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their designs with religious pretexts; but Abijah's misconduct was not mitigated by his disingenuousness, nor can hypocrisy in any case do aught but make a lust of power hateful in the sight of God and man.
ABILENE (G.), a district of country, at the foot of Antilebanon, named from Abila, its chief city (Luke iii. 1). Bankes considers Abila to have lain on the river Borrodo, in which he agrees with Pococke. Burial mounds are found on the spot, and Bankes discovered a Grecian inscription on a rock; Pococke had previously discovered one in a church; both of which gave countenance to the idea, that the city stood there. We have only an imperfect knowledge of this small state. It is not mentioned in history before the time when Antony, the Roman triumvir, held sway over Western Asia, when it is denominated by Josephns (Antiq. xx. 7.1) as a tetrarchy and a kingdom (Jewish War, ii. II. 5). The first ruler on record bore the name of Ptolemy Menuceus, who died about A.G. 40. Lysanias followed him. He was put to death by Antony, A.C. 84. Then came a tetrarch named Zenodorus, who, A.C. 23, was compelled by Augustus to give up n large part of his territories, and the entire district fell into the hands of the Roman emperors.
According to this view, no mention is made by Josephus of the Lysanias who, in the fifteenth year of Tiberius, was tetrarch of Abilene; at which we need feel no surprise, as Abilene was a small state, and lay beyond the borders of Palestine; while the terms employed by historians show, that Lysanias was an established name, in connection with the supreme magistrate, so that the Lysanias of Luke may have been a descendant of the Lysanias who was put to death by Antony. It must, however, be added, that language employed by Josephus admits the interpretation that he refers also to the Lysanias of Luke; and, speaking of Caligula, the Jewish historian says (Antiq. xviii. 8. 10) that emperor gave to Agrippa, I. 'the tetrarchy of Lysanias.' The bestowal of the gift, however, was postponed; for Claudius is declared to have presented Agrippa, II. with 'Abila of Lysanias, and all that lay nearMountLebanon' (Antiq. xix. 9. 1), which did not take effect till the twelfth year of Claudius (A.D. 52). In reference to the final disposal of Abila, Josephus remarks, 'which had been the tetrarchy of Lysanias' (Antiq. xx. 7. I). One thing is very clear, namely, that Abilene was early in the first century currently spoken of as the tetrarchy of Lysanias. And it is scarcely to be supposed, that the reputation of a prince of so inconsiderable a state should have been such as to transmit the name of Lysanias, during various changes in the government, over a period of above half a century. The currency of the name is much more likely to be owing to its being borne by a tetrarch Lysanias, wl— held power, agree
ably with Luke's statement, 'in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Ceesar, which would be not many years short of the time when the tetrarchy was assignod by Caligula to Agrippa. The scattered historical intimations seem to favour the idea of there having been at least two rulers of Abilene, named Lysanias; one put to death by Antony, the other who governed at the time denned by Luke. Nor need we feel any surprise, that Luke mokes use of the name as a means of dating by; since, as we have seen, the tetrorchata of Lysanias was a well-known object of reference. Lysanias bears the title of tetrarch on an inscription found by Pococke in the neighbourhood of Abila,
ABIMELECH (H. king's father. A.M. 3284; A.C. 2264; V. 1807) was a king of the Philistines, who ruled over Gerar which lay on the south-western border of Palestine. This petty prince took Sarah, Abraham's wife, as the patriarch journeyed in his nomadic wanderings towards the west, and put her into his harem, believing that she was merely Abraham's sister; for Abraham, in virtue of her being his father's but not his mother's child, had, with a view to safety, caused Sarah to be called his sister. Sarah, however, resisted the wishes of Abimelech, who, at length, discovers that Sarah was the wife, as well as sister, of Abraham, and, in consequence of a divinely sent punishment, restores her to her husband, whom the king seeks to conciliate with presents, and who, being thus satisfied, interposes with God to relieve Abimelech and his house from the penalty under which they lay (Gen. xx). Abimelech, in order to make an acknowledgment to Sarah for her severance from her husband, kindly informs her that he had given him a thousand shekels of silver, which ought to act as 'a covering of tho eyes;' that is, according to eastern phraseology, a veil to conceal what had been done amiss, and a means of satisfaction and forgiveness; so that Sarah, who appears to have complained of the treatment she had received, was thus gently reproved (ver. 16). On tho termination of this business, Abimelech sought to form permanent relations of friendship with Abraham. — In Gen. xxvi. 1, we find an Abimelech in the days of Isaac, reigning over the same country who was in danger of standing, in regard to Isaac and his wife Rebekah, in the same position as that which has just been narrated. This Abimelech can scarcely be the same as the prince before spoken of: probably Abimelecn was a name common to all the princes of Gerar, as Pharoah was in Egypt.
The conduct of both Abimelech and Abraham will be better understood when it is known, that Eastern princes possess on unquestioned right to all the beauties which muy be found in their dominions (Gen. xii. 15. Esth. ii. 3).
Another Abimelech (A.M. 4237; A.C. Mil; V. 1236), a son of Gideon by a concubine, was bom at Shechem; and, after the death of bis father, he became ruler — the aixtb judge — of Israel, by means of hie mother's relatives, who, however, at the end of three fears took up arms against Abimelech; and he, after much bloodshed and ferocity, caused himself to be put to death, in consequence of a blow received from a millstone thrown on his head by the bauds of a woman (Judg. viii. ix.). Probably owing to his own ambition, he is termed king, though the properly so-called kingdom of Israel was uot established till long after his Drue. His assumption, however, of supreme power led to the composition of a parable, which, though produced in a time of national degradation, does not suffer in comparison with die famous apologue, spoken by Menenius Agrippa (Liv. ii. 32), in order to reconcile the revolted people to the aristocracy. It runs thus: — 'At a time when all the members of man did not, as now, join to form the whole, but each had a distinct power of speaking and thinking, the rest of them were indignant that by their care and labour the belly was nourished, and that, remaining quit, in the middle, it did nothing but enjoy pleasures provided for it. On this account, they agreed that the bands should convey no food to the mouth, that the mouth should not receive what was offered to it, and that the teeth should not perform their office. By this foolish anger, each one of the members, and the whole body, were reduced to the greatest state of emaciation. Then it •ppcared that the belly also was not idle; that it was no less nourishing than nourished, tmding out to all parts of the body, equally distributed through the veins, the blood by which we live, and which it obtained from the food it consumed.' The scriptural fable is introduced by the statement that its author, Jocham, went and stood on the top of Mount Gerizim, and lifted up his voice, and cried and said, 'Hearken unto me, ye men of Sbechem, that God may hearken unto you: The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olivetree. Reign thou over us: but the olive-tree said unto them, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honour God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? And the trees said to the fig-tree. Come thou, and reign over us; but the fig-tree said unto them, Should I forsake my sweetness and my rood fruit, and go to be promoted over the trees? Then said the trees unto the vine, Come thou, and reign over us; and the vine sud unto them. Should I leave my wine, which ebeerrth God and man, aud go to bo promoted over the trees? Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou, and reign over us; and the bramble said unto the trees. If in truth ye anoint me king over sou, then come and pot your trust in my sha
dow; and if not, let fire come ont of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon' (Judg. ix. ft—IS).
One or two circumstances deserve to be specially noticed, as they supply incidental marks of reality, and therefore tend to establish the credibility of the book in which they are found. We content ourselves with a mere reference to the parable of the choice of the trees. Abimelech, when he had destroyed Shechem (ix. 45), sowed it with salt, according to an ancient custom, symbolising perpetual ruin. The death of this prince has a parallel in the history of Pyrrhus II. king of Epirus (Justin, xxv. 5), who, after having enjoyed most signal success, being repulsed by the Spartans, proceeded to besiege Argos, when, valiantly fighting in the thickest of the battle, he was slain by a stone hurled from the walls. But the blow which slew Abimelech came from a woman's hand, which was accounted a disgraceful death (comp. 2 Sam. xi. 21). Thus, perishing ignobly, was this ferocious rulerdeservedly punished for the cruelties he had perpetrated. The millstones in use in those days were of such a size, as that one of them could be hurled by a woman's hand; and the putting of such an instrument of destruction into a woman's band is accordant with the usages of a period, when grinding was a female occupation, being originally performed by one stone*being turned on another.
ABINADAB (H. noble father), a son of Saul, who, together with his brother Melchishua, was slain by the Philistines, in Mount Gilboa (1 Sam. xxxi. 1, 2). A second of the name was a Levite, lo whose house 'iu the hill' the men of Kirjathjearim brought the ark, committing it specially to the care of his son Eleszar, who was ' sanctified' for the purpose (1 Sam. vii.). The second sou of Jesse, David's fadier, also bore the name of Abinadab (I Chron. ii. 13). The ark remained in the family of Abinadab for about seventy years, when it was transported by David to the house of Obed-edoin; he fearing, after the sudden death of Uzzali, to take it into Jerusalem. Having, however, been the occasion of good to the family of Obed-edoin, the ark, after a stay there of three months, was at length conveyed into 'the city of David with gladness.'
It is strange that so sacred a thing as the ark should have been so long severed from the tabernacle, and in the care of unofficial individuals. The unsettled state of the government may have been the cause of this separation. But, had there been any collusion or falseness at the bottom, this entrusting of the ark to private hands would hardly have been allowed by the priests, and, if allowed, could not have failed to cause detection and exposure.
ABISHAI (H. father of a gift), son of Zeruiah, sister of David, to whom he proved a faithful and brave servant in war (1 Sam. xxvi. 6—12. 2 Sam. xvi. &—12. 1 Chron. ii. 16). He slew the giant Ishbi-benob, who was on the point of killing David in battle (2 Sam. xxi.16). In 2 Sam. xxiii. 18, he is reckoned chief among three mighty chiefs of David's, and celebrated for slaying three hundred persons with his spear at once.
ABLUTION.—Bodily cleanliness, which 1s of high importance in every part of the world, not only for the comfort and convenience of social intercourse, but to preserve and promote each individual's physical welfare, by purifying the body from the natural effects of that insensible perspiration which has so large a share in the working of the animal economy, as well as from the contaminations which ensue from contact with an atmosphere more or less loaded with impurities, is of special consequence in the warm regions of the East, and with the oriental temperament (Neh. iv. 23). It came therefore very naturally to be accounted imong men's first duties, and was soon invested with the sanctity of religion, in order that its requirements might the more readily, surely, aud durably receive attention. The priests of Egypt (Herod, ii. 87) 'bathed in cold water twice each day, and twice each night;' nor was this regard to cleanliness confined to the sacred order (Wilkinson's Egyp. iii. 358). It was a natural feeling that purity of body was essential, in order to a worshipper's being accepted by tbe object of his homage: accordingly, ablutions soon came to be accounted important among the preparations for appeariug before the divinities. Water thus became a type of moral purity, and an element in religious observances. Eventually, the employment of water was regarded ua emblematical of wasbiug awn > sins (Acts xxii. 16) As personal cleanliness had a religious worth ascribed to it, so was the health which ensued accounted a sign of the divine favour; while bodily diseases, especially such as were held to ensue from bodily impurity, were considered as symbols of moral pollution, and tokens of God's displeasure (Lev. xiv. Numb. v. 2, 3). These feelings and opinions, as they found their birlh in circumstances, in the main, peculiar to the East, so were they common to oriental countries in general. The Hindoos bathe in the Ganges, in order to purify themselves from the stain of sin; others, when dying, have themselves sprinkled with the branches of a certain tree, or cause their corpses to be thrown into holy rivers, after death. The Mohammedans are strictly enjoined to cleanse themselves from sin by pure water (Meiner"s Gcschichte dcr llrlitj. ii. 119). Water was held by the Rabbins to be a symbol of the Holy Spirit (Othon. Lex. Kabb. 81).
Washings of various kinds are mentioned in the Sacred Scriptures. Abraham washed the feet of his angelic visitors (Gen. xviii. -i);
for washing the feet was reckoned among the duties of hospitality due to travellers in a country where the heat was intense, the legs bare, and the feet were protected only by sandals (see also Gen. xxiv. 32; xliii. 24). The office, however, was, at least in later periods, commonly performed by slaves, and came therefore to be a type of humility, as well as kind attention (John xiii. 6). This passage shows the extent to which the moral import of ablution was carried, since our Saviour intimates to Peter that the efficacy lay not so much in the application of water,—' He thai is washed, needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit' (ver. 10), — as in the spiritual tendency and effect of the symbolic act. Washing was sometimes purely of a moral and symbolic nature; thus, in Ps. xxvi. 0, —
11 will wash my bands In innocency, So will I compass thine altar, O Lord:' the latter member of the sentence shows that washing of hands, as a token of personal purity, was a preliminary to worship. Not dissimilar in import was the act of Pilate, when he declared his innocence of the death of Jesus, not by word only, but, more strikingly, by washing his hands (Matt xxvii. 24). The spiritual significance of washing may be found instanced in Ps. Ii. 2: —
•Wash me thoroughly from mine Iniquity, And cleanse me lrom my sin.' (comp. Ezek. xxxvi. 2n. Zech. xiii. 1. 1 Cor vi. 11. Heb. ix. 13,14; x. 21, 22. 1 John i. 7, 9.) With that proncness to abuse which is natural to man, the use of the very element which caused and betokened purity came, in process of time, to give force and sanction to corrupt practices and superstitious notions. Accordingly, the Lord Jesus Christ found but too much reason to reprove the Pharisees for, among other outward observances, their scrupulous attention to various washings,—as the washing not only of hands, but 'of cups and pots, brazen vessels and tables;' which practices rested on nothing higher than the tradition of the elders, or the oral law, and had a strong tendency to supersede the commandmeut of God (Mark vii. 2—9. Matt. xv. 2—9).
As washing was accounted a means, so also was it naturally regarded as a token (figuratively) of inward purity, and, by easy sequence, of those spiritual acts and suites which that purity implies: accordingly, washing stands for pardon and sanctificatiou (1 Cor. vi. 11. Bev. i. 5; vii. 14). In Isa. i. 10, repentance and the consequent reformation chiefly are betokened (Prov. xxx. 12).
Various washings and bathings were required by the Mo.saic law, doubtless as a consequence of their salutary tendency, as well as their naturally forcible and striking symbolic significance. The leprous man, who was to be cleansed by the priest, was to wash his clothes and himself, as well as to ahavq off til his hair ("Herod, ii. 37). He that touched a dead body, or a boue of a man, or a grave, had to purify himself by water. Other instances may be found in the following references: — Lev. xiv. 8, seq.; rv. S, 13,18; xvii. 16; xxii. 6. Num.six.7. Dent xxiiL 11; xxiv. 8, 9.
These ablutions took place sometimes in rivers(2Kingsv.l2. Ler.xv.13. Exod.ii.5), sometimes in the house. The inner court of the houses of distinguished persons held a bath (2 Sam. xi. 2; and, in later times, there were public baths (Joseph. Antiq. xix. 7. 5), and princes had servants whose special duty it was to superintend the royal bath (Joseph. Antiq. xiv. 15,13). In places having a mixed population, Jews frequented the baths which the Heathen used. Bathing was considered to necessary, as, in later times, to be permitted on the Sabbath; only it was required, with that unmeaningness of distinction for which Rabbinical religion is marked, that the doths used in the baths should not be handed to the servants, lest they should contract sin. A certain fee was paid to the bath-keeper for the accommodation. Baths, among the Heathen, were places where sometimes the worst of vices were practised and encouraged, against which precautionary laws may be found in the Rabbinical writings (Othon. Lex. Rabb. 78). Besides water, women sometimes employed bran in washing the body; and Arabs of the present day, if tbey are without water, perform their prescribed luvxations by rubbing themselves over with earth; which practice may throw light on the request which Naaman prefers for two mules' burden of earth (2 Kings v. 17).
Natural baths were found at Tiberias, Cadarm, and Bethesda (Plin. v. 15. Joseph. Bell Jud- i. 33, 5), and appear to have been much frequented.
ABNEB (H. father of light. A.M. 4460; AC. 1082; V. 1095), captain of Saul's host, •on of Ner, Saul's uncle (1 Sam. xiv. 50; xvii. 53; xxvi.5^. On the death of Saul, he made Ishbosheth his son king over Israel, while the bouse of Jndab followed David. Abner, on the part of Saul, met Joab, on (he part of David, when an encounter took place between twelve young men on each side, who all dew each other, and, the battle becoming general, Abner was beaten. Being pursued in his flight by Asaliel, who was as light of loot as a wild roe, he turned round and slew lira (2 Sam.ii.8,12,j<-<7.). After this, he disagreed with Ishbosheth, who became jealous of him as a pretender to the throne, in consequence of his great power, and particularly his intimacy with Saul's concubine Rizpah. Hence he was led to make overtures to David, which were accepted on condition that he brought back David's wife Michal, daughter of Saul. Abner, having taken measures for complying with this stipulation visited David
at Hebron, and was well received, having il. ready negociated for making David the sole monarch. He reported his success, and left David, who is shortly after visited by Joab, by whom he is reproached on the ground that Abner was a deceiver. Leaving the king, Joab despatched messengers after Abner, who, as if in obedience to the wishes of David, returned, and was treacherously slain by Joab in revenge for the death of Asahel his brother (2 Sam. iii. 30). Abuer^ fate was much bewailed: King David himself followed the bier. Abner was buried in Hebron.
ABOMINATION (L. something impious, causing a person to turn away shocked as from a bad omen). In Isa. xliv. 19; lxvi. 3, it refers to idols and idolatrous practices; a signification which it retains in the New Testament, when ' the abomination of desolation' — that is, the troops and standards of idolatrous Rome —is spoken of (Matt xxiv. 15 Mark xiii. 14. Lukexxi. 20);
'ABOXnUTIOX OF DESOLATIOV.'
ihe reference being to Dan. ix. 27, where, in connection with the ceasing of the temple offerings, the 'overspreading of abominations' is spoken of. In Rev. xvii. 4, 5, Papal Rome is again described by this term, as 'full of abominations,' and 'mother o abominations' (see also Rev. xxi. 27; and comp. Tit i. 16. Rom. ii. 22).
ABRAHAM (H. the father of a multitude. A.M. 3186; A.C. 2362; V. 1990). —This renowned ancestor of the chosen people is the subject of the first distinct and adequate biographical picture which theBible presents, though of his early life nothing is recorded, except that he was the son of Terah; having for brothers Nahor and Haran, the father of Lot, who was consequently nephew of Abraham; all of them being descendants of Shem, who is called the father of all the children ol Eber (Gen. x. 21). Abraham having married Sarah, his sister by his father (Gen. xi. 29; xx. 12), who proved barren, proceeded, C
under the direction of bis father, to leave his native place, Ur of the Chaldees, and, going south, came to Haran, where he dwelt, though the ultimate end of his journey was Canaan. From the first verse of the twelfth chapter of Genesis, this migration would appear to have been commanded to Abraham by the Divine Being, who, at the same time, gave him a promise of great temporal prosperity, with a shadowy intimation of something better: —' I will bless thee and make thy name great, and thou sholt be a blessing: in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed;' — a promise which would of course be understood by Abraham according to his own notions, but which may equally have had, in the intention of the speaker, a for larger and higher import. Thus, at the age of seventyfive, Abraham, accompanied by Lot and Sarah, left Haran in Mesopotamia, where he had resided long enough to acquire much substance; and, coming into Canaan, advanced, in a southerly course, to Shechem, in which he built an altar to Jehovah, by whom he was visited, and promised the land then occupied by the Canaanite. Thence, going towards the south-east, he pitched his tent on a mountain between Hoi on the east, and Bethel on the west, where he built on altar, and offered sacrifice. Again he journeyed, going on still toward the south. Nor is it a little remarkable that he should thus proceed through the land with his property, which mostly consisted of cattle, apparently unmolested, and without alarm.
A famine induces Abraham to direct his steps towards Egypt, the great corn-bearing country: the mention of this fact furnishes, by its accordance with what is known of Egypt, an incidental, and therefore strong, evidence of the reality of the things of which we are pursuing the record. The beauty of Sarah, and the custom of eastern despots to take beautiful women into their harems, made Abraham fear that his own life would fall a sacrifice to the reigning Pharaoh's lust: he therefore requests Sarah to call herself his sister. Accordingly, when they arrived in Egypt, the courtiers of Pharaoh, following the instinct of their nature, recommend Sarah to the notice of their master, who, hoping to conciliate her so-called brother, loads him with presents of men and cattle. Plagues fall upon the monarch's house, when Sarah is returned to him who is found to be her husband as well as her brother. They are, however, sent out of the land. 4
This is the first view wVich is afforded of Egypt in the Biblical history, and deserves a special study on the part of the reader; affording, as the country does in its already formed, graduated, and to some extent civilised, state of society, a striking contrast to the wandering herdsmen of whom Abraham is the representative; and conforming, in a
wonderful manner, with the idea which we are led to form of Egypt in the earliest period of authentic history, from other sources, especially the paintings found on still surviving Egyptian monuments.
Abraham returned into Canaan, and went northward as far as Bethel, being very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold; having most probably obtained the precious metals in Egypt. Lot was with him, having flocks, and herds, and tent3. The number of their cattle was too great for the fodder which the land, rich as it was, supplied. Accordingly, a quarrel arose between their herdsmen. Abraham has hitherto appeared a pious, obedient man: he now shows himself a lover of peace. He will have no strife. Let Lot choose his portion—he will then take another. Nor does he withdraw his offer, when his selfish nephew, unable to appreciate the highminded disinterestedness of Abraham, takes for his share the well-watered plain of Jordan. This transaction, on the part of the patriarch, seems to have been pleasing to Jehovah; for the Divine Being immediately renews his promise in very emphatic terms, that the land, in the length of it and in the breadth of it, should come into possession of Abraham and his seed for ever. The peculiar value of this promise receives illustration from the fact just recited,—namely, that the land was not able to support both Abraham and Lot; for to herdsmen, before the productiveness of the soil is brought out by agriculture, land is of the greatest importance, especially that which nature irrigates; since it is usual, in the nomad condition of life, to pasture one plot of ground, and then, when the sustenance is consumed, to remove to another.
Leaving Lot in quiet possession, Abraham proceeded toward the south, and settled at Mamre, which was in Hebron. Lot, however, was made captive, in wars which raged among certain petty princes in the vicinity. Abraham pursued the victors, having armcil his trained servants born in the house, in number 318, and, falling on the enemy by night at Dan, put them to flight; and, again pursuing, finally vanquished them near Damascus, rescued his nephew, brought him back to his settlement, together with his goods, and the women, and the people; thus returning good for evil, and showing that he possessed energy of character as well as placability. Returning thus from overcoming Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, he is met by the king of Sodom. Melchizedek also, king of Salem (Jerusalem), offers the conqueror bread and wine for refreshment, after his toils and perils; and, being priest of the Most High Qod, implore* a blessing on Abraham. The booty is now to be divided. A tithe is given to the priest; the king of Sodom has the chief part; Abra<