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ami besieged him in Jerusalem; on which Ahaz applied for help to Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, sending to him at the same time, as a present, the silver and gold that was found in the house of Jehovah, and in the treasures of the king's house. The king of Assyria complied, went to Damascus, took it, carried the people captive to Kir, and slew Bezin. After this, Ahai paid a visit to Damascus; and, finding there an altar that pleased him by its magnificence, he sent a pattern of it to Urijah the priest, who built one after this pattern, in Jerusalem. On returning home, Ahaz offered his offerings on the new altar; and, having removed the old brazen altar, he commanded that in future the usual sacrifices shonld be made on that which owed its existence to himself (2 Kings xvi.; comp. xx. 11. Isa. vii.; xxxviii. 8). His innovations, which did not stop with this affectation of splendour, were of a nature to prove that his heart was alienated from God, and given to the idolatry of the senses. He had one refuge, and to that he did once apply. Having consulted the prophet Isaiah, he was assured that God did not intend to allow the house of David to beeome extinct, and that the enemies of Judah would shortly find in the king of Assyria an adversary whom they could not withstand. As an as surance of this succour, there was a sign given him, namely, the birth of a son of the prophet (Isa. viii. 8); and it was foretold, that, before the child should have knowledge to cry my father, and my mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria should be taken away before the king of Assyria. But Ahaz had not the moral qualities needful to enable him to profit by the timely succour. He became hopelessly corrupt, even sacrificing to the gods of Damascus that smote him, saying,—' Because the gods of the kings of Syria help them, will I sacrifice to them, that they may help me' (2 Chron. xxviii. 23). Neither good nor ill fortune availed to bring him to repentance. At last he went to such a pitch of wickedness as to set up idolatry in its most revolting shapes, in every city and town of his dominions. His name became odious- and, dying in universal contempt, he was not honoured with a burial in the royal sepulchres. The night ushers in the day: the wicked Ahaz was succeeded by his son, the wise and pious Hezckiah.
To Ahaz belongs the unenviable distinction of being the worst king that ever occupied the throne of Judah; and his history affords s striking proof that sin and wretchedness are yoke-fellows in human life (1 Chron. iii. 13. 2 Chron.xxviii. xxix. 2 Kings xvi. Isa. vii viii. ix.; xxxviii. 8).
AHAZIAH (H. the Lord's possessor. A.M. 4660; A.C.888; V. 897), the eighth king of Israel, son and follower of the idolatrous Ahab, and Jezebel, He walked in the way of
his father, and in the way of his mother, servingBaal. Having fallen down through alattice in his upper chamber, in Samaria, and endangered his life, he sent to inquire of Baalzebub, the god of Ekron, whether he would recover; for which he was told by Elijah that he should die. Two troops of fifty men with their commanders, sent by the king to seize Elijah, perished. A third company was spared, and to them Elij ah repeated the threat. So the king died, 'according to the word of Jehovah, which Elijah had spoken.' He joined with Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, in a plan for equipping a fleet at Ezion-gaber, to carry on trade on the Bed Sea, the failure of which is ascribed to Ahaziah's taking a part therein (1 Kings xxii. 49, seq. 2 Chron. xx. 35, uq.). In this king's reign, the tributary Moabites set themselves free (2 Kings i.).
There was another person of this name, sixth king of Judah (A.M. 4672; A.C. 876; V. 885). He was the son and successor of Jehoram. Two-and-twenty years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign. His mother's name was Athaliah, daughter of Ahab, granddaughter of Omri, king of Israel. Being ' son-in-law of the house of Ahab,' he pursued the idolatrous practices of that family. The corresponding passage in 2 Chron. xxii. 3, adds,' his mother was his counsellor to do wickedly.' He joined his relative Joram, king of Israel, in war against Hazael, king of Syria. The battle was fought at Bamoth-gilcad, and Joram was defeated. Ahaziah, going to see Joram when he lay in Jezreel ill of the wounds which he had received, was involved in his late, being put to death by Jehu's command (2 Kings viii. 25, seq. 2 Chron. xxii.).
AHIEZER (H. brother of help), captain of the children of Dan, in the time of Moses, who is distinguished for the liberality of his contributions on occasion of the consecration of the tabernacle in the wilderness (Numh.i. 12; ii. 25; vii. 66).
AH UAH (H. 6rofAer of the Lord), a prophet of Shilo (a oity in Ephraim), hence called the Shilonite, in the days of Solomon. Meeting with Jeroboam alone in a field, he seized a new robe, with which he had clad himself, and, tearing it in twelve pieces, gave Jeroboam ten; signifying thereby, that God had, after a similar manner, rent the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, in consequence of idolatry, and given ten of the tribes to Jeroboam (1 Kings, xi. 26,seq.). He also announced condign punishment against that prince himself, when he, too, gave his heart to idolatry. (1 Kings xiv.). Little in detail is known of Ahijah, except that he was blind in his old age; but his affliction had not subdued his spirit, which appears to have been worthy and fit for the high office which he had to fulfil. 'The prophecy of Ahijah' mentioned with the visions of' Iddo the seer,' in 2 Chron. ix. 29, is not extant—a fact which may serve to show that the care which was employed by the Israelites did not preserve all their sacred books, and, consequently, that oar canon is incomplete.
AHIHUD (H. brother of praise), son of Shelomi, prince of the tribe of Asher, appointed with other eminent persons to divide Canaan among the Israelites, and who may, in consequence, be presumed to have possessed the beet acquaintance with geography and mathematies, which the science of the times afforded (Numb, xxxiv. 17, 27).
AHIMELECH (H. king's brother). About A. M. 4468; A.C. 1082; V. 1093), son of Ahitub, residing as high priest at Nob, where was the tabernacle, together with the body of the priests. He reeeived David when flying from Saul, and gave him refreshment from the shew-bread designed for use in the ceremonial of worship; he gave him also the sword of Goliah, which lay in the sacred place wrapped in a cloth. Incensed at this, Saul commanded his guards to slay Ahimelech and his attendant priests. They refused, when, at Saul's command, Doeg the E do mite, who had informed the king of Ahimelech's succour to David, put to death eighty-five priests, at the same time slaughtering the inhabitants of Nob without regard to age or sex (1 Sam. xxi. xxii). In Mark ii. 26, where this event is alluded to, the name of the priest is given as Abiathar. From 1 Sam. xxii. 20, we find Abiathar was the name of a son of Ahimelech. Probably, therefore, Abiathar was a name common to both father and son; or, Abiathar having succeeded, in consequence of his father's having been slain, the priesthood was denominated indifferently by the name of the son and by the name of the father. In 1 Sam. xiv. 3, mention is made of Ahijah, where we should expect to find Ahimelech. We admit a difficulty here. The succession of Jewish high priests has its difficulties, after all that has been done to clear it up. No one who knows how many subjects in profane history remain hopelessly obscure, and who remembers that, in treating of the topies before us, we have to go back some three thousand years to a state of society most dissimilar to our own, can expect to find the Biblical narratives free from dark, doubtful, or difficult points.
AHITOPHEL (H. a traitorous brother), a Gilonite of the tribe of Judah, who was a counsellor of David, but revolted to Absalom. He was father of Eliam, whose daughter Bath-sheba, wife of Uriah, David took for his own pleasures (2 Sam. xi. 3; xxiii. 34). Ahitophel advised Absalom to take possession of David's harem, as being at once a sign and a means of insuring his succession to the regal power (2 Sam. xvi. 21). He also gave counsel that David should be pursued and overtaken immediately on his flight; and, when the more cautious plan of Hushai was preferred, he went home, and hanged himself
(xvii.; see also xv. 31; xvi. 23). Ahitophel resembles Judas, both in his treachery and his fate. His hatred against David, however, may have taken its rise in something higher than gross selfishness. As the grandfather of Bath-sheba, he may have felt impelled to visit on David's own head the injury which had been done to his family. Indeed, his eager animosity against his sovereign seems to point to some strong personal offence as its source. Thus did David's vices raise up bitter enemies against him, and put his throne and his life in danger. Providence leaves no sin uupunished.
AI (II. heap of ruins), a Canaanitish royal city, which lay on the east of Bethel. Abraham, on his arrival in Palestine, pitched his tent between the two cities (Gen.xii.8; xiii. 3). Ai was captured and destroyed by Joshua (Josh, viii. 3, seq.). It was rebuilt at a later period, and is mentioned by Isaiah, and also after the exile (Isa. x. 28. Ezra ii. 28). In the days of Jerome, its site and ruins were still pointed out not far from Bethel, on the east . Robinson coujecturally fixed for its locality a place with ruins just south of Deir Diwan, which is an hour distant from Bethel, having near by, on the north, the deep valley Wady el Mutyah.
AJALON (H. pasture field), a name borne by two places in Canaan, of which one was in the lot of Dan (Josh. xix. 42), the other in that of Zebulun. We have no means of fixing more exactly the locality of the latter; but the former lay in the southern part of Dan, not far from the limits of Judah, near Ai and Gibeon. From it was derived the name 'Valley of Ajalon,' which is famous in the history of the conquest of the land of promise by Joshua, and for the much-misunderstood words taken from the poetic book Jasher:
* Sun t stand thou still upon Gibeon, . And thou, .Moon! in the valley of Ajalon.'
Attacked by five confederate kings, but now sure of victory, and naturally wishing to complete his conquest in the entire destruction of his enemies, the hero is represented as breaking forth, in a truly Hebrew manner, into an address to the sun and moon, that they would stay their course, in order to afford him the needful light. This, at least, is the form in which the poetical work, whence the narrative is borrowed, had thrown the fact of an ordinary wish for the prolongation of the day. With an inability to feel, or an indisposition to recognise, the poetry of the passage, commentators have taken the words in their literal, prosaic meaning, and so brought the passage into conflict with the discoveries of astronomy, and into contradiction with the established laws of nature; thus creating miracles and difficulties at tho same time. The record found in Josh. x. 13, 14, is only an expansion of the poetic lines given in the twelfth vorse. There is an example of a poetic representation of a similar fact found in Judg. v. 20: comp. iv. 12, sea.
'Tboy fought from heaven: Tb« suu-o, in their couraea, fought against Siscra.'
The passage which affords most light is found in Habbakuk iii. verse 10, compared with verse 11, where the mountains are said to have seen God, and trembled; the deep to have uttered his voice, and lifted up his hands on high, with the same boldness of poetic license as (ver. 11) the sun and moon are said to have stood still in their habitation, and to have gone at the light of God's arrows, and at the shining of his glittering spear.
Pococke reports, that, when on his way from Jerusalem to Joppa, he beheld, on the height where Rama once lay, towards the north, a very beautiful valley, which he judged to be, from east to west, ten miles long and five broad, and which was accounted to be the Valley of Ajalon. In this valley were two beautiful hills: the one towards the west had two points; upon the other, towards the north, was a village, named Geb, which is probably the ancient Gibson. The Christians, at a late period, gave this district the name of the Valley of the Moon (Val de Luna).
The children of Dan found the original inhabitants, the Amorites, too powerful for them; and were, consequently, obliged to withdraw, after the conquest of the country by Joshua, into the mountains; nor could they, for a time, succeed in forcing their way down into the lower country. At length, however, they overpowered their enemies, and made them tributary (Judg. i. 34, teq.). Ajalon, with her suburbs, was assigned to the Levites (Josh. xxi. 24. 1 Chron. vi . 69). Beriah and Shema, who had distinguished themselves in martial exploits against the inhabitants of Gath, were chief men in Ajalon (1 Chron. viii. 13). Ajalon was among the t ities which Behoboam built for defence, after the revolt of the ten tribes (2 Chron. xi. 10). Notwithstanding its strength, it was captured by the Philistines,under Ahaz (cir. 741), (2 Chron. xxviii. 18).
AKABAH (A.), and the Gulf of Akabah, is the eastern arm of the Bed Sea, which, together with the Gulf of Suez, forms the triangle contuining Mount Sinai. The gulf is also called Elath, or the Elanitic Gulf. On it lay Ezion-Gaber. Bound this gulf stretched the scriptural 'Land of Midian ;' and on its eastern shore, the ancient city of Midian preserves, to this day, the record of its origin in its name. The ancient Midianites, or the tribes descending from the children of Keturah, lay intermingled with the kindred tribes of the Ishmaelites and Amalckites, from the borders of the land of Moab, to the country round the eastern head of tho Arabian Gulf. The Gulf of Akabah is dangerous, owing to its shoals and its coral rocks; while that of
Suez, which extends about a hundred and sixty miles in length, is of safer navigation, its depth varying from nine to fourteen fathoms, with a sandy bottom.
ALABASTER (G. according to Vossius, that which we cannot hold), the common name in ancient and modern times, for gypsum. It consists of very fine grains, is beautifully white, variegated with other less pleasing colours, and yields in hardness only to marble, whose brilliant polish it will not take. It was well known, in ancient times, to the Jews, as well as to the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and other nations. Some kinds are entirely white, which were most valued. The alabastrum onyx was used for making vases, urns, ointment and odour boxes. The practice of employing alabaster for bearing perfumes caused vessels, designed for this purpose, to be called alabastra, of whatever substance they were made. Such an alabastron is intended in Matt. xxvi. 7 (see also Mark xiv. 3. Luke vii. 37), where we read of a woman who came with an alabaster-box of very precious ointment, and poured it on the head of Jesus, as he sat at meat .
The reason why this stone was employed was, that the ancients held that perfumes were best preserved in alabaster. The alahastron was rather a bottle than a box, having a long neck, out of which the perfume was poured. When the odoriferous liquid had been put in, the top or orifice was sealed, in order to prevent evaporation. This explains what is meant by breaking the box, on the part of the woman just referred to. She broke the seal or the top of the long-necked flask. The record was not made without a reason, being perhaps unconsciously intended to show that the perfume was fresh; for the seal remained as it was when first the 'ointment' was put in.
ALBEIT (T. all be it), an obsolete conjunction, signifying although; at the same time. It is used only twice in the English Bible, namely, Ezek. xiii. 7, and Philem. 19.
ALEXANDER (G. ttrong man). Several persons of this name are connected with Biblical history, particularly the Apocrypha. Alexander, falsely called * the Great' (born at Pella,356, A.C.), was the son and successor of Philip, king of Macedon. He reigned a little more than twelve years. Though his birth made him only ruler of the small kingdom of Macedon, Alexander having, in the year 331, A.C. vanquished Darius Codomannus, near Arbela, put an end to the Persian monarchy, and became master of the eastern, as he was already master of the western world (1 Maccab. i. 1—H; vi. 2). His ambitious disposition showed itself at an early period of life. Philip's victories troubled his mind, and he exclaimed —' My father will leave me nothing to do.' His chief instructor was the celebrated philosopher Aristotle, who, having removed his pupil from the court, conducted him through a general course of instruction, and gave him special lessons in the art of government, on which he wrote a treatise (which is lost) for the use and benefit of the young prince. Unhappily, Aristotle thought it his duty to encourage martial feelings in Alexander, and, for this purpose, directed his pupil's attention to the Iliad of Homer, which became the young man's favourite book, and in which he used to read some pages every night, before retiring to rest . His father also employed his influence for the same purpose. When, at the battle of Chteronea (338, A.C.), Alexander had performed prodigies of valour, 'Seek, my son,' said Philip, in embracing him,'seek another kingdom; for that which I leave you is too small for so brave a prince.' Having saved bis father's life in battle, he ascended the throne on the assassination of Philip, in the year 336, when not quite twenty years of age. He found war with Persia left him by his father; but, before he entered on it, he subdued the enemies of his house in Greece, and, in particular, punished, with the greatest severity, the Thebans, who, on the death of Philip, had asserted their liberty; he rased their city to the ground, sparing only the house of the poet Pindar, slew six thousand of the inhabitants, and sold thirty thousand of them into slavery. Having thus diffused terror among the Greeks, he set out, with an army of thirty-five thousand men, for the conquest of the world. In this expedition, after having taken Damascus, he made himself master of the cities which lay along the Mediterranean Sea. Tyre ventured to withstand him, but was, after extreme difficulty, overcome in seven months. He then marched victoriously through Palestine, in which all the cities, as far as Gaza, yielded to his power. Egypt, weary of the yoke of Persia, received him as a liberator. In order to strengthen bis power, he restored the ancient religion, and founded Alexandria, which became a very famous and influential city. When he came to Gordium, in Phrygia, he found, and cut with his sword, the famous knot, whosoever undid which was to become master of the world. Bathing in the river Cydnus, he fell ill, when he acted in a manner which showed that he had good qualities of character.
Being firmly convinced that war is antichristian in spirit, tendency, and aim, we can regard the character of Alexander generally, with no other feelings than those of stern dislike and unqualified pity. Yet we allow that there are features in his character which take him out of the herd of ordinary warriors. A scholar as well as a soldier, he, with no small success, made the furtherance of civilisation one great aim of his life. In this laudable pursuit, he could do nothing better than spread the influence of those Hellenic institutions and manners,
of which, barbarian as be was by extraction, he had come to be the acknowledged patron and representative. But, while he did what in him lay to sow the East with seeds grown on Western lands, he did not hesitate to adopt so much of Eastern manners and usages as might recommend him and his government to the affections of his oriental subjects. Indeed he conceived, and tried to carry into effect, the vast idea of a universal monarchy, of which Babylon was to be the great capital. The conception was not realised, for the elements were too heterogeneous to coalesce; but, while he failed in this intention, he was indirectly, at least, the means of diffusing abroad the germs of a higher and wider culture than had prevailed. In regard to geography, the result of his victories was very distinguished. By his arms he laid the world open; new countries, new mountains, new rivers, new continents and seas, were made known; and never at any period, except on the discovery of America, was there the same excitement, and the same amount of discovery regarding the surface of the globe.
While taking from the hand of Philippus his physician, a draught of medicine, he received a letter from his friend Parmenio, stating that Philippus had been bribed by Darius to poison him. He handed the letter to his physician, and at the same moment swallowed the potion. At Persepolis his renown came to a termination. Master of the entire world, he was a slave to his passions; and, giving himself up to all manner of vicious indulgencies, he became morose, passionate, and depraved. Persepolis, that wonder of the world, was laid in ashes by him in a drunken fit . Vexed with himself, he set out, gained new victories, overran many lands, passed the Indus, and was pressing on to the Ganges, when a general dissatisfaction in his army, which had already displayed itself in two conspiracies, put a stop to his mad and destructive career. He was compelled to return to Babylon, on his way to which he lost a large portion of his troops in the deserts, and had difliculty to maintain any discipline. In this city, while engaged with thoughts of new conquests, he suddenly died after a carousal, in the thirty-second year of his age. His body was placed in a golden coffin, and conveyed to Alexandria. Divine honours were paid to him in several parts of the world. His sarcophagus has been in the British Museum since 1802. The writer of the Maccabees states, that he divided his kingdom among his generals on his deathbed—an account which is not without support from Oriental authors; but the Greek writers say, that, when asked to whom he left his kingdom, he merely answered, ' To the most worthy.'
We have kept for a distinct notice one fact in Alexander's life, because, as specially exhibiting the spirit of Heathenism on a most important point, and aiding to illustrate parts of the book of Daniel, it seems to merit special attention.
While in Egypt, Alexander was induced to pay u visit to the oracle of Jupiter Ammon, 'whom,' says his biographer Q. Curtius,' he, not content with the height of mortal pomp, either believed himself, or wished others to believe, to be in a special sense the founder of his family.' Beaching the temple after incredible labours and perils, he was dexterously saluted by the oldest priest with the title of ' son.' 'I receive,' he replied,' and acknowledge the title.' 'But,' he asked — 'does my divine father intend me to possess the empire of the whole world f The priest with a ready skill in adulation, replied,' Yes; thou wilt be the ruler of all lands, invincible till thou takest thy place among the gods.' The priests received a reward worthy of a king's munificence. His courtiers had caught the tone. Being permitted by Alexander to consult the oracle, they limited themselves to the inquiry whether Jupiter bade them worship their king with divine honours. The priest answered in the affirmative. On which Alexander not only permitted, but commanded himself to be called Jovis jUiumt 'son of Jupiter.' The historian well adds, that he thus undermined the fame of his deeds, while he wished by this name to augment it (Q. Curt. iv. 7).
It will now easily be seen, that Alexander must have made a strong, deep, and widespread impression on the men of his day; and this impression, combined with the facts on which it was built, serves as a key to the explanation of parts of the Book of Daniel. In this work, the kingdom of Alexander is set forth in the colossal figure which Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream, represented by legs of iron; while the divided empire of his followers is said to be described under the image of feet, part of iron and part of clay; also as the fourth kingdom, strong as iron (Dan. ii. 33,40). The comparison of Alexander's power to 'iron which breaketh in pieces, and subdueth all things,' is very appropriate. In the seventh verse of chapter seventh, Alexander is figured as 'a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with its feet; and it had ten horns.' These ten honm are an oriental symbol of power, — in particular, of destructive power; the horn being the instrument by which the ram makes his assaults and defence. As an emblem nf p..Wit, it also betokens pride and I.. . 1.1menu; and the number ten is intended to Innreawi the Impression. Again, in vlii. ft, HI, Alexander, after a similar manner, is exhibited ns 'a he-goat,' which 'came from the west, on the fs.cn of the whole earth,' — - Ilui i ..ii. h goat Is the king of U raw In,' Wilh 'tlrn . i. .ii In.Hi that ts between his
eyes.' Nor is it a little remarkable, that the oriental name for Alexander is in strict keeping with these symbols —' the homed one.' On the Macedoman coins, too, we see horns — horns of Ammon and of goats — on the heads of the kings.
Josephus (Antiq. xi. 8. 4) has given, with other particulars relating to Alexander's passage through Palestine into Egypt, an account, not unmixed with the marvellous, of the meeting of that monarch with the Jewish high priest Jaddua, who, dressed in his robes of ceremony, and attended by the priests and a multitude of citizens, went out to receive the conqueror. Alexander appears to have been deeply impressed with the venerable appearance of the sacred company; and, having saluted the high priest, and adored the name of God, which the latter bore engraven in gold on his mitre, he went up to the temple, and offered sacrifice to God, according to the Mosaic ritual. And when the Book of Daniel was showed, wherein the prophet declared that a Greek should destroy the empire of the Persians, he interpreted the passage of himself: Judeea and Syria were committed by him to the government of Andromachus; and, when he had been slain by the Samaritans, to Memnon.
II. There is also mention of an Alexander in 1 Mace. x. 1. This person was surnamed Balas, and was a reputed son of Antiochus IV., Epiphanes. In the year 162 (A.C.),being supported by Ptolems9us Philometor, king of Egypt, Attains, king of Pergamus, and Ariarathes, king of Cappadocia, he appeared as an opponent of the Syrian king, Demetrius Soter; formed an alliance with Jonathan, the Maccabean; and utterly vanquished Demetrius.
III. A third Alexander is mentioned in Mark xv. 21, as a person well known, who, together with Bufus, was a son of Simon the Cyrenian, that was compelled to bear the Bedeemer's cross.
IV. A fourth Alexander mentioned in Scripture was a member of the Jewish Sanhedrim, and of the kindred of the high priest; being one of those who called John and Peter to account for the miracle they had performed on the lame man (Acts iii. and iv.).
V. A fifth of this name is spoken of in Acts xix. 33, in connection with the uproar raised by Demetrius at Ephesus.
VI. There is also Alexander the coppersmith, who did Paul much evil (2 Tim. iv. 14), and is probably the same as Alexander, whom, together with Hymentcu s, Paul declares that he had 'delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme' (1 Tim. i. 20); by which is to be understood, that Alexander, having put away conscience concerning faith, had made shipwreck, and was expelled from the Christian community. Conip. 1 Cor. v. 3, teq.