By Matthew George Easton
Manasseh - Merib-baal
who makes to forget. "God hath made me forget" (Heb. nashshani),
Gen. 41:51. (1.) The elder of the two sons of Joseph. He and his
brother Ephraim were afterwards adopted by Jacob as his own sons
(48:1). There is an account of his marriage to a Syrian (1 Chr.
7:14); and the only thing afterwards recorded of him is, that
his grandchildren were "brought up upon Joseph's knees" (Gen.
50:23; R.V., "born upon Joseph's knees") i.e., were from their
birth adopted by Joseph as his own children.
The tribe of Manasseh was associated with that of Ephraim and Benjamin during the wanderings in the wilderness. They encamped on the west side of the tabernacle. According to the census taken at Sinai, this tribe then numbered 32,200 (Num. 1:10, 35; 2:20, 21). Forty years afterwards its numbers had increased to 52,700 (26:34, 37), and it was at this time the most distinguished of all the tribes.
The half of this tribe, along with Reuben and Gad, had their territory assigned them by Moses on the east of the Jordan (Josh. 13:7-14); but it was left for Joshua to define the limits of each tribe. This territory on the east of Jordan was more valuable and of larger extent than all that was allotted to the nine and a half tribes in the land of Palestine. It is sometimes called "the land of Gilead," and is also spoken of as "on the other side of Jordan." The portion given to the half tribe of Manasseh was the largest on the east of Jordan. It embraced the whole of Bashan. It was bounded on the south by Mahanaim, and extended north to the foot of Lebanon. Argob, with its sixty cities, that "ocean of basaltic rocks and boulders tossed about in the wildest confusion," lay in the midst of this territory.
The whole "land of Gilead" having been conquered, the two and a half tribes left their wives and families in the fortified cities there, and accompanied the other tribes across the Jordan, and took part with them in the wars of conquest. The allotment of the land having been completed, Joshua dismissed the two and a half tribes, commending them for their heroic service (Josh. 22:1-34). Thus dismissed, they returned over Jordan to their own inheritance. (See ED.)
On the west of Jordan the other half of the tribe of Manasseh was associated with Ephraim, and they had their portion in the very centre of Palestine, an area of about 1,300 square miles, the most valuable part of the whole country, abounding in springs of water. Manasseh's portion was immediately to the north of that of Ephraim (Josh. 16). Thus the western Manasseh defended the passes of Esdraelon as the eastern kept the passes of the Hauran.
(2.) The only son and successor of Hezekiah on the throne of Judah. He was twelve years old when he began to reign (2 Kings 21:1), and he reigned fifty-five years (B.C. 698-643). Though he reigned so long, yet comparatively little is known of this king. His reign was a continuation of that of Ahaz, both in religion and national polity. He early fell under the influence of the heathen court circle, and his reign was characterized by a sad relapse into idolatry with all its vices, showing that the reformation under his father had been to a large extent only superficial (Isa. 7:10; 2 Kings 21:10-15). A systematic and persistent attempt was made, and all too successfully, to banish the worship of Jehovah out of the land. Amid this wide-spread idolatry there were not wanting, however, faithful prophets (Isaiah, Micah) who lifted up their voice in reproof and in warning. But their fidelity only aroused bitter hatred, and a period of cruel persecution against all the friends of the old religion began. "The days of Alva in Holland, of Charles IX. in France, or of the Covenanters under Charles II. in Scotland, were anticipated in the Jewish capital. The streets were red with blood." There is an old Jewish tradition that Isaiah was put to death at this time (2 Kings 21:16; 24:3, 4; Jer. 2:30), having been sawn asunder in the trunk of a tree. Psalms 49, 73, 77, 140, and 141 seem to express the feelings of the pious amid the fiery trials of this great persecution. Manasseh has been called the "Nero of Palestine."
Esarhaddon, Sennacherib's successor on the Assyrian throne, who had his residence in Babylon for thirteen years (the only Assyrian monarch who ever reigned in Babylon), took Manasseh prisoner (B.C. 681) to Babylon. Such captive kings were usually treated with great cruelty. They were brought before the conqueror with a hook or ring passed through their lips or their jaws, having a cord attached to it, by which they were led. This is referred to in 2 Chr. 33:11, where the Authorized Version reads that Esarhaddon "took Manasseh among the thorns;" while the Revised Version renders the words, "took Manasseh in chains;" or literally, as in the margin, "with hooks." (Comp. 2 Kings 19:28.)
The severity of Manasseh's imprisonment brought him to repentance. God heard his cry, and he was restored to his kingdom (2 Chr. 33:11-13). He abandoned his idolatrous ways, and enjoined the people to worship Jehovah; but there was no thorough reformation. After a lengthened reign extending through fifty-five years, the longest in the history of Judah, he died, and was buried in the garden of Uzza, the "garden of his own house" (2 Kings 21:17, 18; 2 Chr. 33:20), and not in the city of David, among his ancestors. He was succeeded by his son Amon.
In Judg. 18:30 the correct reading is "Moses," and not "Manasseh." The name "Manasseh" is supposed to have been introduced by some transcriber to avoid the scandal of naming the grandson of Moses the great lawgiver as the founder of an idolatrous religion.
Mandrakes - Hebrew dudaim; i.e., "love-plants", occurs only in Gen. 30:14-16 and Cant. 7:13. Many interpretations have been given of this word dudaim. It has been rendered "violets," "Lilies," "jasmines," "truffles or mushrooms," "flowers," the "citron," etc. The weight of authority is in favour of its being regarded as the Mandragora officinalis of botanists, "a near relative of the night-shades, the 'apple of Sodom' and the potato plant." It possesses stimulating and narcotic properties (Gen. 30:14-16). The fruit of this plant resembles the potato-apple in size, and is of a pale orange colour. It has been called the "love-apple." The Arabs call it "Satan's apple." It still grows near Jerusalem, and in other parts of Palestine.
Maneh - portion (Ezek. 45:12), rendered "pound" (1 Kings 10:17; Ezra 2:69; Neh. 7:71, 72), a weight variously estimated, probably about 2 1/2 or 3 lbs. A maneh of gold consisted of a hundred common shekels (q.v.). (Comp. 1 Kings 10:17, and 2 Chr. 9:16).
Manger - (Luke 2:7, 12, 16), the name (Gr. phatne, rendered "stall" in Luke 13:15) given to the place where the infant Redeemer was laid. It seems to have been a stall or crib for feeding cattle. Stables and mangers in our modern sense were in ancient times unknown in the East. The word here properly denotes "the ledge or projection in the end of the room used as a stall on which the hay or other food of the animals of travellers was placed." (See INN.)
Manna - Heb. man-hu, "What is that?" the name given by the Israelites to the food miraculously supplied to them during their wanderings in the wilderness (Ex. 16:15-35). The name is commonly taken as derived from man, an expression of surprise, "What is it?" but more probably it is derived from manan, meaning "to allot," and hence denoting an "allotment" or a "gift." This "gift" from God is described as "a small round thing," like the "hoar-frost on the ground," and "like coriander seed," "of the colour of bdellium," and in taste "like wafers made with honey." It was capable of being baked and boiled, ground in mills, or beaten in a mortar (Ex. 16:23; Num. 11:7). If any was kept over till the following morning, it became corrupt with worms; but as on the Sabbath none fell, on the preceding day a double portion was given, and that could be kept over to supply the wants of the Sabbath without becoming corrupt. Directions concerning the gathering of it are fully given (Ex. 16:16-18, 33; Deut. 8:3, 16). It fell for the first time after the eighth encampment in the desert of Sin, and was daily furnished, except on the Sabbath, for all the years of the wanderings, till they encamped at Gilgal, after crossing the Jordan, when it suddenly ceased, and where they "did eat of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more" (Josh. 5:12). They now no longer needed the "bread of the wilderness."
This manna was evidently altogether a miraculous gift, wholly different from any natural product with which we are acquainted, and which bears this name. The manna of European commerce comes chiefly from Calabria and Sicily. It drops from the twigs of a species of ash during the months of June and July. At night it is fluid and resembles dew, but in the morning it begins to harden. The manna of the Sinaitic peninsula is an exudation from the "manna-tamarisk" tree (Tamarix mannifera), the el-tarfah of the Arabs. This tree is found at the present day in certain well-watered valleys in the peninsula of Sinai. The manna with which the people of Israel were fed for forty years differs in many particulars from all these natural products.
Our Lord refers to the manna when he calls himself the "true bread from heaven" (John 6:31-35; 48-51). He is also the "hidden manna" (Rev. 2:17; comp. John 6:49,51).
Manoah - rest, a Danite, the father of Samson (Judg. 13:1-22, and 14:2-4).
Man of sin - a designation of Antichrist given in 2 Thess. 2:3-10, usually regarded as descriptive of the Papal power; but "in whomsoever these distinctive features are found, whoever wields temporal and spiritual power in any degree similar to that in which the man of sin is here described as wielding it, he, be he pope or potentate, is beyond all doubt a distinct type of Antichrist."
Manslayer - one who was guilty of accidental homicide, and was entitled to flee to a city of refuge (Num. 35:6, 12, 22, 23), his compulsory residence in which terminated with the death of the high priest. (See CITY OF REFUGE.)
Mantle - (1.) Heb. 'addereth, a large over-garment. This word is used of Elijah's mantle (1 Kings 19:13, 19; 2 Kings 2:8, 13, etc.), which was probably a sheepskin. It appears to have been his only garment, a strip of skin or leather binding it to his loins. 'Addereth twice occurs with the epithet "hairy" (Gen. 25:25; Zech. 13:4, R.V.). It is the word denoting the "goodly Babylonish garment" which Achan coveted (Josh. 7:21).
(2.) Heb. me'il, frequently applied to the "robe of the ephod" (Ex. 28:4, 31; Lev. 8:7), which was a splendid under tunic wholly of blue, reaching to below the knees. It was woven without seam, and was put on by being drawn over the head. It was worn not only by priests but by kings (1 Sam. 24:4), prophets (15:27), and rich men (Job 1:20; 2:12). This was the "little coat" which Samuel's mother brought to him from year to year to Shiloh (1 Sam. 2:19), a miniature of the official priestly robe.
(3.) Semikah, "a rug," the garment which Jael threw as a covering over Sisera (Judg. 4:18). The Hebrew word occurs nowhere else in Scripture.
(4.) Maataphoth, plural, only in Isa. 3:22, denoting a large exterior tunic worn by females. (See DRESS.)
Maoch - compressed, the father of Achish, king of Gath (1 Sam. 27:2). Called also Maachah (1 Kings 2:39).
Maon - habitation, a town in the tribe of Judah, about 7 miles south of Hebron, which gave its name to the wilderness, the district round the conical hill on which the town stood. Here David hid from Saul, and here Nabal had his possessions and his home (1 Sam. 23:24, 25; 25:2). "Only some small foundations of hewn stone, a square enclosure, and several cisterns are now to be seen at Maon. Are they the remains of Nabal's great establishment?" The hill is now called Tell M'ain.
Mara - bitter; sad, a symbolical name which Naomi gave to herself because of her misfortunes (Ruth 1:20).
Marah - bitterness, a fountain at the sixth station of the Israelites (Ex. 15:23, 24; Num. 33:8) whose waters were so bitter that they could not drink them. On this account they murmured against Moses, who, under divine direction, cast into the fountain "a certain tree" which took away its bitterness, so that the people drank of it. This was probably the 'Ain Hawarah, where there are still several springs of water that are very "bitter," distant some 47 miles from 'Ayun Mousa.
Maralah - trembling, a place on the southern boundary of Zebulun (Josh. 19:11). It has been identified with the modern M'alul, about 4 miles south-west of Nazareth.
Maranatha - (1 Cor. 16:22) consists of two Aramean words, Maran'athah, meaning, "our Lord comes," or is "coming." If the latter interpretation is adopted, the meaning of the phrase is, "Our Lord is coming, and he will judge those who have set him at nought." (Comp. Phil. 4:5; James 5:8, 9.)
Marble - as a mineral, consists of carbonate of lime, its texture varying from the highly crystalline to the compact. In Esther 1:6 there are four Hebrew words which are rendered marble:, (1.) Shesh, "pillars of marble." But this word probably designates dark-blue limestone rather than marble. (2.) Dar, some regard as Parian marble. It is here rendered "white marble." But nothing is certainly known of it. (3.) Bahat, "red marble," probably the verd-antique or half-porphyry of Egypt. (4.) Sohareth, "black marble," probably some spotted variety of marble. "The marble pillars and tesserae of various colours of the palace at Susa came doubtless from Persia itself, where marble of various colours is found, especially in the province of Hamadan Susiana." The marble of Solomon's architectural works may have been limestone from near Jerusalem, or from Lebanon, or possibly white marble from Arabia. Herod employed Parian marble in the temple, and marble columns still exist in great abundance at Jerusalem.
Marcheshvan - the post-biblical name of the month which was the eighth of the sacred and the second of the civil year of the Jews. It began with the new moon of our November. It is once called Bul (1 Kings 6:38). Assyrian, Arah Samna, "eighth month,"
Marcus - Col. 4:10; Philemon 1:24; 1 Pet. 5:13; R.V., "Mark" (q.v.).
Mareshah - possession, a city in the plain of Judah (John. 15:44). Here Asa defeated Zerah the Ethiopian (2 Chr. 14:9, 10). It is identified with the ruin el-Mer'ash, about 1 1/2 mile south of Beit Jibrin.
Mark - the evangelist; "John whose surname was Mark" (Acts 12:12, 25). Mark (Marcus, Col. 4:10, etc.) was his Roman name, which gradually came to supersede his Jewish name John. He is called John in Acts 13:5, 13, and Mark in 15:39, 2 Tim. 4:11, etc.
He was the son of Mary, a woman apparently of some means and influence, and was probably born in Jerusalem, where his mother resided (Acts 12:12). Of his father we know nothing. He was cousin of Barnabas (Col. 4:10). It was in his mother's house that Peter found "many gathered together praying" when he was released from prison; and it is probable that it was here that he was converted by Peter, who calls him his "son" (1 Pet. 5:13). It is probable that the "young man" spoken of in Mark 14:51, 52 was Mark himself. He is first mentioned in Acts 12:25. He went with Paul and Barnabas on their first journey (about A.D. 47) as their "minister," but from some cause turned back when they reached Perga in Pamphylia (Acts 12:25; 13:13). Three years afterwards a "sharp contention" arose between Paul and Barnabas (15:36-40), because Paul would not take Mark with him. He, however, was evidently at length reconciled to the apostle, for he was with him in his first imprisonment at Rome (Col. 4:10; Philemon 1:24). At a later period he was with Peter in Babylon (1 Pet. 5:13), then, and for some centuries afterwards, one of the chief seats of Jewish learning; and he was with Timothy in Ephesus when Paul wrote him during his second imprisonment (2 Tim. 4:11). He then disappears from view.
Market-place - any place of public resort, and hence a public place or broad street (Matt. 11:16; 20:3), as well as a forum or market-place proper, where goods were exposed for sale, and where public assemblies and trials were held (Acts 16:19; 17:17). This word occurs in the Old Testament only in Ezek. 27:13.
In early times markets were held at the gates of cities, where commodities were exposed for sale (2 Kings 7:18). In large towns the sale of particular articles seems to have been confined to certain streets, as we may infer from such expressions as "the bakers' street" (Jer. 37:21), and from the circumstance that in the time of Josephus the valley between Mounts Zion and Moriah was called the Tyropoeon or the "valley of the cheesemakers."
Mark, Gospel according to - It is the current and apparently well-founded tradition that Mark derived his information mainly from the discourses of Peter. In his mother's house he would have abundant opportunities of obtaining information from the other apostles and their coadjutors, yet he was "the disciple and interpreter of Peter" specially.
As to the time when it was written, the Gospel furnishes us with no definite information. Mark makes no mention of the destruction of Jerusalem, hence it must have been written before that event, and probably about A.D. 63.
The place where it was written was probably Rome. Some have supposed Antioch (comp. Mark 15:21 with Acts 11:20).
It was intended primarily for Romans. This appears probable when it is considered that it makes no reference to the Jewish law, and that the writer takes care to interpret words which a Gentile would be likely to misunderstand, such as, "Boanerges" (3:17); "Talitha cumi" (5:41); "Corban" (7:11); "Bartimaeus" (10:46); "Abba" (14:36); "Eloi," etc. (15:34). Jewish usages are also explained (7:3; 14:3; 14:12; 15:42). Mark also uses certain Latin words not found in any of the other Gospels, as "speculator" (6:27, rendered, A.V., "executioner;" R.V., "soldier of his guard"), "xestes" (a corruption of sextarius, rendered "pots," 7:4, 8), "quadrans" (12:42, rendered "a farthing"), "centurion" (15:39, 44, 45). He only twice quotes from the Old Testament (1:2; 15:28).
The characteristics of this Gospel are, (1) the absence of the genealogy of our Lord, (2) whom he represents as clothed with power, the "lion of the tribe of Judah." (3.) Mark also records with wonderful minuteness the very words (3:17; 5:41; 7:11, 34; 14:36) as well as the position (9:35) and gestures (3:5, 34; 5:32; 9:36; 10:16) of our Lord. (4.) He is also careful to record particulars of person (1:29, 36; 3:6, 22, etc.), number (5:13; 6:7, etc.), place (2:13; 4:1; 7:31, etc.), and time (1:35; 2:1; 4:35, etc.), which the other evangelists omit. (5.) The phrase "and straightway" occurs nearly forty times in this Gospel; while in Luke's Gospel, which is much longer, it is used only seven times, and in John only four times.
"The Gospel of Mark," says Westcott, "is essentially a transcript from life. The course and issue of facts are imaged in it with the clearest outline." "In Mark we have no attempt to draw up a continuous narrative. His Gospel is a rapid succession of vivid pictures loosely strung together without much attempt to bind them into a whole or give the events in their natural sequence. This pictorial power is that which specially characterizes this evangelist, so that 'if any one desires to know an evangelical fact, not only in its main features and grand results, but also in its most minute and so to speak more graphic delineation, he must betake himself to Mark.'" The leading principle running through this Gospel may be expressed in the motto: "Jesus came...preaching the gospel of the kingdom" (Mark 1:14).
"Out of a total of 662 verses, Mark has 406 in common with Matthew and Luke, 145 with Matthew, 60 with Luke, and at most 51 peculiar to itself." (See MATTHEW.)
Maroth - bitterness; i.e., "perfect grief", a place not far from Jerusalem; mentioned in connection with the invasion of the Assyrian army (Micah 1:12).
Marriage - was instituted in Paradise when man was in innocence (Gen. 2:18-24). Here we have its original charter, which was confirmed by our Lord, as the basis on which all regulations are to be framed (Matt. 19:4, 5). It is evident that monogamy was the original law of marriage (Matt. 19:5; 1 Cor. 6:16). This law was violated in after times, when corrupt usages began to be introduced (Gen. 4:19; 6:2). We meet with the prevalence of polygamy and concubinage in the patriarchal age (Gen. 16:1-4; 22:21-24; 28:8, 9; 29:23-30, etc.). Polygamy was acknowledged in the Mosaic law and made the basis of legislation, and continued to be practised all down through the period of Jewish histroy to the Captivity, after which there is no instance of it on record.
It seems to have been the practice from the beginning for fathers to select wives for their sons (Gen. 24:3; 38:6). Sometimes also proposals were initiated by the father of the maiden (Ex. 2:21). The brothers of the maiden were also sometimes consulted (Gen. 24:51; 34:11), but her own consent was not required. The young man was bound to give a price to the father of the maiden (31:15; 34:12; Ex. 22:16, 17; 1 Sam. 18:23, 25; Ruth 4:10; Hos. 3:2) On these patriarchal customs the Mosaic law made no change.
In the pre-Mosaic times, when the proposals were accepted and the marriage price given, the bridegroom could come at once and take away his bride to his own house (Gen. 24:63-67). But in general the marriage was celebrated by a feast in the house of the bride's parents, to which all friends were invited (29:22, 27); and on the day of the marriage the bride, concealed under a thick veil, was conducted to her future husband's home.
Our Lord corrected many false notions then existing on the subject of marriage (Matt. 22:23-30), and placed it as a divine institution on the highest grounds. The apostles state clearly and enforce the nuptial duties of husband and wife (Eph. 5:22-33; Col. 3:18, 19; 1 Pet. 3:1-7). Marriage is said to be "honourable" (Heb. 13:4), and the prohibition of it is noted as one of the marks of degenerate times (1 Tim. 4:3).
The marriage relation is used to represent the union between God and his people (Isa. 54:5; Jer. 3:1-14; Hos. 2:9, 20). In the New Testament the same figure is employed in representing the love of Christ to his saints (Eph. 5:25-27). The Church of the redeemed is the "Bride, the Lamb's wife" (Rev. 19:7-9).
Marriage-feasts - (John 2:1-11) "lasted usually for a whole week; but the cost of such prolonged rejoicing is very small in the East. The guests sit round the great bowl or bowls on the floor, the meal usually consisting of a lamb or kid stewed in rice or barley. The most honoured guests sit nearest, others behind; and all in eating dip their hand into the one smoking mound, pieces of the thin bread, bent together, serving for spoons when necessary. After the first circle have satisfied themselves, those lower in honour sit down to the rest, the whole company being men, for women are never seen at a feast. Water is poured on the hands before eating; and this is repeated when the meal closes, the fingers having first been wiped on pieces of bread, which, after serving the same purpose as table-napkins with us, are thrown on the ground to be eaten by any dog that may have stolen in from the streets through the ever-open door, or picked up by those outside when gathered and tossed out to them (Matt. 15:27; Mark 7:28). Rising from the ground and retiring to the seats round the walls, the guests then sit down cross-legged and gossip, or listen to recitals, or puzzle over riddles, light being scantily supplied by a small lamp or two, or if the night be chilly, by a smouldering fire of weeds kindled in the middle of the room, perhaps in a brazier, often in a hole in the floor. As to the smoke, it escapes as it best may; but indeed there is little of it, though enough to blacken the water or wine or milk skins hung up on pegs on the wall. (Comp. Ps. 119:83.) To some such marriage-feast Jesus and his five disciples were invited at Cana of Galilee." Geikie's Life of Christ. (See CANA.)
Mars Hill - the Areopagus or rocky hill in Athens, north-west of the Acropolis, where the Athenian supreme tribunal and court of morals was held. From some part of this hill Paul delivered the address recorded in Acts 17:22-31. (See AREOPAGUS.)
Martha - bitterness, the sister of Lazarus and Mary, and probably the eldest of the family, who all resided at Bethany (Luke 10:38, 40, 41; John 11:1-39). From the residence being called "her house," some have supposed that she was a widow, and that her brother and sister lodged with her. She seems to have been of an anxious, bustling spirit, anxious to be helpful in providing the best things for the Master's use, in contrast to the quiet earnestness of Mary, who was more concerned to avail herself of the opportunity of sitting at his feet and learning of him. Afterwards at a supper given to Christ and his disciples in her house "Martha served." Nothing further is known of her.
"Mary and Martha are representatives of two orders of human character. One was absorbed, preoccupied, abstracted; the other was concentrated and single-hearted. Her own world was the all of Martha; Christ was the first thought with Mary. To Martha life was 'a succession of particular businesses;' to Mary life 'was rather the flow of one spirit.' Martha was Petrine, Mary was Johannine. The one was a well-meaning, bustling busybody; the other was a reverent disciple, a wistful listener." Paul had such a picture as that of Martha in his mind when he spoke of serving the Lord "without distraction" (1 Cor. 7:35).
Martyr - one who bears witness of the truth, and suffers death in the cause of Christ (Acts 22:20; Rev. 2:13; 17:6). In this sense Stephen was the first martyr. The Greek word so rendered in all other cases is translated "witness." (1.) In a court of justice (Matt. 18:16; 26:65; Acts 6:13; 7:58; Heb. 10:28; 1 Tim. 5:19). (2.) As of one bearing testimony to the truth of what he has seen or known (Luke 24:48; Acts 1:8, 22; Rom. 1:9; 1 Thess. 2:5, 10; 1 John 1:2).
Mary - Hebrew Miriam. (1.) The wife of Joseph, the mother of Jesus, called the "Virgin Mary," though never so designated in Scripture (Matt. 2:11; Acts 1:14). Little is known of her personal history. Her genealogy is given in Luke 3. She was of the tribe of Judah and the lineage of David (Ps. 132:11; Luke 1:32). She was connected by marriage with Elisabeth, who was of the lineage of Aaron (Luke 1:36).
While she resided at Nazareth with her parents, before she became the wife of Joseph, the angel Gabriel announced to her that she was to be the mother of the promised Messiah (Luke 1:35). After this she went to visit her cousin Elisabeth, who was living with her husband Zacharias (probably at Juttah, Josh. 15:55; 21:16, in the neighbourhood of Maon), at a considerable distance, about 100 miles, from Nazareth. Immediately on entering the house she was saluted by Elisabeth as the mother of her Lord, and then forthwith gave utterance to her hymn of thanksgiving (Luke 1:46-56; comp. 1 Sam. 2:1-10). After three months Mary returned to Nazareth to her own home. Joseph was supernaturally made aware (Matt. 1:18-25) of her condition, and took her to his own home. Soon after this the decree of Augustus (Luke 2:1) required that they should proceed to Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), some 80 or 90 miles from Nazareth; and while they were there they found shelter in the inn or khan provided for strangers (Luke 2:6, 7). But as the inn was crowded, Mary had to retire to a place among the cattle, and there she brought forth her son, who was called Jesus (Matt. 1:21), because he was to save his people from their sins. This was followed by the presentation in the temple, the flight into Egypt, and their return in the following year and residence at Nazareth (Matt. 2). There for thirty years Mary, the wife of Joseph the carpenter, resides, filling her own humble sphere, and pondering over the strange things that had happened to her. During these years only one event in the history of Jesus is recorded, viz., his going up to Jerusalem when twelve years of age, and his being found among the doctors in the temple (Luke 2:41-52). Probably also during this period Joseph died, for he is not again mentioned.
After the commencement of our Lord's public ministry little notice is taken of Mary. She was present at the marriage in Cana. A year and a half after this we find her at Capernaum (Matt. 12:46, 48, 49), where Christ uttered the memorable words, "Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!" The next time we find her is at the cross along with her sister Mary, and Mary Magdalene, and Salome, and other women (John 19:26). From that hour John took her to his own abode. She was with the little company in the upper room after the Ascension (Acts 1:14). From this time she wholly disappears from public notice. The time and manner of her death are unknown.
(2.) Mary Magdalene, i.e., Mary of Magdala, a town on the western shore of the Lake of Tiberias. She is for the first time noticed in Luke 8:3 as one of the women who "ministered to Christ of their substance." Their motive was that of gratitude for deliverances he had wrought for them. Out of Mary were cast seven demons. Gratitude to her great Deliverer prompted her to become his follower. These women accompanied him also on his last journey to Jerusalem (Matt. 27:55; Mark 15:41; Luke 23:55). They stood near the cross. There Mary remained till all was over, and the body was taken down and laid in Joseph's tomb. Again, in the earliest dawn of the first day of the week she, with Salome and Mary the mother of James (Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:2), came to the sepulchre, bringing with them sweet spices, that they might anoint the body of Jesus. They found the sepulchre empty, but saw the "vision of angels" (Matt. 28:5). She hastens to tell Peter and John, who were probably living together at this time (John 20:1, 2), and again immediately returns to the sepulchre. There she lingers thoughtfully, weeping at the door of the tomb. The risen Lord appears to her, but at first she knows him not. His utterance of her name "Mary" recalls her to consciousness, and she utters the joyful, reverent cry, "Rabboni." She would fain cling to him, but he forbids her, saying, "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father." This is the last record regarding Mary of Magdala, who now returned to Jerusalem. The idea that this Mary was "the woman who was a sinner," or that she was unchaste, is altogether groundless.
(3.) Mary the sister of Lazarus is brought to our notice in connection with the visits of our Lord to Bethany. She is contrasted with her sister Martha, who was "cumbered about many things" while Jesus was their guest, while Mary had chosen "the good part." Her character also appears in connection with the death of her brother (John 11:20,31,33). On the occasion of our Lord's last visit to Bethany, Mary brought "a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus" as he reclined at table in the house of one Simon, who had been a leper (Matt. 26:6; Mark 14:3; John 12:2,3). This was an evidence of her overflowing love to the Lord. Nothing is known of her subsequent history. It would appear from this act of Mary's, and from the circumstance that they possessed a family vault (11:38), and that a large number of Jews from Jerusalem came to condole with them on the death of Lazarus (11:19), that this family at Bethany belonged to the wealthier class of the people. (See MARTHA.)
(4.) Mary the wife of Cleopas is mentioned (John 19:25) as standing at the cross in company with Mary of Magdala and Mary the mother of Jesus. By comparing Matt. 27:56 and Mark 15:40, we find that this Mary and "Mary the mother of James the little" are on and the same person, and that she was the sister of our Lord's mother. She was that "other Mary" who was present with Mary of Magdala at the burial of our Lord (Matt. 27:61; Mark 15:47); and she was one of those who went early in the morning of the first day of the week to anoint the body, and thus became one of the first witnesses of the resurrection (Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:1; Luke 24:1).
(5.) Mary the mother of John Mark was one of the earliest of our Lord's disciples. She was the sister of Barnabas (Col. 4:10), and joined with him in disposing of their land and giving the proceeds of the sale into the treasury of the Church (Acts 4:37; 12:12). Her house in Jerusalem was the common meeting-place for the disciples there.
(6.) A Christian at Rome who treated Paul with special kindness (Rom. 16:6).
Maschil - instructing, occurs in the title of thirteen Psalms (32, 42, 44, etc.). It denotes a song enforcing some lesson of wisdom or piety, a didactic song. In Ps. 47:7 it is rendered, Authorized Version, "with understanding;" Revised Version, marg., "in a skilful psalm."
Mash - (= Meshech 1 Chr. 1:17), one of the four sons of Aram, and the name of a tribe descended from him (Gen. 10:23) inhabiting some part probably of Mesopotamia. Some have supposed that they were the inhabitants of Mount Masius, the present Karja Baghlar, which forms part of the chain of Taurus.
Mashal - entreaty, a levitical town in the tribe of Asher (1 Chr. 6:74); called Mishal (Josh. 21:30).
Mason - an artificer in stone. The Tyrians seem to have been specially skilled in architecture (1 Kings 5:17, 18; 2 Sam. 5:11). This art the Hebrews no doubt learned in Egypt (Ex. 1:11, 14), where ruins of temples and palaces fill the traveller with wonder at the present day.
Masrekah - vineyard of noble vines, a place in Idumea, the native place of Samlah, one of the Edomitish kings (Gen. 36:36; 1 Chr. 1:47).
Massa - a lifting up, gift, one of the sons of Ishmael, the founder of an Arabian tribe (Gen. 25:14); a nomad tribe inhabiting the Arabian desert toward Babylonia.
Massah - trial, temptation, a name given to the place where the Israelites, by their murmuring for want of water, provoked Jehovah to anger against them. It is also called Meribah (Ex. 17:7; Deut. 6:16; Ps. 95:8, 9; Heb. 3:8).
Mattan - gift. (1.) A priest of Baal, slain before his altar during the reformation under Jehoiada (2 Kings 11:18).
(2.) The son of Eleazar, and father of Jacob, who was the father of Joseph, the husband of the Virgin Mary (Matt. 1:15).
(3.) The father of Shephatiah (Jer. 38:1).
Mattanah - a gift, a station of the Israelites (Num. 21:18, 19) between the desert and the borders of Moab, in the Wady Waleh.
Mattaniah - gift of Jehovah. (1.) A Levite, son of Heman, the chief of the ninth class of temple singers (1 Chr. 25:4, 16).
(2.) A Levite who assisted in purifying the temple at the reformation under Hezekiah (2 Chr. 29:13).
(3.) The original name of Zedekiah (q.v.), the last of the kings of Judah (2 Kings 24:17). He was the third son of Josiah, who fell at Megiddo. He succeeded his nephew Jehoiakin.
Mattathias - ibid. (1.) The son of Amos, in the genealogy of our Lord (Luke 3:25).
(2.) The son of Semei, in the same genealogy (Luke 3:26).
Matthan - gift, one of our Lord's ancestry (Matt. 1:15).
Matthat - gift of God. (1.) The son of Levi, and father of Heli (Luke 3:24).
(2.) Son of another Levi (Luke 3:29).
Matthew - gift of God, a common Jewish name after the Exile. He was the son of Alphaeus, and was a publican or tax-gatherer at Capernaum. On one occasion Jesus, coming up from the side of the lake, passed the custom-house where Matthew was seated, and said to him, "Follow me." Matthew arose and followed him, and became his disciple (Matt. 9:9). Formerly the name by which he was known was Levi (Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27); he now changed it, possibly in grateful memory of his call, to Matthew. The same day on which Jesus called him he made a "great feast" (Luke 5:29), a farewell feast, to which he invited Jesus and his disciples, and probably also many of old associates. He was afterwards selected as one of the twelve (6:15). His name does not occur again in the Gospel history except in the lists of the apostles. The last notice of him is in Acts 1:13. The time and manner of his death are unknown.
Matthew, Gospel according to - The author of this book was beyond a doubt the Matthew, an apostle of our Lord, whose name it bears. He wrote the Gospel of Christ according to his own plans and aims, and from his own point of view, as did also the other "evangelists."
As to the time of its composition, there is little in the Gospel itself to indicate. It was evidently written before the destruction of Jerusalem (Matt. 24), and some time after the events it records. The probability is that it was written between the years A.D. 60 and 65.
The cast of thought and the forms of expression employed by the writer show that this Gospel was written for Jewish Christians of Palestine. His great object is to prove that Jesus of Nazareth was the promised Messiah, and that in him the ancient prophecies had their fulfilment. The Gospel is full of allusions to those passages of the Old Testament in which Christ is predicted and foreshadowed. The one aim prevading the whole book is to show that Jesus is he "of whom Moses in the law and the prophets did write." This Gospel contains no fewer than sixty-five references to the Old Testament, forty-three of these being direct verbal citations, thus greatly outnumbering those found in the other Gospels. The main feature of this Gospel may be expressed in the motto, "I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil."
As to the language in which this Gospel was written there is much controversy. Many hold, in accordance with old tradition, that it was originally written in Hebrew (i.e., the Aramaic or Syro-Chaldee dialect, then the vernacular of the inhabitants of Palestine), and afterwards translated into Greek, either by Matthew himself or by some person unknown. This theory, though earnestly maintained by able critics, we cannot see any ground for adopting. From the first this Gospel in Greek was received as of authority in the Church. There is nothing in it to show that it is a translation. Though Matthew wrote mainly for the Jews, yet they were everywhere familiar with the Greek language. The same reasons which would have suggested the necessity of a translation into Greek would have led the evangelist to write in Greek at first. It is confessed that this Gospel has never been found in any other form than that in which we now possess it.
The leading characteristic of this Gospel is that it sets forth the kingly glory of Christ, and shows him to be the true heir to David's throne. It is the Gospel of the kingdom. Matthew uses the expression "kingdom of heaven" (thirty-two times), while Luke uses the expression "kingdom of God" (thirty-three times). Some Latinized forms occur in this Gospel, as kodrantes (Matt. 5:26), for the Latin quadrans, and phragello (27:26), for the Latin flagello. It must be remembered that Matthew was a tax-gatherer for the Roman government, and hence in contact with those using the Latin language.
As to the relation of the Gospels to each other, we must maintain that each writer of the synoptics (the first three) wrote independently of the other two, Matthew being probably first in point of time.
"Out of a total of 1071 verses, Matthew has 387 in common with Mark and Luke, 130 with Mark, 184 with Luke; only 387 being peculiar to itself." (See MARK; LUKE; GOSPELS.)
The book is fitly divided into these four parts: (1.) Containing the genealogy, the birth, and the infancy of Jesus (1; 2).
(2.) The discourses and actions of John the Baptist preparatory to Christ's public ministry (3; 4:11).
(3.) The discourses and actions of Christ in Galilee (4:12-20:16).
(4.) The sufferings, death and resurrection of our Lord (20:17-28).
Matthias - gift of God. Acts 1:23.
Mattithiah - gift of Jehovah. (1.) One of the sons of Jeduthun (1 Chr. 25:3, 21).
(2.) The eldest son of Shallum, of the family of Korah (1 Chr. 9:31).
(3.) One who stood by Ezra while reading the law (Neh. 8:4).
(4.) The son of Amos, and father of Joseph, in the genealogy of our Lord (Luke 3:25).
Mattock - (1.) Heb. ma'eder, an instrument for dressing or pruning a vineyard (Isa. 7:25); a weeding-hoe.
(2.) Heb. mahareshah (1 Sam. 13:1), perhaps the ploughshare or coulter.
(3.) Heb. herebh, marg. of text (2 Chr. 34:6). Authorized Version, "with their mattocks," marg. "mauls." The Revised Version renders "in their ruins," marg. "with their axes." The Hebrew text is probably corrupt.
Maul - an old name for a mallet, the rendering of the Hebrew mephits (Prov. 25:18), properly a war-club.
Mazzaroth - prognostications, found only Job 38:32, probably meaning "the twelve signs" (of the zodiac), as in the margin (comp. 2 Kings 23:5).
Meadow - (1.) Heb. ha'ahu (Gen. 41:2, 18), probably an Egyptain word transferred to the Hebrew; some kind of reed or water-plant. In the Revised Version it is rendered "reed-grass", i.e., the sedge or rank grass by the river side.
(2.) Heb. ma'areh (Judg. 20:33), pl., "meadows of Gibeah" (R.V., after the LXX., "Maareh-geba"). Some have adopted the rendering "after Gibeah had been left open." The Vulgate translates the word "from the west."
Meah - an hundred, a tower in Jersalem on the east wall (Neh. 3:1) in the time of Nehemiah.
Meals - are at the present day "eaten from a round table little higher than a stool, guests sitting cross-legged on mats or small carpets in a circle, and dipping their fingers into one large dish heaped with a mixture of boiled rice and other grain and meat. But in the time of our Lord, and perhaps even from the days of Amos (6:4, 7), the foreign custom had been largely introduced of having broad couches, forming three sides of a small square, the guests reclining at ease on their elbows during meals, with their faces to the space within, up and down which servants passed offering various dishes, or in the absence of servants, helping themselves from dishes laid on a table set between the couches." Geikie's Life of Christ. (Comp. Luke 7:36-50.) (See ABRAHAM'S BOSOM; BANQUET; FEAST.)
Mearah - a cave, a place in the northern boundary of Palestine (Josh. 13:4). This may be the cave of Jezzin in Lebanon, 10 miles east of Sidon, on the Damascus road; or probably, as others think, Mogheirizeh, north-east of Sidon.
Measure - Several words are so rendered in the Authorized Version. (1.) Those which are indefinite. (a) Hok, Isa. 5:14, elsewhere "statute." (b) Mad, Job 11:9; Jer. 13:25, elsewhere "garment." (c) Middah, the word most frequently thus translated, Ex. 26:2, 8, etc. (d) Mesurah, Lev. 19:35; 1 Chr. 23:29. (e) Mishpat, Jer. 30:11, elsewhere "judgment." (f) Mithkoneth and token, Ezek. 45:11. (g) In New Testament metron, the usual Greek word thus rendered (Matt. 7:2; 23:32; Mark 4:24).
(2.) Those which are definite. (a) 'Eyphah, Deut. 25:14, 15, usually "ephah." (b) Ammah, Jer. 51:13, usually "cubit." (c) Kor, 1 Kings 4:22, elsewhere "cor;" Greek koros, Luke 16:7. (d) Seah, Gen. 18:6; 1 Sam. 25:18, a seah; Greek saton, Matt. 13:33; Luke 13:21. (e) Shalish, "a great measure," Isa. 40:12; literally a third, i.e., of an ephah. (f) In New Testament batos, Luke 16:6, the Hebrew "bath;" and choinix, Rev. 6:6, the choenix, equal in dry commodities to one-eighth of a modius.
Meat-offering - (Heb. minhah), originally a gift of any kind. This Hebrew word came latterly to denote an "unbloody" sacrifice, as opposed to a "bloody" sacrifice. A "drink-offering" generally accompanied it. The law regarding it is given in Lev. 2, and 6:14-23. It was a recognition of the sovereignty of God and of his bounty in giving all earthly blessings (1 Chr. 29:10-14; Deut. 26:5-11). It was an offering which took for granted and was based on the offering for sin. It followed the sacrifice of blood. It was presented every day with the burnt-offering (Ex. 29:40, 41), and consisted of flour or of cakes prepared in a special way with oil and frankincense.
Mebunnai - construction, building of Jehovah, one of David's bodyguard (2 Sam. 23:27; comp. 21:18); called Sibbechai and Sibbecai (1 Chr. 11:29; 27:11).
Medad - love, one of the elders nominated to assist Moses in the government of the people. He and Eldad "prophesied in the camp" (Num. 11:24-29).
Medan - contention, the third son of Abraham by Keturah (Gen. 25:2).
Mede - (Heb. Madai), a Median or inhabitant of Media (Dan. 11:1). In Gen. 10:2 the Hebrew word occurs in the list of the sons of Japheth. But probably this is an ethnic and not a personal name, and denotes simply the Medes as descended from Japheth.
Medeba - waters of quiet, an ancient Moabite town (Num. 21:30). It was assigned to the tribe of Reuben (Josh. 13:16). Here was fought the great battle in which Joab defeated the Ammonites and their allies (1 Chr. 19:7-15; comp. 2 Sam. 10:6-14). In the time of Isaiah (15:2) the Moabites regained possession of it from the Ammonites. (See HANUN.)
The ruins of this important city, now Madeba or Madiyabah, are seen about 8 miles south-west of Heshbon, and 14 east of the Dead Sea. Among these are the ruins of what must have been a large temple, and of three cisterns of considerable extent, which are now dry. These cisterns may have originated the name Medeba, "waters of quiet." (See OMRI.)
Media - Heb. Madai, which is rendered in the Authorized Version (1) "Madai," Gen. 10:2; (2) "Medes," 2 Kings 17:6; 18:11; (3) "Media," Esther 1:3; 10:2; Isa. 21:2; Dan. 8:20; (4) "Mede," only in Dan. 11:1.
We first hear of this people in the Assyrian cuneiform records, under the name of Amada, about B.C. 840. They appear to have been a branch of the Aryans, who came from the east bank of the Indus, and were probably the predominant race for a while in the Mesopotamian valley. They consisted for three or four centuries of a number of tribes, each ruled by its own chief, who at length were brought under the Assyrian yoke (2 Kings 17:6). From this subjection they achieved deliverance, and formed themselves into an empire under Cyaxares (B.C. 633). This monarch entered into an alliance with the king of Babylon, and invaded Assyria, capturing and destroying the city of Nineveh (B.C. 625), thus putting an end to the Assyrian monarchy (Nah. 1:8; 2:5,6; 3:13, 14).
Media now rose to a place of great power, vastly extending its boundaries. But it did not long exist as an independent kingdom. It rose with Cyaxares, its first king, and it passed away with him; for during the reign of his son and successor Astyages, the Persians waged war against the Medes and conquered them, the two nations being united under one monarch, Cyrus the Persian (B.C. 558).
The "cities of the Medes" are first mentioned in connection with the deportation of the Israelites on the destruction of Samaria (2 Kings 17:6; 18:11). Soon afterwards Isaiah (13:17; 21:2) speaks of the part taken by the Medes in the destruction of Babylon (comp. Jer. 51:11, 28). Daniel gives an account of the reign of Darius the Mede, who was made viceroy by Cyrus (Dan. 6:1-28). The decree of Cyrus, Ezra informs us (6:2-5), was found in "the palace that is in the province of the Medes," Achmetha or Ecbatana of the Greeks, which is the only Median city mentioned in Scripture.
Mediator - one who intervenes between two persons who are at variance, with a view to reconcile them. This word is not found in the Old Testament; but the idea it expresses is found in Job 9:33, in the word "daysman" (q.v.), marg., "umpire."
This word is used in the New Testament to denote simply an internuncius, an ambassador, one who acts as a medium of communication between two contracting parties. In this sense Moses is called a mediator in Gal. 3:19.
Christ is the one and only mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 8:6; 9:15; 12:24). He makes reconciliation between God and man by his all-perfect atoning sacrifice. Such a mediator must be at once divine and human, divine, that his obedience and his sufferings might possess infinite worth, and that he might possess infinite wisdom and knowlege and power to direct all things in the kingdoms of providence and grace which are committed to his hands (Matt. 28:18; John 5:22, 25, 26, 27); and human, that in his work he might represent man, and be capable of rendering obedience to the law and satisfying the claims of justice (Heb. 2:17, 18; 4:15, 16), and that in his glorified humanity he might be the head of a glorified Church (Rom. 8:29).
This office involves the three functions of prophet, priest, and king, all of which are discharged by Christ both in his estate of humiliation and exaltation. These functions are so inherent in the one office that the quality appertaining to each gives character to every mediatorial act. They are never separated in the exercise of the office of mediator.
Meekness - a calm temper of mind, not easily provoked (James 3:13). Peculiar promises are made to the meek (Matt. 5:5; Isa. 66:2). The cultivation of this spirit is enjoined (Col. 3:12; 1 Tim. 6:11; Zeph. 2:3), and is exemplified in Christ (Matt. 11:29), Abraham (Gen. 13; 16:5, 6) Moses (Num. 12:3), David (Zech. 12:8; 2 Sam. 16:10, 12), and Paul (1 Cor. 9:19).
Megiddo - place of troops, originally one of the royal cities of the Canaanites (Josh. 12:21), belonged to the tribe of Manasseh (Judg. 1:27), but does not seem to have been fully occupied by the Israelites till the time of Solomon (1 Kings 4:12; 9:15).
The valley or plain of Megiddo was part of the plain of Esdraelon, the great battle-field of Palestine. It was here Barak gained a notable victory over Jabin, the king of Hazor, whose general, Sisera, led on the hostile army. Barak rallied the warriors of the northern tribes, and under the encouragement of Deborah (q.v.), the prophetess, attacked the Canaanites in the great plain. The army of Sisera was thrown into complete confusion, and was engulfed in the waters of the Kishon, which had risen and overflowed its banks (Judg. 4:5).
Many years after this (B.C. 610), Pharaohnecho II., on his march against the king of Assyria, passed through the plains of Philistia and Sharon; and King Josiah, attempting to bar his progress in the plain of Megiddo, was defeated by the Egyptians. He was wounded in battle, and died as they bore him away in his chariot towards Jerusalem (2 Kings 23:29; 2 Chr. 35:22-24), and all Israel mourned for him. So general and bitter was this mourning that it became a proverb, to which Zechariah (12:11, 12) alludes. Megiddo has been identified with the modern el-Lejjun, at the head of the Kishon, under the north-eastern brow of Carmel, on the south-western edge of the plain of Esdraelon, and 9 miles west of Jezreel. Others identify it with Mujedd'a, 4 miles south-west of Bethshean, but the question of its site is still undetermined.
Mehetabeel - whose benefactor is God, the father of Delaiah, and grandfather of Shemaiah, who joined Sanballat against Nehemiah (Neh. 6:10).
Mehetabel - wife of Hadad, one of the kings of Edom (Gen. 36:39).
Mehujael - smitten by God, the son of Irad, and father of Methusael (Gen. 4:18).
Mehuman - faithful, one of the eunchs whom Ahasuerus (Xerxes) commanded to bring in Vashti (Esther 1:10).
Mehunims - habitations, (2 Chr. 26:7; R.V. "Meunim," Vulg. Ammonitae), a people against whom Uzziah waged a successful war. This word is in Hebrew the plural of Ma'on, and thus denotes the Maonites who inhabited the country on the eastern side of the Wady el-Arabah. They are again mentioned in 1 Chr. 4:41 (R.V.), in the reign of King Hezekiah, as a Hamite people, settled in the eastern end of the valley of Gedor, in the wilderness south of Palestine. In this passage the Authorized Version has "habitation," erroneously following the translation of Luther.
They are mentioned in the list of those from whom the Nethinim were made up (Ezra 2:50; Neh. 7:52).
Me-jarkon - waters of yellowness, or clear waters, a river in the tribe of Dan (Josh. 19:46). It has been identified with the river 'Aujeh, which rises at Antipatris.
Mekonah - a base or foundation, a town in the south of Judah (Neh. 11:28), near Ziklag.
Melchi - my king. (1.) The son of Addi, and father of Neri (Luke 3:28). (2.) Luke 3:24.
Melchizedek - king of righteousness, the king of Salem (q.v.). All we know of him is recorded in Gen. 14:18-20. He is subsequently mentioned only once in the Old Testament, in Ps. 110:4. The typical significance of his history is set forth in detail in the Epistle to the Hebrews, ch. 7. The apostle there points out the superiority of his priesthood to that of Aaron in these several respects, (1) Even Abraham paid him tithes; (2) he blessed Abraham; (3) he is the type of a Priest who lives for ever; (4) Levi, yet unborn, paid him tithes in the person of Abraham; (5) the permanence of his priesthood in Christ implied the abrogation of the Levitical system; (6) he was made priest not without an oath; and (7) his priesthood can neither be transmitted nor interrupted by death: "this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood."
The question as to who this mysterious personage was has given rise to a great deal of modern speculation. It is an old tradition among the Jews that he was Shem, the son of Noah, who may have survived to this time. Melchizedek was a Canaanitish prince, a worshipper of the true God, and in his peculiar history and character an instructive type of our Lord, the great High Priest (Heb. 5:6, 7; 6:20). One of the Amarna tablets is from Ebed-Tob, king of Jerusalem, the successor of Melchizedek, in which he claims the very attributes and dignity given to Melchizedek in the Epistle to the Hebrews.
Melea - fulness, the son of Menan and father of Eliakim, in the genealogy of our Lord (Luke 3:31).
Melech - king, the second of Micah's four sons (1 Chr. 8:35), and thus grandson of Mephibosheth.
Melita - (Acts 27:28), an island in the Mediterranean, the modern Malta. Here the ship in which Paul was being conveyed a prisoner to Rome was wrecked. The bay in which it was wrecked now bears the name of "St. Paul's Bay", "a certain creek with a shore." It is about 2 miles deep and 1 broad, and the whole physical condition of the scene answers the description of the shipwreck given in Acts 28. It was originally colonized by Phoenicians ("barbarians," 28:2). It came into the possession of the Greeks (B.C. 736), from whom it was taken by the Carthaginians (B.C. 528). In B.C. 242 it was conquered by the Romans, and was governed by a Roman propraetor at the time of the shipwreck (Acts 28:7). Since 1800, when the French garrison surrendered to the English force, it has been a British dependency. The island is about 17 miles long and 9 wide, and about 60 in circumference. After a stay of three months on this island, during which the "barbarians" showed them no little kindness, Julius procured for himself and his company a passage in another Alexandrian corn-ship which had wintered in the island, in which they proceeded on their voyage to Rome (Acts 28:13, 14).
Melons - only in Num. 11:5, the translation of the Hebrew abattihim, the LXX. and Vulgate pepones, Arabic britikh. Of this plant there are various kinds, the Egyptian melon, the Cucumus chate, which has been called "the queen of cucumbers;" the water melon, the Cucurbita citrullus; and the common or flesh melon, the Cucumus melo. "A traveller in the East who recollects the intense gratitude which a gift of a slice of melon inspired while journeying over the hot and dry plains, will readily comprehend the regret with which the Hebrews in the Arabian desert looked back upon the melons of Egypt" (Kitto).
Melzar - probably a Persian word meaning master of wine, i.e., chief butler; the title of an officer at the Babylonian court (Dan. 1:11, 16) who had charge of the diet of the Hebrew youths.
Memphis - only in Hos. 9:6, Hebrew Moph. In Isa. 19:13; Jer. 2:16; 46:14, 19; Ezek. 30:13, 16, it is mentioned under the name Noph. It was the capital of Lower, i.e., of Northern Egypt. From certain remains found half buried in the sand, the site of this ancient city has been discovered near the modern village of Minyet Rahinch, or Mitraheny, about 16 miles above the ancient head of the Delta, and 9 miles south of Cairo, on the west bank of the Nile. It is said to have been founded by Menes, the first king of Egypt, and to have been in circumference about 19 miles. "There are few remains above ground," says Manning (The Land of the Pharaohs), "of the splendour of ancient Memphis. The city has utterly disappeared. If any traces yet exist, they are buried beneath the vast mounds of crumbling bricks and broken pottery which meet the eye in every direction. Near the village of Mitraheny is a colossal statue of Rameses the Great. It is apparently one of the two described by Herodotus and Diodorus as standing in front of the temple of Ptah. They were originally 50 feet in height. The one which remains, though mutilated, measures 48 feet. It is finely carved in limestone, which takes a high polish, and is evidently a portrait. It lies in a pit, which, during the inundation, is filled with water. As we gaze on this fallen and battered statue of the mighty conqueror who was probably contemporaneous with Moses, it is impossible not to remember the words of the prophet Isaiah, 19:13; 44:16-19, and Jeremiah, 46:19."
Memucan - dignified, one of the royal counsellors at the court of Ahasuerus, by whose suggestion Vashti was divorced (Esther 1:14, 16, 21).
Menahem - conforting, the son of Gadi, and successor of Shallum, king of Israel, whom he slew. After a reign of about ten years (B.C. 771-760) he died, leaving the throne to his son Pekahiah. His reign was one of cruelty and oppression (2 Kings 15:14-22). During his reign, Pul (q.v.), king of Assyria, came with a powerful force against Israel, but was induced to retire by a gift from Menahem of 1,000 talents of silver.
Mene - (Dan. 5:25, 26), numbered, one of the words of the mysterious inscription written "upon the plaister of the wall" in Belshazzar's palace at Babylon. The writing was explained by Daniel. (See BELSHAZZAR.)
Meni - Isa. 65:11, marg. (A.V., "that number;" R.V., "destiny"), probably an idol which the captive Israelites worshipped after the example of the Babylonians. It may have been a symbol of destiny. LXX., tuche.
Meonenim - (Judg. 9:37; A.V., "the plain of Meonenim;" R.V., "the oak of Meonenim") means properly "soothsayers" or "sorcerers," "wizards" (Deut. 18:10, 14; 2 Kings 21:6; Micah 5:12). This may be the oak at Shechem under which Abram pitched his tent (see SHECHEM), the "enchanter's oak," so called, perhaps, from Jacob's hiding the "strange gods" under it (Gen. 35:4).
Mephaath - splendour, a Levitical city (Josh. 21:37) of the tribe of Reuben (13:18).
Mephibosheth - exterminator of shame; i.e., of idols. (1.) The name of Saul's son by the concubine Rizpah (q.v.), the daughter of Aiah. He and his brother Armoni were with five others "hanged on a hill before the Lord" by the Gibeonites, and their bodies exposed in the sun for five months (2 Sam. 21:8-10). (2.) The son of Jonathan, and grandson of Saul (2 Sam. 4:4). He was but five years old when his father and grandfather fell on Mount Gilboa. The child's nurse hearing of this calamity, fled with him from Gibeah, the royal residence, and stumbling in her haste, the child was thrown to the ground and maimed in both his feet, and ever after was unable to walk (19:26). He was carried to the land of Gilead, where he found a refuge in the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar, by whom he was brought up.
Some years after this, when David had subdued all the adversaries of Israel, he began to think of the family of Jonathan, and discovered that Mephibosheth was residing in the house of Machir. Thither he sent royal messengers, and brought him and his infant son to Jerusalem, where he ever afterwards resided (2 Sam. 9).
When David was a fugitive, according to the story of Ziba (2 Sam. 16:1-4) Mephibosheth proved unfaithful to him, and was consequently deprived of half of his estates; but according to his own story, however (19:24-30), he had remained loyal to his friend. After this incident he is only mentioned as having been protected by David against the vengeance the Gibeonites were permitted to execute on the house of Saul (21:7). He is also called Merib-baal (1 Chr. 8:34; 9:40). (See ZIBA.)
Merab - increase, the eldest of Saul's two daughters (1 Sam. 14:49). She was betrothed to David after his victory over Goliath, but does not seem to have entered heartily into this arrangement (18:2, 17, 19). She was at length, however, married to Adriel of Abel-Meholah, a town in the Jordan valley, about 10 miles south of Bethshean, with whom the house of Saul maintained alliance. She had five sons, who were all put to death by the Gibeonites on the hill of Gibeah (2 Sam. 21:8).
Meraiah - resistance, a chief priest, a contemporary of the high priest Joiakim (Neh. 12:12).
Meraioth - rebellions. (1.) Father of Amariah, a high priest of the line of Eleazar (1 Chr. 6:6, 7, 52).
(2.) Neh. 12:15, a priest who went to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel. He is called Meremoth in Neh. 12:3.
Merari - sad; bitter, the youngest son of Levi, born before the descent of Jacob into Egypt, and one of the seventy who accompanied him thither (Gen. 46:11; Ex. 6:16). He became the head of one of the great divisions of the Levites (Ex. 6:19). (See MERARITES.)
Merarites - the descendants of Merari (Num. 26:57). They with the Gershonites and the Kohathites had charge of the tabernacle, which they had to carry from place to place (Num. 3:20, 33-37; 4:29-33). In the distribution of the oxen and waggons offered by the princes (Num. 7), Moses gave twice as many to the Merarites (four waggons and eight oxen) as he gave to the Gershonites, because the latter had to carry only the lighter furniture of the tabernacle, such as the curtains, hangings, etc., while the former had to carry the heavier portion, as the boards, bars, sockets, pillars, etc., and consequently needed a greater supply of oxen and waggons. This is a coincidence illustrative of the truth of the narrative. Their place in marching and in the camp was on the north of the tabernacle. The Merarites afterwards took part with the other Levitical families in the various functions of their office (1 Chr. 23:6, 21-23; 2 Chr. 29:12, 13). Twelve cities with their suburbs were assigned to them (Josh. 21:7, 34-40).
Merathaim - double rebellion, probably a symbolical name given to Babylon (Jer. 50:21), denoting rebellion exceeding that of other nations.
Merchant - The Hebrew word so rendered is from a root meaning "to travel about," "to migrate," and hence "a traveller." In the East, in ancient times, merchants travelled about with their merchandise from place to place (Gen. 37:25; Job 6:18), and carried on their trade mainly by bartering (Gen. 37:28; 39:1). After the Hebrews became settled in Palestine they began to engage in commercial pursuits, which gradually expanded (49:13; Deut. 33:18; Judg. 5:17), till in the time of Solomon they are found in the chief marts of the world (1 Kings 9:26; 10:11, 26, 28; 22:48; 2 Chr. 1:16; 9:10, 21). After Solomon's time their trade with foreign nations began to decline. After the Exile it again expanded into wider foreign relations, because now the Jews were scattered in many lands.
Mercurius - the Hermes (i.e., "the speaker") of the Greeks (Acts 14:12), a heathen God represented as the constant attendant of Jupiter, and the god of eloquence. The inhabitants of Lystra took Paul for this god because he was the "chief speaker."
Mercy - compassion for the miserable. Its object is misery. By the atoning sacrifice of Christ a way is open for the exercise of mercy towards the sons of men, in harmony with the demands of truth and righteousness (Gen. 19:19; Ex. 20:6; 34:6, 7; Ps. 85:10; 86:15, 16). In Christ mercy and truth meet together. Mercy is also a Christian grace (Matt. 5:7; 18:33-35).
Mercy-seat - (Heb. kapporeth, a "covering;" LXX. and N.T., hilasterion; Vulg., propitiatorium), the covering or lid of the ark of the covenant (q.v.). It was of acacia wood, overlaid with gold, or perhaps rather a plate of solid gold, 2 1/2 cubits long and 1 1/2 broad (Ex. 25:17; 30:6; 31:7). It is compared to the throne of grace (Heb. 9:5; Eph. 2:6). The holy of holies is called the "place of the mercy-seat" (1 Chr. 28:11: Lev. 16:2).
It has been conjectured that the censer (thumiaterion, meaning "anything having regard to or employed in the burning of incense") mentioned in Heb. 9:4 was the "mercy-seat," at which the incense was burned by the high priest on the great day of atonement, and upon or toward which the blood of the goat was sprinkled (Lev. 16:11-16; comp. Num. 7:89 and Ex. 25:22).
Mered - rebellion, one of the sons of Ezra, of the tribe of Judah (1 Chr. 4:17).
Meremoth - exaltations, heights, a priest who returned from Babylon with Zerubbabel (Neh. 12:3), to whom were sent the sacred vessels (Ezra 8:33) belonging to the temple. He took part in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem (Neh. 3:4).
Meribah - quarrel or strife. (1.) One of the names given by Moses to the fountain in the desert of Sin, near Rephidim, which issued from the rock in Horeb, which he smote by the divine command, "because of the chiding of the children of Israel" (Ex. 17:1-7). It was also called Massah (q.v.). It was probably in Wady Feiran, near Mount Serbal.
(2.) Another fountain having a similar origin in the desert of Zin, near to Kadesh (Num. 27:14). The two places are mentioned together in Deut. 33:8. Some think the one place is called by the two names (Ps. 81:7). In smiting the rock at this place Moses showed the same impatience as the people (Num. 20:10-12). This took place near the close of the wanderings in the desert (Num. 20:1-24; Deut. 32:51).
Merib-baal - contender with Baal, (1 Chr. 8:34; 9:40), elsewhere called Mephibosheth (2 Sam. 4:4), the son of Jonathan.