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Immanuel Benzinger, Ph.D.

Professor of Old Testament Exegesis, University of Berlin, Germany; Jerusalem, Palestine.

Contributions:
HAIR – Biblical Data: The hair of the ancient Hebrews was generally black (comp. Cant. iv. 1, v. 11). In Eccl. xi. 10 black hair is designated as a sign of youth in contrast with the white hair of age. Josephus narrates ("Ant." xvi. 8,...
HARP AND LYRE – The ancient Hebrews had two stringed instruments, the "kinnor" ( ) and the "nebel" ( ). In the English versions of the Old Testament the former word is wrongly translated"harp." In both instruments the strings were set in...
HELMET – In olden times the helmet seems to have been worn only by kings, military officers, and other important officials. At least, it is mentioned only of Goliath and Saul that they had brazen helmets (I Sam. xvii. 5, 38). Not until...
HOUSE – In the warm countries of the East the house is not so important a factor as it is in Western civilization, the climate permitting the Palestinian to live almost entirely in the open air. Artisans do not ply their trades in the...
INCENSE – An aromatic substance which exhales perfume during combustion; the odor of spices and gums burned as an act of worship. In ancient times, on account of the extreme heat of the Orient, incense was used, as it is to-day, to a much...
INCENSE – An aromatic substance which exhales perfume during combustion; the odor of spices and gums burned as an act of worship. In ancient times, on account of the extreme heat of the Orient, incense was used, as it is to-day, to a much...
INCENSE – An aromatic substance which exhales perfume during combustion; the odor of spices and gums burned as an act of worship. In ancient times, on account of the extreme heat of the Orient, incense was used, as it is to-day, to a much...
INCEST – Biblical Data: Marriage or carnal commerce between persons of a close degree of consanguinity. Even in modern times the connotation of "incestuous" is not the same in all countries. Among primitive and barbarous races there is a...
IVORY – The Hebrew word for ivory, i.e., "shen" (= "tooth"), shows that the Israelites knew what ivory was. The other term used to denote ivory, "shenhabbim" (I Kings x. 22; II Chron. ix. 21), is usually explained as a compound of...
LEATHER – Biblical Data: Skins of animals were employed for clothing as soon as man felt the need of covering his body to protect himself against cold and rain. With the advance of civilization such clothing was everywhere replaced by...
MARBLE – A stone composed mainly of calcium carbonate or of calcium and magnesium carbonates. It is mentioned in the Old Testament in three very late passages only. According to I Chron. xxix. 2, David prepared, among other materials,...
MULBERRY – The berry-like fruit of the black or common mulberry (Morus nigra). It is not mentioned in the Hebrew Old Testament, although in II Sam. v. 23-24 "beka'im" is erroneously explained as "mulberry-trees" by the Rabbis and some...
NITER – The niter of the ancients was a mineral alkaline salt, carbonate of soda, found in great quantities in Egypt. Natron Lake and Natron Valley derive their name from its presence in them; and they are still exploited for niter as...
NUT – The rendering in the English versions of the two Hebrew words "egoz" and "boṭnim."1. "Egoz." This is mentioned once only, in Cant. vi. 11, where a nut-grove is referred to. According to the common tradition, the word designates...
OLIVE – Evergreen tree, one of the most characteristic of Palestine. The term "zayit" is applied in the Old Testament only to the cultivated olive-tree, the wild olive, the oleaster of the ancients, being designated as "'eẓ shemen"...
OPHIR – District first mentioned in the Old Testament as a Joktanite or south-Arabian tribe (Gen. x. 29 et seq.), and later as the port of destination of Solomon's fleet. The earliest reference to Ophir in this connection is in I Kings...
PAINTING – The art least developed among the Hebrews. If it is borne in mind that painting was affected by the Mosaic interdiction against images, it is not surprising that this art is hardly mentioned in the Old Testament. Decorations on...
PALACE – The Hebrews learned from the Phenicians the art of erecting large buildings having several rooms. David's palace was built by workmen sent by Hiram of Tyre; and Solomon also availed himself of their services. Of David's palace...
PALESTINE – The Name. The portion of Syria which was formerly the possession of the Israelites. It includes the whole of the country between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean as well as the country immediately to the east of the...
PEACH – This fruit and the plum ( ; Prunus domestica) are mentioned only in late times: the former in the Mishnah (Kil. i. 4; Ma'as. i. 2); the latter not until the Gemara (Löw, "Aramäische Pflanzennamen," No. 105).E. G. H. I....
PEAR – The pear is mentioned in the Talmud (see Löw, "Aramäische Pflanzennamen," p. 152). It does not seem to have been extensively cultivated. The Septuagint erroneously rendered απίον (= "pear") for "baka"-trees (I Chron. xiv. 14).E....
POMEGRANATE – A tree of the myrtle family. The pomegranate was carried into Egypt in very early historic times (comp. Num. xx. 5), and was also cultivated in Palestine, Assyria, and most of the countries bordering the Mediterranean. The spies...
RABBAH (RABBATH) – Capital of the Ammonites, where, according to Deut. iii. 11, the bed of the giant Og was shown. David besieged and took the city (II Sam. xi. 1), but under Solomon, or soon after the division of the kingdom, when Ammon regained...
RAIN – Biblical Data: Palestine did not require such laborious artificial irrigation as Egypt; Yhwh supplied it with, "water of the rain of heaven" (Deut. xi. 11). The harvests were regarded as the gift of Yhwh, since they depended on...
RAINBOW – Biblical Data: This phenomenon of nature is mentioned but rarely in the Old Testament. The beauty of the rainbow is dwelt upon (Ecclus. [Sirach] xliii. 11 et seq., 1. 7), and the glory surrounding Yhwh is compared to the...