Arvad - wandering, ( Ezek. 27:8), a small island and city on the coast of Syria, mentioned as furnishing mariners and soldiers for Tyre. The inhabitants were called Arvadites. The name is written Aruada or Arada in the Tell-el-Amarna tablets.
Asa - physician, son of Abijah and grandson of Rehoboam, was the third king of Judah. He was zealous in maintaining the true worship of God, and in rooting all idolatry, with its accompanying immoralities, out of the land (1 Kings 15:8-14). The Lord gave him and his land rest and prosperity. It is recorded of him, however, that in his old age, when afflicted, he "sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians" (comp. Jer. 17:5). He died in the forty-first year of his reign, greatly honoured by his people (2 Chr. 16:1-13), and was succeeded by his son Jehoshaphat.
Asahel - made by God, the youngest son of Zeruiah, David's sister. He was celebrated for his swiftness of foot. When fighting against Ish-bosheth at Gibeon, in the army of his brother Joab, he was put to death by Abner, whom he pursued from the field of battle (2 Sam. 2:18,2 Sam. 2:19). He is mentioned among David's thirty mighty men (2 Sam. 23:24; 1 Chr. 11:26). Others of the same name are mentioned (2 Chr. 17:8;2 Chr 31:13; Ezra 10:15).
Asaph - convener, or collector. (1.) A Levite; one of the leaders of David's choir (1 Chr. 6:39). Psalms 50 and 73-83 inclusive are attributed to him. He is mentioned along with David as skilled in music, and a "seer" (2 Chr. 29:30). The "sons of Asaph," mentioned in 1 Chr. 25:1, 2 Chr. 20:14, and Ezra 2:41, were his descendants, or more probably a class of poets or singers who recognized him as their master.
(2.) The "recorder" in the time of Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:18,2 Kings 18:37).
(3.) The "keeper of the king's forest," to whom Nehemiah requested from Artaxerxes a "letter" that he might give him timber for the temple at Jerusalem ( Neh. 2:8).
Ascension - See CHRIST.
Asenath - an Egyptian name, meaning "gift of the sun-god", daughter of Potipherah, priest of On or Heliopolis, wife of Joseph ( Gen. 41:45). She was the mother of Manasseh and Ephraim ( Gen 50-52; 46:20).
Ash - (Heb. o'ren, "tremulous"), mentioned only Isa. 44:14 (R.V., "fir tree"). It is rendered "pine tree" both in the LXX. and Vulgate versions. There is a tree called by the Arabs aran, found still in the valleys of Arabia Petraea, whose leaf resembles that of the mountain ash. This may be the tree meant. Our ash tree is not known in Syria.
Ashdod - stronghold, a Philistine city ( Josh. 15:47), about midway between Gaza and Joppa, and 3 miles from the Mediterranean. It was one of the chief seats of the worship of Dagon (1 Sam. 5:5). It belonged to the tribe of Judah ( Josh. 15:47), but it never came into their actual possession. It was an important city, as it stood on the highroad from Egypt to Palestine, and hence was strongly fortified (2 Chr. 26:6; Isa. 20:1). Uzziah took it, but fifty years after his death it was taken by the Assyrians (B.C. 758). According to Sargon's record, it was captured by him in B.C. 711. The only reference to it in the New Testament, where it is called Azotus, is in the account of Philip's return from Gaza ( Acts 8:40). It is now called Eshdud.
Ashdoth-pisgah - ( Deut. 3:17; Josh. 12:3; Josh 13:20) in Authorized Version, but in Revised Version translated "slopes of Pisgah." In Deut. 4:49 it is translated in the Authorized Version "springs of Pisgah." The name Ashdoth is translated "springs" in the Authorized Version, but "slopes" in the Revised Version, of Josh. 10:40 and 12:8. It has been identified with the springs under Mount Nebo, now called 'Ayun Musa.
Asher - happy, Jacob's eigth son; his mother was Zilpah, Leah's handmaid ( Gen. 30:13). Of the tribe founded by him nothing is recorded beyond its holding a place in the list of the tribes ( Gen 35:26;Gen 46:17; Ex. 1:4, etc.) It increased in numbers twenty-nine percent, during the thirty-eight years' wanderings. The place of this tribe during the march through the desert was between Dan and Naphtali ( Num. 2:27). The boundaries of the inheritance given to it, which contained some of the richest soil in Palestine, and the names of its towns, are recorded in Josh. 19:24-31; Judg. 1:31, Judg. 1:32. Asher and Simeon were the only tribes west of the Jordan which furnished no hero or judge for the nation. Anna the prophetess was of this tribe ( Luke 2:36).
Asherah - and pl. Asherim in Revised Version, instead of "grove" and "groves" of the Authorized Version. This was the name of a sensual Canaanitish goddess Astarte, the feminine of the Assyrian Ishtar. Its symbol was the stem of a tree deprived of its boughs, and rudely shaped into an image, and planted in the ground. Such religious symbols ("groves") are frequently alluded to in Scripture ( Ex. 34:13; Judg. 6:25; 2 Kings 23:6; 1 Kings 16:33, etc.). These images were also sometimes made of silver or of carved stone (2 Kings 21:7; "the graven image of Asherah," R.V.). (See GROVE .).
Ashes - The ashes of a red heifer burned entire ( Num. 19:5) when sprinkled on the unclean made them ceremonially clean ( Heb. 9:13).
To cover the head with ashes was a token of self-abhorrence and humiliation (2 Sam. 13:19; Esther 4:3; Jer. 6:26, etc.).
To feed on ashes ( Isa. 44:20), means to seek that which will prove to be vain and unsatisfactory, and hence it denotes the unsatisfactory nature of idol-worship. (Comp. Hos. 12:1).
Ashkelon - =Askelon=Ascalon, was one of the five cities of the Philistines ( Josh. 13:3; 1 Sam. 6:17). It stood on the shore of the Mediterranean, 12 miles north of Gaza. It is mentioned on an inscription at Karnak in Egypt as having been taken by king Rameses II., the oppressor of the Hebrews. In the time of the judges ( Judg. 1:18) it fell into the possession of the tribe of Judah; but it was soon after retaken by the Philistines (2 Sam. 1:20), who were not finally dispossessed till the time of Alexander the Great. Samson went down to this place from Timnath, and slew thirty men and took their spoil. The prophets foretold its destruction ( Jer. 25:20;Jer 47:5,Jer. 25:7). It became a noted place in the Middle Ages, having been the scene of many a bloody battle between the Saracens and the Crusaders. It was beseiged and taken by Richard the Lion-hearted, and "within its walls and towers now standing he held his court." Among the Tell Amarna tablets (see EGYPT ) are found letters or official despatches from Yadaya, "captain of horse and dust of the king's feet," to the "great king" of Egypt, date from Ascalon. It is now called 'Askalan.
Ashkenaz - one of the three sons of Gomer ( Gen. 10:3), and founder of one of the tribes of the Japhetic race. They are mentioned in connection with Minni and Ararat, and hence their original seat must have been in Armenia ( Jer. 51:27), probably near the Black Sea, which, from their founder, was first called Axenus, and afterwards the Euxine.
Ashpenaz - the master of the eunuchs of Nebuchadnezzar ( Dan. 1:3), the "Rabsaris" of the court. His position was similar to that of the Kislar-aga of the modern Turkish sultans.
Ashtaroth - a city of Bashan, in the kingdom of Og ( Deut. 1:4; Josh. 12:4; Josh 13:12; Josh 9:10). It was in the half-tribe of Manasseh ( Josh. 13:12), and as a Levitical city was given to the Gershonites (1 Chr. 6:71). Uzzia, one of David's valiant men (1 Chr. 11:44), is named as of this city. It is identified with Tell Ashterah, in the Hauran, and is noticed on monuments B.C. 1700-1500. The name Beesh-terah ( Josh. 21:27) is a contraction for Beth-eshterah, i.e., "the house of Ashtaroth."
Ashteroth Karnaim - Ashteroth of the two horns, the abode of the Rephaim ( Gen. 14:5). It may be identified with Ashtaroth preceding; called "Karnaim", i.e., the "two-horned" (the crescent moon). The Samaritan version renders the word by "Sunamein," the present es-Sunamein, 28 miles south of Damascus.
Ashtoreth - the moon goddess of the Phoenicians, representing the passive principle in nature, their principal female deity; frequently associated with the name of Baal, the sun-god, their chief male deity ( Judg. 10:6; 1 Sam. 7:4;1 Sam 12:10). These names often occur in the plural (Ashtaroth, Baalim), probably as indicating either different statues or different modifications of the deities. This deity is spoken of as Ashtoreth of the Zidonians. She was the Ishtar of the Accadians and the Astarte of the Greeks ( Jer. 44:17; 1 Kings 11:5,1 Kings 11:33; 2 Kings 23:13). There was a temple of this goddess among the Philistines in the time of Saul (1 Sam. 31:10). Under the name of Ishtar, she was one of the great deities of the Assyrians. The Phoenicians called her Astarte. Solomon introduced the worship of this idol (1 Kings 11:33). Jezebel's 400 priests were probably employed in its service (1 Kings 18:19). It was called the "queen of heaven" ( Jer. 44:25).
Ashurites - mentioned among those over whom Ish-bosheth was made king (2 Sam. 2:9).
Asia - is used to denote Proconsular Asia, a Roman province which embraced the western parts of Asia Minor, and of which Ephesus was the capital, in Acts 2:9; Acts 6:9; Acts 16:6; Acts 19:10, Acts 2:22; Acts 20:4, Acts 2:16, Acts 2:18, etc., and probably Asia Minor in Acts 19:26, Acts 19:27; Acts 21:27; Acts 24:18; Acts 27:2. Proconsular Asia contained the seven churches of the Apocalypse ( Rev. 1:11). The "chiefs of Asia" ( Acts 19:31) were certain wealthy citizens who were annually elected to preside over the games and religious festivals of the several cities to which they belonged. Some of these "Asiarchs" were Paul's friends.
Asnapper - probably the same as Assur-bani-pal (Sardanapalos of the Greeks), styled the "great and noble" ( Ezra 4:10), was the son and successor (B.C. 668) of Esar-haddon (q.v.). He was "luxurious, ambitious, and cruel, but a magnificent patron of literature." He formed at Nineveh a library of clay tablets, numbering about 10,000. These are now mostly in the British Museum. They throw much light on the history and antiquities of Assyria.
Assur-bani-pal was a munificent patron of literature, and the conqueror of Elam. Towards the middle of his reign his empire was shaken by a great rebellion headed by his brother in Babylon. The rebellion was finally put down, but Egypt was lost, and the military power of Assyria was so exhausted that it could with difficulty resist the hordes of Kimmerians who poured over Western Asia. (See NINEVEH.)
Asp - (Heb. pethen), Deut. 32:33; Job 20:14, Job 20:16; Isa. 11:8. It was probably the Egyptian cobra (Naja haje), which was very poisonous ( Rom. 3:13; Gr. aspis). The Egyptians worshipped it as the uraeus, and it was found in the desert and in the fields. The peace and security of Messiah's reign is represented by the figure of a child playing on the hole of the asp. (See ADDER.)
Ass - frequently mentioned throughout Scripture. Of the domesticated species we read of, (1.) The she ass (Heb. 'athon), so named from its slowness ( Gen. 12:16;Gen 45:23; Num. 22:23; 1 Sam. 9:3). (2.) The male ass (Heb. hamor), the common working ass of Western Asia, so called from its red colour. Issachar is compared to a strong ass ( Gen. 49:14). It was forbidden to yoke together an ass and an ox in the plough ( Deut. 22:10). (3.) The ass's colt (Heb. 'air), mentioned Judg. 10:4; Judg 12:14. It is rendered "foal" in Gen. 32:15; Gen 49:11. (Comp. Job 11:12; Isa. 30:6.) The ass is an unclean animal, because it does not chew the cud ( Lev. 11:26. Comp. 2 Kings 6:25). Asses constituted a considerable portion of wealth in ancient times ( Gen. 12:16;Gen 30:43; 1 Chr. 27:30; Job 1:3; Job 42:12). They were noted for their spirit and their attachment to their master ( Isa. 1:3). They are frequently spoken of as having been ridden upon, as by Abraham ( Gen. 22:3), Balaam ( Num. 22:21), the disobedient prophet (1 Kings 13:23), the family of Abdon the judge, seventy in number ( Judg. 12:14), Zipporah ( Ex. 4:20), the Shunammite (1 Sam. 25:30), etc. Zechariah 1 Sam 9:9) predicted our Lord's triumphal entrance into Jerusalem, "riding upon an ass, and upon a colt," etc. ( Matt. 21:5, R.V.).
Of wild asses two species are noticed, (1) that called in Hebrew 'arod, mentioned Job 39:5 and Dan. 5:21, noted for its swiftness; and (2) that called pe're, the wild ass of Asia ( Job 39:6-8;Job 6:5;Job 11:12; Isa. 32:14; Jer. 2:24; Jer 14:6, etc.). The wild ass was distinguished for its fleetness and its extreme shyness. In allusion to his mode of life, Ishmael is likened to a wild ass ( Gen. 16:12. Here the word is simply rendered "wild" in the Authorized Version, but in the Revised Version, "wild-ass among men").
Asshur - second son of Shem ( Gen. 10:22; 1 Chr. 1:17). He went from the land of Shinar and built Nineveh, etc. ( Gen. 10:11,Gen. 10:12). He probably gave his name to Assyria, which is the usual translation of the word, although the form Asshur is sometimes retained ( Num. 24:22,Num. 24:24; Ezek. 27:23, etc.). In Gen. 2:14 "Assyria" ought to be "Asshur," which was the original capital of Assyria, a city represented by the mounds of Kalah Sherghat, on the west bank of the Tigris. This city was founded by Bel-kap-kapu about B.C. 1700. At a later date the capital was shifted to Ninua, or Nineveh, now Koyunjik, on the eastern bank of the river. (See CALAH ; NINEVEH.)