Aaron (âr'on or ā'ron). The name, if of Hebrew origin, means enlightened. According to Jerome, it means mountain of strength. The son of Amram and Jochebed, of the tribe of Levi He was three years older than his brother Moses. Ex. 6:20; 7:7. Aaron was noted for his eloquence, and was appointed by Jehovah to speak for Moses in the court of Pharaoh. Ex. 4:14-16. He aided Moses in leading the Hebrews out of Egypt; and was consecrated the first high priest of the Hebrew nation. Ex. 7:1-10; 28:1-43; Lev. 8:1-36. He was a man of great devotion; but, from want of firmness, he sometimes fell into grievous sins. While Moses was absent in Mount Sinai receiving the law, Aaron weakly yielded to the people's demand to have some image of a deity for them to worship. The image he made was a golden calf, after the form of the Egyptian Apis or Mnevis. Ex. 32:1-35; Ps. 106:19, 20. Aaron joined Miriam, his sister, in sedition against Moses, Num. 12:1-12, and, with Moses, neglected to acknowledge the power of God at Kadesh. For this sin he was denied the privilege of entering the promised land. Num. 20:12-24. While the Hebrews were encamped at Moserah, in the fortieth year after leaving Egypt, Aaron, at the divine command, ascended Mount Hor and died, at the age of 123 years. Num. 20:25-29; Deut. 10:6. The sons and descendants of Aaron served as priests at the sanctuary; while the other families of the tribe of Levi performed those religious duties which were of an inferior kind. Num. 4:15, 16, 24. Aaron is called the "saint of the Lord" with reference to his official character, Ps. 106:16, but, as the most superficial study of his life shows, he had many faults. Yet the people loved him, and the mourning over his death, which lasted 30 days, Num. 20:28, was sincere. One of the fasts of later Judaism was held in his memory, on the first day of the fifth month, Ab, our July or August.

Aaron married Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab, probably a prince of the tribe of Judah, and had four sons, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. Ex. 6:23; Num. 1:7. The Jewish priesthood began in the family of Aaron and remained in its possession, though not uninterruptedly, in the line of Eleazar; it passed into the family of Ithamar, the brother of Eleazar, in the person of Eli; but, in consequence of the wickedness of Ell's sons, God declared that it should be taken from his family, 1 Sam. 2:30, and this prophecy was fulfilled in the time of Solomon, who took the priesthood from Abiathar and restored it to Zadok, of the line of Eleazar. 1 Kings 2:27.


Aaronites (âr'on-ītes or ă'ron-ites). 1 Chron. 12:27. Levites of the family of Aaron: the priests who served the sanctuary. Eleazar, Aaron's son, was their chief Num. 4:16.


Abaddon, or Apollyon (a-bād'dŏn or a-pŏl'yŏn). The former name is Hebrew and the latter Greek, and both signify the destroyer. Job 31:12; Rev. 9:11. He is the same as the "angel of the abyss," that is, the angel of death, or the destroying angel. Ps. 78:49. Abaddon frequently occurs in the Hebrew, and is translated "destruction," meaning often the world of the dead. Job 26:6; 28:22; Ps. 88:11; Prov. 15:11.


Abana (ăb'a-nah or a-bä'nah), stony. The Hebrew and English marginal reading is "Amanah," meaning "perennial;" this may be the correct form. It is the same as the Greek "Chrysorrhoas," or "golden river," and the modern "Barada," meaning "cold." A river of Damascus, one of those which Naaman, in his pride, preferred to the waters of Israel. 2 Kings 5:12. It rises in the beautiful plain of Zebedany, issuing from a little lake, and receiving in its course the waters of two or three fountains. Quitting this plain, the river dashes over a cliff. 30 feet high, runs through a magnificent ravine, and is afterwards joined by the stream from ʾAin Fîjeh, one of the largest springs in Syria. Having emerged from the mountains into the plains of Damascus, it flows through orchards and meadows till it enters the city, and passing through it, falls finally into a marshy lake, 15 or 20 miles below. At its rise the river is 3343 feet above the sea, and 1149 above Damascus, which is distant from the source about 22 miles. The Abana waters about 800 square miles of territory, and it is calculated that 14 villages and 150,000 souls depend on it for their water supply. Damascus is thus made, though on the edge of a desert, one of the loveliest spots in the world. The streams of Israel, on the other hand, with the exception of the Jordan, are nearly dry the greater part of the year, and, running in deep and rocky channels, give but partial fertility to the land through which they flow. This may well account for the question of Naaman the Syrian: "Are not Abana and Pharphar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel?" 2 Kings 5:12.


Abarim (ăb'a-rĭm or a-bä'rim), mountains beyond, or of the fords, a range of mountains east of the river Jordan, in the land of Moab, opposite Jericho. Num. 27:12; 33:47; Deut. 32:49. Nebo, Peor, and Pisgah belong to this range. In Jer. 22:20 the word is translated "passages" in the Authorized Version, but the Revised Version reads Abarim.

Ije-abarim in Num. 21:11 means heaps or ruins of Abarim, and was near the same range.


Abba (ăb'bah), a Chaldee word signifying father (Hebrew ab), easily pronounced by infant children, and expressing the peculiar tenderness, familiarity, and confidence of the love between parent and child. Mark 14:36; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6. Luther translated Abba, Paler, "Abba, dear Father."


Abdon (ăb'dŏn), servile. 1. A Levitical city in Asher. Josh. 21:30; 1 Chron. 6:74. 2. The tenth judge of Israel, Judg. 12:13, 15, probably the same as Bedan, 1 Sam. 12:11, son of Hillel, of the tribe of Ephraim. He succeeded Elon, and judged Israel eight years. His rule was a peaceful one, as no oppression of Israel during his time is mentioned. The record that he bad 40 sons and 80 nephews (or rather grandsons) who rode on young asses, implies their high dignity and consequence: comp. Judg. 5:9, 10. 3. Also two Benjamites. 1 Chron. 8:23, 30; 9:36. 4. A son of Micah. 2 Chron. 34:20. See Achbor.


Abednego (a-bĕd'ne-gō), servant of Nego or Nebo, a Chaldee name given to Azariah, one of the three captive young princes of Judah, who were Daniel's companions at the court of the king of Babylon. Dan. 1:7. Their virtue, wisdom, and piety secured their promotion at court, Dan. 1:3-19; 2:17-49; and their firmness in witnessing for God among idolaters, with their deliverance from the fiery furnace by Jehovah, led many to acknowledge the true God, and rendered these pious youths forever illustrious. Dan. 3; Heb. 11:34.


Abel (ā'bel), vapor, Gen. 4:2, was the second son of Adam and Eve, so called perhaps from the shortness of his life, as he was murdered by Cain. Hence to Eve the life of Abel seemed but "a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." Jas. 4:14. Abel was occupied as a keeper or feeder of sheep; and in process of time brought of the firstlings, or first-fruits of his flock, an offering unto the Lord, It is supposed that besides a thank-offering, Abel brought a sin-offering, and thus showed his sense of sin, as well as his faith in a promised Saviour. He did it by faith, Heb. 11:4, founded no doubt upon some revelation from God. His offering was a type of Christ, the "Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." Rev. 13:8; 5:6, 12; 1:6; John 1:29. "The Lord had respect unto Abel and his offering," Gen. 4:4, and accepted it. Heb. 11:4. Not so with Cain. Either his sacrifice, or the manner of presenting it, was offensive to God, and the offering was rejected. 1 John 3:12. Cain was angry, and filled with envy, and when he and his brother were in the field together, he took his brother's life. Gen. 4:3-8. Our Saviour distinguishes Abel by the title righteous, Matt. 23:35. He is also one of the faithful "elders" mentioned in the epistle to the Hebrews, ch. 11:4, and is justly called the first martyr.

Abel, meadow, grassy plain, as below. A name prefixed to several places. Instead of "the great stone of Abel," in 1 Sam. 6:18, the Septuagint, and Chaldee versions, and some Hebrew manuscripts, read "the great stone;" as in the margin, and the 14th and 15th verses. Most likely this "great stone" was a boundary mark, or an ancient monument, in Bethshemesh, on the confines of Judah, Dan, and Philistia.


Abel-beth-Maachah. (ā'bĕl-bĕth-mā'a-kah), meadow of the house of oppression, 2 Kings 15:29, a town in the north of Palestine near Cæsarea-Philippi. It was at tacked by Joab, 2 Sam. 20:14, 15: by Ben-hadad, 1 Kings 15:20; and by Tiglath-Pileser, 2 Kings 15:29.


Abel-Maim (ā'bel-may'im), meadow of waters. 2 Chron. 16:4. Another name for Abel-beth-Maachab.


Abel-Meholah (ā'bel-me-hō'lah), meadow of the dance. Judg. 7:22. A town in the plain of Jordan, distinguished as the home of Elisha. 1 Kings 4:12; 19:16.


Abel-Mizraim (ā'bel-mĭz-ray'ĭm), meadow of Egypt. Gen. 50:10, 11. The place where Joseph and his company halted seven days in passing from Egypt to Canaan to bury Jacob. It was "beyond"—that is, west of, the Jordan, as the writer was on the east side. Some think it was near Hebron.


Abel-Shittim, or Shittim (ā'bel-shĭt-tim), meadow of the acacias. Num. 33:49; 25:1. A town six or seven miles distant from the east bank of the Jordan, opposite to Jericho. It was the last encampment of the Israelites on that side of the river. It was at this place that the Israelites fell into the grossest idolatry, for which they were visited with a desolating plague which destroyed 24,000 people. Num. 25:1; Micah 6:5. The spies whom Joshua sent to Jericho went from Shittim. Josh. 2:1.


Abi (ā'bī), father, progenitor, mother of King Hezekiah, 2 Kings 18:2; written Abijah in 2 Chron. 29:1.


Abia, Abiah, or Abijah (ā-bī'ah or ā-bī'jah), whose father is Jehovah. 1. Son of Becher, the son of Benjamin. 1 Chron. 7:8. 2. Wife of Hezron. 1 Chron. 2:24. 3. Second son of Samuel. 1 Sam. 8:2. 4. The son of Rehoboam. 1 Chron. 3:10; Matt. 1:7. See Abijah, 2. 5. Mother of King Hezekiah. Abi. 6. Same as Abijah, 3.

Abia, course of

Abia, course of. Luke 1:5. In 1 Chron. 24 we have an account of the division of the priests into twenty-four classes, courses, or orders, who ministered at the altar in rotation. The courses were distinguished by the name of the most prominent member of the family from which the course was taken. The eighth of these courses fell to the family of Abia or Abijah; and to this course belonged Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist.


Abiathar (a-bī'a-thar), father of abundance, i.e., liberal. Tenth high priest and descendant of Levi through Eli. Abiathar was the only one of all the sons of Ahimelech the high priest who escaped the slaughter inflicted upon his father's house by Saul, in revenge for his having inquired of the Lord for David and given him the shewbread to eat. 1 Sam. 22:21-23. Abiathar having become high priest fled to David, and was thus enabled to inquire of the Lord for him. 1 Sam. 23:9; 30:7; 2 Sam. 2:1; 5:19, etc. He adhered to David in his wanderings while pursued by Saul; he was with him while he reigned in Hebron, and afterwards in Jerusalem. 2 Sam. 2:1-3. He continued faithful to him in Absalom's rebellion. 2 Sam. 15:24, 29, 35, 36; 17:15-17; 19:11. When, however, Adonijah set himself up for David's successor on the throne, in opposition to Solomon, Abiathar sided with him, while Zadok was on Solomon's side. For this Abiathar was deprived of the high priesthood. Zadok had joined David at Hebron, 1 Chron. 12:28, so that there were henceforth two high priests in the reign of David, and till the deposition of Abiathar by Solomon, when Zadok became the sole high priest, thus fulfilling the prophecy of 1 Sam. 2:30. Abimelech, or Abimelech, son of Abiathar, is substituted for Abiathar, son of Ahimelech. 2 Sam. 8:17; 1 Chron. 18:16; 24:3, 6, 31. The Lord Jesus, Mark 2:26, names Abiathar as the high priest in whose time David ate the shewbread. Probably the sense is: "In the days of Abiathar, who was afterwards high priest," and under whom the record of the fact would be made. Perhaps too the loaves, being his perquisite, Lev. 24:9, were actually handed by Abiathar to David. Both father and son, moreover, it seems from the quotations above, bore both names, and were indifferently called by either.


Abib (ā'bib), budding, Ex. 13:4. See Month.


Abiezer (ā-bi-ē'zer), the father of help. Eldest son of Gilead, and descendant of Manasseh, Josh. 17:2; 1 Chron. 7:18; Num. 26:30, where the name is given in the contracted form Jeezer. He was the ancestor of the great judge Gideon. 2. A native of Anathoth. 2 Sam. 23:27. The name also occurs in Judg. 6:34; 8:2: and in an adjectival form, "the Abiezrite," in Judg. 6:11, 24; 8:32.


Abigail (ăb'i-gāil or gĕl), father, i.e., source, of joy. 1. The beautiful wife of Nabal, a wealthy owner of goats and sheep in Carmel. When David's messengers were slighted by Nabal, Abigail supplied David and his followers with provisions, and succeeded in appeasing his anger. Ten days after this Nabal died, and David sent for Abigail and made her his wife. 1 Sam. 25:14, etc. By her he had a son, called Chileab in 2 Sam. 3:3, but Daniel in 1 Chron. 3:1. 2. A sister of David, married to Jether the Ishmaelite, and mother, by him, of Amasa. 1 Chron. 2:17. In 2 Sam. 17:25, for Israelite read Ishmaelite.


Abihu (a-bī'hew), whose father is He, i.e., God. One of the sons of Aaron, who, together with his brothers, Nadab, Eleazar, and Ithamar, were set apart by God to the office of the priesthood. Soon after they entered upon their sacred duties, Nadab and Abihu were guilty of a violation of God's commands, respecting the manner of offering incense, and they were suddenly destroyed by fire from heaven. They used strange, or common, fire, instead of the sacred fire which they were required to use from the altar of burnt offering. Lev. 10:1, 2. As the prohibition of wine and strong drink, especially when entering into the sanctuary, immediately follows, we may infer that Nadab and Abihu were intoxicated when they fell into this presumptuous sin.


Abijah (a-bī'jah), whose father is Jehovah. 1. A son of Jeroboam I., king of Israel, who died under interesting circumstances in early life. 1 Kings 14:1. See Jeroboam. 2. Abijah Or Abijam, 2 Chron. 13:1, the son of Rehoboam and Michaiah, succeeded his father as king of Judah, b.c. 959. He made war against Jeroboam, king of Israel, for the purpose of getting back the kingship of the ten tribes, and defeated him, with a loss of 500,000 men. These figures are probably through a copyist's mistake made too large; the loss, it is likely, was not greater than 50,000. He began to reign in the eighteenth year of Jeroboam, and was succeeded by his son Asa in the twentieth year of Jeroboam, so that he reigned only a part of three years. The apparent contradiction in respect to the parentage of this person, as it is given in 1 Kings 15:2 and 2 Chron. 13:2, may be explained by supposing that his mother Maachah (or Michaiah) was the daughter of Uriel and the granddaughter of Absalom, who is called Abishalom. 1 Kings 15:2. The term "daughter" is given in the Bible to other relatives than one's own child; e.g., to a niece, granddaughter, or great-granddaughter. 3. The head of one of the courses of priests, 1 Chron. 24:10; Neh. 12:17; termed Abia in Luke 1:5. 4 The mother of Hezekiah, 2 Chron. 29:1: also called Abi in 2 Kings 18:2. 5. One of the priests who "sealed the covenant;" i.e., appended their seals unto it to signify that they were parties to it. Neh. 10:7. 6. A priest who returned with Zerubbabel from Babylon. Neh. 12:4,17.


Abijam (a-bī'jam), father of the sea, i.e., a maritime person. 1 Kings 15:1, 7, 8. See Abijah (2).


Abilene (ăb'i-lē'ne), from Abila, a small district of Palestine on the eastern slopes of Anti-Libanus, of which Abila on the river Barada was the capital. It was governed by Lysanias in the time of John the Baptist. Luke 3:1.


Abimelech (a-bĭm'e-lĕk), father of the king, or royal father. This seems to have been the common title of several of the Philistine kings. 1. A king of Gerar, and contemporary with Abraham, who took Sarah into his harem, and thought to make her his wife; but being warned of God in a dream of Sarah's relationship to Abraham, that she was not his sister, but his wife, he restored her to her husband, with a present of a thousand pieces of silver, as "a covering of the eyes" for Sarah; that is, as an atoning present, and to be a testimony of her innocence in the eyes of all. Gen. 20:1-18. 2. Another king of Gerar, probably son of the former, who rebuked Isaac for his dissimulation, in calling his wife his sister, and afterwards made a league with him at Beersheba. Gen. 26:6, 31. 3. A son of Gideon, by his concubine, who, after the death of his father, persuaded the men of Shechem to make him king. He slew his father's 70 sons on one stone, leaving only Jotham, the youngest, alive, who hid himself. Three years afterwards the men of Shechem rose against Abimelech; he defeated them and destroyed their city, and sowed it with salt While attacking Thebez, he was mortally wounded by a piece of a millstone thrown upon his head by a woman from the top of the tower. That it might not be said, "a woman slew him," he called to his armor-bearer to thrust him through with his sword, and thus he died. This was the first attempt to establish a monarchy in Israel. Judg. 9:5, 54. 4. The name given in the title of Ps. 34 to Achish, king of Gath. 5. The name of "Ahimelech" is thus written in 1 Chron. 18:16.


Abinadab (a-bĭn'a-dăb), father of nobleness, i.e., noble. 1. 1 Sam. 16:8. One of the eight sons of Jesse, and one of the three of Ins sons who followed Saul in battle. 2. 1 Sam. 31:2. One of Saul's sons who was slain at the battle of Gilboa. 3. 1 Sam. 7:1 and 1 Chron. 13:7. A Levite of Kirjath-jearim, with whom the ark of the Lord was deposited when it was brought back from the Philistines. 4. 1 Kings 4:11. One of the twelve officers appointed by Solomon to provide alternately, month by month, food for the king and his household.


Abiram (a-bī'ram), father of height, i.e., renowned. 1. Num. 16:1. One of the sons of Eliab, the Reubenite, who were destroyed with Korah for a conspiracy against Moses. See Korah. 2. 1 Kings 16:34. The first-born of Hiel, the Bethelite.


Abishag (ăb'i-shăg or a-bī'shăg), father of error, a beautiful virgin of Shunem, in Issachar, chosen to cherish David in his old age. After his death, Adonijah sought her hand to promote his treasonable schemes, and was punished by death. 1 Kings 1:2.


Abishai (a-bĭsh'a-ī or a-bĭ-shā'i), father of a gift, eldest son of Zeruiah, David's sister, brother of Joab and Asahel, one of the bravest of David's "mighty men," 1 Chron. 2:16, always faithful to his royal uncle, and usually a personal attendant. He went with him alone to the tent of Saul, 1 Sam. 26:6-12, and was a leader in the war with Ish-bosheth, 2 Sam. 2:18, 24, in the war with the Edomites, 1 Chron. 18:12, 13, and with the Syrians and Ammonites. 2 Sam. 10:10, 14. In a battle with the Philistines he rescued David, and slew Ish bi-benob the giant, 2 Sam. 21:16,17. He broke through their host around Bethlehem, and lifted up his spear against 300, and slew them, 2 Sam. 23:14-18: and was with David in the matters of Shimei, Absalom, and Sheba. 2 Sam. 16:9; 18:2; 19:21; 20:6,7.


Abishua (abĭsh'ū-ah or ăb'i-shū'ah), father of welfare. 1. The son of Phineas, the high priest. 1 Chron. 6:4, 5, 60; Ezra 7:5. 2. The son of Bela. 1 Chron. 8:4.


Abner (ăb'ner), father of light. 1. Son of Ner, who was the brother of Kish, 1 Chron. 9:36, the father of Saul. (b.c. 1063.) Abner, therefore, was Saul's first cousin, and was made by him commander-in-chief of his army. 1 Sam. 14:51; 17:57; 26:5-14.

After the death of Saul David was proclaimed king of Judah; and some time subsequently Abner proclaimed Ish-bosheth, Saul's son, king of Israel. War soon broke out between the two rival kings, and a "very sore battle" was fought at Gibeon between the men of Israel under Abner and the men of Judah under Joab. 1 Sam. 2:15-32. In this engagement he killed, in self-defence, Asahel, the brother of Joab and Abishai. Perhaps he now had some idea of seizing the Israelitish throne for himself; for he appropriated a woman of Saul's harem, which Ish-bosheth interpreted as an overt act of rebellion. Abner, incensed at his ingratitude, opened negotiations with David, by whom he was most favorably received at Hebron. He then undertook to procure David's recognition throughout Israel; but after leaving his presence for the purpose was enticed back by Joab, and treacherously murdered by him and his brother Abishai, at the gate of the city, ostensibly in retaliation for the death of Asahel; really, we may suppose, through jealousy, as he would have at least rivalled Joab in position. David, though unable to punish the powerful brothers, solemnized Abner's funeral with great respect and general mourning, and poured forth a simple dirge over the slain hero. 2 Sam. 3:33, 34. 2. The father of Jaasiel, chief of the Benjamites in David's reign, 1 Chron. 27:21; probably the same as the preceding.


Abominable, Abomination. 1. All abomination, or an abominable thing, is a thing hateful or detestable, as the employment or calling of shepherds was to the Egyptians. Gen. 46:34. 2. Under the Mosaic law those animals and acts are called abominable the use or doing of which was prohibited. Lev. 11:13 and Deut. 23:18. 3. Idolatry of every kind is especially denoted by this term. Jer. 44:4 and 2 Kings 23:13. 4. So of sins in general. Isa. 66:3. The Abomination of Desolation, literally the abomination of the desolator. This was Daniel's prediction of the pollution of the temple at Jerusalem, by Antiochus Epiphanes, who set up in it the altar and the statue of Jupiter Olympus: the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate drove ail the true worshippers of God from the temple. Dan. 11:31; 12:11. But the prophecy had, to say the least, a further reference. For our Lord appeals to it, Matt. 24:15-18; Mark 13:14-16, and declares that its fulfillment was to be the warning for his disciples to flee from the doomed city. This would be simultaneous with the Investment of Jerusalem. Luke 21:20, 21. Some have believed the investment (when Cestius Gallus first encamped around Jerusalem, 66 a.d., and then withdrew) the abomination of desolation itself; the Roman standards (objects of worship to the soldiers) being then planted on holy ground. But these standards had been there before: and so it is more likely that the abominable thing was something done by the Jews themselves. Now Josephus mentions a profanation by the Zealots who had got possession of the temple; and to this or some similar deed our Lord, we may suppose, referred. The Christians, it may be added, took the warning, the opportunity being afforded by the retirement of Gallus, and fled to Fella.