Encyclopaedia Biblica/Naphisi-Nebai

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Encyclopaedia Biblica
Thomas Kelly Cheyne and John Sutherland Black
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( N A<J>[e]ic[e]l [BA]), 1 Esd. 5:31 = Ezra 2:50, NEPHISIM.


(IH rilD3), Josh. 11:2 RVmg. RV 'heights of DOR' (q.v. ). Cp 2 below.


pnSi, 9 I N6<t>6AA[e]i [BNADFQL], -M [BXAZJFrL; In Is.9i (823) Aq. Sm. Th. ], -CIN n . [R a in Ps. 67 (68) 28, -e M [E, Gen. 308] ; in Tob 1:1 AV, NEPHTHALII and in Mt 4:133 AV , NEPHTHALIM), the tribe settled between Issachar and the northern Dan.

l. Origin.[edit]

Why it was grouped with Dan is not clear (cp BILHAH). If the genealogical scheme that has reached us is on the whole an artificial device of comparatively late times, 1 the fact that Naphtalites and Danites were together in the N. would suffice as a reason for making them brothers. Indeed there need not always have been a positive reason for such combinations. When a company of about a dozen has to be broken up into four groups, even enemies may find themselves side by side : every one has to be put somewhere. No Naphtalite traditions on the subject have been preserved. If, on the other hand, the general genealogical system is in its main points ancient, Naphtali's being a Bilhite clan may be historically significant. Its brother Dan came from the SW. of the Ephraim highlands. Is it possible that Naphtali did so too? The possibility has been suggested (BILHAH). Indeed Steuernagel thinks he can point to data that give it a certain plausibility. The Naphtalite clan-names give no help : only one of them recurs any where - viz. Guni, which is also in the list of clans of Gad, and Gad is Zilpite, not Bilhite (see ZILPAH). It is noteworthy, however, that in the fragment treating of Dan in Judg. 1 (v. 34-35) the towns mentioned are Aijalon and Shaalbim, in the SW. of 'Joseph'. If, then, Naphtali was once settled along with Dan in its southern seat we should expect to be told of Canaan ite cities in the same district that Naphtali was not able to occupy. Now the towns mentioned thus in v. 33 are Beth-shemesh and Beth-anath. It has of course been usual to assume that these must be in Galilee ; but no Beth-shemesh has been identified there. On the other hand, there is a well-known Beth-shemesh 2 mi. from the Danite city Zorah (see BETH-SHEMESH, i). The case for Beth-anath is not so good ; but it is not unplausible. Beth-anoth is mentioned in Josh. 15:59 as a city of Judah (see, however, BETH-ANOTH), and there is Anathoth in Benjamin. To point to the fact that Shamgar who 'smote of the Philistines 600 men', like the great Danite hero, is called ben Anath seems precarious. No doubt the lateness of the insertion of Judg. 3:31, as Steuernagel observes, does not preclude there being an old story behind it ; but the matter is probably too obscure to serve as evidence. Further it has to be remembered that Egyptian lists seem to mention not only a southern but also a nothern Beth-anath, and that a Beth-shemesh is said to have been a border city of Issachar. If Dan and Naphtali ever were settled together on the SW. of Ephraim, and if they grew out of the partition of a Bilhah tribe, there should be some traces of the presence of a Bilhah tribe. Now as a matter of fact there is a Benjamite clan called Bilhan (cp BENJAMIN, 3), which might be explained as representing a remnant left behind when the rest of the Bilhah tribe migrated northwards. In the same neighbourhood a certain land mark bore the name of Bohan the son of Reuben, who was said to have usurped Bilhah and would in all likelihood be said to have had a son of her. When we remember the story of David it will seem natural that it should be said that Reuben had to bear a curse (Gen. 49:3-4), and the son was turned to stone (so Steuernagel). The geography would suit (see EDER [TOWER], REUBEN ).

Another support for the theory that Naphtali once lived farther S. is found by Steuernagel, with some diffidence, in Dt. 33:23. On this theory Darom (cm) can be taken in its usual Talmudic sense of the Shephela (see SOUTH) : the words express the hope that Naphtali may yet recover its old seat by the sea and in the Daroma. Outside of Dt. 33, however, Darom occurs only in Ezek. , Job, and Eccles. Steuernagel, indeed, argues that it is nevertheless probably an old word, for the Daroma would not have been called 'south' by Jews ; but om may have been as far from meaning 'south' as Negeb. This argument hardly strengthens the case. On the other hand there is nothing positive against the theory. It is part of a wider question (see TRIBE).

1 See the instructive discussion of Rernh. Luther in ZATW 21:1 [1901]. Cp now also Winckler, KA 7 ( 3 J 213, 217.

2. Name.[edit]

How the name Naphtali was popularly explained is not quite clear. Some 'one strove ; but who ? and with whom? and how ? Apparently, not Jacob, although the doubtful expression 'god's wrestlings', if that be the meaning, might very well refer to such a story as that in Gen. 32. {1} In the present text the speaker is Rachel, and it is the rule in the case of Jacob's sons that the name is given by the mother. If 'wrestle' be the meaning of the hapax legomenon O WiSJ, 2 Rachel wrestled with her sister (30:8) and came out best. Was Reuben then in E Leah's only son at this time and so Rachel's obtaining a second (Naphtali, Dan being the first) constituted a victory (so Gunkel) ? That would explain how it was Reuben that found the dudaim: he was at the time Jacob's only son. If, as elsewhere, the verb means to act in a wily manner, per haps Test. xii. Patr. , Napht. , i, correctly paraphrases E's meaning 'because Rachel acted with guile and substituted Bilha for herself'. Similar is the explanation of Josephus (Ant. 1:19:7, 305) as if 'got by stratagem' (? /uTjxaPT/ris , var. lect. a/x. , ei /u.. ), because of the stratagem used against the fruitfulness of the sister (Sia rb dvTiTfxvdffacrtfai 7rp6s rr]i> evreKviav TTJS dde\(prjs).

The meaning of the name Naphtali is not known. If there was really a tribe Bilhah, which broke up into two portions after leaving its southern seat, the part called Dan may have come to bear the name of the deity whose cult was seated where it finally settled. 3 The Bilhites who came to be known as Naphtalites 4 may similarly have taken their name from some later seat. They may, for example, as it has been conjectured that the Asherites did (ASHER, 3), have halted for a time near the plain of Megiddo. There is in that neighbourhood a place-name Naphath or Naphoth-dor (the vocalisation is uncertain) which is usually supposed to mean 'eminence'. May Naphtali be a derivative of Napht as Karmel seems to be of Karm ? Naphtali would then mean the people of the Naphtal. Land (DeGids, Oct. 1871, 'De wording van staat en godsdienst in het oude Israel', 20, n. ) thought so, and (independently ?) Wright ( Was Israel in Egypt ? 251). It would be rash to assert that the difficulties 5 are insuperable. Where to locate the Naphath, Naphoth of Joshua, is uncertain. It is usually supposed to be the hilly country just under Carmel. If, however, the suggestion of Dillmann as to the original construction of Josh. 17:11 be accepted (see ASHER, 3) we must look in Issachar. May the Dor referred to be not that on the coast but some other - that which gave its name to a well? (see, however, ENDOR ] ) or to the hot springs at el-Hammeh?: HAMMATH [q.v., i.] seems to have been called more fully Hammoth-dor (Josh. 21:32). On the other hand there may have been Naphoth in more districts than one, as there are more than one Carmel. The country to the W. and N. of the lake of Galilee might well be called hill country. There is in fact a passage (Josh. 20:7) where the mountain land of W. Palestine is expressly divided into three sections: Mt. Judah in the S. , Mt. Ephraim in the centre, and Mt. Naphtali in the N. (cp EPHRAIM, 3). Mt. Naphtali well deserved the name.

1 On supposed wrestling in prayer (cp the Syriac text cited by^ Ball ([Sh O T ad loc. ]) see Gunkel, ad loc.

2 May it not be, however, that *7WW, to which there is no analogy in any Semitic language, is a corruption of VlflBJ, Niph. inf. absol. ? c.-jSx and Q might then be variants of a misplaced ( = l).

3 Cp Bernstein, Sagcn von Abraham, 38, Kuenen, Th.T 6291, Kerber, Heh. Eigennatnen, 5968.

4 It is noteworthy that Naphtali is, like Levi, adjectival in form. It never occurs, however, in the OT as an adjective, or with the article, or in the plural. L, however, usually and 0BA often have ^oA[e ] t/ u i.e., Naphtalites (?) (Ges.). The text of Josephus gives i/e<f>0aAeis [nephthaleis] (cp Aeu[e]is [levis], Gen. 35:23 fAEl) var. lect. -Aet, -Ai^os, -AAeio..

5 The gentilic of SoiD is ^pis, not ^S"\3. Moreover, if the word nBJ means 'height', the final t is not radical.

3. History.[edit]

Tradition assigned Naphtali stirring deeds in the early times. In conjunction with Zebulun, Naphtali had fought a great fight and come off" victorious (Judg. 4). Another story told of a great struggle in which all the tribes settled round the plain of Megiddo had taken part (Judg. 5). Trained to daring in the exhilarating atmosphere of the open heights, Naphtali joined Zebulun in reckless deeds of valour (Judg. 5:18). Indeed Naphtali perhaps claimed to have had the honour of providing the leader who led to victory (4:6). To get beneath these legends, however, down to the rock of actual facts almost seems to become more difficult the more the question is studied. See JABIN, SISERA, MEROM, TABOR, KEDESH, etc.

How Naphtali fared in the age when the Pharaohs were founding their Asiatic empire we can only guess (col. 3546, nos. 16, 32, 34, in). The Amarna letters may yield us in time a fuller knowledge of the course of events about 1400 B.c. Letter 146 (rev. 12), complain ing that 'all the cities of ... the king in the land of Kadesh' have been made over to the Habiri may refer to Kedesh on the Orontes (so now Wi. A A7( 3 >, 199) ; but Abimilki, governor of Tyre, complains of the relations of Hazor or its king with the Habiri (154:40-43). See also JANOAH, 2. Later came the conquests of Sety in this district, which led to its subjugation by Rameses II. At that time not Naphtali but Asher was the general name. According to Steuernagel the Bilhah tribe entered Palestine in the van of the Jacob or Joseph tribe, after the Leah- Habiri had settled in Mt. Ephraim and southwards. According to this theory the events in the hill country of Galilee during the Amarna period concerned people who could in no sense be called Israelite : the Habiri there may have been Aramaean.

How far David really succeeded in welding the highlands N. of the great plain into his kingdom is not clear. It is noticeable that there the prefectures in the list in 1 K. 4 coincided with tribal divisions. 2 How rich a province Naphtali was considered appears in the statement that its prefect was a son-in-law of Solomon (AHIMAAZ, AHILUD, BASEMATH [but see SALMA]). Wherever the cities said to have been ceded to Tyre (CABUL) lay (GALILEE, 2) Naphtali must in the early monarchy have deeply felt the proximity of Phoenicia (cp Wi. KA TW, 129). When the crown passed to ISSACHAR ( 4), however, Bir'idri (BENHADAD, i) adopted an aggressive policy (1 K. 15:20 : Dan, Ijon, Abel-beth-maacah, all the land of Naphtali), which eventually succeeded. Tibni, if Naphtalite 8 (EPHRAIM, 5, col. 1314, n. 3), may have been an earlier representative of the later pro-Aramaean party, opposed to Omri (se3, ever, KA 7"( 3 , 247). In any case, being contiguous with Aramaean territory, Naphtali was already largely Aramaised when Assyria at last formally absorbed Damascus (732). When precisely Naphtali's turn came cannot be made out from the mutilated inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser III. (Ann. 150, 209, 228 ; 3 R 10, n. 2, 6-8, 15-19). 2 K. 15:29 (Ijon, Abel-beth-maacah, Janoah, Kadesh, Hazor, Gilead [?], Galilee [?], all the land of Naphtali) may refer to its definitive annexation. 1 Possibly the mutilated slab 3 R 10, no. 2, once mentioned this : 'the wide-reaching [Naphta]li's in its whole extent I made over to the territory of Assyria'. 3 Josiah may have dreamed of recovering it for a glorified 'Davidic' kingdom (JOSIAH) ; but that was reserved for more fortunate hands (see MACCABEKS, 4, GALILEE, 3). Tobit is said to have been of Naphthalite descent (see TOBIT).

1 This might even explain the intrusion of Endor which critics have usually cut out as a gloss.

2 Bernh. Luther think* it was in some such way that the tribal unities came into being (ZATW 2l:11 [1901]).

3 Guthe ((7K/ 138) suggests Ephraimite or Manassite; Winckler (KA 7T } ), 247, n. i), of I\i>aia [EN-GANNIM].

4. Boundary, etc.[edit]

In Dt. 34:2, a (late?) 4 writer calls the whole country N. of 'the land of Ephraim and Manasseh' 'all Naphtali'. If Naphtali is really a geographical term the usage may perhaps not be late. In 1 K. 15:20 'all the land of Naphtali' ('Ben'-hadad) seems to have practically the same meaning ; so in 2 K. 15:29 (Tiglath-pileser III.), especially if JANOAH is really Yanuh.

The description of the Naphtali territory in Josh. 19:33-34 is clearer than usual ; but unfortunately the places named can seldom be identified.

The description may begin at the NW corner and cross to the Jordan (see HELEPH, BEZAANANNIM, ADAMI-NEKEB, JABNEEL, i, LAKKUM). The eastern border is supposed to be obvious: the Jordan and its lakes. The southern border passes AZNOTH-TABOR, to HUKKOK. The SW. limit was Zebulun. The western border (after Zebulun, of course) is Asher (on the text see JUDAH AT JORDAN).

Naphtali was thus roughly the eastern portion of the mountainous country reaching along the W. 5 of the lake of Galilee and the Jordan from the Issachar low lands indefinitely northwards into Aramaic or Phoenician territory. See TAHTIM HODSHI. Naphtali is not said to have marched with Dan, though it extended along the Jordan valley. There can hardly have been a tribe Dan of any consequence in the N. (it is ignored by P). Note the discrepancy as to the mother of Huram-abi. 1 K. 7:14 makes her a Naphtalite (see DAN, 8, n. 3 ; HIRAM, 2, n. i) like AHIRA (q.v.) of Nu. 1:15, etc.

Divided into upper (northern) and lower (southern) halves by the remarkable mountain wall that overhangs the plain of er-Rameh, Naphtali contains some of the finest country in Palestine, well watered, fertile, salubri ous, well peopled (see GALILEE, 4). The fruitfulness of this land was proverbial : it supplies the matter for the sayings about Naphtali in the 'Blessings' of Jacob and Moses - whatever be the true text. 6 On the intimate connection with the outer world secured for it by its roads, see GA Smith (HG 425 ff.) and cp TRADE.

1 A post-exilic writer has inserted an explanatory verse Is. 9:1 [8:23] (cp Mt. 4:15) founded on this passage as an introduction to the prophecy Is. 9:2-7 [9:1-6].

2 So first Hommel, CBA 685, n. i.

3 The preceding line, according to Rost's collated text (Plate XXV.), is : [n]i-te (city) Ga-al-z[a] . . . [city] A-bi-il-ak-k[a] in the territory (sa f>at) of Israel (Hit IJumria).

4 See MANASSEH ( 2, n. 2).

5 Josephus, however, says that it reached E. as far as Damascus (Ant. 5:1:22, 86). Was he misled by 2 K. 15:29?

6 In Gen. 49:21, Ball (SBOT, 17 172^ [1855]) reads ^nBj -I2B> 19 mn:n twko rns, 'Naphtali is a spreading vine That yieldeth beauteous fruit'. Cheyne (PSBA, June 1899, p. 242/1) reads n=n y | n M1 - i n S n : nriy <( ?nE: hEty = mB = mtEn belong ing to next line], 'Naphtali luxurious is his possession; He produces heaps of fruit'. The geographical appendix to the saying in Dt. 33:23 is obscure. What is the cm of Naphtali ? (cp above, i, end). Some think it means the Jordan depression. Bertholet suggests that we should read Q -p-i, the way of the sea (cp Is. 9"i [8 23]).

5. Cities.[edit]

Of the nineteen 'fenced cities' promised in Josh. 19:38 the most liberal reckoning finds only sixteen. Very roughly, the enumeration seems to proceed northwards.

HAMMATH (prob. = Hammoth-dor [Josh. 21:32] = HAMMON 1 Ch. 6:76 [6:61]) and KEDESH have been identified with some assurance in the S. and the N. HAZOR may be Tell Khureibah ; and IRON, Yarun near Hazor. For other less confident identifications see EDREI, EN-HAZOR, MIGDAL-EL. CHINNERETH is an interesting name applied also to a district of Naphtali. ZIDDIM and ZER (perhaps also HOREM) are probably corrupt. For the other towns see the special articles (RAKKOTH, ADAMAH, RAMAH, BETH-ANATH, BETH-SHEMESH).

There was a famous sanctuary at Kedesh and, to judge from the names, Beth-anath and Beth-shemesh must have been sacred sites.

6. Genealogies.[edit]

The Naphtali genealogy (Gen. 46:24 = Nu. 26:48-49 = 1 Ch. 7:13) is very simple, containing only four names JAHZEEL (in ch. Jahziel), Guni, Jezer, and Shillem. 1 The names, except Guni (see above, i) do not recur in the OT. H. w. H.


the name given by the Greeks to a highly inflammable oil (cp Pliny, NN2iog), which cannot have differed much from the modern article of commerce (see EliW, s.v.). It is mentioned only in Apoc. Dan. 3:23 (LXX, v. 46, va<t>6a. [naphtha]; KBM Syr. ; ROSIN, AV). 2 With it we may most probably identify the name NEPHTHAI (RV ; ve<t>6a.i [nephthai] [V], ve<t>6ap [nephthar] [A], nEO [Syr.] ; NEPHI, AV with Vg. ), which, according to 2 Macc. 1:36, was commonly given to the liquid which, legend states, Nehemiah found in the pit where the sacred fire had previously been concealed. Nehemiah himself, on the other hand, is said to have called it Naphthar (AV NEPHTHAR, vetpOap [AV], nephthar, TTIEJIJ [Syr.]), a name which admits of no satisfactory explanation. According to the writer (v. 36) it means 'cleansing' (110,60.- pitTu.6s), 3 but is more probably a corruption of the form Nephthai (similarly Eusebius writes nabor - with an r - for Nebo ; cp also Acre, from Accho?).

The legend above referred to (2 Macc. 1:18-36) narrates how the godly priests before the captivity took of the sacred altar-fire and concealed it, 1 * which is quite in accordance with the ancient belief that the nation s life and existence is coincident with the preservation of the holy flame. 5 After the return, search was made, and instead of the fire 'thick water' (vSiap ira.\v,v. 21) was found. At the offering up of the first sacrifice the liquid was spread upon the wood and the 'other things' on the altar ; prayer was made, and when the sun shone the liquid ignited and the sacrifice was consumed. 6 The consumption of the offerings by fire was a sign that the sacrifice was acceptable, and that the close relations between the Deity and his worshippers, which had been in abeyance during their captivity in a foreign land, were re-established. (Cp SACRIFICE.) In accordance with a custom which finds analogies elsewhere, the Persian king ordered the place where this marvel had appeared to be enclosed and made 'holy' (iepos); cp Diet. Class. Ant., s.v. 'Bidental'.

1 Is the Sa-ra-ma (WMM, As. u. Enr. 220) of the expedition of Rameses II. in his eighth year to be compared?

2 The name in olden times was taken to be of Persian origin, cp OS 196, 93 ; 203:21.

3 Possibly based on a supposed connection with "IBS, "VE2, although the representation of 53 by is against this. See Lag. Ges. Abh. 177, ZDMG -><5, 212.

4 Cp the similar tradition of the hiding of tabernacle, ark, and altar of incense in 2 Macc. 2:4-8, and see Charles, Apoc. of Baritch, 168.

5 On the sacredness of fire see Frazer, Paus. 2:392+, also GBW. The altar-fire was one of the five things which, accord ing to the early Rabbins, were possessed by the first temple but lacking in the second. Another legend in the Kth. Book of Adam relates that Ezra on his return found the holy fire concealed underneath the temple ; and a late tradition has identified the site of the discovery of the 'Naphthar' with Job's Well (Kir Eyynb\ which from the sixteenth century has been called by the Frank Christians 'the Well of Nehemiah'. See further FIRE in E<P>.

6 In the sanctuaries of Hierocaesarea and Hypaepa, according to Pausanias (v. 2" 3), the sacred fires were kindled by the aid of a magical invocation. One is reminded of the Inca's custom of focussing the sun's rays by means of concave pieces of polished metal to obtain fire(Prescott, fern, i., chap. 3 ; cp Plut. fiuma, chap. 9, and Ew. Alterth. 3&/.).


(DTiriW), Gen. 10:13, 1 Ch. 1:11+.

In the original text (transformed by the redactor) the name may have been Tappuhim ; see MIZRAIM (col. 3164,0.1), NEBO ii., 2.


(cOYA&plON I Vg. sudarium] occurs in Lk. 19:20, Jn. 11:44, 20:7, Acts 19:12 (EV 'handkerchief' in last passage). The Greek word is adopted from the Latin (cp KTJVGOS [kensos], fj.e/j.f3pdva [membrana],, etc.), and probably, at first, had the same meaning with it, being derived from sudo, to perspire, and thus corresponding to our word (pocket) handkerchief.

The Greek rhetorician Pollux (180 A. D.) remarks that arovSdptov [sudarion] had supplanted not only the ancient Greek word for handkerchief, T]/j.iTvftiov [emetybion] or rjfiiTVfiftiov [emitybion], which he considers an Egyptian word, but even the more recent term Ka\jJiSpu>Tiov [kapsidrootion] (Onom. 7:16). The Roman influence caused the introduction of this word even among the Orientals ; the rabbins have jOTtD ! in Pesh. answers to the Hebrew nnBBD, wV (cp MANTLE), and in Chaldee TI1D or KTJ1D > s used for a veil or any linen cloth (Buxtorf, Lex- Chal. 1442).

It is indeed but natural to expect that a foreign word introduced into any language should be applied by those who borrow it in a looser sense than that which it bore originally. Hence, although the Latin word sudarium is generally restricted to the forementioned meaning, in Greek and Syriac it signified, chiefly, napkin, wrapper, etc. These observations prepare us for the different uses of the word in the NT.

  • (a) In Lk. 19:20 it means a wrapper, in which the wicked servant had laid up the pound entrusted to him by his master. For references to the custom of laying up money, etc., in ffovddpia [soudaria], both in classical and rabbinical writers, see Wetstein s NT, on Lk. 19:20.
  • (b) In Jn. 11:44 it appears as a kerchief, or cloth attached to the head of a corpse. It was perhaps brought round the forehead and under the chin. In many Egyptian mummies it does not cover the face. In ancient times among the Greeks it did (Nicolaus, De Grtzcor. Luctu, ch. 3, 6, 1697). Maimonides, in his comparatively recent times, describes the whole face as being covered, and gives a reason for the custom.
  • (c) In Jn. 20:7 it is said that the aovMpiov [soudarion] which had been about the head of Jesus was found in the empty grave, rolled up, as if deliberately, and laid apart from the linen clothes (^copts lvrerv\iy^vov els eva TOTTOV).
  • (d) In Acts 19:11 we read that aovdapta [soudaria] (handkerchiefs, napkins, wrappers, shawls, etc.) were brought from the body of Paul to the sick ; and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them. Many illustrations of the widely prevalent belief in the possibility of such magical transmission will be found in Frazer, Golden Bought.


(NARKICCOC; ^s a Syr. name cp Cureton s Anc. Syr. Documents, no, 5 ; and possibly the Palm, name D*p"13, Vogue 1 , Syr. Centr. no. 75). 'Those of the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord' are saluted in Rom. 16:11. It is not said that Narcissus himself was a Christian. If the greetings in Rom. 16 were really intended for the Roman community (see ROMANS), it is not unnatural to think here of the Narcissus who had been a favourite of the Emperor Claudius and put to death in 54 A. D. (Sueton. Claud. 28 ; Tac. Ann. 12:57, 13:1).

The name, however, is not uncommon ; it was borne by a favourite of Nero (Cass. Dio, (54 3), and appears frequently among slaves and freedmen ; see Sanday and Headlam, Romans, 426. In the lists of the seventy disciples of the Lord by Pseudo- Dorotheus and Pseudo- Hippolytus, Narcissus figures as bishop of Athens. The fragments of the Gnostic IlepioSoi *iAi7T7rov [periodoi philippon], preserved in the Greek Menara, represent him as having been so consecrated by the apostle Philip (Lipsins, Apokr. Ap.- Gesch. 3 37). In the ITepioSot Ile rpou (cat IlauAov he is a presbyter of Rome and entertainer there of the apostle Peter, n the Actus Vercellenses he is the disciple of Paul. (Cp Lipsius, op. eft. 2 175, etc.)


(N&PAOC), Mk. 14:3, Jn. 12:3 RV, AV SPIKENARD.


NAcB<\c[BA]),Tob. 11:18-19 See AMAN, i.


(NAcei [B]), 1 Esd. 5:32 RV, AV Nasith = Ezra 2:54, NEZIAH.


(NACCOR [AV]), 1 Macc. 11:67 AV, RV HAZOR (q.v. , i).


(ID3, 50 ; 'He [Yahwe] gives', cp Ar. iahb, etc., but cp NETHANEEL, NETHANIAH ; N&0&N [BNAR TL]; A6 AN [K*. i Ch. 17 1], NA0AM [R* Ps. 512]).

1. A contemporary of David and Solomon, nearly always distinguished as the prophet" (cp 2 S. 12:1, LXX{BAL} , and see SBOT) ; cp PROPHET, 4, 6. There is some reason to think that he was of Jerahmeelite origin (cp no. 4 below, see JERAHMEEL, 3), and the name has even been regarded as a modification of the Jerahmeelite name Ethan (so Cheyne) - see NETHANIAH, PROPHET, 6 and 11. According to the Chronicler (1 Ch. 29:29, 2 Ch. 9:29) Nathan wrote a history of the times of David and Solomon ; but it is in connection with the latter king that he stands out most clearly (see 1 K. 1). Nathan was opposed to Joab and Abiathar, who were favouring Adonijah's intrigue, and by supporting Bathsheba's claims before David was ultimately able, in conjunction with Zadok, to anoint her son at Gihon. It is interesting to find a trace of Solomon's practical gratitude in the fact that two of his prefects seem to have been sons of Nathan (AZARIAH (6), ZABUD).

The position Nathan occupied with David seems to have been by no means unimportant. In 2 S. 7 he is represented in consultation with David about the building of the temple, and in 2 S. 12 he visits the king to reprove him for the sin with BATHSHEBA [q.v. ]. Chapter 7 is admittedly of later date (see SAMUEL [BOOKS], 5), and the narrative in chap. 12 is not beyond suspicion. 1 In fact, the occurrence of Nathan as a. prophet in David s history seems to rest on as obscure a basis as does the occurrence of the only other prophet with whom the king was intimately acquainted = viz., GAD [q.v. .]. On N-ajn jm, see PROPHET, 6.

2. b. DAVID {q.v., n n.] (2 S. 5:14, 1 Ch. 3:5, 14:4, cp Lk. 3:31); he is perhaps to be identified with the one whose house (i.e., family) is mentioned in Zech. 12:12.

3. Father of Igal (^Nr), 2 S. 23:36, but according to i1Ch. 11:38 the brother of Joel ( JNV)- Which of the two is correct, is doubtful ; see JOEL [3].

4. b. Altai, a Jerahmeelite, 1 Ch. 2:36. His son was named ZABAD, which, on the view that he is to be identified with ZABUD [q.v.], has led some to connect him with the prophet (i above); cp JERAHMEEL, 3.

5. Head of family, temp. Ezra (see EZRA i., 2, ii., 15 [i]d), Ezra 8:16 (om. L)= 1 Esd. 8:44.

6. One of the bn'e BANI in list of those with foreign wives (see EZRA i., 5 end), Ezra 10:39 = 1 Esd. 9:34, NATHANIAS (vaOavias [BA]). S. A. C.

1 In chap. 12 vv. 10-12 are a gloss resting upon 16:20-22 (so We., Kue., Bu.), and according to Budde vv. 7-9 ( 'Thus saith ... in his eyes' ) are equally intrusive. But the latter passage constitutes the point to the apologue and can hardly be severed from it. The language of v. 7 ( 'I have anointed thee', etc. ) points to 1 S. 16:13 (a late passage), and it is probable that Schwally is right in rejecting vv. 1-15a as interpolated (see SAMUEL [BOOKS], 6). Verse 25, which is a doublet to v. 24b, will stand upon the same footing. See, further, AJSL \i*f,f. (1900).


(NA0AN&HA [Ti. WH] ; cp NETHANEKL), according to Jn. 1:45-51, 21:2, one of the first disciples of Jesus. In Jn. 21:2 he is called Nathanael of Cana in Galilee. The supposition, however, that he was a Galilean is not favoured by the question attributed to him in Jn. 1 ; a similar speech is reputed to have been uttered at Jerusalem (Jn. 7:41), and the evangelist evidently means that it was uttered by Judaeans. Certainly, a Galilean Jew would have remembered Is. 9:1 [8:23], and have admitted that some good thing might come out of Nazareth (or, perhaps, rather that the 'Holy One of God' might 'come out of Galilee' ; cp Jn. 669 and see NAZARETH). Jn. 21 is admittedly an appendix to the Fourth Gospel, and the description of Nathanael as 'of Cana in Galilee' may be based on a conjectural inference from Jn. 22. All that we are told in Jn. 1:45-51 is that Nathanael was 'an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile'. Nathanael, conscious of his own sincerity, asks how Jesus has gained this knowledge of him. The answer of Jesus is, 'Before Philip saw thee, when thou wast under the fig-tree, I saw thee'. The usual explanation of this saying (see FIG-TREE, 5) is perhaps hardly adequate. If it simply means, 'when thou hadst retired under the shade of the fig-tree for meditation or prayer', we ask why the evangelist did not express the Master's meaning more distinctly (contrast Jn. 4:18), for this Gospel, more even than the others, is written with an eye to edification. We may venture therefore to conjecture that there is a mistake in the Greek text. The Fourth Gospel is a composite work, and the narrative in 1:43-51 may have been partly based on a translation from the Hebrew in which we'atta mithhannen (j|nnp nBi), 'when thou wast making supplication '(expanded perhaps by the accidental repetition of nn) was mistaken for we'alla tahath halt'ena (njKnn nnn nnxi), 'when thou wast under the fig-tree'. No critical scholar who has reflected on the state of the text of the NT will any longer resist the force of the argument for emendations as methodical and circumspect, though not as numerous, as those which have constantly to be made in the text of the OT.

On Nathanael's confession 'Thou art the Son of God, thou art the king of Israel' (which reminds us of Mt. 16:16, the confession of Peter) see a paper by Khees, JBL 17 (1898), 21-30, with regard to which it may be remarked that to speculate, however intelligently, on the ideas of the confession is hardly safe, considering the unhistorical atmosphere which pervades the narratives in connection with which the Nathanael episode is introduced.

We have now to notice attempts to identify Nathanael with known historical persons. It is quite possible that the evangelist imagined the typical character of a guileless seeker after truth, who comes at once to Jesus to see whether he is really the Messiah. If so, we may take the name Nathanael as an anticipative reference to the success of his quest, and explain God has given [the Messiah]. The traditional view that Nathanael is the same as the apostle BARTHOLOMEW (whose ordinary name seems to be only a patronymic) is adopted by Zahn (Einl. 123), but chiefly rests on the consideration that Nathanael is said (Jn. 14:5) to have been found by Philip, next to whom, in the list of apostles, Bartholomew is placed by the Synoptists. It is more probable, however, that this otherwise unknown name of a disciple is due to the narrator, who cares far more for ideas than for literal facts. So far we may agree with Spaeth (ZWT, 1868, 168+, 309+) ; but we cannot admit that Nathanael is synonymous with Johanan, and that the person intended is the apostle John. Certainly, whoever wrote Jn. 21:2, 21:7, 2120 did not hold this view, nor could a son of Zebedee have asked the question in Jn. 1:46. Yet Spaeth may be right in one-half of his theory - viz. , that Nathanael is that exquisite creation of a devout imagination the disciple whom Jesus loved (Jn. 13:23, 19:26, 20:2, 21:7, 21:20). The difficulty in admitting that John the son of Zebedee can have been represented even imaginatively by the author of the 1 spiritual Gospel as having been on the closest imagin able terms of intimacy with his Master (cp Jn. 13:23 with 1:8, et s rbv KoXirov TOV Ilarpos) is not appreciably diminished by referring to the achievements of literary idealisation elsewhere. That Jesus, however, should have loved one who leaped at once to such a height of insight as the imaginary Nathanael has a fair degree of psychological verisimilitude. Why did not the evangelist state this ? Possibly some narrative relative to Nathanael was omitted by the redactor (if we may assume such a person) of our present Fourth Gospel, the restoration of which would at once have made things clear. Problems should always be stated, though they cannot always be solved.

To follow Hilgenfeld (ZH T, 1873, pp. 96-102) and Holtzmann (in Schenkel s Bib. Lex. 4 297) who identify Nathanael with Paul, the 'apostle of visions' (cp Acts 26:16), who sought peace in vain under the barren tig-tree (Mt. 21:19), but found it by personal contact with Christ, is much more difficult.

At an earlier period Hilgenfeld (Lehrbegriff des Evattg. Jolt. 271 ff. ; Die Evangelicn, 242 Jf!) identified Nathanael with Matthew, or (Nov. Test, extra canonem, 4 i 93-106) with Matthias. Strauss (Das Leben Jesuf. das deutsche I W/W 2 ), 417) and Volkmar (Die F.vangelicn, 176) go further, and identify Nathanael, Matthew, and Zacchaeus. Resch (Texte und Unters. 103 829-832) adopts Hilgenfeld's former view. Rovers (Th. T, 2 [1869], 653-661) is favourable to Spaeth s hypothesis.

T. K. C.

2. 1 Esd. 1:9 = 2 Ch. Sop, NETHANEEL, 7.

3. 1 Esd. 9:22 = Ezra 10:22, NETHANEEL, 8.

4. A name in the genealogy of Judith (Judith 8:1).


(NA9&NI6.C [BA]), 1 Esd. 9:34 = Ezra 10:39, NATHAN, 6.


(Tj pCnJU as if 'the king has given', 41 ; but see below), a high officer (see EUNUCH) under Josiah, near whose chamber were the horses and chariots dedicated to the sun (2 K. 23:11 : BACiAeooc TOY CYNOYXOY [BA], N. EYNOYXOY TOY B&ClAeu)C [L. cp Pesh., reading ^/^ D ")P], Xath- anmelech [Vg. ]). On his functions see PARVAR.

The name has been much discussed, but too much on the assumption that the Hebrew names have escaped being worn down by use or transformed. Who is the 'king 'intended? Is it Yahwe (cp Malchiah)? Or are the names Ebed-melech and Nethan-melech (cp Nethan-iah) survivals from the time when the Hebrews worshipped a god called Melech distinct from Yahwe? Gray (///Wi48) supposes that Nethan-melech was a foreigner 'who had been engaged in the establishment of the foreign god Melech'. But experience in studying the proper names from a fresh point of view suggests that Malchiah, Hammelech, and Melech must be all popular corruptions of Jerahmeel, and hence indicate the increasing prominence of the Jerahmeelite element in the later period of Jewish history. Ebed-melech is probably miswritten for Arab-melech (~7C"3"iy - i.e. Arab-jerahmeel (cp OBED-EDOM for Arab-edom); and Nethan-melech is a corruption of Ethan-melech - i.e., Etham- jerahmeel. Ebed-melech is in fact called a Cushite - i.e., a N. Arabian and we can well believe that his fellow- chamberlain also was of N. Arabian origin. 'Ethan' seems to have been a Jerahmeelite gentilic name; cp 1 K. 4:30 [5:10+], where in a list of the legendary wise men of Kedem (a corruption of Jerahmeel) and Misrim (in N. Arabia) we find the name of Ethan. "Cp NETHANEEL, NETHANIAH.

T. K. C.




  • The stories (1-2).
  • Their character (3-4).
  • Attempts to harmonise (5-7).
  • Implications of gospels (8-11).
  • The narratives later (12-13).
  • Baptism story (14).
  • Development (15-17).
  • Incidents (18-19).
  • The result ( 20).
  • Bibliography ( 21).

The teaching and passion of Jesus had long been subjects of written tradition before any attempt was made to round off the picture of his life by describing its beginnings. Not only in Mk. but even in Jn., the latest of the gospels, the narrative begins with the public appearance of the Baptist. Only Mt. and Lk. deal with the birth and childhood of Jesus, and the two accounts are irreconcilably at variance.

1. In Mt.[edit]

Mt. describes (1:18-25) in a summary way how Mary, espoused (fj.vr)(TTevdfi<n]s) to Joseph, was (before they came together) found to be with child of the Holy Ghost; her husband, being a follower of the law (Skcuos wv) and still unwilling to see her subjected to the law's penalty, resolved to put her away secretly. At this juncture an angel of the Lord appeared to him with these words : 'Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee (7rapaXa/3e?c [paralabein]) Mary thy wife, for that which is begotten in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shall call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins'. In all this the evangelist finds the fulfilment of the prophecy contained in Is. 7:14. which could be adduced in this connection only in the interpretation of the LXX ( 'virgin' for 'young woman' ). He then proceeds to tell how Joseph, awaking from sleep, did as the angel had commanded, and took his wife to himself, but did not enter into marital relations till she had brought forth a son (DL : 'her firstborn' son according to Lk. ), whom he called Jesus. At this stage we become informed of the time and place of these events ; it was at Bethlehem of Judaea that Jesus was born and in the days of Herod the king (2:1). The divinity of the child is forthwith confirmed by a sign. Magi came from the East to Jerusalem - their number is not stated - and asked : 'Where is he that is [even now] born King of the Jews ? We have seen his star in the east and are come to worship him'. Troubled at the tidings, Herod calls together all the chief priests and scribes, who, appealing to Mic. 5:1 [5:2], declare Bethlehem of Judjea to be the place where the Messiah promised to the Jews should appear. After learning carefully from the magi the time of the star s appearing, Herod sends them away with the injunction to make diligent search concerning the child, and to bring him word again. Following the leading of the star till it stood still, the magi come to Joseph s house (2:11, eis TTJV find the child and Mary its mother, fall down and worship him, and, opening their treasures, present him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh. Warned by a dream not to return to Herod, they depart into their country another way.

To Joseph also (again) an angel appears in a dream bidding him take the child and its mother and flee into Egypt to escape the wicked devices of Herod. This Joseph did, remaining in Egypt till the death of Herod ; and thus was fulfilled the word of prophecy (Hos. 11:1), 'Out of Egypt did I call my son'. Then Herod, in his impotent wrath, gave orders to slay all the male children in Bethlehem and its borders, from two years old and under, in accordance with the date which he had learned from the magi. The sign for return from Egypt was again received by Joseph through an angel in a dream. Hearing, however, that Archelaus the son of Herod was now reigning over Judaea, Joseph is afraid to return thither (that is, to Bethlehem), and in accordance with a fresh admonition received in a dream withdraws to the land of Galilee, where he settles at Nazareth.

If we leave out of account the elements in the preceding narrative that have been derived by research from the OT, there is nothing left which could not have been drawn from living tradition, or, in other words, from popular story. In fact, its vague and unclear statements which perplex the interpreter and have been brought into prominence by Conrady (see below, 6, 21) seem even to preclude the possibility of any written source having lain before the author, and are most naturally explained as arising from careless repetition of oral tradition.

2. In Lk.[edit]

The impression produced by the narrative of Lk. 1:5-2:50 is quite different. It is a product of literary art, an art which shows itself in the whole structure of the story, not merely in the reproduction of the forms of a Hebrew psalm. The author constructs his history upon the basis of the presuppositions supplied in the gospel - that the activity of John the Baptist prefigured, as it preceded, that of Jesus, and that the Messiah expected by the Jews had appeared in the person of Jesus ; he accordingly seeks to show the fortunes of the two personalities, the Saviour and his forerunner, as intimately interwoven with each other, not only from birth but even from the womb.

Lk. describes with much detail how the angel Gabriel appeared to the aged priest ZACHARIAS (q.v. , 10) as he was ministering in the temple and announced to him that his long-barren wife Elizabeth, now far advanced in years, was to bear him a son who should go before the Lord in the spirit and power of Elijah and prepare his people for his coming. Zacharias' unbelief is punished with dumbness ; but his wife becomes pregnant and hides herself for five months. Next, while Elizabeth is in her sixth month, the same angel, Gabriel, appears to Mary, the betrothed but as yet unmarried spouse of Joseph, with the annunciation that she is to conceive and bear a son destined to sit upon the throne of his father David, of whose kingdom there shall be no end. Perplexed, because conscious of her virginity, she hears from the angel that that which is to be born of her will be by the Holy Ghost, and she is pointed to the coming maternity of her kinswoman Elizabeth. To her Mary in her gladness betakes herself in the hill-country of Judaea, and there is prophetically greeted by her kinswoman as the blessed of the Lord ; and even the unborn John leaps in his mother s womb for joy. Then follows the Magnificat (1:46-55), a song of praise in the genuine Hebrew manner, modelled upon that of Hannah in 1 S. 2:1+

Following up the observations of Hillmann (ZPT 17:197+). D. Volter ( Th T 30:254-256) argued with much cogency that this song belongs, not as the tradition of the MSS and of the church would have it, to Mary, but to Elizabeth, and Harnack has recently brought the question to a conclusion by showing that the 'Mary' of the MSS and the 'Elizabeth' vouched for in its place by ancient authorities are both alike interpolations of the nature of glosses, and proving that the genuine tradition introduces the psalm simply by the words icai tine [kai eipe], 'and said' - the subject being given as Elizabeth by the context itself (SB A W . 1900, 27:538+).

After three months Mary returns to her home, and the narrative goes on to relate the incidents of the circumcision and naming of John, the unlooked-for restoration of speech to Zacharias and his hymn of praise (1:67-79), which speaks at once of the coming Messiah and of his own son who is to prepare the way for him. The narrative closes, so far as John is concerned, with a single sentence about his childhood and youth and his life in the wilderness.

The place of Bethlehem in the narrative is accounted for by the census ordered by Augustus for the whole empire, and carried out in Palestine by Quirinius, the governor of Syria ; this census rendered it necessary for Joseph to go up along with his wife to Bethlehem the city of David, because he himself was a member of the house of David. There his wife is delivered of her firstborn son, whom she lays in the manger. The shepherds in the field, hearing the angel's message and the song of the multitudes of the heavenly host, come and worship the child in the manger, and Mary stores up these words and ponders them in her heart. As prescribed by the law, the child is circumcised on the eighth day, and at the same time receives the name of Jesus which had been given to him by the angel at the annunciation. After the forty days of purification - 'their' (afrruv), not 'her' (avTrjs) ; for the husband also is defiled by con tact with the woman in childbed - the child is presented and the appointed offering made in the temple at Jerusalem, on which occasion the aged Symeon, to whom it had been promised that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah, and Anna the prophetess, bear witness to the fulfilment of their hopes. Now at last, all the precepts of the law having been satisfied, the parents are free to set out with the child on their return journey to Nazareth. There by the grace of God the youth of the coming saviour is passed in uninterrupted growth. Only one occurrence of this period has the evangelist thought fit to record - the scene in which the boy, now twelve years of age, was found by his parents among the doctors of the law in the temple at Jerusalem.

3. Character of Lk's narrative.[edit]

In the whole tone and character of the narrative - its leading conceptions, its repeated employment of the Hebrew psalm-form, its familiarity with Jewish and its defective acquaintance with Roman conditions - the hand of a Jewish Christian is, as is now generally recognised, unmistakable. The matter of it also clearly divides itself into two distinct sections : that relating to the early history of John (ch. 1), and that relating to the birth and childhood of Jesus (ch. 2). Whilst in the first the foreground is occupied by Zacharias and Elizabeth, and Mary's conception is brought in only as an episode, the second makes no mention at all either of John or of his parents. To separate the two sections from each other, however, as has been proposed, is not possible. They are firmly united ; Zacharias song of praise points to the Redeemer, and in the prophetic words of the aged Symeon is repeated the same Hebrew psalm-form as is seen in the hymns of Elizabeth and her husband (see HYMNS). The space assigned to the story of John is, it is true, larger in proportion to the main subject - that of the annunciation to Mary - than we might have expected in a writer who had addressed himself independently to the task of describing the in carnation of the Saviour.

It is very possible that the miraculous narrative of the promise and fulfilment of the birth of John (Lk. 1:5-25, 1:46-55, 1:57-80) may have already sprung up and gained currency within the circle of John's disciples before it was brought into connection with the story of the conception and nativity of Jesus. Had the composition which was intended to correlate the beginnings of the two lives been a unity from the first, it would certainly have given larger space and greater prominence to the parents of the Saviour, and would not have allowed the principal to be over shadowed by the subordinate figures. The revelation to Zacharias (1:14-17) proclaims in the returning Elijah the forerunner runner not so much of the saviour as of God himself (Mal. 4:4 [4:5] and Elizaheth's song of praise has no recognisable reference to Jesus. The whole character of chap. 1 is best explained on the supposition that the narrative of the birth of John first appeared among the disciples of John; the Jewish Christian author of the whole will then have taken over the poem by a disciple of John along with a revised version of the psalm attributed to Zacharias expanded it by addition of the Annunciation and Visitation, and in a certain measure imitated it in the short hymn of Symeon (2:29-32). So much may we safely concede to Volter (Tk. T 30 [1896] 244-245) though not necessarily adopting all his critical conclusions in detail.

4. Mt. and Lk. contrasted.[edit]

Every unprejudiced eye will perceive that the nativity narratives of Mt. and Lk. are mutually exclusive an irreconcilable. What they have in common - the figures of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus, the designation of Jesus as Messiah, the date in Herod's reign and the birth in Bethlehem - were given data. Upon the common foundation the two evangelists rear quite different structures.

Joseph's home in Mt. is Bethlehem, in Lk. Nazareth: the divinity of Christ is attested in Lk. by the angel's words to the shepherds and the song of the heavenly host, in Mt. by the appearance of the star in the East; the new-horn Messiah receives his first adoration in Lk. from the shepherds in Mt. from the magi. In Mt. the family of the saviour flees from the wrath of Herod to Egypt and afterwards avoids Archelaus by settling in Nazareth ; in Lk., after fulfilment of all the ceremonial duties arising out of the birth, the return is made to Nazareth direct. There, according to Lk., the youth of the saviour is spent quietly and uninterruptedly, whilst in Mt. his earliest years are disturbed by perils and changes of abode. A still deeper contrast emerges as soon as Lk.'s narrative has been freed from a later accretion (see below, 16).

5. Attempts to harmonise.[edit]

From the nature of the case both canonical narratives were accepted by faith and incorporated with each other. We see the process beginning in a writer so early as Justin Martyr. The contradiction between the doctrine ofthe divine origin of Jesus and the fact that in the gospels not Mary but Joseph is spoken of as of the house of David, he removes by representing that it was Mary who belonged to the house of David (Dial. 43, 45. IOO), while veiling Joseph's Davidic origin by saying that he belonged to the tribe of Judah (Dial. 78). Justin also represents (ibid. ) Joseph as having 'journeyed from Nazareth where he lived to Bethlehem to which he belonged', thus seeking to remove the contradiction between the statements regarding his home. It is interesting to observe how the same writer carries on the legend at the same time that he makes these first attempts at reconciliation of contradictions. The birth is in a cave (cp BETHLEHEM, 5 4) not in the stable (Did. 78), and the magi are already represented as coming from Arabia (so often, later). The question arises, whether the divergences in Justin's account of the nativity are sufficient to warrant the inference drawn by Credner (Beitr. z. Einl. i. d. Bi6l Sdw. 1:212+) and others after him that he made use of an extra-canonical source.

6. Protevangelium Jacobi.[edit]

Before the end of the second century there had been composed, with the view of removing the glaring contradictions between Mt. and Lk., the so-called Protevangelium Jacobi, an apocryphal work by a fanciful fabulist,unhampered by knowledge of Jewish affairs. It obtained great currency and in particular furnished subjects for former Christian art (cp JOSEPH [in NT], 7). Origen certainly was acquainted with it, and so also possibly was even Clement of Alexandria. Although the author goes much farther back in his narrative than our gospels and seeks to surround the early history with miraculous elements, in other respects he betrays no other intention than that of unifying and rounding out the two canonical accounts, following them so far as possible word for word. The writer's dependence on them becomes most conspicuous precisely in those places where he seems to depart farthest from them. Interested exclusively in the story of Mary, he has attempted to obliterate that of John so intimately bound up with it in Lk. ; but he did not wish to pass over the meeting between Mary and Elizabeth (chap. 12) and he refers to Zacharias' dumbness as something well-known, though he does not say what had been its cause or how it came to be removed. His unskilful introduction of the episode of the Magi also tells a tale. His few divergences from the canonical accounts, on the other hand, do not count for much.

The cave as the scene of the nativity comes, as in Justin from popular tradition ; the suppresion of the flight into Egypt - which occurs by interpolation (22:2), only in a few MSS - may arise from deference to the third canonical gospel, which the author seems to have preferred. Harnack (Gesrk. d. altrhr. Lift. 1:19, 2598) has done substantial justice to this apocryphal work.

Other apocryphal sources of stories of the nativity and childhood of Jesus will he found in Tischendorf's Evang. Apocr.P), 1376 : for their contents R. Hofmann, Das Lehn Jesu nach den Apokryphen, 1851, may be consulted. All further treatments of the story of the nativity rest entirely on the three sources we have named - the two canonical Gospels and the Protevangelium Jacobi - as Conrady has shown (Qaelle der Kindkeitsgesck. 1728). Later additions, such as that of the ox and the ass to the manger, are due to popular imagination, partly influenced by the liturgy.

7. More recent attempts.[edit]

For Christian orthodoxy, the reconcilability of the two canonical accounts was always a necessary dogma. It explains the divergence of the two by saying that each of the two evangelists selected for narration different sections of the same story. In the age of criticism of sources, this view perforce, in spite of Schleiermacher's warning (Leben /em, i. 6, 50 J?), had to give way to the hypothesis that behind Mt. and Lk. there lay a single written source, a ' gospel of the birth and childhood of Jesus.' To A. Resch belongs the doubtful merit of having ' discovered ' this * Gospel of Cbildhood,' as also of having restored it both in Greek and in Hebrew. Conrady, advancing a step farther on the same path, bas sought to show that the Pyotevavgelium Jacobi is the single source required by the facts.

8. Implications of the gospels.[edit]

The gospels themselves supply ample justification of a criticism of the eosDel narratives. In spite of all the revisions which the gospels received before they became canonically fixed, they still not unrequently preserve references to conditions which are irreconcilable with the later additions and owe their preservation, as a rule, to their being inseparably bound up with weighty utterances of Jesus which the church could not willingly let die. The remark has long ago and often been made that, like Paul, even the Gospels themselves know 'nothing of the miraculous birth of the Saviour'. On the contrary, their knowledge of his natural filial relationship to Joseph the carpenter, and to Mary his wife, is still explicit (see JOSEPH [in NT], 7-9).

Even the episode of the finding in the temple (Lk. 2:41-50) recognises this relationship alone.

Cp v. 43, 'and his parents knew not of it' (RV-which in time became changed into 'Joseph and his mother' [so AV]), and Mary says (71. 48) 'thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing'. The episode is introduced, it is true, for the purpose of allowing the consciousness of divine sonship to receive its first manifestation (v. 49) ; but precisely the fact that his parents do not understand the expression of it (v. 49 & mis TOG lrarpdr pov, lit. 'in the things of my father') convincingly proves that in the mind of the narrator Joseph and Mary were and knew themselves to be, in the natural sense of the words, the parents of Jesus.

Still clearer to the same effect is another passage. When Jesus after the first acts of his public ministry by the sea of Galilee came on one occasion to his native town of Nazareth and appeared in the synagogue, the people, marvelling, asked ' Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? (Mk. has: 'Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary') and his brethren James and Joses and Simon and Judas? and his sisters, are they not all with us?' (Mt. 13:55-56, cp Mk. 6:3). See JOSEPH [in NT], § 9. In the correspondmg place in Lk. ( 4:22+) Jesus himself answers the question of the Nazarenes, 'Is not this Josephs son?' in the affirmative by his silence, merely declining to work miracles with the remark that no prophet is acceptable ( 8 ~ ~ ~ 6 s ) in his own conntry ; the passage which he reads from the Book of Isaiah (61:1) speaks of the anointing with the Holy Ghost but says nothing of divine sonship. In the Fourth Gospel, Nathanael of Bethsaida is represented as doubting the Messiahship of Jesus ; Philip had told him that the Messiah of whom Moses and the prophets had written had been found - ' Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph' (1:45) and Nathanael's answer is ' Can any good thing come out of Nazareth ?' (see NATHANAEL).

Most eloquent in the same sense is the synoptic account of the repudiation of his kindred by Jesus (Mt. 12:46-50, Mk. 3:31-35, Lk. 8:19-21), which Mk. alone has preserved in its original connection.

The miracles wrought by Jesus had led the scribes to maintain that Jesus had entered into a conrpact with the prince of the devils (Mk. 3:22, cp Mt. 12:24, Lk. 11:15, Jn. 10:20) ; see BEELZEBUL. The report of this accusation had reached his home, and his distressed mother and brothers set out to lay hold of him and to bring him hack, in the belief that he was beside himself (Mk. 3:21). They find him in a house surrounded by a multitude of listeners and are unable to get near him. On their sending in a message desiring to speak with him, he makes answer, stretching forth his hand towards his hearers, 'Behold my mother and my brethren : for whosoever shall do the will of my Father the same is my brother and sister and mother' - a saying the bluntness of whlch is accounted for by the conviction that he found himself and his work misunderstood by his own immediate kindred ; in Jn. 7:5 this is expressly said of his brothers. In Acts also (1:14) mention is made of the brothers as well as of the mother of Jesus.

9. Genealogies.[edit]

The conclusions suggested by these observations agree excellentlv with the genealoaies ureserved to us in Mt. 1:1-16 and Lk. 3:23-38 (see GENEALOGIES OF JESUS). They are completely independent attempts; but both are based on the presupposition that Jesus was the true son of Joseph ; and it is in this sense alone that they can be held to have any purpose or meaning.

Whilst Mt. carries the list down from Abraham to Joseph and Jesus in three periods of fourteen generations each, Lk. traces it upwards from Jesus 'being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph ' to Adam himself ' which was the son of God' ; only the first fourteen ancestors in Mt., and two at the beginning of his third period (Salathiel and Zorohabel) are met with also in Lk. The addition in Lk. of the words 'as was supposed', and the closing words in Mt.'s list 'joseph the husband of Mary of whom (e 4s) was born Jesus, who is called Christ' betray the hand of the harmonising redactor ; but such faltering touches have not sufficed to remove the absolute incompatibility between the narratives of the nativity and these genealogies, of which Joseph, not Mary, is the subject.

If we adopt Lk.'s statement (1:36) as historical, Mary had no connection with the huuse of David : she was a kinswoman (auyywis [ouggenis]) of Elizabeth, and Elizabeth was ' of the daughters of Aaron ' (1:5). The present writer. however, is unable to follow Hilgenfeld and Hillmann (ZPT 17, 250-251) in thinking that Clemens Romanus (1 Cor. 3:21) regarded Jesus as by birth a Levite through Mary, of course). It was not until the belief in the virgin-birth of Christ had attained currency that any necessity could be felt for making Mary a member of the family of David. This was done as early as in Justin Martyr's time (see above, 5). and next in the Protevangelium Jacobi (chap. 10) ; and the Syrian Palimpsest of Sinai even contains the interpolation 'because they were both of the house of David' (Lk. 2:5 [2:4]). All this is intelligible easily enough, just as it is easy to understand why Reschs theological interpretation discovers the Davidic descent of Mary in the Gospels themselves (Kindheitsen. 191).

1 On this clause see MARY. 14

10. Dates.[edit]

The chronological difficulties with which learned subtlety has struggled in vain for centuries, can only be indicated here (cp CHRONOLOGY, 57+, QUIRINIUS). When Mt. places the nativity within the reign of Herod and the return from Egypt in that of Archelaus his successor, the birth of Christ is thereby determined to have been some years earlier than 4 B.C., Herods' death-year. Lk. on the other hand connects the nativity with the under P. Sulpicius Quirinius the Governor of Syria. This cannot be conceived as having been carried out before the deposition of Archelaus in 6 A.D., and in point of fact it is attested for this date by Josephus (Ant. 17:13:5, 355 ; xviii.).

Even if it is made out with a high degree of probability that Quirinius had already for a previous term (about 3-2 B.C.) been governor of Syria (Mommsen, Mon. Ancyr. W, 161+ ; Schurer, GJV 112) 260+, ET i. 1:351+), the essential fact for the narrative of Lk. - the census by Quirinius in Palestine- cannot be assigned to a date earlier than 6 A.D. Lk., however, is in contradiction not only with Mt. hut also with himself; for at the outset of his narrative (1:5),he places the event 'in the days of Herod the king of the Jews'. The two data are separated by an interval of more than ten years. No trustworthy date at all can be obtained from the accounts of the nativity that have reached us. The year can he approximately determined only by the elements supplied in Lk. 3:1, 3:23 - that John began his public ministry in the fifteenth year of Tiberius (28-29 A.u.) and that Jesus when he began his (29 A.D.) was about thirty years of age (see further Clinton, Pnsfi Helienici, 3:260 8; A. W. Zumpt, Dus Geburfsjnhr Chris fi, I 869).

The gospels say nothing as to the day of the nativity. The church fixed it by mythological analogy. Whilst the ancient church (as also the Armenian church still does) commemorated the nativity at the feast of Epiphany (6th January), which derives from the Alexandrian feast of the appearing of Dionysos, the Roman Church from the middle of the fourth century onwards set apart the natalis solis invicti - i.e., 25th Dec. - as the anniversary of the Saviour’s birth (cp Usener, Re.?.-gesch. Unt., 1889).

Before this however the most diverse attempts were made to fix a date. A learned jesuit, Antonmaria Lupi, in the eighteenth century took the trouble to show (Disseriazioni, leffere ed aZftre operette, Faenza 1785 1219 8) that there is no month of the year to which the nativity has not been assigned at one time or another.

ll. Place of nativity.[edit]

Another contradiction which must not be overlooked relates to the place of the nativity. Thetraditions that Jesus was born at Bethlehem and that he belonged to Nazareth had become equally firmly established when the Evangelists came to deal with them. Mt. took Bethlehem simply as the native place of Joseph, whom he then represented as fixing his abode at Nazareth in Galilee from fear of Archelaus after the return from Egypt ; he had no right (13:54) to call Nazareth the native place ( HUTNewman Luke (talk)U [patrida]) of Christ as his predecessor (Mk. 6:1) was able to do. Lk. takes Nazareth as the home of Joseph, and to explain the occurrence of the birth at Bethlehem avails himself of the census of Quirinius.

Just as the teaching activity of Jesus down to the period of his last journey to Jerusalem was certainly for the most part confined to the districts immediately surrounding the lake of Galilee, so also his origin in Nazareth of Galilee was an accepted fact (Mk. 6:1-4, Mt. 13:54-55, Lk. 4:16+, Mt. 21:11, 26:69-71, Jn. 1:46, 7:41) ; indeed Mt. 2:23 is able to quote in support of it a (no doubt very apocryphal) prophetical utterance : 'that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets : he shall be called a Nazarene ' (Nu{wpaios [nazooraios]). How was it possible for Bethlehem to set up competing claims ?

In this connection it has been noticed that there was also a Bethlehem in Galilee, not far from Nazareth, which is mentioned once in the Talmud as Bethlehem Noseriyyah. Our present problem, however, cannot he solved, hut rather only further complicated, by this reference. For it is just as certain that the Bethlehem spoken of in the Gospels as the birthplace of Jesus is the Bethlehem in Judrea, south of Jerusalem, as it is that Nazareth was universally accepted as his home.

It is important, however, that, of all the gospel narratives, it is only those of the nativity that refer to the Bethlehem in question. The key is to be sought here.

1 [On the complication thus introduced cp NAZARETH, 4, where the bearing of the evidence is considered, and an attempt made to go behind the existing evangelical traditions.]

12. Why Bethlehem.[edit]

After the discourse on the living water, as we read in Jn. 7:40-41, the audience expressed themselves variously as follows : 'some said : a truth this is the prophet. Others said : this is the Christ. But some said: Shall Christ come out of Galilee? has not the scripture said, that Christ comes of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?' Even as early as the triumphal entry into Jerusalem we find the populace shouting their Hosannas to Jesus as the 'son of David' (Mt. 21:9, cp 21:15, Mk. 11:10, but cp HOSANNA) ; and the Pharisees know that the anointed of the Lord can only be a son of David (Mt. 22:42, Mk. 12:35, Lk. 20:41). From the prophecy in Mic. 5:1 [5:2] was drawn the further inference that the Messiah must come from the city of David, Bethlehem. The scribes whom Herod, according to Mt. , calls to his aid, cannot in view of this prophecy (Mt. 26) for a moment be in any doubt as to the place where the newborn King of the Jews is to be sought. The narrative of Jn. , where the supernatural birth is still unknown, sets the actual home of Jesus, Galilee, over against the theoretical birthplace demanded by Jewish belief, and reveals the hidden path by which Bethlehem had found its way into the gospel tradition. Even while he was yet alive, Jesus was regarded as the 'anointed of God' ; Peter himself had accorded the title (Lk. 9:20, cp Mk. 8:29; in Mt. 16:16 'the Christ, the son of the living God' ). The whole series of attributes which associated itself with the idea of the Messiah in the Jewish mind had necessarily to be transferred to Jesus as soon as the conception that he was the 'Christ' had come effectively into being ; it is a particular case of a general law observable in the growth of legend. Above all it was necessary that Jesus should be a descendant of David, and thus of kingly origin. The genealogical lists which brought Joseph the father of Jesus into connection with David were the first literary consequence. However unobtrusive the prose in which they speak, they are nevertheless the earliest attempts at poetical invention regarding the birth of Christ. The next inevitable step was to transfer his cradle to Bethlehem. When the accounts of Mt. and Lk. were written this had already become a fixed article of faith, which, well or ill, had somehow or other to be fitted in and reconciled with the historical fact as to his actual home.

13. The narratives an addition.[edit]

The contradictions (of the facts as made known to us by the gospel itself) prove that at the time when the narratives of the nativity and childhood were given their present place the kernel of the gospels of Mt. and Lk. was already fixed. These additions must come from quite other hands - the substance of them that is to say, not necessarily the form. For there remains the possibility - untouched by our criticism - that the present form is due to a reviser before whom the various elements already lay.

This possibility does not seem to have been present to the mind of Harnack when recently (SBAW 27 [1900] 547+), proceeding upon the similarity of phraseology and vocabulary, he thought it possible to prove that the first two chapters of Lk. are due to the same hand as that which wrote the whole of the rest of that gospel and Acts as well. It is utterly impossible to think even of those chapters as indubitably coming from one and the same hand. The ultimate decision of the question must be left to criticism of the facts and analysis of the composition.

Whilst in Mt. the story of the childhood allows itself to be recognised as an interpolation by the fact of its being in contradiction with the rest of the gospel, in the case of Lk. we are able to confirm the results reached by criticism by referring to the testimony of the author himself. His appeal to those who 'from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word' (1:2; cp 1:3, &vu6ev [anoothen]) even apart from the express interpretation of what he means by the expressions 'from the beginning' (aw dpxw) anc * from the first (AvaBfv) which he gives in Acts 1:22 (d/^djuecos OTTO roO |3a7rTi<j>iTos, 'beginning from the baptism' ; also 10:37, 'beginning from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached' ) - would leave no room for doubt that Lk. began his gospel with the baptism and preaching of John. This has in substance been correctly and conclusively shown by P. Corssen (GGA, 1899, pp. 315-327).

14. Earlier baptism narratives.[edit]

The oldest written forms of the gospel knew, and knew only, that Jesus was born at Nazareth as the son of Joseph and Mary ; l but they also taught that he was the Messiah foretold by the prophets and expected by the Jews, and they also were able to tell how it was that Jesus himself came to be possessed with the consciousness that he was the Son of God. In these representations were contained the germs which found a fruitful soil in the receptive minds of the ancient Christian churches and were destined to develop comparatively soon into the dogma of the divinity of Christ and even into that of the pre-existence of the Son of God.

As regards the Messiah, Jewish faith did not look for any supernatural birth ; he had only to be a descendant of David and the chosen one of God (cp Hillmann, JPT 17 [1891] 233+). From this, by and by, followed, as a first and unquestioned consequence, that the father of Jesus had to be a descendant of David, and that Jesus must have been born in Bethlehem. It became further necessary, in the second place, that the chosen one of God should be brought into closer relation with God. He who had been born and brought up as man required a divine consecration to his office. Hence the baptism in Jordan.

The appearance of John the Baptist, his preaching and baptism, occupied the first place in the oldest written gospels (see JOHN THE BAPTIST). The example of the Baptist was the means of awakening Jesus to a perception of his own great task ; the depth of the impression made upon him by John is shown by the elevation of the witness which he bears to him (Mt. 11:7+, Lk. 7:24-35, cp Mt. 21:32). It was not till the coming of the tidings that the activity of John had been brought to an untimely end by his imprisonment at Herod s command that Jesus emerged from the obscurity in which he had hitherto lived (Mt. 4:12, Mk. 1:14). Thus there is nothing to prevent us from supposing that Jesus also was among the multitude of those who thronged to the preaching of John to be baptised, and this fact was stated from the first in the gospels.

This baptism at the same time furnished the occasion on which Jesus the man became also the anointed of the Lord. There are two accounts of the manner in which this came about.

1. According to Mk. 1:10-11 Jesus as he comes up from Jordan sees the heaven opened and the Holy Ghost descending upon him, and hears a voice from heaven saying 'Thou art my beloved son in whom I am well pleased'.

These words, taken from the Hebrew text (not LXX) of Is. 42:1 and repeated also on the mount of transfiguration, are employed to convey the testimony that God himself has chosen Jesus as the Messiah, and the spirit of God enters into him in order to bring to their fulfilment the words of Is. 42:1, 112.

2. The procedure of the unknown hand by which the short account of the baptism of Jesus in Jordan was introduced into the Third Gospel (Lk. 3:21-22) was bolder. He was not satisfied with ascribing the divine vocation to the Messiahship ; he wished also to give an immediate divine testimony to the divine sonship of Jesus.

For this end he made use of the words of the Psalmist (Ps. 2:7 ; cp Acts 13:33), and introduced these words as spoken by God : 'Thou art my son ; this day have I begotten thee'. Thus the passage in Lk. was read, in the Greek Church down to about 300 A.D. and in the Latin West down to and beyond 360 A.D.

The picture it conveyed led to the incarnation being connected with the baptism in such manner that the feast of the Epiphany - the manifestation of God upon earth - came to be at once the festival of the baptism and of the birth of Christ until the Christmas festival began to come into vogue. At the same time, concurrently with this more highly pitched account, the older version of the miracle at Jordan was amplified in Mt. and in the Gospel of the Hebrews with new wonders ; the Fourth Gospel also goes far beyond the original story.

l [See NAZARETH, 4, and cp GALILEE, 5.)

15. Course of development.[edit]

The mythical pictures thus produced could not permanently satisfy believing hearts. The conception of the divinity of Jesus which was gaining ever more and more ground found it increasingly impossible to postpone to his thirtieth year the consecration of Jesus as the Messiah or his adoption as the son of God. It was felt that he must have been God's chosen instrument from his very birth. Thus arose the story of the nativity. It arose and took shape at a time when the consecration of Jesus to the Messiahship had already become firmly associated with the baptism in Jordan. If the two had arisen at the same time, or if the story of the nativity had been the earlier to come into currency, the miracle at the baptism could not have received the shape which it now has, or could not have arisen at all ; the one excludes the other.

Here, also, there was a choice of paths. Just as in the description of the baptism we have the divine attestation on the one hand and the divine generation on the other, so also here alongside of the miraculous conception there was possible a mode of representation more in harmony with Jewish modes of thought in which divine revelations at his conception and birth attested to the human son of Joseph and Mary his election to be the Messiah.

16. Lk. : divine attestation.[edit]

Such a representation in point of fact lies before us in Lk. If we bear in mind what we were able to observe at Bethlehem we can become free of the fetters laid upon us by long habituation to a sacred tradition. To Joh. Hillmann (ZPT 17:221+) belongs the merit of having conclusively shown that the two verses in Lk. (1:34-35), the only verses in the Third Gospel in which the supernatural birth of Jesus of the Virgin Mary is stated, are incompatible with the entire representation of the rest of chaps. 1 and 2, and thus must have been interpolated by a redactor. These two verses once removed, what remains is a purely Jewish -Christian account of the birth of the Messiah, still resting upon the foundation of the old and genuine tradition that Jesus was the offspring - the firstborn offspring - of the marriage of Joseph and Mary, and no word is to be found in it which does not admit of full explanation from Jewish ideas concerning the coming Messiah.

The angel Gabriel, sent by God, comes to Nazareth to a virgin named Mary who is betrothed to Joseph, a descendant of David (Q OLKOV AauetS, 127) ; after words of salutation he tells her that she is destined to conceive and bear a son who shall be called the son of the Most High and shall sit upon the throne of his (fore-) father David (and so forth, 1:31-33), and then concludes by telling her of what has happened to Elizabeth her kinswoman (1:36-37). The events in the house of Elizabeth (1:39-56) and the psalm of Zacharias (1:68+) only serve to glorify the Messiah even in the womb of his mother, and to prepare the way for his future relations with John. Shortly before Mary's time has come the journey to Bethlehem - explained, not well, as we have seen ( 10), by the census - is interposed ; Joseph must betake himself to the city of David in order to be entered on the register there because he is 'of the house of David' (2:4), and this, too, along with Mary his wife.

<rirv Mapia/ii rfj yvvaiicl aiirov, 2:5, is the reading of the Syrian palimpsest of Sinai discovered by Mrs. Agnes Lewis Smith, and cum Maria uxore sua pregnante is also attested by the pre-Hieronymian texts of Verona and Vercelli, as also the Colbertinus a reading which speaks for itself, even apart from the weight of the testimony by which it is supported. In place of it was afterwards substituted the reading <rvv M. -rji ^ITJOTU- /xfVr) aviT<3 (so KB and the Lat. vers. of Brescia), and, as we so frequently find happening, in due course the two readings came to be combined by contamination so that the <rvv M. TJ) f/u.i/rj- <TTeii/u.eVr/ aural yvwuici of A, the Lat. vers. of Corbei, of Eusebius and Cyril, Catech. 12, 31, arose. That we have here a case of real contamination is seen very plainly in the old Kreising MS in which the ancient variants TJJ yvvaiKi avrov and rjj efii ijorev- fie i/T) auTui still stand together in immediate juxtaposition.

Since, then, at the beginning of the story (1:27) there is twice prominently made, in accordance with unanimous tradition, the statement that Mary at the time of the Annunciation, although betrothed to Joseph, was still a virgin, we are in a position to infer with certainty from 25: that in the original form of the narrative after 1:38 stood the further statement, hardly to be dispensed with (even though judged inadmissible by the redactor who interpolated 1:34-35), that Mary was then taken to wife by Joseph, and that she conceived by him ; with this best agrees the reminiscence in 2:21 that the name of Jesus had been given by the angel 'before he was conceived in the womb'. That Jesus was the first child of this legitimate marriage is expressly stated (2:7), - 'and she brought forth her firstborn son' ; TOP -rrpwrb- TOKOV is the word, not such an expression as fAovoyevrj, and tradition took no exception to the phrase, which has even been interpolated in Mt. 1:25. Jesus is thus recognised to have been the eldest of the sons and daughters of Joseph, who are referred to in this very gospel itself. In accordance with the Jewish ceremonial law the circumcision and naming of the child follows on the eighth day (2:21), and after forty days comes the dedication of the firstborn and the offering in the temple at Jerusalem (2:22+); the whole procedure presupposes a normal birth from a legitimate marriage, and in 2:27 are the express words, 'When the parents brought in the child Jesus'. The salutations of the aged Symeon (2:29-35) and Anna the prophetess (2:36-38) are entirely in the spirit of the promise of the Messiah as given in the words of the angel, alike to Mary (1:31-33) and to the shepherds (2:11, cp 2:14). Finally, the incident between the parents and their son, now twelve years of age, in the temple (2:41+), which has already been spoken of, stands upon the same footing.

We discern accordingly in Lk.'s account a Jewish-Christian endeavour to invest the birth and childhood of Jesus with the miraculous halo that seemed to be demanded by his call to Messiahship. The miracles, however, are limited to miracles of divine revelation brought by angels or inspired by the Holy Ghost. The historical tradition which lay at the heart of the gospel - that Jesus was born as the eldest child of Joseph and Mary of Nazareth - is still faithfully preserved. Only, the demand that Jesus should through his father belong to the house of David and be born in David s city of Bethlehem had already become the indispensable presupposition for the whole narrative, completely dominated as it was by Messianic ideas. The redactor, while effecting a compromise with the legend as set forth in Mt. by his interpolation of 1:34-35, at the same time introduced an alien and irreconcilable trait into Lk.'s work if it is to be regarded as an artistic unity.

17. Mt. : virgin birth.[edit]

The narrative of Mt., on the other hand, is entirely dominated by the presupposition that Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Joseph receives the revelation, 'that which is begotten in her is of the Holy Ghost', and following the divine direction, 'knew her not till she had brought forth a son'. It is possible to regard the divine begetting as a carrying back, in point of time, of the view of the baptism-miracle which we find in Lk. There is something entirely new, however, in addition - that he was conceived and born of a virgin. Here we unquestionably enter the circle of pagan ideas. Even the Church fathers were unable to shut their eyes to this. The idea is quite foreign to Judaism, whilst for Graeco-Roman antiquity it continued in full activity till after the Augustan age. The present writer has already (see below, 21 ) given the evidence for this, and he could make it still stronger now. The expression in Is. 7:14 could not possibly have given occasion for the shaping of this birth-story. The context of the passage says nothing about an expected Messiah, and speaks merely of a young woman, not of a 'virgin' as the word is in LXX (see IMMANUEL). The efforts which have been made to disprove the unwelcome intrusion of heathen mythology into the substance of the gospels have been ineffectual. It is dangerous to cite evidence that proves the opposite of what it is asked to establish.

In a remarkable passage (De cherub. 13; 1:180-181) Philo, while pressing the actual language of the OT, seeks to show that it was God who had made Sarah, Leah, Rebekah, and Zipporah to be fruitful. Though this does not teach virgin birth it certainly teaches divine generation. It ought not, however, to be overlooked that Philo designates this doctrine a mystery, a sacred revelation, in other words something quite new ; the new knowledge first dawned upon him in the Hellenistic atmosphere of Alexandria, at the fountainhead of all those ideas with which he was able to give a new depth to the traditions of his people.

18. The star, etc.[edit]

The embroidery comes from the same source as the warp and the woof. The appearance of a new star in the sky heralding the birth had been prepared for by the popular faith of antiquity.

By astrologers it was even taught that a new star rises at the birth of every man (see Julianus Halic. in Rhein. Mus. 56:328, 2:11; cp Frazer, GBW, 2:22+). With an event so late even as the birth of Alexander Severus was associated the legend that the future world-empire of the child was foretold by the sudden appearance of a star of the first magnitude (Lampridius, ch. 13); the story may be of Semitic origin. Also the recognition and proclamation of the birth of a new king of the Jews by the magi learned in star-lore finds its parallel in a legend concerning Alexander recorded in Cicero (de Divin. i. 23:47 ; cp 41:90). That the magi should have come in person to do homage to the new-born lord may perhaps, as has been pointed out to the present writer by A. Dieterich, have originated in the journey of homage made by the Parthian king Tiridates to Nero in Rome, an expedition which attracted very great attention (see Cassius Dio, 632-633), especially in the provinces, such as Asia, which actually witnessed the progress of the king with his royal train, and had to entertain him in a manner suitable to his rank. Pliny, who alludes to this event (NH 30:16), actually calls Tiridates magus, and mentions that he had magi in his suite (magos secum adduxerat}, from whom the emperor hoped to learn the secrets of magic. The reign of Nero may have been exactly the period at which the legends of the divine birth of Jesus began to take shape in the Christian world, and it is very possible that tidings of the Neronic persecutions spread from Rome may have had their share in bringing about the introduction of the picture of a bloodthirsty tyrant into the story of the childhood. A massacre of innocents and, as the motive for it, fear of the threatened advent of a new ruler, were already current material for legend, as is shown by the romantic story of Marathus concerning the birth of Augustus (Suet. Aug. 94).

19. The Egypt incident.[edit]

The flight into Egypt, or, to speak more accurately, the return from Egypt, is ill-explained. An angel of the Lord admonishes Joseph to return - as formerly he had warned him to flee - 'for they are dead which sought the young child's life' (Mt. 2:20) ; but 'when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea ... he was afraid to go there', and 'being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee' (Mt. 2:22). It is not easy to understand why the command to return should not in the story have been postponed till after the deposition of Archelaus (6 A.D.) if it were not for the reason that, in that case, there would be no motive left for the selection of Nazareth as a home. Yet to explain the selection, there is introduced, awkwardly enough, a double revelation to Joseph.

Why is it Egypt that is selected as the place of refuge ? We may reply that in the first century, when Jews had long been gathered together in great numbers in Alexandria, it was natural to think of this neighbouring land. Mythological ideas also, however, may have had their unconscious influence ; it is to Egypt that, when attacked by the giant Typhon, the Olympian gods take their flight.

20. The result.[edit]

Thus for the whole birth- and childhood-story of Mt. in its every detail it is possible to trace a pagan substratum. It ,ust have arisen in Gentile-Christian circles, probably in those of the province of Asia, and then was to some extent legitimated by its narrator, in accordance with the tendency manifested throughout the whole of the First Gospel (see Resch, Kindheitscvang. 19 +), by citation of prophetic words in its support.

Thus did the divine birth and nature of Christ receive the stamp of authority for all time, and the Jewish-Christian representation of Lk. , which knew the Messiah only as a son of man, had to be heightened by the introduction of the angelic messages and so brought into conformity with the demands of faith.

The divine birth and nature of Christ thus became gospel. To theosophic speculation the task which now presented itself was that of bringing this dogma into reconcilability with the fact of the humanity of Jesus. It was only after a struggle lasting for centuries that the church succeeded in setting up a unanimous doctrine upon the subject. The struggle indeed would still have arisen even if the gospel of the virgin-birth had not lain before it in writing. Even before the gospel had been written and attained currency the docetic doctrine that the son of God had been sent down from heaven and had lived only seemingly the life of a man in the world, as also the Johannine conception of the pre-existence of the divine logos, had already been formulated.

21. Literature.[edit]

E. F. Gelpke, Die Jugendgesch. des Herrn, 1841 ; P. Lob- stein, Die Lelire von der ubernaturlichcn Geburt Christi: Christologische Studied, 1896 ; A. Resch, Das KindheitsevangtHut* nach Lucas . Matthaeus, 1897 ( TU 10 5) ; L. Conrady, Die Qiielle der kanonischen Kindheitsgesch.Jesu s, 1900 : H. Usener, Religionsgcschichtliche Untersiichungcn , I. Das II eihnachts- ft-st, 1889, pp. 69 ff. ; Ramsay, Was Christ born at Bethlehem ? (1898) ; Hartland, Legend of Perseus; letters by Allen, Badham, Charles, Conybeare, etc., on the Sinaitic Palimpsest and the Virgin-birth, in the Academy, from lyth Nov. 1894 to 29th June 1895; J. Hillmann, Die Kindheitsgesch. Jesu nach Lucas kntisch untersucht in ZPT, 1891, 17192-261; A. W. Zumpt, Das Geburtsjahr Christi, 1869. H. U.


1. Nature-worship in the progress of religion.[edit]

In the article IDOLATRY ( 2-3 ) the development of the ideas about nature which become a factor in religion has been outlined, from the earliest stage, in which man conceives natural objects as animated, by a demonic life, through one in which these objects and localities are permanently inhabited by a numen or frequented by it, to that in which they are the visible symbols wherein the presence of a god is graciously manifested, and, finally, to the rejection of the symbol as incompatible with the conception of a god whose invisible presence fills earth and heaven. The first of these stages had been left behind by the religion of Israel long before our knowledge of it begins ; but innumerable customs of social life and ritual observance that had their root and reason in animistic beliefs survived even to the latest times, and doubtless the beliefs themselves lingered as more or less obscure superstitions among certain classes of the people, as they do to the present day among the peasantry in Christian Europe.

It is obvious that the nature of the object itself determined how far it could be carried along by the advancing religious conceptions. A holy mountain, for example, most easily became the abode of a god, whose power was manifested in storm and lightning, or in the beneficent rain-clouds which gathered around its top ; a cave near the summit might be in a special sense his dwelling-place. 1 A natural rock which had been revered as the seat of a numen might become a rock-altar or a massebah, in which a deity no longer bound to the spot received the sacrifices of his wor shippers and answered their requests ; l and might even finally be understood by higher spirits as only the symbol of the divine presence. On the other hand, the sacred tree was not so easily dissociated from its own life ; its spirit might be very potent in its sphere, but it was to the end a tree-spirit, even if some greater name was given it. Consequently, the beliefs and customs connected with trees and with vegetation generally have been left behind in the progress of religion and often put under its ban, though nowhere extirpated by it.

1 So perhaps at Horeb, 1 K. 19:9.

2. In Israel : holy trees.[edit]

We find this true in the OT. The mountains and the sacred wells and springs which once had, as in some instances we can still perceive, their own numina, have been taken possession of by Yahwe, and become his holy places, seats of his worship ; no traces of a distinctive cultus have been preserved ; 2 the rocks, so far as they have a religious association at all, are his altars or memorial stones. 3

Sacred trees, too, are found at the sanctuaries of Yahwe ; 4 at Beersheba, by the holy wells, was a tamarisk which Abraham planted with religious rites (Gen. 21:33); 8 at Hebron Abraham built an altar at the elon Mamre (13:18), B where he dwelt (14:13); beneath the tree Yahwe appeared to him in theophany (18:1+). At the elon more [elon-more] at Shechem Yahwe appeared to Abraham (Gen. 12:6-7) ; under the elah at the same place Jacob buried the idols and amulets of his Aramaean household (Gen. 35:4) : there Joshua erected a massebah beneath the elah which is in the sanctuary of Yahwe (Josh. 24:26) ; by the same tree Abimelech was made king (Judg. 9:6); near Shechem stood also an elon me onenim (Judg. 9:37); the tomb of Deborah was under a tree near Bethel named 'allon bakkuth (Gen. 35:8) ; beneath the elah at Ophrah the angel of Yahwe appeared to Gideon, who built an altar on the spot (Judg. 6:11, 19:24). Compare also the place-names, Elim (Ex. 16:1), Elath (2 K. 14:22 ), Elon (Judg. 12:11); see also Judg. 4:5, 1 S. 14:2, 22:6, 31:13 (1 Ch. 10:12). The words TN, n^N ( 'elah, 'allah), p*?N ('elon, 'allon}, 1 ordinarily mean holy tree (cp Is. 1:29); the substitutions made in the Targums and by Jerome (i.e. , Jerome's Jewish teachers) show how keenly this was felt at a late time. The etymological connection of the word with JN ( 'el), 'numen, god', is very probable. 8 The names elon more [elon-more], elon me onenim, point to tree oracles ; and though these names, like many of the others, are probably of Canaanite origin, we may observe that David takes an omen from the sound of a marching in the tops of the baka trees (2 S. 5:24).


2 This is far from saying that no such rites were practised.

3 See MASSEBAH, 5, 7.

4 For references to the literature see col. 2153, n. 9.

5 Stade and v. Gall (Kultstiitten, 47) would read, instead of esel tamarisk, dscrdh, connecting the verse with 26:25 (Isaac).

6 LXX, fy>0s [drus] ; the plur. in MT is an alteration with a purpose like that of Tg. Vg. plain. The holy tree sounded heathenish. Abraham's oak (or terebinth) was an object of veneration in the time of Constantine, who had the altars beneath it destroyed (see Rel. Pal., p. 711 ff.\ An Abraham's oak is still shown (sen Jewish. Encylopedia, 193).

7 The diversity of pronunciation in MT is not a consistent discrimination of 'oak' and 'terebinth'. See Moore, Judges (Int. Comm.), i2iyi, and v. Gall, Kultstdtten, 24^

8 Levy, Phon. Stud. 1:19-20 (1856); and many.

9 See Jer. 2:20, 3:6, 3:13, 17:2, Ezek. 6:13, 20:28, etc.

3. Survivals in cult and custom.[edit]

Of an actual tree cult we have no evidence in the OT, the prophetic irony directed against the veneration of stocks (ru) [not sticks] and stones more probably referring to asherahs or wooden idols. But the places of worship 'under every luxuriant tree' 9 had at least originally a deeper reason than that the shade was good (Hos. 4:13) ; and we shall probably not err if we see in beliefs which in many other parts of the world have been associated with the powers of tree-spirits and the life of vegetation at least one root of the sexual licence which at these sanctuaries was indulged in in the name of religion. 1 Doubtless the custom existed, which still prevails in Syria as in many other countries, of hanging upon the trees bits of clothing, ornaments, and other things which keep up the connection between the man to whom they belonged and the spirit of the tree. 2 At least one law - the three years 'orlah of fruit-trees when they begin to bear (Lev. 19:23-25) - perpetuates a parallel between the life of tree and man which was once more than an analogy. 3 The prohibition of mixed plantations (kil' ayim, Dt. 22:9) is probably another instance of the same kind. The prohibition of reaping the corner of a field (Lev. 19:9, 23:22),"* though now a charitable motive is attached to it, had primitively a very different reason : the corner was left to the grain-spirit. 5 That the first sheaf of the harvest, the first cakes made of the new grain, were originally not an offering to the God of the land, but a sacrament of the corn-spirit, is shown by similar evidence. 6

If all this belongs to an age which to the Israelites was prehistoric, the gardens of Adonis (Is. 17:10, see ADONIS) and the women s mourning for Tammuz (Ezek. 8:14, see TAMMUZ) 7 show that in mythologised, and doubtless foreign, forms, the great drama of plant life - the blooming spring, the untimely death under the fierce midsummer sun, and the resurrection of the new year, maintained its power over the Israelites as well as their neighbours.

4. Water habitation.[edit]

The holy wells and springs in Palestine, 8 like the mountains, were taken possession of by Yahwe when he supplanted the baals in their old haunts. No trace remains in the OT of distinctive rites or restrictions connected with sacred waters such as we know in abundance among the neighbours of the Israelites. But one ceremony was observed annually in the temple, at the Feast of Tabernacles, which must be briefly mentioned here. 9 At this season water was drawn from Siloam, carried, amid the blare of trumpets, into the temple precincts through a gate called for this reason the water-gate, and poured upon the altar, 10 running down through a drain into the subterranean receptacle. The reason for the rite is given in another place : 'The Holy One, Blessed is he ! said, Pour out water before me at the Feast, in order that the rains of the year may be blessed to you'. u The libation was thus an old rain charm, a piece of mimetic magic. 12 A very similar ceremony at Hierapolis is described by Lucian. 13

On sacred animals and supposed survivals of totem cults and superstitions see CLEAN AND UNCLEAN.

1 See, e.g., Hos. 413-15, etc.; cp HARLOT. On the subject in general see Frazer, GBft) 1 zo^ff. Cp 1 igzff.

2 See Tylor, Prim. Cult.W 2223 ff. ; \VRS Rel. Sem.P) iSsyC IQS ; Doughty, Ar. Des. 1 449^ ; cp DRESS, 8.

  • Incidentally it makes it probable that among the Canaanites

from whom the custom is doubtless derived circumcision was originally performed at puberty (cp CIRCUMCISION, 6).

4 Perhaps the law which forbids the gathering of a forgotten sheaf should be included (Dt. 24 19).

5 See Frazer, GBft\ Ivwff., especially 236 n.

6 Frazer, I.c., 319+, 329

7 See Frazer, I.c., 115+

8 See IDOLATRY, 2.


10 M. Succa, 49 ; Bab. Succa, 48 a, ff.

11 Resh ha-shanah, i6a, bottom ; cp Ta'anith, 2a.

12 On making rain see Frazer, GBW 1 8i_/f. 2 1217??

13 De Dea Syria, chap. 13, cp 48 ; WRS Rel. Sem.P) 23i/

14 See Tylor, Prim. Cult. (3) -2 285 ^. ; Scholz, GStzendienst, Wff-

5. The heavenly bodies.[edit]

The heavenly bodies, especially the sun, moon, and (five) planets, appeared to the ancients to be living beings, and since their influence on human welfare was manifest and great they were adored as deities ( see Wisd. 13:2+). The relative prominence of these gods in religion and mythology differs widely among peoples upon the same plane of culture and even of the same stock ; they had a different significance to the settled population of Babylonia from that which they had for the Arab nomad, 1 and besides this economic reason there are doubtless historical causes for the diversity which are in great part concealed from us.

That the Israelite nomads showed in some way their veneration of the sun is most probable ; but there is no reason to believe that sun-worship was an important part of their religion. In Palestine the names of several cities bear witness to the fact that they were seats of the worship of the sun (Shemesh ; see BETH-SHEMESH, EN- SHEMESH ; also KIR-HERES, TlMNATH-HERES). The best known of these is Beth-shemesh - now 'Ain Shems - in the Judrean lowland, just across the valley from Zorah, the home of Samson, whose own name shows that Israelites participated in the cult of their Canaanite neighbours, and perhaps appropriated elements of a solar myth. 2 It may be questioned whether the worship of the sun at these places was of native Canaanite origin, or is to be ascribed to Babylonian influence, such as we recognise in the case of the names Beth-anath 3 and, probably, Beth-dagon. If we may judge from the evidence of Phoenician names, the worship of the sun had no such place in the religion of Canaan as Shamash had in that of the Babylonians and Assyrians, 4 and it seems more likely that the god whose cult gives a distinctive name to certain places was a foreign deity. These considerations lend some additional probability to Budde s surmise that the southern Beth-shemesh is the place designated in the Amarna Tablets, no. 183, l. 14-15, as Bit-Ninib in the district of Jerusalem. 5 The name of the city of Jericho - the most natural etymology of which derives it from rrv [YRKh], moon - 6 may indicate that it was a seat of moon-worship ; but we have no other evidence of the fact. The names of the Desert of Sin and the holy mountain SINAI (q.v. ) bear witness to the fact that the region was a centre of the cult of the moon-god Sin, who was zealously worshipped in Syria (Harran), Babylonia, and southern Arabia ; in later times Greek and Latin writers as well as Nabatoean inscriptions attest the worship of the moon by the population of Arabia Petrosa ; the appearance of the new moon is still greeted by the Bedouins, 7 as it was by Canaanites and Israelites in OT times. The religious observance of the new moon with festal rejoicings and sacrifices belongs originally to a lunar cult ; 8 but, as in many other cases, this festival and its rites were taken up into the religion of Yahwe the national religion absorbing the nature religion. Whether the Canaanite Astarte-worship was associated with the planet Venus we do not certainly know ; the worship of the QUEEN OF HEAVEN [q.v.] in the seventh century was evidently regarded as a new and foreign cult. Cp MOON.

The opinion, formerly widely entertained and not yet everywhere abandoned, that the Canaanite worship of Baal and Astarte was primitive sun- and moon-worship, is without foundation ; the identification - so far as it took place in the sphere of religion at all - is late and influenced by foreign philosophy (see BAAL, 2-3, ASHTORETH, 4).

1 In southern Arabia the worship of the sun and moon is strikingly prevalent.

2 See Moore, Judges (Int. Contm.), 325 f. 364 ./I; and cp SAMSON.

3 Notice the proximity of Beth-shemesh and Beth-anath in Galilee, Judg. 1 33-

  • See Baeth. Beitr. 61.


6 The form, shortened from pnT, is related to nv precisely as pe DB to C 2B - Cp JERICHO.

7 Doughty, A r. Des. 1 366.

8 See Spencer, De leg. rit., lib. 3 diss. 4, and Chrysost. Horn. 6 in Matt.

  • Am. 5:26 cannot be taken as evidence that these cults were

already established in the eighth century ; see AMOS, 13, CHIUN. Nor, in view of the silence of the eighth-century prophets, is 2 K. 17:16 sufficient proof that this worship was one of the sins which brought destruction on Israel.

If the evidence of the worship of the heavenly bodies in Israel in older times is thus scanty and indirect, the case is otherwise in the seventh and sixth centuries. 9 Jeremiah predicts that the bones of all classes in Jerusalem shall be exhumed and spread out before the sun and the moon and the whole host of heaven whom they have loved and served and followed and consulted and prostrated themselves to (Jer. 8:2). The deuteronomic law pronounces the penalty of death against the man or woman who worships the sun or the moon or the host of heaven (17:3) ; cp also Dt. 4:15, 4:19. The introduction of this cult in Jerusalem is ascribed to Manasseh, who built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the temple (2 K. 21:3-5) ; the apparatus of this worship, with other heathenish paraphernalia, was destroyed by Josiah in his reformation (621 B.C.) and the priests put out of the way (2 K. 23:4-5). The altars of the astral cults were under the open sky, frequently upon the flat roofs of houses (Jer. 19:13, Zeph. 1:5); 1 probably the altars on the roof - the 'upper story' of Ahaz - (2 K. 23:12), 2 apparently an addition to the temple, were of this sort. Sacrifices were burnt upon them (2 K. 23:5). The heavenly bodies needed no idol, they were visible gods ; 3 and although various symbols of the sun are found in Assyria as well as Egypt, it is not certain that there were such in Jerusalem. Horses dedicated to the sun (cp NATHAN-MELECH) were stabled at one of the entrances to the temple, apparently in an annex on the western side (2 K. 23:11), and with them chariots of the sun. The horses, animals sacred to the sun (Bochart, 1:141+, ed. Rosenm. ), were not kept for sacrifice but, harnessed to the chariots, were driven in procession ; according to the Jewish commentators, driven out (toward the E. ) to meet the sun at his rising. These horses were probably, as elsewhere, white. 4 The rite, one of those imitative acts of cultus which have their ultimate origin in mimetic magic, probably came to the Jews from Assyria, 5 though the special sacredness of the horse to the sun seems rather to be of Iranian origin. 6 Another rite is described by Ezekiel (8:16) : in the inner court of the temple, at the very door of the yabs, between the prostyle and the great altar, men were standing with their backs to the sanctuary of Yahwe and their faces to the E., prostrating themselves eastward to the sun. The words in the next verse, translated in RV 'they put the branch to their nose', have been thought to refer to another feature of the ritual, similar to the use of the bunch of twigs called baresma, held by the Persians before the mouth when at prayer ; not only this interpretation, however, but the connection of the words with the sun-worship of v. 16, is uncertain. 7 The throwing of kisses to the sun and moon is alluded to in Job (31:26-28) as a superstitious custom ; 8 it corresponds to the actual kissing of an idol (1 K. 19:18, Hos. 13:2).

In the references to this worship, beside sun and moon, two other names appear which require a word of comment. One of these, seba hash-shamdim (c Cffn N3!i). 'the host of heaven' (LXX in Dt. o /c6<r/uos TOV ovpavov, elsewhere SiWjUij, ffTpand ; Vg. militia), is a collective term, sometimes apparently including the sun and moon, sometimes designating the other heavenly bodies ; see Dt. 4:19, 'the sun and moon and stars all the host of heaven'. The word 'host' (saba) is the common Hebrew word for army ; the stars, conceived as living beings, not only by their number (Jer. 33:22), but also by their orderly movement 'as though under command, resembled an army in the field'. 1 In at least one old passage, the phrase 'the host of heaven' designates the beings (cp 'a certain spirit', v. 21) who form Yahwe's court and execute his will (1 K. 22:19+, Micaiah's vision; cp also Josh. 5:13-14). 2 It is unnecessary to suppose that the author s conception here is essentially different from that implied in the more common use of the phrase, as though in the latter the stars were meant as merely astronomical bodies and in the former 'angels' ; unnecessary, therefore, to seek a remote connection between senses which only our modern ideas have separated. 3 The host of heaven 1 are the ministers of Yahwe. 4

The other word, mazzaloth, occurs only in 2 K. 23:5 (ni^D, LXX .a.ovp(*}0 [mazzourooth], Vg. duodecim signa, Pesh. mauzlatha, Tg. NnSto), and - if the words are rightly identified - in Job 38:32 (jrnia), and is variously understood of the signs of the zodiac (so Jerome above), or the planets. It appears to be a loan-word from Assyr. manzaltu, 'station, abode', and points to the origin of the religion. 5 For another cult of this class see QUEEN OF HEAVEN.

1 Cp Strabo, xvi. 4:26 (p. 784), Nabatsans, to the sun ; Isaac of Antioch, ed. Bickell, 2:210 ; Tos. Zfhachim, 13 15.

2 The words inx fl Sl seem to be a gloss.

3 Lucian, Dea Syria, 34 ; Julian, Orat. 4 ; Wisd. 13 2 f., cp \off.

4 See HORSE, 4.

" See Jensen, Kosmol. 108 ff. ; cp Jastrow, Rel. Bab. Ass. i 7 6/

6 See Hehn. Kulturflflanzcn u. Hausthiere^, 42 ff.

7 See Toy, Ezek. (.y<3:T); Kraetzschmar, Ezech. (HK).

8 Lucian, De saltatione, chap. 17 ; Tertull. Apol. chap. 16 etc. ; Scholz, Gotzendienst, 55.

6. History.[edit]

We have seen that the worship of the 'sun and moon and the whole host of heaven' came in under Assyrian influence in the seventh century ; it flourished under Manasseh ; was temporarily suppressed, with other foreign religions, by Josiah in 6:21 ; but sprang up again after his death, and continued in full vigour down to the fall of the kingdom of Judah in 5:86 ; nor did that catastrophe extinguish it (see QUEEN OF HEAVEN, i). We cannot doubt that astrological divination, if not the worship of the heavenly bodies, was one of the strongest temptations of heathenism to the Jews in Babylonia (see Is. 47:13, cp Dan. 2:2 etc. ).

The development of theological monotheism involved the assertion of Yahwe's supremacy over the heavenly bodies : he created them, he leads out their host in its full number, calls them all by name, so great is his power not one of them dares be missing ( Is. 40:26, cp 45:12, Gen. 1:14+, Neh. 9:6). They are not mere luminaries set in the sky, but superhuman beings ; it is by Yahwe's ordinance that the nations worship them (Dt. 4:19-20, cp 3:28 LXX, Jubilees, 15:31-32) ; the final judgment falls no less upon the high host on high, who guide and govern the nations in history, than on the kings of the earth on earth; they shall together be shut up in prison (Is. 24:21-23, Enoch 18:13-16, 21:1-6, Rev. 9:1-2, 11 ; cp Dan. 8:10-11).

Philo is therefore in accord not only with Greek thinkers but with the OT in representing the stars as intelligent living beings ; they are of a 'divine and happy and blessed nature', nay, 'manifest and perceptible gods' - expressions which, as he means them, are not incompatible with his monotheism. 7 The Essenes are said to have observed certain religious customs which imply peculiar veneration for the sun ; 8 but whatever may have been the origin of the practices, it may be assumed that they had found in them some symbolical meaning in harmony with the fundamental dogma of their Judaism.

G. F. M.

1 See STARS, 4.

2 See ANGELS, 2.

3 S.i, e.f., Driver in Hastings BDI^o.

4 On later passages of similar tenor, see below, 6.

5 Del. Prol. 142 ; Ass. HWB 457 ; Jensen, Kosmol. 348 ; cp MAZZALOTH, STARS, 3, d.

6 See Baudissin, Stud. 1 118^ ; Smend, ZA TW 4 200(1884) ; Duhm, Jesaia, loc. etc.

7 Drummond, Philo, 1:283 ; see also Baudissin, Stud. 1:116+. Jos. BJ 2:8:5 ; see ESSENES, 5.


(N&OYM [Ti. WH]), Lk. 3:25 AV, RV NAHUM (q.v.)


1. 1$, gab; N60TON- NtOTOC I 1 K. 7:33 AV, RV 'felloe'. 1 See WHEEL, 1a.

2. lirn, hishshur, 1 K. 7:33 RV, AV 'spoke'. See WHEEL, i c.


(|U; NA Y H [BKAC]; nave), Ecclus. 461, AV, RV NUN (q.v.).


i. ^N, NAyC. classis, 1 K. 9:26 (EV 'navy of ships' ), 27, 10:11, 10:22. See SHIP.

2. oroAos [otolos], i Macc. 1:17 (Vg. naviunt multitudo, RVmg. 'armament' ), 2 Macc. 12:9 (Vg. naves, RV 'fleet' ), 14:1 (Vg. naves, RV 'fleet' ). See SHIP.


(NAZCORAIOI [Ti. WH]), the 'sect' 1 (cupecris [airesis]) whose 'ringleader' 1 (wpuroarar^ [prootostates]), according to the orator TERTULLUS (q.v.), was Paul (Acts 24:5). 'Nazarenes' at once suggests 'Nazareth' ; Blass thinks that there is an implication of contempt. But was 'Jesus of Nazareth' a contemptuous title ? All that we can say is that 'Nazarenes' is specifically Jewish, as 'Christians' or 'Chrestians' (see CHRISTIAN, NAME OF, i) is specifically Gentile. It seems originally to have meant 'Galilaeans', 1 and to have expressed the same historical fact as the accusation formulated in Lk. 23:5 (cp Acts 10:37), 'He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judaea, and beginning from Galilee unto this place'. 1 A Jewish-Christian sect afterwards appropriated the term.

At the time of Epiphanius the sect was to be found in Coele-Syria, Decapolis (Pella), and Basanitis (Cocabe). According to that authority (Pan. 29:7) they were Jews pure and simple, but recognised the new covenant as well as the old, and believed in the resurrection, and in the one God and his Son Jesus Christ. Tertullus, however, is made to use the term Nazarenes in the broad sense of followers of Jesus ; it is associated no doubt with disparaging terms, but is not in itself disparaging.


(NAZApeO and NAZ<NpT are best attested ; Nafapo. [Ti. WH] is found in Mt. 4 13 [N b B* 33], -aS [A], -er [B2], -e0 [N*D]andinLk.4 i-a[NB* 33], -afl[A], -ar[A], -eS [D] ; Keim, Jesu von Nazara, 1319 2421 8670 argues strongly for Nafapa), whence Nazarene (Nafaprji/o? [Ti. WH], Mk. 1 24 1047 [BLA], -oprjxos [D], -upcuos [NAC] ; 14 67 -apr^c? [BCL], -oprji/o? [D], -ajpaios [A]; 166 -apjji/os [N, etc.], -lopaio? [LA] ; Lk. 4 34 -op^i/os [D*] 24 19 [KBL], -wpatos [AD]. No^w- palos [Ti. WH], Mt. 223 2l3 7 i Lk. 1837, -aprji/os |D, etc.]; Jn. 185, -aprji/os [D, etc.] ; 7; 19 19 ; also seven or, including Acts 9 5, eight times in Acts)

1. Associations and history.[edit]

A 'city' of Galilee, 1 the residence of Joseph and Mary ; known as Jesus' 'own country' (irarpis [patris]), because till his baptism he resided there with his family (Mt. 4:13, 21:11, Mk. 1:9, Lk. 1:26, 2:4, 3:9, 3:51, 4:16, Jn. 1:46-47 [1:45-46], Acts 10:38). From Nazareth Jesus derived his Talmudic name of 'Jesus the Nazarene' ( Tiisn it? Sanh. 43a, 107b, Sot. 47a), and his disciples the name 'Nazarenes' 1 (an^n Ta'an. 27b). In the Gospels, too, and in Acts Jesus is constantly called 'Jesus of Nazareth', 1 and in Acts 24:5 Tertullus calls the Christians 'Nazarenes' (cp Mt. 223, on which see below). 1 Nazareth being thus closely identified with Jesus, it is strange to find that until the reign of Constantine (Epiph. adv. Haer. 1:136) it had none but Jewish inhabitants - a fact which is obviously fatal to the so-called traditional sites in the present town. In the time of Epiphanius there were certainly Christians at Nazareth ; but it was not yet much visited by pilgrims, 2 for Jerome in the same century speaks of Paula as passing with all speed through Nazareth 'the Lord s nursing-mother' (Ep. 86).

In the sixth century, however, a large basilica stood there (Antoninus), and in the fifth a church over the house of Mary (Arculf). The place suffered severely from the Moslem conquest ; but the Crusaders honoured it, not only by erecting churches there, but by transferring thither the see of Scythopolis. The expulsion of the Franks again reduced Nazareth to insignificance ; but since the eighteenth century it has gradually grown in importance, and now numbers about 10,000 souls. Its secluded position, however, and the want of springs (there is only one), render this prosperity, which seems to have temporary causes, rather precarious.

1 The Oriental Christians, however, call themselves nasara (sing, nasrani).

2 Was this due to indignation at the obstinate unbelief of the people of Nazareth, and their reported attempt on the life of their Prophet (Lk. 4:28-30)?

2. Modern sites.[edit]

The modern en-Nasira (as it is called by the natives) is situated in Lower Galilee, N. of the great plain of Esdraelon, and nearly midway between the Lake of Gennesaret and the Mediterranean. It runs up the sides of a hill facing the E. and SE. , in a basin entirely shut in by hills, except on the S. , where a narrow rocky gorge leads to the great plain. Whether the earlier city occupied the same site, is doubtful ; there are said to be traces of buildings just above. The monks of Nazareth assert that in Christ s time the city extended as far as the foot of the Jebel Kafsy (or if not, that it was entirely situated there), a mountain with a precipice overhanging the plain of Esdraelon, nearly 2 mi. S. by E. of the present Nazareth. This is connected with the latest and clumsiest of all the Christian legends of Nazareth, and such a devout Roman Catholic as GueYin, though he treats the legend of the Mount of Precipitation with respect, rejects without hesitation the theory on which it has come to be based. l

As Guerin and Robinson agree, there is no reason whatever why some precipice of the north-western hill (the Jebel es-Sih) should not have been the scene of the 'precipitation' (KaraKp-r]fj.i>Lffai [katakremnisai] 'to hurl headlong down' ) intended by the writer of Lk. 4:29. There is a place by the Maronite church where the hill 'breaks off in a perpendicular wall 40 or 50 ft. in height' ; this, Robinson thinks, may well have been the spot whither the Jews led Jesus. The difficulty is that in Mt. 13:54-58 and Mk. 6:1-6 we have a form of the tradition which is strictly inconsistent with that in Lk. 4:16-31. There are indeed some features in Lk.'s version which have illustrative value for the ministry of Jesus (viz. a, his choice of Is. 61:12a as a lesson in the synagogue ; b, the use which he makes of the proverb, Physician, heal thyself, 2 and c, his striking applications of details in the lives of Elijah and Elisha) ; but two even of these appear to be inconsistent with the version in Mt. and Mk. , and to have been misplaced ; and most certainly the story of the frenzied Nazarenes dragging their victim to a precipice cannot be reconciled with the natural and probable tradition in the two other Gospels. It is best not to foster historical illusions ; a true life of Jesus can well afford to spare the improbable story of the dis honour put upon him by his own townsmen.

If sites consecrated by the presence of Jesus must be had, the two spots which have most claim to be so regarded are :

  • (1) the spring known variously as 'Mary's Spring', 'Jesus Spring', and 'Gabriel's Spring', and
  • (2) the summit of the mountain above Nazareth,

(1) Of the spring, Socin remarks that as this is the only spring which the town possesses, it is all but certain that the child Jesus and his mother were once among its regular frequenters. 3 (2) Anyone oppressed by the limited life of a village would naturally climb the Jebel es-Sih (1602 ft. above the sea), and he would be amply rewarded for his pains. Far and near, spots famous in Israelitish history, as well as fair to look upon, are spread out before the eye. Mt. Tabor, much of the Great Plain, Mt. Carmel and the Bay of Acre, the fine plain of el-Battof with Sefuriyeh (Sepphoris) at its S. end, Safed on its hill, and the distant snows of Hermon - such is the noble panorama of the Nazareth mountain. Most important is it, however, to remember that in the time of Jesus, there were places not far off, throbbing with the tumultuous industrial life of the present. If the Nazareth which we know to-day is on the site of the Nazareth of Jesus, we can understand, as we gaze from that lofty observatory, the combination of sympathy with reserve or detachment which characterised Jesus. Retired, but not shut off from the world - haunted, but not disturbed, by a sense of adjacent populousness - Jesus would have found leisure in such a nook as this to brood over spiritual problems and the true wants of his people. Dean Farrar has given eloquent expression to the longing of the Christian heart to feel that here at least are 'holy fields' which the feet of Jesus have trodden. 1

1 Guerin (Galilee, 1:97) suggests that the mountain (TOU opous) in Lk. 4:29 may mean all the heights around Nazareth collectively ! The truth is, however, that the precipice was selected solely on the ground of its prominence, when seen from Esdraelon. The legend is of very late origin.

2 The natural interpretation of 'Ye will surely say to me', etc. (Lk. 4:23), is that, according to the Nazarenes, their gifted townsman ought to have proved his supernatural capacities by doing something to raise himself in the social scale. Poverty was no better than a disease. 'Thou clever physician, who canst cast out demons from others, produce gold and silver and fine clothes for thyself, and we will believe thee. Make thyself fit for the highest society, and cease to consort with the meanest and vilest. Then we will give up calling thee "the carpenter", and if thou shouldest aim even at the Messianic crown, the Galileans shall be at thy side'. The evangelist himself seems to have misunderstood this traditional saying of Christ.

3 Baed. Pal.P), 282.

3. The name doubtful.[edit]

At this point, however, the warning of Dean Stanley not to build our faith on symbols and sacred sites may well be referred to, It is very doubtful whether the beautiful mountain village of Nazareth was really the dwelling-place of Jesus. No such town as Nazareth is mentioned in the OT, in Josephus, or in the Talmud.

It has been suggested indeed that Nazareth may be a corrup tion of En Sarid - i.e., 'the fountain of Sarid' ; Sarid is the name of a place on the S. border of Zebulun in the MT of Josh. 19:10-12. 2 Unfortunately, the name is most probably in correctly read (see SARID), and the supposed corruption is difficult to comprehend. As to the Talmud ; it is supposed by some that Nazareth is 'the white house on the mountain' 3 ("1H3 JnS n 3), which was one of the places that supplied wine for the drink-offerings ; and this has been illustrated by the statement of Quaresmius that Nazareth was formerly called Medina abiat - i.e., 'civitas alba' (?). Quaresmius, however, is no older than the sixteenth century, and the 'white house' of the Mishna is probably to be identified with LEBONAH (g,v.). The earliest mention of the name Nazareth (mi j) is thought to be in an elegy of Kalir for the ninth day of Ab, where 3 rnSE O is the designation of a 'course' of priests settled at Nazareth. Kalir s elate is perhaps 900 A.D., but the elegy is based on an ancient Midrash now lost.* This, however, is rather vague ; and the question would still remain, What is meant by Nazareth ?

Was Nazareth originally the name of a town (or village) at all? There are two NT passages which may well suggest a doubt. One is Mt. 2:23, 'And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene'. The passage has been much discussed, but without sure result. Most commentators have seen in it an allusion to the prophecy of the shoot 1S3, nfser) in Is. 11:1b ; so already eruditi Hebrai in Jerome's time. It is hardly conceivable, however, that the synonymous word semah (nos), which had long been in possession of the field as a Messianic title, should have been displaced among the Christians by neser (ni j). It is rather an allusion to Is. 9:1-2 , 'the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, . . . Galilee of the Gentiles', which is quoted in Mt. 4:13-16 with reference to Jesus dwelling in Capernaum, but which was surely applied by the first Christians to his early ministry by the Sea of Galilee - not to his residence at Capernaum, nor to his earlier dwelling at Nazareth, but to his Galilcean ministry as a whole. In a word, Nazareth ought to mean 'Galilee', and Nazarene ought to mean 'Galilaean'.

The other passage is Jn. 1:45-46 , where Philip tells Nathanael that he and others have found the Great One spoken of in the scriptures, and Nathanael returns answer, 'Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth ?' In passing, we cannot avoid correcting the text of v. 46. It is plain, both from the context and from the parallel passage Jn. 7:41, that Nathanael means, not to put a slight on the moral character of the Nazarenes, but to affirm as the result of his study of the scriptures, that the Messiah cannot proceed from Galilee. Therefore, n dya66i> [ti agathon] must have taken the place of some title of the Messiah. The right reading must be 6 #7105 [o agios], the Holy One, which is a title of the Messiah in Acts 3:14, Rev. 3:7 (cp John 6:69, reading 6 dyios TOV 0eoO [o agios ton theon], with WH and RV, Mk. 124 Lk. 434)- Tt in TI ayaSov was originally rat (a dittpgram) ; aya.9 [agath] is a cor- ruption of ayios [agion] (0 and er were confounded in pronunciation) ; ov may perhaps come from o, i.e., 6, transposed).

Thus the passage becomes, 'Can the Holy One proceed from Nazareth', and 'Nazareth' (cp Jn. 7:41, and also Mt. 26:69 with v. 71) means 'Galilee'. We cannot, indeed, prove this beyond dispute ; but we can perhaps make it as good as certain from a critical point of view. The form Nazareth is probably less correct than Nazara, and Nazara implies a Hebrew form 1^3, which is also required to account for nxu, the Talmudic word for Nazarene (see above, i). It is probably the same name which enters into the name Gennesar - a more correct form than GENNESARET (q.v. ), found in 1 Macc, 11:67 [AN c - a c - b ], in Mt. 14:34 (D*), and Mk. 6:53 (D), in Josephus, and in all the Jewish and Christian Aramaic versions. 1

We can now understand an enigmatical phrase in the Talmud. According to Neubauer, 2 n "ix DnV TV3 (Megilla, 70a) is equivalent to mxj *? a - i.e. , 'Bethlehem near Nazareth', or, 'in the district of Nazareth' ; it is to the Bethlehem in Zebulun that reference is made. Gratz differs slightly from this ; he thinks that the northern Bethlehem was, in the post-exilic period, called Nazareth, so that mx. or rrnxj, somehow means Nazareth. The truth surely is that Bethlehem nostrTyyah means 'the Galilaean Bethlehem'. Just as the southern Bethlehem, however, was sometimes called 'Bethlehem (of) Judah' (so five times in OT, cp also Mic. 5:2), so, we need not doubt, the northern Bethlehem was called 1X3 onWva, 'Bethlehem (of) Nazar (or Nesar)' - i.e., Bethlehem of Galilee.

1 Life of Christ, 78.

2 Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, 1 146.

3 Mishna, AlfndhStti, 9 7.

  • Neubauer, Geogr. du Talmud, 82, 85, 190; cp 117.

4. The birthplace of Jesus.[edit]

This furnishes a key to the famous problem as to the birthplace of Jesus. Why was Nazareth called the 7rar / K/s [patris] or 'fatherland' of Jesus if he was really born not at Nazareth, but at Bethlehem ? And how came Joseph and Mary, who apparently felt a strong attraction to Nazareth, to go to Bethlehem-Judah at all? Note, by the way, that Mt. 1:18-25 does not name the birth place of Jesus, and that Mk. and Jn. pass over the birth of Jesus altogether, allowing us to suppose that his childhood and youth were altogether passed at Nazareth. To the question why Nazareth was called the fatherland of Jesus, no direct answer is furnished. All that Mt. can tell us is that Joseph was afraid to go into Judaea because of Archelaus, and therefore 'turned aside into the parts of Galilee, and came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth'. To the question why Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem-judah, Mt. virtually replies that the Christ had to be born there because of the prophecy in Mic. 5:2 [5:1], whilst Lk. s answer is that Joseph, who had previously dwelt at Nazareth, was obliged to go up (with his wife) to Bethlehem in Judasa, because of the census of Cyrenius. The state ment of Lk. is accepted by conservative scholars on the ground that recent researches (see QUIRINIUS) have made it probable that one of several periodical censuses took place in Palestine as elsewhere in 8 B. C. or in 6 A. D. But obviously the reasoning is imperfect. If the Gospels agreed as to the main circumstances of the birth of Jesus, so that we could assume a popular tradition, then the historical plausibility of Lk.'s setting would be an argument in favour of the tradition. Such, however, is not the case. The discrepancies of the evangelists compel us to make some hypothesis, and the hypothesis which best accounts for the phenomena is, not that which is generally current among NT critics, and is vigorously maintained by Keim (Jesus of Nazara, 2:108) - viz. that the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem was regarded as an indispensable sign of the Messiahship, but that, in the earliest form of the evangelical tradition, Jesus was said to have been born in Bethlehem-Nazareth ( = Bethlehem of Galilee). The Bethlehem of Zebulun (Josh. 19:15), about 7 mi. WNW. of Nazareth and a somewhat less distance from Sefuriyeh, is the city meant (see BETHLEHEM ii. ). The title Bethlehem-Nazareth was misunderstood by some of the transmitters of the tradition, so that while some said, 'Jesus was born at Bethlehem', others said, 'Jesus was born at Nazareth'. 'Bethlehem' 1 without any explanatory addition was naturally supposed to be the southern Bethlehem, and the well-known narratives so poetic, so full of spiritual suggestion, in Mt. 2 and Lk. 2:1-20 (which are unsupported by the other Gospels) have arisen in consequence. To this theory it is no valid objection that it involves going behind the present evangelical narratives ; that is in fact indispensable to historical criticism, - we have to do so continually in OT criticism, and no good reason has been offered for invariably acquiescing in the oldest extant forms of the evangelic traditions. We must also avoid exaggerating the influence (real as it doubtless was) of OT prophecy on the traditional narratives of the life of Jesus. It is all the more necessary to confront the complex critical problem bravely, because, in spite of the existence of rock-cut tombs up the hill, towards the W. , we cannot perhaps venture to assert positively that there was a 'city called Nazareth' in Jesus time.

What the meaning of Nazareth (i.e., Galilee) is, can hardly be made out. The current explanations, 'guard', 'branch', 'flower' (Jerome, Kp. xlvi. ad Marcellam, 'florem Galilaeae' ), have a very insecure basis.

The historical result relative to Jesus birthplace here arrived at agrees with that of Gratz (MGIVJ, 29 [1880], 481-484); it had already been hinted by Neubauer, Geogr. du Talm., 1868 p 191.

1 Cp Wellh. //(7I21, 25S) who thinks that the form 'Gennesaret' arose by contamination with Kinnereth or with Nazareth. He refers to Halevy as the author of the explanation of nesar in Genessaret as = Galilee, and of Nazarene as = Galilean. According to Buhl, however (Pal. 113, n. 229), Halevy does not explain Nesar as 'Galilee', but as a city called, from its inhabitants, 'city of carpenters'

2 Geogr. du Talm. ^iSg.

5. Literature.[edit]

Robinson, BR, 3 183-200 ; Guerin, Galilee, \ (1880), 83-102 ; Tobler, Nazareth in Palcistina (1868); PEF Mem. 1 275^ 328; KA<x?,\\e\-mJ ess the Mes siah, 1 146 233 ; GAS, //(;, 432-435.

T. K. C.


AV Nazarite (TTJ, or D H^N ~V\l, i.e., 'consecrated to God' ; ey^AMCNOC, HYrMENOC [in Nu]- AflACMOC, HflACMeNOC [in Am. and in Jud S- [ A ]]. NAzeip, N\z[e]i- PAIOC, also A[-IOC [AF-ION] Geoy 1 [ Judg.]) was the name among the Hebrews for one who had in a peculiar sense separated or devoted himself to Yahwe 2 (in Nu. 6 2 /, 5 /, 12 T-TH 'to take the Nazirite vow of separation or consecration' ; cp the noun nezer pT3], applied in the same chapter to the consecration of the Nazirite ; and cp CONSECRATE). The same word (nezir) occurs in Syriac - not as a mere loan-word; - it is applied, e.g. , to maidens consecrated to the service of Belthis ; 3 in Hebrew the best rendering is 'devotee'.

1. Regulations.[edit]

Our first question, in considering the nazir or 'devotee', has regard to the essential conditions of his state. The special characteristics of a Nazirite devotee were unshorn locks and abstinence from wine (Judg. 13:5, cp Moore, ad loc. ; 1 S. 1:11, Am. 2:11-12) ; full regulations for the legal observance of the Nazirite vow are given in Nu. 6, where every product of the grape vine is forbidden, and the Nazirite is further enjoined to abstain from approach ing a dead body, even if it be that of his nearest relative, The law in question is not pre-exilic, and is plainly directed to the regulation of a known usage. It contemplates the assumption of the vow for a limited period, and gives particular details as to the atoning ceremonies at the sanctuary by which the vow must be recommenced if broken by accidental defilement, and the closing sacrifice, at which the Nazirite, on the expiry of his vow, cuts off his hair and burns it on the altar, thus returning to ordinary life. Among the later Jews the Nazirite vow of course corresponded with the legal ordinance, which was further developed by the scribes in their usual manner (Mishna, Nasir; cp i Macc. 3:49 Acts 2l:23-24, Jos. Ant. 19:6:1, BJ 2:15:1).

1 So Judg. 13:7, 16:17 [B] (i/ae]ipaw, AL). Nestle thinks hat this use of ayios (ayioi>) may illustrate TO ytwia^tvov . lytov in Lk. 1:35.

2 On the relation of 113, 'to consecrate', and -nj, 'to vow', ee We. Heid.V), 143 ; and especially RSP), 482 f.

3 S. Isaac. Ant. (Bickell), 1 212 ; RS 1 , 483.

2. Pre-exilic usages.[edit]

How far, we must now ask, does this ordinance agree with pre-exilic (i.e., post-Solomonic 1 ) usage? The two passages generally appealed to are Judg. 13 and 1 S. 1. An objection, however, will presently be raised to the acceptance of the second as an authority for the early Nazirite usage, and even as regards the first it is not impossible that in its present form it may have received modifi cation. This remark applies to Judg. 13:4, 13:7, 13:14, where the details imposing an elaborately strict regimen may perhaps be due to an interpolator (Bohme). This at least is certain, that the only detail of the later Nazirite vow which is authenticated by references in the Samson- legends is the wearing long hair. That the hero was regarded originally as an abstainer from wine is by no means probable, and it is evident that he did not avoid impurity, for he is said to have touched the carcase of a lion, and to have been often in contact with the slain. Of Samuel too (if 1 S. 1 may here be quoted) we are only told that his mother vowed to give him to Yahwe all his days, and that no razor should come upon his head (1 S. 1:17; note the addition of LXX, 'wine and strong liquor he shall not drink' ). It is not strictly critical, however, to refer to Samuel, for he is nowhere called a Nazirite (Sirach s description [Ecclus. 46:13c] 'a nasir of Yahwe in prophecy', nxu: YIJ, does not count), and from Ezek. 44:20 we may probably infer that letting the hair grow was an ancient priestly custom. 2 Rightly does Wellhausen assert that according to the true text of 1 S. 1:11 Samuel was neither a nathin (5 Swcrw Sorbv [o ooosoo doton, cp Nu. 39:18b) nor a nasir.

It is plain therefore that the conditions of Naziriteship in ancient times were much less strict than afterwards ; plain, too, that the framers of the legal ordinance had no comprehension of the original Nazirite vow. In the case of Samson, who is the only known example of a Nazirite in early times, the long hair is a mark of con secration to God (o liStt TU, Judg. 13:5) for a special service to his people. The hair being a symbol and centre of vitality (see CUTTINGS OF THE FLESH, 2 ; HAIR, 2), to leave it uncut during an arduous under taking in which the divine aid had been specially im plored, 3 and to sacrifice it when success had been obtained, were equally natural. Examples of this primitive custom are given by Spencer, De Legibus Heb. 3:1, cap 6 ; but the most important parallels come from Arabia.

There the vow was generally one of war or revenge (Hamiisa, 167 ; Antara, Mo'al. \ 74 ; Moh. in Medina, 201), and till it was accomplished the man who vowed left his hair unshorn and unkempt, and abstained from wine, women, ointment, and per fume. Such is the figure of Shanfara as described in his Ldniiya. The observances of the ithram belong to the same usage (see Ency. Brit. 10674; WRS, Rel. Sem.W, 333), and we find that at Taif it was customary to shear the hair at the sanctuary after a journey (Moh. in Medina, ed. Wellh. 381). Cp also Schwally, Kriegsalterthuwer, i. (1901).

The difference which may be noticed between the Arabic usage and the easy Naziriteship of Samson, need not surprise us. After all, SAMSON [q.v. ] is not a historical character, but a product of the popular wit, which vivified dim historical traditions of a long contest with the Philistines, and refused no detail suggested by mythic or other stories of heroic men. That Nazirites in pre-exilic times abstained from wine, need not be doubted. Whether the enjoyment of every 'product of the vine' was forbidden by usage, seems more uncertain ; the account of the Rechabites in Jer. hardly justifies us in asserting this. 1

1 Post-Solomonic, because the date of the documents is much later than that of the events professedly described in them.

2 RSV), 483 ; Smend, A T Rel. Geich.V), 95, n. 2 ; cp HAIR,

3 See Judg. 5:2, according to WRS's interpretation, cp. however, HAIR, 3.

3. Later developments.[edit]

The spirit of warlike patriotism that characterised the old religion of Israel naturally produced Nazirites, and we may assume that the vow of such persons resembled Shanfara's more closely than Sampson's. There is an unmistakable trace of this asceticism in parts of the life of David (see 2 S. 11:11 and perhaps 1 S. 21:4-5). We need not suppose, however, that the ancient Nazirites were exclusively warriors. They were also speaking examples of the old Israelitish ideal of life, and may therefore have been drawn from different classes. From the allusions in Am. 2:11-12. 2 we are led to suppose that at one time they had an importance - perhaps even an organisation - parallel to that of the prophets, which the true servants of Yahwe recognised as divinely sanctioned, while, on the other hand, the Canaanised popular religion of the eighth century B.C. made light of an institution that lielonged to a very different religious type from Canaanite nature-worship. The Nazirites de scribed by Amos have also a parallel (so far as not drinking wine is concerned) in the RECHABITES [q.v. ].

By the sixth century B.C. the Nazirite vow has lost its old simplicity and much of its old importance. The Priestly Code knows only of a temporary Naziriteship, and presupposes that the vow may be taken by women ; the directions are given in full in Nu. 6 (see above, 1).

It may be noted here that in Lam. 4:7 the rendering 'her Nazirites' (AV) is altogether opposed to the context ; RV gives 'her nobles'. Whether, however, YTJ ought to be interpreted thus widely, may be doubted. It is possible to read rnn, 'her magnates' ; the transposition of letters is very easy, and we are spared the necessity of supposing a rare meaning, 'noble', for VT3. In Lev. 25:5, 25:11 it is doubtful whether YTJ ought to be rendered an 'unpruned vine'. Gray, indeed, would use this as a proof that the secondary sense of the word 'Nazirite' (a person with unshorn hair) had over powered the primary sense of 'devotee'. But surely it is more natural (with Gratz) to emend YIJ into TS3 (vintage), corresponding in v. 5 to TSp (harvest).

4. NT references.[edit]

On this we shall not dwell (see Dillmann's commentary) ; we pass on at once to the NT, and notice that some commentators find the Nazirite vow referred to in Acts 21:23+. No less a person than the apostle Paul is supposed by them to have taken such a vow, but without waiting till he had fulfilled the minimum period of thirty days residence in Palestine required by the school of Shammai 3 (cp ACTS OF THE APOSTLES, 7). This, however, is by no means certain. Cp also Lk. 1:15 (John the Baptist), and the traditional account of James the Just (see JAMES, 3).

5. Literature.[edit]

Dillmann, Num., Deut., Jos. ; Driver, Joel and Amos, \^2/.; W. R. Smith, RSW, 332 /., 482; We. Heid.M, 117 ff. i66yl; Stade, Gl f, 1479; Smend, Lchrbuch der alttest. Rel.-gesch.^, 91-96 ; Nowack, Arch. 2 133 ff- (with reff.) ; Benzinger, Arch. 429 ff.; Grill, in Jahrbb. f. prot. Thcol., 1880, pp. 645^".; G. B. Gray, in Journ. of Theol. Stiuiies,\-2o\ff.; Griineisen, Der Ahnencultus, 1900, pp. 46 71 92 ii2_^ ; Schwally, Kriegsalter- t hunter, 1901 (ingenious). w. R. S. T. K. C.

1 It may be questioned whether the Kenite kinsmen and allies of the primitive bene Israel can have been really opposed to the cultivation of the vine. The Negeb was, in parts, a vine- producing country (see NEGEB).

2 The slight doubt expressed by G. B. Gray whether the Nazirites in the time of Amos were compelled to abstain from wine, seems hardly necessary.

3 The school of Hillel, however, declared that the residence must be for the whole time to which the original vow referred.


(TOSH; AOZA [B], NOY A [L], ANN. [A]), in Zebulun (Josh. 19:13+), possibly a corruption of NEIEL [q.v.], which appears in v. 27, very near the valley of Iphtah-el (also mentioned in v. 14), in the delimitation of Asher.


(NGA noAic. Acts l6:11; WH, N e&- TTOAic). the port at which Paul landed on the second day from Troas, when he sailed thence in response to the vision calling him to Macedonia. Originally belonging, like all this coast, as far as the Strymon, to Thrace, 1 Neapolis was at this time (about 50 A. D. ) in the province of Macedonia. Its name ( 'New Town' ) would indicate that it was either a recent foundation or an older and unimportant place awakened to new life by the accession of fresh colonists - perhaps from Daton, which was in the neighbourhood (Strabo, 330, frag. 36, Aar77J>cDi> 7r6Xts NectTroXis xal avrb rb AaTOc), if, indeed, Daton was not the original name of Neapolis. Doubt less the growth of Neapolis was closely associated with the rise of Philippi, the centre of the mining district on the farther side of Mt. Symbolum. Neapolis was the port of Philippi, about 10 mi. inland (9 R. mi., Appian, BC 4:106 ; cp Itineraries}. It lay opposite the island of Thasos (Dio Cass. 47:35, KO.T avrnrtpas Qacrov). These indications point to the site of the modern Kavalla, which is situated on the bay of the same name, on a promontory with a harbour on either side. The triremes of Brutus and Cassius lay here at the time of the battle of Philippi (44 B.C. ; Appian, I.c.). Remains of a Roman aqueduct, etc., and many inscriptions, are found at Kavalla ; but these facts do not prevent Cousine ry from placing Neapolis at Eski-Kavalla (Old Kavalla), a deserted harbour about 10 mi. to the W. ( Voyage dans la Macedoine, 2:119-120 ).

Ramsay points out that the writer of the narrative in Acts (in his view, Luke) 'hardly ever omits to name the harbours which Paul sailed from or arrived at, even though little or nothing in the way of incident oc curred in them' (St. Paul the Traveller, 21). Having once mentioned Neapolis, he omits its name on the subsequent journeys ( Acts 20:16). Here, as in other sea-ports, Paul apparently found no opening (cp the case of Seleucia, Acts 13:4; of Attalia, Act 14:25 ; of Cenchrea, Acts 18:18). w. j. w.

1 Pliny (HN4i8) reckons it Thracian ; but Strabo (330) and Ptol. (3:13) connect it with Macedonia.

2 See Schr. KA TP), 147 ; KGF^ff.


(n*"lW, 37 ; but is it not like PELATIAH and SHEPHATIAH a distorted form of a gentilic? Cp also NOADIAH [Che.] NCOAA[e]lA [BA], NeARlOY NAARIAC [L])-

1. A descendant of Zerubbabel, 1 Ch. 3:22-23.

2. A Simeonite captain, temp. Hezekiah, iCh. 442.


RV NOBAI (MT *313), Neh. 10:19 [10:20], called in Ezra 10:43 NEBO (q.v., iii. 2, end).