A

A

The first letter in almost all alphabets. In Hebrew, it is called aleph, in Greek, alpha, the last letter in the Greek alphabet being omega. Both the Hebrews and Greeks used their letters as numerals; and hence A (aleph or alpha) denoted one, or the first. So our Lord says, "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last;" thus declaring his eternity and that he is the cause and end of all things, Revelation 1:8,11, 21:6 22:13 Isaiah 44:6 48:12 Colossians 1:15-18.

AARON

The son of Amram and Jochabed, of the tribe of Levi, and brother of Moses and Miriam, Exodus 6:20; born about the year B. C. 1574. He was three years older than Moses, Exodus 7:7 and was the spokesman and assistant of the latter in bringing Israel out of Egypt, Exodus 4:16. His wife was Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab; and his sons, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. He was 83 years old when God summoned him to join Moses in the desert near Horeb. Cooperating with his brother in the exodus from Egypt, Exodus 4:1-16:36, he held up his hands in the battle with Amalek, Exodus 17:1-16; and ascended Mount Sinai with him to see the glory of God, Exodus 24:1,2,9-11.

Aaron's chief distinction consisted in the choice of him and his male posterity for the priesthood. He was consecrated the first high priest by God's directions, Exodus 28:1-29:46 Leviticus 8:1-36; and was afterwards confirmed in his office by the destruction of Korah and his company, by the staying of the plague at his intercession, and by the budding of his rod, Numbers 16:1-17:13. He was faithful and self-sacrificing in the duties of his office, and meekly "held his peace" when his sons Nadab and Abihu were slain, Leviticus 10:1-3. Yet he fell sometimes into grievous sins: he made the golden calf at Sinai, Exodus 32:1-22; he joined Miriam in sedition against Moses, Numbers 12:1-16; and with Moses disobeyed God at Kadesh, Numbers 20:8-12. God, therefore did not permit him to enter the promised land; but he died on Mount Hor, in Edom, in the fortieth year after leaving Egypt, at the age of about 123 years, Numbers 20:22-29; 33:39. In Deuteronomy 10:6, he is said to have died at Mosera, which was probably the station in the valley west of Mount Hor, whence he ascended into the mount. The Arabs still pretend to show his tomb on the mount, and highly venerate it. In his office as high priest, Aaron was an eminent type of Christ, being "called of God," and anointed; bearing the names of the tribes on his breast; communicating God's will by Urim and Thummim; entering the Most Holy place on the Day of Atonement, "not without blood;" and interceding for and blessing the people of God.

AARONITES

Descendants of Aaron the high priest, so called 1 Chronicles 12:27; 27:17. Thirteen cities were assigned to them, in Judah and Benjamin, Joshua 21:13-19; 1 Chronicles 6:57-60.

AB

1. Father, found in many compound Hebrew proper names: as Abner, father of light; Absalom, father of peace.

2. The fifth month of the sacred, and the eleventh of the civil year among the Jews. It began, according to the latest authorities, with the new moon of August. It was a sad month in the Jewish calendar. On its first day, a fast was observed for the death of Aaron, Numbers 33:38; and on its ninth, another was held in memory of the divine edicts which excluded so many that came out of Egypt from entering the promised land; and also, of the overthrow of the first and second temple.

ABADDON

The former name is Hebrew, and the latter Greek, and both signify the destroyer, Revelation 9:11. He is called the angel of death, or the destroying angel.

ABANA

Rivers of Damascus, 2 Kings 5:12. The Abana, (or, Amana), was undoubtedly the present Barada, the Chrysorrhoas of the Greeks. It is a clear, cold, and swift mountain stream, rising in Anti-Lebanon, north east of Hermon, flowing south east into the plain, and near Damascus turning eastward, skirting the northern wall of the city, and terminating 20 miles east in one of three large lakes. It is a perennial river, and so copious, that though no less than nine or ten branches or canals are drawn off from it to irrigate the plain and supply the city and the villages around it, the stream is a large one to the end.

The only other independent river of any size in the territory of Damascus is the Awaj, which crosses the plain south of Damascus, and enters the southernmost of the three lakes above referred to. This is supposed to be the Pharpar of the Bible. As these rivers of Damascus were never dry, but made the region they watered like the Garden of Eden for fertility and beauty, Naaman might well contrast them with most of "the waters of Israel," which dry up under the summer sun.

ABARIM

Mountains east of the Dead Sea and the lower Jordan, "over against Jericho," within the territory of Moab and the tribe of Reuben. It is impossible to define exactly their extent. The mountains Nebe, Pisgah, and Peor were in the Abarim, Numbers 27:12; 33:47,48; Deuteronomy 32:49; 34:1. Ije-abarim, Numbers 21:11, seems to denote the southern part of the same chain.

ABBA

A Syriac word signifying father. When the Jews came to speak Greek, this word may have been retained from their ancient language, as being easier to pronounce, especially for children, than the Greek pater. It expressed the peculiar tenderness, familiarity, and confidence of the love between parent and child, Mark 14:36; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6.

ABEDNEGO

Servant of Nego; a Chaldee name give to Azariah, one of the three captive young princes of Judah, who were Daniel's companions at the court of the king of Babylon, Daniel 1:7. Their virtue, wisdom, and piety secured their promotion at court, Daniel 1:3-19, 2:17,49; and their steadfastness in witnessing for God among idolaters, with their deliverance from the fiery furnace by the Angel-Jehovah, led many to acknowledge the true God, and rendered these pious youth for ever illustrious as monuments of the excellence and safety of faith in Him, Daniel 3:1-30 Hebrews 11:34.

ABEL

  1. The second son of Adam and Eve. He became a shepherd, and offered to God a sacrifice from his flocks, at the same time that Cain his brother offered the fruits of the earth. God had respect to Abel's sacrifice, and not to Cain's; hence Cain in anger killed Abel, Genesis 4:1-26. It was "by faith" that Abel offered a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain; that is, his heart was right towards God, and he worshipped Him in trustful obedience to the divine directions. His offering, made by the shedding of blood, was that of a penitent sinner confiding in the atonement ordained of God; and it was accepted, "God testifying of his gifts," probably by fire from heaven; "by which he obtained witness that he was righteous," that is, justified, Hebrews 11:4. "The blood of Abel" called from the ground for vengeance, Genesis 4:10; but the blood of Christ claims forgiveness and salvation for his people, Hebrews 12:24; 1 John 1:7.
  2. Abel is also a prefix in the names of several towns. In such cases it signifies a grassy place or meadow.

ABEL-BETH-MAACHAH

Meadow of the house of Maachah; a town in the tribe of Naphtali, north of lake Merom. It was besieged in the rebellion of Sheba, 2 Samuel 20:13-22; eighty years afterwards it was taken by Ben-hadad, 1 Kings 15:20, and again, after 200 years, by Tiglathpileser, 2 Kings 15:29. It is called Abelmaim in 2 Chronicles 16.4. Compare 1 Kings 15:20. Also simply Abel, 2 Samuel 20:18.

ABEL-CARMAIM

Meadow of vineyards; a village of the Ammonites, six miles from Rabbath-Ammon; in the history of Jephthah it is called "the plain of the vineyards," Judges 11:33.

ABEL-MEHOLAH

Or ABEL-MEA, a town of Issachar, near the Jordan, ten miles south of Beth-shean. Near this place Gideon defeated the Midianites, Judges 7:22; and here Elisha was born, 1 Kings 19:16.

ABEL-MIZRAIM

Meadow of the Egyptians; so called from the seven days' lamentation of Joseph and his company, on bringing up the body of Jacob from Egypt for burial, Genesis 50:10,11. It lay in the plain of Jericho, between that city and the Jordan.

ABEL-SHITTIM

In the plains of Moab, east of the Jordan, and near Mount Peor. It was one of the last encampments of Israel before the death of Moses, Numbers 33:49; called also Shittim, Joshua 2:1. Here the Israelites were enticed by the women of Moab and Midian into uncleanness and the idolatry of Baal-peor, and 24,000 died of the plague, Numbers 25:1-18.

ABIA

In the New Testament the same as Abijah in the Old Testament, which see.

ABIAH