Amalekites Am'alekites, a nomadic tribe of uncertain origin, which occupied the peninsula of Sinai and the wilderness intervening between the southern hill-ranges of Palestine and the border of Egypt. Numb 13:29; 1 Sam 15:7; 27:8 Their wealth consisted in flocks and herds. Mention is made of a "town" 1 Sam 15:5 but their towns could have been little more than stations or nomadic enclosures. The Amalekites first came in contact with the Israelites at Rephidim, but were signally defeated. Exod 17:8-16 In union with the Canaanites they again attacked the Israelites on the borders of Palestine, and defeated them near Hormah. Numb 14:45 Saul undertook an expedition against them. 1 Sam 14:48 Their power was thenceforth broken, and they degenerated into a horde of banditti. Their destruction was completed by David. 1 Sam 30:1-17

—Smith's Bible Dictionary

Hebrew This word first occurs as given to Abram by the Canaanites, Gene 4:13 because he had crossed the Euphrates. The name is also derived from Eber, "beyond, on the other side," Abraham and his posterity being called Hebrews in order to express a distinction between the races east and west of the Euphrates. It may also be derived from Heber, one of the ancestors of Abraham. Gene 10:24 The term Israelite was used by the Jews of themselves among themselves; the term Hebrew was the name by which they were known to foreigners. The latter was accepted by the Jews in their external relations; and after the general substitution of the word Jew, it still found a place in that marked and special feature of national contradistinction, the language.

—Smith's Bible Dictionary

Issachar Is'sachar (reward).

1. The ninth son of Jacob and the fifth of Leah. Gene 30:17, 18 (b.c. 1753-45) At the descent into Egypt four sons are ascribed to him, who founded the four chief families of the tribes. Gene 46:13; Numb 26:23, 25; 1 Chr 7:1 The number of the fighting men of Issachar, when taken in the census at Sinai, was 54,400. During the journey they seem to have steadily increased. The allotment of Issachar lay above that of Manasseh. Josh 19:17-23 In the words of Josephus, "it extended in length from Carmel to the Jordan, in breadth to Mount Tabor." This territory was, as it still is, among the richest land in Palestine. It is this aspect of the territory of Issachar which appears to be alluded to in the blessing of Jacob.

2. A Korhite Levite, one of the door-keepers of the house of Jehovah, seventh son of Obed-edom. 1 Chr 26:5

—Smith's Bible Dictionary

Jegar-sahadutha Je'gar-sahadu'tha (heap of testimony), the Aramæan name given by Laban the Syrian to the heap of stones which he erected as a memorial of the compact between Jacob and himself. Gene 31:47 Galeed, a "witness heap," which is given as the Hebrew equivalent, does not exactly represent Jegar-sahadutha.

—Smith's Bible Dictionary

Lamentations of Jeremiah Title.—The Hebrew title of this book, Ecah, is taken, like the titles of the five books of Moses, from the Hebrew word with which it opens.

Author.—The poems included in this collection appear in the Hebrew canon with no name attached to them, but Jeremiah has been almost universally regarded as their author.

Date.—The poems belong unmistakably to the last days of the kingdom, or the commencement of the exile, b.c. 629-586. They are written by one who speaks, with the vividness and intensity of an eye-witness, of the misery which he bewails.

Contents.—The book consists of five chapter, each of which, however, is a separate poem, complete in itself, and having a distinct subject, but brought at the same time under a plan which includes them all. A complicated alphabetic structure pervades nearly the whole book.

(1) Chs. 1, 2, and 4 contain twenty-two verses each, arranged in alphabetic order, each verse falling into three nearly balanced clauses; Lame 2:19 forms an exception, as having a fourth clause.

(2) Ch. 3 contains three short verses under each letter of the alphabet, the initial letter being three times repeated.

(3) Ch. 5 contains the same number of verses as chs. 1, 2, 4, but without the alphabetic order. Jeremiah was not merely a patriot-poet, weeping over the ruin of his country; he was a prophet who had seen all this coming, and had foretold it as inevitable. There are perhaps few portions of the Old Testament which appear to have done the work they were meant to do more effectually than this. The book has supplied thousands with the fullest utterance for their sorrows in the critical periods of national or individual suffering. We may well believe that it soothed the weary years of the Babylonian exile. It enters largely into the order of the Latin Church for the services of passion-week. On the ninth day of the month of Ab (July-August), the Lamentations of Jeremiah were read, year by year, with fasting and weeping, to commemorate the misery out of which the people had been delivered.

—Smith's Bible Dictionary

Mandrakes (Heb. dudaim) are mentioned in Gene 30:14, 16 and in Song 7:13 The mandrake, Atropa mandragora, is closely allied to the well-known deadly nightshade, A. belladonna, and to the tomato, and belongs to the order Solanaceæ, or potato family. It grows in Palestine and Mesopotamia. (It grows low, like lettuce, which its leaves somewhat resemble, except that they are of a dark green. The flowers are purple, and the root is usually forked. Its fruit when ripe (early in May) is about the size of a small apple, 24 inches in diameter, ruddy or yellow and of a most agreeable odor (to Orientals more than to Europeans) and an equally agreeable taste. The Arabs call it "devil's apple," from its power to excite voluptuousness. Dr. Richardson ("Lectures on Alcohol," 1881) tried some experiments with wine made of the root of mandrake, and found it narcotic, causing sleep, so that the ancients used it as an anæsthetic. Used in small quantities like opium, it excites the nerves, and is a stimulant.—ED.)

—Smith's Bible Dictionary

Narcissus Narcis'sus (stupidity), a dweller at Rome, Roma 16:11 some members of whose household were known us Christians to St. Paul. Some have assumed the identity of this Narcissus with the secretary of the emperor Claudius; but this is quite uncertain.

—Smith's Bible Dictionary

pentateuch Pen'tateuch, The, is the Greek name given to the five books commonly called the "five books of Moses." This title is derived from "pente", five, and "teucos") which, meaning originally "vessel" "instrument," etc., came In Alexandrine Greek to mean "book" hence the fivefold book. In the time of Ezra and Nehemiah it was called "the law of Moses," Ezra 7:6 or "the book of the law of Moses," Nehe 8:1 or simply "the book of Moses." 2 Chr 25:4; 35:12 Ezra 6:13; Nehe 13:1 This was beyond all reasonable doubt our existing Pentateuch. The book which was discovered the temple in the reign of Josiah, and which is entitled, 2 Chr 34:14 "a book of the law of Jehovah by the hand of Moses," was substantially, it would seem the same volume, though it may afterward have undergone some revision by Ezra. The present Jews usually called the whole by the name of Torah, i.e. "the Law," or Torath Mosheh "the Law of Moses." The division of the whole work into five parts was probably made by the Greek translators; for the titles of the several books are not of Hebrew but of Greek origin. The Hebrew names are merely taken from the first words of each book, and in the first instance only designated particular sections and not whole books. The MSS. of the Pentateuch form a single roll or volume, and are divided not into books but into the larger and smaller sections called Parshiyoth and Sedarim. The five books of the Pentateuch form a consecutive whole. The work, beginning with the record of creation end the history of the primitive world, passes on to deal more especially with the early history of the Jewish family, and finally concludes with Moses' last discourses and his death. Till the middle of the last century it was the general opinion of both Jews and Christians that the whole of the Pentateuch was written by Moses, with the exception of a few manifestly later additions,—such as the, 34th chapter of Deuteronomy, which gives the account of Moses death. The attempt to call in question the popular belief was made by Astruc, doctor and professor of medicine in the Royal College at Paris, and court physician to Louis XIV. He had observed that throughout the book of Genesis, and as far as the 6th chapter of Exodus, traces were to be found of two original documents, each characterized by a distinct use of the names of God; the one by the name Elohim, and the other by the name Jehovah. [GOD] Besides these two principal documents, he supposed Moses to have made use of ten others in the composition of the earlier part of his work. The path traced by Astruc has been followed by numerous German writers; but the various hypotheses which have been formed upon the subject cannot be presented in this work. It is sufficient here to state that there is evidence satisfactory that the main bulk of the Pentateuch, at any rate, was written by Moses, though the probably availed himself of existing documents in the composition of the earlier part of the work. Some detached portions would appear to be of later origin; and when we remember how entirely, during some periods of Jewish history, the law seems to have been forgotten, and again how necessary it would be after the seventy years of exile to explain some of its archaisms, and to add here and there short notes to make it more intelligible to the people, nothing can be more natural than to suppose that such later additions were made by Ezra and Nehemiah.

To briefly sum up the results of our inquiry—

1. The book of Genesis rests chiefly on documents much earlier than the time of Moses though it was probably brought to very nearly its, present shape either by Moses himself or by one of the elders who acted under him.

2. The books of Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers are to a great extent Mosaic. Besides those portions which are expressly declared to have been written by him other portions, and especially the legal sections, were, if not actually written, in all probability dictated by him.

3. Deuteronomy, excepting the concluding part, is entirely the work of Moses as it professes to be.

4. It is not probable that this was written before the three preceding books, because the legislation in Exodus and Leviticus, as being the more formal, is manifestly the earlier whilst Deuteronomy is the spiritual interpretation and application of the law. But the letter is always before the spirit; the thing before its interpretation.

5. The first composition of the Pentateuch as a whole could not have taken place till after the Israelites entered Cannan. It is probable that Joshua and the elders who were associated with him would provide for its formal arrangement, custody and transmission.

6. The whole work did not finally assume its present shape till its revision was undertaken by Ezra after the return from the Babylonish captivity. For an account of the separate books see GENESIS, EXODUS, LEVITICUS, NUMBERS, DEUTERONOMY.

—Smith's Bible Dictionary