice into a vessel at the side. Places have been found which apparently were used for this purpose: they are hewn out of a rock with a shallow channel by which the juice could escape. Judges 6:11; Neh. 13:15; Job 24:11; Isa. 5:2; Isa. 63:2; Mark 12:1; etc. In Egypt the grapes were also pressed in a bag by its being twisted tighter and tighter.
Symbolically the wine-press is used as a figure of the execution of God's judgements: the people, as grapes, are placed in the press, and there crushed: "and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horses' bridles, by the space of 1600 furlongs" (about the extent of Palestine) Rev. 14:19, 20; Rev. 19:15.
Used as a symbol of protection. Under 'the shadow of God's wings' is referred to in the Psalms; and the Lord said He would often have gathered Israel as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, but they would not. Ps. 17:8; Ps. 36:7; Ps. 57:1; Matt. 23:37; etc. Wings were given for rapid motion. The living creatures in Ezek. 1, had each four wings, and those in Isa. 6:2 and Rev. 4, had each of them six wings. God's executives are swift messengers.
The former times of ignorance God 'overlooked,' but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent, for a day has been appointed when the Lord Jesus will judge the habitable world in righteousness. Acts 17:30.
This was accomplished in the open air, by throwing up the grain with a shovel, or a fan (λίκνος, really a kind of shallow basket); the wind carried away the chaff. Boaz winnowed his barley in the evening, when there would be more wind. Ruth 3:2; Isa. 30:24. John the Baptist said of the Lord that His fan was in His hand, and He would thoroughly purge His floor; gather His wheat into the garner; and burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. Matt. 3:12; Luke 3:17. It is now a day of grace, a sowing time, but the harvest will come, and the winnowing will surely follow.
Wit, To, Wot, Wist.
'To know.' Gen. 24:21; Ex. 16:15; Acts 3:17; Acts 23:5; etc. From the Anglo-Saxon witan, 'to know.'
'How.' 2 Cor. 5:19.
The word kashaph is 'to use magical formulas or incantations,' 'to practise sorcery.' A witch was not suffered to live. Ex. 22:18; Deut. 18:10; 2 Kings 9:22; 2 Chr. 33:6; Micah 5:12; Nahum 3:4. In 1 Sam. 15:23 the word is qesem, divination. In Gal. 5:20 it is φαρμακεία, sorcery. See DIVINATION.
Slender twigs twisted into a rope. Judges 16:7-9.
The testimony or evidence adduced or given in confirmation of an assertion, and so often used judicially. The term also sometimes speaks simply of an expression of mind or feeling. Until God intervenes in power to establish His own purpose in regard to this world, He maintains a testimony to that which He will assuredly accomplish.
The words μαρτυρέω, μαρτυρια, and μαρτύριον are translated both 'testimony' and 'witness.' The idea runs all through the scriptures in respect both to God Himself and to His people. Paul declared before the heathen at Lystra that God 'had not left himself without witness' as to His existence and His goodness, in giving rain and fruitful seasons, filling their 'hearts with food and gladness,' Acts 14:17. The invisible things of God are testified of, "being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, or divinity." Rom. 1:19, 20.
God having for fifteen hundred years manifested His patience towards the guilty antediluvian world, He, after warning the people by the preaching of Noah, bore witness to His righteousness and His power by the deluge, and at the same time manifested His grace in saving Noah and his family in the ark.
The witness which God vouchsafed of Himself to Abraham was that He was 'THE ALMIGHTY GOD'; to Moses it was 'I AM THAT I AM'; and to Israel, 'JEHOVAH.' The ark was often called the "Ark of the testimony," and the tabernacle was the "Tent of witness," the witness of good things to come. To Nebuchadnezzar God was witnessed to as the 'GOD OF HEAVEN.' To the Christian He is 'GOD AND FATHER.'
Israel were of old God's witnesses, and will also be in the future.
When Christ was on earth He bore witness to God as LOVE and LIGHT. The Lord Jesus is declared to be "the faithful and true witness," Rev. 3:14; and His works and His words were witnesses that He had come from God. The Father also bore witness to Him as His beloved Son, in whom He was well pleased. The Lord Jesus confessed before the Jewish council that He was the Son of God, and before Pilate that He was the King of the Jews. Matt. 26:63, 64; Matt. 27:11.
Peter and John were witnesses of the truth before the council, so that they took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13. Stephen also was a true witness, and his testimony led to his becoming a martyr (μάρτυς). In Heb. 11 is given a 'great cloud' of witnesses to the principle of faith in Old Testament saints, some of whom were also martyrs. God will to the last have a testimony on earth as seen in His 'two witnesses' of Rev. 11.
In Christianity there are said to be three witnesses — "the Spirit and the water and the blood: and these three agree in one" — they affirm that God has given to the believer "eternal life, and this life is in his Son." "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself." 1 John 5:8-11.
The Church, in the absence of the Lord Jesus, is the vessel of the testimony of Christ, hence Christians should be in their whole life and deportment true witnesses to the rejected Christ. The testimony of the church is characterised by — separation from the world; devotedness to the interests of the Lord Jesus on earth; faithfulness to the truth; unblamable moral conduct; and indeed, as the pillar and ground of the truth, by everything that becometh godliness.
Under the law of Moses it was enacted that in all charges of guilt two or three witnesses were necessary. Deut. 17:6. In the church the same order is maintained, "in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word [or matter] be established." Matt. 18:16; 2 Cor. 13:1; 1 Tim. 5:19.
Wives' Fables, Old.
A term of contempt for anything not worth listening to, associated with what is profane. Timothy was warned against such. 1 Tim. 4:7.
A declaration of 'woe' on man is frequently found in scripture. It is especially pronounced on those who have had privileges and have not answered to them. In the Prophets there are many woes against Israel and Judah, and also against the nations which had to do with Israel. The Lord when on earth pronounced woes upon those who should have been the leaders of His people. The Revelation shows that God's 'woes' will fall with mighty power on those denounced. Rev. 18:13; etc.
'Woe be to the day.' Ezek. 30:2. From the Anglo-Saxon weorthan, 'to be, become.'
The well-known animal, described in scripture as 'ravening,' and seeking its prey in the evening. They are very destructive among the sheep, worrying and destroying more than they can eat. This makes the wolf a fit emblem of the wicked, who molest the sheep and lambs of God's flock, and even creep in among them. How great will be the change in the millennium is denoted, among other things, by the wolf and the lamb dwelling together. Gen. 49:27; Isa. 11:6; Isa. 65:25; Jer. 5:6; Ezek. 22:27; Hab. 1:8; Zeph. 3:3; Matt. 7:15; Matt. 10:16; Luke 10:3; John 10:12; Acts 20:29. The Hebrew is zeeb, Arabic dhib, the common Canis lupus.
It is evident from scripture that women were anciently held in much more honour and esteem in Eastern countries than they are now. Solomon, speaking of women, said that such as his soul sought for he did not find one in a thousand. Ecc. 7:28. This tells of fallen human nature; but the true thought of woman is that she is the glory of the man, his true helpmeet. This is fulfilled in the relationship of the church to Christ.
In the N.T. the true place of the woman in subjection to the man is plainly stated, as indicated in creation; and in the assembly the woman is to be silent, and not to teach. Her bearing and deportment are expressive of what she learns as taught of Christ. 1 Cor. 11:3-15; 1 Cor. 14:34, 35; 1 Tim. 2:11. 12. Nevertheless women were greatly honoured in ministering to the Lord, and are accredited as helping on the work of the Lord in the gospel and among the saints. Luke 8:2, 3; Luke 23:27, 55, 56; Rom. 16:1, 3, 6; Phil. 4:2, 3; 2 John 1, 10.
The fleece of sheep and other animals. That of sheep was used for weaving into cloth, and is generally referred to as 'wool.' In the figurative language of Isa. 1:18 undyed wool represents the state resulting from the removal of sin by Jehovah from His people; the sin being compared to that which had been dyed crimson. The law forbade the wearing of a garment made of linen and wool: it was an unnatural mixture, figurative of the working of the Spirit and the flesh in a Christian. Lev. 19:19; Deut. 22:11.
A designation of the Lord Jesus, employed by John in the opening of his gospel, and mentioned in Luke 1:2. The word is λόγος, which occurs constantly in the N.T. and is translated 'word, saying, speech,' etc. In John 1 it is 'the Word who is in view,' and what is stated asserts clearly three things concerning the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
1. His eternal existence: "in the beginning was the Word;" "all things were made by him."
2. His true deity: "the Word was God."
3. His distinct personality: "the Word was with God."
As the Word, the Lord Jesus is the substance and expression of the mind of God in regard of man; and the term covers what He was on earth for man — life, light, and love. See also Rev. 19:13.
It has been said that λόγος presents "the intelligent and the intelligible." The same Greek (translated 'the word') is used to express the scriptures and the truth preached. Acts 16:6; Acts 17:11; Gal. 6:6; Phil. 1:14; 1 Thess. 1:6; 1 Peter 2:2, 8; 1 Peter 3:1; 2 Peter 3:7; 1 John 2:7; Rev. 3:8.
These are activities, divine or human, which may proceed from good or evil. We read of 'dead works': acts of mere ceremony, and the religious efforts of the flesh (the flesh profiteth nothing). Heb. 6:1; Heb. 9:14. These stand in contrast to 'works of faith,' which are the expression of life by the operation of the Holy Spirit. Heb. 11. The works of the flesh are detailed in Gal. 5:19-21.
Man is justified by faith apart from the 'works of the law' (Rom. 3:20; Gal. 2:16), but real faith will produce 'good works,' and these can be seen of men, though the faith itself be invisible. James 2:14-26.
The Lord Jesus when on earth declared that His works gave evidence that He was Son of God, and had been sent by the Father, and that the Father was in Him, and He in the Father. John 9:4; John 10:37, 38; John 14:11.
When the Jews were persecuting Christ because He had healed a man on the Sabbath day, He said, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." John 5:17. God had rested from His works of creation on the seventh day, but sin had come in, and in the O.T. allusions are frequent as to the activity of Jehovah for the spiritual blessing of man.
The apostle Paul, in writing to Titus, insists strongly on good works, that Christianity might not be unfruitful.
Every one will have to give an account of himself to God, Rom. 14:12; and the wicked dead will be raised and judged according to their works. Rev. 20:12, 13.
The word commonly so rendered in the O.T. is tebel, signifying 'the habitable earth:' it is an expression of limited bearing, applied to that sphere which comes more directly under divine dealings. Ps. 90:2; and to the inhabitants, who will be judged. Ps. 9:8. The word in the N.T. answering to the above, is οἰκουμένη: its various applications can be seen in Luke 2:1; Acts 11:28; Acts 17:6, 31; Acts 19:27; Heb. 2:5. In the last passage it is the coming world, that is, that which is put under the Son of Man, that is spoken of.
In the N.T. κόσμος is the more general word, which in Greek writers signifies 'order, regularity, ornament'; it is translated 'adorning' in 1 Peter 3:3. The heaven and the earth, because of their order and beauty, are called cosmos, 'the world.' This word is employed for 'world ' in its various meanings, as for instance the material earth, Rom. 1:20; the inhabitants of the world that will be judged, Rom. 3:6; and in a moral sense as the condition and spirit which is opposed to God. 1 Cor. 2:12; James 4:4; 1 John 2:16.
Another word, αἰών, 'age, duration,' is applied both to the present age, the course of this world, and to age-enduring, or eternity, Rom. 12:2; Gal. 1:4; Eph. 1:21; Eph. 6:12. With a preposition it is translated 'for ever,' and when the word is repeated, 'for ever and ever,' or 'to the ages of ages.' 2 Cor. 9:9; Gal. 1:5; Phil. 4:20; 1 Tim. 1:17, etc. In two passages this word refers to the material worlds. Heb. 1:2; Heb. 11:3.
World to Come.
The word translated 'world' in the following passages is αἰών (see WORLD): it may therefore be rendered 'the age to come.' The Lord declared that the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost of attributing His miracles to the power of Satan, should not be forgiven in the present age, nor in the age to come. Matt. 12:32. He also promised that those who gave up property or earthly relations for the sake of the kingdom of God, should, beside present blessing, have eternal life in the age to come. Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30. Christ has been exalted above every name named in this world or in the world to come. Eph. 1:21. In Heb. 6:5 Paul speaks of some who had tasted of the powers of the age to come, doubtless alluding to miracles.
The word in Heb. 2:5 is οἰκουμένη, 'habitable earth.' The habitable earth to come is not put in subjection to angels, but to the Son of man.
The 'present age' was well understood by the Jews to be in contrast to that age which should be introduced by the Messiah. Saints in O.T. times looked forward to this, as for example Abraham. John 8:66; Rom. 4:13; Heb. 11:10. Christians are able by faith to enjoy even now the blessings of that coming age, when the Lord with universal sway will establish His kingdom on earth, and have everything under His administration. Cf. Rom. 14:17. Every moral question will be settled then. The world to come will usher in eternity. 1 Cor. 15:24, 28.
The worm is used symbolically to show the extreme feebleness of man. Job 17:14; Job 25:6. In blessing Israel Jehovah said, "Fear not, thou worm Jacob," Isa. 41:14; and the Lord, to indicate the low estate in which He was, said, "I am a worm and no man." Ps. 22:6. In the grave man's body becomes the companion of worms, if they do not actually feed upon it. Job 21:26; Job 24:20; Isa. 14:11. Of the eternal punishment of the wicked it is recorded "their worm dieth not." Mark 9:44, 46, 48; cf. Isa. 66:24. Herod Agrippa, being smitten by an angel, was literally 'eaten of worms.' Acts 12:23. In Job 25:6 man is compared to a worm — literally 'a maggot' — an apt figure of moral corruption.
laanah, ἄψινθος. This occurs in scripture only in a metaphorical sense. Turning to idolatry is compared to being a root that beareth gall and wormwood. Deut. 29:18. Some turned 'judgement to wormwood,' probably alluding to the unrighteous judges. Amos 5:7. Because of the wickedness of His people, God said He would feed them with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink. Jer. 9:15; Jer. 23:15. Jeremiah, in lamenting over the condition of Israel, compared it to being drunk with wormwood. Lam. 3:15, 19. On the sounding of the third trumpet in the Revelation, a star named Wormwood fell from heaven, and the third part of the waters were turned to wormwood, of which many men died: the moral sources of life will become destructive. Rev. 8:10, 11. There are several species in Palestine: the Artemisia absinthium and A. chinensis are the wormwood of commerce.
The worship of God has been described as 'the honour and adoration which are rendered to Him by reason of what He is in Himself, and what He is to those who render it.' It is pre-supposed that the worshipper has some relation with God, and that the order of service or worship is prescribed. The Israelites had been redeemed out of Egypt by God, and thus as a ransomed people could draw near to His appointed place to worship according to His order. The Psalmist could say, "O come let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation . . . . for the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods . . . . O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand." Ps. 95:1-7.
The worshippers could not enter God's sanctuary in O.T. times: their place of approach was its outer courts; and even the priests, except once a year, went no further than the holy place. All this is now changed: redemption has been wrought, the veil has been rent from top to bottom, God has come out, and worshippers, as priests, have boldness for entrance to the holiest. God has been revealed in the counsels of His love as Father, and the Holy Spirit has been given. The language of the Psalms therefore is hardly fitting for Christian worship, because of the nearness into which the believer is brought. In the millennium the people will not have access in the same sense: the true figure for the Christian attitude is that of the priest, not that of the people.
They that worship God must worship Him in spirit and in truth, and the Father seeketh such to worship Him. John 4:24. They delight in what He is: they "joy in God," and they love Him. To worship 'in spirit' is to worship according to the true nature of God, and in the power of that communion which the Holy Spirit gives. It thus stands in contrast to worship consisting in forms and ceremonies, and to the religiousness of which the flesh is capable. To worship 'in truth' is to worship God according to the revelation which He has been pleased to give of Himself. It would not therefore now be worshipping God 'in truth' to worship Him simply as 'a great God,' 'our Maker,' and 'a great King above all gods,' as in Psalm 95; for He has been pleased to reveal Himself in another light, even as 'Father' to those who are His. They enter into His presence in the spirit of sonship, and in the sense of the love which has given them a place before Him in Christ, as sons according to His good pleasure: the sense of this love, and of the good pleasure of God in having us before Him in Christ, is the spring of worship. The Father and the Son are known, the Father's will is that the Son should be honoured as revealing the fountain of love, and the Son leading the hearts of the many sons into the Father's love. Worship is thus distinguished from ascriptions of praise and thanksgiving: it is the homage of love. Rom. 8:15.
The wrath of God against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men is plainly declared in scripture, and will surely fall upon the children of disobedience. Rom. 1:18; Col. 3:6. The fierceness of that wrath is spoken of. Rev. 16:19. How vain then for the false teachers to speak only of the love of God, and to say that because 'God is love' there will be mercy for all eventually. There is grace for all now, but there is as surely a day of wrath coming, for God is righteous.
For the wrestling of Jacob with 'a man' see JACOB. The conflict of the Christian is compared to wrestling: it is not with flesh and blood, but is against principalities, powers, and the rulers of the darkness of this age; against spiritual wickedness in the heavenlies. For this the whole armour of God is needed. All this phalanx of evil is against Christians, first to prevent them from keeping the place that God has given to them in grace, and then from fighting the Lord's battles in the absence of the Lord Himself, both in the spread of the gospel in its heavenly character, the maintenance of the truth connected with a glorified Christ, and the perfecting of His saints. Eph. 6:11, 12.
The earliest intimation of writing in scripture is when Amalek was defeated, and it is significant that the first thing Moses was instructed to write, as far as is revealed, should be respecting judgement upon Amalek, an enemy of God's people: his remembrance was to be utterly put out from under heaven. Ex. 17:14. This incident took place some 2500 years after the creation of Adam and we cannot suppose that there had not been writing before this. Moses was "learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians," and writing is found in or on all their ancient monuments.
Hales puts the date of Menes, the first king of Egypt, B.C. 2412, but even this is more than 1500 years from the creation. God created an intelligent man, and may have instructed him in the art of writing, as He surely also gave him a language by which He could Himself hold intercourse with him.
God brought the animal creation to Adam that he might name them and in them he had before him forms far more numerous than were needed for an alphabet, such as was adopted by the Egyptians long after. The Hebrew letters were originally symbolical, as some of their names infer: as aleph, an ox beth, a house; gimel, a camel; etc. For the earliest Egyptian letters derived from nature see the table below.
The Aztecs, who preceded the Mexicans, were able to record their laws, their ritual, and a complete system of chronology, etc. A Mexican MS looks like a collection of pictures, each a separate study. The Chinese, who profess to have had the art of writing from time immemorial, with endless genealogies, have kept their records in their 80,000 symbolical characters, to which there are 214 radical keys.
The history and book of Job is judged to have been quite early, and he speaks not only of writing, but of a book: "Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!" Job 19:23, 24. This refers to his words being engraved on a rock and filled in with lead.
Engraving on stones was practised in ancient Egypt, a specimen of which may be seen on Cleopatra's Needle in London, on the banks of the Thames. Ancient engraving on stone has rendered service in modern times, as in the Rosetta Stone, the writing of which, being in Egyptian and Greek, gave the first key to the deciphering of Egyptian hieroglyphics. See also under MOAB, respecting the Moabite Stone.
In the Sinai peninsula there are many inscriptions cut in the rocks, which have never yet been satisfactorily explained. Some of them have been taken to be of Israelitish origin when Israel 'wandered' in those parts; others judge them to be simply the greetings and names of travellers; and others are of the opinion that Christian pilgrims wrote them, while some believe them to be of an earlier date than this and assign them to Pagan pilgrims to Serbal. Many of the inscriptions are in an Arabic dialect, but interspersed with rude engravings of horses, asses, dogs, and ibexes.
As already intimated, the Israelites may in the first instance have had a system of hieroglyphics, by means of which they (as did the Egyptians and others) recorded all necessary things. All existing alphabets have been traced by Gesenius to the Phoenician, thus:-
It is generally stated that the Phoenician alphabet was derived from the Egyptian Hieratic. From the Phoenician is traced the ancient Hebrew, thence the Samaritan, and thence the modern square Hebrew, as shown in the accompanying table.
The connection however between the Egyptian and the Phoenician alphabets is doubted by some. Dr. Poole, in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, judges that if the latter had been derived from the former, their names would have described the original signs: whereas Aleph signifies an ox, not an eagle; Beth a house, not a bird; Gimel a camel, not a basket; and so on, as far as it is known, to the end.
It may be noticed that God Himself wrote the Ten Commandments on the stones that He gave to Moses, and He may have given the ancient Hebrew characters. It will be found that the whole Hebrew alphabet, except teth, is in those 'ten words.'
Writing was needed on other substances besides stones. When a man put away his wife he had to give her a"bill of divorcement." Deut. 24:1. Papyrus was early used as paper, but being very fragile, it gave place to parchment and vellum, being written on with reeds. It is on the two latter that nearly all the ancient MSS of the scriptures have been preserved to this day. But the skins were expensive and could not be always obtained, which resulted in some of the copies of the New Testament being rubbed out, and something of much less importance being written on the same surface, as in the specimen here given. To enable such erased writing to be read, chemical means have to be resorted to. Such copies are called Palimpsests 'rubbed a second time,' or Rescripts.
This is part of the Codex Nitriensis, which contains large portions of Luke's Gospel, and dates from the sixth century. The original leaves have been folded in half, and then written over in Syriac (by Severus of Antioch against Grammaticus) in the ninth or tenth century. The specimen gives a portion of Luke 20:9, 10.
Writing is such an abstruse thing that no barbarous people has been known to commence any system of writing before seeing specimens of this wonderful art. It is well known that a missionary once wrote on a piece of wood the name of a tool that he needed, and handed it to a chief, asking him to take it to his wife. He asked what he was to say. He was to say nothing; only take the wood. He took it and was amazed when the missionary's wife threw the wood away and gave him the tool. It was entirely beyond his comprehension that the marks on the piece of wood could convey a message. It was altogether a deep mystery: he hung the piece of wood round his neck, and could often be seen telling the wonderful thing it had done.
Yet we are so familiar with writing that we think it no mystery at all; still there are hidden intricacies in it. Our thoughts have to be expressed in words, our words are composed of letters; each of those letters has a distinct sound; and each sound needs some character to represent that sound, which must call forth the same sound, and rapidly form those sounds into words which again convey to the one who reads exactly the same thoughts that were passing through the mind of the writer. Is there no work of God in that?
Again, writing expresses decision and purpose. We may have many thoughts pass through our minds in a day, but none may need or deserve to be written. "It is written" implies a decision one has arrived at as an individual; or what has been recorded as an Act of Parliament; or much higher still, what God has been pleased to cause to be written as His revealed will in the holy writings, for which man can never be too grateful.
Mentioned in the A.V. only in 1 Kings 10:28 and 2 Chr. 1:16, as being brought out of Egypt; but as 'horses' are mentioned just before and just after, it is improbable that 'linen yarn' is intended. The Masoretic punctuation makes the above two passages different from any other occurrences. Many Jewish interpreters translate "a web," and the LXX, Vul., Syr., and Arab. versions treat it as a proper name. The passage as translated in the R.V. — similarly to what it had been previously translated by others — reads "And the horses which Solomon had were brought out of Egypt; and the king's merchants received them 'in droves,' each 'drove' at a price." This is no doubt the best translation. The Hebrew word is miqve, or miqveh.
Under the word MONTHS it has been stated that the Jews reckoned the months to consist alternately of twenty-nine and thirty days, being therefore in twelve months eleven and a quarter days short of the year. To remedy this an additional month was added about every three years. In the various data given for the last half of the last of Daniel's Seventy Weeks, it will be seen that all the months are reckoned as having thirty days; thus 'a time, times, and a half' in Dan. 12:7 and Rev. 12:14 point out three and a half years: this period is again called forty two months in Rev. 11:2; Rev. 13:5; and again twelve hundred and sixty days in Rev. 11:3; Rev. 12:6. The prophetic year may therefore be called three hundred and sixty days. See MONTHS and SEASONS.
The word yesterday is used for the previous day, Ex. 5:14; John 4:52; Acts 7:28; and for past time indefinitely, as "a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday;" and as when the Lord Jesus is said to be "the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever." Ps. 90:4; Heb. 13:8. It is used also as if of 'no duration,' as "we are but of yesterday." Job 8:9. Yesternight is the same as would now be called 'last night.' Gen. 19:34; Gen. 31:29, 42.
The harness that secures an animal to a cart or plough; and the beam to which two animals are fastened for any purpose of labour; it is also used to denote the number two, as 'a yoke of oxen.' 1 Sam. 11:7. It is employed as a symbol of servitude and slavery. Jer. 28:2-14; 1 Tim. 6:1. Also of the grievous bondage of being under the law. Acts 15:10; Gal. 5:1. The Lord Jesus invites the believer to take His yoke upon him, and to learn of Him; that is, giving up self-will, to be in submission to the will of God, content to be in the lowest place; and such will find rest to their souls. His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. Matt. 11:29, 30.
Instead of 'the Plain of Zaanaim' it is more accurately translated the 'oak of Zaanaim.' Judges 4:11. It is the same place as ZAANANNIM in Joshua 19:33. It is only known as being somewhere near Kadesh in Naphtali.
City in the lowlands of Judah. Micah 1:11. Probably the same as ZENAN in Joshua 15:37. Not identified.
Son of Ezer, a descendant of Seir. Gen. 36:27. Called ZAVAN in 1 Chr. 1:42.
1. Son of Nathan, a descendant of Judah. 1 Chr. 2:36, 37.
2. Son of Tahath, an Ephraimite. 1 Chr. 7:21.
3. Son of Ahlai and one of David's mighty men. 1 Chr. 11:41.
4. Son of Shimeath, an Ammonitess: he assisted in slaying Joash, king of Judah. 2 Chr. 24:26. He is called JOZACHAR in 2 Kings 12:21.
5, 6, 7. Three who had married strange wives. Ezra 10:27, 33, 43.
1. One who had married a strange wife. Ezra 10:28.
2. Father of Baruch, who earnestly helped to repair the wall of Jerusalem. Neh. 3:20.
Son of Bigvai: he returned from exile. Ezra 8:14.
1. Son of Zerah and ancestor of Achan. Joshua 7:1, 17, 18.
2. Son of Shimhi, a Benjamite. 1 Chr. 8:19.
3. 'The Shiphmite,' overseer of David's wine stores. 1 Chr. 27:27.
4. A Levite, son of Asaph the minstrel. Neh. 11:17. Apparently the same as ZACCUR in Neh. 12:35 and ZICHRI in 1 Chr. 9:15.
1. Father of Jashobeam, one of David's captains. 1 Chr. 27:2.
2. 'Son of one of the great men,' and overseer of the priests in Jerusalem. Neh. 11:14.
Son of Nathan, and 'principal officer and friend of Solomon.' 1 Kings 4:5.
Ancestor of some who returned from exile. Ezra 2:9; Neh. 7:14.
A chief of the tax-collectors, who, in his anxiety to see Jesus, climbed a tree; he was agreeably surprised to hear that Jesus wished to abide at his house. On being called a sinner, Zacchaeus said "The half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore fourfold," showing apparently that he had a tender conscience and a generous heart; but the Lord declared that He had brought salvation to the house; for though a tax-gatherer, he was a son of Abraham. Luke 19:1-10.
Son of Hamuel a Simeonite. 1 Chr. 4:26.
1. A Reubenite, father of Shammua. Num. 13:4.
2. Son of Jaaziah, a Merarite. 1 Chr. 24:27.
3. Son of Asaph: he and his sons were among the singers. 1 Chr. 25:2, 10; Neh. 12:35. See ZABDI No. 4.
4. Son of Imri: he helped to repair the wall of Jerusalem. Neh. 3:2.
5. A Levite who sealed the covenant. Neh. 10:12.
6. Son of Mattaniah, a Levite. Neh. 13:13.
1. Son and successor of Jeroboam 2, king of Israel. He reigned only six months in B.C. 773. Apparently there was an interregnum of eleven years before he reigned. He did that which was evil before the Lord. He was the fourth in the dynasty of Jehu, and this, according to the word of the Lord, was to be the extent of that house. It was then cut off by Shallum, who smote Zachariah, and reigned in his stead. 2 Kings 14:29; 2 Kings 15:8-12.
2. Father of Abi, or Abijah, wife of Ahaz, king of Judah. 2 Kings 18:2. He is called ZECHARIAH in 2 Chr. 29:1.
1. Son of Barachias, who was slain between the temple and the altar. Matt. 23:35; Luke 11:51. This probably refers to Zecharias the son of Jehoiada, who was thus slain by order of the king. 2 Chr. 24:20-22; 'son' in one of the places may signify 'grandson.' As the Book of Chronicles closes the Hebrew Bible, this assassination of a righteous man may well be deemed the last as that of Abel was the first.
2. Priest of the course of Abia, and father of John the Baptist. Because of his unbelief he was dumb until the child was born. When his son was circumcised, his voice was restored, and being full of the Holy Ghost he praised God and prophesied. His friends proposed the same name for his son; but he objected, and the babe was named John, as directed by the angel. Luke 1.
Son of Jehiel and father or founder of Gibeon. 1 Chr. 8:31. Called ZECHARIAH in 1 Chr. 9:37; cf. 1 Chr. 9:35.
1. Son of Ahitub, of the house of Eleazar. He was priest in the reign of David, and though Abiathar was called high priest, at times Zadok is named before him. Abiathar was set aside by Solomon, and Zadok became high priest. 2 Sam. 8:17; 2 Sam. 15:24-36; 2 Sam. 17:15; 2 Sam. 18:19-27; 2 Sam. 19:11; 2 Sam. 20:25; 1 Kings 1:8-45; 1 Kings 2:35; 1 Kings 4:2, 4; 1 Chr. 6:8, 53, etc.; Ezek. 40:46; Ezek. 43:19; Ezek. 44:15; Ezek. 48:11.
2. Son of another Ahitub, a priest. 1 Chr. 6:12; Ezra 7:2.
3. Father of Jerusha, or Jerushah, wife of Uzziah king of Judah. 2 Kings 15:33; 2 Chr. 27:1.
4. A descendant of Levi and a man of valour who joined David at Hebron. 1 Chr. 12:28.
5, 6. Son of Baana, and son of Immer: they helped to repair the wall of Jerusalem. Neh. 3:4, 29.
7. One who sealed the covenant. Neh. 10:21.
8. Son of Meraioth, a priest. 1 Chr. 9:11; Neh. 11:11. This may be the same as No. 1 or 2.
9. A scribe who was made one of the treasurers for the Lord's house. Neh. 13:13.
Son of Rehoboam. 2 Chr. 11:19.
Place in Edom where Joram attacked the Edomites. 2 Kings 8:21; cf. 2 Chr. 21:9. Not identified.
Father of Hanun who helped to repair the wall of Jerusalem. Neh. 3:30.
An Ahobite, one of David's mighty men. 2 Sam. 23:28. Apparently called ILAI in 1 Chr. 11:29.
Place near Shechem from whence Abimelech brought boughs of trees with which he destroyed the Shechemites by fire. Judges 9:48. Not identified. The Hebrew is the same as SALMON in Ps. 68:14.
One of the halting places of the Israelites, Num. 33:41, 42.
One of the two Midianite kings who were defeated and slain by Gideon. Judges 8:5-21; Ps. 83:11.
1. City in Judah. Joshua 15:34; Neh. 3:13; Neh. 11:30. Identified with ruins at Zanua, 31 43' N, 35 E.
2. City in the highlands of Judah. Joshua 15:56. Identified with ruins at Zanuta, 31 22' N, 34 59' E.
3. Son of Jekuthiel. 1 Chr. 4:18. The Rabbis interpret "Jekuthiel was chief of Zanoach," referring to No. 2.
Name given to Joseph by Pharaoh. Gen. 41:45. The learned Jews translate it as a Hebrew name, 'Revealer of secrets,' as in the margin of the A.V.; but as an Egyptian name, which it is, it has been interpreted 'Prince of the life of the world.' In the LXX the name stands Ψονθομφανήχ an equivalent to the Coptic Psotempheneh, which has been thus explained: p represents the article; sote is 'saviour,' m is sign of the genitive case; ph the article; and eneh is 'world.' 'The saviour of the world.' The two latter meanings suit Joseph well, as being a type of Christ.
City in Gad. Joshua 13:27. Identified with ruins at el Hammeh, 32 42' N, 35 40' E.
Zara, [Za'ra] Zarah, [Za'rah] Zerah. [Ze'rah]
Son of Judah and Tamar. Gen. 38:30; Gen. 46:12; Num. 26:20; Joshua 7:1, 18, 24; Joshua 22:20; 1 Chr. 2:4, 6; 1 Chr. 9:6; Neh. 11:24, Matt. 1:3.
Zared, [Za'red] Zered. [Ze'red]
Valley in which the Israelites encamped at nearly the end of their wanderings. Num. 21:12; Deut. 2:13, 14. Identified with the Wady el Hessi, which runs into the Salt Sea at its extreme south, and bears other names in its long course.
City belonging to Zidon, where Elijah stayed with a widow during part of a time of drought and famine, being sustained by the miraculous increase of the widow's meal and oil. 1 Kings 17:9, 10; Oba. 20. Called SAREPTA in Luke 4:26. Identified with Sarafend, 33 27' N, 35 18' E.
Zaretan, [Zar'etan] Zarthan. [Zar'than]
Place in the Jordan valley, apparently near Succoth. Joshua 3:16; 1 Kings 7:46. The Hebrew is the same as ZARTANAH. The place is possibly the same as ZEREDATHAH. Not identified.
City in Reuben. Joshua 13:19. Identified with Zara, 31 36' N, 35 35' E.
1. Family of Zerah, a Simeonite. Num. 26:13.
2. Family of Zarah, or Zerah, son of Judah. Num. 26:20; Joshua 7:17; 1 Chr. 27:11, 13.
Place named to define the position of Beth-shean. 1 Kings 4:12. Not identified.
One who sealed the covenant. Neh. 10:14. The Hebrew is the same as ZATTU.
Ancestor of some who returned from exile. Ezra 2:8; Neh. 7:13. Several of the family married strange wives. Ezra 10:27.
Son of Jonathan, a son of Jada. 1 Chr. 2:33.
1. Son of Beriah, a Benjamite. 1 Chr. 8:15.
2. Son of Elpaal, a Benjamite. 1 Chr. 8:17.
3. A warrior who joined David at Ziklag. 1 Chr. 12:7.
4. Son of Meshelemiah, a Korhite. 1 Chr. 26:2.
5. Son of Asahel, the brother of Joab. 1 Chr. 27:7.
6. Levite sent by Jehoshaphat to teach the people. 2 Chr. 17:8.
7. Son of Ishmael of the house of Judah, and one of Jehoshaphat's rulers 'for all the king's matters.' 2 Chr. 19:11.
8. Son of Michael: he returned from exile. Ezra 8:8.
9. Priest who had married a strange wife. Ezra 10:20.
One of the two Midianite kings who were defeated and slain by Gideon. Judges 8:5-21; Ps. 83:11.
Place to which Pochereth, a servant of Solomon, belonged. Ezra 2:57; Neh. 7:59. The R.V. has 'Pochereth-hazzebaim.' It is probably the same as ZEBOIM, ZEBOIIM.
Father of James and John, two of the apostles of the Lord, but only mentioned as such. Zebedee was probably the husband of Salome (comp. Matt. 27:56 with Mark 15:40.) Matt. 4:21; Matt. 10:2; Mark 1:19, 20; Luke 5:10; John 21:2; etc.
One who had married a strange wife. Ezra 10:43.
Zeboim, [Zebo'im] Zeboiim. [Zeboi'im]
One of the five 'cities of the plain' destroyed with Sodom and Gomorrah. Gen. 10:19; Gen. 14:2, 8; Deut. 29:23; Hos. 11:8. Not identified.
Zeboim, [Zebo'im] Valley of.
Place apparently in the vicinity of Michmash. 1 Sam. 13:18; Neh. 11:34.
Daughter of Pedaiah and wife of Josiah. 2 Kings 23:36.
Governor of Shechem for Abimelech while the latter was absent. Judges 9:28-41.
Zebulonites, [Zeb'ulonites] Zebulunites. [Zeb'ulunites]
Descendants of Zebulun. Num. 26:27; Judges 12:11, 12.
The tenth son of Jacob and the youngest son of Leah: father of the tribe bearing his name. He entered Egypt with his three sons, but of himself personally nothing is recorded. At the Exodus those numbered of the tribe were 57,400, and at the entrance into the land there were 60,500. Jacob, when he foretold what should befall his sons in the last days, said, "Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea, and he shall be for an haven of ships, and his border shall be unto Zidon," Gen. 49:13; Zebulun is thus representative of Israel having intercourse with the Gentiles for profit. Moses blessed the tribes thus, "Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out"; and then, classing him with Issachar, said, "They shall call the people unto the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness: for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand." Deut. 33:18, 19.
This tribe, like others, did not drive out all the old inhabitants from their possession, but made them tributary. Judges 1:30. In Barak's conflict with Sisera they fought bravely and 'jeoparded their lives.' Elon the judge was of this tribe. Judges 4:6; Judges 5:18; Judges 12:11, 12. Of those who rallied round David on the death of Saul were 50,000 of this tribe, expert in war, who could keep rank, not of double heart. 1 Chr. 12:33. And when Hezekiah invited all the tribes to come to Jerusalem to keep the Passover, 'divers' of Zebulun humbled themselves and responded to the call. 2 Chr. 30:11.
Their lot fell towards the north, its centre being about 32 45' N, 35 20' E[?]; and though it did not extend either to the Mediterranean or the Sea of Galilee, they may have pushed forward to both seas. Jacob spoke of their reaching unto Zidon, and the Evangelist says, "Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast [Sea of Galilee], in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim." Called ZABULON in Matt. 4:13, 15; Rev. 7:8.
Border city of Asher. Joshua 19:27. Identified by some with Neby Sebelan, 33 1' N, 35 20' E.
1. A chief man among the Reubenites. 1 Chr. 5:7.
2. Son of Meshelemiah, a Korhite. 1 Chr. 9:21; 1 Chr. 26:2, 14.
3. Son of Jehiel, a Benjamite. 1 Chr. 9:37. Called ZACHER in 1 Chr. 8:31.
4. Levite engaged in the service of song. 1 Chr. 15:18, 20; 1 Chr. 16:5.
5. One of the priests in the time of David. 1 Chr. 15:24.
6. Son of Isshiah, a Levite. 1 Chr. 24:25.
7. Son of Hosah, a Merarite. 1 Chr. 26:11.
8. Father of Iddo of the tribe of Manasseh. 1 Chr. 27:21.
9. One of the princes of Judah whom Jehoshaphat sent with priests and Levites to teach the people. 2 Chr. 17:7.
10. Levite, father of Jehaziel. 2 Chr. 20:14.
11. Son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah. 2 Chr. 21:2.
12. Son of Jehoiada the priest: he rebuked the people for their idolatry, and by commandment of the king he was stoned by the people in the court of the temple. 2 Chr. 24:20. He is probably the ZACHARIAS spoken of in Matt. 23:35.
13. One who 'had understanding in the visions of God.' 2 Chr. 26:5.
14. Father of Abijah, wife of Ahaz king of Judah. 2 Chr. 29:1. Called ZACHARIAH in 2 Kings 18:2.
15. Levite, descendant of Asaph. 2 Chr. 29:13.
16. Kohathite, one of the overseers at the repairing of the temple. 2 Chr. 34:12.
17. Prince of Judah, and one of the rulers of the house of God. 2 Chr. 35:8.
18. Son of Berechiah, and one of the 'minor prophets.' Ezra 5:1; Ezra 6:14; Zech. 1:1, 7; Zech. 7:1, 8.
19-21. Three who returned from exile. Ezra 8:3, 11, 16; Neh. 8:4.
22. One who had married a strange wife. Ezra 10:26.
23, 24. Two ancestors of some who dwelt at Jerusalem on the return from exile. Neh. 11:4, 5.
25. Priest, the son of Pashur. Neh. 11:12.
26. Priest, 'of Iddo.' Neh. 12:16.
27. Son of Jonathan, a priest: he assisted in the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem. Neh. 12:35, 41.
28. Son of Jeberechiah, taken by Isaiah as a witness. Isa. 8:2.
Zechariah, Prophecy of.
Nothing personal is revealed concerning the prophet except that he was the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet. The dates mentioned are the eighth and eleventh months of the second year, and the ninth month of the fourth year of Darius, answering to 519 and 517 B.C., Zech. 1:1, 7; Zech. 7:1. Haggai's prophecy was in the second year of the same Persian king, so the two prophets were contemporary, and, according to Ezra 5:1; Ezra 6:14, they both roused and encouraged the Jews to go on with the building of the temple. Zechariah's prophecy is much occupied with the great Gentile kingdoms under which the Jews were placed: there is also much respecting Jerusalem, and it reaches on to the time of the Messiah and His rejection, and to the last days when Israel and Judah shall be blessed in the land.
Zech. 1. The introduction calls upon the people to turn to the Lord: not to be like their fathers who refused to hearken to the warnings, but who when God's punishments had fallen upon them, had been forced to acknowledge the truth of the prophet's words. The point of the chapter is that Jehovah had returned to Jerusalem with mercies, and God's providential ordering of the nations would favour the building of the city. The first vision is in Zech. 1:7-17. A man, the angel of Jehovah, on a red horse (the horse is a symbol of the energy of God's providential government in the earth) stands in the shade among the myrtle trees, and there were other horses, red, speckled, and white, as symbols of God's agency in the government of the earth: cf. Zech. 6:5. "The powers that be are ordained of God" and were used by Him. If the 'red' horse signifies Persia (having the same colour as the horse of the angel, possibly because Persia was at that time ruling and was favouring God's people), doubtless the 'speckled' and the 'white' point to the two nations that were to succeed — the Greek and the Roman. All were under the control of God. Babylon is not seen here: it had received its punishment.
God was angry with the surrounding nations that were at ease when Israel was being punished. The seventy years of indignation (not here the seventy years' captivity, though both periods partially synchronised) had then run their course, and a remnant of the Jews had been in grace restored, as seen in the book of Ezra; but that was only a few drops of the shower of blessing that was to descend upon them.
Zech. 1:18-21 refer to the four kingdoms as horns, so fully prophesied of in Daniel — the Babylonian, the Median and Persian, the Greek, and the Roman. These nations, used as instruments of discipline upon God's people, were to be subdued in due time by God's 'carpenters' or 'artificers.' Notice that Judah and Israel are both mentioned in Zech. 1:19.
Zech. 2. concerns the city and the deliverance of God's elect people, reaching on to the future. Jerusalem is to be measured with the end in view of its being enlarged and inhabited as towns without walls — without limits: Jehovah will be a wall of fire round it, and will be the glory in its midst: cf. Isa. 49:19, 20. "After the glory" of Jehovah has been manifested on the earth (Zech. 2:8), He will send to the nations and make a spoil of them that have spoiled Israel, whom He values as the apple of His eye: cf. Deut. 32:10. Jehovah will dwell in the midst of His people, and many nations will be joined to the Lord: Jerusalem will be His earthly centre. All flesh is to be silent before the Lord, Israel were to know that though He providentially ordered things in the earth, yet that the prophet — a figure of Messiah — was the sent one of Jehovah. It is perfectly clear that nothing answering to this has taken place since the captivity.
Zech. 3. This chapter sets forth the sanctuary and active grace: in order however for Jerusalem to be thus blessed the people must be cleansed. They are represented in Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of Jehovah, Satan standing to resist him. God takes up the defence of His people: Satan is rebuked, the filthy garments are taken away, the iniquity is removed; Joshua is clothed with festive robes, and a pure tiara or diadem is set upon his head: cf. Isa. 62:3. He then is in a position of responsibility: if he is faithful he shall judge Jehovah's house, and have a place in His presence. The restored remnant is blessed, but left under responsibility till the time when Christ will make good God's counsels in the last days. The rest of the chapter refers to those days.
In Zech. 3:8 Joshua is typical of Christ as the branch: cf. Isa. 11:1. Zech. 3:9. A stone is laid before him, also typical of Christ with the full divine intelligence for government: cf. Zech. 4:10 and Rev. 5:6. The iniquity of the land will be taken away in one day, and each shall repose under his own vine and his own fig-tree. Peace shall reign.
Zech. 4:1-3 present symbolically the divine light and order of the future kingdom. Zech. 4:6-10 give the then state of the returned remnant, the Spirit with them, and the providential (not yet direct) government of God for them. Thus the prophet was to assure Zerubbabel that he would be able to finish the house that had been begun (Zech. 4:7): this was also typical of the future: cf. Zech. 6:12. Zech. 4:11-14. The royalty and priesthood of Christ will maintain by the power of the Spirit (golden oil), a perfect display of God's light and glory in connection with Israel. In principle this was to be seen in the remnant returned from Babylon. It will be also in the remnant of the last days: cf. Rev. 11:4.
Zech. 5:1-4. A flying roll brings judgement (according to the holiness of God's sanctuary, 20 × 10) upon the 'land' (rather than the 'earth'), and into the houses of those that sin against God (swearing falsely), and against their neighbour (stealing), that is, the mass of the Jews. Zech. 5:5-11. Their wicked and corrupt state is represented by a woman sitting in an ephah (one of the dry measures) upon which a weight of lead, as if to restrain her, is cast. Subsequently two women (emblematic of commercial covetousness) come forth (doubtless typical of twin forms of the development of evil), and carry it to the land of Shinar, where Babylon, the mother of idolatry, was built, there to build the ephah a house. It doubtless points to the apostasy of the Jews in the last days: its character is Babylonian. Rev. 18:4, 5.
Zech. 6:1-8 introduce the administrative spirits of God's providential government connected with the four Gentile empires as horses: the red (Babylon), the black (Medes and Persians), the white (Greek), and the grisled and bay (Roman), the latter probably having two horses because of the double character of its government, relics of which exist in various forms until revived again before the Lord comes to reign. (Some translate 'strong,' as in the margin, instead of 'bay,' in Zech. 6:3 and Zech. 6:7. The Hebrew is not the same as that translated 'bay' in Zech. 1:8 margin.) These are called "the four spirits of the heavens which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth" (Zech. 6:5), because during the time of the Gentiles these nations are the instruments of God's providential governing power in the earth. The empires run on in some form, notwithstanding their failures, till God by Christ overrules, no longer providentially but in direct government. In Daniel 2:45 it is said that the Stone will break "in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold." More detail as to these powers themselves, and what they accomplish, is given in Daniel. Zech. 6:6 probably refers to the battle of Actium (B.C. 31, the date of the establishment of the Roman empire), and Zech. 6:8 to the fall of Babylon.
Zech. 6:9-15. Christ as the Branch is again introduced. He will build the temple of Jehovah, will sit upon His throne as ruler and priest. He will reign in His Melchisedec character of King and Priest. Apparently the three men mentioned in Zech. 6:10 brought gold and silver on their return from captivity, of which crowns were made for Joshua; and these crowns were hung "for a memorial in the temple of Jehovah." They should know that the prophet had been sent to them, but all depended on their obedience: comp. Zech. 1:2-6.
Zech. 7. From this chapter onward the prophecy has a distinct bearing upon the consciences of the people, the Messiah is introduced, and the consequences of His rejection. The people are challenged as to whether they had been sincere in their fasts during the seventy years: the fast "in the fifth month" was in memory of the destruction of Jerusalem, 2 Kings 25:8; and in the "seventh month" for the murder of Gedaliah. Jer. 41:1, 2. God had scattered them for their sins and because of their refusal of the former prophets.
Zech. 8. God however returns to Zion in grace and in such blessing as will be only fully realised in the millennium. Israel and Judah are both embraced in the blessing, Zech. 8:13. Their fast days should be turned into feasts: the fourth month doubtless refers to the time when Jerusalem was taken, and the tenth month to when the siege began: cf. Jer. 52:4, 6; and Zech. 7:5.
Zech. 9, Zech. 10. Here the 'burden' is announced, God's vengeance that will come upon the nations in order that Israel may have possession of Syria. Zech. 9:3-8 had a partial fulfilment by the instrumentality of Alexander the Great. Zion is called upon to rejoice, for Messiah her King cometh riding upon an ass. This passage is quoted in the Gospels: but it is only cited there as far as was true at that time, omitting the judgements that are to be fulfilled when Christ comes again, and which will result in great prosperity and blessing: the harvest and the vintage shall make them flourish. This is continued in Zech. 10, where again all Judah and Israel are included in the blessing. Hindrances shall be removed, and the pride of their enemies be brought down. They shall be strong in Jehovah and walk in His name.
Zech. 11 treats of the rejection of the Messiah; its commencement is a great contrast to the end of Zech. 10. Here the people are under Gentile rule. The whole flock (nation) is given over to slaughter, and Jehovah takes up their cause, for their own shepherds (scribes, elders, rulers, priests) did not pity them. He raises up the true Shepherd, who feeds the remnant (the poor of the flock).
The two staves represent His authority, as gathering all the nations; unto Him (Gen. 49:10), and binding Judah and Israel together (Ezek. 37:15-28). The stave BEAUTY is cut asunder, and He renounces His covenant with the nations (the peoples in Zech. 11:10): cf. John 12:20-24. It is in Israel He will take possession. The faithless shepherds in Israel are cut off: cf. Matt. 22:15-46, and the poor of the flock have intelligence as to what God is doing. The Messiah is valued at thirty pieces of silver, as related in the Gospels.
The other staff, BANDS, was then broken, and the reunion of Judah and Israel was for the time postponed. The true Shepherd having been refused, Jehovah speaks (Zech. 11:15-17) of the false shepherd, Antichrist, thus passing over unnoticed the whole of the present period, which makes it evident that the church is not alluded to in Zechariah: cf. John 5:43.
Zech. 12. Following the rejection of Christ and the acceptance of Antichrist, this chapter introduces the events concerning Jerusalem in the last days. The nations that molest God's earthly people will find Jerusalem a burden that will crush them. Judah will see and acknowledge that the One they crucified was their true Messiah, and great sorrow will pierce their hearts: comp. Zech. 12:11 with 2 Chr. 35:22-25. Each family will mourn apart and their wives apart: the king (David), the prophet (Nathan), and the priest (Levi), with whom is associated Shimei. Perhaps this should be Simeon as in the LXX, the Syriac, and the Arabic versions, as representing the most cruel: cf. Gen. 49:7; or possibly Shimei, the enemy of David, as representing the basest of the people, may be referred to.
Zech. 13:1-4. A fountain is opened and all is cleansed. All idols and false prophets are banished. Zech. 13:5. Christ's was the humble place of a husbandman, a slave to man, and no humanly accredited prophet. Zech. 13:6. His rejection by 'his own' is evidenced by the wounds in His hands, which He received when among His friends. Zech. 13:7. Jehovah owns Him as His Fellow, but His sword smote Him, and the sheep (the nation) were scattered, while the remnant were blessed. Matt. 26:31. Zech. 13:8, 9. In the last days Judah will be brought into judgement, and a third part, after being refined in the fire, will be owned as God's people, and they will own Jehovah as their God. Israel, as not having been immediately guilty of the death of their Messiah, will be dealt with differently: cf. Ezek. 20:34-38.
Zech. 14 announces the day of the Lord. All nations will be gathered by God against Jerusalem, the city will be taken, the houses rifled, and half the inhabitants go into captivity. Then Jehovah will go forth and fight against those nations. The feet of Jehovah-Jesus shall stand on Mount Olivet, from whence He ascended, and the mount will cleave in two, causing great fear. The latter part of Zech. 14:5 begins a sentence, Jehovah will come with all His saints. Zech. 14:6 is obscure (see margin), and the MSS differ: it may signify, "There shall not be light; the shining [or luminaries] shall be obscured." The next verse shows that it will not be an ordinary day, but light will be at evening time.
Living waters will issue from Jerusalem, part going to the east sea, and part to the west sea; and there will be physical changes in the land. The enemies will be consumed, and Judah will share the spoil. Those of the nations who survive will go up to Jerusalem to worship the king, Jehovah of hosts, or, if they fail thus to worship, they will be punished. "Holiness to the Lord" will be on the bells of the horses, and all in Jerusalem will be sanctified. There will be no 'Canaanite,' or trafficker, in God's house, as there were when the Lord was on earth.
The whole prophecy concerns God's earthly people, and is full of detail with respect to their punishment; their blessing; their Messiah, and their rejection of Him; also their future reception of Him, and His glory in their midst. It will be noticed that Jehovah, and their Messiah (in whatever way prefigured), are often spoken of as one and the same.