Moab is the historical name for a mountainous tract of land in Jordan. The land lies alongside much of the eastern shore of the Dead Sea; the existence of the Kingdom of Moab is attested to by numerous archaeological findings, most notably the Mesha Stele, which describes the Moabite victory over an unnamed son of King Omri of Israel. The Moabite capital was Dibon. According to the Hebrew Bible, Moab was in conflict with its Israelite neighbours to the west; the etymology of the word Moab is uncertain. The earliest gloss is found in the Koine Greek Septuagint which explains the name, in obvious allusion to the account of Moab's parentage, as ἐκ τοῦ πατρός μου. Other etymologies which have been proposed regard it as a corruption of "seed of a father", or as a participial form from "to desire", thus connoting "the desirable". Rashi explains the word Mo'ab to mean "from the father", since ab in Hebrew and Arabic and the rest of the Semitic languages means "father", he writes that as a result of the immodesty of Moab's name, God did not command the Jews to refrain from inflicting pain upon the Moabites in the manner in which he did with regard to the Ammonites.
Fritz Hommel regards Moab as an abbreviation of Immo-ab = "his mother is his father". According to Genesis 19:30–38, the ancestor of the Moabites was Lot by incest with his eldest daughter, she and her sister, having lost their fiancés and their mother in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, decided to continue their father's line through intercourse with their father. The elder conceived Moab; the younger daughter did the same and conceived a son named Ben-Ammi, who became ancestor to the Ammonites. According to the Book of Jasher, Moab had four sons—Ed, Mayon and Kanvil—and his wife, whose name is not given, is from Canaan. Moab occupied a plateau about 910 metres above the level of the Mediterranean, or 1,300 metres above the Dead Sea, rising from north to south, it was bounded on the southern section of the Jordan River. The northern boundary varied, but is represented by a line drawn some miles above the northern extremity of the Dead Sea. In Ezekiel 25:9 the boundaries are given as being marked by Beth-jeshimoth, Baal-meon, Kiriathaim.
That these limits were not fixed, however, is plain from the lists of cities given in Isaiah 15–16 and Jeremiah 48, where Heshbon and Jazer are mentioned to the north of Beth-jeshimoth. The principal rivers of Moab mentioned in the Bible are the Arnon, the Dimon or Dibon, the Nimrim; the limestone hills which form the treeless plateau are steep but fertile. In the spring they are covered with grass and the table-land itself produces grain. In the north are a number of long, deep ravines, Mount Nebo, famous as the scene of the death of Moses; the rainfall is plentiful and the climate, despite the hot summer, is cooler than the area west of the Jordan river, snow falling in winter and in spring. The plateau is dotted with hundreds of dolmens and stone circles, contains many ruined villages of the Roman and Byzantine periods; the land is now occupied chiefly by Bedouin. The territory occupied by Moab at the period of its greatest extent, before the invasion of the Amorites, divided itself into three distinct and independent portions: the enclosed corner or canton south of the Arnon.
The country of Moab was the source of numerous natural resources, including limestone and balsam from the Dead Sea region. The Moabites occupied a vital place along the King's Highway, the ancient trade route connecting Egypt with Mesopotamia and Anatolia. Like the Edomites and Ammonites, trade along this route gave them considerable revenue. Despite a scarcity of archaeological evidence, the existence of Moab prior to the rise of the Israelite state has been deduced from a colossal statue erected at Luxor by pharaoh Ramesses II, in the 13th century BCE, which lists Mu'ab among a series of nations conquered during a campaign. Early modern travellers in the region included Ulrich Jasper Seetzen, Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, Charles Leonard Irby and James Mangles, Louis Félicien de Saulcy. According to the biblical account and Ammon were born to Lot and Lot's elder and younger daughters in the aftermath of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah; the Bible refers to both the Moabites and Ammonites as Lot's sons, born of incest with his daughters.
The Moabites first inhabited the rich highlands at the eastern side of the chasm of the Dead Sea, extending as far north as the mountain of Gilead, from which country they expelled the Emim, the original inhabitants, but they themselves were afterward driven southward by warlike tribes of Amorites, who had crossed the river Jordan. These Amorites, described in the Bible as being ruled by King Sihon, confined the Moabites to the country south of the river Arnon, which formed their northern boundary. God renewed his covenant with the Israelites at Moab before the Israelites entered the "promised land". Moses died there, he was
Bethlehem is a Palestinian city located in the central West Bank, about 10 km south of Jerusalem. Its population is 25,000 people, it is the capital of the Bethlehem Governorate. The economy is tourist-driven; the earliest known mention of the city was in the Amarna correspondence of 1350–1330 BCE during its habitation by the Canaanites. The Hebrew Bible, which says that the city of Bethlehem was built up as a fortified city by Rehoboam, identifies it as the city David was from and where he was crowned as the king of Israel; the Gospels of Matthew and Luke identify Bethlehem as the birthplace of Jesus. Bethlehem was destroyed by the Emperor Hadrian during the second-century Bar Kokhba revolt; the church was badly damaged by the Samaritans, who sacked it during a revolt in 529, but was rebuilt a century by Emperor Justinian I. Bethlehem became part of Jund Filastin following the Muslim conquest in 637. Muslim rule continued in Bethlehem until its conquest in 1099 by a crusading army, who replaced the town's Greek Orthodox clergy with a Latin one.
In the mid-13th century, the Mamluks demolished the city's walls, which were subsequently rebuilt under the Ottomans in the early 16th century. Control of Bethlehem passed from the Ottomans to the British at the end of World War I. Bethlehem came under Jordanian rule during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and was captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War. Since the 1995 Oslo Accords, Bethlehem has been administered by the Palestinian Authority. Bethlehem now has a Muslim majority, but is still home to a significant Palestinian Christian community. Bethlehem's chief economic sector is tourism, which peaks during the Christmas season when Christians make pilgrimage to the Church of the Nativity, as they have done for 2,000 years. Bethlehem has 300 handicraft workshops. Rachel's Tomb, an important Jewish holy site, is located at the northern entrance of Bethlehem; the earliest reference to Bethlehem appears in the Amarna correspondence. In one of his six letters to Pharaoh, Abdi-Heba, Egypt's governor for Jerusalem, appeals for aid in retaking Bit-Laḫmi in the wake of disturbances by Apiru mercenaries: "Now a town near Jerusalem, Bit-Lahmi by name, a village which once belonged to the king, has fallen to the enemy...
Let the king hear the words of your servant Abdi-Heba, send archers to restore the imperial lands of the king!" It is thought that the similarity of this name to its modern forms indicates that this was a settlement of Canaanites who shared a Semitic cultural and linguistic heritage with the arrivals. Laḫmu was the Akkadian god of fertility, worshipped by the Canaanites as Leḥem; some time in the third millennium BCE, Canaanites erected a temple on the hill now known as the Hill of the Nativity dedicated to Lehem. The temple, subsequently the town that formed around it, would have been known as Beyt Leḥem, "House of Lehem"; the Philistines established a garrison there. Biblical scholar William F. Albright noted that the pronunciation of the name remained the same for 3,500 years, but has meant different things: "'Temple of the God Lakhmu' in Canaanite,'House of Bread' in Hebrew and Aramaic,'House of Meat' in Arabic."A burial ground discovered in spring 2013, surveyed in 2015 by a joint Italian-Palestinian team found that the necropolis covered 3 hectares and contained more than 100 tombs in use between 2200 B.
C. and 650 B. C; the archaeologists were able to identify at least 30 tombs. Archaeological confirmation of Bethlehem as a city in the Kingdom of Judah was uncovered in 2012 at the archaeological dig at the City of David in the form of a bulla in ancient Hebrew script that reads "From the town of Bethlehem to the King," indicating that it was used to seal the string closing a shipment of grain, wine, or other goods sent as a tax payment in the 8th or 7th century BCE. Biblical scholars believe Bethlehem, located in the "hill country" of Judah, may be the same as the Biblical Ephrath, which means "fertile", as there is a reference to it in the Book of Micah as Bethlehem Ephratah; the Bible calls it Beth-Lehem Judah, the New Testament describes it as the "City of David". It is first mentioned in the Tanakh and the Bible as the place where the matriarch Rachel died and was buried "by the wayside". Rachel's Tomb, the traditional grave site, stands at the entrance to Bethlehem. According to the Book of Ruth, the valley to the east is where Ruth of Moab gleaned the fields and returned to town with Naomi.
It was the home of Jesse, father of King David of Israel, the site of David's anointment by the prophet Samuel. It was from the well of Bethlehem that three of his warriors brought him water when he was hiding in the cave of Adullam. Writing in the 4th century, the Pilgrim of Bordeaux reported that the sepulchers of David, Asaph, Job and Solomon were located near Bethlehem. There has been no corroboration of this; the Gospel of Matthew 1:18–2:23 and the Gospel of Luke 2:1–39 represent Jesus as having been born in Bethlehem. Modern scholars, regard the two accounts as contradictory and the Gospel of Mark, the earliest gospel, mentions nothing about Jesus having been born in Bethlehem, saying only that he came from Nazaret
Samson and Delilah (opera)
Samson and Delilah, Op. 47, is a grand opera in three acts and four scenes by Camille Saint-Saëns to a French libretto by Ferdinand Lemaire. It was first performed in Weimar at the Grossherzogliches Theater on 2 December 1877 in a German translation; the opera is based on the Biblical tale of Samson and Delilah found in Chapter 16 of the Book of Judges in the Old Testament. It is the only opera by Saint-Saëns, performed; the second act love scene in Delilah's tent is one of the set pieces. Two of Delilah's arias are well known: "Printemps qui commence" and "Mon cœur s'ouvre à ta voix", the latter of, one of the most popular recital pieces in the mezzo-soprano/contralto repertoire. In the middle of the 19th century, a revival of interest in choral music swept France, Saint-Saëns, an admirer of the oratorios of Handel and Mendelssohn, made plans to compose an oratorio on the subject of Samson and Delilah as suggested by Voltaire's libretto Samson for Rameau; the composer began work on the theme in 1867, just two years after completing his first opera, Le timbre d'argent.
Saint-Saëns had approached Ferdinand Lemaire, the husband of one of his wife's cousins, about writing a libretto for the oratorio but Lemaire convinced the composer that the story was better suited to an opera. Saint-Saëns wrote: A young relative of mine had married a charming young man who wrote verse on the side. I had in fact real talent. I asked him to work with me on an oratorio on a biblical subject.'An oratorio!', he said,'no, let's make it an opera!', he began to dig through the Bible while I outlined the plan of the work sketching scenes, leaving him only the versification to do. For some reason I began the music with act 2, I played it at home to a select audience who could make nothing of it at all. After Lemaire finished the libretto, Saint-Saëns began composing act 2 of the opera, producing an aria for Dalila, a duet for Samson and Dalila, some musical pieces for the chorus during 1867–1869. From the beginning, the work was conceived as a grand duet between Samson and Dalila set off against the approaching tempest.
Although the orchestration was not yet complete, act 2 was presented in a private performance in 1870 just prior to the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War with Saint-Saëns playing the orchestral parts, which were improvised, on the piano. Composer Augusta Holmès, painter Henri Regnault, Romain Bussine rendered their roles from part books. In spite of many precedents, the French public reacted negatively to Saint-Saëns's intention of putting a Biblical subject on the stage; the alarm on the part of the public caused him to abandon working further on the opera for the next two years. In the summer of 1872, not too long after the premiere of Saint-Saëns's second opera La princesse jaune, the composer went to Weimar to see the first revival of Wagner's Das Rheingold under the baton of Franz Liszt, the former musical director of the Weimar court orchestra and opera. Liszt was interested in producing new works by talented composers and persuaded Saint-Saëns to finish Samson and Delilah offering to produce the completed work at the grand-ducal opera house in Weimar.
Encouraged, Saint-Saëns began composing act 1 in late 1872 and worked on it sporadically for the next few years. He wrote a large amount of act 1 and completed it during a trip to Algiers in 1874. Upon returning to France in 1875, Saint-Saëns presented act 1 in Paris at the Théâtre du Châtelet in a similar format as the 1870 performance of act 2; the work was harshly failed to gain the public's interest. That same year acclaimed mezzo-soprano Pauline Viardot, for whom Saint-Saëns wrote the role of Dalila and performed in a private performance of act 2 at a friend's home in Croissy, with the composer at the piano. Viardot was a great admirer of the work and she hoped that this private performance would encourage Halanzier, the director of the Paris Opéra, in attendance, to mount a full production. Although Saint-Saëns completed the score in 1876, no opera houses in France displayed any desire to stage Samson et Dalila. Liszt's sustained support however led to the work being mounted in Weimar in 1877.
Although Liszt was no longer the musical director in Weimar, he still exerted a powerful influence at the Weimar court. Eduard Lassen, the director who followed Liszt at Weimar, owed much of his success to his celebrated predecessor, Liszt used his influence to arrange the premiere of Samson et Dalila with Lassen on the podium during the 1877/1878 season; the libretto was duly translated into German for the production and the opera's first performance was given on 2 December 1877 at the Grossherzogliches Theatre. Viardot was too old to sing Delilah so the role was entrusted to Auguste von Müller, a resident performer at the Weimar opera house. Although a resounding success with the Weimar critics and audience, the opera was not revived in other opera houses. After the numerous setbacks it suffered in its early years, Samson et Dalila began to attract the attention of the world's great opera houses during the 1890s. Although the first revival of Samson et Dalila was in Germany at the Hamburg State Opera in 1882, the opera was not seen again until it was performed for the first time in France at the Théâtre des Arts in Rouen on 3 March 1890 with Carlotta Bossi as Dalila and Jean-Alexandre Talazac as Samson.
The opera rece
Abimelech was a son of judge Gideon. His name can best be interpreted claiming the inherited right to rule, he is introduced in Judges 8:31 as the son of Gideon and his Shechemite concubine, the biblical account of his reign is described in chapter nine of the Book of Judges. According to the Bible, he was an unprincipled, ambitious ruler engaged in war with his own subjects. According to the Book of Judges, Abimelech went to Shechem to meet with his mother's brethren and his mother's father, claimed that he should be the only ruler over his mother's brethren and the men of Shechem and not his brothers, he asked them whether they would prefer to be ruled by seventy rulers or just one, he claimed them equal brothers. Because Abimelech claimed them his brothers, the men inclined to follow him, gave him seventy shekels of silver out of the house of Baal Berith, he and the men went to the house of Gideon, in Ophrah to kill the seventy sons of Gideon, Abimelech's brothers. They were killed on the same stone.
Since Abimelech was a son of Gideon's concubine, he made good of his claim to rule over Manasseh by killing his half-brothers. Jotham was the youngest brother, he was the only one to have escaped Abimelech's wrath. Abimelech was declared king by the people of Shechem and by the house of Millo next to a pillar within Shechem; when Jotham was told of this news, he went on top of Mount Gerizim and cursed the people of Shechem and the house of Millo for their declaration fled to Beer to hide in fear of Abimelech. Gaal and his brothers arrive at Shechem only to plot and overthrow Abimelech with the help of the men of Shechem. Before Gaal could begin his plot, Zebul –, the governor of Shechem and an officer of Abimelech– heard Gaal's plan and was angered. Zebul sent messengers to inform Abimelech of Gaal's plot against him. Abimelech plans to ambush Gaal and his followers in front of the city gates through the night towards the morning. Abimelech divides his followers by four companies to wait near Shechem.
The ambush begins as soon as Gaal stands in front of the gates, he fails to respond because of the uncertainty of an actual ambush approaching his position. Zebul taunts Gaal into fighting Abimelech because of Gaal's mouth. Gaal fights Abimelech during the battle but is forced to flee with his forces. Zebul chases Gaal out of Shechem, Abimelech dwelt at Arumah. After Gaal was driven away by Zebul, Abimelech gathered three companies by dividing his followers to attack the city, they waited in a field to ambush the people who were moving out of the city gates. He attacked as soon as the gates were open for the city dwellers, two companies were sent from the field to attack the gates, they aggressively pass through them. The seizing of the city lasted a day, Abimelech slaughtered the people within the city; the remaining resistance went to the tower of El-Berith to hold their ground. Abimelech hastily gathered his followers to Mount Zalmon to explain his plan, he grabbed an axe and cut down the bough of a tree, wanted everyone to follow his example.
The bough was placed and burned around the tower killing the remaining resistance along with a thousand civilians. The biblical account of the Battle of Thebaz begins in the middle of the siege. Abimelech has taken most of the city and comes upon a fortified tower; the civilians head towards the top of the tower. Abimelech fights most of the way towards the tower, however he was struck on the head by a mill-stone thrown by a woman from the wall above. Realizing that the wound was mortal, he ordered his armor-bearer to thrust him through with his sword, so that it might not be said he had perished by the hand of a woman. Aaron Book of Joshua Joshua Moses This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: J. Frederic McCurdy, Gerson B. Levi and Louis Ginzberg. "Abimelech". In Singer, Isidore; the Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls. Book of Judges article in Jewish Encyclopedia
Naomi (biblical figure)
Naomi is Ruth's mother-in-law in the Old Testament Book of Ruth. The etymology of her name is not certain, but it is possible that it means "good, lovely, winsome." Naomi is married to a man named Elimelech. A famine causes them to move from their home in Judea to Moab. While there Elimelech dies, as well as his sons who had gotten married in the meantime. Near destitute, Naomi returns to Bethlehem with one daughter-in-law, whom she could not dissuade from accompanying her, her other daughter-in-law, remains in Moab. When Naomi returns, she tells the Bethlehemites, "Do not call me Naomi, call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt bitterly with me". Barry Webb points out that there is both an objective element in her life being bitter through bereavement and poverty, as well as a subjective element - the bitterness she feels, he further argues that in Chapter 1 of the Book of Ruth, Naomi's "perception of her condition" is "distorted by self-absorption," but that Ruth plays "a key role in her rehabilitation."
Abraham Kuyper, on the other hand, asserts that "Naomi has such innate nobility of character that she elicits from us our most sincere sympathy." The Book of Ruth depicts the struggles of Ruth for survival in a patriarchal environment. The arrival of Naomi and Ruth in Bethlehem coincides with the barley harvest. Naomi gives Ruth permission to glean those fields. Ruth is working in the field of Boaz, when a servant identifies her to him as Naomi's daughter-in-law, it happens. He tells her to work with female servants, warns the young men not to bother her, at mealtime invites her to share his food; when Naomi learns that Ruth has the attention and kindness of Boaz, she counsels Ruth to approach him directly: "... ut on your best attire and go down to the threshing floor. Do not make yourself known to the man before he has finished eating and drinking, but when he lies down, take note of the place where he does so. Go, uncover a place at his feet, lie down, he will tell you what to do." Webb points out Naomi's "feminine scheming" in forcing Boaz's hand.
Yitzhak Berger suggests that Naomi's plan was that Ruth seduce Boaz, just as Tamar and the daughters of Lot all seduced "an older family member in order to become the mother of his offspring." At the crucial moment, however, "Ruth abandons the attempt at seduction and instead requests a permanent, legal union with Boaz."Ruth marries Boaz, they have a son, whom Naomi cares for, so the women of the town say: "Naomi has a son". In this way, the book can be seen to be Naomi's story: Gregory Goswell argues that Naomi is the central character of the book, whereas Ruth is the main character; the son in question was Obed, the father of Jesse and thus the grandfather of David
Abraham Abram, is the common patriarch of the three Abrahamic religions. In Judaism, he is the founding father of the covenant of the pieces, the special relationship between the Jewish people and God; the narrative in Genesis revolves around the themes of land. Abraham is called by God to leave the house of his father Terah and settle in the land given to Canaan but which God now promises to Abraham and his progeny. Various candidates are put forward. Abraham purchases a tomb at Hebron to be Sarah's grave. Abraham marries Keturah and has six more sons; the Abraham story cannot be definitively related to any specific time, it is agreed that the patriarchal age, along with the exodus and the period of the judges, is a late literary construct that does not relate to any period in actual history. A common hypothesis among scholars is that it was composed in the early Persian period as a result of tensions between Jewish landowners who had stayed in Judah during the Babylonian captivity and traced their right to the land through their "father Abraham", the returning exiles who based their counter-claim on Moses and the Exodus tradition.
Terah, the ninth in descent from Noah, was the father of three sons: Abram and Haran. The entire family, including grandchildren, lived in Ur of the Chaldees. In his youth, Abram worked in Terah's idol shop. Haran was the father of Lot, thus Lot was Abram's nephew. Haran died in Ur of the Chaldees. Abram married Sarah, barren. Terah, with Abram and Lot departed for Canaan, but settled in a place named Haran, where Terah died at the age of 205. God had told Abram to leave his country and kindred and go to a land that he would show him, promised to make of him a great nation, bless him, make his name great, bless them that bless him, curse them who may curse him. Abram was 75 years old when he left Haran with his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, the substance and souls that they had acquired, traveled to Shechem in Canaan. There was a severe famine in the land of Canaan, so that Abram and Lot and their households, traveled to Egypt. On the way Abram told Sarai to say that she was his sister, so that the Egyptians would not kill him.
When they entered Egypt, the Pharaoh's officials praised Sarai's beauty to Pharaoh, they took her into the palace and gave Abram goods in exchange. God afflicted Pharaoh and his household with plagues, which led Pharaoh to try to find out what was wrong. Upon discovering that Sarai was a married woman, Pharaoh demanded that Sarai leave; when they came back to the Bethel and Hai area, Abram's and Lot's sizable herds occupied the same pastures. This became a problem for the herdsmen; the conflicts between herdsmen had become so troublesome that Abram suggested that Lot choose a separate area, either on the left hand or on the right hand, that there be no conflict amongst brethren. Lot chose to go eastward to the plain of Jordan where the land was well watered everywhere as far as Zoar, he dwelled in the cities of the plain toward Sodom. Abram went south to Hebron and settled in the plain of Mamre, where he built another altar to worship God. During the rebellion of the Jordan River cities against Elam, Abram's nephew, was taken prisoner along with his entire household by the invading Elamite forces.
The Elamite army came to collect the spoils of war, after having just defeated the king of Sodom's armies. Lot and his family, at the time, were settled on the outskirts of the Kingdom of Sodom which made them a visible target. One person who escaped capture told Abram what happened. Once Abram received this news, he assembled 318 trained servants. Abram's force headed north in pursuit of the Elamite army, who were worn down from the Battle of Siddim; when they caught up with them at Dan, Abram devised a battle plan by splitting his group into more than one unit, launched a night raid. Not only were they able to free the captives, Abram's unit chased and slaughtered the Elamite King Chedorlaomer at Hobah, just north of Damascus, they freed Lot, as well as his household and possessions, recovered all of the goods from Sodom, taken. Upon Abram's return, Sodom's king came out to meet with him in the Valley of Shaveh, the "king's dale". Melchizedek king of Salem, a priest of God Most High, brought out bread and wine and blessed Abram and God.
Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of everything. The king of Sodom offered to let Abram keep all the possessions if he would return his people. Abram refused any deal from the king of Sodom, other than the share to which his allies were entitled; the voice of the Lord came to Abram in a vision and repeated the promise of the land and descendants as numerous as the stars. Abram and God made a covenant ce
Easton's Bible Dictionary
The Illustrated Bible Dictionary, better known as Easton's Bible Dictionary, is a reference work on topics related to the Christian Bible compiled by Matthew George Easton. The first edition was published in 1893, a revised edition was published the following year; the most popular edition, was the third, published by Thomas Nelson in 1897, three years after Easton's death. The last contains nearly 4,000 entries relating to the Bible. Many of the entries in Easton's are encyclopedic in nature, although there are short dictionary-type entries; because of its age, it is now a public domain resource. Bauer lexicon Smith's Bible Dictionary, another popular 19th century Bible dictionary Easton, Matthew George, ed. Illustrated Bible Dictionary... New York: Harper & Bros. Easton, M. G. ed. Illustrated Bible Dictionary... London: T. Nelson & Sons Easton, M. G. ed. Illustrated Bible Dictionary... London: T. Nelson & Sons Easton, Matthew George. "Table of contents". Easton's Bible Dictionary. T. Nelson and Sons.
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