Abel-shittim

Meadow of the acacias, frequently called simply "Shittim" (Num 25:1; Jos 2:1; Mic 6:5), a place on the east of Jordan, in the plain of Moab, nearly opposite Jericho. It was the forty-second encampment of the Israelites, their last resting-place before they crossed the Jordan (Num 33:49; Num 22:1; Num 26:3; Num 31:12; Compare Num 25:1; Num 31:16).

—Easton's Illustrated Dictionary

Agrippa I.

The grandson of Herod the Great, and son of Aristobulus and Bernice. The Roman emperor Caligula made him governor first of the territories of Philip, then of the tetrarchy of Lysanias, with the title of king ("king Herod"), and finally of that of Antipas, who was banished, and of Samaria and Judea. Thus he became ruler over the whole of Palestine. He was a persecutor of the early Christians. He slew James, and imprisoned Peter (Acts 12:1-4). He died at Caesarea, being "eaten of worms" (Acts 12:23), A.D. 44.[Comp. Josephus, Ant. xix. 8.)

—Easton's Illustrated Dictionary

Berea

A city of Macedonia to which Paul with Silas and Timotheus went when persecuted at Thessalonica (Acts 17:10, 13), and from which also he was compelled to withdraw, when he fled to the sea-coast and thence sailed to Athens (Acts 14, Acts 15). Sopater, one of Paul's companions belonged to this city, and his conversion probably took place at this time (Acts 20:4). It is now called Verria.

—Easton's Illustrated Dictionary

Numbering of the people

Besides the numbering of the tribes mentioned in the history of the wanderings in the wilderness, we have an account of a general census of the whole nation from Dan to Beersheba, which David gave directions to Joab to make (1Ch 21:1). Joab very reluctantly began to carry out the king's command.

This act of David in ordering a numbering of the people arose from pride and a self-glorifying spirit. It indicated a reliance on his part on an arm of flesh, an estimating of his power not by the divine favour but by the material resources of his kingdom. He thought of military achievement and of conquest, and forgot that he was God's vicegerent. In all this he sinned against God. While Joab was engaged in the census, David's heart smote him, and he became deeply conscious of his fault; and in profound humiliation he confessed, "I have sinned greatly in what I have done." The prophet Gad was sent to him to put before him three dreadful alternatives ((2Sa 24:13); for "seven years" in this verse, the LXX. and 1Ch 21:12 have "three years"), three of Jehovah's four sore judgments (Ezek 14:21). Two of these David had already experienced. He had fled for some months before Absalom, and had suffered three years' famine on account of the slaughter of the Gibeonites. In his "strait" David said, "Let me fall into the hands of the Lord." A pestilence broke out among the people, and in three days swept away 70,000. At David's intercession the plague was stayed, and at the threshing-floor of Araunah (q.v.), where the destroying angel was arrested in his progress, David erected an altar, and there offered up sacrifies to God (2Ch 3:1).

The census, so far as completed, showed that there were at least 1,300,000 fighting men in the kingdom, indicating at that time a population of about six or seven millions in all. (See CENSUS.)

—Easton's Illustrated Dictionary

Persia

An ancient empire, extending from the Indus to Thrace, and from the Caspian Sea to the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. The Persians were originally a Medic tribe which settled in Persia, on the eastern side of the Persian Gulf. They were Aryans, their language belonging to the eastern division of the Indo-European group. One of their chiefs, Teispes, conquered Elam in the time of the decay of the Assyrian Empire, and established himself in the district of Anzan. His descendants branched off into two lines, one line ruling in Anzan, while the other remained in Persia. Cyrus II., king of Anzan, finally united the divided power, conquered Media, Lydia, and Babylonia, and carried his arms into the far East. His son, Cambyses, added Egypt to the empire, which, however, fell to pieces after his death. It was reconquered and thoroughly organized by Darius, the son of Hystaspes, whose dominions extended from India to the Danube.

—Easton's Illustrated Dictionary