Merodach - death; slaughter, the name of a Babylonian god, probably the planet Mars (Jer. 50:2), or it may be another name of Bel, the guardian divinity of Babylon. This name frequently occurs as a surname to the kings of Assyria and Babylon.
Merodach-baladan - Merodach has given a son, (Isa. 39:1), "the hereditary chief of the Chaldeans, a small tribe at that time settled in the marshes at the mouth of the Euphrates, but in consequence of his conquest of Babylon afterwards, they became the dominant caste in Babylonia itself." One bearing this name sent ambassadors to Hezekiah (B.C. 721). He is also called Berodach-baladan (2 Kings 20:12; 2 Chr. 20:31). (See HEZEKIAH.)
Merom - height, a lake in Northern Palestine through which the Jordan flows. It was the scene of the third and last great victory gained by Joshua over the Canaanites (Josh. 11:5-7). It is not again mentioned in Scripture. Its modern name is Bakrat el-Huleh. "The Ard el-Huleh, the centre of which the lake occupies, is a nearly level plain of 16 miles in length from north to south, and its breadth from east to west is from 7 to 8 miles. On the west it is walled in by the steep and lofty range of the hills of Kedesh-Naphtali; on the east it is bounded by the lower and more gradually ascending slopes of Bashan; on the north it is shut in by a line of hills hummocky and irregular in shape and of no great height, and stretching across from the mountains of Naphtali to the roots of Mount Hermon, which towers up at the north-eastern angle of the plain to a height of 10,000 feet. At its southern extremity the plain is similarly traversed by elevated and broken ground, through which, by deep and narrow clefts, the Jordan, after passing through Lake Huleh, makes its rapid descent to the Sea of Galilee."
The lake is triangular in form, about 4 1/2 miles in length by 3 1/2 at its greatest breadth. Its surface is 7 feet above that of the Mediterranean. It is surrounded by a morass, which is thickly covered with canes and papyrus reeds, which are impenetrable. Macgregor with his canoe, the Rob Roy, was the first that ever, in modern times, sailed on its waters. (See JORDAN.)
Meroz - a plain in the north of Palestine, the inhabitants of which were severely condemned because they came not to help Barak against Sisera (Judg. 5:23: comp. 21:8-10; 1 Sam. 11:7). It has been identified with Marassus, on a knoll to the north of Wady Jalud, but nothing certainly is known of it. Like Chorazin, it is only mentioned in Scripture in connection with the curse pronounced upon it.
(1.) A plain in that part of the boundaries of Arabia inhabited by the descendants of Joktan (Gen. 10:30).
(2.) Heb. meysh'a, "deliverance," the eldest son of Caleb (1 Chr. 2:42), and brother of Jerahmeel.
(3.) Heb. id, a king of Moab, the son of Chemosh-Gad, a man of great wealth in flocks and herds (2 Kings 3:4). After the death of Ahab at Ramoth-Gilead, Mesha shook off the yoke of Israel; but on the ascension of Jehoram to the throne of Israel, that king sought the help of Jehoshaphat in an attempt to reduce the Moabites again to their former condition. The united armies of the two kings came unexpectedly on the army of the Moabites, and gained over them an easy victory. The whole land was devastated by the conquering armies, and Mesha sought refuge in his last stronghold, Kir-harasheth (q.v.). Reduced to despair, he ascended the wall of the city, and there, in the sight of the allied armies, offered his first-born son a sacrifice to Chemosh, the fire-god of the Moabites. This fearful spectacle filled the beholders with horror, and they retired from before the besieged city, and recrossed the Jordan laden with spoil (2 Kings 3:25-27).
The exploits of Mesha are recorded in the Phoenician inscription on a block of black basalt found at Dibon, in Moab, usually called the "Moabite stone" (q.v.).
Meshach - the title given to Mishael, one of the three Hebrew youths who were under training at the Babylonian court for the rank of Magi (Dan. 1:7; 2:49; 3:12-30). This was probably the name of some Chaldean god.
Meshech - drawing out, the sixth son of Japheth (Gen. 10:2), the founder of a tribe (1 Chr. 1:5; Ezek. 27:13; 38:2,3). They were in all probability the Moschi, a people inhabiting the Moschian Mountains, between the Black and the Caspian Seas. In Ps. 120:5 the name occurs as simply a synonym for foreigners or barbarians. "During the ascendency of the Babylonians and Persians in Western Asia, the Moschi were subdued; but it seems probable that a large number of them crossed the Caucasus range and spread over the northern steppes, mingling with the Scythians. There they became known as Muscovs, and gave that name to the Russian nation and its ancient capital by which they are still generally known throughout the East"
(1.) The father of Berechiah (2 Chr. 28:12).
(2.) A priest, the son of Immer (Neh. 11:13).
(1.) One of the chief Gadites in Bashan in the time of Jotham (1 Chr. 5:13).
(2.) Grandfather of Shaphan, "the scribe," in the reign of Josiah (2 Kings 22:3).
(3.) A priest, father of Hilkiah (1 Chr. 9:11; Neh. 11:11), in the reign of Ammon; called Shallum in 1 Chr. 6:12.
(4.) A Levite of the family of Kohath (2 Chr. 34:12), in the reign of Josiah.
(5.) 1 Chr. 8:17.
(6.) 1 Chr. 3:19.
(7.) Neh. 12:13.
(8.) A chief priest (Neh. 12:16).
(9.) One of the leading Levites in the time of Ezra (8:16).
(10.) A priest (1 Chr. 9:12).
(11.) One of the principal Israelites who supported Ezra when expounding the law to the people (Neh. 8:4).
Mesopotamia - the country between the two rivers (Heb. Aram-naharaim; i.e., "Syria of the two rivers"), the name given by the Greeks and Romans to the region between the Euphrates and the Tigris (Gen. 24:10; Deut. 23:4; Judg. 3:8, 10). In the Old Testament it is mentioned also under the name "Padan-aram;" i.e., the plain of Aram, or Syria (Gen. 25:20). The northern portion of this fertile plateau was the original home of the ancestors of the Hebrews (Gen. 11; Acts 7:2). From this region Isaac obtained his wife Rebecca (Gen. 24:10, 15), and here also Jacob sojourned (28:2-7) and obtained his wives, and here most of his sons were born (35:26; 46:15). The petty, independent tribes of this region, each under its own prince, were warlike, and used chariots in battle. They maintained their independence till after the time of David, when they fell under the dominion of Assyria, and were absorbed into the empire (2 Kings 19:13).
Messiah - (Heb. mashiah), in all the thirty-nine instances of its occurring in the Old Testament, is rendered by the LXX. "Christos." It means anointed. Thus priests (Ex. 28:41; 40:15; Num. 3:3), prophets (1 Kings 19:16), and kings (1 Sam. 9:16; 16:3; 2 Sam. 12:7) were anointed with oil, and so consecrated to their respective offices. The great Messiah is anointed "above his fellows" (Ps. 45:7); i.e., he embraces in himself all the three offices. The Greek form "Messias" is only twice used in the New Testament, in John 1:41 and 4:25 (R.V., "Messiah"), and in the Old Testament the word Messiah, as the rendering of the Hebrew, occurs only twice (Dan 9:25, 26; R.V., "the anointed one").
The first great promise (Gen. 3:15) contains in it the germ of all the prophecies recorded in the Old Testament regarding the coming of the Messiah and the great work he was to accomplish on earth. The prophecies became more definite and fuller as the ages rolled on; the light shone more and more unto the perfect day. Different periods of prophetic revelation have been pointed out, (1) the patriarchal; (2) the Mosaic; (3) the period of David; (4) the period of prophetism, i.e., of those prophets whose works form a part of the Old Testament canon. The expectations of the Jews were thus kept alive from generation to generation, till the "fulness of the times," when Messiah came, "made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law." In him all these ancient prophecies have their fulfilment. Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, the great Deliverer who was to come. (Comp. Matt. 26:54; Mark 9:12; Luke 18:31; 22:37; John 5:39; Acts 2; 16:31; 26:22, 23.)
Metheg-ammah - bridle of the mother, a figurative name for a chief city, as in 2 Sam. 8:1, "David took Metheg-ammah out of the hand of the Philistines" (R.V., "took the bridle of the mother-city"); i.e., subdued their capital or strongest city, viz., Gath (1 Chr. 18:1).
Methuselah - man of the dart, the son of Enoch, and grandfather of Noah. He was the oldest man of whom we have any record, dying at the age of nine hundred and sixty-nine years, in the year of the Flood (Gen. 5:21-27; 1 Chr. 1:3).
(1.) The head of one of the divisions of the priests (1 Chr. 24:9).
(2.) A chief priest who returned from Babylon with Zerubbabel (Neh. 12:5), called Mijamin (10:7) and Miniamin (12:17).
(1.) One of Ishmael's twelve sons, and head of an Arab tribe (Gen. 25:13).
(2.) A son of Simeon (1 Chr. 4:25).
(1.) A man of Mount Ephraim, whose history so far is introduced in Judg. 17, apparently for the purpose of leading to an account of the settlement of the tribe of Dan in Northern Palestine, and for the purpose also of illustrating the lawlessness of the times in which he lived (Judg. 18; 19:1-29; 21:25).
(2.) The son of Merib-baal (Mephibosheth), 1 Chr. 8:34, 35.
(3.) The first in rank of the priests of the family of Kohathites (1 Chr. 23:20).
(4.) A descendant of Joel the Reubenite (1 Chr. 5:5).
(5.) "The Morasthite," so called to distinguish him from Micaiah, the son of Imlah (1 Kings 22:8). He was a prophet of Judah, a contemporary of Isaiah (Micah 1:1), a native of Moresheth of Gath (1:14, 15). Very little is known of the circumstances of his life (comp. Jer. 26:18, 19).
Micah, Book of - the sixth in order of the so-called minor prophets. The superscription to this book states that the prophet exercised his office in the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. If we reckon from the beginning of Jotham's reign to the end of Hezekiah's (B.C. 759-698), then he ministered for about fifty-nine years; but if we reckon from the death of Jotham to the accession of Hezekiah (B.C. 743-726), his ministry lasted only sixteen years. It has been noticed as remarkable that this book commences with the last words of another prophet, "Micaiah the son of Imlah" (1 Kings 22:28): "Hearken, O people, every one of you."
The book consists of three sections, each commencing with a rebuke, "Hear ye," etc., and closing with a promise, (1) ch. 1; 2; (2) ch. 3-5, especially addressed to the princes and heads of the people; (3) ch. 6-7, in which Jehovah is represented as holding a controversy with his people: the whole concluding with a song of triumph at the great deliverance which the Lord will achieve for his people. The closing verse is quoted in the song of Zacharias (Luke 1:72, 73). The prediction regarding the place "where Christ should be born," one of the most remarkable Messianic prophecies (Micah 5:2), is quoted in Matt. 2:6.
There are the following references to this book in the New Testament:
5:2, with Matt. 2:6; John 7:42. 7:6, with Matt. 10:21,35,36. 7:20, with Luke 1:72,73.
Micaiah - who is like Jehovah?, the son of Imlah, a faithful prophet of Samaria (1 Kings 22:8-28). Three years after the great battle with Ben-hadad (20:29-34), Ahab proposed to Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, that they should go up against Ramoth-Gilead to do battle again with Ben-hadad. Jehoshaphat agreed, but suggested that inquiry should be first made "at the word of Jehovah." Ahab's prophets approved of the expedition; but Jehoshaphat, still dissatisfied, asked if there was no other prophet besides the four hundred that had appeared, and was informed of this Micaiah. He was sent for from prison, where he had been confined, probably on account of some prediction disagreeable to Ahab; and he condemned the expedition, and prophesied that it would end, as it did, in disaster. We hear nothing further of this prophet. Some have supposed that he was the unnamed prophet referred to in 1 Kings 20:35-42.
(2.) The son of Zabdi, a Levite of the family of Asaph (Neh. 11:17, 22).
(1.) The title given to one of the chief angels (Dan. 10:13, 21; 12:1). He had special charge of Israel as a nation. He disputed with Satan (Jude 1:9) about the body of Moses. He is also represented as warning against "that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world" (Rev. 12:7-9).
(2.) The father of Sethur, the spy selected to represent Asher (Num. 13:13).
(3.) 1 Chr. 7:3, a chief of the tribe of Issachar.
(4.) 1 Chr. 8:16, a Benjamite.
(5.) A chief Gadite in Bashan (1 Chr. 5:13).
(6.) A Manassite, "a captain of thousands" who joined David at Ziklag (1 Chr. 12:20).
(7.) A Gershonite Levite (1 Chr. 6:40).
(8.) The father of Omri (1 Chr. 27:18).
(9.) One of the sons of king Jehoshaphat (2 Chr. 21:2, 4). He was murdered by his brother Jehoram.
(2.) One of those sent out by Jehoshaphat to instruct the people in the law (2 Chr. 17:7).
(3.) 2 Kings 22:12.
(4.) The son of Gemariah. He reported to the king's officers Jeremiah's prediction, which he had heard Baruch read (Jer. 36:11, 13) from his father Gemariah's chamber in the temple.
(5.) A Levite (Neh. 12:35).
(6.) A priest (Neh. 12:41).
Michal - rivulet, or who as God?, the younger of Saul's two daughters by his wife Ahinoam (1 Sam. 14:49, 50). "Attracted by the graces of his person and the gallantry of his conduct, she fell in love with David and became his wife" (18:20-28). She showed her affection for him by promoting his escape to Naioth when Saul sought his life (1 Sam. 19:12-17. Comp. Ps. 59. See TERAPHIM). After this she did not see David for many years. Meanwhile she was given in marriage to another man, Phalti or Phaltiel of Gallim (1 Sam. 25:44), but David afterwards formally reclaimed her as his lawful wife (2 Sam. 3:13-16). The relation between her and David soon after this was altered. They became alienated from each other. This happened on that memorable day when the ark was brought up in great triumph from its temporary resting-place to the Holy City. In David's conduct on that occasion she saw nothing but a needless humiliation of the royal dignity (1 Chr. 15:29). She remained childless, and thus the races of David and Saul were not mixed. In 2 Sam. 21:8 her name again occurs, but the name Merab should probably be here substituted for Michal (comp. 1 Sam. 18:19).
Michmash - something hidden, a town of Benjamin (Ezra 2:27), east of Bethel and south of Migron, on the road to Jerusalem (Isa. 10:28). It lay on the line of march of an invading army from the north, on the north side of the steep and precipitous Wady es-Suweinit ("valley of the little thorn-tree" or "the acacia"), and now bears the name of Mukhmas. This wady is called "the passage of Michmash" (1 Sam. 13:23). Immediately facing Mukhmas, on the opposite side of the ravine, is the modern representative of Geba, and behind this again are Ramah and Gibeah.
This was the scene of a great battle fought between the army of Saul and the Philistines, who were utterly routed and pursued for some 16 miles towards Philistia as far as the valley of Aijalon. "The freedom of Benjamin secured at Michmash led through long years of conflict to the freedom of all its kindred tribes." The power of Benjamin and its king now steadily increased. A new spirit and a new hope were now at work in Israel. (See SAUL.)
Michtam - writing; i.e., a poem or song found in the titles of Ps. 16; 56-60. Some translate the word "golden", i.e., precious. It is rendered in the LXX. by a word meaning "tablet inscription" or a "stelograph." The root of the word means to stamp or grave, and hence it is regarded as denoting a composition so precious as to be worthy to be engraven on a durable tablet for preservation; or, as others render, "a psalm precious as stamped gold," from the word kethem, "fine or stamped gold."
Midianite - an Arabian tribe descended from Midian. They inhabited principally the desert north of the peninsula of Arabia. The peninsula of Sinai was the pasture-ground for their flocks. They were virtually the rulers of Arabia, being the dominant tribe. Like all Arabians, they were a nomad people. They early engaged in commercial pursuits. It was to one of their caravans that Joseph was sold (Gen. 37:28, 36). The next notice of them is in connection with Moses' flight from Egypt (Ex. 2:15-21). Here in Midian Moses became the servant and afterwards the son-in-law of Reuel or Jethro, the priest. After the Exodus, the Midianites were friendly to the Israelites so long as they traversed only their outlying pasture-ground on the west of the Arabah; but when, having passed the southern end of Edom, they entered into the land of Midian proper, they joined with Balak, the king of Moab, in a conspiracy against them (Num. 22:4-7). Balaam, who had been sent for to curse Israel, having utterly failed to do so, was dismissed by the king of Moab; nevertheless he still tarried among the Midianites, and induced them to enter into correspondence with the Israelites, so as to bring them into association with them in the licentious orgies connected with the worship of Baal-Peor. This crafty counsel prevailed. The Israelites took part in the heathen festival, and so brought upon themselves a curse indeed. Their apostasy brought upon them a severe punishment. A plague broke out amongst them, and more than twenty-four thousand of the people perished (Num. 25:9). But the Midianites were not to be left unpunished. A terrible vengeance was denounced against them. A thousand warriors from each tribe, under the leadership of Phinehas, went forth against them. The Midianites were utterly routed. Their cities were consumed by fire, five of their kings were put to death, and the whole nation was destroyed (Josh. 13:21, 22). Balaam also perished by the sword, receiving the "wages of his unrighteousness" (Num. 31:8; 2 Pet. 2:15). The whole of the country on the east of Jordan, now conquered by the Israelites (see SIHON; OG), was divided between the two tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh.
Some two hundred and fifty years after this the Midianites had regained their ancient power, and in confederation with the Amalekites and the "children of the east" they made war against their old enemies the Israelites, whom for seven years they oppressed and held in subjection. They were at length assailed by Gideon in that ever-memorable battle in the great plain of Esdraelon, and utterly destroyed (Judg. 6:1-ch. 7). Frequent allusions are afterwards made to this great victory (Ps. 83:10, 12; Isa. 9:4; 10:6). They now wholly pass away from the page of history both sacred and profane.
(1.) A strongly-fortified place 12 miles from Pelusium, in the north of Egypt (Jer. 44:1; 46:14). This word is rendered "tower" in Ezek. 29:10, but the margin correctly retains the name Migdol, "from Migdol to Syene;" i.e., from Migdol in the north to Syene in the south, in other words, the whole of Egypt.
(2.) A place mentioned in the passage of the Red Sea (Ex. 14:2; Num. 33:7, 8). It is probably to be identified with Bir Suweis, about 2 miles from Suez.
(1.) An officer under Dodai, in the time of David and Solomon (1 Chr. 27:4).
(2.) A Benjamite (1 Chr. 8:32; 9:37, 38).
Mildew - (the rendering of a Hebrew word meaning "to be yellow," yellowness), the result of cutting east winds blighting and thus rendering the grain unproductive (Deut. 28:22; 1 Kings 8:37; 2 Chr. 6:28).
Miletus - (Miletum, 2 Tim. 4:20), a seaport town and the ancient capital of Ionia, about 36 miles south of Ephesus. On his voyage from Greece to Syria, Paul touched at this port, and delivered that noble and pathetic address to the elders ("presbyters," ver. 28) of Ephesus recorded in Acts 20:15-35. The site of Miletus is now some 10 miles from the coast. (See EPHESIANS, EPISTLE TO.)
Milk - (1.) Hebrew halabh, "new milk", milk in its fresh state (Judg. 4:19). It is frequently mentioned in connection with honey (Ex. 3:8; 13:5; Josh. 5:6; Isa. 7:15, 22; Jer. 11:5). Sheep (Deut. 32:14) and goats (Prov. 27:27) and camels (Gen. 32:15), as well as cows, are made to give their milk for the use of man. Milk is used figuratively as a sign of abundance (Gen. 49:12; Ezek. 25:4; Joel 3:18). It is also a symbol of the rudiments of doctrine (1 Cor. 3:2; Heb. 5:12, 13), and of the unadulterated word of God (1 Pet. 2:2).
(2.) Heb. hem'ah, always rendered "butter" in the Authorized Version. It means "butter," but also more frequently "cream," or perhaps, as some think, "curdled milk," such as that which Abraham set before the angels (Gen. 18:8), and which Jael gave to Sisera (Judg. 5:25). In this state milk was used by travellers (2 Sam. 17:29). If kept long enough, it acquired a slightly intoxicating or soporific power.
This Hebrew word is also sometimes used for milk in general (Deut. 32:14; Job 20:17).
Mill - for grinding corn, mentioned as used in the time of Abraham (Gen. 18:6). That used by the Hebrews consisted of two circular stones, each 2 feet in diameter and half a foot thick, the lower of which was called the "nether millstone" (Job 41:24) and the upper the "rider." The upper stone was turned round by a stick fixed in it as a handle. There were then no public mills, and thus each family required to be provided with a hand-mill. The corn was ground daily, generally by the women of the house (Isa. 47:1, 2; Matt. 24:41). It was with the upper stone of a hand-mill that "a certain woman" at Thebez broke Abimelech's skull (Judg. 9:53, "a piece of a millstone;" literally, "a millstone rider", i.e., the "runner," the stone which revolves. Comp. 2 Sam. 11:21). Millstones could not be pledged (Deut. 24:6), as they were necessary in every family.
Millennium - a thousand years; the name given to the era mentioned in Rev. 20:1-7. Some maintain that Christ will personally appear on earth for the purpose of establishing his kingdom at the beginning of this millennium. Those holding this view are usually called "millenarians." On the other hand, it is maintained, more in accordance with the teaching of Scripture, we think, that Christ's second advent will not be premillennial, and that the right conception of the prospects and destiny of his kingdom is that which is taught, e.g., in the parables of the leaven and the mustard-seed. The triumph of the gospel, it is held, must be looked for by the wider and more efficient operation of the very forces that are now at work in extending the gospel; and that Christ will only come again at the close of this dispensation to judge the world at the "last day." The millennium will thus precede his coming.
Millet - (Heb. dohan; only in Ezek. 4:9), a small grain, the produce of the Panicum miliaceum of botanists. It is universally cultivated in the East as one of the smaller corn-grasses. This seed is the cenchros of the Greeks. It is called in India warree, and by the Arabs dukhan, and is extensively used for food, being often mixed with other grain. In this country it is only used for feeding birds.
(1.) Probably the Canaanite name of some fortification, consisting of walls filled in with earth and stones, which protected Jerusalem on the north as its outermost defence. It is always rendered Akra i.e., "the citadel", in the LXX. It was already existing when David conquered Jerusalem (2 Sam. 5:9). He extended it to the right and left, thus completing the defence of the city. It was rebuilt by Solomon (1 Kings 9:15, 24; 11:27) and repaired by Hezekiah (2 Chr. 32:5).
(2.) In Judg. 9:6, 20 it is the name of a rampart in Shechem, probably the "tower of Shechem" (9:46, 49).
Mine - The process of mining is described in Job 28:1-11. Moses speaks of the mineral wealth of Palestine (Deut. 8:9). Job 28:4 is rightly thus rendered in the Revised Version, "He breaketh open a shaft away from where men sojourn; they are forgotten of the foot [that passeth by]; they hang afar from men, they swing to and fro." These words illustrate ancient mining operations.
(1.) Heb. meshereth, applied to an attendant on one of superior rank, as to Joshua, the servant of Moses (Ex. 33:11), and to the servant of Elisha (2 Kings 4:43). This name is also given to attendants at court (2 Chr. 22:8), and to the priests and Levites (Jer. 33:21; Ezek. 44:11).
(2.) Heb. pelah (Ezra 7:24), a "minister" of religion. Here used of that class of sanctuary servants called "Solomon's servants" in Ezra 2:55-58 and Neh. 7:57-60.
(3.) Greek leitourgos, a subordinate public administrator, and in this sense applied to magistrates (Rom. 13:6). It is applied also to our Lord (Heb. 8:2), and to Paul in relation to Christ (Rom. 15:16).
(4.) Greek hyperetes (literally, "under-rower"), a personal attendant on a superior, thus of the person who waited on the officiating priest in the synagogue (Luke 4:20). It is applied also to John Mark, the attendant on Paul and Barnabas (Acts 13:5).
(5.) Greek diaconos, usually a subordinate officer or assistant employed in relation to the ministry of the gospel, as to Paul and Apollos (1 Cor. 3:5), Tychicus (Eph. 6:21), Epaphras (Col. 1:7), Timothy (1 Thess. 3:2), and also to Christ (Rom. 15:8).
Minni - only in Jer. 51:27, as the name of a province in Armenia, which was at this time under the Median kings. Armenia is regarded by some as = Har-minni i.e., the mountainous country of Minni. (See ARMENIA.)
Minnith - distribution, an Ammonitish town (Judg. 11:33) from which wheat was exported to Tyre (Ezek. 27:17). It was probably somewhere in the Mishor or table-land on the east of Jordan. There is a gentle valley running for about 4 miles east of Dhiban called Kurm Dhiban, "the vineyards of Dibon." Tristram supposes that this may be the "vineyards" mentioned in Judg. (l.c.).
Mint - (Gr. heduosmon, i.e., "having a sweet smell"), one of the garden herbs of which the Pharisees paid tithes (Matt. 23:23; Luke 11:42). It belongs to the labiate family of plants. The species most common in Syria is the Mentha sylvestris, the wild mint, which grows much larger than the garden mint (M. sativa). It was much used in domestic economy as a condiment, and also as a medicine. The paying of tithes of mint was in accordance with the Mosiac law (Deut. 14:22), but the error of the Pharisees lay in their being more careful about this little matter of the mint than about weightier matters.
Miracle - an event in the external world brought about by the immediate agency or the simple volition of God, operating without the use of means capable of being discerned by the senses, and designed to authenticate the divine commission of a religious teacher and the truth of his message (John 2:18; Matt. 12:38). It is an occurrence at once above nature and above man. It shows the intervention of a power that is not limited by the laws either of matter or of mind, a power interrupting the fixed laws which govern their movements, a supernatural power.
"The suspension or violation of the laws of nature involved in miracles is nothing more than is constantly taking place around us. One force counteracts another: vital force keeps the chemical laws of matter in abeyance; and muscular force can control the action of physical force. When a man raises a weight from the ground, the law of gravity is neither suspended nor violated, but counteracted by a stronger force. The same is true as to the walking of Christ on the water and the swimming of iron at the command of the prophet. The simple and grand truth that the universe is not under the exclusive control of physical forces, but that everywhere and always there is above, separate from and superior to all else, an infinite personal will, not superseding, but directing and controlling all physical causes, acting with or without them." God ordinarily effects his purpose through the agency of second causes; but he has the power also of effecting his purpose immediately and without the intervention of second causes, i.e., of invading the fixed order, and thus of working miracles. Thus we affirm the possibility of miracles, the possibility of a higher hand intervening to control or reverse nature's ordinary movements.
In the New Testament these four Greek words are principally used to designate miracles:
(1.) Semeion, a "sign", i.e., an evidence of a divine commission; an attestation of a divine message (Matt. 12:38, 39; 16:1, 4; Mark 8:11; Luke 11:16; 23:8; John 2:11, 18, 23; Acts 6:8, etc.); a token of the presence and working of God; the seal of a higher power.
(2.) Terata, "wonders;" wonder-causing events; portents; producing astonishment in the beholder (Acts 2:19).
(3.) Dunameis, "might works;" works of superhuman power (Acts 2:22; Rom. 15:19; 2 Thess. 2:9); of a new and higher power.
(4.) Erga, "works;" the works of Him who is "wonderful in working" (John 5:20, 36).
Miracles are seals of a divine mission. The sacred writers appealed to them as proofs that they were messengers of God. Our Lord also appealed to miracles as a conclusive proof of his divine mission (John 5:20, 36; 10:25, 38). Thus, being out of the common course of nature and beyond the power of man, they are fitted to convey the impression of the presence and power of God. Where miracles are there certainly God is. The man, therefore, who works a miracle affords thereby clear proof that he comes with the authority of God; they are his credentials that he is God's messenger. The teacher points to these credentials, and they are a proof that he speaks with the authority of God. He boldly says, "God bears me witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles."
The credibility of miracles is established by the evidence of the senses on the part of those who are witnesses of them, and to all others by the testimony of such witnesses. The witnesses were competent, and their testimony is trustworthy. Unbelievers, following Hume, deny that any testimony can prove a miracle, because they say miracles are impossible. We have shown that miracles are possible, and surely they can be borne witness to. Surely they are credible when we have abundant and trustworthy evidence of their occurrence. They are credible just as any facts of history well authenticated are credible. Miracles, it is said, are contrary to experience. Of course they are contrary to our experience, but that does not prove that they were contrary to the experience of those who witnessed them. We believe a thousand facts, both of history and of science, that are contrary to our experience, but we believe them on the ground of competent testimony. An atheist or a pantheist must, as a matter of course, deny the possibility of miracles; but to one who believes in a personal God, who in his wisdom may see fit to interfere with the ordinary processes of nature, miracles are not impossible, nor are they incredible. (See LIST OF MIRACLES, Appendix.)
(1.) The sister of Moses and Aaron (Ex. 2:4-10; 1 Chr. 6:3). Her name is prominent in the history of the Exodus. She is called "the prophetess" (Ex. 15:20). She took the lead in the song of triumph after the passage of the Red Sea. She died at Kadesh during the second encampment at that place, toward the close of the wanderings in the wilderness, and was buried there (Num. 20:1). (See AARON; MOSES.)
(2.) 1 Chr. 4:17, one of the descendants of Judah.
Misdeem - (Deut. 32:27, R.V.). The Authorized Version reads, "should behave themselves strangely;" i.e., not recognize the truth, misunderstand or mistake the cause of Israel's ruin, which was due to the fact that God had forsaken them on account of their apostasy.
Misgab - height, a town of Moab, or simply, the height=the citadel, some fortress so called; or perhaps a general name for the highlands of Moab, as some think (Jer. 48:1). In Isa. 25:12, the word is rendered "high fort."
(1.) A Levite; the eldest of the three sons of Uzziel (Ex. 6:22).
(2.) One of the three Hebrew youths who were trained with Daniel in Babylon (Dan. 1:11, 19), and promoted to the rank of Magi. He and his companions were afterwards cast into the burning fiery furnace for refusing to worship the idol the king had set up, from which they were miraculously delivered (3:13-30). His Chaldean name was Meshach (q.v.).
(1.) One of the sons of Ishmael (Gen. 25:14), and founder of an Arab tribe.
(2.) A Simeonite (1 Chr. 4:25, 26).
Misrephoth-maim - burning of waters, supposed to be salt-pans, or lime-kilns, or glass-factories, a place to which Joshua pursued a party of Canaanites after the defeat of Jabin (Josh. 11:8). It is identified with the ruin Musheirifeh, at the promontory of en-Nakhurah, some 11 miles north of Acre.
Mite - contraction of minute, from the Latin minutum, the translation of the Greek word lepton, the very smallest bronze of copper coin (Luke 12:59; 21:2). Two mites made one quadrans, i.e., the fourth part of a Roman as, which was in value nearly a halfpenny. (See FARTHING.)
(1.) The "treasurer" of King Cyrus (Ezra 1:8).
(2.) Ezra 4:7, a Persian officer in Samaria.
Mitre - (Heb. mitsnepheth), something rolled round the head; the turban or head-dress of the high priest (Ex. 28:4, 37, 39; 29:6, etc.). In the Authorized Version of Ezek. 21:26, this Hebrew word is rendered "diadem," but in the Revised Version, "mitre." It was a twisted band of fine linen, 8 yards in length, coiled into the form of a cap, and worn on official occasions (Lev. 8:9; 16:4; Zech. 3:5). On the front of it was a golden plate with the inscription, "Holiness to the Lord." The mitsnepheth differed from the mitre or head-dress (migba'ah) of the common priest. (See BONNET.)
Mitylene - the chief city of the island of Lesbos, on its east coast, in the AEgean Sea. Paul, during his third missionary journey, touched at this place on his way from Corinth to Judea (Acts 20:14), and here tarried for a night. It lies between Assos and Chios. It is now under the Turkish rule, and bears the name of Metelin.
Mixed multitude - (Ex. 12:38), a class who accompanied the Israelites as they journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, the first stage of the Exodus. These were probably miscellaneous hangers-on to the Hebrews, whether Egyptians of the lower orders, or the remains of the Hyksos (see EGYPT; MOSES), as some think. The same thing happened on the return of the Jews from Babylon (Neh. 13:3), a "mixed multitude" accompanied them so far.
Mizar - smallness, a summit on the eastern ridge of Lebanon, near which David lay after escaping from Absalom (Ps. 42:6). It may, perhaps, be the present Jebel Ajlun, thus named, "the little", in contrast with the greater elevation of Lebanon and Hermon.
(1.) A place in Gilead, so named by Laban, who overtook Jacob at this spot (Gen. 31:49) on his return to Palestine from Padan-aram. Here Jacob and Laban set up their memorial cairn of stones. It is the same as Ramath-mizpeh (Josh. 13:26).
(2.) A town in Gilead, where Jephthah resided, and where he assumed the command of the Israelites in a time of national danger. Here he made his rash vow; and here his daughter submitted to her mysterious fate (Judg. 10:17; 11:11, 34). It may be the same as Ramoth-Gilead (Josh. 20:8), but it is more likely that it is identical with the foregoing, the Mizpeh of Gen. 31:23, 25, 48, 49.
(3.) Another place in Gilead, at the foot of Mount Hermon, inhabited by Hivites (Josh. 11:3, 8). The name in Hebrew here has the article before it, "the Mizpeh," "the watch-tower." The modern village of Metullah, meaning also "the look-out," probably occupies the site so called.
(4.) A town of Moab to which David removed his parents for safety during his persecution by Saul (1 Sam. 22:3). This was probably the citadel known as Kir-Moab, now Kerak. While David resided here he was visited by the prophet Gad, here mentioned for the first time, who was probably sent by Samuel to bid him leave the land of Moab and betake himself to the land of Judah. He accordingly removed to the forest of Hareth (q.v.), on the edge of the mountain chain of Hebron.
(5.) A city of Benjamin, "the watch-tower", where the people were accustomed to meet in great national emergencies (Josh. 18:26; Judg. 20:1, 3; 21:1, 5; 1 Sam. 7:5-16). It has been supposed to be the same as Nob (1 Sam. 21:1; 22:9-19). It was some 4 miles north-west of Jerusalem, and was situated on the loftiest hill in the neighbourhood, some 600 feet above the plain of Gibeon. This village has the modern name of Neby Samwil, i.e., the prophet Samuel, from a tradition that Samuel's tomb is here. (See NOB.)
Samuel inaugurated the reformation that characterized his time by convening a great assembly of all Israel at Mizpeh, now the politico-religious centre of the nation. There, in deep humiliation on account of their sins, they renewed their vows and entered again into covenant with the God of their fathers. It was a period of great religious awakening and of revived national life. The Philistines heard of this assembly, and came up against Israel. The Hebrews charged the Philistine host with great fury, and they were totally routed. Samuel commemorated this signal victory by erecting a memorial-stone, which he called "Ebenezer" (q.v.), saying, "Hitherto hath the Lord helped us" (1 Sam. 7:7-12).
Mizraim - the dual form of matzor, meaning a "mound" or "fortress," the name of a people descended from Ham (Gen. 10:6, 13; 1 Chr. 1:8, 11). It was the name generally given by the Hebrews to the land of Egypt (q.v.), and may denote the two Egypts, the Upper and the Lower. The modern Arabic name for Egypt is Muzr.
Mnason - reminding, or remembrancer, a Christian of Jerusalem with whom Paul lodged (Acts 21:16). He was apparently a native of Cyprus, like Barnabas (11:19, 20), and was well known to the Christians of Caesarea (4:36). He was an "old disciple" (R.V., "early disciple"), i.e., he had become a Christian in the beginning of the formation of the Church in Jerusalem.
(2.) Used to denote the people of Moab (Num. 22:3-14; Judg. 3:30; 2 Sam. 8:2; Jer. 48:11, 13).
(3.) The land of Moab (Jer. 48:24), called also the "country of Moab" (Ruth 1:2, 6; 2:6), on the east of Jordan and the Dead Sea, and south of the Arnon (Num. 21:13, 26). In a wider sense it included the whole region that had been occupied by the Amorites. It bears the modern name of Kerak.
In the Plains of Moab, opposite Jericho (Num. 22:1; 26:63; Josh. 13:32), the children of Israel had their last encampment before they entered the land of Canaan. It was at that time in the possession of the Amorites (Num. 21:22). "Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah," and "died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord" (Deut. 34:5, 6). "Surely if we had nothing else to interest us in the land of Moab, the fact that it was from the top of Pisgah, its noblest height, this mightiest of the prophets looked out with eye undimmed upon the Promised Land; that it was here on Nebo, its loftiest mountain, that he died his solitary death; that it was here, in the valley over against Beth-peor, he found his mysterious sepulchre, we have enough to enshrine the memory in our hearts."
Moabite - the designation of a tribe descended from Moab, the son of Lot (Gen. 19:37). From Zoar, the cradle of this tribe, on the south-eastern border of the Dead Sea, they gradually spread over the region on the east of Jordan. Rameses II., the Pharaoh of the Oppression, enumerates Moab (Muab) among his conquests. Shortly before the Exodus, the warlike Amorites crossed the Jordan under Sihon their king and drove the Moabites (Num. 21:26-30) out of the region between the Arnon and the Jabbok, and occupied it, making Heshbon their capital. They were then confined to the territory to the south of the Arnon.
On their journey the Israelites did not pass through Moab, but through the "wilderness" to the east (Deut. 2:8; Judg. 11:18), at length reaching the country to the north of the Arnon. Here they remained for some time till they had conquered Bashan (see SIHON; OG). The Moabites were alarmed, and their king, Balak, sought aid from the Midianites (Num. 22:2-4). It was while they were here that the visit of Balaam (q.v.) to Balak took place. (See MOSES.)
After the Conquest, the Moabites maintained hostile relations with the Israelites, and frequently harassed them in war (Judg. 3:12-30; 1 Sam. 14). The story of Ruth, however, shows the existence of friendly relations between Moab and Bethlehem. By his descent from Ruth, David may be said to have had Moabite blood in his veins. Yet there was war between David and the Moabites (2 Sam. 8:2; 23:20; 1 Chr. 18:2), from whom he took great spoil (2 Sam. 8:2, 11, 12; 1 Chr. 11:22; 18:11).
During the one hundred and fifty years which followed the defeat of the Moabites, after the death of Ahab (see MESHA), they regained, apparently, much of their former prosperty. At this time Isaiah (15:1) delivered his "burden of Moab," predicting the coming of judgment on that land (comp. 2 Kings 17:3; 18:9; 1 Chr. 5:25, 26). Between the time of Isaiah and the commencement of the Babylonian captivity we have very seldom any reference to Moab (Jer. 25:21; 27:3; 40:11; Zeph. 2:8-10).
After the Return, it was Sanballat, a Moabite, who took chief part in seeking to prevent the rebuilding of Jerusalem (Neh. 2:19; 4:1; 6:1).
Moabite Stone - a basalt stone, bearing an inscription by King Mesha, which was discovered at Dibon by Klein, a German missionary at Jerusalem, in 1868. It was 3 1/2 feet high and 2 in breadth and in thickness, rounded at the top. It consisted of thirty-four lines, written in Hebrew-Phoenician characters. It was set up by Mesha as a record and memorial of his victories. It records
(1) Mesha's wars with Omri,
(2) his public buildings, and
(3) his wars against Horonaim. This inscription in a remarkable degree supplements and corroborates the history of King Mesha recorded in 2 Kings 3:4-27.
With the exception of a very few variations, the Moabite language in which the inscription is written is identical with the Hebrew. The form of the letters here used supplies very important and interesting information regarding the history of the formation of the alphabet, as well as, incidentally, regarding the arts of civilized life of those times in the land of Moab.
This ancient monument, recording the heroic struggles of King Mesha with Omri and Ahab, was erected about B.C. 900. Here "we have the identical slab on which the workmen of the old world carved the history of their own times, and from which the eye of their contemporaries read thousands of years ago the record of events of which they themselves had been the witnesses." It is the oldest inscription written in alphabetic characters, and hence is, apart from its value in the domain of Hebrew antiquities, of great linguistic importance.
Mole - Heb. tinshameth (Lev. 11:30), probably signifies some species of lizard (rendered in R.V., "chameleon"). In Lev. 11:18, Deut. 14:16, it is rendered, in Authorized Version, "swan" (R.V., "horned owl").
The Heb. holed (Lev. 11:29), rendered "weasel," was probably the mole-rat. The true mole (Talpa Europoea) is not found in Palestine. The mole-rat (Spalax typhlus) "is twice the size of our mole, with no external eyes, and with only faint traces within of the rudimentary organ; no apparent ears, but, like the mole, with great internal organs of hearing; a strong, bare snout, and with large gnawing teeth; its colour a pale slate; its feet short, and provided with strong nails; its tail only rudimentary."
In Isa. 2:20, this word is the rendering of two words _haphar peroth_, which are rendered by Gesenius "into the digging of rats", i.e., rats' holes. But these two Hebrew words ought probably to be combined into one (lahporperoth) and translated "to the moles", i.e., the rat-moles. This animal "lives in underground communities, making large subterranean chambers for its young and for storehouses, with many runs connected with them, and is decidedly partial to the loose debris among ruins and stone-heaps, where it can form its chambers with least trouble."
Moloch - king, the name of the national god of the Ammonites, to whom children were sacrificed by fire. He was the consuming and destroying and also at the same time the purifying fire. In Amos 5:26, "your Moloch" of the Authorized Version is "your king" in the Revised Version (comp. Acts 7:43). Solomon (1 Kings 11:7) erected a high place for this idol on the Mount of Olives, and from that time till the days of Josiah his worship continued (2 Kings 23:10, 13). In the days of Jehoahaz it was partially restored, but after the Captivity wholly disappeared. He is also called Molech (Lev. 18:21; 20:2-5, etc.), Milcom (1 Kings 11:5, 33, etc.), and Malcham (Zeph. 1:5). This god became Chemosh among the Moabites.
Money - Of uncoined money the first notice we have is in the history of Abraham (Gen. 13:2; 20:16; 24:35). Next, this word is used in connection with the purchase of the cave of Machpelah (23:16), and again in connection with Jacob's purchase of a field at Shalem (Gen. 33:18, 19) for "an hundred pieces of money"=an hundred Hebrew kesitahs (q.v.), i.e., probably pieces of money, as is supposed, bearing the figure of a lamb.
The history of Joseph affords evidence of the constant use of money, silver of a fixed weight. This appears also in all the subsequent history of the Jewish people, in all their internal as well as foreign transactions. There were in common use in trade silver pieces of a definite weight, shekels, half-shekels, and quarter-shekels. But these were not properly coins, which are pieces of metal authoritatively issued, and bearing a stamp.
Of the use of coined money we have no early notice among the Hebrews. The first mentioned is of Persian coinage, the daric (Ezra 2:69; Neh. 7:70) and the 'adarkon (Ezra 8:27). The daric (q.v.) was a gold piece current in Palestine in the time of Cyrus. As long as the Jews, after the Exile, lived under Persian rule, they used Persian coins. These gave place to Greek coins when Palestine came under the dominion of the Greeks (B.C. 331), the coins consisting of gold, silver, and copper pieces. The usual gold pieces were staters (q.v.), and the silver coins tetradrachms and drachms.
In the year B.C. 140, Antiochus VII. gave permission to Simon the Maccabee to coin Jewish money. Shekels (q.v.) were then coined bearing the figure of the almond rod and the pot of manna.
Money-changer - (Matt. 21:12; Mark 11:15; John 2:15). Every Israelite from twenty years and upwards had to pay (Ex. 30:13-15) into the sacred treasury half a shekel every year as an offering to Jehovah, and that in the exact Hebrew half-shekel piece. There was a class of men, who frequented the temple courts, who exchanged at a certain premium foreign moneys for these half-shekels to the Jews who came up to Jerusalem from all parts of the world. (See PASSOVER.) When our Lord drove the traffickers out of the temple, these money-changers fared worst. Their tables were overturned and they themselves were expelled.
Month - Among the Egyptians the month of thirty days each was in use long before the time of the Exodus, and formed the basis of their calculations. From the time of the institution of the Mosaic law the month among the Jews was lunar. The cycle of religious feasts depended on the moon. The commencement of a month was determined by the observation of the new moon. The number of months in the year was usually twelve (1 Kings 4:7; 1 Chr. 27:1-15); but every third year an additional month (ve-Adar) was inserted, so as to make the months coincide with the seasons.
"The Hebrews and Phoenicians had no word for month save 'moon,' and only saved their calendar from becoming vague like that of the Moslems by the interpolation of an additional month. There is no evidence at all that they ever used a true solar year such as the Egyptians possessed. The latter had twelve months of thirty days and five epagomenac or odd days.", Palestine Quarterly, January 1889.
Moon - heb. yareah, from its paleness (Ezra 6:15), and lebanah, the "white" (Cant. 6:10; Isa. 24:23), was appointed by the Creator to be with the sun "for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years" (Gen. 1:14-16). A lunation was among the Jews the period of a month, and several of their festivals were held on the day of the new moon. It is frequently referred to along with the sun (Josh. 10:12; Ps. 72:5, 7, 17; 89:36, 37; Eccl. 12:2; Isa. 24:23, etc.), and also by itself (Ps. 8:3; 121:6).
The great brilliance of the moon in Eastern countries led to its being early an object of idolatrous worship (Deut. 4:19; 17:3; Job 31:26), a form of idolatry against which the Jews were warned (Deut. 4:19; 17:3). They, however, fell into this idolatry, and offered incense (2 Kings 23:5; Jer. 8:2), and also cakes of honey, to the moon (Jer. 7:18; 44:17-19, 25).
Mordecai - the son of Jair, of the tribe of Benjamin. It has been alleged that he was carried into captivity with Jeconiah, and hence that he must have been at least one hundred and twenty-nine years old in the twelfth year of Ahasuerus (Xerxes). But the words of Esther do not necessarily lead to this conclusion. It was probably Kish of whom it is said (ver. 6) that he "had been carried away with the captivity."
He resided at Susa, the metropolis of Persia. He adopted his cousin Hadassah (Esther), an orphan child, whom he tenderly brought up as his own daughter. When she was brought into the king's harem and made queen in the room of the deposed queen Vashti, he was promoted to some office in the court of Ahasuerus, and was one of those who "sat in the king's gate" (Esther 2:21). While holding this office, he discovered a plot of the eunuchs to put the king to death, which, by his vigilance, was defeated. His services to the king in this matter were duly recorded in the royal chronicles.
Haman (q.v.) the Agagite had been raised to the highest position at court. Mordecai refused to bow down before him; and Haman, being stung to the quick by the conduct of Mordecai, resolved to accomplish his death in a wholesale destruction of the Jewish exiles throughout the Persian empire (Esther 3:8-15). Tidings of this cruel scheme soon reached the ears of Mordecai, who communicated with Queen Esther regarding it, and by her wise and bold intervention the scheme was frustrated. The Jews were delivered from destruction, Mordecai was raised to a high rank, and Haman was executed on the gallows he had by anticipation erected for Mordecai (6:2-7:10). In memory of the signal deliverance thus wrought for them, the Jews to this day celebrate the feast (9:26-32) of Purim (q.v.).
(1.) A Canaanite probably who inhabited the district south of Shechem, between Mounts Ebal and Gerizim, and gave his name to the "plain" there (Gen. 12:6). Here at this "plain," or rather (R.V.) "oak," of Moreh, Abraham built his first altar in the land of Palestine; and here the Lord appeared unto him. He afterwards left this plain and moved southward, and pitched his tent between Bethel on the west and Hai on the east (Gen. 12:7, 8).
Moreh, the Hill of - probably identical with "little Hermon," the modern Jebel ed-Duhy, or perhaps one of the lower spurs of this mountain. It is a gray ridge parallel to Gilboa on the north; and between the two lay the battle-field, the plain of Jezreel (q.v.), where Gideon overthrew the Midianites (Judg. 7:1-12).
Moriah - the chosen of Jehovah. Some contend that Mount Gerizim is meant, but most probably we are to regard this as one of the hills of Jerusalem. Here Solomon's temple was built, on the spot that had been the threshing-floor of Ornan the Jebusite (2 Sam. 24:24, 25; 2 Chr. 3:1). It is usually included in Zion, to the north-east of which it lay, and from which it was separated by the Tyropoean valley. This was "the land of Moriah" to which Abraham went to offer up his son Isaac (Gen. 22:2). It has been supposed that the highest point of the temple hill, which is now covered by the Mohammedan Kubbetes-Sakhrah, or "Dome of the Rock," is the actual site of Araunah's threshing-floor. Here also, one thousand years after Abraham, David built an altar and offered sacrifices to God. (See JERUSALEM; NUMBERING THE PEOPLE.)
Mortar - (Heb. homer), cement of lime and sand (Gen. 11:3; Ex. 1:14); also potter's clay (Isa. 41:25; Nah. 3:14). Also Heb. 'aphar, usually rendered "dust," clay or mud used for cement in building (Lev. 14:42, 45).
Mortar for pulverizing (Prov. 27:22) grain or other substances by means of a pestle instead of a mill. Mortars were used in the wilderness for pounding the manna (Num. 11:8). It is commonly used in Palestine at the present day to pound wheat, from which the Arabs make a favourite dish called kibby.
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