In the Hebrew scriptures there are found three distinct kinds of poetry, (1) that of the Book of Job and the Song of Solomon, which is dramatic; (2) that of the Book of Psalms, which is lyrical; and (3) that of the Book of Ecclesiastes, which is didactic and sententious.
Hebrew poetry has nothing akin to that of Western nations. It has neither metre nor rhyme. Its great peculiarity consists in the mutual correspondence of sentences or clauses, called parallelism, or "thought-rhyme." Various kinds of this parallelism have been pointed out:
(1.) Synonymous or cognate parallelism, where the same idea is repeated in the same words ( Ps. 93:3;Ps 94:1; Prov. 6:2), or in different words (Ps. 22, 23, 28, 114, etc.); or where it is expressed in a positive form in the one clause and in a negative in the other ( Ps. 40:12; Prov. 6:26); or where the same idea is expressed in three successive clauses ( Ps. 40:15,Ps. 40:16); or in a double parallelism, the first and second clauses corresponding to the third and fourth ( Isa. 9:1;Isa 61:10,Isa. 9:11).
(2.) Antithetic parallelism, where the idea of the second clause is the converse of that of the first ( Ps. 20:8;Ps 27:6,Ps. 20:7;Ps 34:11;Ps 37:9,Ps. 20:17,Ps. 20:21,Ps. 20:22). This is the common form of gnomic or proverbial poetry. (See Prov. 10-15.)
(3.) Synthetic or constructive or compound parallelism, where each clause or sentence contains some accessory idea enforcing the main idea ( Ps. 19:7-10;Ps 85:12; Job 3:3-9; Isa. 1:5-9).
(4.) Introverted parallelism, in which of four clauses the first answers to the fourth and the second to the third ( Ps. 135:15-18; Prov. 23:15, Prov. 23:16), or where the second line reverses the order of words in the first ( Ps. 86:2).
Hebrew poetry sometimes assumes other forms than these. (1.) An alphabetical arrangement is sometimes adopted for the purpose of connecting clauses or sentences. Thus in the following the initial words of the respective verses begin with the letters of the alphabet in regular succession: Prov. 31:10-31; Lam. 1, 2, 3, 4; Ps. 25, 34, 37, 145. Ps. 119 has a letter of the alphabet in regular order beginning every eighth verse.
(2.) The repetition of the same verse or of some emphatic expression at intervals (Ps. 42, 107, where the refrain is in verses, 8, 15, 21, 31). (Comp. also Isa. 9:8-10:4; Amos 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 13; 2:1, 4, 6.)
(3.) Gradation, in which the thought of one verse is resumed in another (Ps. 121).
Several odes of great poetical beauty are found in the historical books of the Old Testament, such as the song of Moses (Ex. 15), the song of Deborah (Judg. 5), of Hannah (1 Sam. 2), of Hezekiah ( Isa. 38:9-20), of Habakkuk (Hab. 3), and David's "song of the bow" (2 Sam. 1:19-27).
Poison - (1.) Heb. hemah, "heat," the poison of certain venomous reptiles ( Deut. 32:24,Deut. 32:33; Job 6:4; Ps. 58:4), causing inflammation.
(2.) Heb. rosh, "a head," a poisonous plant ( Deut. 29:18), growing luxuriantly ( Hos. 10:4), of a bitter taste ( Ps. 69:21; Lam. 3:5), and coupled with wormwood; probably the poppy. This word is rendered "gall", q.v., ( Deut. 29:18;Deut 32:33; Ps. 69:21; Jer. 8:14, etc.), "hemlock" ( Hos. 10:4; Amos 6:12), and "poison" ( Job 20:16), "the poison of asps," showing that the rosh was not exclusively a vegetable poison.
(3.) In Rom. 3:13 (comp. Job 20:16; Ps. 140:3), James 3:8, as the rendering of the Greek ios.
Pomegranate - i.e., "grained apple" (pomum granatum), Heb. rimmon. Common in Egypt ( Num. 20:5) and Palestine ( Num 13:23; Deut. 8:8). The Romans called it Punicum malum, i.e., Carthaginian apple, because they received it from Carthage. It belongs to the myrtle family of trees. The withering of the pomegranate tree is mentioned among the judgments of God ( Joel 1:12). It is frequently mentioned in the Song of Solomon ( Cant. 4:3,Cant. 4:13, etc.). The skirt of the high priest's blue robe and ephod was adorned with the representation of pomegranates, alternating with golden bells ( Ex. 28:33,Ex. 28:34), as also were the "chapiters upon the two pillars" (1 Kings 7:20) which "stood before the house."
Pommels - (2 Chr. 4:12,2 Chr. 4:13), or bowls (1 Kings 7:41), were balls or "rounded knobs" on the top of the chapiters (q.v.).
Pontius Pilate - See PILATE.
Pontus - a province of Asia Minor, stretching along the southern coast of the Euxine Sea, corresponding nearly to the modern province of Trebizond. In the time of the apostles it was a Roman province. Strangers from this province were at Jerusalem at Pentecost ( Acts 2:9), and to "strangers scattered throughout Pontus," among others, Peter addresses his first epistle (1 Pet. 1:1). It was evidently the resort of many Jews of the Dispersion. Aquila was a native of Pontus ( Acts 18:2).
Pool - a pond, or reservoir, for holding water (Heb. berekhah; modern Arabic, birket), an artificial cistern or tank. Mention is made of the pool of Gibeon (2 Sam. 2:13); the pool of Hebron 2 Sam 4:12); the upper pool at Jerusalem (2 Kings 18:17;2 Kings 20:20); the pool of Samaria (1 Kings 22:38); the king's pool ( Neh. 2:14); the pool of Siloah ( Neh. 3:15; Eccles. 2:6); the fishpools of Heshbon ( Cant. 7:4); the "lower pool," and the "old pool" ( Isa. 22:9,Isa. 22:11).
The "pool of Bethesda" ( John 5:2,John 5:4,John 5:7) and the "pool of Siloam" ( John 9:7,John 9:11) are also mentioned. Isaiah ( John 35:7) says, "The parched ground shall become a pool." This is rendered in the Revised Version "glowing sand," etc. (marg., "the mirage," etc.). The Arabs call the mirage "serab," plainly the same as the Hebrew word sarab, here rendered "parched ground." "The mirage shall become a pool", i.e., the mock-lake of the burning desert shall become a real lake, "the pledge of refreshment and joy." The "pools" spoken of in Isa. 14:23 are the marshes caused by the ruin of the canals of the Euphrates in the neighbourhood of Babylon.
The cisterns or pools of the Holy City are for the most part excavations beneath the surface. Such are the vast cisterns in the temple hill that have recently been discovered by the engineers of the Palestine Exploration Fund. These underground caverns are about thirty-five in number, and are capable of storing about ten million gallons of water. They are connected with one another by passages and tunnels.
Pools of Solomon - the name given to three large open cisterns at Etam, at the head of the Wady Urtas, having an average length of 400 feet by 220 in breadth, and 20 to 30 in depth. These pools derive their chief supply of water from a spring called "the sealed fountain," about 200 yards to the north-west of the upper pool, to which it is conveyed by a large subterranean passage. They are 150 feet distant from each other, and each pool is 20 feet lower than that above it, the conduits being so arranged that the lowest, which is the largest and finest of the three, is filled first, and then in succession the others. It has been estimated that these pools cover in all a space of about 7 acres, and are capable of containing three million gallons of water. They were, as is generally supposed, constructed in the days of Solomon. They are probably referred to in Eccles. 2:6. On the fourth day after his victory over the Ammonites, etc., in the wilderness of Tekoa, Jehoshaphat assembled his army in the valley of Berachah ("blessing"), and there blessed the Lord. Berachah has been identified with the modern Bereikut, some 5 miles south of Wady Urtas, and hence the "valley of Berachah" may be this valley of pools, for the word means both "blessing" and "pools;" and it has been supposed, therefore, that this victory was celebrated beside Solomon's pools (2 Chr. 20:26).
These pools were primarily designed to supply Jerusalem with water. From the lower pool an aqueduct has been traced conveying the water through Bethlehem and across the valley of Gihon, and along the west slope of the Tyropoeon valley, till it finds its way into the great cisterns underneath the temple hill. The water, however, from the pools reaches now only to Bethlehem. The aqueduct beyond this has been destroyed.
Poor - The Mosaic legislation regarding the poor is specially important. (1.) They had the right of gleaning the fields ( Lev. 19:9,Lev. 19:10; Deut. 24:19, Deut. 24:21).
(2.) In the sabbatical year they were to have their share of the produce of the fields and the vineyards ( Ex. 23:11; Lev. 25:6).
(3.) In the year of jubilee they recovered their property ( Lev. 25:25-30).
(4.) Usury was forbidden, and the pledged raiment was to be returned before the sun went down ( Ex. 22:25-27; Deut. 24:10-13). The rich were to be generous to the poor ( Deut. 15:7-11).
(5.) In the sabbatical and jubilee years the bond-servant was to go free ( Deut. 15:12-15; Lev. 25:39-42, Lev. 25:47-54).
(6.) Certain portions from the tithes were assigned to the poor ( Deut. 14:28,Deut. 14:29;Deut 26:12,Deut. 14:13).
(7.) They shared in the feasts ( Deut. 16:11,Deut. 16:14; Neh. 8:10).
(8.) Wages were to be paid at the close of each day ( Lev. 19:13).
In the New Testament ( Luke 3:11;Luke 14:13; Acts 6:1; Gal. 2:10; James 2:15, James 2:16) we have similar injunctions given with reference to the poor. Begging was not common under the Old Testament, while it was so in the New Testament times ( Luke 16:20,Luke 16:21, etc.). But begging in the case of those who are able to work is forbidden, and all such are enjoined to "work with their own hands" as a Christian duty (1 Thess. 4:11; 2 Thess. 3:7-13; Eph. 4:28). This word is used figuratively in Matt. 5:3; Luke 6:20; 2 Cor. 8:9; Rev. 3:17.
Poplar - Heb. libneh, "white", ( Gen. 30:37; Hos. 4:13), in all probability the storax tree (Styrax officinalis) or white poplar, distinguished by its white blossoms and pale leaves. It is common in the Anti-Libanus. Other species of the poplar are found in Palestine, such as the white poplar (P. alba) of our own country, the black poplar (P. nigra), and the aspen (P. tremula). (See WILLOW.)
Porch, Solomon's - a colonnade on the east of the temple, so called from a tradition that it was a relic of Solomon's temple left standing after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. (Comp. 1 Kings 7:6.) The word "porch" is in the New Testament the rendering of three different Greek words:
(1.) Stoa, meaning a portico or veranda ( John 5:2;John 10:23; Acts 3:11; Acts 5:12).
(2.) Pulon, a gateway ( Matt. 26:71).
(3.) Proaulion, the entrance to the inner court ( Mark 14:68).
Porcius Festus - See FESTUS.
Porter - a gate-keeper (2 Sam. 18:26; 2 Kings 7:10; 1 Chr. 9:21; 2 Chr. 8:14). Of the Levites, 4,000 were appointed as porters by David (1 Chr. 23:5), who were arranged according to their families 1 Chr 26:1-19) to take charge of the doors and gates of the temple. They were sometimes employed as musicians (1 Chr. 15:18).
Post - (1.) A runner, or courier, for the rapid transmission of letters, etc. (2 Chr. 30:6; Esther 3:13, Esther 3:15; Esther 8:10, Esther 3:14; Job 9:25; Jer. 51:31). Such messengers were used from very early times. Those employed by the Hebrew kings had a military character (1 Sam. 22:17; 2 Kings 10:25, "guard," marg. "runners"). The modern system of postal communication was first established by Louis XI. of France in A.D. 1464.
(2.) This word sometimes also is used for lintel or threshold ( Isa. 6:4).
Potiphar - dedicated to Ra; i.e., to the sun-god, the Egyptian to whom the Ishmaelites sold Joseph ( Gen. 39:1). He was "captain of the guard", i.e., chief, probably, of the state police, who, while they formed part of the Egyptian army, were also largely employed in civil duties ( Gen 37:36; marg., "chief of the executioners"). Joseph, though a foreigner, gradually gained his confidence, and became overseer over all his possessions. Believing the false accusation which his profligate wife brought against Joseph, Potiphar cast him into prison, where he remained for some years. (See JOSEPH.)
Potipherah - a priest of On, whose daughter Asenath became Joseph's wife ( Gen. 41:45).
Potsherd - a "shred", i.e., anything severed, as a fragment of earthenware ( Job 2:8; Prov. 26:23; Isa. 45:9).
Pottage - Heb. nazid, "boiled", a dish of boiled food, as of lentils ( Gen. 25:29; 2 Kings 4:38).
Potters field - the name given to the piece of ground which was afterwards bought with the money that had been given to Judas. It was called the "field of blood" ( Matt. 27:7-10). Tradition places it in the valley of Hinnom. (See ACELDAMA.)
Pottery - the art of, was early practised among all nations. Various materials seem to have been employed by the potter. Earthenware is mentioned in connection with the history of Melchizedek ( Gen. 14:18), of Abraham ( Gen 18:4-8), of Rebekah ( Gen 27:14), of Rachel ( Gen 29:2,Gen 29:3,Gen 29:8,Gen 29:10). The potter's wheel is mentioned by Jeremiah ( Gen 18:3). See also 1 Chr. 4:23; Ps. 2:9; Isa. 45:9; Isa 64:8; Jer. 19:1; Lam. 4:2; Zech. 11:13; Rom. 9:21.
Pound - (1.) A weight. Heb. maneh, equal to 100 shekels (1 Kings 10:17; Ezra 2:69; Neh. 7:71, Neh. 7:72). Gr. litra, equal to about 12 oz. avoirdupois ( John 12:3;John 19:39).
(2.) A sum of money; the Gr. mna or mina ( Luke 19:13,Luke 19:16,Luke 19:18,Luke 19:20,Luke 19:24,Luke 19:25). It was equal to 100 drachmas, and was of the value of about $3, 6s. 8d. of our money. (See MONEY.)
Praetorium - The Greek word (praitorion) thus rendered in Mark 15:16 is rendered "common hall" ( Matt. 27:27, marg., "governor's house"), "judgment hall," ( John 18:28,John 18:33, marg., "Pilate's house ", 19:9; Acts 23:35), "palace" ( Phil. 1:13). This is properly a military word. It denotes (1) the general's tent or headquarters; (2) the governor's residence, as in Acts 23:35 (R.V., "palace"); and (3) the praetorian guard (See PALACE ), or the camp or quarters of the praetorian cohorts ( Acts 28:16), the imperial guards in immediate attendance on the emperor, who was "praetor" or commander-in-chief.
Prayer - is converse with God; the intercourse of the soul with God, not in contemplation or meditation, but in direct address to him. Prayer may be oral or mental, occasional or constant, ejaculatory or formal. It is a "beseeching the Lord" ( Ex. 32:11); "pouring out the soul before the Lord" (1 Sam. 1:15); "praying and crying to heaven" (2 Chr. 32:20); "seeking unto God and making supplication" ( Job 8:5); "drawing near to God" ( Ps. 73:28); "bowing the knees" ( Eph. 3:14).
Prayer presupposes a belief in the personality of God, his ability and willingness to hold intercourse with us, his personal control of all things and of all his creatures and all their actions.
Acceptable prayer must be sincere ( Heb. 10:22), offered with reverence and godly fear, with a humble sense of our own insignificance as creatures and of our own unworthiness as sinners, with earnest importunity, and with unhesitating submission to the divine will. Prayer must also be offered in the faith that God is, and is the hearer and answerer of prayer, and that he will fulfil his word, "Ask, and ye shall receive" ( Matt. 7:7,Matt. 7:8;Matt 21:22; Mark 11:24; John 14:13, John 14:14), and in the name of Christ John 16:23, John 16:24; John 15:16; Eph. 2:18; Eph 5:20; Col. 3:17; 1 Pet. 2:5).
Prayer is of different kinds, secret ( Matt. 6:6); social, as family prayers, and in social worship; and public, in the service of the sanctuary.
Intercessory prayer is enjoined ( Num. 6:23; Job 42:8; Isa. 62:6; Ps. 122:6; 1 Tim. 2:1; James 5:14), and there are many instances on record of answers having been given to such prayers, e.g., of Abraham ( Gen. 17:18,Gen. 17:20;Gen 18:23-32;Gen 20:7,Gen. 17:17,Gen. 17:18), of Moses for Pharaoh ( Ex. 8:12,Ex. 8:13,Ex. 8:30,Ex. 8:31; Ex. 9:33), for the Israelites ( Ex. 17:11,Ex. 17:13;Ex 32:11-14,Ex. 17:31-34; Num. 21:7, Num. 21:8; Deut. 9:18, Deut. 9:19, Deut. 9:25), for Miriam ( Num. 12:13), for Aaron ( Deut. 9:20), of Samuel (1 Sam. 7:5-12), of Solomon (1 Kings 8; 2 Chr. 6), Elijah (1 Kings 17:20-23), Elisha (2 Kings 4:33-36), Isaiah (2 Kings 19), Jeremiah 2 Kings 42:2-10), Peter ( Acts 9:40), the church ( Acts 12:5-12), Paul ( Acts 28:8).
No rules are anywhere in Scripture laid down for the manner of prayer or the attitude to be assumed by the suppliant. There is mention made of kneeling in prayer (1 Kings 8:54; 2 Chr. 6:13; Ps. 95:6; Isa. 45:23; Luke 22:41; Acts 7:60; Acts 9:40; Eph. 3:14, etc.); of bowing and falling prostrate ( Gen. 24:26,Gen. 24:52; Ex. 4:31; Ex 12:27; Matt. 26:39; Mark 14:35, etc.); of spreading out the hands (1 Kings 8:22,1 Kings 8:38,1 Kings 8:54; Ps. 28:2; Ps 63:4; Ps 88:9; 1 Tim. 2:8, etc.); and of standing (1 Sam. 1:26; 1 Kings 8:14,1 Kings 8:55; 2 Chr. 20:9; Mark 11:25; Luke 18:11, Luke 18:13).
If we except the "Lord's Prayer" ( Matt. 6:9-13), which is, however, rather a model or pattern of prayer than a set prayer to be offered up, we have no special form of prayer for general use given us in Scripture.
Prayer is frequently enjoined in Scripture ( Ex. 22:23,Ex. 22:27; 1 Kings 3:5; 2 Chr. 7:14; Ps. 37:4; Isa. 55:6; Joel 2:32; Ezek. 36:37, etc.), and we have very many testimonies that it has been answered ( Ps. 3:4;Ps 4:1;Ps 6:8;Ps 18:6;Ps 28:6;Ps 30:2;Ps 34:4;Ps 118:5; James 5:16-18, etc.).
"Abraham's servant prayed to God, and God directed him to the person who should be wife to his master's son and heir ( Gen. 24:10-20).
"Jacob prayed to God, and God inclined the heart of his irritated brother, so that they met in peace and friendship ( Gen. 32:24-30;Gen 33:1-4).
"Samson prayed to God, and God showed him a well where he quenched his burning thirst, and so lived to judge Israel ( Judg. 15:18-20).
"David prayed, and God defeated the counsel of Ahithophel (2 Sam. 15:31;2 Sam 16:20-23;2 Sam 17:14-23).
"Daniel prayed, and God enabled him both to tell Nebuchadnezzar his dream and to give the interpretation of it (Dan. 2: 16-23).
"Nehemiah prayed, and God inclined the heart of the king of Persia to grant him leave of absence to visit and rebuild Jerusalem ( Neh. 1:11;Neh 2:1-6).
"Esther and Mordecai prayed, and God defeated the purpose of Haman, and saved the Jews from destruction ( Esther 4:15-17;Esther 6:7,Esther 4:8).
"The believers in Jerusalem prayed, and God opened the prison doors and set Peter at liberty, when Herod had resolved upon his death ( Acts 12:1-12).
"Paul prayed that the thorn in the flesh might be removed, and his prayer brought a large increase of spiritual strength, while the thorn perhaps remained (2 Cor. 12:7-10).
"Prayer is like the dove that Noah sent forth, which blessed him not only when it returned with an olive-leaf in its mouth, but when it never returned at all.", Robinson's Job.
Predestination - This word is properly used only with reference to God's plan or purpose of salvation. The Greek word rendered "predestinate" is found only in these six passages, Acts 4:28; Rom. 8:29, Rom. 8:30; 1 Cor. 2:7; Eph. 1:5, Eph. 1:11; and in all of them it has the same meaning. They teach that the eternal, sovereign, immutable, and unconditional decree or "determinate purpose" of God governs all events.
This doctrine of predestination or election is beset with many difficulties. It belongs to the "secret things" of God. But if we take the revealed word of God as our guide, we must accept this doctrine with all its mysteriousness, and settle all our questionings in the humble, devout acknowledgment, "Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight."
For the teaching of Scripture on this subject let the following passages be examined in addition to those referred to above; Gen. 21:12; Ex. 9:16; Ex 33:19; Deut. 10:15; Deut 32:8; Josh. 11:20; 1 Sam. 12:22; 2 Chr. 6:6; Ps. 33:12; Ps 65:4; Ps 78:68; Ps 135:4; Isa. 41:1-10; Jer. 1:5; Mark 13:20; Luke 22:22; John 6:37; John 15:16; John 17:2, John 6:6, John 6:9; Acts 2:28; Acts 3:18; Acts 4:28; Acts 13:48; Acts 17:26; Rom. 9:11, Rom. 9:18, Rom. 9:21; Rom 11:5; Eph. 3:11; 1 Thess. 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 1:9; Titus 1:2; 1 Pet. 1:2. (See DECREES OF GOD ; ELECTION)
Hodge has well remarked that, "rightly understood, this doctrine (1) exalts the majesty and absolute sovereignty of God, while it illustrates the riches of his free grace and his just displeasure with sin. (2.) It enforces upon us the essential truth that salvation is entirely of grace. That no one can either complain if passed over, or boast himself if saved. (3.) It brings the inquirer to absolute self-despair and the cordial embrace of the free offer of Christ. (4.) In the case of the believer who has the witness in himself, this doctrine at once deepens his humility and elevates his confidence to the full assurance of hope" (Outlines).