Easton's Bible Dictionary

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Naam — Nisan

Naam

pleasantness, one of the three sons of Caleb, the son of Jephunneh ( 1 Chronicles 4:15 ).

Naamah

the beautiful.

1. The daughter of Lamech and Zillah ( Genesis 4: : 22 ).

2. The daughter of the king of Ammon, one of the wives of Solomon, the only one who appears to have borne him a son, viz., Rehoboam ( 1 Kings 14:21 1 Kings 14:31 ).

3. A city in the plain of Judah ( Joshua 15:41 ), supposed by some to be identified with Na'aneh, some 5 miles south-east of Makkedah.

Naaman

pleasantness, a Syrian, the commander of the armies of Benhadad II. in the time of Joram, king of Israel. He was afflicted with leprosy; and when the little Hebrew slave-girl that waited on his wife told her of a prophet in Samaria who could cure her master, he obtained a letter from Benhadad and proceeded with it to Joram. The king of Israel suspected in this some evil design against him, and rent his clothes. Elisha the prophet hearing of this, sent for Naaman, and the strange interview which took place is recorded in 2 Kings 5 . The narrative contains all that is known of the Syrian commander. He was cured of his leprosy by dipping himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of Elisha. His cure is alluded to by our Lord ( Luke 4:27 ).

Naamathite

the designation of Zophar, one of Job's three friends ( Job 2:11 ; 11:1 ), so called from some place in Arabia, called Naamah probably.

Naarah

a girl, the second of Ashur's two wives, of the tribe of Judah ( 1 Chronicles 4:5 1 Chronicles 4:6 ).

Naarai

youthful, a military chief in David's army ( 1 Chronicles 11:37 ), called also Paarai ( 2 Samuel 23:35 ).

Naaran

boyish, juvenile, a town in Ephraim between Bethel and Jericho ( 1 Chronicles 7:28 ).

Naarath

girl, a town on the boundary between Ephraim and Benjamin ( Joshua 16:7 ), not far probably from Jericho, to the north ( 1 Chronicles 7:28 ).

Nabal

foolish, a descendant of Caleb who dwelt at Maon ( 1 Samuel 25 ), the modern Main, 7 miles south-east of Hebron. He was "very great, and he had 3,000 sheep and 1,000 goats...but the man was churlish and evil in his doings." During his wanderings David came into that district, and hearing that Nabal was about to shear his sheep, he sent ten of his young men to ask "whatsoever cometh unto thy hand for thy servants." Nabal insultingly resented the demand, saying, "Who is David, and who is the son of Jesse?" ( 1 Samuel 25:10 1 Samuel 25:11 ). One of the shepherds that stood by and saw the reception David's messengers had met with, informed Abigail, Nabal's wife, who at once realized the danger that threatened her household. She forthwith proceeded to the camp of David, bringing with her ample stores of provisions ( 25:18 ). She so courteously and persuasively pled her cause that David's anger was appeased, and he said to her, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel which sent thee this day to meet me."

On her return she found her husband incapable from drunkenness of understanding the state of matters, and not till the following day did she explain to him what had happened. He was stunned by a sense of the danger to which his conduct had exposed him. "His heart died within him, and he became as a stone." and about ten days after "the Lord smote Nabal that he died" ( 1 Samuel 25:37 1 Samuel 25:38 ). Not long after David married Abigail (q.v.).

Naboth

fruits, "the Jezreelite," was the owner of a portion of ground on the eastern slope of the hill of Jezreel ( 2 Kings 9:25 2 Kings 9:26 ). This small "plat of ground" seems to have been all he possessed. It was a vineyard, and lay "hard by the palace of Ahab" ( 1 Kings 21:1 1 Kings 21:2 ), who greatly coveted it. Naboth, however, refused on any terms to part with it to the king. He had inherited it from his fathers, and no Israelite could lawfully sell his property ( Leviticus 25:23 ). Jezebel, Ahab's wife, was grievously offended at Naboth's refusal to part with his vineyard. By a crafty and cruel plot she compassed his death. His sons also shared his fate ( 2 Kings 9:26 ; 1 Kings 21:19 ). She then came to Ahab and said, "Arise, take possession of the vineyard; for Naboth is not alive, but dead." Ahab arose and went forth into the garden which had so treacherously and cruelly been acquired, seemingly enjoying his new possession, when, lo, Elijah suddenly appeared before him and pronounced against him a fearful doom ( 1 Kings 21:17-24 ). Jehu and Bidcar were with Ahab at this time, and so deeply were the words of Elijah imprinted on Jehu's memory that many years afterwards he refers to them ( 2 Kings 9:26 ), and he was the chief instrument in inflicting this sentence on Ahab and Jezebel and all their house ( 9:30-37 ). The house of Ahab was extinguished by him. Not one of all his great men and his kinsfolk and his priests did Jehu spare ( 10:11 ).

Ahab humbled himself at Elijah's words ( 1 Kings 21:28 1 Kings 21:29 ), and therefore the prophecy was fulfilled not in his fate but in that of his son Joram ( 2 Kings 9:25 ).

The history of Naboth, compared with that of Ahab and Jezebel, furnishes a remarkable illustration of the law of a retributive providence, a law which runs through all history (Compare Psalms 109:17 Psalms 109:18 ).

Nachon

prepared, the owner of a thrashing-floor near which Uzzah was slain ( 2 Samuel 6:6 ); called also Chidon ( 1 Chronicles 13:9 ).

Nadab

liberal, generous.

1. The eldest of Aaron's four sons ( Exodus 6:23 ; Numbers 3:2 ). He with his brothers and their father were consecrated as priests of Jehovah ( Exodus 28:1 ). He afterwards perished with Abihu for the sin of offering strange fire on the altar of burnt-offering ( Leviticus 10:1 Leviticus 10:2 ; Numbers 3:4 ; 26:60 ).

2. The son and successor of Jeroboam, the king of Israel ( 1 Kings 14:20 ). While engaged with all Israel in laying siege to Gibbethon, a town of southern Dan ( Joshua 19:44 ), a conspiracy broke out in his army, and he was slain by Baasha ( 1 Kings 15:25-28 ), after a reign of two years (B.C. 955-953). The assassination of Nadab was followed by that of his whole house, and thus this great Ephraimite family became extinct ( 1 Kings 15:29 ).

3. One of the sons of Shammai in the tribe of Judah ( 1 Chronicles 2:28 1 Chronicles 2:30 ).

Nagge

illuminating, one of the ancestors of Christ in the maternal line ( Luke 3:25 ).

Nahaliel

possession, or valley of God, one of the encampments of the Israelites in the wilderness ( Numbers 21:19 ), on the confines of Moab. This is identified with the ravine of the Zerka M'ain, the ancient Callirhoe, the hot springs on the east of the Jordan, not far from the Dead Sea.

Nahallal

pasture, a city in Zebulun on the border of Issachar ( Joshua 19:15 ), the same as Nahalol ( Judges 1:30 ). It was given to the Levites. It has been by some identified with Malul in the plain of Esdraelon, 4 miles from Nazareth.

Naharai

snorer, a Berothite, one of David's heroes, and armour-bearer of Joab ( 1 Chronicles 11:39 ).

Nahash

serpent.

1. King of the Ammonites in the time of Saul. The inhabitants of Jabesh-Gilead having been exposed to great danger from Nahash, sent messengers to Gibeah to inform Saul of their extremity. He promptly responded to the call, and gathering together an army he marched against Nahash. "And it came to pass that they which remained were scattered, so that two of them [the Ammonites] were not left together" ( 1 Samuel 11:1-11 ).

2. Another king of the Ammonites of the same name is mentioned, who showed kindness to David during his wanderings ( 2 Samuel 10:2 ). On his death David sent an embassy of sympathy to Hanun, his son and successor, at Rabbah Ammon, his capital. The grievous insult which was put upon these ambassadors led to a war against the Ammonites, who, with their allies the Syrians, were completely routed in a battle fought at "the entering in of the gate," probably of Medeba ( 2 Samuel 10:6-14 ). Again Hadarezer rallied the Syrian host, which was totally destroyed by the Israelite army under Joab in a decisive battle fought at Helam ( 2 Samuel 10:17 ), near to Hamath ( 1 Chronicles 18:3 ). "So the Syrians feared to help the children of Ammon any more" ( 2 Samuel 10:19 ).

3. The father of Amasa, who was commander-in-chief of Abasolom's army ( 2 Samuel 17:25 ). Jesse's wife had apparently been first married to this man, to whom she bore Abigail and Zeruiah, who were thus David's sisters, but only on the mother's side ( 1 Chronicles 2:16 ).

Nahath

rest.

1. One of the four sons of Reuel, the son of Esau ( Genesis 36:13 Genesis 36:17 ).

2. A Kohathite Levite ( 1 Chronicles 6:26 ).

3. A Levite, one of the overseers of the sacred offerings of the temple ( 2 Chronicles 31:13 ).

Nahbi

hidden, one of the twelve spies sent out to explore the land of Canaan ( Numbers 13:14 ).

Nahor

snorting.

1. The father of Terah, who was the father of Abraham ( Genesis 11:22-25 ; Luke 3:34 ).

2. A son of Terah, and elder brother of Abraham ( Genesis 11:26 Genesis 11:27 ; Joshua 24:2 , RSV). He married Milcah, the daughter of his brother Haran, and remained in the land of his nativity on the east of the river Euphrates at Haran ( Genesis 11:27-32 ). A correspondence was maintained between the family of Abraham in Canaan and the relatives in the old ancestral home at Haran till the time of Jacob. When Jacob fled from Haran all intercourse between the two branches of the family came to an end ( Genesis 31:55 ). His grand-daughter Rebekah became Isaac's wife ( 24:67 ).

Nahshon

sorcerer, the son of Aminadab, and prince of the children of Judah at the time of the first numbering of the tribes in the wilderness ( Exodus 6:23 ). His sister Elisheba was the wife of Aaron. He died in the wilderness ( Numbers 26:64 Numbers 26:65 ). His name occurs in the Greek form Naasson in the genealogy of Christ (Matt, 1:4 ; Luke 3:32 ).

Nahum

consolation, the seventh of the so-called minor prophets, an Elkoshite. All we know of him is recorded in the book of his prophecies. He was probably a native of Galilee, and after the deportation of the ten tribes took up his residence in Jerusalem. Others think that Elkosh was the name of a place on the east bank of the Tigris, and that Nahum dwelt there.

Nahum, Book of

Nahum prophesied, according to some, in the beginning of the reign of Ahaz (B.C. 743). Others, however, think that his prophecies are to be referred to the latter half of the reign of Hezekiah (about B.C. 709). This is the more probable opinion, internal evidences leading to that conclusion. Probably the book was written in Jerusalem (soon after B.C. 709), where he witnessed the invasion of Sennacherib and the destruction of his host ( 2 Kings 19:35 ).

The subject of this prophecy is the approaching complete and final destruction of Nineveh, the capital of the great and at that time flourishing Assyrian empire. Assur-bani-pal was at the height of his glory. Nineveh was a city of vast extent, and was then the centre of the civilzation and commerce of the world, a "bloody city all full of lies and robbery" ( Nahum 3:1 ), for it had robbed and plundered all the neighbouring nations. It was strongly fortified on every side, bidding defiance to every enemy; yet it was to be utterly destroyed as a punishment for the great wickedness of its inhabitants.

Jonah had already uttered his message of warning, and Nahum was followed by Zephaniah, who also predicted ( Zephaniah 2:4-15 ) the destruction of the city, predictions which were remarkably fulfilled (B.C. 625) when Nineveh was destroyed apparently by fire, and the Assyrian empire came to an end, an event which changed the face of Asia. (See NINEVEH .)

Nail

for fastening.

1. Hebrew yathed, "piercing," a peg or nail of any material ( Ezekiel 15:3 ), more especially a tent-peg ( Exodus 27:19 ; 35:18 ; 38:20 ), with one of which Jael (q.v.) pierced the temples of Sisera ( Judges 4:21 Judges 4:22 ). This word is also used metaphorically ( Zechariah 10:4 ) for a prince or counsellor, just as "the battle-bow" represents a warrior.

2. Masmer, a "point," the usual word for a nail. The words of the wise are compared to "nails fastened by the masters of assemblies" (Eccl 12:11 , A.V.). The Revised Version reads, "as nails well fastened are the words of the masters," etc. Others (as Plumptre) read, "as nails fastened are the masters of assemblies" (Compare Isaiah 22:23 ; Ezra 9:8 ). David prepared nails for the temple ( 1 Chronicles 22:3 ; 2 Chr 3:9 ). The nails by which our Lord was fixed to the cross are mentioned ( John 20:25 ; Colossians 2:14 ). Nail of the finger (Heb. tsipporen, "scraping"). To "pare the nails" is in Deuteronomy 21:12 (marg., "make," or "dress," or "suffer to grow") one of the signs of purification, separation from former heathenism (Compare Leviticus 14:8 ; Numbers 8:7 ). In Jeremiah 17:1 this word is rendered "point."

Nain

(from Heb. nain, "green pastures," "lovely"), the name of a town near the gate of which Jesus raised to life a widow's son ( Luke 7:11-17 ). It is identified with the village called Nein, standing on the north-western slope of Jebel ed-Duhy (=the "hill Moreh" = "Little hermon"), about 4 miles from Tabor and 25 southwest of Capernaum. At the foot of the slope on which it stands is the great plain of Esdraelon.

This was the first miracle of raising the dead our Lord had wrought, and it excited great awe and astonishment among the people.

Naioth

dwellings, the name given to the prophetical college established by Samuel near Ramah. It consisted of a cluster of separate dwellings, and hence its name. David took refuge here when he fled from Saul ( 1 Samuel 19:18 1 Samuel 19:19 1 Samuel 19:22 1 Samuel 19:23 ), and here he passed a few weeks in peace (Compare Psalms 11 ). It was probably the common residence of the "sons of the prophets."

Naked

This word denotes (1) absolute nakedness ( Genesis 2:25 ; Job 1:21 ; Eccl 5:15 ; Micah 1:8 ; Amos 2:16 ); (2) being poorly clad ( Isaiah 58:7 ; James 2:15 ). It denotes also (3) the state of one who has laid aside his loose outer garment (Lat. nudus), and appears clothed only in a long tunic or under robe worn next the skin ( 1 Samuel 19:24 ; Isaiah 47:3 ; Compare Mark 14:52 ; John 21:7 ). It is used figuratively, meaning "being discovered" or "made manifest" ( Job 26:6 ; Hebrews 4:13 ). In Exodus 32:25 the expression "the people were naked" (A.V.) is more correctly rendered in the Revised Version "the people were broken loose", i.e., had fallen into a state of lawlessness and insubordination. In 2 Chronicles 28:19 the words "he made Judah naked" (A.V.), but Revised Version "he had dealt wantonly in Judah," mean "he had permitted Judah to break loose from all the restraints of religion."

Naomi

the lovable; my delight, the wife of Elimelech, and mother of Mahlon and Chilion, and mother-in-law of ( Ruth 1:2 Ruth 1:20 Ruth 1:21 ; 2:1 ). Elimelech and his wife left the district of Bethlehem-Judah, and found a new home in the uplands of Moab. In course of time he died, as also his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, who had married women of Moab, and three widows were left mourning the loss of their husbands. Naomi longs to return now to her own land, to Bethlehem. One of her widowed daughters-in-law, Ruth, accompanies her, and is at length married to Boaz (q.v.).

Naphish

refresher, one of the sons of Ishmael ( Genesis 25:15 ; 1 Chronicles 1:31 ). He was the father of an Arab tribe.

Naphtali

my wrestling, the fifth son of Jacob. His mother was Bilhah, Rachel's handmaid ( Genesis 30:8 ). When Jacob went down into Egypt, Naphtali had four sons ( Genesis 46:24 ). Little is known of him as an individual.

Naphtali, Mount

the mountainous district of Naphtali ( Joshua 20:7 ).

Naphtali, Tribe of

On this tribe Jacob pronounced the patriarchal blessing, "Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words" ( Genesis 49:21 ). It was intended thus to set forth under poetic imagery the future character and history of the tribe.

At the time of the Exodus this tribe numbered 53,400 adult males ( Numbers 1:43 ), but at the close of the wanderings they numbered only 45,400 ( 26:48-50 ). Along with Dan and Asher they formed "the camp of Dan," under a common standard ( 2:25-31 ), occupying a place during the march on the north side of the tabernacle.

The possession assigned to this tribe is set forth in Joshua 19:32-39 . It lay in the north-eastern corner of the land, bounded on the east by the Jordan and the lakes of Merom and Galilee, and on the north it extended far into Coele-Syria, the valley between the two Lebanon ranges. It comprehended a greater variety of rich and beautiful scenery and of soil and climate than fell to the lot of any other tribe. The territory of Naphtali extended to about 800 square miles, being the double of that of Issachar. The region around Kedesh, one of its towns, was originally called Galil, a name afterwards given to the whole northern division of Canaan. A large number of foreigners settled here among the mountains, and hence it was called "Galilee of the Gentiles" (q.v.), Matthew 4:15 Matthew 4:16 . The southern portion of Naphtali has been called the "Garden of Palestine." It was of unrivalled fertility. It was the principal scene of our Lord's public ministry. Here most of his parables were spoken and his miracles wrought.

This tribe was the first to suffer from the invasion of Benhadad, king of Syria, in the reigns of Baasha, king of Israel, and Asa, king of Judah ( 1 Kings 15:20 ; 2 Chr 16:4 ). In the reign of Pekah, king of Israel, the Assyrians under Tiglath-pileser swept over the whole north of Israel, and carried the people into captivity ( 2 Kings 15:29 ). Thus the kingdom of Israel came to an end (B.C. 722).

Naphtali is now almost wholly a desert, the towns of Tiberias, on the shore of the Lake of Galilee, and Safed being the only places in it of any importance.

Naphtuhim

a Hamitic tribe descended from Mizraim ( Genesis 10:13 ). Others identify this word with Napata, the name of the city and territory on the southern frontier of Mizraim, the modern Meroe, at the great bend of the Nile at Soudan. This city was the royal residence, it is said, of Queen Candace ( Acts 8:27 ). Here there are extensive and splendid ruins.

Napkin

(Gr. soudarion, John 11:44 ; 20:7 ; Lat. sudarium, a "sweat-cloth"), a cloth for wiping the sweat from the face. But the word is used of a wrapper to fold money in ( Luke 19:20 ), and as an article of dress, a "handkerchief" worn on the head ( Acts 19:12 ).

Narcissus

daffodil, a Roman whom Paul salutes ( Romans 16:11 ). He is supposed to have been the private secretary of the emperor Claudius. This is, however, quite uncertain.

Nathan

given.

1. A prophet in the reigns of David and Solomon ( 2 Chronicles 9:29 ). He is first spoken of in connection with the arrangements David made for the building of the temple ( 2 Samuel 7:2 2 Samuel 7:3 2 Samuel 7:17 ), and next appears as the reprover of David on account of his sin with Bathsheba ( 12:1-14 ). He was charged with the education of ( Solomon 12:25 ), at whose inauguration to the throne he took a prominent part ( 1 Kings 1:8 1 Kings 1:10 1 Kings 1:11 1 Kings 1:22-45 ). His two sons, Zabad ( 1 Chronicles 2:36 ) and Azariah ( 1 Kings 4:5 ) occupied places of honour at the king's court. He last appears in assisting David in reorganizing the public worship ( 2 Chronicles 29:25 ). He seems to have written a life of David, and also a life of Solomon ( 1 Chronicles 29:29 ; 2 Chr 9:29 ).

2. A son of David, by Bathsheba ( 2 Samuel 5:14 ), whose name appears in the genealogy of Mary, the mother of our Lord ( Luke 3:31 ).

3. Ezra 8:16 .

Nathanael

given or gift of God, one of our Lord's disciples, "of Cana in Galilee" ( John 21:2 ). He was "an Israelite indeed, in whom was no guile" ( John 1:47 John 1:48 ). His name occurs only in the Gospel of John, who in his list of the disciples never mentions Bartholomew, with whom he has consequently been identified. He was one of those to whom the Lord showed himself alive after his resurrection, at the Sea of Tiberias.

Nativity of Christ

The birth of our Lord took place at the time and place predicted by the prophets ( Genesis 49:10 ; Isaiah 7:14 ; Jeremiah 31:15 ; Micah 5:2 ; Haggai 2:6-9 ; Daniel 9:24 Daniel 9:25 ). Joseph and Mary were providentially led to go up to Bethlehem at this period, and there Christ was born ( Matthew 2:1 Matthew 2:6 ; Luke 2:1 Luke 2:7 ). The exact year or month or day of his birth cannot, however, now be exactly ascertained. We know, however, that it took place in the "fulness of the time" ( Galatians 4:4 ), i.e., at the fittest time in the world's history. Chronologists are now generally agreed that the year 4 before the Christian era was the year of Christ's nativity, and consequently that he was about four years old in the year 1 A.D.

Naughty figs

( Jeremiah 24:2 ). "The bad figs may have been such either from having decayed, and thus been reduced to a rotten condition, or as being the fruit of the sycamore, which contains a bitter juice" (Tristram, Nat. Hist.). The inferiority of the fruit is here referred to as an emblem of the rejected Zedekiah and his people.

Nazarene

This epithet (Gr. Nazaraios) is applied to Christ only once ( Matthew 2:23 ). In all other cases the word is rendered "of Nazareth" ( Mark 1:24 ; 10:47 ; 14:67 , etc.). When this Greek designation was at first applied to our Lord, it was meant simply to denote the place of his residence. In course of time the word became a term of reproach. Thus the word "Nazarene" carries with it an allusion to those prophecies which speak of Christ as "despised of men" ( Isaiah 53:3 ). Some, however, think that in this name there is an allusion to the Hebrew netser , which signifies a branch or sprout. It is so applied to the Messiah ( Isaiah 11:1 ), i.e., he whom the prophets called the Netse , the "Branch."

The followers of Christ were called "the sect of Nazarenes" ( Acts 24:5 ). All over Palestine and Syria this name is still given to Christians. (See NAZARETH .)

Nazareth

separated, generally supposed to be the Greek form of the Hebrew netser , a "shoot" or "sprout." Some, however, think that the name of the city must be connected with the name of the hill behind it, from which one of the finest prospects in Palestine is obtained, and accordingly they derive it from the Hebrew notserah , i.e., one guarding or watching, thus designating the hill which overlooks and thus guards an extensive region.

This city is not mentioned in the Old Testament. It was the home of Joseph and Mary ( Luke 2:39 ), and here the angel announced to the Virgin the birth of the Messiah ( 1:26-28 ). Here Jesus grew up from his infancy to manhood ( 4:16 ); and here he began his public ministry in the synagogue ( Matthew 13:54 ), at which the people were so offended that they sought to cast him down from the precipice whereon their city was built ( Luke 4:29 ). Twice they expelled him from their borders ( 4:16-29 ; Matthew 13:54-58 ); and he finally retired from the city, where he did not many mighty works because of their unbelief ( Matthew 13:58 ), and took up his residence in Capernaum.

Nazareth is situated among the southern ridges of Lebanon, on the steep slope of a hill, about 14 miles from the Sea of Galilee and about 6 west from Mount Tabor. It is identified with the modern village en-Nazirah, of six or ten thousand inhabitants. It lies "as in a hollow cup" lower down upon the hill than the ancient city. The main road for traffic between Egypt and the interior of Asia passed by Nazareth near the foot of Tabor, and thence northward to Damascus.

It is supposed from the words of Nathanael in John 1:46 that the city of Nazareth was held in great disrepute, either because, it is said, the people of Galilee were a rude and less cultivated class, and were largely influenced by the Gentiles who mingled with them, or because of their lower type of moral and religious character. But there seems to be no sufficient reason for these suppositions. The Jews believed that, according to Micah 5:2 , the birth of the Messiah would take place at Bethlehem, and nowhere else. Nathanael held the same opinion as his countrymen, and believed that the great "good" which they were all expecting could not come from Nazareth. This is probably what Nathanael meant. Moreover, there does not seem to be any evidence that the inhabitants of Galilee were in any respect inferior, or that a Galilean was held in contempt, in the time of our Lord. (See Dr. Merrill's Galilee in the Time of Christ.)

The population of this city (now about 10,000) in the time of Christ probably amounted to 15,000 or 20,000 souls.

"The so-called 'Holy House' is a cave under the Latin church, which appears to have been originally a tank. The 'brow of the hill', site of the attempted precipitation, is probably the northern cliff: the traditional site has been shown since the middle ages at some distance to the south. None of the traditional sites are traceable very early, and they have no authority. The name Nazareth perhaps means 'a watch tower' (now en-Nasrah), but is connected in the New Testament with Netzer, 'a branch' ( Isaiah 4:2 ; Jeremiah 23:5 ; Zechariah 3:8 ; 6:12 ; Matthew 2:23 ), Nazarene being quite a different word from Nazarite."

Nazarite

(Heb. form Nazirite), the name of such Israelites as took on them the vow prescribed in Numbers 6:2-21 . The word denotes generally one who is separated from others and consecrated to God. Although there is no mention of any Nazarite before Samson, yet it is evident that they existed before the time of Moses. The vow of a Nazarite involved these three things, (1) abstinence from wine and strong drink, (2) refraining from cutting the hair off the head during the whole period of the continuance of the vow, and (3) the avoidance of contact with the dead.

When the period of the continuance of the vow came to an end, the Nazarite had to present himself at the door of the sanctuary with (1) a he lamb of the first year for a burnt-offering, (2) a ewe lamb of the first year for a sin-offering, and (3) a ram for a peace-offering. After these sacrifices were offered by the priest, the Nazarite cut off his hair at the door and threw it into the fire under the peace-offering.

For some reason, probably in the midst of his work at Corinth, Paul took on himself the Nazarite vow. This could only be terminated by his going up to Jerusalem to offer up the hair which till then was to be left uncut. But it seems to have been allowable for persons at a distance to cut the hair, which was to be brought up to Jerusalem, where the ceremony was completed. This Paul did at Cenchrea just before setting out on his voyage into Syria ( Acts 18:18 ).

On another occasion ( Acts 21:23-26 ), at the feast of Pentecost, Paul took on himself again the Nazarite vow. "The ceremonies involved took a longer time than Paul had at his disposal, but the law permitted a man to share the vow if he could find companions who had gone through the prescribed ceremonies, and who permitted him to join their company. This permission was commonly granted if the new comer paid all the fees required from the whole company (fee to the Levite for cutting the hair and fees for sacrifices), and finished the vow along with the others. Four Jewish Christians were performing the vow, and would admit Paul to their company, provided he paid their expenses. Paul consented, paid the charges, and when the last seven days of the vow began he went with them to live in the temple, giving the usual notice to the priests that he had joined in regular fashion, was a sharer with the four men, and that his vow would end with theirs. Nazarites retired to the temple during the last period of seven days, because they could be secure there against any accidental defilement" (Lindsay's Acts).

As to the duration of a Nazarite's vow, every one was left at liberty to fix his own time. There is mention made in Scripture of only three who were Nazarites for life, Samson, Samuel, and John the Baptist ( Judges 13:4 Judges 13:5 ; 1 Samuel 1:11 ; Luke 1:15 ). In its ordinary form, however, the Nazarite's vow lasted only thirty, and at most one hundred, days. (See RECHABITES .)

This institution was a symbol of a life devoted to God and separated from all sin, a holy life.

Neah

shaking, or settlement, or descent, a town on the east side of Zebulun, not far from Rimmon ( Joshua 19:13 ).

Neapolis

new city, a town in Thrace at which Paul first landed in Europe ( Acts 16:11 ). It was the sea-port of the inland town of Philippi, which was distant about 10 miles. From this port Paul embarked on his last journey to Jerusalem ( Acts 20:6 ). It is identified with the modern Turco-Grecian Kavalla.

Nebaioth

height.

1. Ishmael's eldest son ( Genesis 25:13 ), and the prince of an Israelitish tribe (16). He had a sister, Mahalath, who was one of Esau's wives ( Genesis 28:9 ; 36:3 ).

2. The name of the Ishmaelite tribe descended from the above ( Genesis 25:13 Genesis 25:18 ). The "rams of Nebaioth" ( Isaiah 60:7 ) are the gifts which these wandering tribes of the desert would consecrate to God.

Neballat

wickedness in secret, ( Nehemiah 11:34 ), probably the village of Beit Nebala, about 4 miles north of Lydda.

Nebat

sight; aspect, the father of Jeroboam, the king of Israel ( 1 Kings 11:26 , etc.).

Nebo

proclaimer; prophet.

1. A Chaldean god whose worship was introduced into Assyria by Pul ( Isaiah 46:1 ; Jeremiah 48:1 ). To this idol was dedicated the great temple whose ruins are still seen at Birs Nimrud. A statue of Nebo found at Calah, where it was set up by Pul, king of Assyria, is now in the British Museum.

2. A mountain in the land of Moab from which Moses looked for the first and the last time on the Promised Land ( Deuteronomy 32:49 ; 34:1 ). It has been identified with Jebel Nebah, on the eastern shore of the Dead Sea, near its northern end, and about 5 miles south-west of Heshbon. It was the summit of the ridge of Pisgah (q.v.), which was a part of the range of the "mountains of Abarim." It is about 2,643 feet in height, but from its position it commands a view of Western Palestine. Close below it are the plains of Moab, where Balaam, and afterwards Moses, saw the tents of Israel spread along.

3. A town on the east of Jordan which was taken possession of and rebuilt by the tribe of Reuben ( Numbers 32:3 Numbers 32:38 ; 1 Chronicles 5:8 ). It was about 8 miles south of Heshbon.

4. The "children of Nebo" ( Ezra 2:29 ; Nehemiah 7:33 ) were of those who returned from Babylon. It was a town in Benjamin, probably the modern Beit Nubah, about 7 miles north-west of Hebron.

Nebuchadnezzar

in the Babylonian orthography Nabu-kudur-uzur, which means "Nebo, protect the crown!" or the "frontiers." In an inscription he styles himself "Nebo's favourite." He was the son and successor of Nabopolassar, who delivered Babylon from its dependence on Assyria and laid Nineveh in ruins. He was the greatest and most powerful of all the Babylonian kings. He married the daughter of Cyaxares, and thus the Median and Babylonian dynasties were united.

Necho II., the king of Egypt, gained a victory over the Assyrians at Carchemish. (See JOSIAH; MEGIDDO .) This secured to Egypt the possession of the Syrian provinces of Assyria, including Palestine. The remaining provinces of the Assyrian empire were divided between Babylonia and Media. But Nabopolassar was ambitious of reconquering from Necho the western provinces of Syria, and for this purpose he sent his son with a powerful army westward ( Daniel 1:1 ). The Egyptians met him at Carchemish, where a furious battle was fought, resulting in the complete rout of the Egyptians, who were driven back ( Jeremiah 46:2-12 ), and Syria and Phoenicia brought under the sway of Babylon (B.C. 606). From that time "the king of Egypt came not again any more out of his land" ( 2 Kings 24:7 ). Nebuchadnezzar also subdued the whole of Palestine, and took Jerusalem, carrying away captive a great multitude of the Jews, among whom were Daniel and his companions ( Daniel 1:1 Daniel 1:2 ; Jeremiah 27:19 ; 40:1 ).

Three years after this, Jehoiakim, who had reigned in Jerusalem as a Babylonian vassal, rebelled against the oppressor, trusting to help from Egypt ( 2 Kings 24:1 ). This led Nebuchadnezzar to march an army again to the conquest of Jerusalem, which at once yielded to him (B.C. 598). A third time he came against it, and deposed Jehoiachin, whom he carried into Babylon, with a large portion of the population of the city, and the sacred vessels of the temple, placing Zedekiah on the throne of Judah in his stead. He also, heedless of the warnings of the prophet, entered into an alliance with Egypt, and rebelled against Babylon. This brought about the final siege of the city, which was at length taken and utterly destroyed (B.C. 586). Zedekiah was taken captive, and had his eyes put out by order of the king of Babylon, who made him a prisoner for the remainder of his life.

An onyx cameo, now in the museum of Florence, bears on it an arrow-headed inscription, which is certainly ancient and genuine. The helmeted profile is said (Schrader) to be genuine also, but it is more probable that it is the portrait of a usurper in the time of Darius (Hystaspes), called Nidinta-Bel, who took the name of "Nebuchadrezzar." The inscription has been thus translated:, "In honour of Merodach, his lord, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, in his lifetime had this made."

A clay tablet, now in the British Museum, bears the following inscription, the only one as yet found which refers to his wars: "In the thirty-seventh year of Nebuchadnezzar, king of the country of Babylon, he went to Egypt [Misr] to make war. Amasis, king of Egypt, collected [his army], and marched and spread abroad." Thus were fulfilled the words of the prophet ( Jeremiah 46:13-26 ; Ezekiel 29:2-20 ). Having completed the subjugation of Phoenicia, and inflicted chastisement on Egypt, Nebuchadnezzar now set himself to rebuild and adorn the city of Babylon ( Daniel 4:30 ), and to add to the greatness and prosperity of his kingdom by constructing canals and aqueducts and reservoirs surpassing in grandeur and magnificence everything of the kind mentioned in history ( Daniel 2:37 ). He is represented as a "king of kings," ruling over a vast kingdom of many provinces, with a long list of officers and rulers under him, "princes, governors, captains," etc. ( Daniel 3:2 Daniel 3:3 Daniel 3:27 ). He may, indeed, be said to have created the mighty empire over which he ruled.

"Modern research has shown that Nebuchadnezzar was the greatest monarch that Babylon, or perhaps the East generally, ever produced. He must have possessed an enormous command of human labour, nine-tenths of Babylon itself, and nineteen-twentieths of all the other ruins that in almost countless profusion cover the land, are composed of bricks stamped with his name. He appears to have built or restored almost every city and temple in the whole country. His inscriptions give an elaborate account of the immense works which he constructed in and about Babylon itself, abundantly illustrating the boast, 'Is not this great Babylon which I have build?'" Rawlinson, Hist. Illustrations.

After the incident of the "burning fiery furnace" ( Daniel 3 ) into which the three Hebrew confessors were cast, Nebuchadnezzar was afflicted with some peculiar mental aberration as a punishment for his pride and vanity, probably the form of madness known as lycanthropy (i.e, "the change of a man into a wolf"). A remarkable confirmation of the Scripture narrative is afforded by the recent discovery of a bronze door-step, which bears an inscription to the effect that it was presented by Nebuchadnezzar to the great temple at Borsippa as a votive offering on account of his recovery from a terrible illness. (See DANIEL .)

He survived his recovery for some years, and died B.C. 562, in the eighty-third or eighty-fourth year of his age, after a reign of forty-three years, and was succeeded by his son Evil-merodach, who, after a reign of two years, was succeeded by Neriglissar (559-555), who was succeeded by Nabonadius (555-538), at the close of whose reign (less than a quarter of a century after the death of Nebuchadnezzar) Babylon fell under Cyrus at the head of the combined armies of Media and Persia.

"I have examined," says Sir H. Rawlinson, "the bricks belonging perhaps to a hundred different towns and cities in the neighbourhood of Baghdad, and I never found any other legend than that of Nebuchadnezzar, son of Nabopolassar, king of Babylon." Nine-tenths of all the bricks amid the ruins of Babylon are stamped with his name.

Nebuchadrezzar

=Nebuchadnezzar ( Jeremiah 21:2 Jeremiah 21:7 ; 22:25 ; 24:1 , etc.), a nearer approach to the correct spelling of the word.

Nebushasban

adorer of Nebo, or Nebo saves me, the "Rabsaris," or chief chamberlain, of the court of Babylon. He was one of those whom the king sent to release Jeremiah from prison in Jerusalem ( Jeremiah 39:13 ).

Nebuzaradan

"the captain of the guard," in rank next to the king, who appears prominent in directing affairs at the capture of Jerusalem ( 2 Kings 25:8-20 ; Jeremiah 39:11 ; 40:2-5 ). He showed kindness toward Jeremiah, as commanded by Nebuchadnezzar ( 40:1 ). Five years after this he again came to Jerusalem and carried captive seven hundred and forty-five more Jews.

Necho II

an Egyptian king, the son and successor of Psammetichus (B.C. 610-594), the contemporary of Josiah, king of Judah. For some reason he proclaimed war against the king of Assyria. He led forth a powerful army and marched northward, but was met by the king of Judah at Megiddo, who refused him a passage through his territory. Here a fierce battle was fought and Josiah was slain ( 2 Chronicles 35:20-24 ). Possibly, as some suppose, Necho may have brought his army by sea to some port to the north of Dor (Compare Joshua 11:2 ; 12:23 ), a Phoenician town at no great distance from Megiddo. After this battle Necho marched on to Carchemish (q.v.), where he met and conquered the Assyrian army, and thus all the Syrian provinces, including Palestine, came under his dominion.

On his return march he deposed Jehoahaz, who had succeeded his father Josiah, and made Eliakim, Josiah's eldest son, whose name he changed into Jehoiakim, king. Jehoahaz he carried down into Egypt, where he died ( 2 Kings 23:31 ; 2 Chr 36:1-4 ). Four years after this conquest Necho again marched to the Euphrates; but here he was met and his army routed by the Chaldeans (B.C. 606) under Nebuchadnezzar, who drove the Egyptians back, and took from them all the territory they had conquered, from the Euphrates unto the "river of Egypt" ( Jeremiah 46:2 ; 2 Kings Jeremiah 24:7 Jeremiah 24:8 ). Soon after this Necho died, and was succeeded by his son, Psammetichus II. (See NEBUCHADNEZZAR .)

Neck

used sometimes figuratively. To "lay down the neck" ( Romans 16:4 ) is to hazard one's life. Threatenings of coming judgments are represented by the prophets by their laying bands upon the people's necks ( Deuteronomy 28:48 ; Isaiah 10:27 ; Jeremiah 27:2 ). Conquerors put their feet on the necks of their enemies as a sign of their subjection ( Joshua 10:24 ; 2 Sam 22:41 ).

Necromancer

( Deuteronomy 15:11 ), i.e., "one who interrogates the dead," as the word literally means, with the view of discovering the secrets of futurity (Compare 1 Samuel 28:7 ). (See DIVINATION .)

Nedabiah

moved of Jehovah, one of the sons of Jeconiah ( 1 Chronicles 3:18 ).

Needle

used only in the proverb, "to pass through a needle's eye" ( Matthew 19:24 ; Mark 10:25 ; Luke 18:25 ). Some interpret the expression as referring to the side gate, close to the principal gate, usually called the "eye of a needle" in the East; but it is rather to be taken literally. The Hebrew females were skilled in the use of the needle ( Exodus 28:39 ; 26:36 ; Judges 5:30 ).

Neginah

in the title of Psalms 61 , denotes the music of stringed instruments ( 1 Samuel 16:16 ; Isaiah 38:20 ). It is the singular form of Neginoth.

Neginoth

i.e., songs with instrumental accompaniment, found in the titles of Psalms 4 ; 6 ; 54 ; 55 ; 67 ; 76 ; rendered "stringed instruments," Habakkuk 3:19 , A.V. It denotes all kinds of stringed instruments, as the "harp," "psaltery," "viol," etc. The "chief musician on Neginoth" is the leader of that part of the temple choir which played on stringed instruments.

Nehelamite

the name given to a false prophet Shemaiah, who went with the captives to Babylon ( Jeremiah 29:24 Jeremiah 29:31 Jeremiah 29:32 ). The origin of the name is unknown. It is rendered in the marg, "dreamer."

Nehemiah

comforted by Jehovah.

1. Ezra 2:2 ; Nehemiah 7:7 .

2. Nehemiah 3:16 .

3. The son of Hachaliah ( Nehemiah 1:1 ), and probably of the tribe of Judah. His family must have belonged to Jerusalem ( Nehemiah 2:3 ). He was one of the "Jews of the dispersion," and in his youth was appointed to the important office of royal cup-bearer at the palace of Shushan. The king, Artaxerxes Longimanus, seems to have been on terms of friendly familiarity with his attendant. Through his brother Hanani, and perhaps from other sources ( Nehemiah 1:2 ; 2:3 ), he heard of the mournful and desolate condition of the Holy City, and was filled with sadness of heart. For many days he fasted and mourned and prayed for the place of his fathers' sepulchres. At length the king observed his sadness of countenance and asked the reason of it. Nehemiah explained it all to the king, and obtained his permission to go up to Jerusalem and there to act as tirshatha , or governor of Judea. He went up in the spring of B.C. 446 (eleven years after Ezra), with a strong escort supplied by the king, and with letters to all the pashas of the provinces through which he had to pass, as also to Asaph, keeper of the royal forests, directing him to assist Nehemiah. On his arrival he set himself to survey the city, and to form a plan for its restoration; a plan which he carried out with great skill and energy, so that the whole was completed in about six months. He remained in Judea for thirteen years as governor, carrying out many reforms, notwithstanding much opposition that he encountered ( Nehemiah 13:11 ). He built up the state on the old lines, "supplementing and completing the work of Ezra," and making all arrangements for the safety and good government of the city. At the close of this important period of his public life, he returned to Persia to the service of his royal master at Shushan or Ecbatana. Very soon after this the old corrupt state of things returned, showing the worthlessness to a large extent of the professions that had been made at the feast of the dedication of the walls of the city ( Nehemiah 12 . See EZRA). Malachi now appeared among the people with words of stern reproof and solemn warning; and Nehemiah again returned from Persia (after an absence of some two years), and was grieved to see the widespread moral degeneracy that had taken place during his absence. He set himself with vigour to rectify the flagrant abuses that had sprung up, and restored the orderly administration of public worship and the outward observance of the law of Moses. Of his subsequent history we know nothing. Probably he remained at his post as governor till his death (about B.C. 413) in a good old age. The place of his death and burial is, however, unknown. "He resembled Ezra in his fiery zeal, in his active spirit of enterprise, and in the piety of his life: but he was of a bluffer and a fiercer mood; he had less patience with transgressors; he was a man of action rather than a man of thought, and more inclined to use force than persuasion. His practical sagacity and high courage were very markedly shown in the arrangement with which he carried through the rebuilding of the wall and balked the cunning plans of the 'adversaries.' The piety of his heart, his deeply religious spirit and constant sense of communion with and absolute dependence upon God, are strikingly exhibited, first in the long prayer recorded in ch. 1:5-11 , and secondly and most remarkably in what have been called his 'interjectional prayers', those short but moving addresses to Almighty God which occur so frequently in his writings, the instinctive outpouring of a heart deeply moved, but ever resting itself upon God, and looking to God alone for aid in trouble, for the frustration of evil designs, and for final reward and acceptance" (Rawlinson). Nehemiah was the last of the governors sent from the Persian court. Judea after this was annexed to the satrapy of Coele-Syria, and was governed by the high priest under the jurisdiction of the governor of Syria, and the internal government of the country became more and more a hierarchy.

Nehemiah, Book of

The author of this book was no doubt Nehemiah himself. There are portions of the book written in the first person (ch. 1-7; 12:27-47 , and 13). But there are also portions of it in which Nehemiah is spoken of in the third person (ch. 8; 9; 10). It is supposed that these portions may have been written by Ezra; of this, however, there is no distinct evidence. These portions had their place assigned them in the book, there can be no doubt, by Nehemiah. He was the responsible author of the whole book, with the exception of ch Nehemiah 12:11 Nehemiah 12:22 Nehemiah 12:23 .

The date at which the book was written was probably about B.C. 431-430, when Nehemiah had returned the second time to Jerusalem after his visit to Persia.

The book, which may historically be regarded as a continuation of the book of Ezra, consists of four parts.

1. An account of the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem, and of the register Nehemiah had found of those who had returned from Babylon (ch. 1-7).

2. An account of the state of religion among the Jews during this time (8-10).

3. Increase of the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the census of the adult male population, and names of the chiefs, together with lists of priests and Levites ( (11-12:1-26). ).

4. Dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, the arrangement of the temple officers, and the reforms carried out by Nehemiah Nehemiah 13 ). This book closes the history of the Old Testament. Malachi the prophet was contemporary with Nehemiah.

Nehiloth

only in the title of Psalms 5 . It is probably derived from a root meaning "to bore," "perforate," and hence denotes perforated wind instruments of all kinds. The psalm may be thus regarded as addressed to the conductor of the temple choir which played on flutes and such-like instruments.

Nehushta

copper, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem, and the wife of Jehoiakin ( 2 Kings 24:8 ), king of Judah.

Nehushtan

of copper; a brazen thing a name of contempt given to the serpent Moses had made in the wilderness ( Numbers 21:8 ), and which Hezekiah destroyed because the children of Israel began to regard it as an idol and "burn incense to it." The lapse of nearly one thousand years had invested the "brazen serpent" with a mysterious sanctity; and in order to deliver the people from their infatuation, and impress them with the idea of its worthlessness, Hezekiah called it, in contempt, "Nehushtan," a brazen thing, a mere piece of brass ( 2 Kings 18:4 ).

Neiel

dwelling-place of God, a town in the territory of Asher, near its southern border ( Joshua 19:27 ). It has been identified with the ruin Y'anin, near the outlet of the Wady esh Sha-ghur, less than 2 miles north of Kabul, and 16 miles east of Caesarea.

Nekeb

cavern, a town on the boundary of Naphtali ( Joshua 19:33 ). It has with probability, been identified with Seiyadeh, nearly 2 miles east of Bessum, a ruin half way between Tiberias and Mount Tabor.

Nemuel

day of God.

1. One of Simeon's five sons ( 1 Chronicles 4:24 ), called also Jemuel ( Genesis 46:10 ).

2. A Reubenite, a son of Eliab, and brother of Dathan and Abiram ( Numbers 26:9 ).

Nephilim

( Genesis 6:4 ; Numbers 13:33 , RSV), giants, the Hebrew word left untranslated by the Revisers, the name of one of the Canaanitish tribes. The Revisers have, however, translated the Hebrew gibborim, in Genesis 6:4 , "mighty men."

Nephtoah

opened, a fountain and a stream issuing from it on the border between Judah and Benjamin ( Joshua 15:8 Joshua 15:9 ; 18:15 ). It has been identified with 'Ain Lifta, a spring about 2 1/2 miles north-west of Jerusalem. Others, however, have identified it with 'Ain' Atan, on the south-west of Bethlehem, whence water is conveyed through "Pilate's aqueduct" to the Haram area at Jerusalem.

Ner

light, the father of Kish ( 1 Chronicles 8:33 ). 1 Samuel 14:51 should be read, "Kish, the father of Saul, and Ner, the father of Abner, were the sons of Abiel." And hence this Kish and Ner were brothers, and Saul and Abner were first cousins (Compare 1 Chronicles 9:36 ).

Nereus

a Christian at Rome to whom Paul sent his salutation ( Romans 16:15 ).

Nergal

the great dog; that is, lion, one of the chief gods of the Assyrians and Babylonians ( 2 Kings 17:30 ), the god of war and hunting. He is connected with Cutha as its tutelary deity.

Nergal-sharezer

Nergal, protect the king!

1. One of the "princes of the king of Babylon who accompanied him in his last expedition against Jerusalem" ( Jeremiah 39:3 Jeremiah 39:13 ).

2. Another of the "princes," who bore the title of "Rabmag." He was one of those who were sent to release Jeremiah from prison ( Jeremiah 39:13 ) by "the captain of the guard." He was a Babylonian grandee of high rank. From profane history and the inscriptions, we are led to conclude that he was the Neriglissar who murdered Evil-merodach, the son of Nebuchadnezzar, and succeeded him on the throne of Babylon (B.C. 559-556). He was married to a daughter of Nebuchadnezzar. The ruins of a palace, the only one on the right bank of the Euphrates, bear inscriptions denoting that it was built by this king. He was succeeded by his son, a mere boy, who was murdered after a reign of some nine months by a conspiracy of the nobles, one of whom, Nabonadius, ascended the vacant throne, and reigned for a period of seventeen years (B.C. 555-538), at the close of which period Babylon was taken by Cyrus. Belshazzar, who comes into notice in connection with the taking of Babylon, was by some supposed to have been the same as Nabonadius, who was called Nebuchadnezzar's son ( Daniel 5:11 Daniel 5:18 Daniel 5:22 ), because he had married his daughter. But it is known from the inscriptions that Nabonadius had a son called Belshazzar, who may have been his father's associate on the throne at the time of the fall of Babylon, and who therefore would be the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar. The Jews had only one word, usually rendered "father," to represent also such a relationship as that of "grandfather" or "great-grandfather."

Nero

occurs only in the superscription (which is probably spurious, and is altogether omitted in the RSV) to the Second Epistle to Timothy. He became emperor of Rome when he was about seventeen years of age (A.D. 54), and soon began to exhibit the character of a cruel tyrant and heathen debauchee. In May A.D. 64, a terrible conflagration broke out in Rome, which raged for six days and seven nights, and totally destroyed a great part of the city. The guilt of this fire was attached to him at the time, and the general verdict of history accuses him of the crime. "Hence, to suppress the rumour," says Tacitus (Annals, xv. 44), "he falsely charged with the guilt, and punished with the most exquisite tortures, the persons commonly called Christians, who are hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of that name, was put to death as a criminal by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea, in the reign of Tiberius; but the pernicious superstition, repressed for a time, broke out again, not only throughout Judea, where the mischief originated, but through the city of Rome also, whither all things horrible and disgraceful flow, from all quarters, as to a common receptacle, and where they are encouraged. Accordingly, first three were seized, who confessed they were Christians. Next, on their information, a vast multitude were convicted, not so much on the charge of burning the city as of hating the human race. And in their deaths they were also made the subjects of sport; for they were covered with the hides of wild beasts and worried to death by dogs, or nailed to crosses, or set fire to, and, when day declined, burned to serve for nocturnal lights. Nero offered his own gardens for that spectacle, and exhibited a Circensian game, indiscriminately mingling with the common people in the habit of a charioteer, or else standing in his chariot; whence a feeling of compassion arose toward the sufferers, though guilty and deserving to be made examples of by capital punishment, because they seemed not to be cut off for the public good, but victims to the ferocity of one man." Another Roman historian, Suetonius (Nero, xvi.), says of him: "He likewise inflicted punishments on the Christians, a sort of people who hold a new and impious superstition" (Forbes's Footsteps of St. Paul, p. 60).

Nero was the emperor before whom Paul was brought on his first imprisonment at Rome, and the apostle is supposed to have suffered martyrdom during this persecution. He is repeatedly alluded to in Scripture ( Acts 25:11 ; Phil Acts 1:12 Acts 1:13 ; 4:22 ). He died A.D. 68.

Net

in use among the Hebrews for fishing, hunting, and fowling. The fishing-net was probably constructed after the form of that used by the Egyptians ( Isaiah 19:8 ). There were three kinds of nets.

1. The drag-net or hauling-net (Gr. sagene), of great size, and requiring many men to work it. It was usually let down from the fishing-boat, and then drawn to the shore or into the boat, as circumstances might require ( Matthew 13:47 Matthew 13:48 ).

2. The hand-net or casting-net (Gr. amphiblestron), which was thrown from a rock or a boat at any fish that might be seen ( Matthew 4:18 ; Mark 1:16 ). It was called by the Latins funda. It was of circular form, "like the top of a tent."

3. The bag-net (Gr. diktyon), used for enclosing fish in deep water ( Luke 5:4-9 ). The fowling-nets were (1) the trap, consisting of a net spread over a frame, and supported by a stick in such a way that it fell with the slightest touch ( Amos 3:5 , "gin;" Psalms 69:22 ; Job 18:9 ; Eccl 9:12 ). (2) The snare, consisting of a cord to catch birds by the leg ( Job 18:10 ; Psalms 18:5 ; 116:3 ; 140:5 ).

4. The decoy, a cage filled with birds as decoys ( Jeremiah 5:26 Jeremiah 5:27 ). Hunting-nets were much in use among the Hebrews.

Nethaneel

given of God.

1. The son of Zuar, chief of the tribe of Issachar at the Exodus ( Numbers 1:8 ; 2:5 ).

2. One of David's brothers ( 1 Chronicles 2:14 ).

3. A priest who blew the trumpet before the ark when it was brought up to Jerusalem ( 1 Chronicles 15:24 ).

4. A Levite ( 1 Chronicles 24:6 ).

5. A temple porter, of the family of the Korhites ( 1 Chronicles 26:4 ).

6. One of the "princes" appointed by Jehoshaphat to teach the law through the cities of Judah ( 2 Chronicles 17:7 ).

7. A chief Levite in the time of Josiah ( 2 Chronicles 35:9 ).

8. Ezra 10:22 .

9. Nehemiah 12:21 .

10. A priest's son who bore a trumpet at the dedication of the walls of Jerusalem ( Nehemiah 12:36 ).

Nethaniah

given of Jehovah.

1. One of Asaph's sons, appointed by David to minister in the temple ( 1 Chronicles 25:2 1 Chronicles 25:12 ).

2. A Levite sent by Jehoshaphat to teach the law ( 2 Chronicles 17:8 ).

3. Jeremiah 36:14 .

4. 2 Kings 25:23 2 Kings 25:25 .

Nethinim

the name given to the hereditary temple servants in all the post-Exilian books of Scripture. The word means given, i.e., "those set apart", viz., to the menial work of the sanctuary for the Levites. The name occurs seventeen times, and in each case in the Authorized Version incorrectly terminates in "s", "Nethinims;" in the Revised Version, correctly without the "s" ( Ezra 2:70 ; Ezra 7:7 Ezra 7:24 ; 8:20 , etc.). The tradition is that the Gibeonites ( Joshua 9:27 ) were the original caste, afterwards called Nethinim. Their numbers were added to afterwards from captives taken in battle; and they were formally given by David to the Levites ( Ezra 8:20 ), and so were called Nethinim, i.e., the given ones, given to the Levites to be their servants. Only 612Nethinim returned from Babylon ( Ezra 2:58 ; 8:20 ). They were under the control of a chief from among themselves ( 2:43 ; Nehemiah 7:46 ). No reference to them appears in the New Testament, because it is probable that they became merged in the general body of the Jewish people.

Netophah

distillation; dropping, a town in Judah, in the neighbourhood, probably, of Bethlehem ( Nehemiah 7:26 ; 1 Chronicles 2:54 ). Two of David's guards were Netophathites ( 1 Chronicles 27:13 1 Chronicles 27:15 ). It has been identified with the ruins of Metoba, or Um Toba, to the north-east of Bethlehem.

Nettle

1. Heb. haral, "pricking" or "burning," Prov 24:30,31(RSV marg., "wild vetches"); Job 30:7 ; Zephaniah 2:9 . Many have supposed that some thorny or prickly plant is intended by this word, such as the bramble, the thistle, the wild plum, the cactus or prickly pear, etc. It may probably be a species of mustard, the Sinapis arvensis, which is a pernicious weed abounding in corn-fields. Tristram thinks that this word "designates the prickly acanthus (Acanthus spinosus), a very common and troublesome weed in the plains of Palestine."

2. Heb. qimmosh, Isaiah 34:13 ; Hosea 9:6 ; Proverbs 24:31 (in both versions, "thorns"). This word has been regarded as denoting thorns, thistles, wild camomile; but probably it is correctly rendered "nettle," the Urtica pilulifera, "a tall and vigorous plant, often 6 feet high, the sting of which is much more severe and irritating than that of our common nettle."

New Moon, Feast of

Special services were appointed for the commencement of a month ( Numbers 28:11-15 ; 10:10 ). (See FESTIVALS .)

New Testament

( Luke 22:20 ), rather "New Covenant," in contrast to the old covenant of works, which is superseded. "The covenant of grace is called new; it succeeds to the old broken covenant of works. It is ever fresh, flourishing, and excellent; and under the gospel it is dispensed in a more clear, spiritual, extensive, and powerful manner than of old" (Brown of Haddington). Hence is derived the name given to the latter portion of the Bible. (See TESTAMENT .)

Neziah

victory; pure, Ezra 2:54 ; Nehemiah 7:56 .

Nezib

a town in the "plain" of Judah. It has been identified with Beit Nuzib, about 14 miles south-west of Jerusalem, in the Wady Sur ( Joshua 15:43 ).

Nibhaz

barker, the name of an idol, supposed to be an evil demon of the Zabians. It was set up in Samaria by the Avites ( 2 Kings 17:31 ), probably in the form of a dog.

Nibshan

fertile; light soil, a city somewhere "in the wilderness" of Judah ( Joshua 15:62 ), probably near Engedi.

Nicanor

conqueror, one of the seven deacons appointed in the apostolic Church ( Acts 6:1-6 ). Nothing further is known of him.

Nicodemus

the people is victor, a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin. He is first noticed as visiting Jesus by night ( John 3:1-21 ) for the purpose of learning more of his doctrines, which our Lord then unfolded to him, giving prominence to the necessity of being "born again." He is next met with in the Sanhedrin ( 7:50-52 ), where he protested against the course they were taking in plotting against Christ. Once more he is mentioned as taking part in the preparation for the anointing and burial of the body of Christ ( John 19:39 ). We hear nothing more of him. There can be little doubt that he became a true disciple.

Nicolaitanes

The church at Ephesus ( Revelation 2:6 ) is commended for hating the "deeds" of the Nicolaitanes, and the church of Pergamos is blamed for having them who hold their "doctrines" (15). They were seemingly a class of professing Christians, who sought to introduce into the church a false freedom or licentiousness, thus abusing Paul's doctrine of grace (Compare 2 Peter 2:15 2 Peter 2:16 2 Peter 2:19 ), and were probably identical with those who held the doctrine of Baalam (q.v.), Revelation 2:14 .

Nicolas

the victory of the people, a proselyte of Antioch, one of the seven deacons ( Acts 6:5 ).

Nicopolis

city of victory, where Paul intended to winter ( Titus 3:12 ). There were several cities of this name. The one here referred to was most probably that in Epirus, which was built by Augustus Caesar to commemorate his victory at the battle of Actium (B.C. 31). It is the modern Paleoprevesa, i.e., "Old Prevesa." The subscription to the epistle to Titus calls it "Nicopolis of Macedonia", i.e., of Thrace. This is, however, probably incorrect.

Niger

black, a surname of Simeon ( Acts 13:1 ). He was probably so called from his dark complexion.

Night-hawk

(Heb. tahmas) occurs only in the list of unclean birds ( Leviticus 11:16 ; Deuteronomy 14:15 ). This was supposed to be the night-jar (Caprimulgus), allied to the swifts. The Hebrew word is derived from a root meaning "to scratch or tear the face," and may be best rendered, in accordance with the ancient versions, "an owl" (Strix flammea). The Revised Version renders "night-hawk."

Nile

dark; blue, not found in Scripture, but frequently referred to in the Old Testament under the name of Sihor, i.e., "the black stream" ( Isaiah 23:3 ; Jeremiah 2:18 ) or simply "the river" ( Genesis 41:1 ; Exodus 1:22 , etc.) and the "flood of Egypt" ( Amos 8:8 ). It consists of two rivers, the White Nile, which takes its rise in the Victoria Nyanza, and the Blue Nile, which rises in the Abyssinian Mountains. These unite at the town of Khartoum, whence it pursues its course for 1,800 miles, and falls into the Mediterranean through its two branches, into which it is divided a few miles north of Cairo, the Rosetta and the Damietta branch. (See EGYPT .)

Nimrah

pure, a city on the east of Jordan ( Numbers 32:3 ); probably the same as Beth-nimrah ( Joshua 13:27 ). It has been identified with the Nahr Nimrin, at one of the fords of Jordan, not far from Jericho.

Nimrim, Waters of

the stream of the leopards, a stream in Moab ( Isaiah 15:6 ; Jeremiah 48:34 ); probably the modern Wady en-Nemeirah, a rich, verdant spot at the south-eastern end of the Dead Sea.

Nimrod

firm, a descendant of Cush, the son of Ham. He was the first who claimed to be a "mighty one in the earth." Babel was the beginning of his kingdom, which he gradually enlarged ( Genesis 10:8-10 ). The "land of Nimrod" ( Micah 5:6 ) is a designation of Assyria or of Shinar, which is a part of it.

Nimshi

saved. Jehu was "the son of Jehoshaphat, the son of Nimshi" ( 2 Kings 9:2 ; Compare 1 Kings 19:16 ).

Nineveh

First mentioned in Genesis 10:11 , which is rendered in the Revised Version, "He [i.e., Nimrod] went forth into Assyria and builded Nineveh." It is not again noticed till the days of Jonah, when it is described ( Jonah 3:3 ; 4:11 ) as a great and populous city, the flourishing capital of the Assyrian empire ( 2 Kings 19:36 ; Isaiah 37:37 ). The book of the prophet Nahum is almost exclusively taken up with prophetic denunciations against this city. Its ruin and utter desolation are foretold (Nah.1:14; 3:19 , etc.). Zephaniah also ( 2:13-15 ) predicts its destruction along with the fall of the empire of which it was the capital. From this time there is no mention of it in Scripture till it is named in gospel history ( Matthew 12:41 ; Luke 11:32 ).

This "exceeding great city" lay on the eastern or left bank of the river Tigris, along which it stretched for some 30 miles, having an average breadth of 10 miles or more from the river back toward the eastern hills. This whole extensive space is now one immense area of ruins. Occupying a central position on the great highway between the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean, thus uniting the East and the West, wealth flowed into it from many sources, so that it became the greatest of all ancient cities.

About B.C. 633 the Assyrian empire began to show signs of weakness, and Nineveh was attacked by the Medes, who subsequently, about B.C. 625, being joined by the Babylonians and Susianians, again attacked it, when it fell, and was razed to the ground. The Assyrian empire then came to an end, the Medes and Babylonians dividing its provinces between them. "After having ruled for more than six hundred years with hideous tyranny and violence, from the Caucasus and the Caspian to the Persian Gulf, and from beyond the Tigris to Asia Minor and Egypt, it vanished like a dream" ( Nahum 2:6-11 ). Its end was strange, sudden, tragic. It was God's doing, his judgement on Assyria's pride ( Isaiah 10:5-19 ).

Forty years ago our knowledge of the great Assyrian empire and of its magnificent capital was almost wholly a blank. Vague memories had indeed survived of its power and greatness, but very little was definitely known about it. Other cities which had perished, as Palmyra, Persepolis, and Thebes, had left ruins to mark their sites and tell of their former greatness; but of this city, imperial Nineveh, not a single vestige seemed to remain, and the very place on which it had stood was only matter of conjecture. In fulfilment of prophecy, God made "an utter end of the place." It became a "desolation."

In the days of the Greek historian Herodotus, B.C. 400, it had become a thing of the past; and when Xenophon the historian passed the place in the "Retreat of the Ten Thousand," the very memory of its name had been lost. It was buried out of sight, and no one knew its grave. It is never again to rise from its ruins.

At length, after being lost for more than two thousand years, the city was disentombed. A little more than forty years ago the French consul at Mosul began to search the vast mounds that lay along the opposite bank of the river. The Arabs whom he employed in these excavations, to their great surprise, came upon the ruins of a building at the mound of Khorsabad, which, on further exploration, turned out to be the royal palace of Sargon, one of the Assyrian kings. They found their way into its extensive courts and chambers, and brought forth form its hidded depths many wonderful sculptures and other relics of those ancient times.

The work of exploration has been carried on almost continuously by M. Botta, Sir Henry Layard, George Smith, and others, in the mounds of Nebi-Yunus, Nimrud, Koyunjik, and Khorsabad, and a vast treasury of specimens of old Assyrian art has been exhumed. Palace after palace has been discovered, with their decorations and their sculptured slabs, revealing the life and manners of this ancient people, their arts of war and peace, the forms of their religion, the style of their architecture, and the magnificence of their monarchs. The streets of the city have been explored, the inscriptions on the bricks and tablets and sculptured figures have been read, and now the secrets of their history have been brought to light.

One of the most remarkable of recent discoveries is that of the library of King Assur-bani-pal, or, as the Greek historians call him, Sardanapalos, the grandson of Sennacherib (q.v.). (See ASNAPPER .) This library consists of about ten thousand flat bricks or tablets, all written over with Assyrian characters. They contain a record of the history, the laws, and the religion of Assyria, of the greatest value. These strange clay leaves found in the royal library form the most valuable of all the treasuries of the literature of the old world. The library contains also old Accadian documents, which are the oldest extant documents in the world, dating as far back as probably about the time of Abraham. (See SARGON .)

"The Assyrian royalty is, perhaps, the most luxurious of our century [reign of Assur-bani-pa]...Its victories and conquests, uninterrupted for one hundred years, have enriched it with the spoil of twenty peoples. Sargon has taken what remained to the Hittites; Sennacherib overcame Chaldea, and the treasures of Babylon were transferred to his coffers; Esarhaddon and Assur-bani-pal himself have pillaged Egypt and her great cities, Sais, Memphis, and Thebes of the hundred gates...Now foreign merchants flock into Nineveh, bringing with them the most valuable productions from all countries, gold and perfume from South Arabia and the Chaldean Sea, Egyptian linen and glass-work, carved enamels, goldsmiths' work, tin, silver, Phoenician purple; cedar wood from Lebanon, unassailable by worms; furs and iron from Asia Minor and Armenia" (Ancient Egypt and Assyria, by G. Maspero, page 271).

The bas-reliefs, alabaster slabs, and sculptured monuments found in these recovered palaces serve in a remarkable manner to confirm the Old Testament history of the kings of Israel. The appearance of the ruins shows that the destruction of the city was due not only to the assailing foe but also to the flood and the fire, thus confirming the ancient prophecies concerning it. "The recent excavations," says Rawlinson, "have shown that fire was a great instrument in the destruction of the Nineveh palaces. Calcined alabaster, charred wood, and charcoal, colossal statues split through with heat, are met with in parts of the Nineveh mounds, and attest the veracity of prophecy."

Nineveh in its glory was ( Jonah 3:4 ) an "exceeding great city of three days' journey", i.e., probably in circuit. This would give a circumference of about 60 miles. At the four corners of an irregular quadrangle are the ruins of Kouyunjik, Nimrud, Karamless and Khorsabad. These four great masses of ruins, with the whole area included within the parallelogram they form by lines drawn from the one to the other, are generally regarded as composing the whole ruins of Nineveh.

Nisan

month of flowers, ( Nehemiah 2:1 ) the first month of the Jewish sacred year. (See ABIB .) Assyrian nisannu, "beginning."