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A GLOSSARY OF ANTIQUITIES, CUSTOMS, &c.
ALEPH (A). The first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Psalm cxix. is divided into twenty-two portions, according to the number of Hebrew letters, one of which is prefixed to each portion, the verses in the original beginning with the Hebrew letter which heads the portion in which they are classed.
ALPHA (A). The first letter of the Greek alphabet, of which Omega (long O) is the last. Alpha and Omega are used for "the first and last."
ALTAR. An erection of stones, usually set square, on which sacrifices were burnt. The first mentioned was that built by Abel. God commanded the Hebrew altar to be made of unhewn stones, and without steps. The worshippers of Baal (the sun) built their altars on mountain tops, hence "altars on high places" were an abomination to the Lord. In the Temple at Jerusalem, the altar of burnt sacrifice was outside the Holy Place, in the court in front of it; but the altar of incense stood in the centre of it.
ANATHEMA MARAN-ATHA. "Anathema" is a Greek word denoting a thing or person devoted to God, and, as" all such were put to death, devoted to perdition, accursed. "Maran-atha" is a Syriac expression, meaning "The Lord cometh," or "is come." So the whole phrase means, "accursed (when) the Lord cometh;" or "Maran-atha" stands alone. Compare "The Lord is at hand," Phil. iv. 5.
ANGEL is from the Greek word for a "messenger," and is used sometimes of "ministering spirits" sent by God to men with a message, &c. as in the Old Testament, Gospels, and Acts; sometimes of men so sent, as in the Epistles and Book of Revelation.
APOSTLE is from the Greek, meaning "one who is sent." The word is used of Christ (subordinately of John the Baptist), then of "the twelve," and Paul, all of whom had "seen the Lord," the essential qualification (see Acts i. 21-26). It is also used of men who are called the messengers or "apostles" of the Church (2 Cor. viii. 23; Phil. ii. 25), and finally of men who were of mark among the Apostles (Rom. xvi. 7), either because so called, or because highly esteemed by them.
ARK was a covered chest, or box. The word is also used of a coffin. Three important arks are mentioned, viz.:—
1. Noah's ark, the material of which is unknown (Gopher being untranslated). It was made to float on the water.
2. That in which the infant Moses was hidden by his mother was made of the papyrus of the Nile, covered over with pitch, making it water-tight. It is not an uncommon thing at this day to see an Egyptian mother twist papyrus leaves into such a wicker cradle, pitch it over, cover it with a lid of the same, place her infant in it, and swim across the Nile, pushing the ark with its infant passenger in front of her.
3. The Ark of the Covenant was a chest (not a boat), made of shittim wood overlaid with gold, on the lid of which was placed the golden "mercy-seat," over which two cherubim extended their wings. It was made to preserve the two tables of stone, on which "the Covenant" between God and His people was engraven. It was 2 cubits long, 1½ broad, and 1½ deep. Around its upper edge was a cornice of gold, and it was carried in front of the people on their march by the Leyites, who bore it by means of two poles of shittim wood covered with gold, which were passed through two rings on each side of the ark. In it were also placed, by Divine command, an omer of manna, Aaron's rod which budded, and the books of the Law. On nearing Palestine, the priests carried it into the Jordan, whose stream stood still above them, but flowed on below as long as the ark was in its bed. It was carried daily round Jericho for six days, and seven times on the seventh, when the walls fell down. It accompanied the Israelites to Shechem, where the elders of each tribe laid their hands on it (after the cursings of the Law had been read from Mount Ebal, and the blessings from Gerizim), while all the Congregation swore to observe the Covenant. After the subjugation of the land, it was placed in the tabernacle at Shiloh, till the time of Eli, when it was taken into the camp, and captured by the Philistines, who carried it to Ashdod; placing it in the temple of Dagon, whose image fell down before it and was broken. The plagues of emerods and mice compelled them to send it away at the end of seven months, and it was conveyed by two milch kine in a new cart into the field of Joshua at Beth-shemesh. From thence it was carried to the house of Abinadab at Kirjath-jearim, from whence David tried to fetch it, but on the way Uzzah was struck dead for touching it, and David, fearing to continue the removal, left it in the care of Obed-Edom the Gittite, where it remained three months. David then fetched it up to Mount Zion, and placed it in a tabernacle he had erected, where it continued till Solomon transferred it to his new Temple on Mount Moriah, placing it in the Holy of Holies. At the Captivity it is said to have been buried by Jeremiah the prophet.
ARMOUR was in use in Saul's time. Goliath wore a brazen helmet, a coat of mail (weighing from 80 to 100lbs.), greaves of brass on his legs, and a brazen target between his shoulders. He had also a spear, a shield, and a sword. Ahab was likewise encased in armour.
ARMOUR-BEARER. An attendant upon a warrior of rank, who bore his heavy arms (spear, shield, quiver, &c..
ARMS. The chief offensive weapons were a sword, spear, javelin, dart, bow and arrow's, sling, and dagger. In David's army there was a company of slingers. (For defensive arms, see Armour.)
ART. The Egyptians were skilled in painting and sculpture before the Israelites settled in their country; but a rigid interpretation of Commandment II. excluded the Jews from the culture of these arts, though they excelled in music and poetry. But God Himself authorised some departure from this strict interpretation, by ordering two cherubim of gold to be made for the overshadowing of the mercy-seat in the tabernacle, and the brazen serpent. He also sanctioned the representation of the cherubim 118 worked upon the veil, and the figures of twelve brazen oxen, on which the molten sea rested in Solomon's Temple. Mural paintings and wood-panelling in the decoration of houses; ivory carving on the royal thrones, and for the embellishment of palaces; chasing and embossing of pillars, candelabra, and other ornaments in metal, for adornment of the Temple and houses; embroidery in needlework, the interweaving of patterns and figures in tissue of wool, linen, and silk (for which Damascus was famous); and skill in dyeing (as Tyrian purple, &c., are other evidences of the cultivation of art among the Hebrews and their neighbours.
ARTIFICER. An artist, and skilled workman in designing and executing works of art, especially in the casting, carving, and chasing of metals, carving of wood, and plating it with gold, the setting of precious stones, and designing of embroidered fabrics.
ARTILLERY is used as a general term for all kinds of projectile weapons, e.g. bows and arrows, javelins, darts, &c.
ASCENT. This word is used of a covered way connecting the palace of Solomon with the Temple. It was the private passage of the kings of Judah to the place assigned to them in the house of the Lord.
ASS. The ass was introduced into Palestine by Abraham, where its adaptability to the needs of a mountainous country made it the favourite medium of locomotion. The proverb, "A whip for a horse, a bridle for an ass," shows the estimation in which these two animals were respectively held by the Hebrews. The former was the symbol of the might and oppression of the Egyptian and Canaanite, the latter of the peace and rest of the promised seed; the former was associated with the worship of the sun, the latter was the sacred animal of the servant of Jehovah, protected by special enactments of the Mosaic Law. The large Babylonian ass was that on which kings, judges, and prophets rode; so that the expression, "Ye that ride on white asses," was equivalent to "Ye that sit in judgment" (Judg. v. 10). Hence, when Christ rode into Jerusalem on an ass, He was hailed as the predicted "Son of David." See "Ridgway's Sketches from the East," Art. Bethany.
AVENGER. "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed," was, and still is, the universal law of the Semitic race, and its execution primarily devolved upon the nearest kinsman of the deceased, but extended also to the whole tribe. It overruled every other obligation, even that of hospitality; hence perhaps Jael's murder of Sisera was, according to the views prevalent in that age, justifiable, if not obligatory. The Hebrew code restricted this law by providing "Cities of Refuge," to which the manslayer might flee in cases of "manslaughter," until he had been tried before the Congregation.
BAALISM was the worship of Natural Causes, practised by the Canaanite race, distinguishing them from the Semites, who worshipped a Divine Primary Cause. The creed of the former was, that out of a self-existent chaotic deep sprang spontaneously the heavenly bodies and the earth; that, from the procreative power of the sun, acting upon the fertile womb of the earth, all visible matter was produced: hence, the significance of the abandonment by God of Ahab and his subjects to the sole influence of these natural elements, which resulted in the almost entire destruction of animal and vegetable life. The word "Baal" means Master, Owner, Possessor.
BAND of soldiers. This was the Roman cohort, or part of a legion, consisting nominally of a hundred men under the command of a centurion. It corresponds to our "company," or part of a regiment under a captain. An "Italian band" was composed of soldiers from Italy; but the "Augustan band" consisted of native recruits, whose head-quarters were Cæsarea Augusta (so called in honour of the Emperor Augustus, in whose reign it was rebuilt), which was the centre of the military organization in Palestine.
BARNS. The ancient granaries of Palestine were caves in the limestone rock, entered by an aperture in the ground, carefully concealed by a stone covered with turf or brushwood, to guard the grain from Arab depredators (Judg. vi. 11). Such subterranean caves may still be seen in use on the hill of Jezreel. Barns existed in Egypt in Joseph's time, and in Palestine in that of our Saviour (Luke xii. 18).
BASIN. Many basins are mentioned in the Bible. 1. A hand-basin, used for ablutions; probably the same as that in which the blood of the Paschal lamb was received for sprinkling the door-posts. 2. A covered basin, or tankard, used in the Sanctuary for drink-offerings and libations. 3. The "omer," or common domestic vessel in Egypt for cooking purposes, containing half a peck. 4. A foot-basin, in which our Lord washed the disciples' feet; probably the same as that which is called "washpot" in the Psalms.
BASKET. Baskets were of various kinds and sizes:—1. The Cophinus, reticule, or hand-basket, usually carried on the arm by every Jew (cf. Juvenal, Sat. iii. 14). It was this basket which each Apostle filled with the superfluous fragments after the feeding of the five thousand. 2. A light, open, wicker basket, used for carrying food upon the head. Pharaoh's chief baker carried upon his head several tiers of these, containing white bread and baked meats. Such are commonly represented on Egyptian monuments. 3. A market-basket, such as that in which the lad was hawking the barley loaves and fishes. 4. A larger kind, or store-basket, in which were gathered the fragments after the feeding of the 4,000. 5. A larger and stronger kind, used for hoisting supplies up to the battlements of a besieged city. It was in one of these that Paul was lowered down from the walls of Damascus.
BATH. Bathing was a luxury, or rather a necessity, in the hot climate of Egypt, and also in Babylonia; but amongst the Hebrews it was practised mainly as a religious ceremonial, for removal of Levitical pollution, or as the symbol of repentance; from whence arose the Ordinance of Baptism, which was the prescribed form for the admission of women proselytes into covenant with God in the Jewish Church.
BED. The word bed, wherever used in the Bible, must be understood to refer only to the mattress on which people slept. It was much thinner than anything we know under that name, and rather resembled a very thick quilt, which was rolled up and taken away during the day, and only spread at night, in no fixed place, but at the will of the sleeper, generally in the open air, on the housetop, protected from the summer sun by boughs of trees. These open-air bedrooms may be constantly seen in Palestine at the present day. It was one of these little mattresses which our Lord bade the paralytic man roll up and carry to his home. It is the universal custom for the natives of Syria and adjacent countries to sleep on mattresses, spread upon the floor, and covered by a thick counterpane, the under sheet being tacked to 119 the former, and the upper to the latter; but the poorest classes lie upon loose straw, their covering being the camel's-hair coat worn by day. Bedsteads of any kind are wholly unknown.
BOOKS. Hebrew books were anciently written upon whole skins of parchment, and sometimes of leather; but in Egypt on papyrus. At first they were written in whole lines the breadth of the skin, but subsequently the parchment was cut into strips and divided into pages, but only written upon on one side. Each end was attached to a roller, with handles which were rolled inwards towards one another. The book commenced on the right side, and as each page was read, the reader rolled it round the roller in his right hand, at the same time unrolling a fresh page from that in his left. This was called "a roll of a book," and each book of the Bible formed a separate roll, which, when not in use, was carefully put away in a metal cylinder.
BOTTLE. Bottles were made of goatskin, which was stripped from the animal without cutting it (open after the head and feet had been removed). The inside of the skin was then dressed with tannin; the apertures at the legs and tail were firmly tied, and the skin filled with a decoction of bark and water until saturated. When used for wine, the skins were hung up in the houses, and so became smoked and shrivelled; hence the Psalmist's simile, "Like a bottle in the smoke." They were mended by stitching on a patch, and covering it over with pitch. They are still extensively manufactured at Hebron, and are used by the vendors of water and wine at Jerusalem, who carry them strapped to their backs, and draw the liquid from a tap fixed in one of the hind legs.
BRACELET. Bracelets for the arms and anklets for the legs were commonly worn by Eastern married women of all ranks, and were regarded as an eligible mode of investing money, since they could not be taken for the debts of the husband. They were usually cable-like rings, with an opening through which the wrist could be slipped; but the higher classes wore bracelets formed like broad bands, richly chased, jointed and closed by a pin passing through sockets. The anklets were similar in form, but freqtiently adorned with little bells. Both are still common in the East, with scarcely any variation in the patterns; and are of gold, silver, brass, and coloured glass, the last being extensively manufactured at Hebron. Those worn by the Hebrews were never jewelled; but men seem to have used bracelets as well as women (2 Sam. i. 10).
BREAD was mostly in the form of cakes, baked upon the hearth or in the oven; those eaten by the poor were made of barley-meal, with oil instead of butter. They were leavened or unleavened, and kneaded in a trough. Wheaten flour was common in Egypt, but a luxury in Palestine, and was one of the offerings in the Sanctuary. The Congregation were bound to offer fine flour for twelve cakes ("shewbread"), to be placed every Sabbath in two rows on the table of shewbread, which was to be eaten by the priests in the Holy Place.
BREASTPLATE. See Precious Stones, p. 110.
BREECHES. These were among the official vestments of the high priest, but did not form a part of the ordinary dress of a Hebrew man. A Syrian of the present day wears a sort of petticoat, gathered in at the waist and ankles, two holes only being left at the bottom for the feet to pass through. The women wear cotton trousers, concealed by a sheet (Izzar) worn over the head, which envelopes the whole figure; but those of the Lebanons wear jackets and trousers of coloured stuff, without veils or other outer covering.
BRICKMAKING., as described in Exodus, may still be seen in Egypt. Outside Cairo are extensive brickfields, with vast hills composed of the débris of centuries, where bricks are daily made of a clay so little tenacious that it is mixed with short straw to bind it together. Ancient bricks have been found in that part of Egypt, bearing the brand of Thothmes III., whose date is as far back as the Exodus.
BRIDE. A bride was bought from her father by the bridegroom, the negotiations being conducted by the friend of the latter, who was responsible for all the preliminaries up to the actual marriage. After her espousal, she was placed under the charge of trustworthy matrons. She was subjected to a course of purification (Esth. ii. 12), preparatory to her marriage. At the latter she was attended by a company of virgins, who followed her to her new home, in the nocturnal procession, when escorted thither by the bridegroom. In both Testaments she is a type of the Church. See Marriage.
BRIDEGROOM. A preparation, with fasting, before marriage, was required of every Jewish bridegroom, who was clothed at the ceremony in a "robe of righteousness." (See Coat.) He was a type of Christ.
BURIAL of the dead was practised by the Hebrews from the earliest times, and three of their most ancient cemeteries still remain, viz. Machpelah, Shechem, and the Valley of Jehoshaphat. Cremation was only used for the bodies of persons who were denied religious burial; "the burning for the dead" was that of sweet perfumes, as a mark of especial honour, at the funeral of kings, and other distinguished persons. Embalming was common in Egypt in the time of Joseph, from whence the Israelites derived the custom of winding the bodies of their dead in fine linen cloths, with sweet spices. Burial was always extra-mural, and the dead were carried to the grave on biers, accompanied by the wailing of their friends, especially of women. The days of mourning were thirty. Burial was refused to criminals; and the "burial of an ass" was exposure to birds and beasts of prey. Tombs were usually in caves in the limestone rock, and were closed by a stone at the ends, or on the surface; the mouth of some is guarded by a complication of stones, each "sealing" the other. Around Jerusalem are large caves, containing many chambers or vaults for bodies, resembling the Roman catacombs; there are likewise some in the rocks around the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
BUTLER, or cup-bearer, held an honourable office in royal households, since the king's life was in his hand, he being held responsible for the purity of the liquor, and its freedom from poison. Nehemiah faithfully discharged this duty to the Persian king, to whom his race was in humiliating slavery.
BUTTER. The Hebrews were ignorant of the art of churning butter; but they made a kind of clotted cream by subjecting new milk to fermentation, which imparted to it a pleasant acid flavour somewhat resembling that of lemon cream. Even now churned butter is never used by native Syrians, but this clotted cream, called Lebban, continues to be universally consumed, as one of the most refreshing necessaries of daily life. This was doubtless the "butter in a lordly dish" which Jael brought to Sisera, when she had "opened a bottle of milk."120
CAMEL'S HAIR. Raiment of camel's hair was not a skin, but a coat of cloth, woven from the hair of the camel. Such is the ordinary outer garment of the Bedawin Arab of to-day. The present common dress of a shepherd on the hills of Judsea is a loose coat of camel's hair, in broad stripes of black and white, girt around the loins with a leathern belt. It has narrow sleeves, does not come below, the knee, and seems to be his only garment except short drawers. This was, doubtless, the raiment of John the Baptist.
CANDLE was an earthenware lamp, shaped like a butter-boat partially covered over, in which oil was burnt, the wick protruding through a lip or spout. It was set on a pedestal of the same ware; and was either united to this "candlestick" by a handle, or the two were moulded in one piece. The woman seeking her lost piece of silver would have this candlestick in one hand, and a short hand-broom in the other, as she stooped and swept the house.
CHAMBER is the general term for any room in a house. It is only in the houses of kings and nobles that it means a "bedroom," since the majority of houses were only one story high. The "upper chamber," or "upper room," was an apartment on the highest story, set apart exclusively for religious purposes, in which daily family or private prayers were said, circumcision and the rite of matrimony performed, the passover eaten, and the dead laid out, &c. It contained only one window, always turned towards the Temple at Jerusalem. With the poor, the flat roof of the house served this purpose.
CHARGER. A large, round, deep dish, called in Deborah's Song, "a lordly dish."
CLOTH was woven, dyed, and fulled with soap by the Hebrews, and was made from flax, silk, and wool. The sailcloth, made from the wool of Cilieian sheep, was a great article of commerce in the Mediterranean, and was largely used as a covering for tents in Syria. Its manufacture was the trade of Paul, Aquila, and Priscilla. The Tyrian purple dye (sold by Lydia) was unequalled.
COALS. There is no coal in Palestine, though lignite is found. A "fire of coals" most probably means a charcoal fire.
COAT was the square garment of fine lamb's wool, ordered by the Law to be worn by every male Israelite, to remind him of his duties; there was a hole in the centre, for the head to go through, and the garment hung down before and behind. At each corner were fringes, symbolising the enactments of the Law, and a hem of blue, representing the holiness of God's people. It was his coat by day, his covering by night, and his shroud in the grave; if pledged, or seized by a creditor, it must be returned at sun-down. This was the seamless coat of Jesus, whose hem the woman with the issue touched. See "Ridgway's Sketches from the East," Art. Childhood of Jesus.
CONDUIT. To remedy the deficiency in the supply of water at Jerusalem, Solomon dug reservoirs in the hill country of Judgea, from whence he conducted the water to the pools of Gihon, on the sides of Mount Zion, all of which still remain. Another, hewn out of the solid rock, 1,750 feet in length, unites the Pool of Siloam (now called the Virgin's Fountain) with Beth-esda, in which an inscription has recently been discovered.
CORN. Rubbing corn in the hands, and even walking on ripe grass, which might tread out the seed, on the Sabbath, was forbidden by the precepts of the Elders, as equivalent to threshing.
Corn (treading out). In Syria and Asia Minor, at the present day, grain is trodden out of the ear. The unthreshed wheat is laid upon the ground in a circle, and a yoke of oxen driven round and round over it, dragging after them a heavy log of wood, on the under surface of which are inserted rows of th'n flint stones, about two inches apart, and projecting half an inch from the surface. On this the driver stands, or sometimes sits in a chair.
COUCH was the framework on which, in the houses of the rich, mattresses were spread to form divans for use by day.
CRUCIFIXION was unknown to the Jews, until introduced by the Romans, who only used it for the punishment of slaves and the lowest malefactors.
CUSTOM (the receipt of). The dues or taxes, paid on persons and goods transported across the Sea of Galilee.
DANCING was anciently practised as a religious ceremonial (e.g. Miriam, David, the Shilonites, &c.; but, in later times, dancing girls formed a part of the amusements provided for guests at feasts (e.g. Herodias' daughter).
DAYSMAN. One who fixes "a day" for hearing and arbitrating on some dispute. Compare 1 Cor. iv. 3, where "man's judgment" is really "man's day."
DEPUTY. The governor, or vicegerent, deputed by the Roman Emperor or Senate to represent them in their distant provinces. Disturbed districts were immediately under the Emperor, whose deputy was called pro-prætor, a military officer, in command of an army of occupation; while peaceful ones were under the Senate, whose deputy was a pro-consul, a civilian.
ELDERS. A body of men, selected for wisdom and experience, to administer justice in their respective localities. Moses chose six from each, tribe to aid him in the government of the Israelites. A similar body, called the Sanhe-drin, was the executive and deliberative council after the Captivity.
FARTHING is the Roman quadrans, the fourth part of the denarius (penny), whose value was about sevenpence halfpenny English.
FOWLS. "Fatted fowl" (probably turkeys) formed part of the delicacies of Solomon's table. The cock, hen, and chickens are mentioned in the New Testament, but never in the Old. They were unknown in Palestine till after the Captivity.
GABBATHA. The Roman "pavement" of the courtyard in front of Herod's "Judgment Hall" (from which the name arose), may now be seen in the cellars under the Convent of the Sisters of Zion.
GALL was given to persons under crucifixion, to deaden the pain.
GARDEN. That part of Jerusalem, where the Church of the Holy Sepulchre stands, was outside the city, when it was destroyed by Titus. He encamped on that side, and took possession of "the gardens," which covered this quarter, outside the Gennath (or Garden) Gate, where were the tombs of high priests and other illustrious men. The foundations of walls still mark the city boundary. The Garden of Gethsemane, with its ancient olive trees, is still preserved 121 at the foot of Mount Olivet. The "garden house " (2 Kin. ix. 27) was the town of En-gannim (now Jenin).
GARMENTS. The garments of Syrian men in the present day differ but little from those worn in the time of Moses. The chief are a coarse linen shirt, linen drawers, loose pantaloons (see Breeches) with a girdle to sustain them, an inner vest buttoned to the throat, a long loose robe with a leathern girdle, an embroidered cloth or velvet jacket, a kaffieh or silk handkerchief for the head (secured by a cord), hose and sandals. Besides these, a long loose robe with short sleeves was worn in full dress (instead of the jacket or girded robe), and the aba, a coarse cloak of goat's or camel's hair, very large so as to form a covering by night as well as by day; it was the former our Lord laid aside when he washed the disciples' feet, and the latter with which Elijah smote the waters of Jordan. Women's dress varied according to their estate in life (e.g. maid, wife, widow). It differed from the men's principally in the veil and cap, fitting close to the head and concealing the hair, profusely covered with gold and silver ornaments and with charms. The list of female clothing in Is. iii. 18-23, is scarcely intelligible.
GATE. The gate of a city was the place of public assembly, for business, judgment, and legislation. It was the exchange, court-house, and council chamber of modern times. Over the gate at Mahanaim was a chapel, where David mourned for Absalom; at the gate of Hebron Abraham bought Machpelah; at that of Shechem the covenant of intermarriage was made with Jacob and his sons; and at Bethlehem, Boaz made his contract of marriage with Ruth.
GROVE is often a mistranslation for the wooden image of Ashtaroth, or Astarte, the moon, or chief female goddess of Baalism.
HELL is from a root meaning "to hide," so that the original sense is "the hidden or unseen place" (Skeat). It serves as the translation of two words, viz. 1. Sheôl (Heb.), or Hades (Gr.), the abode of departed spirits, as in the Apostles' Creed. 2. Gehenna (Heb.), the Valley of Hinnorn, the dark gorge on the west side of Jerusalem, where was the furnace (Tophet) in which idolaters offered human sacrifices, and "made their children to pass through the fire to Moloch;" and in which persons, convicted of aggravated wilful murder, were burnt to death; hence it was synonymous with a place of torment,—"hell-fire" (Matt. v. 22).
HOSPITALITY. The exercise of hospitality was incumbent on every Hebrew, but generally devolved upon the chief of a tribe or head of a city, who was bound to provide the wayfarer, free of expense, with food and lodging for himself and his beast, and water for his feet. See Inn.
HOUSES generally were only of one story, but in towns the rich built theirs of two or three stories, of which the ground-floor contained the day-rooms, the first floor the bed-rooms, the third a devotional room or upper chamber. The roof was formed of rafters, across which was laid a wattling of branches or brushwood, covered over with mud or mortar, in which tiles were embedded for throwing off the rain. This roof was reached by an outer staircase, and an entrance into the upper room (as in the case of the man with the palsy at Capernaum) could be easily effected by removing the tiles and mortar, and pushing aside a few of the sticks. These larger houses were frequently built in a quadrangle, approached by gates with a wicket-door; the courtyard had its fountain and sheds for the cattle, while the roof was the garden, playground, and drying-ground, and therefore ordered by the Mosaic Law to be fenced in with a battlement.
HYMN. The hymn sung by our Lord and His Apostles, after the Last Supper, was the "Great Paschal Hallel," or "Hymn of Praise," consisting of Pss. cxiii.–cxviii.
INN, or Khan ("a night's rest"), was originally a plot of ground, near a spring or well, allotted for the use of travellers as a camping ground. This was often secured by a wall or fence. In later times, some wealthy prince or benefactor raised the wall, built a few arches, united them to the wall by a roof, closed them with doors, and separated them by partitions, thus providing a separate room for each party; while the cattle were littered in the central open space, or in sheds abutting on the outside wall, or in natural caves around it. Such was "the inn" at Bethlehem. See "Ridgway's Sketches from the East," Art. Bethlehem.
JEWELS. Precious stones are nowhere mentioned in the Bible as personal ornaments, except in connection with religious worship, but "jewels of gold and silver" were so worn. The chief were bracelets, anklets, chains, earrings, brooches, and medallions on the forehead. All these were worn by women; but men wore bracelets, official gold chains, and signet-rings. The Ishmaelites wore earrings; and the Ama-lekites adorned the necks of their camels with gold chains.
JOT, or Yod, the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
JUDGE. In the time of anarchy after Joshua's death, a "judge" was a religious and political patriot, inspired with zeal to head a revolution against tyrannical oppression, or to resist threatened invasion. He rallied round him a voluntary army, and Was temporarily invested with supreme power, which he laid down when the emergency was over, but which gradually became more permanent, until it was terminated only by death. It was ultimately divided between a civil and a military officer, the former being the high priest, who added to his sacerdotal judicial functions also. Thus the way was paved for a permanent monarchy. "The judge" in the New Testament was in Jerusalem a member of the Sanhedrin, in provincial towns one of the "rulers of the Synagogue," who combined the regulation of Divine worship with the functions of a magistrate. "The officer" was his attendant in both capacities; the Chazan "the minister" (or verger) of the Synagogue, and policeman of the court of justice.
KIN. The distinctions of kindred were not accurately defined, and there was a paucity of words to express them; thus all collateral relations were called "brothers" or "sisters," those of further degree were "cousins," and descendants in the direct line, however remote, were "sons" or "daughters."
LANDMARKS were usually a single block or small pile of stones laid upon the ground, and are still so in Palestine: hence the severe curse upon their removal. In Egypt, the land bad to be remeasured and allotted after each inundation of the Nile.
LANTERNS are still commonly used in Jerusalem ; any one going through the streets at night without a light is liable to be arrested as a dangerous character. A servant holds the lantern close to the ground, immediately in front of his master's feet,—a practice rendered necessary by the entire absence of pavement, and by the 122 numerous obstructions in the streets of Eastern cities; cp. "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path" (Ps. cxix. 105).
LEATHERN-GIRDLE round the loins, over a loose coat, woven in camel's hair or wool, reaching to the knee, is still part of the ordinary dress of a shepherd on the Judæan hills.
LINEN CLOTH was the cere-cloth, imbued with unguents and spices, in which a dead body was wrapped as a partial embalmment, where the poverty of the relatives precluded them from undertaking the complete process.
LOCUSTS. On the 1st and 2nd of June, 1881, in the vicinity of Ephesus, the writer saw the whole heavens black with the flight of millions of locusts, brought up by the East wind, and witnessed the consternation of the inhabitants at the certain destruction of their corn crops, already ripe for harvest. It was obvious that no human power could avail against such an invasion.
MANTLE. See Garments.
MARRIAGE. This ceremony was performed in the "upper room" of private houses. The betrothed pair stood under a canopy, the bride being veiled, both wearing crowns, which were several times exchanged during the ceremony. The officiating minister was not a priest, nor necessarily a rabbi, but an elder, who, standing behind the canopy holding a cup of blessing, invoked a benediction on the assembly. He then gave a cup of wine to the betrothed, who pledged one another, the bridegroom draining his cup, dashing it to the ground, crushing it with his heel, and swearing fidelity until its powdered fragments are re-united. The marriage contract was next read, and attested by each person present drinking of a cup of wine. The friends next walked round the canopy, chanting psalms and showering rice upon the couple. The ceremony was concluded by the elder invoking the seven blessings upon them, drinking the benedictory cup, and passing it round the assembly. It was for this cup that our Saviour supplied the wine at Cana. After dark, the bridegroom led the bride to her house attended by the friends of each, while others joined the procession on its way, bearing hymeneal lamps in token of respect. Arrived at the bridegroom's house all were invited to a feast, which by the rich was repeated for seven nights, the festivities being prolonged to a late hour. See "Ridgway's Sketches from the East," Art. Cana.
MEASURE. In Eastern markets, it is very common to see the seller press down the grain into the measure, then pile it up into a pyramid, until it trickles down the sides, when he pours it into the lap (or "bosom") of the flowing garment of the buyer.
MILK. The mountainous nature of Palestine seems ill adapted for the pasturage of cows, and the milk with which it "flowed" must have been chiefly the product of goats, which are frequently mentioned in Scripture, but cows seldom, and mainly in connection with the plains of Philistia, Esdraelon, &c. "Butter of kine," from its peculiar designation, would seem to have been a luxury, while the undulating downs would produce goats' milk in abundance, far beyond what could be expected from such a limited area. See Butter.
MILL was not a building, but a pair of millstones of granite or basalt, placed one upon the other, the lower one being larger and stationary, and the upper loose, with a hole in its centre into which the corn was put, and it was turned briskly round by two wooden handles, fixed opposite to each other in its upper surface near the circumference. A woman seated on the ground, on each side of it, moved a handle in the same direction, each passing it on to the other, and so whirling the stone round. The "nether millstone" became a proverb for weight and hardness. The Mosaic Law forbade the seizure of millstones for debt.
MITE, from the same root as minute, anything very small: "Sche cast two mynutis, that is, a ferthing" (Wycliffe). Very small coins, known as "beggars' money," not current in the market (being scarcely of estimable value), may still be seen used as alms in Asia Minor.
MONEY. The coins mentioned in the Bible mark the supreme power predominant at the time; thus, we have the Hebrew talent, shekel, maneh; the Persian daric; the Greek drachm and stater; and, lastly, the Roman pound, penny, and farthing. In our Lord's time these were all current in the market, but the offerings in the Temple had to be made in the Hebrew coinage, which was circulated in Palestine alone, where, however, Roman money was found to be the more convenient medium of traffic. Hence, moneychangers became a necessity, and, during the great festivals, they removed from their shops in the city to stalls within the sacred precincts, where worshippers from all parts thronged to make their offerings.
MOTE. A small particle, like those which are brought to light by a ray of sunshine (Eastwood and Wright, "Bible Wordbook").
NECROMANCER. One who professes to foretell the future by consulting the spirits of the dead, as the witch of Endor.
NETHINIMS were the descendants of those Gibeonites whom Joshua reduced to slavery, making them hewers of Avood and drawers of water for the Sanctuary (Josh. ix. 27). They accompanied the Jews to and from Captivity, and lived with the other servants of the Temple on Ophel, a small hill south of Moriah.
OBEISANCE was the salutation of an inferior to a superior. It consisted of. bowing the head and body forward, with the hands extended, and their palms turned downwards. It varied from a slight inclination to complete prostration, with the forehead and hands in the dust, according to the rank of the person saluted.
OBSERVER OF TIMES was one who foretold events, or chances, by observing the motions of the clouds.
OMEGA. The last letter of the Greek alphabet, used, with Alpha, to express the eternal existence of the Son of God.
OMER is an untranslated Egyptian word, being the name of the most common domestic bowl, or kit, used by the Fellahs of Egypt, and adopted from them by the Hebrews, for a vast variety of household purposes. It held about half a peck.
ORACLES were the responses gained by divination. They were supposed to be supernatural revelations through divinely inspired persons. Such were the oracles of Delphi, &c., and of the girl at Philippi. In Egypt, divination was practised by means of cups (Cylicomanteia). Among the Hebrews, God allowed inquiry to be made of Him through Urim and Thummim (q.v.), and prophets, and gave oracular responses, even in temporal matters (e.g. military campaigns, &c.. The revelations made to Moses in the Law are called "the Divine oracles." Hence it is also used for the place where a prayer 123 is offered for advice, and an answer given: "toward thy holy oracle" (Ps. xxviii. 2).
OVENS are still, in the East, rough erections of brick or stone, detached from houses. In Palestine, they are often hollowed out in the rock, with chimneys of mud, and the fuel consists mainly of dried weeds, stubble, and dung baked in the sun.
PENNY. The Roman denarius, value about 7½d. In our Lord's time it would seem to have been a fair day's wage for a labourer in a vineyard.
PHYLACTERIES. The Hebrews were commanded to have the enactments of the Law on their hands, and as frontlets between their eyes, and to write them on the door-posts of their houses, that they might always see their duty before them to guide and restrain their actions (Deut. vi. 9). They were familiar with the Egyptian custom of wearing amulets on the forehead, and of inscribing mottoes on the walls of their houses. They therefore wrote the summary of the Moral Law (Deut. v. 6, 21) on three strips of parchment; two of these they rolled up, and placed in two small cylinders or cups of skin or leather about the size of a wine-cork, binding one on the forehead, the other on the centre of the back of the right hand with leathern straps, that of the latter encircling the forefinger and palm, each thrice, and the forearm nine times, in three triplets, so that each formed the representation of the first letter of Shaddai ("The Almighty"). These are called Phylacteries, and are still worn by Israelites in their houses. The Pharisees added other enactments, forming three little square volumes, which they bound together upon their persons. The third parchment was placed in a case of wood or metal-called a Mezuzeh, and affixed to the posts of their outer door and gates. It had a small aperture in front, through which was seen the word Shaddai.
PILLOWS were wooden stands supporting a crescent-shaped frame thickly padded, which fitted into the arm-pits, sustaining the body, when seated upon a divan, or on the ground with the legs tucked under it, the usual posture of an Eastern man or woman when in repose.
PINS were made principally of wood, and were often the spikes of the nubk thorn (about two inches long), cut with a small portion of the branch to form a head. The wealthy used ivory pins, great numbers of which have been found at Pompeii.
PLOUGHING. The plough was, and still is, a rough instrument made of a few stakes, easily carried to and from the field on the shoulder of the labourer. It had a coulter and ploughshare, but merely scratched a small groove in the surface of the soil, which could only be broken up when softened by rain. Hence, ploughing in winter and spring is very common, and, for mutual protection, the ploughers work in companies, often to the number of twelve ploughs with their respective yokes of oxen, one sower being sufficient to follow the whole. The harrow is little used. Progress is slow; corn may be seen in all stages of growth, and seed-sowing at the same time, in the same field.
POLITARCHS (Acts xvii. 6). This word, rendered literally "rulers of the city," has been found, from an inscription still legible on one of the gates of Thessalonica, to have been the official title of its chief magistrates.
POOLS. Jerusalem, being on the top of a mountain, had an insufficient water supply. One never-failing spring, issuing from Mount Moriah, was collected in the pool of Siloam, and its overflow in the well of Joab. At En-rogel, besides these, were the two pools of Gihon on the Western shoulder of Zion; that of Hezekiah, by the Jaffa Gate; that of Bethesda, and that now called Birket Serai, near St. Stephen's Gate, fed from a spring or reservoir under Pilate's house and the adjoining barracks. The houses of the wealthy had, and still have, extensive cisterns for storing rain-water. See Conduit.
PORTERS were the "door-keepers" and police of the Temple. They lived on the adjoining Mount Ophel. They were divided into companies, under the command of the "Captain of the Temple," and one division was always on duty, keeping guard day and night. It took twenty of them to shut the great brazen gates (Acts xxi. 30).
POTTAGE, made of red lentiles boiled in water, is a savoury dish, of which the Arabs at the present day are especially fond, and is highly nutritious.
POTTERS, turning the tables with their feet, and moulding with their hands the clay as it spins round upon the table, are constantly to be seen in the East. In Egyptian literature, the potter is used to illustrate the work of the Supreme Being in the creation of man.
PRAYER. The ordinary attitude of prayer was standing, with the arms stretched forward, the hands extended with the palms upwards, and the face raised towards heaven. It was in this posture that Moses was sustained all day by Aaron and Hur, during the battle at Rephidim. The next was one of adoration, or "worship," the head bent forward, the body stooping, the hands resting on the knees. Penitential prayer was made kneeling, with the body inclined forward or prostrate, the forehead and hands resting on the ground.
PRESBYTER (see Elder, of which it is the Greek form) was the general name given to one appointed to exercise authority in a community. They were chosen for their mature age, experience, and wisdom; sometimes elected by the tribes, sometimes selected by higher powers. They interpreted the Law, decided doctrine, judged causes, exercised discipline, but discharged no priestly function.
PRIEST. In patriarchal times, the head of each family was its priest, and the chief of the tribe its high priest. Under the Mosaic dispensation, the family of Aaron and their descendants were set apart by God to discharge all the sacerdotal functions of the whole nation. These, being prospective of Christ the true High Priest, were concentrated in Him; and He called to Him " twelve disciples," whom He named Apostles, and afterwards other seventy also, whom He sent two and two before Him. Before His ascension He breathed on the former, saying, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost." "As My Father sent Me, even so now send I you." "Go ye, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
PROPERTY, by Hebrew Law, could not pass out of the family; if mortgaged or seized by creditors, it reverted to the owner in the following year of jubilee. The earliest recorded conveyance of property to a purchaser and his heirs, is that of the field of Machpelah by Ephron to Abraham.
PROPHET is one who speaks for another. A prophet of the Lord is a term applicable to one who predicts, forewarns, proclaims glad tidings, instructs, or exhorts, as a messenger of the 124 Lord. In Scripture it is used in all these senses.
PUBLICANS were native Jews, who farmed the taxes from the Roman knights, who in turn farmed them from the Imperial treasury. The taxes were annually let to the highest bidder, who paid each instalment in advance, recouping himself by collecting the taxes from the people. As many of these arose from an ad valorem duty on produce, stock, and land, of which the publican was also the assessor, his opportunities for extortion were unlimited; and as the tax was the result of subjection, its collector was regarded as a political renegade, and a social outcast.
PURIFICATION was not so much a cleansing of the flesh from dirt, as a ceremonial washing from the typical pollution imparted to a sanctified people by contact with heathens or sinners, or their symbols. Cups, pots, plates, food bought in the market, were washed before use, lest a heathen or a sinner might have touched them. So every impure act virtually excluded the participator irom the presence of the all-pure God, and needed to be expiated by a fresh baptism or sacrifice.
PURSE. A leathern bag attached to the girdle.
QUATERNION. A Roman guard of four soldiers, detailed off as sentries over a prisoner. In the strictest custody (as over Peter), each band of the prisoner was handcuffed to a separate soldier, inside the cell, while the other two kept sentry outside the door. These four were relieved every three hours day and night, so that there were four quaternions required for one day's service, and four for the night watches. To the quaternion charged with Christ's crucifixion, His clothes fell as a perquisite.
QUICKSANDS. The greater and lesser Syrtes, near Tunis, on the N.E. coast of Africa.
REFINING-POT. The crucible, in which gold vas melted to a white heat, and the impurities skimmed off, so that only the purest metal remained.
RUDDERS. Ancient vessels were steered by two oars or paddles, passed through the vessel on each side of the stern. When the vessel was stationary, they were lashed to its side by "bands," which were also used to secure and steady the paddle when in use.
SALUTATIONS between one wayfarer and another, and to labourers in the field (such as " Peace be to you!" "The Lord prosper you!" "We wish you good luck," &c., are in daily use in Syria. A nearer greeting, answering to our shaking hands, consists in placing the right hand upon the forehead, then upon the mouth, next upon the heart, lastly extending it towards the person greeted, symbolising: "With my head I worship, with my lips I honour, with my heart I love thee."
SANCTUARY. See Tabernacle.
SCRIP. A small bag, so called because made of a "scrap" of stuff (Skeat's "Etymological Dictionary").
SHECHINAH. The cloud of glory, which descended upon the mercy-seat in Solomon's Temple at its dedication, and remained till its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar. It was the symbol of the Divine presence.
SHIPS. Alexandrian corn ships carried one large square sail, which was lowered upon the deck. In a storm the strain upon the hull was very great; the planks were liable to start, and the ship to founder; to avoid which they passed stout cables under the keel, drawing them tight to each gunwale by grappling irons; they then turned her head to the wind, hoisted a storm-sail for steering, and drifted. "Ships of Tarshish" were large Phoenician trading vessels plying between Tyre and Tartessus in Spain. They passed the Straits, crossed the Bay of Biscay to Britain, and doubled the Cape of Good Hope. Hence they gave their name to all merchantmen.
SHOE. Shoes were only soles strapped under the foot. To unloose their clasp (or latchet), bring them, or carry them away, was the office of the lowest slave. " To pluck off the shoe " was the striking of a contract, like signing and sealing a document. To kick, or cast off, one's shoe over a person, was the symbol of his greatest humiliation, like treading on his neck; while to wash the feet of another was an act of abject servility (e.g. "Moab is my washpot"). To shake off the dust from the shoe was an imprecation of a curse upon individuals, a declaration of war against nations.
SOAP. Both Borith and Natron are translated "soap" in the A.V.; the former was some cleansing preparation of a vegetable alkali (the Kali of the desert); the latter was the product of Egypt, i.e. nitre. Extensive hills of alkali refuse are still seen at Ramleh, Gaza, Jerusalem, Edlip, &c. Those at the last-named place must, from their vast extent, have been the accumulation of very many centuries. Near to each of these places were large olive groves, from whence the oil was obtained. At this day there are many wealthy soap manufacturers, to whom most of the olive groves in Central Palestine are mortgaged. (Cp. Parable of the Unjust Steward.) The manufacture of soap is still very extensively carried on in all parts of Syria.
STAFF was the long walking-stick, like an alpenstock, so necessary to the pedestrian in a mountainous country. Its metaphorical use in Scripture is very frequent.
TABERNACLE. An oblong tent, with a wooden framework covered with cloth and skins, made by God's order as a moveable place of worship in the wilderness. It was set up, taken down, and carried by the Levites; when stationary, the Pillar of Cloud rested on it. It consisted of a small inner room, the "Holy of Holies," containing nothing but the ark with its mercy-seat, entered only on the day of atonement by the high priest alone; and a larger room, the "Holy Place, or Sanctuary" (in which were the altar of incense, table of shewbread, and golden candlestick), used for the daily service. These two were separated by a thick veil. When settled in Canaan, Joshua set up the tabernacle at Shiloh, where residences for the priests were added to it, and it assumed so permanent a character that it is even called "the temple" in 1 Sam. iii. 3. After David had set up a new tabernacle on Zion for the reception of the ark, the old one at Shiloh fell into disuse.
TABLE (writing). The Law was engraved upon two stone slabs. Subsequently "writing tables" (or tablets) were in common use, made of wood whitened, and written upon with a black fluid, like the modern Arab slate, or covered with wax and written upon with a metal pencil or style, like the Roman tablet.
TABLE. The Hebrews in the time of our Lord had adopted the Roman custom of reclining at table on cushioned divans, resting themselves on the left arm. The tables were in three portions, forming three sides of a square, the seats being placed along the outer sides, and the servants waiting in the inside. The seat of honour was that on the right of the host, who sat in 125 the middle of the cross-table; the honoured guest thus reclined, as it were, on the bosom of his host. The places next in honour were the centres of each side-table, for generally only three persons occupied a table. This was, doubtless, the form of table used when our Lord ate the "Lord's Supper" with His Apostles; as, also, when He dined with Simon the leper, and when the woman came behind the divan, and wept upon His extended feet.
TABLETS, mentioned by Isaiah (iii. 20) among a woman's ornaments, are still in use. They, are little cylinders (like bodkin-cases) of wood or metal, attached to chains; by some thought to be scent-bottles; but they are charms, in which women placed little rolls of parchment on which were written their secret wishes.
TEETH. "I have given you cleanness of teeth ... want of bread" (Amos iv. 6). It is still customary for beggars in Palestine to scrape their teeth with their thumb nails, and then display the clean nail to those from whom they crave alms, as an evidence that no food has been masticated that day.
TEMPLE was the name given to the whole sacred precincts of Mount Moriah, including the "fane" erected by Solomon on the summit, the various "courts" of Israelites, and women, each on their separate platforms below it, and the great area, "court of the Gentiles," at the foot of this pyramid of "courts" and steps. The "fane" was a permanent copy of the temporary tabernacle, so far as its ground-plan was concerned, having its "Holy of Holies" (through whose floor projected for a few inches the time-honoured apex of Mount Moriah), its "Holy Place," in which, however, there were ten tables of shewbread, and ten golden candlesticks (five of each on each side), and the great brazen "layer" standing on twelve brazen oxen, with their faces outwards. It occupied only one-third of the uppermost platform, the rest being the "court of burnt-offering," in which was the great altar. Below the first series of steps (extending round three sides), was the "court of Israel;" below the next flight, the "court of women;" and at the base of the succeeding flight of steps was a trellised fence, on which were "notices" in various languages, warning none but the circumcised to pass within the sacred enclosures. Then came the great area, "court of the Gentiles," extending 600 feet each way, but nearly doubled in its extent by Herod the Great. This area was reached by a succession of terraces or steps, cut in the face of the mountain on its Eastern and Southern sides.
TERAPHIM were little household gods of clay, often carried about the person as charms. Had their origin in Mesopotamia, and they were those which Rachel stole from her father's house, and which the Assyrian settlers in Samaria brought from their native lands, and worshipped together with the true God.
TITLE, or superscription. Over every crucified malefactor was superscribed his name, residence, and offence. This was the official warrant for his execution, and was copied from the register, in which his sentence was recorded. What Pilate "had written" on the cross of Jesus, he "had written" also in the official record, which it was illegal for him to alter.
TITTLE. The fine, minute stroke which often distinguishes one letter from another in the Hebrew alphabet.
TOMB. See Burial.
TOPHET was the furnace in the Valley of Hinnom, in which human sacrifices were offered. It derived its name from tha tabrets (Tophet) with which they drowned the cries of the victims. See Tabret, under "Musical Instruments," p. 114; also Hell.
TREASURE. On account of the insecurity of property, it is still usual in Palestine for people to bury their money and valuables in the ground. That this was the case in our Lord's time is proved by the occasional discovery of coffers of Roman coins of that date, whose owners had doubtless been killed, or died suddenly, without revealing the place of their concealment.
TREASURY was a vestibule in the Temple of Herod the Great, in which were placed thirteen large money-chests, with trumpet-shaped mouths, into which the worshippers dropped their offerings for the maintenance of the public services of the Temple.
TRIBUTE was of two kinds: 1. The half-shekel, which every Jew, wherever resident, was bound to contribute for the maintenance of the Temple. 2. The tax, custom, dues, & c., exacted from them by their Roman subjugators for the maintenance of the civil authorities. The former must be paid in Jewish, the latter in Roman coin. It was the former which our Lord paid with the money from the fish's mouth, and the latter which bore Caesar's image and superscription.
UNDERGIRDERS. See Ships.
UNKNOWN GOD was probably the nameless Supreme Being, worshipped by Socrates and his disciples, whose intelligence revolted against the pagan mythology of Greece.
UPPER ROOM. See Chamber.
URIM AND THUMMIM ("Lights and Perfections"). These were the sacred symbols (worn upon the breastplate of the high priest, "upon his heart"), by which God gave oracular responses for the guidance of His people in temporal matters. What they were is unknown; they are introduced in Exodus without explanation, as if familiar to the Israelites of that day. Modern Egyptology supplies us with a clue; it tells us that Egyptian high priests in every town, who were also its chief magistrates, wore round their necks a jewelled gem, bearing on one side the image of Truth, and on the other sometimes that of Justice, sometimes that of Light. When the accused was acquitted, the judge held out the image for him to kiss. In the final judgment Osiris wears round his neck the jewelled Justice and Truth. The LXX. translate Urim and Thummim by light and truth. Some scholars suppose that they were the twelve stones of the breastplate; others that they were two additional stones concealed in its fold. Josephus adds to these the two sardonyx buttons, worn on the shoulders, which, he says, emitted luminous rays when the response was favourable; but the means by which the oracles were given is lost in obscurity.
VESTMENT. It was and still is customary for every Jew, on entering the Synagogue for religious worship, to put on the Tallith or scarf of white lamb's wool with blue stripes and fringes at each end. This was worn over the shoulders, except during prayers, when it covered the head. It marked the worshipper as being a true Israelite. This was perhaps the "wedding garment" of the parable. It was no doubt some similar vestment which Jehu ordered "him that was over the vestry" to supply to each worshipper of Baal (2 Kings x. 22), the acceptance of which was the profession of being a true Baalite.
VESTURE. See Coat and Garments.126
VINEGAR is probably used for the sour wine which was the ordinary drink of the Roman soldier.
WAGES were not only money payments but also the "rations," especially of soldiers on service.
WASHPOT. A footpan, for ablution of the feet. See Shoe.
WATCHMEN were servants, or soldiers, placed as "look-out-men" in towers, on city walls, in palaces, and vineyards, to give timely notice of the approach of invaders and Arab marauders. Watch-towers are still in use in Palestine.
WATER, cup of. In hot countries, the offer of water is the most acceptable gift to the wayfarer. Hence it is now, as of old, one of the most binding duties of hospitality; so the traveller is often met with the friendly offer of "a cup of cold water," accompanied by a salutation or benediction.
WATER-CARRIERS. See Bottle.
WATER-POTS were earthenware jars, used in the houses of the poor, to supply the place of cisterns for storing water for domestic purposes. They are still used, and are let into stone racks, near the entrance door.
WEDDING. See Marriage.
WEEKS. Feast of PENTECOST. On the fiftieth day, or seven clear weeks after the second day of the Passover, began the Feast of Weeks, or thanksgiving for the harvest. Loaves made of the new meal, and grain, were offered as first-fruits, and a new sheaf waved before the Lord.
WINDOWS were mere holes in the wall for the admission of light and air. They were sometimes partially closed by lattices, or wooden trellis-work, or curtains; sometimes entirely shut by trap-doors. An obscure word in Genesis vi. 16 is translated "window," but it is supposed to denote some means of internal illumination, natural or artificial.
WISE MEN. The Magi were a Persian caste of philosophers and men of science, who devoted themselves to literature and study, especially to astronomy and astrology. Their learning, and abstinence from political intrigue, rendered them valuable counsellors to the king. The priests belonged to the same caste.
WRITING MATERIALS (see Books and Table). Books written upon papyrus nearly four thousand years ago, have been found in Egyptian tombs; one in the Louvre, dated B.C. 2017, is only a copy of a more ancient work. Ink, inkhorns, and pens made of reeds, are mentioned in Scripture, and have been found in Egypt, where the act of writing is delineated upon the monuments; and a box of colours and pencils, coeval with Abraham, may be seen in the museum at Boulak. Hebrew writings on leather skins are in the library at St. Petersburg, and sacred parchment-rolls innumerable have been found in the ancient tombs of Palestine. The ruins of Nineveh have yielded whole libraries of standard works, the letters being impressed on clay tablets. Hebrew writing was from right to left; Egyptian varied. Official documents and letters were not signed in writing, but by the impress of a signet-ring or seal.
YOKE. The cross-bar to which draught oxen were fastened by the horns or neck, for drawing carts or ploughs. The affection known to exist between a pair of oxen yoked together is a fruitful source of illustration, e.g. when Paul speaks of his "true yokefellow."
YOUNG MEN. The attendants upon a court in the judgment-hall, and upon the Apostles when sitting in council at Jerusalem (Acts v.). These last probably suggested the order of deacons.
ZEALOTS. A fanatical section of the "Galilaeans" (q.v.). It is supposed by some that the apostle Simon Zelotes was one of them. They are mentioned in Acts xxi. 20, 38; xxiii. 3.
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