Encyclopaedia Biblica/Temple Keeper-Tetter

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(NGGOKOPON), Acts 19:35 AVmg RV. See NEOCOROS.


The word H8O, massah (LXX neipA.CMOC [peirasmos] always), occurs in the OT not only as a place-name (see MASSAH), in Ex. 17:7 etc. Ps. 95:8 (AV 'temptation', RV 'Massah', RVmg. 'temptation'), but also as a common noun in Dt. 4:34, 7:19, 29:2 [29:3] where EV has temptations and RVmg 'trials' or 'evidences', in Job 9:23 [see LXX] where EV has 'trial' and RVmg 'calamity'. The verb is nDJ. AV renders inconsistently ; in Ex. 17:2, 17:7, Dt. 6:16 etc., it gives up the best rendering - i.e. , 'to prove' - and substitutes what to modern readers is certainly misleading - 'to tempt'. As Driver (on Dt. 6:16) well observes, no: is a neutral word, and means to test or prove a person, to see whether he will act in a particular way (Ex. 16:4, Judg. 2:22, 3:4), or whether the character he has is well established (1 K. 10:1). God thus proves a person, or puts him to the test, to see if his fidelity or affection is sincere, Gen. 22:1, Ex. 20:20, Dt. 8:2 [q. v. ], 13:4 [13:3]; cp Ps. 26:2 ; and men test, or prove Yahwe when they act as if doubting whether his promise be true, or whether he is faithful to his revealed character, Ex. 17:27, Nu. 14:22, Ps. 78:18 (see v. 19) 78:41, 78:56, 95:9, 106:14; cp Is. 7:12. So massoth Dt. 4:34, 7:19, 29:2 [29:3], are not 'temptations, but trials, provings (see note on 4:34). With regard to the NT, it is satisfactory that Treipdd [peiraoo] is rendered 'try' in Heb. 11:17, Rev. 2:2, 2:10, and Trelpa [peira] 'trial' in Heb. 11:36. On the use of weipacr/j-os [peirasmos]('temptation', but RVmg sometimes 'trial), 1 Holtzmann (HC 1:45-46) remarks that this is one of the expressions to which the NT has given a pregnant and almost new meaning, indicating the external conflicts and distresses which become the means of inward temptation ; see Lk. 22:28, Acts 20:19, Jas. 1:2, 1 Pet. 16. Such a conflict, such a distress is reported to have been the lot of Jesus, at the beginning of his ministry. See below.

1 In Acts 20:19, Rev. 3:10, etc., RV gives 'trial' in the text.


  • Three stories (1-4).
  • Contents of the tradition (5-6).
  • Nucleus (7).
  • Parallels
    • Possible light from Persia (8).
      • Discussion (9-11).
    • Possible light from myths (12).
    • Specially parallel stories (13).
    • Mythic elements, etc. (14).
  • Bibliography (15).

[ There are three chief modes of procedure in dealing with the traditional story of the Temptations, or rather Trials, of Jesus,

  • (1) The narrative may be regarded as having arisen in consequence of a kind of natural law or tendency which, in the case of one who has won the crown of moral perfection for himself and for his disciples, places a symbolic event summing up the trials and achievement of his life at the very outset of his career, just as the final victory of good over evil needs, through the operation of the same law, to be effectually guaranteed by a reported initial victory of the Light-god over the Dragon of Chaos. This may lead us to begin our consideration of the story of the Trials of Jesus by putting the story side by side with similar stories of other spiritual heroes known to tradition, and to put our literary criticism of the narratives under the control of results already obtained by such a comparison. Thus the literary criticism of the narrative will become subordinate to the historical (religions-geschichtlich) criticism of the narrative. The neglect of this procedure has, according to Gunkel and others, led to much misunderstanding of some of the narratives in the OT (notably those of Paradise, of the Deluge, and of Jonah), and it would perhaps be too much to suppose that no loss would be sustained by the neglect of it in the study of the NT.
  • (2) It is also possible to begin our consideration of the narratives of the Trials by applying a purely literary criticism - i.e., by determining, so far as may be possible, from what literary sources they proceed, and explaining their details by reference to the OT or to passages in the traditional life of Jesus. We may then consider whether, endeavouring to realise in some slight degree the mental state of Jesus, and applying the ordinary canons of probability, we can venture to point out a historical nucleus of the traditional story of the Trials, and we may then compare, or contrast, the Christian tradition with apparent parallels elsewhere.
  • (3) We may, without disparaging either of the preceding methods, consider whether light cannot be thrown on the Christian tradition by inquiring whether the peculiarities of the narrative may not be accounted for by the discovery of some custom or observance the details of which are similar in essentials to those of the story of the Trials, and yet are beyond the suspicion of having been derived from it. The difference between the first and the second of these methods and between both and the third is striking. It may, however, be minimised, when the student of literary criticism is not opposed to the comparative study of myths, and when the student of strange customs does not at all deny the importance of illustrating, and to some extent at least explaining, the narrative from biblical and extra-biblical literary sources. The essential truth of the significant and instructive narrative of the Temptation is of course not a matter of controversy.

Cp Cheyne, Hallowing of Criticism. ]

1. Three stories.[edit]

It is usual to explain the origin of the three synoptic 1 reports of the temptation by one or other of two critical hypotheses:

  • (a) that Mk.'s represents a bare and brief allusion to the larger story, substantially reproduced in Mt. and Lk. , which was already current when he wrote (cp 4:33, allusion to parables omitted), or
  • (b} that Mt. and Lk. represent a common and somewhat mythical expansion (in Q, the Logia-source) of the original nucleus preserved by Mk.

Neither of these hypotheses is without its difficulties, however, and it seems preferable upon the whole to conjecture that Mk.'s report constitutes an allied though independent 2 account of the incident (in the Ur-Marcus or Petrine narrative), which has been depicted with fuller ethical detail and for other ends in Q and thence transferred with editorial modifications to Mt. and Lk. The standpoint for criticising the contents of both stories is furnished by the principle that in its higher forms temptation becomes more than ever a mystery - hard to understand as an experience and harder to communicate, especially to less sensitive souls with a tendency to materialise the subtler elements of moral conflict.

1 The author of the Fourth Gospel, with his higher Christology, naturally omits the temptation as one of several features (e.g., the agony in Gethsemane) in the human experience of Jesus which would not have lain in line with his specific conception of Christ's person. He prefers to dwell on the resultant sinlessness (7:18, 8:46), and the incidental allusions to a strife (12:27-32, 14:30) breathe security of triumph rather than intensity of struggle.

2 Mk. 1:1-13, though not an excerpt from earlier and fuller writings, is a resume of facts already familiar in the evangelic tradition (cp the gospel, v. 1). That does not imply, however, that v. 12-3 is the conscious abbreviation of a tale corresponding to that preserved in Mt. and Lk., even although the Logia underlying those gospels was composed of didactic pieces which circulated earlier than the Ur-Marcus. See Soltau's Unsere Evangelien, 35-50 and A. Menzies Earliest Gospel, 62-63.

3 As Reville (Jesus de Nazareth, 2:14) suggests - 'les betes sauvages sont les passions devorantes que dechainent les revolutions violentes; les anges conseillent et donnent les armes pures de la persuasion et de l'appel aux consciences'. This is too modern an idea. In Jewish apocalyptic writings angels are often violent and punitive, by no means to be identified with gracious and gentle influences. The wilderness might also be symbolic (Herm. Vis. 1:1:3), or part of the scenic accompaniment of a vision (Rev. 17:3) translated into circumstantial prose. But the literal sense is quite suitable and natural.

2. Mk. 1:12-13.[edit]

Upon this view Mk. 1:12-13 portrays the inauguration of Jesus as Messiah by a contest with daemonic powers whom he encountered in bestial form. The allusion to 'wild beasts' is not a realistic touch (see sections 9-10) or a reference to the loneliness and danger of the experience, much less a subtle parallel to the first Adam (Gen. 1:28, 2:19), but symbolic and symbolic not of passions and hostile powers 3 but of devils who appeared in such guise to the vision of devotees in the desert. To the fervour and imagination of Jesus the divine spirit is like a fluttering dove (v. 10), the satanic spirits like wild beasts. Here, as afterwards in human form (1:23, etc., especially 1:22, 1:27 with the different application in Mt. 7:28), the satanic spirits comprise for Mk. a prominent sphere in which Jesus lived and worked as Messiah, the foe of daemons. This interpretation of Mk.'s language, 1 therefore, is not simply in line with the naive psychology of the age, 2 which peopled the desert with haunting deities, visible especially to rapt devotees, but entirely consonant with the leading idea of Jesus career developed in Mk.'s gospel (cp the mutual recognition of Jesus and daemons in 1:23-24, 1:34, 3:11-12, 5:6-7, 9:20; and Wrede's Das Messias- geheimniss in den Evangelien, 23-24).

3. Common matter.[edit]

Common to all three gospels is the symbolic term of 'forty days' (cp the forty years of Israel in the wilderness, Dt. 8:2, and the forty days fast in the experience of Moses [Ex. 34:28] and Elijah [1 K. 19:8], and see NUMBER, 8) to delineate, as in Acts 1:3, a considerable period of time. In Mk. , at any rate, whatever be thought of Mt. 4:11 (cp 8:15, 25:44, 27:55), the angelic 3 service has no reference to food (Ps. 78:25, Wisd. 16:20). It is simply the counterpart of satanic opposition, 4 and represents an experience of continuous aid during the vigil, not (as in Mt. ) a reward and refreshment vouchsafed after the strain. All three accounts, however, imply that Jesus passed through the prolonged crisis without fall or wound. Whatever he thought or sought in the desert, his character suffered no deflection or compromise, much less defeat. This is developed in Mt. and Lk., who draw independently upon a didactic passage in the Logia which evidently contained a naive, pictorial descrip tion of what Jesus experienced in a far less matter-of-fact and obvious fashion at this period. The form of it is vivid and severely simple upon the whole, but dramatic rather than mysterious, and naturally less impressive, because less inward and direct, than the later record of Jesus' strenuous temptation in Gethsemane or even of his sharp encounter with an insidious enticement near Caesarea Philippi (Mk. 831-33). It now remains for us to consider the temptation-vision in this semi-parabolic presentment which Mt. and Lk. have realistically preserved. (Cp HC [1901] 1:1:45-48.)

1 It is one bit of evidence in favour of the verdict that whilst Mk.'s gospel rests upon facts, not upon ideas, at a relatively small number of points 'legendary features have come to attach themselves to the facts' (O. Holtzmann in ZNTW, 1901, p. 273).

2 For demons in bestial shape see, e.g. , Mk. 5:12, 11, Rev. 12:3, 13:11, 16:13-14, and - for the current belief in their connection with waste and lonely places - Mt. 13:43 (DEMONS, 3 ; MAGIC, 2, b. i, and Cheyne on Is. 13:21), with Charles' note on Apoc. Bar. 10:8. These and other traces of Semitic folklore (see Doughty, Ar. Des. 2:189-194) form the atmosphere for much in the synoptic tales of evil spirits and their malign influence upon men (cp also 2 Cor. 11:3 ; Everling, Die paid. Angelologie, etc., 51-57). In the Arabic 'gospel of the infancy' demons emerge from a lad's mouth in the shape of crows and serpents {Apocryphal Gospels, ed. B. H. Cowper, 170).

3 Evidently part of the primitive tradition, for Mk. never mentions angels elsewhere in narrative. A Johannine equivalent in Jn. 1:51 ?

4 Just as the 'rulers of this world' (dpxoi Tfs TOV aiwyos TOV TOU [archontes tes ton aioonos toutou], 1 Cor. 2:6-8) are evil spirits who attempt to thwart the Lord of glory, so here the Messiah encounters supernatural foes, after Ps. 2:2-3, where the rulers (oi dpxoiTes [oi archontes]) gather against the Lord and his anointed (KCU Kara roO xpicrrou UUTOU [kai kata tou christou autou]), the latter being God's son par excellence (v. 7 = Mk. 1:11, Lk. 3:22 [D], etc.). Cp Clem. Hom. 8:22 of Satan setting himself to catch him (drjpeveiv avrov eTri\tip<av [thereuein auton epicheiroon]) at this period. In Herm. Vis. 4:2:4 Segri is the angel with authority over beasts such as are seen in the vision. The conception of Messiah as inevitably assailed by daemons is preserved in Rev. 12:4-5 (cp Mk. 3:27 and specially Mt. 8:29).

4. Mt. and Lk.[edit]

Both in Mt. and in Lk. the original report of Q has been worked over, and traces of editorial handling are obvious if (as a rule) comparatively unimportant.

Favourite or characteristic Matthean terms in 4:1-11 are: 'then' (tore [tote], quater), 'coming forward' (Trpoo-eAftoi/ [proselthoon]), 'the tempter' (6 neipd^uiv [o peirazoon]), 'and' (6e [de], 4:4), 'the holy city' (riji ayiav TrdAii/ [ten hagian polin]), {1} 'takes' (TrapaAa/ujSayet [paralambanei], bis), the asyndeton in 4:7, 'again' (iroAii [palin], bis), 'the world' (rov KOO>LOV [tou kosmou], 4:8), and 'behold' (icai 1601! [kai idou]), besides the additions of 4:4c, 4:8 (high hill), and 'depart, Satan' (un-aye (rarava. [hypage satana], 410). Lucan peculiarities in 4:1-13 are: 'full of holy Spirit' (n-Atjpr;? irv. ayi ou [pleres en hagiou], {2} 4:1b), 'in those days' (ei> rai? Vjjut paif cKci patf [en tais emerais ekeinais]), 'and he said' (flirtv Se [eipen de]: GOSPELS, 38, n. 2), 'answer' (diroKpiVecrftu jrpos [apokrinesthai pros]), 'lead' (dyuj [agoo], bis), 'departed' (inre<rTpf*jifv [hypestrepsen], {3} bis), TOV [tou] with infin. (4:10), 'world' (oi(cou/u.e n) [oikoumege], cp 2:1), 'complete' (trvfreAtw [synteleoo], bis), 'before' (ivunrtov [enoopion]), 'departed' (an-eerTj) [apeste]), besides the addition of 4:2b, 4:5 (in an instant), 4:6c, 4:9 (evrevdfv [enteuthen]), 4:10 (to safeguard thee), 4:13 (for a season), and the omission of the angelic ministry at the close (made up for by the later vision of 22:43?).

It is evident that the original tale in Q was little altered in subsequent recensions and that the final editors have reproduced it accurately though not slavishly, preserving the essential features of the story. The main exception to this rule is the altered order of the second and third temptations by a process of transposition which is fairly common throughout the synoptics (see SERMON ON THE MOUNT, 9). There are no data which would enable us to decide with any confidence which, if either, represents the original series in the Logia, much less the actual sequence. Fortunately the order is not a matter of moment. 4 Each of the two canonical sequences has plausible features and is ethically effective, especially in view of the gospel in which it occurs.

In Mt., where Jesus is pictured as the real if unexpected (11:3) Messiah of Judaism, the newly realised consciousness of his position (3:17) suggests the final and supreme temptation of adopting compromise with external methods in order to gain the universal dominion which formed his goal (4:8-11). The true Messiah, as had been already seen in part (Ps. Sol. 17:37-45), was to be no second Solomon but one whose reliance was solely upon God for strength and wisdom. In Lk., again, the climax is not merely that the OT scriptures themselves might suggest unworthy ideas, but that presumptuous claims upon God are a danger subtler than seductions appealing to the flesh or to the external and sensuous inclinations (4:9-12). Besides, 'thou shall not tempt the Lord thy God' formed a dramatic and appropriate ending to the initial series of temptations in a life which Lk. emphasises (4:13, 22:28) as a tempted existence throughout. Further, an apologetic tendency is to be traced in his anxiety to give a more natural geographical order, to show that the retirement was due to a spontaneous and spiritual 5 impulse or rather habit (4:1-2, TrX^pT/s irv(Vfj.a.ros aylov . . . ijyfTO ev T$ irvev- /J.O.TI [pleres pneumatos hagion ... egto en too pneumati], cp Rom. 8:14), and to explain 6 for the benefit of non-Jewish readers (4:6, STI . . . avrrfv [oti ... auten]) how Satan could reasonably make such an offer. 7 The awkward insertion of the genealogy (3:23-38) between the baptism and the temptation may have been intended to suggest that Jesus was mature, as well as equipped by descent, at his entrance upon ministry and at the moment of his conflict with Satan (so, evidently, Justin, Dial. 125, 354: tire yap avOpwiros y^yovfv, irpoarjXdev avri? 6 5idfoXos). It certainly makes the connection, rightly emphasised in Mk. 1:12 (KM etOvs [kai euthos]) and even Mt. (4:1, r6re [tote]), somewhat loose.

1 The Gospel of the Hebrews apparently agreed here with Lk. (TO lovSaiKOV OVK f\ei " eis TTJV ay Can TroAii/" dtAA " ei> iA>j/i [ifpovcra.\fiij.], Handmann, TU [1888] 5:3:70). The telic note, characteristic of Mt. (4:1), is added to Lk. harmonistically by Ss, as Lk.'s 'for a season' to Mt. 4:11a (so Cur.).

2 Here, as at 3:22 (= Mt. 3:16, Mk. 1:10), the most correct form (Dalman, Worte Jesu, 166-167).

3 In v. 1, whither? Hardly to Galilee (v. 14). There is a good deal to be said for Hahn's idea that the retirement and conflict of Jesus in Lk. forms an aside - a change of purpose (cp v. 1 and v. 14). Certainly that is the impression left by the narrative. But this may be due simply to the ill-arranged order of Lk. at this point (see, e.g., the unchronological position of 3:19-20) and not to the author's real conception.

4 'The thoughts crossed and recrossed each another, occurred and recurred, and the record is simply a classified summary of forty days reflections and examinations' (Peyton), or rather of prolonged agitation in mind and soul. Some historical significance, however, is attached by Honig to the order (desert, hill = Galilee, temple = Jerusalem) ; see also O. Holtzmann's Leben Jesu, 35-36, 108-109

5 Bruce (Expos. Grk. Test. 1:486) prefers to regard this as the first instance of Lk.'s editorial solicitude : no evil thoughts possible in the mind of such a holy man.

6 Mt. naturally takes it for granted that his readers understand the Jewish notion, shared by most early Christians, that the present age and world lay under the control (2 Cor. 4:4, Eph. 6:12, etc.; Everling, op. cit. 49-50, 107-108) of Satan as king of the present time (o Trpoiricaipo? ^acriAfu? [o proskairos basileus]) or king of the present things ((3. riav irapovToii [basileus toon parontoon]) (Clem. Hom. 8:21).

7 The transport to a hill-top, characteristic of Jewish apocalyptics (Rev. 21:10, cp Herm. Sim. 9:1:1, etc., also Ezek. 40:2, Apoc. Bar. 76:8), is also softened down (avayaytav [anagagoon]), and stress laid on the time (ei< oriy/ir; \povov [en stigme chronou], 4:5). The appositeness of Mt. 4:3 and the more vivid Lk. 4;3 lies in the resemblance between the rounded shingle of the locality and loaves of bread (cp Mt. 7:9). There is no subtle allusion to the Baptist's remark (Mt. 3:9, 3:11), which indeed is amply illustrated otherwise (cp Klein in ZNTW, 1901, pp. 343-344).

5. Contents of the tradition.[edit]

Treating the subject of their relation to similar narratives elsewhere (see section 13) we may remark that the figurative 1 stories in Mt. and Lk. were written in an atmosphere of belief in Satan as the arch-opponent of God's authority (Mt. 12:27-28 = Lk. 11:19-20, etc.) and the personal agent in seduction a belief (Jewish and early Christian ; Spitta, Das Urchrist. 1:34-38) which there is no reason to doubt was shared, in however minimised and moralised a form, by Jesus himself. In two other visions of spiritual conflict recorded by Lk. {2} (10:18, 22:31-32), Satan appears as the defeated protagonist of Jesus ; and these, like the original nucleus of the baptism-story (Historical New Testament, 1901, p. 18) and possibly also the transfiguration, certainly represent (ii^rjyjjo-aTO ini.lv [hyphegesato emin], Clem. Hom. 11:35) auto-biographical communications of one who, like Paul, though far from being a visionary, had visions and moments of rapture, especially at crises of his religious experience. These communications 3 must have been made to the disciples in order to re-assure, impress (Mt. 20:38), and clarify their minds. The main object was to throw light upon his own method and aims, and also by inference upon the course of life to be followed by his adherents. Hence, in their present didactic form, it is not easy to determine whether the stories originally possessed a Messianic or a human significance, unless both are conceived to have lain blended together.

[ With regard to the order of the three Trials, it is worth mentioning (after O. Holtzmann, Leben Jesn, 72) that according to the fragments of the Gospel of the Hebrews (referred to again in section 14) the narrative was originally so arranged that the temptation on the mountain came first, that in the city second, and that in the wilderness third, whereas in Mt. the order is : wilderness, city, mountain, and in Lk. wilderness, mountain, city. He gives psychological reasons for preferring the order of the Gospel of the Hebrews, pointing out that it coincides moreover with that in which the texts quoted from Deuteronomy occur (6:13, 6:16, 8:2-3). It was in Deuteronomy, he supposes, that Jesus, in the prolonged period of meditation after his baptism in which his vocation had been revealed to him, sought for the guidance of which he felt in need. ]

1 They appear to lie between a chronicle and a poetical parable. As early as the seventeenth century, the Temptation was viewed as 'an interchange of dangerous thoughts', by Balthasar Bekker : Die bezauberte Welte (chap. 21).

2 It is noticeable that the tempted nature of Christ is brought forward in Hebrews, a book linguistically allied to Lk.-Acts.

3 For the imparting of the substance of ecstasies and trances see Acts 11:4-5, 16:9-10, 18;9-10, 22:6-7, etc., and Asc. Isaiae, 6:10-15, 'Oculi eius erant aperti, os vero clausum, sed inspiratio spiritus erat cum illo. Visio quam videbat, non erat de seculo hoc, sed de abscondito omni carni. Et cum cessavit a visione, reversus notificavit visionem Ezechiae et filio eius Nasoni'.

4 See Gunkel's Die Wirkungen des heiligen Geistes (1899), 22, and FASTING, 2 (with PROPHETIC LITERATURE, 19). A notable exception occurs in Rev. 1:9-10. Intense prayer may have preceded the Temptation (see von der Goltz. das Gebet, 3-4), but it is not specifically mentioned.

6. The three trials.[edit]

i. Loneliness and fasting, 4 the normal conditions of an ecstasy or trance, naturally introduce the first synoptic temptation, the ethical point of which lies in the refusal of Jesus to seek exemption from the limitations of common needs and bodily privations. The later counsel Mt. 6:25-33 is thus grounded in his own experience (cp Jn. 4:31-34 and Mt. 10:8-10, Lk. 9:3, 10:4). Divine sonship, even in its highest degree, is thereby shown to confer no title to exceptional treatment ; it merely enforces the duty of loyalty to God's interests and demands as the supreme thing in the moral life (see the application of this in Jn. 6:26-27), and the companion duty of faith, that such devotion shall not be left ultimately destitute by God.

ii. With admirable penetration the very intensity of such faith is represented in the temple-temptation as an insidious occasion for presumption. The inclination now is to abuse not one s feeling of independence but one's consciousness of dependence - i.e., the current pious conviction, shared by Jesus, that God could and would miraculously interpose on behalf of his servants in peril. Jesus repels this suggestion. 1 Genuine faith in man, he is convinced, will be content to believe in God's care without nervously insisting upon arbitrary proofs of it.

iii. The mountain-temptation depicts Jesus' rejection of another attractive and plausible idea which occurred to him (no doubt suggested in part by popular expectation), viz., that his Messianic goal might be swiftly and smoothly reached along paths bordering upon com promise. Renan's motto for the scene - 'Christ or Mahomet'- hits off one aspect of the dilemma precisely. Yet the bearing of the temptation need not be exclusively messianic, as Mk. 8:36 shows ; the latter passage 2 (with 8:33) indicating also that here at any rate the larger temptation-narrative, relegated not without psychological aptness to the opening of Jesus life, forms really a miniature of the fundamental temptations which recurred as constant factors in his career, just as the Sermon on the Mount is placed by Mt. unchronologically in the forefront of the ministry as a summary of his general teaching. No doubt the moral insight of Jesus carried with it foresight of coming perils. At Nazareth he had not been out of touch with currents surging from the outside pagan world and its glories (see GASm. HG 35-37, 433-435, for the consciousness of ethnic splendour possible to a Galilaean). But the full force of such a temptation could not be felt until he had entered definitely upon his public mission (cp Jn. 6:14-15) ; and the same may be said of the temple-temptation (Mt. 26:53-54), for hitherto Jesus, though acquainted of course with the dizzy pinnacle of the temple (Jos. Ant. 15:11:5), had run no risk to his person (see further the didactic side of this developed in Mt. 10:17-31, Lk. 12:2-12). The difficulty of Jesus at the outset naturally was to see and choose the true method: his subsequent trial, recurring at frequent stages, was to adhere to the choice made in this initial hour of insight.

1 The ethical triumph of the crisis, as Keim points out (Jesu von Nazara, ET, 2:328), is not simply that Jesus conquered but that 'the inexorable godlike loftiness of his judgment discovered the devil in scruples which even the noblest would have fondled as spiritual pearls'. Further, with the possible and partial exception of the hunger-experience, the allurements in this initial crisis of Jesus' life are depicted as attractive rather than threatening or painful. All trial (in the modern sense of the word) is temptation ; but all temptations are not trials. As Gethsemane indicates, Jesus felt the harsh as well as the soft touch, and emerged from the ordeal unspoiled : cp irfTrovftev aurbs 7rfipa<r#ei. s . . . x^opW a/uapn as [peponthen autos peirastheis ... chooris amartias] (Heb. 2:18, 4:15).

2 The allusion to Peter as an embodiment of Satan corresponds with the early Christian belief that seductions through human influence were the devil's work (Weinel, Wirkungen des Geistes u. der Geister, 14-17 [1899]); but the synoptic stories, in their present form at any rate, expressly exclude the idea that Jesus bad to grapple in the temptation with anything but spiritual hosts of wickedness (Eph. 11:11-13). Even the notion of the temple-temptation as a miracle of display before a crowd is rather irrelevant and theatrical. For the unpolitical character of Christ's propaganda, see Barth's Hauptprobleme des Lebens Jesu, pp. 41-44.

3 The OT citations are all from LXX, and present little or no difficulty. Mt. 4:4c omits ru> [too] before e/cn-op [ekpor], with AF (Dt. 8:3); the other variants e>> apru> [en artoo] (Zahn, EM. 2:316 ; Nestle, Einfuhr. 211) and fv prifiari [en remati] are insignificant and uncertain. Ps. 91:11-12 is quoted with some freedom in Mt. 4:6. But in citing Dt. 6:13 both Mt. and Lk. agree with A in substituting TrpotrKuiojo-ets [proskyneseis] for <J>o/3r;(?jo7) [phobethese] and in adding fiotta [monoo] to aur<p [autoo]. The sequel in Ps. 2:8-9 to v. 7 may have suggested the mountain-temptation, just as perhaps the beasts of Ps. 91:13 may have suggested Mk. 1:13. But such conformations or infusions are at most subordinate to the dominant factor in the composition of the story - viz., the endeavour to summarise the cardinal temptations of Jesus.

7. Historical nucleus.[edit]

The Logia passage on the temptation thus represented the disciples memory of Jesus memory. It was the literary embodiment, coloured by OT reminiscences, 3 of a crisis in the life of Jesus which (cp. Mt 12:29, Mk. 3:27) he imparted in an ideal and concentrated form, looking back on it through the later, deeper experience of his actual ministry, when the initials eductions had become more grave and subtle than before. The historical nucleus of the tradition is the natural and overpowering impulse which drove Jesus into the gaunt, wild solitudes W. 1 or rather E. of the Jordan to reflect upon the strange consciousness (Baldensperger, Das Selbstbewussteein Jesu, 229-230) which had recently dawned upon him at his baptism, 2 to forecast its issues and determine his course of action (cp Gal. 1:15-17). It is noticeable that he does not seem to have doubted the reality of his Messianic consciousness ; for the words 'if thou art a son of God' (el vlbs el rov Oeod [ei uios ei tou theou]) do not bear this full hypothetical meaning. What he had to win clearness and conviction upon was the real nature and consequences of his position ; if any hesitation or uncertainty upon the genuineness of this occurred to him, it was during the period of conflict 3 (implied by Mk. and Lk. , not Mt. ) and self-questioning preceding that in which Mt. and Lk. place the triple and typical conflict of what is rather inappropriately termed the Temptation of Jesus.

J. Mo.


It has been remarked above (introd. ) that light might be expected to be thrown upon the singular and suggestive story of the Trials of Jesus by comparing it with more or less striking parallels in the literature of other religions, but that it is also possible that the insertion of such a narrative (which is plainly not literally true) may conceivably be accounted for by the existence of some custom or observance which may have led the narrator to postulate such an event as the threefold trial at the opening of the ministry of Jesus. In an essay read before the Oxford Society of Historical Theology in Nov. 1901 (an abstract of which is given in the Society's Proceedings [privately printed], 1901-2, pp. 27-31) the view has been expressed by Prof. A. A. Bevan that the so-called Temptation-story in its original form (i.e. , a form resembling the narrative in Mk.) was a description of a traditional practice or ceremony, by which, it was supposed, a man could obtain control over demons.

1 In the vicinity of BETHABARA? Cp JOHN THE BAPTIST, 1. On the haggard, austere Judaean desert with its vipers (Mt. 3 :7), see GASm. HG 312-317.

2 Justin (Dial. 103, 331) loosely brings the two into close connection - O./J.OL r<a ava^rji/ai avTov OLTTO TOV lopSarov [ama too anabenai auton apo tou Iordanou] the voice from heaven is followed by the temptation to worship the devil.

3 In Clem. Hom. (11:35, 19:2) these forty days are occupied by discussions (StaMyecrOai [dialegesthai) with the devil (trporpe-ntav Ka.i ava-TTfiBtav, 8:21). See the striking passage cited from Victor Hugo's Quatre-vingt-treize (in John Morley's Studies in Literature, 235-236) on the moral incitements and haunting effects of Nature upon the human conscience, and especially of Nature in her more savage and gloomy scene*. Where the strong conscience resists, and develops by resisting, 'the puny conscience soon turns reptile ... it undergoes the mysterious infiltration of ill suggestions and superstition'.

8. Possible light from the modern East.[edit]

The practice referred to must have been of ancient origin, and it has continued in the East down to the present day [late 19th century]. Rather than attempt to describe it anew, Prof. Bevan cites the testimony of an Oriental, as reported by Prof. E. G. Browne in his work, A Year amongst the Persians (1893), 148-49. About fifteen years ago Prof. Browne heard this story from a philosopher of Isfahan, entitled Aminu-sh-Shari'at.

'At one time of my life I devoted myself to the occult sciences, and made an attempt to obtain control over the jinnis,

with what results I will tell you. You must know, in the first place, that the modus operandi is as follows:- The seeker after this power chooses some solitary and dismal spot. . . . There he must remain for forty days. . . . He spends the greater part of this time in incantations in the Arabic language, which he recites within the area of the mandal, or geometrical figure, which he must describe in a certain way on the ground. Besides this, he must eat very little food, and diminish the amount daily. If he has faithfully observed all these details, on the twenty-first day a lion will appear, and will enter the magic circle. The operator must not allow himself to be terrified by this apparition, and, above all, must on no account quit the mandal, else he will lose the results of all his pains. If he resists the lion, other terrible forms will come to him on subsequent days - tigers, dragons, and the like - which he must similarly withstand. If he holds his ground till the fortieth day, he has attained his object, and the jinnis, having been unable to get the mastery over him, will have to become his servants and obey all his behests. Well, I faithfully observed all the necessary conditions, and on the twenty-first day, sure enough, a lion appeared and entered the circle. Next day a tiger came, and still I succeeded in resisting the impulse which urged me to flee. Hut when, on the following day, a most hideous and frightful dragon appeared, I could no longer control my terror, and rushed from the circle, renouncing all further attempts at obtaining the mastery over the jinnis. When some time had elapsed after this, and I had pursued my studies in philosophy further, I came to the conclusion that I had been the victim of hallucinations excited by expectation, solitude, hunger, and long vigils ; and, with a view to testing the truth of this hypothesis, I again repeated the process which I had before practised, this time in a spirit of philosophical incredulity. My expectations were justified ; I saw absolutely nothing. And there is another fact which proves to my mind that the phantoms I saw on the first occasion had no existence outside my own brain. I had never seen a real lion then, and my ideas about the appearance of that animal were entirely derived from the pictures which may be seen over the doors of baths in this country. Now, the lion which I saw in the magic circle was exactly like the latter in form and colouring, and, therefore, as I need hardly say, differed considerably in aspect from a real lion'.

9. Initiation ceremonies.[edit]

This custom, it will be noticed, belongs to the large class of observances now often called ceremonies of initiation, that is to say, ceremonies by which a man is introduced into some new line of life, such as that ofa warrior, a priest, a king, and so forth. Among savages, as is well known, these ceremonies are often very elaborate and very repulsive, involving, for example, mutilations of the body and other torments; among civilised peoples there is naturally a tendency to soften them down, or suppress them altogether; but traces of them have survived in almost every country of the world.

10. Subjugation of jinn.[edit]

In the particular case under consideration the purpose of the ceremony is perfectly clear, namely, to obtain power over those beings whom modern Orientals call jinn - a term which in meaning corresponds to the Jewish shedhim and to the Greek dai/j.oi>fs [daimones], 8a.Lu.bvia [daimonia].

Later Jewish writers told that King Solomon possessed such a power (rrji Kara TUIV Satiuoviav Tt\vijv [ten kata toon daimonoon technoon], as Josephus calls it). Josephus also states that Solomon composed incantations whereby diseases are relieved, and left behind him forms of exorcism, whereby men control and drive out demons, so that they can never return. He adds, 'even to the present day this mode of cure prevails among us to a very great extent' (Ant. 18:2:5).

In this connection it is to be observed that both in ancient and in modern times a distinction is made between subjugating demons, as Solomon is supposed to have done, and entering into league with them, in order to gain some advantage for oneself or to injure one's enemies. The former is called lawful, the latter unlawful magic.

11. Illustrates gospel story.[edit]

Now the ceremony which we are discussing evidently belongs to the former category, and that it bears a striking resemblance to the accounts of the temptation in the Gospels, as Prof. Bevan points out, cannot be denied. In both cases we find the forty days spent in the desert, the fasting and the presence of the wild beasts. It is also plain that in the Synoptic narrative of Jesus' ministry the casting out of demons is a continually recurring feature. It appears natural, therefore, that the narrative should begin with an account of the process by which Jesus' power over the demons was acquired. Nor must we overlook the important fact that the Fourth Gospel, which omits the 'Temptation', also omits all reference to the casting out of demons. Does not this give plausibility to the view that the early Christians believed that their Master had obtained control over the demons by performing this rite at the outset of his ministry? Further corroborations of this view are given in the abstract of this essay in the Proceedings referred to.

12. Possible light from myths.[edit]

An earlier explanation must, however, be mentioned.

The more we familiarise ourselves with the utterances of primitive antiquity, the more we are relieved from the difficulties incident to a literalistic and rationalistic reading of ancient religious records. Primitive antiquity delights in myths, and details derived from myths were not held to be misplaced in narratives the nucleus of which was historical. Indeed, even whole episodes might be borrowed from myths and adapted to their own needs by the writers of popular narratives, without any sense of incongruity. How largely this is the case in the earlier portion of Israelite history, is becoming known, and there is no sufficient reason for denying the existence of a more or less modified mythic embroidery in early Christian narratives. The narrative of the Temptation of Jesus is one of the most precious of these narratives. We cannot call it an allegory any more than we can call the Hebrew paradise-story an allegory, for it is put forth as history - such history as to early Christians of a primitive habit of mind appeared to need no proof, because it was ideally and undeniably true. Had these been called upon to prove the facts of the history, they would not have understood the summons, unless, indeed, it came to them from one who was equally sceptical as to all that the truly ancient mind held most dear, and in this case they would have scorned to answer it. We need not then indulge the pleasant fancy that Jesus himself may have given the impetus to the production of the temptation narrative, by giving some of his nearest disciples glimpses of his early soul-history. The fancy is not only unnecessary but also unwise - at least, if it entices us to suppose that our purely subjective imaginings are of equal value with critical or traditional facts, and so to lose that sobriety which in a student of religion is the crowning moral quality.

13. Specially parallel stories.[edit]

There are two stories l parallel to that now before us which deserve the attention of the student. One is the Temptation of Zarathustra (Zoroaster) by the evil spirit Angra Mainyu; the other is the Temptation of Gautama (the Buddha) by the demon Mara. In both these stories the tempter seeks first of all to overcome the Holy One by violence, and only when this effort fails has recourse to spiritual temptations.

Ahriman, 'the guileful one, he the evil-doer', bids a demon rush down upon Zarathustra. But the holy Zarathustra steps forward to meet him, wielding stones as big as a house, obtained from Ahura Mazda (i.e., thunderbolts). Then the guileful one, fearing the overthrow of his own empire, promises Zarathustra that if he will 'renounce the good law of the worshippers of Mazda', he shall 'gain such a boon as Zohak gained, the ruler of the nations'. 2 Zarathustra answers, 'No! never will I renounce the good law . . . though my body, my life, my soul, should burst'. And when Ahriman howls out, 'By whose word wilt thou strike and repel', Zarathustra answers, 'The words taught by Mazda, these are my weapons, my best weapons'. Once more he chants the sacred formula, the Ahuna Vairya, and prays, 'This I ask thee: teach me the truth, O Lord!' 3

With this, Darmesteter 4 well compares the Temptation of Gautama by the demon Mara.

The legend is that when the young Indian prince made the 'great renunciation' to devote himself to the discovery of truth for the sake of his fellowmen, Mara became visible in the air, promising that in seven days from now the wheel of empire would appear, and would make Gautama sovereign over the four continents and the two adjacent isles. Baffled, the demon Mara sends his three daughters, Craving, Discontent, and Lust; but their wiles are fruitless; on the forty-ninth day the king of the gods brings water for his face, and the four guardian angels minister to him. 5

It is plain that both these stories are of mythic origin; plain too that psychological reflection has done more for the Buddhist story than for the Zoroastrian. 1 The more archaic of the two stories is the Temptation of Zarathustra, the more appealing the Temptation of Gautama. Darmesteter traces both to the nature-myth embodied in the dialogue of the Panis and Sarama in the Rig Veda.

1 Already referred to by J. E. Carpenter, The First Three Gospels, 165+, J. M. Robertson, Christianity and Mythology, 343, 353, 355.

2 A king in ancient Iranian mythology who ruled the world for a thousand years.

3 Vendidad (Zendavesta), 19:1-11 (the Revelation chapter), SBE 4:204-206 ; cp Introd. p. 77. There is also a briefer account of the episode in the Dfnkart, besides allusions to it elsewhere (A. V. Williams Jackson, Zoroaster, the Prophet of Ancient Iran, 53).

4 Ormazd et Ahriman, 201.

5 Birth Stories (Rhys Davids), 1:84, 1:96-97, 1:106+

14. Mythic elements.[edit]

This, at least, seems highly probable; the Temptation-stories in general originated in the mythical conflict between the Light-god and the Storm-spirit, and while we fully grant that the story of the Temptation of Jesus has been, like that of the Temptation of Gautama, enriched by psychological reflection, and (we may add in the case of the Gospel-story) by remini scences of the Temptation of Adam and of ancient Israel, we cannot consistently deny that its ultimate germs are mythical. Not that the mythic element in this story can be traced to imitation of either of the two parallel stories mentioned above (section 13) ; so far as we know as yet, it is only in the apocryphal Gospels (150-700 A. D. ) that Buddhistic influence can safely be admitted. Indeed, the exceeding high mountain, from the top of which the tempter shows Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, would seem to be suggested by the Babylonian mountain of the gods which passed into the folklore of the Israelites 2 (cp Is. 14:13, Ezek. 28:16), and is ultimately the great mythic earth-mountain. 'We know not where to look for the high mountain', remarks Keim. The Gospel according to the Hebrews, however, did know. According to a fragment in Origen, 3 'the Saviour said, Even now my mother the Holy Spirit hath seized me by one of my hairs, and hath brought me to the great mountain Tabor' (0a/3w/), Ta/3wp). Why Tabor? Probably by a misunderstanding. It was the mountain of the Navel (TH7S [TBVR]) that was originally meant - the mountain in the earth's centre. Earlier generations knew where this mountain was - it was in the old Hebrew Paradise, but certainly no one in the first Christian century could have localised that Paradise. 4 It was also on this mountain that we should have expected to find Jesus spending the forty days ; the analogies of Ex. 24:18, 34:28, 1 K. 19:8-9, point distinctly to this. But here again the lapse of centuries since the period of a still flourishing folklore must be borne in mind. Since these passages were written transcendentalism had placed its seal on Jewish theology, and even the most venerated earthly mountain was no more than the footstool of God (cp Ps. 99:5, 132:7). Jewish ascetics naturally resorted to the desert, as the region where communings with another world would be most attainable (cp JOHN THE BAPTIST, 1). It was possible there to reduce the claims of fleshly nature to the utmost ; there, too, mysterious oracular voices might be heard (see col. 3882, with n. 2); there, too, the moral athlete might prove his spiritual weapons in conflict with the Evil One. Whether the 'forty days' were, according to the earliest form of the narrative, really forty days of temptation may be doubted.

1 According to Rhys Davids (Buddhism, 36, SPCK), 'the very thoughts passing through the mind of Gautama appear in gorgeous descriptions as angels of darkness or of light. Unable to express the struggles of his soul in any other way, they represent him as sitting sublime, calm, and serene during violent attacks made upon him by a wicked visible tempter and his wicked angels, armed by all kinds of weapons'. We must not, however, imagine that the Temptation of Gautama is of purely psychological origin. Even here the first germs are evidently mythological (see Darmesteter).

2 The fondness for references to mountains in Jewish eschatological literature also has its roots in mythology.

3 See Nestle, NT Gr. Supplementum, 77, and cp TABOR, 5.

4 There is evidence suggesting that the early tradition placed it in the Jerahmeelite Negeb (see PARADISE, n, with n. 6).

5 On the genesis of the forty days in the Moses and Elijah story, cp MOSES, n.

The Lenten fast of forty days might naturally exert a modifying influence on the original tradition, which surely must have said that Jesus, as the second Moses and the second Elijah, 5 communed with God for forty days before he underwent the sorest attack of the Evil One. 1 Just so, Zarathustra is said to have beheld seven visions of Ormazd and the archangels before meeting the combined attack of the powers of evil. 2 It may well be that in the original Temptation of Jesus, as in that of Zarathustra, the efforts of the tempter were made to centre in the one object of drawing the Saviour away to a false ideal of success. Analogy favours the view that this, like other stories of the same class, grew, and by the belief that it grew our appreciation of the final perfected form is increased rather than diminished.

One serious difficulty, however, remains. The short account in Mk. runs-

'And he was in the wilderness forty days tempted of Satan; and he was with the wild beasts ; and the angels ministered unto him' (Mk. 1:13),

To suppose that this account merely sums up a fuller narrative, such as Mt.'s, is scarcely admissible. It consists of three clauses, and it is only the first and the third which can be represented as the skeleton of the vivid narrative known to Mt. and Lk. 'He was with the wild beasts' (fy /xerd. TUW (typiuv [en meta toon therioon]) - clearly there is something more than picturesque realism here, and the duty of the critic is not performed by referring to Is. 30:6, 2 Macc. 5:27. We seem to have here a fragment of another separate narrative, attached to the beginning of Jesus career, the trials described in which were those incident to initiation into mysteries, or (in Egypt) to the passage of the soul to the Islands of the Blest. 3 J. M. Robertson 4 is inclined to account in this way for the tempters invitation to Jesus to grasp at food before the appointed time. 'We know that among the trials of the later Mithraic initiations were those of hunger and thirst; and as the adversary, the tempter, is a capital figure in all stages of the Mazdean system, it would be almost a matter of course that the initiate should figure as being tempted by him to break down in the probation'. It would certainly not be extraordinary that some echo of these mysteries should have made its way into the Christian community, considering how close was the struggle between Christianity and Mithraism (the successor and supplanter of Mazda-worship) at a later period. Nor have we even thus exhausted critical possibilities. Considering that ability to vanquish demons was regarded as one of the most essential gifts of the Messiah (cp Mk. 3), it is not surprising if an attempt was made by early Christians to connect the temptation-story with this widely-spread view of the messianic office. The discussion in sections 8-11 will not, indeed, supersede the mythological theory, but it may help us to realise the popular theories which may possibly have been based at an early time on the narrative of the temptation.

T. K. C.

1 Keim unites the two views of the forty days. 'He stands like Moses on Sinai in still converse with God, by whose word he lives, but he is, at the same time, put to the test by Satan; and it is this side of his sojourn which has been most industriously portrayed' (Jesus of Nazara, ET 2:305). The synoptics, however, only speak of his being tempted of the devil.

2 Williams Jackson, Zoroaster, 50-51

3 Masp. Dawn of Civ. 184-185

4 Christianity and Mythology, 354.

15. Literature.[edit]

On the literary criticism of the synoptic narratives, besides the relevant sections in critical editions of the synoptic gospels and in the various biographies of Jesus, see von engelhardt, De tentatione Jesu (1858), Hunefeld, Die Versuchungsgeschichte (1880); N. Schmidt, St. Kr., 1889, p. 443-444, Wendt's Lehre Jesu (ET, 1:101-102, 1:395); W. Honig, 'Die Versuchungsgeschichte' (Protest. Monatshefte, 1900, 331-332, 382-383); and B. W. Bacon, Bibl. World, Jan. 1900, pp. 18-25 also Ullmann's Sundlosigheit Jesu (ET, 123-144, 265-291 [1870]); Trench's Studies in Gospels, 1-65 (1867); Ecce Homo (ch. 2); Campbell's Crit. Studies in Luke, 16-28 (1851); A. E. Garvie, Exp. T 10:301-302, 10:356-357, 10:419-420, 10:453-454, 10:509-510) . W. W. Peyton, Expos., third ser. 9:369-301, fourth ser. 2:360-378, 2:439-454, 4:223-236, 4:340-360; and W. B. Hill, Bibl. World, 11:28-36; further, on the metaphysical problem, Bruce, Humiliation of Christ (3) (1889), 236-288 ; and Fairbairn, Christ in Mod. Theology, 348-353 (1893). A crude literalism dominates essays like Nebe's Der Versuch des Herrn eine aussere Thatsache (1857), and F. Nerling's 'Die Versuchung Jesu Christ!, des Sohnes Gottes, durch Satanas in der Wuste' (Mittheil. und Nachrichten fur die evang. Kirche in Russland, 8249-104); cp A. D. Kurrikoff (ibid. 1895, pp. 289-307 395-417).

[Add - published since the above article was written - garvie, Expos. June 1902; Hilgenfeld, ZWT, 1902, pp. 289-302; Denney, Death of Christ (1902), 16-18 ; and J. Halevy, Revue Semitique (Jan., 1902), p. 13-14; also, for rabbinic parallels on Satan tempting Abram, Moses, and Israel, Gfrorer's Jahrhundert d. Heils, 2:379-380]

J. Mo. (1-7, 15); T. K. C. (12-14).


1. Introduction.[edit]

The tent, as a place of abode or shelter, appears to stand midway between the tree and the circular hut. The tree, with its canopy of branch and brushwood, would suggest to nomad tribes the use of the tree-trunk or pole, around which would be hung the skins of animals caught in the chase, whilst settled races would prepare a more lasting shelter by the erection, on a similar plan, of round (or nearly round) dome-shaped buildings of straw and clay. A later development of this would be the construction of round buildings with perpendicular walls, and sloping, not conical roof.

For these stages cp Montelius, cited by O. Schrader, Indo-german. Altertum. 339-340, and J. H. Middleton, art. 'Templum' in Smith's Dict. Class. Ant. 2:773b ('the round shape was the earlier form for a god's house, just as the circular hut, built round a central pole, is the early architecture for a human habitation'). It is not denied, however, that oval or oblong buildings are very old, and although there are indications that the Indo-Germanic races, for example, passed through the 'round-hut' stage (Schrader, 981-982), it cannot be proved, although it may plausibly be inferred, that they were originally tent-dwellers. To proceed farther along this line, and to suggest that from the cave has arisen first the rock-hewn chamber and then the rectangular abode, is a hypothesis not yet sufficiently warranted by the evidence. 1 At all events, there is reason to suppose that the portico or gateway in front of the Egyptian house, for example, has evolved from a previous practice of building some kind of structure before the mouth of a cavern. Cp ORACLE, 3.

It is unfortunate that the exact age of the circular dome-shaped bee-hive buildings in the Sinaitic peninsula which are described by Palmer (Desert of the Exodus, 139+, 169, 317, etc.), is unknown. 2 At all events there is no solid ground for the old theory (based on Lev. 23:43) that they were once occupied by the children of Israel during their wanderings in the wilderness. Some of them (at least) appear to have been used as tombs by monks, a use to which they are occasionally put at the present day, and this supports Mr. F.C. Hurkitt's suggestion that the term applied to them, nawamis, is not from namus, mosquito, but is an evident oral corruption of nawawis, plural of na'us, which is ultimately derived from vaos [naos] (Syr. nausa), 'temple', but is used for 'cemetery', and apparently for the Parsee towers of silence - in fact for any non-Mohammedan kind of burial-place (private communication).

The characteristic Hebrew term for the tent is ohel (Snx, ffKijvT) [skene] [BAL]), occasionally rendered TABERNACLE (q.v. , 1). It has been connected 3 with the ASS. alu, 'settlement, city' (in contrast with mahazu, 'fortified place') ; but the relationship is doubted by Noldeke ( ZDMG 40:720 [1886]), who also questions the identity of the Hebrew word with the S. Sem. ahl (op. cit. 154, n. i). 4 On the other hand, ohel, like bayith (see HOUSE, 1), may refer not only to the dwelling, but also to its occupants; cp Ps. 83:7 [83:6] 'tents of Edom' (|| Ishmaelites), 120:5 'tents of Kedar' (cp v. 66 'those who hate peace'), 5 and for this reason it has been considered probable that the last two letters of C.TSi.x in 1 Ch. 4:41, and that r6pa of 2 Ch. 14:14 [14:15], are corruptions of tribal names. 6

'Tent' is also the rendering of mishkan, J2w C, Cant. 1:8 and (|| hnx ['HL]) Nu. 24:5, Jer. 30:18 ; of sukkah, HJp ('booth') in 2 S. 11:11, see PAVILION (i), TABERNACLE, i; and of kubbah, rt2p, Nu. 25:8, see PAVILION (2), and section 4 below. Bayith, too, is used of a tent 7 in Gen. 27:15, 33:17 (J), and is thus rendered also by RV in 2 K. 23:7 (but see DRESS, 8). Conversely, ohel seems to refer to the palaces of Israel's neighbours in Ps. 84:10 (84:11) {1}, Job 21:28.

On the use of ohel in Sabaean and Phoenician proper names, see AHOLIBAMAH, OHOLAH, OHOLIBAH.

1 For cave- or underground dwellings among Semitic peoples, cp Nowack HA 1:135-136 (E. of Jordan. Petra), and Landberg, L'Arabie Meridionale, 1:159 (S. Arabia).


3 E.g., by Fr. Delitzsch (Prol. 105), Sayce (TSBA 1:2:305).

4 Noldeke compares Syr. yahla, 'troop, tribe'. From the S. Semitic comes also the cognate Nab. Vt<i ['L] found in two inscriptions from Hauran (CIS 2:164-165).

5 Not to be corrected into \^& N3:r> 'haters of the Salmu' (i.e., Salamaeans) as the emendation in Cant. 1:5 (see We. Prol. (3) 218, n. 1) might suggest.

6 Cp Wi. 'Musri', etc. MVG, 1898, 1:48+, and see ZERAH.

7 Cp, perhaps, the gloss in Hesychius : /3<u rr) [baite] = tent of skin.

2. Tent-life in Israel.[edit]

Originally the Hebrews, like the Arabs, 2 were essentially a tent-living people, and in one of their legendary they enumerate among their ancestors Jabal, the father of tent-dwellers and herdsmen, thus recognising their nomadic origin (Gen. 4:20, cp Heb. 11:9, and see CAINITES, CATTLE, 1). The tent-dweller, if he follows an honest calling, is essentially a herdsman, and it is not until he has become at least an agriculturist - the two types are represented in Abel and Cain respectively - that he will begin to think of replacing the tent by a shelter of a more substantial character. 3

The Canaanites among whom the Hebrews settled were house-dwellers (cp Nu. 13:19, 13:28, Dt. 1:28, 3:5, and see CITY, 1), and that the immigrants in time followed their example, is only to be expected, and is presupposed in the (later) law Dt. 228 (cp HOUSE, 1). Still, it is noteworthy that outside help was desirable, if not actually necessary, and for the building of his temple Solomon was obliged to invoke the aid of the more expert Phoenicians (see HIRAM, 1), just as Arabian tradition relates that for the erection of the Ka'ba Coptic, Persian, or Roman workmen were called in (Fraenkel, op. cit. 4).

In this connection it is interesting to note that the Arabic word for 'roof' (ajurr) is of Aramaic, and ultimately, perhaps, of Assyrian origin (Fraenkel, 5, Muss-Arnolt, Ass. Dict. 160), and that the Hebrew synonym gag is of unknown etymology, and does not appear to be Semitic. Similarly, the derivation of the Heb. ir, kir, deleth, batsar (in mibtsar, etc.), and hel, all of which presuppose town-life, are quite obscure.

Long after the settlement, the Hebrews retained in their language traces of their earlier mode of living. Wealth and cattle (mpo) are identical terms. 4 Nd-ia (yw), 'to journey', comes from the idea of pulling up the tent-pegs before journeying. Removal is compared to the carrying away of the shepherd's tent (cp Is. 38:12); desolation is as the breaking of the tent-cords, and as the fall of the tent, when there is none to set up or spread the curtains (Job 421 RV, Jer. 10:20). A tent firmly staked with stout cords is a figure of security (Is. 38:20), and a tent-peg, like our 'pegging out a claim', is synonymous with the right of possession (Ezra 9:8). 'To your tents, O Israel' remains the formula of dismissal, and even in the time of Amaziah, Judah is deemed to dwell among tents (2 K. 14:12).

In spite of this, however, it is important to remember that there were certain clans in Israel which apparently continued to remain semi-nomads (e.g., Kenites and doubtless other clans living S. of the Negeb, and to the E. of the Jordan). Again, although modern analogy supports the inference that the agriculturists were almost wholly house-dwellers (however mean their abode may have been ; see HOUSE), yet to a certain extent these still retained the earlier custom of dwelling in tents, whether it was during the ingathering of the vintage (see TABERNACLES, FEAST OF) or for comfort during the summer, or from religious principle (see RECHABITES). 1 See below, 4.

1 [Che. Ps. (2) contends that in a number of passages (Ps. 15:1, 19:5, 27:5-6,. 61:5, 69:26, 78:60, 84:11) inN is miswritten for Sj<n.]

2 Cp Gen. 37:25, Judg. 8:11 (where Tg. actually has Kmy for O Snxn 313^) Ps. 83:6 [83:7], 1 Ch. 5:10. As an examination of the terms appears to show, the Arabs learned the art of building from the Aramaeans (Fraenkel, Aram. Fremdw. 1+). The older civilisation of the Minaeans and Sabaans of the S. of Arabia does not come under consideration here.

3 On the gradual settling of the Hebrews ; cp Buhl, Die socialen Verhaltnisse d. Israeliten, 13+. (Berlin, 1890).

4 Cp also perhaps, Syr. marhate, and see CATTLE, 8 (end).

On the ease with which the people will pass from house to tent-life see Per.-Chip. Art in Chald. 1:199. To understand this we must realise the deeply-rooted preference which all Bedouins have for their tent. 2 It is still the practice to the E. of the Jordan for the population of such towns even as es-Salt, and Kerak, to pitch their tents in the country during the summer. The same holds good of the peasantry of S. Palestine, and was no doubt usual in ancient times (Thomson, Land and Book, 296). Another practice, Schumacher remarks, is for the fellahin of the Jaulan to build a hut of branches or reeds 3 upon the roofs of their houses (Jaulan, 43). Cp also BED, 1 ; HOUSE, 3 ; HUT.

As an instance of the modification of the tent by a more settled folk, the usage of the Turcomans, NW. of Aleppo, is of interest. According to Burckhardt (Travels in Syria, 636; London, 1822), the dwellings consist of oblong walls of about 4 ft. in height. These are made of loose stones, and the whole is covered over with a black cloth of gout s hair, elevated by twelve or more posts, about 8 ft. high, in the middle of the enclosure. A stone partition near the entrance bars off the women s apartment from that of the men. Many of the people, however, live in large huts 15 ft. high, which look like tents but have roofs of rushes. As a further adaptation may be noticed the jourt or tent of the Kirghiz in Central Asia, consisting of a wooden frame for sides, radiating ribs for roof, and a wooden door. . . . Over this framework a heavy covering of felt is thrown, which is either weighed down with stones or, when necessary, stitched together. 4 From this it is possible to gain some idea of the construction of the Israelite tabernacle as it existed in the mind of the priestly writers. See further TABERNACLE, 10.

1 Cp Bu. 'The Nomadic Ideal in the OT' (New World, 1805).

2 Cp v. Oppenheim, Mittelmeer z, Pers. Golf, 2:50.

3 Called 'arishi; cp below, section 4, n. 2.

4 Ency. Brit. (9) 'Tent', 23:183a. The tent of Shiloh, according to Rabbinical writers, was also supposed to be a walled enclosure, covered over with curtains.

5 Among the descriptions of the various travellers in the East, Burckhardt, and more especially Doughty, have been drawn upon most frequently in this section.

6 Cp also the pavilion portrayed upon the bronze gate of Balawat (expedition against Carchemish). For other royal tents, cp Per.-Chip. Art in Chald. 1:175, 1:193.

3. Description.[edit]

[picture of FIG. 1. - Sennacherib's camp at Lachish. Brit. Mus. Assyrian Saloon. goes here]

The well-known retention of ancient customs in the East being admitted, our conception of the tent of the Hebrews must be based upon our knowledge of its construction among the Bedouins of the present day, 5 supplemented by the unfortunately small number of representations of tents upon the Assyrian sculptures, and illustrated by the scanty details in the OT. The sculptures furnish us with illustrations of the royal pavilion which accompanied Sennacherib at the siege of Lachish, 6 and from the same source there is preserved, fortunately, a plan of the Assyrian camp, in which are depicted both the royal pavilion and tents of a less luxurious description (fig. 1). In addition to this, upon the sculptures representing Ashur-bani-pal's expedition against the Arabians (KT 2:217 l. 122), there are interesting portrayals of the tents of the enemy (fig. 2). In the uppermost panel, the tent-dwellers are seen peace fully working ; below, is depicted the hand-to-hand conflict with the Assyrians ; and, finally, the Arabians are overpowered and killed, and the burning tents are on the point of collapse. The representation is extremely vivid. The framework of the tents appears to consist of an upright branch from the middle of which other branches project, and the general appearance, it will be seen, is markedly inferior to that in Sennacherib s camp. 1

[picture of FIG. 2. - Arabian tents. Brit. Mus. Assyrian saloon. goes here]

The Assyrians, like the Egyptians, were especially a house-dwelling people. But according to De Morgan (Recherches sur les Origines de l'Egypte, 66-66, Paris, 1897 ; cp Budge, Hist. of Egypt, 1, 42, 56, 102 ; London, 1902), the earlier inhabitants of Egypt lived in booths of rush and reed, and the art of brick-making (see BRICK) was introduced probably from Chaldaea. As regards the Assyrians, the theory that they, too, once dwelt in tents or booths, can at present be supported only by the fact that they were in the custom of erecting a tent upon the flat house-roof (Per.-Chip., Art in Chald. 1:197, cp above, 2, end), a practice which might lead to the erection of the so-called 'upper-chamber' (found also in Egypt, e.g., Wilk. Anc. Eg. 1:352), and of the rounded tops, domes, or sugar-loaf roofs of -Mesopotamia (cp Art in Chald. 1:128, 1:145, 1:165=). May we also point to the general lack of windows ?

The nomad tent (hejra. Doughty, Ar. Des. 1224) is made of black worsted or hair-cloth, or of sheep's wool mingled with the hair of goats and camels. 2 Tents of linen were, and still are, used only occasionally for holiday or travelling purposes, by those who do not habitually live in them (Kitto, Bibl. Cycl. art. 'Tent',"cp Doughty, 2:356). The Bedouins of the Jaulan according to Schumacher (Jaulan, 54-55) do not make the plaited goat-hair tent-cloths themselves, but buy them from certain tribes and gipsies (Nauwar), who for the most part drive a regular trade in this. 3 The skeleton consists of a number of tent-poles ('amdan, 'awamid),4 varying in number from three to nine according to the size of the tent, which are kept in position by cords (yether, methar [cp CORD], mod. tunub or habl. [Eg.]) attached to stakes or pegs (yathed, mod. wated).

1 Cp also Layard, Nineveh and its Remains, 2:271 (London, 1849), and Per.-Chip. Art in Chald. 1:330.

2 Hence the mod. name bait sha'r, o. wabar; for the material, cp also Ex. 25:26, 36:14, TABERNACLE, 4-5, SACKCLOTH, 1 n.

3 Tent-making, the trade followed by Paul, was no doubt a lucrative profession. The Pesh., however, in Acts 18:3 reads jyV^i^X, 'saddle-makers', ( = lorarius ?), whence it has been suggested that (TKTji OTrcuds [skenopoios] is an error for TJI IOTTOIOS [eniopoios]. See further, CILICIA, PAUL, 5, SACKCLOTH, and cp SHIP, 8 n.

4 For a collection of other mod. terms in use see Oppenheim, Vom Mittelmeer z. Pers. Golf, vol. 2, facing 44.

5 The Hebrew phrase for 'to pitch a tent' (^nxn JIN J pn, Gen. 31:25 Jer. 6:3) really contains a reference to the hammering (yBn) of the tent-peg.

Over the poles are stretched the coverings of skin or rag (yeri'oth, cp AZUBAH), and around the sides is hung a long cloth, an open space being left at one side for light and ventilation. 1 Inside the larger tents, a hanging, commonly not more than breast or neck-high, separates the smaller and inner apartment (kubbat, mahram] for the women (who rarely have their own tent, cp 4 below), from the larger, and commonly open division, which is used as a reception and general living room (mak'ad).2 When there is a triple division, and this is rare (cp Doughty, 2:285), the extra room is used for servants and cattle. The tents average 20-25 feet in length (though sometimes reaching as much as 40 feet) ; they are about 8-10 feet high, and usually oblong in shape; round tents are mentioned in the old Arabian poems, 3 and a few traces have been found at the present day near Teima (Doughty, 1:284-285); but with these exceptions, they are used only by Turkish officials and travellers.

The Arabs usually wander in ferjan, or nomad hamlets, according to their kindreds, 4 accompanied perhaps by some poor unprotected followers. The collection of tents forms the menzil ,- 5 if few, they may be arranged in a circle or semicircle, 6 but usage varies, and not unfrequently a tribe may be identified at a distance by the arrangement adopted. 7 Zarebas, encampments surrounded with a stone wall, are vouched for in the desert of Pharan (Nowack, HA 137), but are not common.

The sheikh's tent is naturally the most important, though not necessarily, therefore, the most luxurious. 8 It is usually placed in the most prominent position, and will often face the direction from which travellers may be expected to arrive (cp Gen. 18:1-2). To it repair the desert wanderers (duyuf Allah, 'God's guests'), who find therein a sanctuary and can claim protection for two nights and a day. 9 The rahla ('migration') is agreed upon the previous day by common assent or may rest with the Sheikh. Should his tent remain standing an hour past sunrise, it is known that the camp will not move that day (Doughty, 1:216). Naturally the proximity of trees and wells (cp Gen. 18:4) is sought for in selecting a fresh menzil.

To the women falls the duty of erecting and taking down the tents (Doughty, 1:216). It is in their apartment that the goods and chattels are stored, though these, it is true, are few in number (Doughty, 1:216, 1:227). Some lumps of rock-salt, a few lengths of cloth and patches of leather, a box for the feminine vanities, the great brazen pot, a lamp, and a dozen minor utensils will form the average equipment (Doughty, 1:227, cp HOUSE, 6 and references).

1 This is the only door, in the proper sense of the word ; se? DOOR. Contrast Gen. 18:1-2 the entrance {pethah) of the tent, and 19:7 the door (deleth) of the city-house (bayith ; cp v. 8, where mention is made of the beam, korah). Cp Jer. 49:31, the Arabians who have neither 'doors nor bars'.

2 Doughty (Ar. Des. 1227) well says: 'Tent is the Semitic house; their clay house is built in like manner, a public hall for the men and guests, and an inner woman's and household apartment'.

3 The tents in the illustrations from the monuments (above) are also probably round.

4 Cp P's conception of the camp of Israel in the wilderness (Nu. 1:52, etc.). In modern times the size of a tribe is frequently reckoned by the number of tents; for examples, see Merrill, East of the Jordan, 471.

5 From Ar. nazala, 'to dwell', perhaps originally 'to unload'. Cp in Syr. mashritha, 'camp', from shera, 'to loosen' (unload). See Fraenkel, op. cit. 3, n. i.

6 Cp the Ar. name duwar, and the Heb. tirah ; see CAMP, i ; CATTLE, i ; NEGEB, 6.

7 Cp CAMP, i. Thus the tents may be arranged in the shape of a triangle, rectangle, in one long line, or in two parallel lines (Conder, Tent Work in Palestine, 2:275-276); for square-shaped encampments, cp Robinson, BR 2:180, 2:707, and for oval, ib. 201.

8 Rich and elaborate tents are more characteristic of the Persians, cp Judith 10:21.

9 Doughty, 1:228, cp WRS, Kinship, 41-42, 259, and see STRANGER AND SOJOURNER, 5.

4. Tent in mariage and religion.[edit]

Nowhere do we find such conservatism of ancient customs as in matters outside everyday life, and in the case of the tent this is particularly illustrated in certain religious festivals (cp. above, 2), and in marriage ceremonies. It has not escaped notice that in a few cases in the OT the tent appears to be the property of the wife (e.g., Jael, Judg. 4:7 ; Sarah, Gen. 24:26; Jacob's wives, 31:33-34), and in this Robertson Smith recognised the survival of an earlier stage of society (still found in various phases among some communities) where the woman possesses her own tent, into which she receives her husband, and in which, though married, she retains perfect independence (the so-called beena marriage). In later ages, when marriage entails the loss of her independence, and the woman belongs to the man, the importance of the tent is retained in a variety of ways : thus, notably, the Arab still erects a special hut or tent for his wife on the first night of marriage, although it is otherwise unusual for the woman to possess a separate dwelling (Kinship, 167).

The erection of this tent for the consummation of the marriage illustrates 2 S. 16:22 ('the', not 'a', tent as in AV); such a bridal chamber may well have been called huppah, HSfl (cp Joel 2:16 [where the || heder is used of a bridegroom, as also is huppah itself in Ps. 19:5 [19:6]). {1} According to Robertson Smith {Kinship, 168, 291) the 'eres or bridal bed (Cant. 1:16) was also primarily a booth; cp Ar. 'irris, 'thicket', 'arrasa, 'to make a booth' (esp. with a view to marriage), 'arris, 'bridegroom', and 'irs, 'wife', 2 but this is doubted by Budde, Funf Megillot, on Cant. l.c.

Allusion has already been made to the circular and tent-like shape of the earliest temples in the classical world (section 1), and although there do not appear to be actual records of the use of tents as temples, at least Orestes had his sacred booths (Paus. 2:31:6), and temporary booths were not unfrequently erected in sacred precincts (Frazer, Paus. 2:165-166, 2:204). These usages remind us both of the tents and booths erected by the Israelites on special religious festivals (Hos. 12:9, see TABERNACLES, FEAST OF), and of the temporary tents in which dwelt the female-mourners over Hosein. 3 Portable tents were also used as shrines on military campaigns (WRS, Rel. Sem. (2) 37, cp Schwally, Semit. Kriegsalterth. 1:13), and the use of tents as sanctuaries 4 was familiar to the Israelites long after the settlement in Canaan. See further, TABERNACLE, esp. 12.

S. A. C.

1 Another word is kubbah (Nu. 25:8, see PAVILION, 2) with which cp the Ar. term kubba ( 3, above). BDB prefer (Zimri's) 'princely tent', but the older view is better (see Ges. Thes., Di.), and is supported by the vulgar colloquial usage of the word in both MH and Ar. (cp Freytag). Note that the derivative 'alcove' itself, was used in Spanish to denote especially the recess in a chamber for the bed.

2 Add, too, the 'arishi. The stem is to be kept distinct from Ass. 'erishu, 'bridegroom', which corresponds to Hebr. eresh ('RSh), 'to espouse', lit. 'pay the price'. The original meaning of BHJJ [ArSh] is uncertain.

3 As Eerdmans has shown, the rite has traces of the Tammuz-cult (ZA 9:303) ; cp also v. Kremer, Stud. z. vergleich. Culturgesch. 1:59 (Vienna, 1890).

4 The Ka'ba appears to have been evolved from a tent (Wellh. Heid. (2) 73).


(frfyy), Ex. 29:40 AV, RV 'tenth part [of an ephah]'. See WEIGHTS AND MEASURES, 3 (s.v. 'omer').


(recbooN [A]), 1 Macc. 9:50 RV, AV TAPHON (q.v.).


(I m, 0A. P A, [BADEL] ; AD sometimes 6&PP&; Thare), the father of Abraham (Gen. 11:24+, Josh. 24:2, 1 Ch. 1:26, Lk. 3:34). Tradition described him variously as the son, and as the brother, of Nahor. P represents him as migrating from 'Ur Kasdim' (see UR OF THE CHALDEES) to Haran (Gen. 11:31). To understand 'Terah', we must, first of all, have a definite view as to the meaning of 'Abraham' and 'Haran'.

(1) There is some probability in Winckler's theory (GI 2:24 n. i) that mn is an intentional distortion of P7T (yerah) = Ass. arhu, originally 'the beginning of a moon'. Ur Kasdim, whence Terah came, was (as is commonly held) the S. Babylonian city of Uru, which was the seat of the moon-cultus. Harran ( = Haran, where Terah died) was the other great centre of the same cultus (see HARAN). This must be taken in connection with the theory of Winckler and Stucken as to the mythological character of Abraham and Sarah (cp SARAH).

(2) Another view, however, may deserve to be mentioned. There is strong reason to think that Abraham is the hero of the Jerahmeelites, as Israel (cp Sarah) is the hero of the Israelites, and that his original seat (i.e., that of the Jerahmeelites) was, traditionally, in the southern Haran. Terah's close connection with Haran and Nahor ( = Haran ?), suggests that he is a double of Abraham, and that his name is a corrupted fragment of Jerahmeel. Possibly for 'corrupted' we should rather say 'altered'. P, or his authority, may, as Winckler (see above) remarks, have had a repugnance to a name which suggested moon-worship.

(3) Jensen's comparison of N. Syrian (Hittite) proper names, like Tarhular (ZA 6:70 , Hittiter, 153), leads to the meagre result that Terah may have been a divine name.

T. K. C.


(rnrt), Nu. 33:27-28. RV, AV TARAH (q.v.).


(D^S-to, LXX in Gen. eiAOiAA [eidoola], Hist. Books <?epac[e]ti [theraph[e]in], Sap., Sepan-eic, -c^ei/a [exc. 1 S. 15:23 fltpan-fiav (B) 19:13, 19:16 (cei/ora^ta [kenotaphia] or KCUJ>.], Hos. 3:4 STJA.OI [deloi] [see below, n. 2], Ezek. 21:21 [21:26] yAwn-rd [glypta], Zech. 10:2 airotyOfyyoufvoi [apophtheggomenoi]; Aq. juop<|>u>ju.aT<x [morphoomata], 7rpoTop.ai [protomai] Sym. etSioAa [eidoola], eTri Avcris [epilysis], Oepacpeii , Theod. $Fpa^>[e]ii , ;riAv6;aei>os [epilyomenos]) ; AV (following Vg.) sometimes transcribes, sometimes translates 'image', 'idols', 'idolatry'; RV more consistently adopts 'teraphim' throughout.

The name appears to designate a particular kind of idol (cp Gen. 31:19 with v. 30, 'my god'; also 35:24). Of the form of these images we learn nothing from the scanty notices in the OT ; we cannot certainly infer from the fact that Laban's was concealed under a camel saddle that it was small, nor from the use which Michal makes of David's (1 S. 19:13, 19:16) that it was of the size or shape of a man. Laban's teraphim (his god) was stolen by Rachel (Gen. 31), but with other foreign gods and heathenish amulets, was put away by Jacob before he went to worship Yahwe at Bethel (35:2-4) ; the meaning of the story (in E) plainly is that the teraphim were relics of Aramaean paganism which Israel cast off to serve Yahwe alone (cp Josh. 24:15) ; see also 1 S. 15:23, where in a prophetic passage (E, Budde) teraphim 1 is coupled with divination as a type of sin most hateful to God, and 2 K. 23:24 (RD). Micah had an ephod and teraphim in his shrine, which were carried off by the Danites to their new settlement at the sources of the Jordan and placed in their sanctuary (Judg. 17:5, 18). The teraphim in David's house (1 S. 19:13, 19:16) is spoken of as if it was a thing which would be found in every household. In the eighth century Hosea joins the ephod and teraphim 2 with sacrifices and massebahs as essential to the religious observances of his people; in their absence religion would cease (Hos. 3:4).

Like the ephod, with which they are associated (in Judg. and Hos.), the teraphim were employed or consulted in divination (2 K. 23:24, Ezek. 21:21 [21:26], Zech. 10:2). Ezekiel, in the passage cited, represents the Babylonian king as divining by shaking arrows (belomancy ; see URIM AND THUMMIM), inquiring of the teraphim, examining the entrails of a sacrifice (extispicium) ; cp also 1 S. 15:23, where divination (nop, sortilegium) is connected in a similar way with the teraphim. It is not clear, however, that the teraphim were consulted by the lot ; Ezekiel seems to distinguish the two. Spencer's theory that the turaphim were small images (figurines), perhaps of human form, the heathen counterpart of the Urim, has no substantial foundation. 3 Other scholars have inferred from Gen. 31:19, 31:30-35, Judg. 17:5+, 1 S. 19:13, 19:16, that the teraphim were household gods (penates, a Lapide; Seb. Schmid, Vitringa, Ewald, Eerdmans, etc.); more specifically, images of the ancestors, so that the consultation of the teraphim was a kind of manes oracle (E. Meier, Stade, Schwally, etc. ). The latter hypothesis rests upon questionable anthropological or etymological assumptions ; other passages are hardly compatible with the theory that the teraphim were solely domestic idols (see Hos. 3:4, Ezek. 21:21 [21:26], Zech. 10:2, 2 K. 23:24).

The etymology and meaning of the word are unknown ; for various conjectures see Ges. Thes. 1519-1520, Moore, Judges, 381-382, cp also I. Low, in WZKM 10:136; those who think that the teraphim were images of the ancestors connect the name with C K3"l [rephaim] (Neubauer, Sayce, Klo., Schwally). The opinions of Jewish writers about the nature of the teraphim may be found by the curious in Buxtorf, Lex. Talm. 2660+; Beyer, Additamenta to Selden, synt. ii. chap. 1. The most remarkable is that the teraphim was a mummied human head (Jer. Targ. Gen. 31:19, etc.) ; with which cp the stones of this kind of divination among the Harranians, Chwolsohn, Ssabier, 2:19+, 2:388+, 2:150+

Literature. - Jerome, Ep. 29, De Ephod et Theraphim; Selden, De dis Syris, synt. 1 chap. 2, with Beyer's Additamenta ; Spencer, De legibus ritualibus, bk. 3 chap. 7 ; Pfeiffer, Exercitationes biblicae, 4 ; van Dale, De divinationibus idolatricis, chap. 11 (against Spencer); Kwald, Alterthumter, 296-299 ; Scholz, Gotzendienst und Zauberwesen, 127+; Stade, GVI 1:467; Schwally, Leben nach dem Tode, 35+; Moore, Judges, 379+; T. C. Foote, JBL 21:27+ (1902). See also IDOLATRY, and cp ESCHATOLOGY, 4.

G. F. M.

1 Read D Sin Jltf-

2 It is to be observed that LXX has SrjAcu [deloi], elsewhere used to render c lIN-



1. Hebrew terms.[edit]

The four forms fT^K, elah, H^N, allah, p ?N, elon, and [i.X, allon, are evidently closely connected in origin. C 7 N, elim, or D 7K, elim, is best regarded as plur. of rPN, elah, or perhaps of the masculine form j-x (occurring only in the proper name ["1K9 VN) from which H7X is the nomen unitalis. Elah and elon are usually taken together as = 'terebinth', allah and allon as = 'oak'; though Celsius (Hierob. 1:34+) joins allah as 'terebinth' to elah and elon. The connection of these words - at least of n^K, C ^ N with the divine name ^N [el], suggested by Wellhausen (Prol. ET, 238) and blade (GI 1:455), is too vague to help towards identifying the tree intended (cp WRS, Rel. Sem. (2) 192-193); the difficulty is increased by our uncertainty as to the original meaning of the root ^iN ['VL] - according to others rt^N ['LH] - with which the words appear to be connected. (See the literature cited in Gesenius (13) under ^X [el], and cp NAMES, 116.) On the other hand, the fact that Aram, ilana, which is in form exactly equivalent to flfin, means 'a tree' in general, may suggest that the special sense which these words have acquired in Hebrew is derived from a more general one - viz. that of trees par excellence - the large and strong trees characteristic of the region. This view is supported by the fact that the place Elim was apparently so called from its palm trees (see ELIM), and the possible or (Moore) probable identity (but see DINAH) of the iTYO rnpn [ThMR DBVRH] in Judg. 4:5 with the r)O3 ji T X ['LVN BKhVTh] of Gen. 35:8. Twice, however (Is. 6:13, Hos. 4:13), elah and allon are mentioned in the same verse as distinct trees. And as a considerable body of tradition has identified elah with the terebinth (Celsius, l.c.), and there is repeated mention of the allonim of Bashan (Is. 2:13, Ezek. 27:6, Zech. 11:2), a district famous for its oaks, it is reasonable to conclude that elah and allon came to be used for these trees respectively. It is doubtful whether the distinction in pointing between elah and allah and between elon and allon is more than an artificial creation of later times. 1 The occurrence in LXX of r;Aa [ela] (1 S. 21:10 [21:9]) and T)Ao>i [eloon] (Judg. 9:37 [B]) may help to show which of the forms were original.

1 G. F. Moore goes farther, 'There is no real foundation for the discrimination ; the words signify in Aramaic "tree" simply; in Hebrew usually, if not exclusively, "holy tree" ' (note on Judg. 4:11). If so, however, the correctness of the text in Is. 6:13, Hos. 4:13 will have to be disputed.

2. Religious associations.[edit]

The special associations of large trees like the oak and the terebinth with the religion of the Hebrews, as with those of other Semitic peoples, have been discussed by Baudissin (Studien, 2:184+), Robertson Smith (Rel. Sem. (2) 185+), Stade (GI 1:455+), and others. Such names as elon moreh (rnio iiSx), 'oak of the teacher' (Gen. 12:6, Dt. 11:30), and elon me'onenim (p^x D jyijfp), 'diviners oak' (Judg. 9:37), point to their having been early seats of prophetic oracles. The custom of burial beneath the tree (Gen. 35:8, 1 Ch. 10:12) is again an evidence of sacred association. On the appearance of the angel to Gideon beneath the nSx ['LH] in Ophrah, see Wellh. Prol. , ET, 238. By the prophets the association of worship with sacred trees was condemned as a departure from the spiritual ideal of Israel's religion, and also on account of the degrading practices connected with it (Hos. 4:13, Ezek. 6:13 etc.).

3. References.[edit]

We proceed to notice briefly the occurrence of the various words.

i. rrSx, elah (Gen. 35:4, Judg. 6:11, 6:19, 1 S. 17:2 [LXX{BA} om.], 17:19 [LXX{B} Om.], 21:9 [21:10] 2 S. 18:9-10 [LXX{L} foVSpoi- [dendron] and in v. 14] 18:14, 1 K. 13:14, 1 Ch. 10:12, Is. 1:30, 6:13, Ezek. 6:13 [LXX{B} om.], Hos. 4:13 [LXX eV6pov <ruu K i^ovio-i [dendron syskiazontos]] ; p - fj.(P)i.v9os [terem(b)inthos] in Ecclus. 24:16 ; the proper name n? N, Elath, Dt. 28 etc. is possibly the same word) is in AV rendered 'oak' (RVmg. 'terebinth') except in the two places where p^K, allon, is also present ; in Is. 6:13 AV has 'teil tree', and Hos. 4:13 'elms', while RV has 'terebinth' and 'terebinths' in these verses. LXX renders six times by ipus [drys] and thrice by Tfpe>(/3)t805 [terem(b)inthos]; besides these, twice in Judges LXX{AL} has 6pu [drys] and LXX{B} Tfpfu(B)iveos [terem(b)inthos] {1}.

As has been shown at length by Celsius (l.c.) the meaning 'terebinth' will suit all the passages where elah occurs. Pistacia Terebinthus, L. , which in some countries is only a shrub, attains in Syria the proportions of 'a noble umbrageous tree', 20 to 40 ft. or more in height (Fl. and Hanb. (2) 165). It may thus constitute a landmark. Robinson (BR 3:15) describes one he saw on the way from Hebron to Ramleh - such a tree as we can imagine to have given the valley of Elah its name. 'Here, in the broad valley, at the intersection of the roads, stands an immense Butm tree . . . the largest we saw anywhere in Palestine, spreading its boughs far and wide like a noble oak. . . . The Butm is not an evergreen ... its small feathered lancet-shaped leaves fall in the autumn and are renewed in the spring. The flowers are small and followed by small oval berries, hanging in clusters from 2 to 5 in. long, resembling much the clusters of the vine when the grapes are just set'. The abundant branching and foliage of the terebinth agree with the references in 2 S. 18:9-10, 18:14, Ecclus. 24:16 ; the fact that it is nevertheless not an evergreen explains the simile in Is. 1:30.

2. n^N, allah (Tpe /ii[/3Jii 0os [terem(b)inthos], Josh. 24:26-27), can be only a slightly divergent form of H^K, elah. The tree intended in Josh. (l.c.) may be the same as that mentioned Gen. 35:4, Judg. 9:6 (/SaAayos [balanos]), where for AV, 'plain', read 'oak' or 'terebinth'.

3. D ^ N, elim, or D -I ?X, elim, the plur. of H^N ['LH] or V N ['YL] (see above) occurs in Is. 1:29, 57:5, 61:3 and possibly Ezek. 31:14-15. In the first two places LXX has wrongly et^iuAa [eidoola], which is followed by AV 'idols' in the second. In the first passage 'it is the disappointingness of nature-worship which is indicated' (Cheyne); the same species of idolatry is referred to in 57:5. In Is. 61:3 (where LXX interprets loosely yeveai [geneai]) we have a spiritual metaphor drawn from the noble stature and luxuriant foliage of these trees; cp 60:21 and other passages. The word D[1 7N constitutes a difficulty in Ezek. 31:14 ; its rendering n-pbs aura [pros auta] formed no part of the original LXX, according to some cursives (Field, ad loc.), and the verse reads more smoothly if, with Cornill, we omit the word. [See Crit. Bib.}

4. fl^K, elan (in LXX usually fipu? [drys], Gen. 12:6, 13:18, 14:13, 18:1, Dt. 11:30, Josh. 19:33 [cp LXX], Judg. 4:11, 9:6, 9:37, 1 S. 10:3-4, wrongly 'plain' in AV), and (5) [i^N, allon (usually ipus [drys] or /SaAai/o? [balanos], Gen. 35:8, Is. 2:13 [SeVSpof /3aAarov [dendron balanou] 6:13, 44:14 [om. LXX], Ezek. 27:6 [cAaru DusV [elatinous] ?], Hos. 4:13, Am. 2:9, Zech. 11:2-3).

Elon and allon are slightly varying forms of the same word, which had come to denote a particular large tree distinct from n^Ni eldh, most probably the oak. According to Tristram {2} (NHB 368+) there are three species of Quercus which flourish in Palestine, the most abundant being the evergreen Q. pseudo-coccifera ; the others are both deciduous species, Q. Aegitops and Q. infectoria. The first he describes as in appearance much like our 'holm oak', and he speaks of one very large tree of this species, the so-called 'Abraham's oak'near Hebron. The oak of Bashan he believes (following Hooker) to be Q. Aegitops. Cp Anderlind in ZDPV 13:220+. On the oaks of Sharon, see SHARON.

N. M. - W. T. T.-D.

1 For Ps. 29:9 and Gen. 49:21 where LXX compares Naphtali to a <rrf\exoi avtififvov [stelechos aneimenon] (i.e., nnbv rrV K, Di., etc.), see HIND, NAPHTALI.

2 His statements are based upon the important paper by Sir J. D. Hooker in Trans. Linn. Soc. 23:381-387.


(tTnn), a chamberlain of king Ahasuerus (Esth. 2:21, 6;2 om . BALab, 6<\p[p]AC [N c - am *-]). called in Esth. 12:1, THARRA. If the name must be Persian, we have a choice between tursh, 'dark, fierce' (Ges. Lex (1)), and tarshata, 'feared', the supposed original of Tirshatha (cp Marq. Fund. 70) ; Oppert (Annales de philos. chretienne, janv. 1864), however, compares Tiri-dates, the name of the governor of Persepolis (temp. Alexander). But if underneath the present Esther-story there is an earlier story, the scene of which was not in Persia, but in the land of Jerahmeel (N. Arabia), the only one of the above suggestions which will serve us is the second, and the question is, What is the origin of TIRSHATHA? But cp also ZETHAR.

T. K. C.


(jeprioc), in the present text of the Epistle to the Romans (16:22), figures in the first person as having 'written' the epistle (eyili Teprtos 6 yptyas rrfv eTrttrroXijc [egoo tertios o graphas ten epistolen]). As long as the authenticity of the epistle is maintained it is impossible to suggest a reason why Paul's amanuensis, while delivering the author's greetings in the usual manner in vv. 21, 23, should thus abruptly have taken an independent course in v. 22. True, 1 Cor. 16:21, Col. 4:18, 2 Thess. 3:17 compared with Gal. 6:11 can be urged for the opinion that Paul dictated his epistles ; but so far as Rom. 16:22 is concerned this does not lead to any further conclusion than that an amanuensis had to be mentioned somewhere in the pseud-epigraphon. In point of fact the appearance of Tertius at this place belongs only to almost the final form of the work. See ROMANS, 4, 7, par. 3.

W. c. v. M.

Various conjectures have been made regarding Tertius (v. l. Terentius) on the assumption of the authenticity of the epistle. A favourite suggestion is that he may have been one of those Jews whom Claudius had expelled from Rome. Under JUSTUS, 2, it has been suggested that he really is the Titius, or Titus, Justus of Acts 18:7. Ryder (JBL 17:98:197) thinks of him as an influential Roman Christian, and argues that Rom. 15-16:23 is a letter or part of a letter from him to his friends at Rome. It can hardly be disputed, however, that the argument for the separation of chaps. 15-16 from the rest of the traditional epistle is stronger than that for their ascription to Tertius. Cp SIMON ([7] the Cyrenian). In the lists of the 'seventy' disciples by the Pseudo-Dorotheas and Pseudo-Hippolytus, Tertius appears as bishop (according to Dorotheus the second bishop) of Iconium.


(repTyAAoc [Ti. WH]), the rhetor or orator who appeared for the prosecution against Paul before Felix (Acts 24:1-2).


(AI&GHKH). Mt. 26:28 etc. See COVENANT, 7 ; also GALATIA, 21.


(n-VU ), Ex. 16:34. See ARK, 3. Cp also WITNESS. On 2 K. 11:12 see BRACELETS, 5.


(ATHTA. [A]), 1 Esd. 5:28 AV) = Ezra 2:42, HATITA (q.v.).


(reTp&pXHc), the ruler of a tetrarchy (T6TP&PXI&) tnat is> in the original sense of the word, of one quarter of a region. The title of tetrarch is familiar from the NT as borne by certain princes of the petty dynasties, which the Romans allowed to exercise a dependent sovereignty within the province of Syria. In this application it has lost its original precise sense, and means only the ruler of part of a divided kingdom, or of a region too narrow to support a higher title. After the death of Herod the Great (4 B.C.) his realm was shared among his three sons : the chief part, including Judaea, Samaria, and Idumaea, fell to Archelaus (Mt. 222), with the title of ethnarch (see ETHNARCH); Philip received the NE. of the realm, and was called tetrarch ; and Galilee was given to Herod Antipas, who bore the same title (Lk. 3:1). These three sovereignties were reunited under Herod Agrippa from 41 to 44 A.D. On the tetrarchy of Lysanias mentioned in Lk. 3:1 see ABILENE, LYSANIAS.


(pn 3, bohak ; A.A<J>oc [alphos]), a harmless eruption of the skin (Lev. 13:39-40, AV 'freckled spot').

In Syria, at the present day, this disease is known by the same name, bahaq, and it is recognised as not dangerous. It takes the form of dull white or reddish spots on the skin, of unequal size, and hardly rising above the surface of the skin. The spots have no bright surface, and in time disappear of themselves. SBOT, Lev. Eng., ad loc.