OABDIUS (1 Es 9:27) = Ezr 10:26, Abdi.


(1) ’ēlāh, Gn 35:4, Jg 6:11, 19, 2 S 18:9f., 14, 1 K 13:14, 1 Ch 10:12, Is 1:30, Ezk 6:13, Hos 4:13; (Vale of) Elah’ [RVm ‘terebinth’], 1 S 17:2, 19, 21:9, Is 6:13 [AV ‘teil tree’]; ’ēlāh elsewhere always tr.

‘oak’ [RVm ‘terebinth’]; ’allāh, a slight variant, Jos 24:26.

2.       ’ēlīrn, perhaps pi. of ēlāh, Is 1:29, ‘oaks’ [RVm ‘terebinths’]  57:5 [AV ‘idols,’ mg. ‘oaks,’ RV ‘oaks’] 61:3 ‘trees.’ The meaning of ’ēlīm in Ezk 31:14 is obscure, if the text be correct. These words, ’ēlāh, ’allāh, and ’ēlīm, all apparently refer to the terebinth (wh. see).

3.       ’allōn, cannot be the same as ’ēlāh, because it occurs with it in Is 6:13, Hos 4:13; see also Gn 35:8, Is 44:14, Am 2:9. In Is 2:13, Ezk 27:8, Zec 11:2 the ‘allōnīm ( ‘oaks’) of Bashan are mentioned. In Jos 19:33 (AV) ’allōn is treated as a proper name.

4.       ’ēlōn, probably merely a variation of ’allōn, is in Gn 12:8, 13:18, 14:13, 18:1, Dt 11:30, Jg 4:11, 9:6 , 37, 1 S 10:3 (AV) tr. ‘plain’ or ‘plains,’ but in RV ‘oak’ or oaks,’ mg. ‘terebinth’ or ‘terebinths.’ ‘allōn and ’ēlōn apparently refer to the oak.

Oaks have always been relatively plentiful in Palestine-Even to-day, in spite of the most reckless destruction, groves of oaks survive on Carmel, Tabor, around Banias, and in ancient Bashan; while whole miles of country are covered with shrub-like oaks produced from the roots of trees destroyed every few years for fuel. Among the nine recognized varieties of oak in Syria, the evergreen Quercus coccifera or ‘holm oak’ is the finest—it is often 30 to 35 feet high. Its preservation is usually due to its being situated at some sacred wely. ‘Abraham’s oak’ at Hebron is of this kind. Other common oaks are the Valonia oak (Q. Ægilops) , which has large acorns with prickly cups, much valued for dyeing; and the Oriental gall oak (Q. cerris) , a comparatively insignificant tree, especially noticeable for the variety of galls which grow on it. Both these latter are deciduous, the leaves falling from late autumn to early spring. Oak wood is used for tanning skin bottles and also as fuel, while the acorn cups of the Valonia oak and the galls of the various oak trees are both important articles of commerce in N. Syria.



OATHS.—How the need of oaths must first have arisen can be seen in such a passage as Ex 22:10, 11: ‘If a man deliver unto his neighbour an ass, or an ox, or a sheep, or a beast, to keep; and it die, or be hurt, or driven away, no man seeing It: the oath of the Lord shall be between them both, whether he hath not put his hand unto his neighbour’s goods; and the owner thereof shall accept it, and he shall not make restitution.’ As there is no witness to substantiate the innocence or prove the guilt of the suspected person—no man seeing it—God is called to witness. An oath is really a conditional curse, which a man calls down upon himself from God, in the case of his not speaking the truth or not keeping a promise. The use of oaths was not restricted to judicial procedure, but was also connected with a variety of everyday matters; to swear by the name of Jahweh was regarded as a sign of loyalty to Him (cf. Is 48:1 , Jer 12:16, Dt 6:13).

There are two words in Hebrew for an oath; (1) shĕbū‘ah, which comes from the same root as the word for ‘seven’ (sheba’) ; the Heb. word for ‘to swear’ comes likewise from the same root, and means literally ‘to come under the influence of seven things.’ Seven was the most sacred number among the Hebrews (cf. shābūa’, ‘week’ of seven days), and among the Semites generally. Among the Babylonians

the seven planets each represented a god. Originally, therefore, there must have been a direct connexion between this sacred number and the oath. (2) ’ālah, which, strictly speaking, means a ‘curse,’ and was a stronger form of oath. The combination of both words was used on especially solemn occasions, e.g. Nu 5:21 (cf. Mt 26:72 of Peter’s denial).

There were various forms used in taking an oath, e.g. ‘God do so to me and more also if …’ (1  K 2:23); the punishment called down in the case of the oath not being observed is left indeterminate in this form; this is to be explained from the fact that there was a fear lest the mention of the curse should ipso facto bring it to pass; it is a remnant of animistic conceptions (i.e. there was the fear that a demon might think his services were required). In later times, however, the nature of the curse is sometimes mentioned, e.g. ‘… saying, The Lord make thee like Zedekiah and like Ahab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire’ … (Jer 29:22; cf. Is 65:15 , Zec 8:13). Another form was: ‘God is witness betwixt me and thee’ (Gn 31:50), or, ‘The

Lord be a true and faithful witness amongst us, if …’ (Jer 42:5); a more common form is: ‘As the Lord liveth’ (Jg 8:19), which is sometimes varied by the addition of a reference to the person to whom the oath was made: ‘As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth’ (1 S 20:3, cf. 2 S 15:21). Another form was: ‘God … judge between us’ (Gn 31:53). God Himself is conceived of as taking oaths: ‘By myself have I sworn …’ (Gn 22:15). The usual gesture in taking an oath was to raise the arm towards heaven (Dt 32:40, Dn 12:7), the motive being to point to the dwellingplace of God; to ‘raise the hand’ became an expression for ‘to swear’ (Ex 6:8, Nu 14:30). Another gesture is referred to in Gn 24:2, 47:29, viz. putting the hand under the thigh; the organ of generation was regarded as peculiarly holy by the Hebrews.

With regard to the breaking of an oath see Lv 6:1–7 ; and for the use of oaths in ratifying a covenant see Gn 21:27–31 , 26:28, 31:53, Jos 9:15, 2 K  11:4.


OBADIAH is a name of a type common among the Semitic peoples; It occurs frequently in the OT, for the most part as the name of persons of whom little or nothing is known. It has also been found on an ancient Hebrew seal. For the meaning of the name, ‘servant of Jahweh,’ see art. SERVANT OF THE LORD, § 2. The different persons thus named are—1. The author of the Vision of Obadiah: see following article. 2. Ahab’s steward, the protector of Jahweh’s prophets against Jezebel (1 K 18:3–16). This person lived in the 9th cent. B.C. 3. A descendant of Saul (1 Ch 8:38), who lived, to judge from his position in the genealogy, about B.C. 700. On the probable genuineness of the genealogy see G. B. Gray, Studies in Heb. Proper Names, p. 241 f. 4. An Issacharite (1 Ch 7:3). 5. A descendant of David in the 5th cent. B.C., if the Hebrew text (1 Ch 3:21)  correctly makes him a grandson of Zerubbabel, but in the 4th if the LXX is right and he belonged to the sixth generation after Zerubbabel. 6. The head of a family who returned with Ezra (Ezra 8:9 = Abadias of 1 Es 8:35). 7. A priestly contemporary of Nehemiah (Neh 10:5). 8.

A door-keeper (Neh 12:25). 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. Various persons in the genealogies or stories of the Chronicler (1 Ch 9:16 [= Abda, Neh 11:17] 12:9, 27:19, 2 Ch 17:7, 34:12). On the Chronicler’s use of such names, see G. B. Gray, op. cit., pp. 170–190.


OBADIAH, BOOK OF.—The questions as to the origin and Interpretation of this, the shortest book of the OT, are numerous and difficult. The title describes the book as ‘a vision’ (cf. Is 1:1 , Nah 1:1) and ascribes it to Obadiah. Obadiah is one of the commonest of Hebrew names, and occurs both before and after the Exile: see preceding article. Some fruitless attempts have been made to identify the author of the book with one or other of the persons of the same name mentioned in the OT.

The book of Obadiah stands fourth in order (in the Greek version, fifth) of the prophets whose works were collected and edited in (probably) the 3rd cent. B.C.; the collection since the beginning of the 2nd cent. B.C. has been known as ‘The Twelve’ (see CANON OF OT; cf. MICAH [Bk. OF], ad init.) . By the place which he gave this small book in his collection the editor perhaps intended to indicate his belief that it was of early, i.e. pre-exilic, origin. But the belief of an editor of the 3rd cent. B.C. is not good evidence that a book was written earlier than the 6th century. The relative probabilities of the different theories of its origin must be judged by internal evidence; this, unfortunately, is itself uncertain on account of ambiguities of expression.

It will be convenient to state first what appears on the whole the most probable theory, and then to mention more briefly one or two others.

The book contains two themes: (1) a prophetic Interpretation of an overwhelming disaster which has already befallen Edom (vv. 1–7, 10–14, 16b); (2) a prediction of a universal judgment and specifically of judgment on Edom which is now imminent (vv. 8, 9, 16a, 16–21).

1.      The prophetic interpretation of Edom’s fall.—The prophet describes the complete conquest of the Edomites and their expulsion from their land (v. 7) by a number of nations (v. 1) once their friends and allies (v. 7). In this calamity the writer sees Jahweh’s judgment on Edom for gloating over the fall of the Jews—described as Edom’s brother (v. 12)—and participating with foreign and alien enemies (v. 11) in the infliction of injuries on them. This interpretation is stated in simple and direct terms in vv. 10, 11, and dramatically in vv. 12–14 , where the writer, throwing himself back to the time of the Edomites’ ill-treatment of the Jews, adjures them not to do the things they actually did. The section closes with the effective assertion of the retributive character of the disasters that had befallen Edom and still affect it—‘As thou hast done, is it done unto thee; thy dealing returns upon thine own head’ (v. 15b).

The verses thus summarized have these points in common: (a)  the tenses are historical except in v. 10 (‘shame doth cover thee, and thou art cut off for ever’) and v. 15b, which may be rendered as presents, and interpreted as at the end of the preceding paragraph; and (b)  after v. 1, where Edom, in the present text, is spoken of in the 3rd person, Edom is throughout addressed in the 2nd pers. sing. Among these verses are now interspersed others,—v. 6, which speaks of Esau (=Edom) in the 3rd person (pl. in clause a, sing, in b)  and which may be an aside in the midst of the address, but is more probably an Interpolation; and vv. 8, 9 (together with the last clause of v. 7), which speak of Edom in the 3rd person and unmistakably regard the disaster as still future: these verses are best regarded as an addition by an editor who wished the prophetic interpretation of past fact to be read as a prophetic description of the future.

If now vv. 1–7 (or vv. 1–5, 7) 10–14, 15b, which are held together by the common features just noticed, be a unity; the prophecy is later than B.C. 586; for v. 11 cannot well be interpreted by any other disaster than the destruction of Jerusalem in that year. The prophecy also appears in vv. 5, 7 to allude to the extrusion of the Edomites from ancient Edom owing to the northward movement of Arabs—people who had often satisfied themselves with plundering expeditions (cf. v. 5), but now permanently evicted settled populations from their lands (cf. v. 7). This northward movement was already threatening at the beginning of the 6th cent. B.C. (Ezk 25:4, 5, 10); before B.C. 312, as we learn from Diodorus Siculus, Arabs had occupied Petra, the ancient capital of Edom. Between those two dates, perhaps in the first half of the 5th cent. B.C. (cf. Mal 1:2–5) , the prophecy appears to have been written.

2.      The prediction of universal judgment.—In contrast with vv. 1–7, 10–14 , the tenses in vv. 15a, 16–21 , are consistently imperfects (naturally suggesting the future), the persons addressed (2nd pl.) are Israelites, not Edomites, and Edom is referred to in the 3rd person. The prophecy predicts as imminent: (a)  a universal judgment (vv. 15a, 15, in which the annihilation of Edom by the Jews (not [nomadic] nations as in vv. 1, 5, 7) and Israelites forms an episode which is specially described (v. 18), and (b)  the restoration of the exiles alike of the Northern and of the Southern Kingdom (v. 18, cf. v. 17), who are to re-occupy the whole of their ancient territory— the Negeb in the S., the Shephēlah in the W., Ephraim to the N., Gilead in the E. (v. 19, which after elimination of glosses reads, ‘And they shall possess the Negeb and the Shephēlah, and the field of Ephraim and Gilead’); in particular, the Israelites will re-occupy as far N. as Zarephath (near Tyre), and the Jews as far south as the Negeb (v. 20). The prophecy closes with the announcement of Jahweh’s reign from Zion (v. 21).

The prediction (vv. 15a, 16–21)  scarcely appears to be the original and immediate continuation of the former part of the chapter, but is, like vv. 8, 9, a subsequent addition. The theory of the origin and interpretation of the book just described is substantially that of

Wellhausen; it has been adopted in the main by Nowack and Marti; and, so far as the separation of vv. 15–21 (with 15 b) from the rest of the chapter is concerned, and the assignment of the whole to a date after the Exile, by Cheyne (EBi).

One fact has appeared to many scholars an insuperable difficulty in the way of assigning the whole book to a date after 586. It is admitted by all that the resemblances between Ob 1–4 , 5, 5, 8 and Jer 49:14–15 , 9, 10a, 7 are so close as to imply the literary dependence of one of the two passages on the other; it is further admitted by most, and should be admitted, that the common matter is in its more original form in Obadiah, and that therefore so much at least of Obadiah is prior to Jer 49:14–16, 9, 10a, 7, and therefore prior to the year B.C. 604, if the theory that was commonly held with regard to the date of Jer 46–49 be admitted. But of recent years many have questioned whether Jer 46–49, at least in its present form, is the work of Jeremiah at all, and consequently whether it was necessarily written before 586.

If the argument that Ob 1, 6, 8 is pre-exilic be accepted, it is necessary to account for what are now generally admitted to be the allusions to the events of 586 in Ob 10–14 . This has been done by assuming that Ob. and Jer. alike quote from a pre-exilic prophecy, but that Obadiah himself prophesied after B.C. 586. As to the amount of matter cited by Obadiah, scholars differ:

e.g. Driver considers that Ob 1–9 is derived from the old prophecy; G. A. Smith, that vv. 1–5, 8– 10  are quotations, but that v. 7, which he admits presupposes later conditions, is by Obadiah himself. The weakness of these theories lies in the fact that the distribution of the parts to the two authors does not follow the concrete differences of style indicated above, and that v. 7 either receives no adequate interpretation, or is torn away from v. 5, with which it certainly seems closely connected. As to the more precise date of vv. 1–9  (10) or so much of the verses as may be pre-exilic, no agreement has been reached among those who hold them to be pre-exilic; no known circumstances explain the allusions. It is also very uncertain whether any inference can safely be drawn from the allusion to Sepharad ( wh. see) in v.  20.

For further discussion of many details, some of which have of necessity been left unmentioned here, and for an account of other theories as well as those described above, the English reader will best consult Driver, LOT; G. A. Smith, Book of the Twelve, ii. 163–184 ( with a critical translation); Selbie’s art. in Hastings’ DB, and Cheyne’s in EBi.


OBAL (Gn 10:28).—See EBAL, No. 1.

OBDIA (1 Es 5:38) = Habaiah Ezr 2:61, Hobaiah Neh 7:63.

OBED.—1. The son of Boaz and Ruth, the father of Jesse and grandfather of David (Ru 4:17), and an ancestor of our Lord (Mt 1:5, Lk 3:32). 2. A descendant of Sheshan (1 Ch 2:37ff.).

3. One of David’s heroes (1 Ch 11:47). 4. A son of Shemaiah (1 Ch 26:7). 5. The father of Azariah (2 Ch 23:1).

OBED-EDOM.—1. A Philistine, a native of Gath, who lived in or near Jerusalem. In his house David deposited the ark after the death of Uzzah, and here it remained three months, bringing a blessing by its presence (2 S 6:10f., 1 Ch 13:14). It is in all probability the same O. that appears as—2. The eponym of a family of door-keepers in the Temple (1 Ch 15:18, 24, 16:38, 26:4, 8, 15, 2 Ch 25:24). 3. The eponym of a post-exilic family of singers (1 Ch 15:21, 16:5).

OBEDIENCE.—Occasionally this word occurs in Scripture to express the duty of one person to another, as in Dt 21:18, 19, 2 S 22:45, 2 Th 3:14, Ph 2:12, Eph 6:1, 5, 1 P 3:6. Much more frequently it expresses the duty of man to God (1 S 15:22, Jer 11:7, Jn 14:15, 23). The spirit of obedience is the primal and indispensable requirement for acceptance by the Father. The Son of God Himself was made perfect through obedience (He 5:8), and only thus. It was the motto of His earthly life, ‘I am come to do thy will, O God’ (He 10:7). The one lesson of the life of Jesus is the one lesson of the word of God from first to last—God must be obeyed. Absolute obedience was essential to the fulfilment of His mission. Absolute obedience is essential to our own salvation. Having learned obedience, He became a Saviour to those who obey (He 5:9). Obedience is as necessary with us as it was with Him. Obedience is as possible with us as it was with Him. For He is able to work in us now the very same mind that was in Him, the same disposition and spirit He had upon earth. D. A. HAYES.

OBEISANCE.—Obeisance is obedience (coming into Eng. through the French). It occurs only in the phrases ‘do obeisance’ and ‘make obeisance,’ and only in the OT. The meaning of the Heb. so translated is to prostrate oneself in token of reverence or for worship.


OBETH (1 Es 8:32) = Ebed, Ezr 8:6.

OBIL.—The overseer of David’s camels (1 Ch 27:30).


OBOTH.—A ‘station’ of the children of Israel (Nu 21:10, 11, 33:43f.). Nothing definite is known as to its position.

OBSERVE.—Mk 6:20 ‘Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him.’ The meaning of the Eng. word ‘observed’ is ‘reverenced.’ Tindale’s translation is ‘gave him reverence.’ Cf. Shaks. 2 Henry IV. IV. iv. 30, ‘he is gracious, if he be observed.’ But the more probable meaning of the Greek is ‘protected him,’ or, as RV, ‘kept him safe.’

OCCUPY.—The ‘occupier’ of Ezk 27:27 is a ‘trader,’ and ‘to occupy’ (Ezk 27:9, Lk 19:13) is ‘to trade.’ The original meaning of the Eng. word is to be engaged in anything.

OCHIELUS (1 Es 1:9) = Jeiel, 2 Ch 35:9.

OCHRAN.—Father of Pagiel (Nu 1:13, 2:27, 7:72, 77, 10:26).

OCIDELUS (1 Es 9:22) = Jozabad in Ezr 10:22.

OCINA.—Taking the towns mentioned in order as fearing the advance of Holofernes (Jth

2:28), Sidon and Tyre are well known. With some certainty Sur may be identified with Umm el’Amūd, S. of Iskanderūna, which seems to have been formerly called Turān. The next step takes us naturally to Acre, in later times known as Accon, in which we may find an echo of the earlier Ocina.


ODED.—1. The father of the prophet Azariah (2 Ch 15:1). In v. 8 ‘Oded’ of MT is a mistake (through wrong marginal gloss or otherwise) for ‘Azariah.’ 2. A prophet who successfully protested against the proposal to enslave Judahites (2 Ch 28:9ff.).

ODOMERA.—A chief, slain by Jonathan (1 Mac 9:66).

OF.—As already noted, under By, the prep, ‘of’ is generally used in AV for the agent, as Mt 2:18  ‘He was mocked of the wise men.’ But there are other obsolete or archaic uses of ‘of,’ which should be carefully observed. Thus (1) it sometimes means from ( the proper meaning of the A.S. ‘of’), as Mk 11:8 ‘Others cut down branches of the trees,’ Jn 15:15 ‘All things that I have heard of my Father,’ Jn 16:13 ‘He shall not speak of himself’; (2) concerning, as Ac 5:24 ‘They doubted of them, whereunto this would grow,’ Mt 18:13 ‘He rejoiceth more of that sheep than of the ninety and nine,’ Jn 2:17 ‘The zeal of thine house’; (3) with, Ca 2:5 ‘I am sick of love.’

OFFENCE.—The Greek word skandalon is properly used of a ‘stick in a trap on which the bait is placed, and which, when touched by the animal, springs up and shuts the trap’ (Liddell and Scott). The word is used by Christ (Mt 18:7, Lk 17:1) of offences in the form of hindrances to the faith of believers, especially of Christ’s little ones. The context makes it clear what kind of stumbling-blocks are referred to. In the corresponding passage in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:29 , 30; cf. Mk 9:45, 47) the right eye and right hand are given as instances of the kind of offences that may arise. The members here cited are not only in themselves good and serviceable, but necessary, though they are capable, in certain circumstances, of becoming the occasion of sin to us. In the same way the Christian may find pursuits and pleasures, which in themselves are innocent, bringing unexpected temptations and involving him in sin. The possible applications of this are numerous, whether the warning be referred to artistic gifts (the ‘hand’ and ‘eye’), or abuses of certain kinds of food and drink, or any other circumstances which may lead a man from the higher life or divert him from his aims. All these may be compared to the stumbling-blocks which cause a man to fall. Such things must be dispensed with, for the sake of entering the ‘eternal life,’ which is the Christian man’s goal.



OFFICER.—By this somewhat indefinite expression are rendered some eight or ten different Heb. and Gr. words, several of which seem to have had an equally wide application. Of the Heb. words the commonest is shōtēr, from a root which in Assyrian means ‘to write.’ The shōtēr, accordingly, was originally, it would seem, a subordinate official attached to the higher military, civil, and judicial officers of the State for secretarial purposes (see Driver’s summary of their duties in his Com. on Dt 1:15). In the narrative of the oppression of the Hebrews in Egypt, the ‘officers’ are the Hebrew subordinates of the Egyptian taskmasters (see Ex 5:14); one of their duties, it may be assumed, was to keep account of the tale of bricks made by each of their compatriots.

In Gn 37:36 and elsewhere ‘officer’ is the tr. of the usual word for ‘eunuch’ (wh. see), but, as 39:1 shows, the original (sārīs)  must here signify, more generally, a court official. Still another word, rendered ‘officer’ in 1 K 4:5, 7 etc., denotes the heads of the twelve administrative districts into which Solomon divided his kingdom, corresponding some what to the ‘collectors’ in our Indian administration.

In NT ‘officer’ is, with one exception (Lk 12:58), the tr. of a Gr. word of equally wide application. In the account of our Lord’s betrayal and capture the ‘officers’ are members of the Temple police (Jn 7:32 etc.), as also in the account of the imprisonment of Peter and John (Ac 5:22, 26; cf. 4:1). The same word is elsewhere rendered ‘minister,’ either in the more general sense of ‘attendant’ (so Ac 13:6 RV), or in the special sense of the ‘minister’ (RV ‘attendant’) or officer of the Jewish synagogue (Lk 4:20), for whom see SYNAGOGUE.


OG.—The king of Bashan, who, with his children and people, was defeated and destroyed by the Israelites at Edrei, directly after the defeat of Sihon. His rule extended over sixty cities, of which the two chief were Ashtaroth and Edrei (Jos 12:4). The whole of his kingdom was assigned to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half-Manasseh (Dt 3:1–13 , Nu 32:33; see also Dt 1:4, 4:47 , 31:4, Jos 2:10, 9:10, 13:12, 30). The conquest of this powerful giant king lingered long in the imagination of the Israelites as one of the chief exploits of the conquest (Ps 135:11, 136:20). The impression of the gigantic stature of Og is corroborated by the writer of Dt 3:11, who speaks of the huge ‘iron bedstead’ (or sarcophagus) belonging to him. According to the measurements there given, this sarcophagus was nine cubits long and four cubits broad. It is, however, impossible to estimate his stature from these dimensions, owing to the tendency to build tombs unnecessarily large in order to leave an impression of superhuman stature. The ‘iron’ of which the sarcophagus was made, probably means black basalt. Many basaltic sarcophagi have been found on the east of the Jordan.


OHAD.—A son of Simeon (Gn 46:10, Ex 6:15).

OHEL.—A son of Zerubbabel, 1 Ch 3:20 [text doubtful].

OHOLAH AND OHOLIBAH (AV Aholah, Aholibah).—Two sisters who were harlots

( Ezk 23). The words appear to mean ‘tent’ and ‘tent in her,’ the allusion being to the tents used for idolatrous purposes. The passage is figurative, the two harlots representing, the one Samaria and the other Jerusalem. Though both were wedded to Jehovah, they were seduced by the gallant officers of the East, Samaria being led astray by Assyria and Jerusalem by Babylon. The whole of the allegory is a continuation of ideas already expounded in chs. 16 and 20, and is intended as a rebuke against Israel for her fondness for alliances with the great Oriental empires, which was the occasion of new forms and developments of idolatry. The main idea of the allegory seems to have been borrowed from Jer 3:6–13.


OHOLIAB (AV Aholiab).—The chief assistant of Bezalel (Ex 31:8, 35:34, 36:1, 2, 38:23).


OHOLIBAMAH (AV Aholibamah).—1. One of Esau’s wives (Gn 36:2, 5, 14, 18, 25). 2. An Edomite ‘duke’ (Gn 36:41).

OIL.—With one exception (Est 2:12 ‘oil of myrrh’) all the Scripture references to oil are to ‘olive oil,’ as it is expressly termed in Ex 27:20, Lv 24:2 etc., according to the more correct rendering of RV. Considering how very numerous these references are—some two hundred in all—it is surprising that there should be so few that throw light on the methods adopted in the preparation of this indispensable product of the olive tree.

1. Preparation of oil.—By combining these meagre references with the fuller data of the Mishna, as illustrated by the actual remains of oil-presses, either still above ground or recently recovered from the soil of Palestine, it is possible to follow with some minuteness the principal methods adopted. The olives were either shaken from the tree or beaten down by striking the branches with a light pole, as illustrated on Greek vases (illust. in Vigouroux, Dict. de la Bible, art. ‘Huile’). The latter method supplies Isaiah with a pathetic figure of Israel (17:6 RVm).

The finest quality of oil was got by selecting the best berries before they were fully ripe. These were pounded in a mortar, after which the pulp was poured into a basket of rushes or wickerwork. From this, as a strainer, the liquid was allowed to run off into a receiving vessel. After the oil had floated and been purified, it formed ‘beaten oil,’ such as had to be provided for the lighting of the Tabernacle (Ex 27:20, Lv 24:2; cf. 1 K 5:11 RVm).

In the preparation of the oil required for ordinary domestic use, however, the methods adopted closely resembled those for the making of wine. Indeed, it is evident that the same apparatus served for the making both of wine and of oil (see WINE for the names of the parts, and note the phrase, Jl 2:24, ‘the fats [vats] shall overflow with wine and oil’). From evidence, literary and archæological, it is clear that there were various kinds of oil-presses in use in different periods. A very common, if not quite the simplest, type consisted of a shallow trough hewn in the native rock, from which, as in the similar, if not identical, wine-press, a conducting channel carried the expressed liquid to a slightly lower trough or oil-vat. In early times it appears as if a preliminary pressing was made with the feet alone (Mic 6:15).

In the absence of a suitable rock-surface, as would naturally be the case within a city of any antiquity, a solid block of limestone—circular, four-sided, and eight-sided (Megiddo) are the shapes recovered by recent explorers—was hollowed to the depth of a few inches, a rim being left all round save at one corner. Such presses were found at Taanach (illust. Sellin, Tell Ta‘annek, 61, reproduced in Benzinger’s Heb. Arch.2 [1907] 144) , and elsewhere. In these the olives were crushed by means of a large round stone. The liquid was either allowed to collect in a large cup-hollow in the surface of the trough, from which it was baled out by hand (PEFSt, 1903 , p. 112), or it was run off into a vessel placed at the corner above mentioned (see Sellin’s illust., and op. cit. 60 f., 93). At a later period, as we learn from the Mishna, a stone in the shape of the modern millstone was used. Through the centre a pole was inserted, by which it was made to revolve on its narrow side round the circular trough—a method still in use in Syria.

From the oil-mill, as this apparatus may be termed, the product of which naturally, after purification, produced the finer sort of oil, the pulp was transferred to the oil-press properly so called. Here it was placed in baskets piled one above the other. Pressure was then applied for the extraction of a second quality of oil, by means of a heavy wooden beam worked as a lever by ropes and heavy weights, or by a windlass. Details of the fittings of these ‘press-houses,’ as they are named in the Mishna, and of another type of press formed of two upright monoliths with a third laid across, the whole resembling the Gr. letter II, have been collected by the present writer in the art. ‘Oil’ in EBi iii. 3467, and may now be controlled by the account of the elaborate underground ‘press-house’ described and illustrated by Bliss and Macalister in Excavations in Palestine, p. 208 f. and plate 92 (cf. ib. 196 f. and Index).

The expressed liquid, both from the oil-mill and from the oil-press, was collected either in a rock-cut vat or in separate jars. In these it was allowed to settle, when the oil rose to the top, leaving a bitter, watery liquid, the amurca of the Romans, and other refuse behind. Oil in this fresh state is distinguished in OT from the refined and purified product; the former is yitshār, so frequently named along with ‘new wine’ or must (tīrōsh, see WINE, § 1)  and corn as one of the chief products of Canaan; the latter is always shemen, but the distinction is not observed in our versions. The fresh oil or yitshār was refined in the same manner as wine, by being poured from vessel to vessel, and was afterwards stored in jars and in skins. A smaller quantity for immediate use was kept in a small earthenware pot—the vial of 1 S 10:1 and of 2 K 9:1 RV (AV ‘box’)—or in a horn (1 S 16:1, 13, 1 K 1:39).

2. Uses of oil.—Foremost among what may be called the secular uses of oil may be placed its daily employment as a cosmetic, already dealt with under ANOINTING (see also OINTMENT) . This was the oil that made the face to shine (Ps 104:15). As in all Eastern lands, oil was largely used in the preparation of food; familiarity with this use of it is presupposed in the comparison of the taste of the strange manna to that of the familiar ‘cakes baked with oil’ (Nu 11:8 RVm; see, further, MEALS, § 1. end). Oil was also indispensable for the lighting of the house after nightfall. In addition to the universal olive oil, the Mishna (Shabbath, ii. I f.) names a variety of other oils then in use, among them oil of sesame, fish oil, castor oil, and naphtha. That used in the Temple (1  Ch 9:29) was no doubt of the finest quality, like the ‘beaten oil’ for the Tabernacle above described. The medicinal properties of oil were early recognized (Is 1:5 RV); the Good Samaritan mixed his with wine (Lk 10:34), producing an antiseptic mentioned also in postBiblical Jewish writings.

Oil has a prominent place in the ritual of the Priests’ Code, particularly in the preparation of the ‘meal-offering’ (Lv 2:1, 4 etc.). It also appears in connexion with the leprosy-offering (14:10ff.) and in other connexions, but is absent from the sin-offering (5:1ff.) and the jealousyoffering (Nu 5:11ff.). For the special case of the ‘holy anointing oil’ (Ex 30:23–25) , see


As might have been expected from the extensive cultivation of the olive by the Hebrews, oil not only formed an important article of inland commerce, but was exported in large quantities both to the West, by way of Tyre (Ezk 27:17), and to Egypt (Hos 12:1).

This abundance of oil furnished the Hebrew poets with a figure for material prosperity in general, as in Dt 33:24 ‘He shall dip his foot in oil.’ From its being in daily use to anoint the heads of one’s guests at a festive meal (Ps 23:5 etc.), oil became by association a symbol of joy and gladness (Ps 45:7 = He 1:9, Is 61:3).


OIL TREE (‘ēts-shemen, 1 K 6:23] 31–33 [plur. ‘ătsēshemen] , AV ‘olive tree,’ mg. ‘trees of oil’ or ‘oily trees,’ RV ‘olive wood’; Neh 8:15 AV ‘pine branches,’ RV ‘branches of wild olive’; Is 41:19 AV and RV ‘oil tree,’ RVm ‘oleaster’). Where there is such variation in translation, it is evident that what particular ‘tree of oil’ is here referred to is far from determined. The olive itself is improbable from Neh 8:15, where the olive tree is mentioned just before; and that the branches of ‘wild olive’ should be specially specified, where so like those of the cultivated variety, is improbable. The oleaster (Eleagnus angustifolia) , a beautiful and common shrub, would suit, except that it is difficult to see how it could ever have furnished a block of wood sufficient for the two cherubim ‘each ten cubits high’ (1 K 6:23); olive wood (as RV suggests) would certainly seem more appropriate. Perhaps Post’s suggestion that it was some kind of pine—the ‘oil’ or ‘fat’ being the resin—is as likely as any.


OINTMENT.—With two exceptions, ‘ointment’ in our EV is the rendering, in OT, of the ordinary word for ‘oil,’ and in some passages the ointment may have consisted of oil only. In most of the references, however, perfumed oil is undoubtedly meant. The two are distinguished in Lk 7:46 ‘My head with oil thou didst not anoint; but she hath anointed my feet with ointment (myron).’ The extensive use of myron in NT in the sense of ‘ointment’ shows that myrrh was then the favourite perfume. The dead body, as well as the living subject, was anointed with this ointment (Lk 23:56). Another ‘very costly’ unguent is described as ‘ointment of spikenard’ (Mk 14:3, Jn 12:3), for which see SPIKENARD. These much-prized unguents were kept in pots of alabaster, as in Egypt, where they are said to retain their fragrance for ‘several hundred years’ (Wilkinson, Anc. Egyp. i. 426, with illust.).

In the Priests’ Code there is repeated reference to a specially rich unguent, ‘the holy anointing oil,’ the composition of which is minutely laid down in Ex 30:23–25 . The ingredients, in addition to a basis of olive oil, are rendered in RV as ‘flowing myrrh,’ sweet cinnamon, sweet calamus, and cassia. The penalty for the unauthorized manufacture and sacrilegious use of this sacred chrism was excommunication.


OLAMUS (1 Es 9:30) = Meshullam of Ezr 10:29 and Mosollamus of 1 Es 8:44, 9:14.




OLIVE (zayith, cf. Arab, zeit ‘oil,’ and zeitūn ‘olive tree’).—This tree (Olea europea)  is the first-named ‘king of the trees’ (Jg 9:8, 9), and is, in Palestine at any rate, by far the most important. The scantily covered terraced hillsides, the long rainless summer of blazing sunshine, and the heavy night moisture of late summer, afford climatic conditions which appear in a very special degree favourable to the olive. This has been so in all history: the children of Israel were to inherit ‘olive-yards’ which they planted not (Jos 24:13, Dt 6:11), and the wide-spread remains of ruined terraces and olive-presses in every part of the land witness to the extent of olive culture that existed in the past. A large proportion of the fuel consumed to-day consists of the roots of ancient olive trees. In recent years this cultivation has been largely revived, and extensive groves of olives may be found in many parts, notably near Beit Jala on the Bethlehem road, and near Nāblus. The peculiar grey-green foliage with its silver sheen, and the wonderful twisted and often hollow trunks of the tree, are very characteristic of Palestine scenery. The OT writers admired the beauty of the olive (see Hos 14:6, Ps 52:8, 128:3, Jer 11:16) . In some parts, notably at Nāblus, a large proportion of the trees are invaded by parasitic mistletoe. The cultivation of the olive requires patience, and presupposes a certain degree of settlement and peace: perhaps for this reason it was the emblem of peace. Destruction of a harvest of cereals is a temporary loss,

but when the vines and, still more, the olives are destroyed, the loss takes many years to make good (Rev. 6:5, 6).

The olive tree, grown from a slip taken from below the grafted branches of a selected fruitful olive, has to be grafted when three years old, but it does not bear fruit for some three or four years more, and not plentifully until it is about seventeen or eighteen years old; it may then, when well cared for, continue bearing for many years. The soil, however, must be carefully ploughed and manured every spring, and on the hillsides the water of the early rains must be conducted to the very roots by carefully arranged channels. When, after some years, the stem becomes too hollow from rotting of the wood, and the crop fails, it is sometimes cut sharp off at the root, and new shoots are allowed to spring up, which, after re-grafting, become a fruitful tree. It has been stated by Prof. Ramsay (Expositor, Jan. and Feb. 1905) that it is a custom in Syria to graft a branch of wild olive into the stem of a cultivated tree (cf. Ro 11:17–24) . How this can be of any benefit to the tree it is difficult to see. Nor can the present writer, after careful inquiries all over Palestine, find any knowledge of such a custom. Cf. art. GRAFTING.

The wild olive is a kind of reversion to the primitive plant—such as occurs also with the fig and the almond—and it takes place whenever the growth of the olive is neglected. Thus the little shoots which grow around the main trunk (perhaps the origin of Ps 128:3) are of the wild variety, and also those growing from the self-sown drupe. According to the fellahīn of Galilee, the drupe germinates in the soil only after passing through the alimentary canal of the hooded crow.

In most neglected olive groves numerous little bushes of the ‘wild olive’ may be seen, which, though very unlike the cultivated tree—having a shorter, smaller, and greener leaf and a stirrer, more prickly stem—are nevertheless derived from it. As a rule the wild olive is but a shrub, but it may grow into a tree and have small but useless ‘berries.’ Where groves of wild olives are found in Palestine, they are probably always the descendants of cultivated trees long ago destroyed.

The young wild olive trees, scattered over the mountains in Galilee, are gathered by the fellahīn and sold for olive plantations. Such plants are grafted three years after transplantation, and always in the late spring or early summer.

The ‘olive berries’ (Ja 3:12 AV) ripen in the autumn, and are harvested in November or December. They are beaten from the trees with a long pole (Dt 24:20) and collected in baskets. Olives are eaten pickled in hrine, either when green and unripe or when soft and black. They are universally eaten by the fellahīn with bread—sometimes the oil is eaten instead, much as butter is used in our home lands. The oil is also used extensively for making soup, for frying meat, and for illumination. See OIL.


OLIVES, MOUNT OF.—The range of hills east of Jerusalem, separated from the Temple mountain by the Kidron Valley. It is scarcely mentioned in the OT. David crossed it when fleeing from Absalom (2 S 15:30). Here branches were cut to make booths for the Feast of Tabernacles (Neh 8:15). Ezekiel (11:23) and Zechariah (14:4) make it the scene of ideal theophanies: the literal interpretation of the latter prophecy has given rise to many curious and unprofitable speculations.

The chief interest of the mountain, however, is its connexion with the closing years of our Lord’s life. Over this He rode on His triumphal entry to Jerusalem; and wept over the city as it came into view (Lk 19:41); and during the days when He lodged in Bethany and visited Jerusalem He must necessarily have passed over it daily (Lk 21:37). The fig-tree which He cursed (Mt 21:19) was most probably on the mountain slopes; and in one of these daily pilgrimages He delivered to His disciples the great eschatological discourse (Mt 24, 25). On the side of the mountain was Gethsemane, where took place the first scene of the final tragedy.

The ridge is formed of hard cretaceous limestone, surmounted by softer deposits of the same material. It is divided, by gentle undulations and one comparatively deep cleft, into a series of summits. There is no reason to apply the name Olivet ( Ac 1:12, 2 S 15:30 [AV only ]) exclusively to any one of these summits. The southernmost, which is separated from the rest by the cleft just mentioned, on the slope of which stands the village of Siloam (Silwān) , is traditionally known (by the Franks) as the ‘Mount of Offence,’ and is considered to be the scene of Solomon’s idolatry. The peak north of this is commonly called Olivet proper; it is unfortunately spoilt by a hideous bell-tower and some other modern monastic buildings. The next peak, the Viri Galilœi, is the traditional site of the Ascension; and the next is popularly, but erroneously, called Scopus.

Ecclesiastical tradition has, as might he expected, been busy with the Mount of Olives, and the places pointed out have by no means remained unaltered through the Christian centuries, as becomes evident from a study of the writings of the pilgrims. To-day are shown the tomb of the Virgin; the grotto of the Agony; the Garden of Gethsemane (two sites); the chapel of the

Ascension (a mosque, with a mark in the floor said to be the ‘footprint of Christ’); the tomb of Huldah; the site (an impossible one) of Christ’s weeping over the city; the place where He taught the Lord’s Prayer; the place where the Apostles’ Creed was composed, etc. etc. Far more interesting than these ecclesiastical inventions are the numerous ancient Jewish and early Christian tombs (especially the tomb of Nicanor—the donor of the ‘Beautiful Gate’ of the Temple; the extraordinary labyrinth commonly known as the ‘Tombs of the Prophets’); and the fragments of mosaic found here from time to time which testify to the pious regard in which the mount was naturally held from early times.


OLIVET.—See preceding article.

OLYMPAS.—The name of a member of the Roman Church greeted by St. Paul in Ro 16:15.

OLYMPIUS.—An epithet of Zeus derived from Mt. Olympus in Thessaly, the legendary home of the gods. Antiochus Epiphanes caused the Temple at Jerusalem to be dedicated to Zeus Olympius in B.C. 168 (2 Mac 6:2), and the setting up of his image is the ‘abomination of desolation’ (Dn 9:27). Cf. Jupiter.


OMAR (perhaps = ‘eloquent’).—A grandson of Esau (Gn 36:11, 15, 1 Ch 1:36).




OMRI.—1. See following article. 2. A descendant of Benjamin (1 Ch 7:8). 3. A Judahite (1 Ch 9:4). 4. A prince of Issachar (1 Ch 27:18).

OMRI was one of the most important kings of Israel, and the founder of a dynasty. He was one of the generals of the army under Elah, son of Baasha. This king was assassinated by Zimri, another of the officers. Omri was at the siege of Gibbethon at the time, and his troops acclaimed him king instead of his rival. A civil war of some duration followed, in which (apparently after the death of Zimri) one Tibni took part, himself aspiring to the throne. Omri finally prevailed, and for a time occupied the old capital Tirzah (1 K 16:16ff.). But he had the intelligence to perceive the advantages of Samaria as a site for the capital, and removed thither, enlarging and fortifying the city.

Omri’s political measures included an alliance with the Phœnicians, in which he had the example of David and Solomon, though subsequent generations condemned him for it. The alliance was cemented by the marriage of Ahab and Jezebel, so important for the later history. Omri seems to have been an able soldier, and he subdued Moab to Israel. This is acknowledged by the Moabite king Mesha in an inscription which has come down to us. The wars with Damascus were not so successful. The Assyrians first became acquainted with Israel in the time of Omri, and they call the country ‘the land of the house of Omri’ even after the extinction of his dynasty. The length of this king’s reign is given as twelve years, but some think it to have been more.


ON.—A Reubenite associated with Dathan and Abiram (Nu 16:1) [text doubtful].

ON.—The city of Heliopolis, On also in Egyptian, Gn 41:45, 50, 46:20. The same name in Ezk 30:17 has been intentionally misvocalized as Aven, i.e. ‘idolatry’; in Jer 43:13 it is called Beth-shemesh, meaning ‘House of the Sun,’ like its Egyp. sacred name P-Rē, and the Gr. Heliopolis. The city lay on the east border of the Delta, a little below the fork of the river. As the centre of sun-worship in Egypt, its temple was of the highest importance: it was favoured by the kings and served by the most learned priesthood in the land. Tradition makes Plato and other Greek philosophers study in Heliopolis; later, the foundation of the Alexandrian library, on the one hand, deprived Heliopolis of the glory of learning, and, on the other, the old traditions of royal descent from the Sun-god had little weight with the Ptolemys. Early in the Roman period Heliopolis is described by Strabo as almost deserted. Besides enclosure walls of crude brick and mounds of rubbish, the site of the temple is now marked by one conspicuous monument, an obelisk set up by Senwosri I. about B.C. 2000.


ONAM.—1. The eponym of a Horite clan (Gn 36:23 = 1 Ch 1:40). 2. A son of Jerahmeel (1 Ch 2:26, 28).

ONAN.—A son of Judah (Gn 38:4, 46:12, Nu 26:19, 1 Ch 2:3). After the decease of his elder brother, Er, he was instructed by his father to contract a levirate marriage with Tamar. The device by which he evaded the object of this marriage ‘was evil in the sight of the LORD, and he slew him’ (Gn 38:8–10).

ONESIMUS.—The name of the slave in whose behalf St. Paul wrote the Epistle to

Philemon. As in his Epistle to the Colossians, St. Paul speaks of Onesimus as ‘one of you’ (Col 4:9), we may infer that he was a native of Colossæ. His name means ‘profitable’ or ‘helpful’— not an uncommon name for slaves. The Apostle plays upon this word in his letter to Philemon: ‘which in time past was unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me’ (Philem 11). He ran away from his master, probably after having robbed him (v. 18). He fled to Rome, the common hiding-place of criminals. There in some way he came under the influence of St. Paul, and was by him converted to Christianity (v. 10). There grew up a deep affection between the two (v. 12).

The Apostle would gladly have kept him to minister to him (v. 13), but would not do so without the consent of Philemon, and therefore sends Onesimus back with the letter to obtain his master’s forgiveness and his permission to return to St. Paul.


ONESIPHORUS.—The name of a Christian mentioned twice in St. Paul’s Second Epistle to Timothy (2 Ti 1:15–18 , and 4:19). From the first reference we learn that he showed special kindness to the Apostle during his imprisonment at Rome, when others, from whom he might have expected sympathy and help, held aloof from him; from the second we infer that he and his family lived at Ephesus. From St. Paul’s expression ‘the household of Onesiphorus,’ it has been inferred that Onesiphorus himself was dead, and this text has been urged in proof of the lawfulness of prayers for the dead. There is much probability in this view, but the breathing of such a pious wish has nothing in common with the later abuses which gathered round this practice.


ONIAS.—Four high priests bore this name. Onias I. was son of Jaddua and father of Simon the Just (Sir 50:1, where, however, the Heb. reads John in place of Onias) . In his time a letter was said to have come from the Spartan king Areus I. claiming kinship and suggesting alliance (1 Mac 12:7f. [RV. Arius]; cf. Jos. Ant. XII. iv. 10).—Onias II. was son of Simon the Just. His reluctance to pay the tribute of 20 talents to Egypt would have led to great trouble if his shrewd and self-seeking nephew Joseph had not conciliated Ptolemy (Ant. XII. vi. 1).—Onias III. was son of Simon II., and entered on his office about B.C. 198. According to 2 Mac 3:1–4:38 , he ruled the city well. A dispute arose between him and a man named Simon. The latter persuaded king Scleucus to send Heliodorus (4 Mac 4:1–14 substitutes Apollonius)  to seize the Temple treasury. Heliodorus being supernaturally repulsed, Onias went to Antioch to defend himself. He was deposed from his office. In B.C. 175  he was murdered (Dn 9:26). The esteem in which his memory was held appears from 2 Mac 15:12–14.—His son Onias IV. fled to Egypt and was welcomed by Ptolemy Philometor, who gave him a disused temple in Leontopolis, which he rebuilt after the model of the one in Jerusalem, to serve as a centre of unity for the Hellenistic Jews (Ant. XIII. iii. 1, 3, BJ I. i. 1, VII. x. 2).


ONIONS (bĕtsālīm, Nu 11:5).—The onion (Allium cepa, Arab. basal)  is and always has been a prime favourite in Palestine and Egypt.


ONO.—A Benjamite city (1 Ch 8:12) named with Lod and Hadid (Ezr 2:33 etc.), to which his enemies invited Nehemiah to conference (6:2). It was reoccupied after the Exile. It is identified with Kefr ‘Ānā, to the N. of Ludd, the ancient Lod or Lydda.


ONUS (1 Es 5:22) = Ono ( wh. see ).

ONYCHA (shĕchēleth, Ex 30:34).—One of the ingredients of the sacred composition which gave a sweet smell when burned (cf. Sir 24:15, where apparently the same substance is referred to as onyx). Onycha was obtained from the claw-like [hence the name from Gr. onyx ‘nail’] operculum of some mollusc of the genus strombus. A similar product is still used in Upper Egypt for fumigations.



OPHEL.—See JERUSALEM, II. § 1 ,  2.

OPHIR.—A region most probably in Arabia (as it is mentioned between Sheba and Havilah in Gn 10:29), famous for the excellence of its gold, which was brought to Solomon by his Red Sea navy (1 K 9:28). Jehoshaphat, essaying to send to Ophir, lost his ships (1 K 22:48) . It has been disputed whether South or East Arabia was the true Ophir; the only datum is the length of the voyage thither from Ezion-geber—eighteen months, as the double voyage took three years (1 K 10:22). As the vessels probably coasted from port to port, the journey would naturally occupy a considerable time. It need not be supposed that the other imports—sandalwood, ivory, apes, and peacocks—all came from the same place. The most careful study that has been given to the subject is that of Glaser (Skizze der Gesch. und Geog. Arabiens, ii. pp. 353–387) , who has concluded that it was in S.E. Arabia, in the territory of the Gulfs of Oman and of Persia.

Other theories have been put forward in plenty. The most popular recent view sees in Ophir certain parts of Mashonaland. This theory, apart from other difficulties which it presents, stands or falls with the explanation of certain ruins at Zimbabwe, about 200 miles from Sofala. Like Stonehenge and the Great Pyramid, these remains have been made the centre of much visionary speculation, but their true character seems to have been settled by the recent researches of Randall-MacIvor. who has shown that they are native structures of no great antiquity. Besides S. Africa, various places in India have been fixed upon, such as the mouth of the Indus, Supara in Goa, and ‘Mount Ophir’ in Johore. Nothing convincing has been said in support of any of these views. For instance, we are reminded that the peacocks are confined to India and Malaya; but it is nowhere said that the peacocks came from Ophir, and even if they did, they may well have been brought thither by further Eastern trade quite independently of Solomon’s Phœnician navigators.

On the whole, the view that Ophir was in Arabia (known to the Phœnicians as auriferous, Ezk 27:22) is the simplest and most in accordance with the scanty data.


OPHNI.—A town of Benjamin (Jos 18:24); unknown.

OPHRAH.1. A town in Benjamin (Jos 18:23) which was somewhere near Michmash, and is only once elsewhere referred to, as an indication of the direction of a Philistine raid (1 S 13:17) . The data for its identification are insufficient: Jerome states that it was 5 Roman miles east from Bethel. 2. Ophrah ‘that pertaineth unto Joash the Abiezrite’—i.e. to a member of a sept of the tribe of Manasseh (Jos 17:2), was the native village of Gideon. It is not mentioned except in connexion with the history of him and of his son Abimelech (Jg 6–9) . No satisfactory identification has been proposed. 3. A name in the genealogy of the tribe of Judah (1 Ch 4:14). R. A. S. MACALISTER. ORACLE.—See MAGIC, etc., TEMPLE.

ORATOR.—The term applied in Ac 24:1 to Tertullus, who was the advocate for the high priest and elders against St. Paul. Men of this class were to be found in most of the provincial towns of the Roman Empire, ready to plead or defend any cause, and generally possessed of a certain amount of glib eloquence, with a due admixture of flattery.


ORCHARD (pardēs [a Pers. loan-word], Ec 2:5 RV ‘parks’; Ca 4:13 RVm ‘paradise’; Neh 2:8 AV and RV ‘forest,’ RVm ‘park’).—See PARADISE.


ORDEAL.—See MAGIC, p. 569b.

ORDER.—See PRIEST (in NT), 775a.



OREB AND ZEEB.—Two princes of Midian in the invasion of Israel, mentioned as inferior to the kings Zebah and Zalmunna (Jg 7:25, 8:3, Ps 83:11; cf. also Is 10:26). The meaning of the names is ‘raven’ and ‘wolf.’ Associated with the invasion put down by Gideon, these two princes were killed by the men of Ephraim, who rose at Gideon’s suggestion and intercepted the princes and their followers at the river Jordan. That their death, so briefly narrated in Judges, was accompanied by great slaughter may be inferred from the incidental references by the writers of Ps 83 and Is 10. Isaiah compares the destruction to that of the Egyptians in the Red Sea, while the Psalmist compares the flying Midianites to the whirling dust or chaff driven before the wind. The rock Oreb and the wine-press Zeeb took their names from this incident.


OREN.—A son of Jerahmeel (1 Ch 2:25).

ORGAN.—See MUSIC, etc., § 4 (2) (b).


ORNAMENTS.1. The custom of wearing ornaments, either as personal adornment or as amulets, or for both purposes combined, is almost coeval with the appearance of man himself. In historical times in Palestine, as elsewhere, these ornaments were chiefly of gold, silver, bronze, and paste, but the excavations have shown that in the neolithic age a favourite ornament was a string of sea-shells. The Hebrews, especially the Hebrew women, shared to the full the Oriental love of ornaments, which are denoted in OT by two comprehensive terms, kĕlī, generally rendered ‘jewels’ (Gn 24:53, Ex 3:22 and oft.), and ‘adī, rendered ‘ornaments’ (Ex 33:4, 6, Ezk 16:11 , etc.). Lists of individual ornaments are found in such passages as Ex 35:22, Nu 31:50, Is 3:18 ff., Ezk 16:11, 12, Jth 10:4, although the identification of each article is not always certain.

2.      Ear-rings, always of gold or silver where the material is stated, are frequently named, from Gn 35:4 onwards. In this passage their character as amulets is clearly implied. Among the Hebrews ear-rings were apparently confined to women, and to children of both sexes (Ex 32:2) , for the ‘rings,’ of Job 42:11 RV are not necessarily ear-rings as AV. The only men expressly mentioned as wearing them are Midianites (Jg 8:24ff.). For illustrations of gold ear-rings found at Gezer see Macalister, Bible Sidelights from Gezer, Fig. 32, reproduced in Benzinger, Heb. Arch.2 (1907) 83. The ‘earrings’ of Is 3:20 AV rightly appear in RV as ‘amulets’ (see AMULET). The pendants of Jg 8:26 RV (AV ‘collars’) and Is 3:19 RV (AV ‘chains’), to judge from the etymology of the original term, had the form of drops or beads, although it is unknown whether they were worn in the ears or as a necklace.

The custom still observed by the Bedouin women of wearing a ring through the right nostril (Doughty, Arab. Deserta, i. 340; ii. 220, 297) was also in vogue among the Hebrew women. Such was the nose-ring presented to Rebekah, wrongly given in AV as an earring (Gn 24:22, note v. 47), as also the ‘nose-jewels’ worn by the ladies of Jerusalem (Is 3:21). Although Ezk 16:12, as correctly rendered by RV, cannot be cited in support of wearing ornaments on the forehead as AV suggests (‘a jewel on thy forehead’), this practice is attested by the figure in Ex 13:16, Dt 6:8, 11:18, where the word rendered ‘frontlets’ (between the eyes) really denotes a jewel or amulet (see Hastings’ DB iii. 872, now confirmed by Smend’s reading of the Heb. text of Sir 36:3). For a real frontlet, see § 6 below.

3.      Several varieties of neck ornament occur, but here again the precise nature of each escapes us. The ‘chains’ of Pr 1:9, Ca 4:9 are clearly necklaces; the same word is used of the chains hung as amulets about the necks of the Midianite camels (Jg 8:26). The ‘strings of jewels’ of Ca 1:10  RV were probably a necklace of beads. A special form of necklace or breast ornament was composed of crescents of gold (Jg 8:26, Is 3:8, both RV). Cf. AMULET, § 4. and illust. PEFSt, 1905, 314, Pl. IV. The wide-spread custom of wearing a gold chain of office on neck and breast is met with in Egypt (Gn 41:42) and Babylon (Dn 5:7, 16, 29).

4.      Like other Eastern peoples, the Hebrews were fond of decking the arms and hands with ornaments. The term most frequently used for the finger-rings (tabba’at) properly denotes a signet-ring, as in Gn 41:42 RV, Est 3:12, for which see art. SEAL. From the use of an engraved cylinder for this purpose was developed a form of ring found in the excavations, consisting of a small cylinder of stone or paste, or of more than one, fitted into a ring of silver or gold (see illust.

PEFSt, 1905, 314, PI. IV., and Benzinger, op. cit. 83, from Sellin’s work cited in § 6). Ordinarily, however, tabba’at denotes a plain finger-ring (Ex 35:22, Nu 31:50, Is 3:21, Lk 15:22) such as those found at Taanach (§ 6).

Of the various terms rendered bracelet in AV, the most common is tsāmīd; Rebekah’s weighed 10 shekels, and was of gold (Gn 24:22, 30, 47; cf. Nu 31:50, Ezk 16:11, 23:42). The bracelets of is 319 seem to have been made of twisted strands of gold wire. The word ‘bracelet’ in 2 S 1:10 more probably denotes an armlet or arm-band, worn on the upper arm. It is rendered ‘ankle-chains’ in Nu 31:50 RV, while a cognate word of the same meaning occurs in Is 3:20 (AV ‘ornaments of the legs’) , and in the emended text of 2 K 11:12, where the crown and the arm-band (EV ‘testimony’) are named as insignia of royalty. Similarly, the bracelet worn ‘upon the right arm’ (Sir 21:21 EV) is an armlet, as is seen from the list of Judith’s ornaments, who ‘decked herself bravely’ with her armlets (EV ‘chains’), ‘and her bracelets, and her rings, and her ear-rings, and all her ornaments’ (Jth 10:4). The nature of the ornament given in AV as tablets and in RV as ‘armlets’ (Ex 35:22, Nu 31:50), is quite uncertain. RV rightly finds anklets in Is 3:18; these the ladies of Jerusalem rattled as they walked (v. 16 end).

5.      In a separate category may be placed such articles as, in addition to being ornamental, served some useful purpose in connexion with dress. Among these may be reckoned the gold brooches of Ex 35:22 RV (AV ‘bracelets,’ lit. books), and the ‘buckle of gold’ of 1 Mac 10:89 etc. There seems to be no reference in OT to the ornamental pins in gold, silver, and bronze which are found in considerable numbers at Gezer and elsewhere. For illustrations of typical pins and brooches found at Gezer, see Macalister, op. cit. Fig. 34.

6.      This article would be incomplete without a fuller reference to the countless specimens of ancient jewelry, recovered from the sands of Egypt and the soil of Palestine, which serve to illustrate the ornaments above mentioned. The jewelry of the early Egyptian goldsmiths (Ex 3:22) , as is well known, has never been surpassed in variety and delicacy of workmanship. The excavations at Gezer, Taanach, and Megiddo have revealed an unexpected wealth of gold and silver ornaments. One of the most remarkable of these recent finds is that described by its fortunate discoverer, Dr. Sellin, in his Nachlese auf dem Tell Ta’annek, 1906, 12 ff. (cf. PEFSt, 1905 , 176). Beneath the débris of a Canaanite house were found a mother and her five children, and beside the former the following ornaments: a gold band for the forehead, 8 gold rings, of which 7 were simple bands of gold wire, while the eighth was of several strands of wire, 2 silver rings, 2 larger bronze rings, perhaps bracelets, 2 small cylinders of crystal, 5 pearls, a scarab of amethyst and another of crystal, and finally a silver fastener (all illustrated op. cit. P]. IV. and Fig. 16).

The ornaments found in still greater variety in the mounds of Gezer are described and illustrated in the PEFSt from 1902 onwards. A special interest attaches to certain recently discovered graves, probably of Philistine origin and of a date c. B.C. 1000, in which a profusion of jewelry has been found similar in character and workmanship to the ornaments of the Mycenæan age found in Cyprus and Crete. For a description of the armlets, bracelets, anklets, rings, etc., found in these graves, see PEFSt, 1905, 318 ff. and Pl. VI.; 1907, 199 ff. and Pl. I., 240  ff.



ORPAH.—A Moabitess, sister of Ruth and daughter-in-law of Naomi. When the latter was returning to her own country, Orpah, following Naomi’s advice, elected to go back to her own people and to her god (or gods), while her sister went with her mother-in-law (Ru 1:4–14).

ORTHOSIA (1 Mac 15:37).—Placed by the Peutinger Tables 12 Roman miles N. of Tripoli, and 30 S. of Antaradus. The name has not been recovered.

OSAIAS (1 Es 8:48) = Jeshaiah, Ezr 8:19.

OSEA (2 Es 13:40) = king Hoshea ( wh. see ).

OSEAS = the prophet Hosea ( wh. see ).

OSNAPPAR (so written in RV of Ezr 4:10. Asnapper of AV is more correct; but the best reading of the Hebrew is Asenappar).—A curiously distorted form of Ashurbanipal, the name of the last great king of Assyria (B.C. 668–626) , the son of Esarhaddon, and grandson of Sennacherib. He is distinguished chiefly as the great conserver of the ancient Babylonian literature, whose rich and varied collections have come to us from his own library in Nineveh. He succeeded by great efforts in keeping together the empire of his father; and he added thereto the country of Elam in a fierce campaign which ended with the capture of Susa (Shushan), about B.C. 645 . It was after this event that the deportation, alluded to in Ezr 4:9, 10, of ‘Shushanchites’ and Elamites’ to Samaria and the vicinity took place. The war against Elam was the conclusion of a great conflict with Babylonia, with which country Elam on the east and most of the western subject States, including Judah, were in alliance. And it was before Ashurbanipal, as victorious king of Babylonia, that the rebel Judahite Manassch was brought in fetters to Babylonia, as related in 2 Ch 33:11—an event whose historicity has been unnecessarily called in question.


OSPRAY (‘oznīyyāh, Lv 11:13, Dt 14:12).—Probably the fish-eating Pandion haliaetus, which is still found in the Plain of Acre and at the Huleh. The Heb. name may have included also one or more of the smaller eagles.


OSSIFRAGE (peres = ‘the breaker,’ Lv 11:13, Dt 14:12, RV gier eagle).—This is the Lämmergeier (Gypaetus barbatus) , a great bird with a spread of ten feet across, distinguished from the true vultures by its neck being covered by dirty-white feathers. It occurs in the ravines around the Dead Sea, but is apparently gradually becoming extinct in Palestine. The Heb. peres and Latin ossifragus are both due to its habit of carrying large bones, tortoises, etc., to a great height and then dropping them upon the ground in order that it may get access to the soft contents.



1.       bath ya‘ănâh, Lv 11:15, Dt 14:15, Job 30:29, Is 13:21, 34:13, 43:26, Jer 50:39, and Mic 1:8. In all these references AV has ‘owl,’ but RV ‘ostrich.’ Lit. tr. of Heb. is ‘daughter of greed.’

2.       yĕ‘ēnīm, ‘ostriches,’ La 4:3.

3.       yĕnānīm, Job 39:13 AV ‘peacocks,’ RV ‘ostrich.’ (In same verse chăsīdāh ‘kindly’ is in AV mistranslated ‘ostrich.’)

The ostrich (Struthio camelus)  still exists in the deserts to E. and S.E. of Syria; a live specimen was brought into Jerusalem a few years ago, and their eggs are from time to time offered for sale by the Bedouln.

The popular view of the ostrich’s neglect of her eggs appears in Job 39:14–15 , but the following is her real habit. The ostrich is polygamous, and a group of three or four hens, jealously guarded by a cock, lay some thirty or forty eggs in a common nest in the ground, covering them over with sand. During the day the heat of the sun is a sufficient incubator, but at night the birds take turns in keeping the eggs warm. A few scattered eggs, said to be used for food for the young chicks, are laid after the nest is closed, and these have given rise to the popular view. The feathers (Job 39:13), the swift pace (v. 18), and the mournful cry (Mic 1:8) of the ostrich are all referred to in Scripture, and in Job 30:28 its cry is associated with that other melancholy night-cry—the ‘wailing’ of the jackals.


OTHNI—A son of Shemaiah (1 Ch 26:7).

OTHNIEL (meaning unknown).—According to Jg 1:13 the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. As a reward for taking Kiriath-sepher, he receives Achsah, the daughter of Caleb, for his wife. Othniel is the first mentioned among the ‘Judges’ of Israel; Cushanrishathaim, king of Mesopotamia, had oppressed the Israelites for eight years, when Jahweh ‘raised up a saviour’ in the person of Othniel, who fought against the oppressor and overcame him, thus bringing rest to the land.


OTHONIAS (1 Es 9:28) = Mattaniah in Ezr 10:27.

OUCH.—The word ‘ouch’ is used in AV for the setting of a jewel, but it is also used in Old Eng. for the jewel itself. See BREASTPLATE ( of the High Priest ).



1.                   bath ya‘ānāh, RV ‘ostrich’ (wh. see).

2.                   yanshūph, Lv 11:17, Dt 14:15, ‘great owl’; [yanshöph] , Is 34:11 owl,’ RVm ‘bittern’; commonly thought to be the ibis.

3.                   kōs, Lv 11:17, Dt 14:16, ‘little owl’; Ps 102:6 ‘owl.’

4.                   qippōz, Is 34:15, AV ‘great owl,’ RV ‘arrowsnake.’ The description’ make her nest, and lay, and hatch’ certainly seems to point to some bird, but what kind is uncertain

5.                   tinshemeth, Lv 11:18, Dt 14:15, AV ‘swan,’ RV ‘horned owl.’ See SWAN.

6.                   līlīth, Is 34:14, AV ‘screech owl,’ AVm and RV ‘night monster,’ RVm ‘Lilith,’ the fabulous monster which is in Jewish folklore such an enemy of children.

Owls are very plentiful in Palestine. Most common of all is the little bömeh (Athene glaux) , whose melancholy cry can be heard anywhere in the open country when twilight begins. It is a general favourite and very tame. The great Egyptian eagle-owl, the next most common species, is a large bird, nearly two feet long, with long ear tufts (see No. 5). It haunts ruins, and has a prolonged and desolate cry.


OX.—An ancestor of Judith (Jth 8:1).


1.                   shōr, Gn 32:5, 1 S 22:19 etc.; Aram. tor (cf. Arab-thaur)  is used in Ezr 6:8, 17, 7:17 and Dn 4:25, 32, 33; shōr is used collectively and also for a single member of the bovine species of any age and either sex.

2.                   ’ălāphīm ( only in pl.); a general term for ‘oxen,’ Dt 7:13, 28:4, 18, 51, Ps 8:7, Pr 14:4, Is  30:24.

3.                   par ‘young hull,’ ‘bullock’; and pārāh ‘young cow.’ See HEIFER.

4.                   ’abbīr (in plur.) ‘bulls’ in Ps 22:12 , 50:13, Is 34:7; but ‘strong ones’ or ‘horses’ elsewhere.

5.                   teō, Dt 14:5 AV ‘wild ox,’ RV ‘antelope’; . Is 51:20 AV ‘wild bull,’ RV ‘antelope.’

6.                   ’ēdher herd; in Jl 1:18 conjoined with bāqār = herds of oxen; and in same versa with tsōn =  herds (EV ‘flocks’) of small cattle (sheep and goats).

7.                   migneh usually tr. ‘cattle’; in Gn 47:17 conjoined with bāgār =  ‘herds’ (AV and RVm ‘cattle of the herds’.

8.                   běhěmah ‘cattle’; in Gn 47:18 conjoined with migneh =  ‘herds of cattle.’

Oxen are specially valuable in Palestine for ploughing (Dt 22:19, 1 K 19:19) and for threshing, i.e. ‘treading out the corn’ (Dt 25:4, Hos 10:11). They were used for carts (Nu 7:3); the Circassians, recently settled in Palestine, use them extensively in this way, but not the fellahīn. In 1 Ch 12:40 oxen are also mentioned as burden-bearers. Their use for sacrifice is repeatedly referred to (see 1 K 8:53, 2 Ch 29:33). The cattle of Palestine are small and mostly

lean, owing to poor food and much work. They are most plentiful in Galilee, where the pasturage is better; and a much larger breed, the cows of which give excellent milk, flourishes around Damascus. In several parts of the Jordan Valley, notably in el-Batiha, N. of Lake of Tiberias, and near Lake Huleh, the buffalo or jamus (Bosbubalus)  is kept by the Bedouin; it yields excellent milk.

For the ‘wild ox’ (RV tr. of rě’ēm), see UNICORN.



OZEM1. An elder brother of David (1 Ch 2:15). 2. A son of Jerahmeel (1  Ch  2:25).

OZIAS.1. 1 Es 8:2, 2 Es 1:2, an ancestor of Ezra. 2. 1 Es 5:31 = Uzza, Ezr 2:49, Neh 7:31.

3. The son of Micah (Jth 6:15, 7:23, 8:18, 28, 35, 10:6).

OZIEL.—An ancestor of Judith (Jth 8:1).