Glossary of Names and Terms

Numbers in parentheses refer to chapters where the term is defined and listed as a key term. Note that I is the Introduction; P1, P2, and P3 are the respective prologues to Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3; and C is the Conclusion. Years in parentheses after the name of a king indicate the years of the king’s reign BCE.

Aaron The brother of Moses; Israel’s first high priest. (3, 4)

Abel The second son of Adam and Eve; he was mur- dered by his brother Cain. (1)

Abner The commander of Saul’s army; he was killed by Joab. (8)

Abraham (sometimes called Abram; adj. Abrahamic) The first father (patriarch) of Israel; first called Abram, God made a covenant with him in which God promised to make him a great nation; Isaac was his son by Sarah, and Ishmael was his son by Hagar. (2)

Abraham cycle Genesis 12–25; a collection of stories focused on Abraham. (2)

Abrahamic covenant The covenant that Yhwh made with Abraham, sealed by circumcision. (2) See also Ancestral covenant.

Abram See Abraham.

Absalom A son of David who murdered his half-brother Amnon, took the throne from David, and was killed by Joab. (8)

Absolute law Also called apodictic law, it is law stated in an unconditional manner without qualifying clauses; absolute law is distinguished from case law. (3)

Achan A contemporary of Joshua who kept spoils from the conquest of Jericho, was held responsible for Israel’s defeat at Ai, and was executed by the Israelites. (6)

Acrostic A series of poetic lines or verses whose initial letters form the alphabet, a word, or a regular pattern, as in Lamentations 1–4, Psalms 111, 112, and 119. (15)

Abbreviation of anno domini, Latin for "year of the Lord." See also BCE and CE.

Adam/adamah The first male who God created; he and his mate, Eve, disobeyed God and were expelled from the garden of Eden. Adam was created out of the ground, adamah in Hebrew. (1)

Adonijah A son of David who was executed by Solomon. (9)

Adultery Having sexual relations with someone other than one’s husband or wife.

Aetiology See Etiology.

Aggadah See Haggadah.

Ahab (869–850) King of Israel, married to Jezebel, whose Baalistic practices were opposed by the northern prophet Elijah. (9)

Ahasuerus The king of Persia during the time of Esther, identified as Xerxes I (486–465). (15)

Ahaz (735–715) The king of Judah at the time when Isaiah was a prophet. (10)

Ahijah An Israelite prophet who encouraged Jeroboam to rebel against Solomon’s administration. (9)

Ai A Canaanite city conquered by Joshua and the Israelites. (6)

Akkadian The Semitic language of Mesopotamia; Assyrian and Babylonian are dialects.

Allegory A literary device in which characters and events stand for abstract ideas, principles, or forces so that the literal sense has or suggests a parallel, deeper symbolic sense. (15)

Almighty (Hebrew shaddai) A name of God that connotes his power and strength; often found in the compound divine name El Shaddai.

Altar A raised platform, made of undressed stones, dirt, metal, or wood, on which incense or sacrifices are offered.

Am ha’aretz (pl. ammey ha’aretz; Hebrew for “people of the land”) A term used in the Hebrew Bible for “citizens” or some particular “class of citizens”; in rabbinic literature, for persons or groups that dissented from or were uninstructed in rabbinic halakah and rigorous purity and tithing norms; it sometimes signifies the unlearned, sometimes is used condescendingly (“boor”), and it was also used of the broad mass of Jewish people of the first century CE, who cannot be categorized into any of the subgroups of the time.

Amaziah Priest of Bethel loyal to Jeroboam II; opposed Amos’s preaching and presence in the northern kingdom. (10)

Amnon Son of David who raped his half-sister Tamar, and was killed by Absalom. (8)

Amoraim Jewish teachers from the period between 200 and 500 CE, whose work culminated in the Talmud.

Amos One of the twelve prophets; an eighth-century prophet from Tekoa in Judah, he preached to the northern kingdom and emphasized social justice and the coming Day of Yhwh. (10) See also Book of the Twelve.

Amphictyony Greek term for a religiopolitical federation with its common focus a sanctuary dedicated to God; an association of neighboring states or tribes in ancient Greece that banded together for common interest and protection; this model has sometimes been used to describe the tribal confederation in the period of the judges (prior to Saul and David) in ancient Israel.

Anathoth The hometown of Jeremiah in the tribe of Benjamin. (11)

Anatolia Asia Minor, the Asian portion of modern Turkey; this was the territory of Hatti, the land of the Hittites.

Ancestors In Old Testament study this term refers to the forebears of the nation of Israel—the patriarchs and matriarchs of the Hebrews, usually Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Rachel and Leah, and sometimes the twelve sons of Jacob. (2)

Ancestral covenant The covenant between Yhwh and Abraham described in Genesis 17 that also applied to Isaac and Jacob and their offspring. (P1)

Ancestral Story The accounts in Genesis 12–50 that pertain to the ancestors of the Israelites. (2) See also Ancestors.

Ancient Middle East Often called “ancient Near East” in scholarly literature, the large region of southwest Asia that includes Mesopotamia and territories bordering the Mediterranean Sea; modern nations included within this designation are Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.

Anointing To pour oil over the head; this was part of a ritual of designation by which priests and kings were initiated into office. An “anointed one” (Hebrew meshiach) was a divinely designated leader. (8)

Anthropomorphism (adj. anthropomorphic) A term for the attribution of human behavior or characteristics to inanimate objects, animals, natural phenomena, or deity; with regard to deity, anthropomorphism became a point of theological discussion in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. (P1)

Antiochus IV (175–163) Seleucid king who persecuted the Jews of Judea during the Maccabean period. He called himself Epiphanes, meaning “divine one.” (16)

Antithetic parallelism Type of poetic parallelism in which the second line of a poetic couplet is somehow the opposite the first line in meaning. (13)

Apocalypse (adj. apocalyptic; Greek for “revelation”) An “unveiling” of something hidden; apocalyptic literature is a genre of literature (attested in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions) in which the author claims to reveal the future and to show how the divine plan will be worked out in history, often expressing it in vivid symbolism. The final book of the Christian New Testament is sometimes called (in accord with its Greek title) “the Apocalypse” (it is also known as “the book of Revelation”). (16)

Apocalyptic eschatology The view of the end-times expressed in apocalyptic literature. (16)

Apocalypticism The thought world or worldview of the community that gave rise to apocalyptic literature. (16)

Apocalyptic literature Old Testament, intertestamental Jewish, and early Christian literature that consists predominantly of apocalypses; this literature is often pseudepigraphic; Daniel 7–12 is apocalyptic literature. (16)

Apocalyptic prophecy A form of prophecy that consists mainly of apocalypses and is largely oriented to the future, as in the latter half of the book of Daniel. (P2)

Apocrypha (adj. apocryphal; from Greek for “to hide, to cover”) It is used in a technical sense to refer to certain Jewish books written in the Hellenistic–Roman period that came to be included in the Old Greek Jewish scriptures (and thus also in the Eastern Christian biblical canon) and in the Latin Vulgate Roman Catholic canon, but not in the Jewish or Protestant biblical canons; they are called deutero-canonical books in the Roman Catholic tradition. (P3, C)

Apodictic law See Absolute law.

Apsu The god of the freshwater ocean in the Enuma Elish, the Babylonian creation story. (1)

Aqedah (Hebrew for “binding” [of Isaac]) The biblical account of God’s command to Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice (Genesis 22). (2)

Aram (Aramea, Aram-naharaim, Padan-Aram) The territory north and east of Palestine where Abraham’s ancestors had settled and from where the wives of Isaac and Jacob came; roughly the region of modern northern Syria and northwestern Iraq. (2)

Aramaic A language in the same family as Hebrew, used in Daniel 2:4–7:28, Ezra 4:8–6:18 and 7:12–26, and Jeremiah 10:11; its square script replaced the Old Hebrew script in Hebrew manuscripts before the Common Era.

Araunah The owner of a threshing floor in Jerusalem (Jebus) where David built an altar; David bought the threshing floor, and Solomon built the temple there (2 Samuel 24). (8)

Archaeology The science of unearthing sites containing remains of ancient habitation with the goal of learning everything such sites have to offer about culture, society, ecology, intellectual life, and religion; modern archaeology employs the tools of history, anthropology, geology, and biology to recover the hidden past.

Ark of the covenant of the covenant A gold-overlaid wooden chest with two cherubim on the lid that stored the tablets of the covenant; it was housed first in the tabernacle, then in the Most Holy Place room of the Jerusalem temple; it was the location of God’s presence within Israel. (6, 8)

Armageddon Derived from Hebrew har megiddo, “mountain of Megiddo,” it is the mythic site of the final battle between God and the forces of evil in apocalyptic thought.

Atonement (v. atone) To make right with God by satisfying the penalty for having broken a relationship; in the Old Testament, this was done through offering sacrifices to God. (4) See also Yom Kippur and Day of Atonement.

Atrahasis Epic Epic A Babylonian story that recounts the creation of humankind. (1)

Av (sometimes spelled Ab) A month in the Jewish calendar; the ninth day of the month Av, or tisha b’av, is a day of mourning for the destruction of the Jerusalem temple in 587 BCE and again in 70 CE.

Author The writer of a text; a component of the hermeneutical triangle. (I)

Baal Title meaning “lord, master” (in modern Hebrew, “husband”) that was applied to the chief god of Canaan; various locations in Canaan had their patron Baal gods, for example, Baal of Peor and Baal of Hermon.

Babel The name of a Mesopotamian city with a tower as told in Genesis 11; the name means “gate of God.” (1) See also Babylon and Tower of Babel.

Babylon The capital city of Babylonia in southern Mesopotamia; the Babylonians led by Nebuchadrezzar destroyed Jerusalem in 587 BCE and took Judeans into Babylonian exile; called Babel in Genesis 11. (1, 11)

Babylonian exile See Exile.

Balaam A thirteenth-century BCE Mesopotamian seer-prophet who was hired by Balak of Moab to curse the Israelites but ended up blessing them instead, as told in Numbers 22–24. (4)

Balak King of Moab who opposed Moses and the Israelites. (4)

Baruch Jeremiah’s scribe, perhaps responsible for composing and editing the latter half of the book of Jeremiah. (11)

Bathsheba The wife of Uriah who committed adultery with David; later became David’s wife and the mother of Solomon. (8, 9)

BCE Abbreviation meaning “Before the Common Era”; a theologically neutral replacement for the traditional designation BC (“before Christ”).

Belshazzar Son of Nabonidus (556–539) who ruled in his father’s absence; according to Daniel 5, he was king when Babylon fell. (16)

Belteshazzar The Babylonian name of Daniel; not to be confused with Belshazzar. (16)

Ben (Hebrew for “son, son of”; Aramaic bar) Used frequently in patronymics (naming by identity of father); Rabbi Akiba ben Joseph means Akiba, son of Joseph.

Benjamin The twelfth son of Jacob; the younger brother of Joseph; Rachel was his mother; he was the ancestor of the tribe of Benjamin. (2)

Berakah (Hebrew for “blessing”) In Judaism, an offering of thankfulness that praises God for a benefit conferred or a great event experienced.

Berit (also spelled brit; Hebrew for “covenant”) \ Used in Judaism especially for the special relationship believed to exist between God and the Jewish people. See also Covenant.

Bethel A city that became a center of Israelite worship; literally means “house of El.”

Bethlehem A city in the tribe of Judah, hometown of David; the name literally means “house of bread.” (15)

Bible (adj. biblical; from Greek biblos, “papyrus, paper, book” and ta biblia, “the books”) The designation normally used for the Hebrew Bible plus the Christian New Testament; in classical Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox Christianity, it designates the Hebrew Bible plus the Apocrypha and the New Testament.

Birthright The special inheritance rights of the first-born son that give him claim to the bulk of the ancestral property. (2)

Blessing , bless Divine favor and approval; blessing is a mark of God’s grace and evidence of his protecting and prospering presence; in return people can bless God as a display of gratitude for his goodness. (1) See also Berakah.

Boaz A wealthy Israelite who lived in Bethlehem; he married Ruth and became an ancestor of David. (15)

Book of the Covenant (also called the Covenant Code) Exodus 20:22–23:33; a collection of Israelite laws. (3)

Book of the Twelve (also called the twelve prophets) Sometimes called the Minor Prophets, a collection of twelve short prophetic books in the Latter Prophets. (P2)

Burning bush The bush out of which Yhwh spoke to Moses in the Sinai to reveal God’s identity, as told in Exodus 3. (3)

Cain The first son of Adam and Eve; he murdered his brother Abel. (1)

Caleb One of the twelve spies Joshua sent into Canaan; of the generation which left Egypt in the Exodus, only he and Joshua were allowed to enter Canaan. (4)

Calendar Judaism follows a lunar calendar adjusted every three years or so to the solar cycle (by adding a second twelfth month)—thus “lunisolar.” The oldest Jewish annual observances are Passover/pesah, Shevuot, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot; other ancient celebrations include Rosh Hashanah, Simhat Torah, Hannukah, and Purim. In general, Christianity operates on a solar calendar based on the relationship between the sun and the earth (365.25 days per year); the main Christian observances are Easter, Pentecost, and Christmas.

Call narrative An account found in some historical and prophetic books that record the prophet’s experience of being called into prophetic ministry; the call was usually issued in the presence of God. (10)

Call to praise A speech-type found in certain biblical psalms in which the psalmist enjoins others to join him in praising God. (13)

Canaan The geographical territory between the Mediterranean coast and the Jordan River that was claimed and occupied by the Hebrews; also called the Promised Land.

Canon The authorized collection of material constituting the sacred writings of a religious community; the material is believed to have special, usually divine, authority; the Hebrew Bible is the canon of the Jewish community; the Old and New Testaments (respectively, with and without the Apocrypha) are the canon of the Roman Catholic and Protestant Christian communities. (C)

Canon criticism A type of biblical analysis that places emphasis on the final form of the text as normative for Judaism and Christianity.

Canonization The process whereby a religious community defined the body of texts it considered authoritative for its life and belief. (C)

Case law Legal sayings with modifying clauses often in the “if . . . then” form: “If this is the situation, . . . then this is the penalty”; also called casuistic law, this type of legal formulation contrasts with absolute law. (3)

Casuistic law See Case law.

Catholic (from Greek for “universal, worldwide”) A self-designation used in early Christianity to suggest universality as opposed to factionalism; it then became a technical name for the Western, Roman Catholic Church.

CE Abbreviation meaning “Common Era”; a nonsectarian term for the period traditionally labeled AD (anno domini or “in the year of our Lord”) by Christians; thus, 1999 CE references the same year as AD 1999. See also BCE.

Centralization (centralization of worship) A theme of the Deuteronomist whereby proper worship could only be performed in the city God designated, presumably Jerusalem. (5)

Chaos The disordered state of unformed matter that existed before the universe was ordered; biblical and ancient Middle Eastern origin stories depicted chaos as an unruly cosmic ocean. (1)

Charismatic Gifted, filled with the divine, with divinely given powers, or with God’s spirit. This state may be linked with ecstasy or trance, which is reported to have been experienced by the early prophets and by Saul, the first king. (8)

Cherub (Hebrew, pl. cherubim) An angelic being, in appearance something like a human but with wings; they were mythical celestial winged creatures prominent in Temple decoration; cherubim were considered God’s ruling council; also called the host of heaven.

Chiasmus (adj. chiastic) A literary device in which, for emphasis, the second part of a text is parallel to the first but in reverse—for example, ABBA, ABCBA.

Christ (from Greek christos, “anointed one”; Greek translation of Hebrew meshiach) Applied to Jesus/Joshua of Nazareth by his followers as a title, but soon came to be treated as a sort of second name. See also Messiah.

Christians /Christianity The followers of Jesus of Nazareth who believe him to be the Jewish messiah (christos) of God; Christianity is the collective body of Christians who believe the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.

Christos The Greek word for “anointed one.” See also Christ.

Chronicle An annal or account of events in the order in which they occurred.

Chronicler Writer of the books of Chronicles; generally considered to be a later interpreter of the history of Judah. (17)

Chronicler’s History The books of the Writings considered to be a postexilic retelling of Israel’s history intended to profile the role of the house of David; consists of the biblical books 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah. (P3, 17)

Church (from Greek ekklesia, “summoned group”; compare “ecclesiastical”) The designation traditionally used for a specifically Christian assembly or body of people—thus also the building or location in which the assembled people meet—and by extension also the specific organized subgroup within Christianity (Catholic, Protestant, Methodist, and so forth); similar to synagogue and kahal in Judaism.

Circumcision , circumcise Cutting off the loose fold of skin at the end of the penis; circumcision was the ritual attached to the covenant God made with Abraham; in Judaism, and it is ritually performed when a boy is eight days old in a ceremony called brit milah, which indicates that the ritual establishes a covenant between God and the individual; in Islam, it is performed at the age of puberty. (2)

Cities of refuge Six cities designated in Mosaic law for those who accidentally killed someone. (6)

Classical Judaism The form of Judaism that has survived as traditional throughout the centuries.

Clean/unclean A category designation within Israel’s ritual system that applies to animate and inanimate objects that are either pure or impure according to a set of standards. (4)

Clean animals Animals that were approved for ritual sacrifices.

Climactic parallelism The type of poetic parallelism where the second line of a poetic couplet echoes part of the first line and adds a phrase to it, thereby extending and completing its sense. (13)

Code of Hammurapi (also spelled Hammurabi) A Mesopotamian law code associated with the eighteenth-century BCE Old Babylonian monarch Hammurapi; it has similarities to the biblical Book of the Covenant. (3)

Colon A single line of poetry, sometimes called a stich or stichos. (13)

Commandments (Hebrew mitzvot; sing., mitzvah) Orders given by God. God gave Ten Commandments as the core of the covenant on Mount Sinai and a multitude of other moral and cultic laws. According to rabbinic Jewish tradition, there are 613 religious commandments referred to in the Torah (and elaborated upon by the rabbinic sages); of these, 248 are positive commandments, and 365 are negative. The numbers respectively symbolize the fact that divine service must be expressed through all one’s bodily parts during all the days of the year; in general, a mitzvah refers to any act of religious duty or obligation; more colloquially, a mitzvah refers to a “good deed.”

Commentary A discussion of a book of the Bible that treats linguistic, literary, historical, and theological aspects of its meaning.

Complaint (also called lament) A literary type that expresses the pain and alienation of the writer and asks God for help; complaints are found in psalmic and prophetic literature. (11, 13)

Complaints of Jeremiah A collection of passages found in Jeremiah 11-20 that express his anxieties and frustrations in being a prophet. (11)

Concordance An alphabetical listing of all the important words in a text and their textual locations; a useful tool for studying biblical themes.

Concubine A woman who belonged to a man but did not have the full rights of a wife; she was frequently acquired as spoils in war, and her main function was to bear sons for the man.

Conquest The series of initiatives and military actions of the time of Joshua that were intended to secure Israel’s control of Palestine. (6)

Consecrate (n. consecration) To set aside or dedicate to God’s use.

Cosmogony A theory or model of the origin and evolution of the physical universe; ancient creation stories such as Genesis 1–2 and the Enuma Elish are cosmogonies.

Cosmology A model of the structure of the physical universe; the Israelites viewed the world as an inhabitable region surrounded by water. (1)

Covenant (Hebrew berit or brit) A pact or formal agreement between two parties in which there are mutual obligations and expectations. Covenant is used as a metaphor of God’s relationship with his people; the major covenants in the Old Testament are God’s covenant with Abraham (Genesis 15) and the Sinai/Moses covenant (Exodus 19–24) between God and Israel; the Priestly writer used a succession of covenants to track the development of salvation history. In Judaism the covenant is a major theological concept referring to the eternal bond between God and the people of Israel grounded in God’s gracious and steadfast concern (Hebrew chesed) that calls for the nation’s obedience to the divine commandments (mitzvot) and instruction (torah). For followers of Christianity (for example, Paul), God has made a “new covenant” (rendered as “new testament” in older English) with the followers of Jesus in the last times, superseding the “old covenant” (“old testament”) with Moses at Sinai (see Jeremiah 31:31–34). (P1, 1, 2, 3, 5)

Covenant code See Book of the Covenant.

Creation What has been brought into being; the Hebrew Bible attributes the Creation of the world to Israel’s God. The classic descriptions of the Creation are found in Genesis 1 and 2, but there are many other allusions to the Creation found in Israel’s Psalms and in prophetic literature. The Enuma Elish is a Babylonian account of creation. (1)

Creation-redemption A prophetic theme found strongly in Isaiah of the exile whereby salvation is possible and can be expected from God because the deity has already demonstrated extraordinary power through creating the world. (12)

Criticism When used in biblical scholarship in such phrases as biblical criticism, higher criticism, and form criticism, it means evaluating evidence to arrive at a reasoned judgment concerning the matter under investigation; it does not imply that the reader is taking a negative or “criticizing” position in regards to the Bible. RTOT suggests that critique or analysis may be a better term to use.

Cubit A biblical unit of measurement, the distance from elbow to fingertip—approximately 18 inches, or half a meter.

Cult/cultic The formal organization and practice of worship usually associated with a sanctuary and involving a regular cycle of sacrifices, prayers, and hymns under the direction of priests and other leaders; when used in biblical studies the term is descriptive and does not imply anything dark, devilish, false, or unseemly as is often the case in modern uses of the term. (4)

Curse To ask God to bring something tragic or disastrous on someone or something else; the opposite of blessing; as a noun, it is the description of the bad thing that will happen as in the curses and blessings of the law.

Cycle As in Abraham cycle, Jacob cycle, and Joseph cycle, the term refers to a collection of stories centered on or “cycling” around one person. (2)

Cyrus (550–530) Persian monarch, also called Cyrus the Great and Cyrus II, who founded the Medo-Persian Empire in the sixth century BCE and allowed the Judean refugees to return to their homeland after the Babylonian exile. (12, 17)

D The abbreviation for the Deuteronomist source of the Torah/Pentateuch written in the seventh century BCE. (5) See also Deuteronomy and Deuteronomist.

Dan A son of Jacob and one of the twelve tribes of Israel.

Daniel A Judean who was taken into Babylonian captivity by Nebuchadrezzar; a Jewish hero, he is the main character in the book of Daniel. (16)

David The son of Jesse, anointed by Samuel to become king in place of Saul; he killed Goliath. His sons Amnon, Absalom, Adonijah, and Solomon fought to follow him on the throne. He is associated with the biblical psalms and is credited with politically and militarily uniting the ancient Israelite confederation into a centralized kingdom with Jerusalem as its capital; he created the largest empire Israel ever knew. David is said to have planned for the temple that his son and successor, Solomon, built. (8)

Davidic covenant A covenant God made with David, pledging that the family of David would provide kings to rule over Israel in perpetuity (2 Samuel 7). (8)

Day of Atonement (Hebrew Yom Kippur) The one day each year when special sacrifices were made by the high priest for the sins of the people. Only on this day, the high priest entered the Most Holy Place of the temple to sprinkle blood on the ark of the covenant to reconcile Israel with God (Leviticus 16). (4)

Day of Yhwh Also termed the Day of the Lord, the day that God of Israel battles his enemies; derives from the holy war tradition and was cited by Amos, Joel, Obadiah, and Zephaniah. (10, 12)

Dead Sea Scrolls A collection of scrolls dating to the first century BCE found in caves near the Dead Sea; they are generally thought to be linked with the settlement at Qumran and with a Jewish religious group called the Essenes. (C)

Deborah The judge of Israel who engineered victory over the Canaanites (Judges 4–5). (7)

Decalogue (Greek for “ten words”) Refers to laws collected into a group of ten; the Decalogue is the Ten Commandments received by Moses on Mount Sinai (Exodus 20:1–17 and Deuteronomy 5:1–21); the cultic or Ritual Decalogue is found in Exodus 34. (3) See also Ethical Decalogue and Ritual Decalogue.

Demythologize The process of interpreting a myth in nonmythic language to express its meaning without clinging to its mythic form.

Deuterocanonical Pertains to writings regarded as Scripture by some (particularly by Christian groups) but not contained in the Hebrew Bible. See also Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha.

Deuteronomic reform A reform of Judah’s religious institutions carried out by Josiah in the seventh century BCE; the book of Deuteronomy is closely associated with this initiative.

Deuteronomic source (D) The literary source document of the Pentateuch that consists largely of the book of Deuteronomy. (P1)

Deuteronomic theme The cycle of sin, punishment, repentance, and deliverance that the Deuteronomistic historian uses to organize Israel’s historical experience. (P2)

Deuteronomist The writer or school of writers responsible for the book of Deuteronomy, the fifth book of the Torah/Pentateuch. (5)

Deuteronomistic historian The writer or editor of the Deuteronomistic History; one theory holds that there were two editors, Dtr1 from the time of Josiah and Dtr2 from the time of the Babylonian exile.

Deuteronomistic History (DH) Sometimes called the Deuteronomic History, the body of material that consists of the introduction to Deuteronomy (Chapters 1–4) and Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings. It is an extended review of Israel’s history from the conquest under Joshua through the destruction of 587 BCE written from the perspective of principles found in the book of Deuteronomy. (5, P2)

Deuteronomy The fifth book of the Torah/Pentateuch; many modern scholars consider it to be part or all of a scroll found during a reform of the temple and its institutions carried out by Josiah in 622 BCE (5)

DH The abbreviation for the Deuteronomistic History; sometimes noted DtrH. See Deuteronomistic History.

Diaspora (Greek for “scattering”; also called the Dispersion) The technical term for the Dispersion of the Jewish people, a process that began after defeats in 721 and 587 BCE and resulted in the growth of sizable Jewish communities outside Palestine. The terms Diaspora and Dispersion are often used to refer to the Jewish communities living among the gentiles outside the “holy land” of Canaan/Israel/Palestine. (P3)

Dietary laws See Kosher.

Dispersion See Diaspora.

Divine Council Consisting of the “sons of God,” a council of angels who surrounded God and served perhaps as his deliberative assembly. (1)

Divine warrior The notion that God is a warrior fighting on behalf of his people. (6) See also Holy war.

Documentary hypothesis Scholarly hypothesis that suggests that the Torah/Pentateuch was not the work of one author, such as Moses, but is a composition based on four documents from different periods: J (the Yahwist) from about 950 BCE, E (the Elohist) from about 850, D (Deuteronomy) from about 620, and P (the Priestly document) from about 550–450. J and E were combined around 720, D was added about a century later, and P about a century after that, giving final shape to the Torah. (P1)

Dualism The belief that there are two elemental forces in the universe, good and evil; apocalypticism typically holds a dualistic view of the world. (16)

E The abbreviation for the Elohist source. See Elohist source. (P1)

Early Judaism Also sometimes called formative, proto-, middle, and even late Judaism; refers to Judaism in the intertestamental period (and slightly later) as a development from the religion of ancient Israel but prior to the emergence of its classical, rabbinic form in the early centuries CE. (C)

Eden Also called the garden of Eden, it was the place God located the first created humans, Adam and Eve (Genesis 2–3). (1)

Edom A territory south of Judah, the location of the Edomites, the descendants of Esau. (2)

Egypt A land and kingdom in northeastern Africa, on the Mediterranean and Red Seas.

Ehud A judge of Israel from the book of Judges, noted for being left-handed. (7)

El The Semitic word for God, found alone or compounded with other terms as names of God (for example, El Shaddai and El Elyon); often found as the theophoric element in personal and place names (for example, Elijah and Bethel).

Election A term used theologically in Judaism to indicate God’s choice of Israel to receive the covenant—a choice not based on the superiority or previous accomplishments of the people but on God’s graciousness (see Covenant); in Christianity, the concept of election was applied to the “new Israel” of Jesus’ followers in the last times.

Eli The high priest at Shiloh with whom Samuel ministered in his early years. (8)

Elijah An Israelite prophet during the reign of Ahab; he defeated the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel and was taken to heaven in a firestorm. (9)

Elisha The prophet who succeeded Elijah in the northern kingdom of Israel. (9)

Elkanah An Ephraimite, the husband of Hannah and the father of Samuel. (8)

Elohim A Hebrew word meaning “God”; Israel’s most general way of referring to its deity; the Elohist portions of the Pentateuch refer to God with this term. (P1)

Elohist source (also called the Elohist; abbreviated E) The name given to a reconstructed source underlying certain Pentateuchal narratives; it is characterized by the use of the divine name Elohim. (P1)

Enuma Elish A Babylonian story of creation, featuring Apsu, Tiamat, and Marduk. (1)

Ephod A linen apron worn by a priest over his robe.

Ephraim One of Joseph’s two sons; he became the ancestor of one of the tribes of Israel; the name Ephraim was often used as a designation of the ten northern tribes after the division of the kingdoms.

Eponym A supposed ancestor (eponymous ancestor) whose name is the same as or related to the name of a later group, tribe, or nation. (2)

Eretz Yisrael/Israel (Hebrew for “land of Israel”) In Jewish thought, the special term for the Palestinian area believed to have been promised to the Jewish people by God in the ancient covenant. See also Israel.

Esau The first son of Isaac and Rebekah; the twin of Jacob; he was the ancestor of the Edomites. (2)

Eschatology (adj. eschatological; from Greek eschaton, “last” or “the end-time”) Refers in general to what is expected (from the inquirer’s perspective) to take place in the “last times”; thus the study of the ultimate destiny or purpose of humankind and the world, how and when the end will occur, and what the end or last period of history or existence will be like. (16) See also Apocalypse and Apocalyptic literature.

Essenes A Jewish group that lived in retreat in the wilderness of Judea between the first century BCE and the first CE, according to Josephus, the elder, Pliny, and Philo. (C). See also Dead Sea Scrolls and Qumran.

Esther A Jewish heroine of the Diaspora who became queen of Persia under Xerxes I, called Ahasuerus in the story; she secured the safety of the Jews when they were threatened with genocide; her story is told in the book that carries her name. (15)

Ethical Decalogue The Ten Commandments of Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5. (3) See Decalogue.

Etiology (sometimes spelled aetiology; from Greek for “cause, origin”) A term used to describe or label stories (etiological tales) that claim to explain the reason for something being (or being called) what it is; for example, in the old Jewish Creation story (Genesis 2:23), woman (ishshah) is given that name because she has been taken out of (the side or rib of) “man” (ish). (6)

Eve The first female who God created; mated to Adam, her name means “life.” (1)

Ex nihilo A Latin phrase meaning “from nothing” that some theologians apply to the biblical story of the Creation; Genesis 1, as well as other Old Testament allusions to the Creation, suggests that God created the world out of water. (1)

Exegesis (from Greek for “interpretation”; adj. exegetical) The process of drawing out meaning from a text; interpreting a text in its literary and historical context.

Exile (also called Babylonian exile) The Babylonian exile was the period in the middle of the sixth century BCE when Judeans were taken as captives to Babylonia and resettled there; it officially ended in 539 BCE, but many Judeans nonetheless remained there. (11)

Exodus (from Greek for “to exit, go out”) The term refers to the event of the Israelites leaving Egypt and to the biblical book that tells of that event, the second book of the Torah; the release from Egyptian captivity and the Exodus from Egypt were led by Moses, probably in the thirteenth century BCE. (3) See also Passover.

Ezekiel A priest taken to Babylonia, he became a prophet to the community of Judean refugees living there in the sixth century BCE; also, the prophetic book associated with this figure. (11, 12)

Ezra A priest and teacher of the Torah; he led a group of Jewish refugees back to Judea from Babylonia in the fifth century BCE. (17)

Fall The disobedience and expulsion of Adam and Eve from the garden of Eden (Genesis 3). Neither the biblical text nor Judaism call this event the Fall, meaning a fall from grace. Calling it this is a Christian theological interpretation of the story. (1)

Fear of Yhwh (also Fear of God) A deep respect and reverence of God; an important theme in the Elohist fragments and in the wisdom literature. (14)

Fertile crescent The well-watered and fertile arc of land where early civilizations developed and prospered; it extends upward from the Nile Valley in the west, through Palestine and Syria, and down the Tigris and Euphrates Valleys to the Persian Gulf.

First Isaiah See Isaiah of Jerusalem.

Five Books of Moses A designation of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, also know as the Torah and the Pentateuch. (P1)

Five Scrolls (sometimes called the Five Megillot) A subgroup of books within the Writings section of the Hebrew Bible consisting of the Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther; each book or scroll is associated with a festival occasion in the life of Israel. (P3, 15)

Flood The watery inundation during the time of Noah that destroyed all life on earth except for Noah and the representative sample of created things that survived in the ark (Genesis 6–9). (1)

Form criticism (also called form analysis) The examination of literary units to discover the typical formal structures and patterns behind the present text in an attempt to recover the original sociological setting or setting-in-life (German Sitz im Leben) of that form of literature. (P2, 13)

Formal parallelism parallelism (sometimes called synthetic parallelism) The type of poetic parallelism in which the second line of a poetic couplet completes the thought of the first line. (13)

Former Prophets The term designating the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings—possibly so-called because it was assumed that prophets had written these books; Former because they were placed before the Latter Prophets in the canonical order of the books in the Hebrew Bible. (P2)

Galilee The northern part of Palestine, specifically the territories north and west of the Sea of Galilee.

Galut (Hebrew for “exile”) The term refers to the various expulsions of Jews from the ancestral homeland; over time, it came to express the broader notion of Jewish homelessness and state of being aliens; thus, colloquially, “to be in galut” means to live in the Diaspora and also to be in a state of physical and even spiritual alienation. See also Diaspora.

Gemara (Hebrew for “completion”) Popularly applied to the Jewish Talmud as a whole, to discussions by rabbinic teachers on Mishnah, and to decisions reached in these discussions; in a more restricted sense, it applies to the work of the generations of the Amoraim from the third through the fifth centuries CE in “completing” Mishnah to produce the Talmuds.

Genealogy A list or family tree of ancestors or descendants; the Priestly history and the Chronicler’s History contain extensive genealogies. (1)

Generation A group of people born and living at about the same time, usually reckoned as forty years in the Old Testament; grandparents, parents, and children are three generations.

Genre The term used by literary critics as the equivalent of “type of literature”; the basic genres found in the Hebrew Bible are prose and poetry with many different subtypes including song, hymn, story, saying, speech, law, genealogy, saga, and history.

Gentiles (Hebrew goyyim) In pre-Christian times, non-Jewish peoples; thereafter, non-Jewish and non-Christian (roughly synonymous with “pagan”).

Gibeon A village north of Jerusalem that tricked Joshua and the Israelites into making a treaty with them. (6)

Gideon A judge who delivered the Israelites from the tyranny of the Midianites. (7)

Gilgal A village near Jericho where the Israelites first stopped after they entered the Promised Land. (6)

Gilgamesh Epic A Babylonian epic centering on Gilgamesh, an ancient king of Uruk; the eleventh tablet of this epic contains a story of a flood that has parallels to the biblical story of Noah and the ark. (1)

Glory of Yhwh The revelation of God’s being, nature, and presence to humankind, often through physical or meteorological phenomena. (3, 12)

God The supreme divine being, called Elohim by the Israelites, who was also known as Yhwh.

Gog and Magog Gog is a future foe of Israel and a personification of evil that lived in the land of Magog. Gog battled God’s forces in Ezekiel 38–39. (12)

Golden calf A statue constructed by Aaron at Mount Sinai that the Israelites worshipped; Jeroboam, first king of Israel, built golden calf shrines at Bethel and Dan. (3)

Goliath The Philistine giant that David killed. (8)

Gomer The wife of Hosea the prophet who turned out to be unfaithful to their marriage. (10)

Goshen The territory in the eastern Nile delta of Egypt where Joseph settled the family of Jacob. (2)

Grace An undeserved gift or favor; the undeserved attention, forgiveness, kindness, and mercy that God gives.

Habakkuk One of the twelve prophets; a sixth-century Judean prophet who sought to understand God’s purpose in sending the Babylonians to punish Judah. (11) See also Book of the Twelve.

Habiru (sometimes spelled hapiru or ‘apiru) An Akkadian term denoting persons or groups who were social and political outlaws from established society; existing in the ancient Middle East in the second and first millennia BCE, they appear as slaves, merchants, mercenary soldiers, bandits, and outlaws; some scholars link this term to the word Hebrew. (6)

Hagar The servant of Sarah and one of Abraham’s wives; the mother of Ishmael, who was driven away from the family by Sarah. (2)

Haggadah (adj. haggadic; Hebrew for “telling, narration”; sometimes spelled aggada[h]) Jewish term for non-halakic (nonlegal) matter, especially in Talmud and Midrash. It includes folklore, legend, theology, scriptural interpretations, biography, and so forth. In a general sense, in classical Jewish literature and discussion, what is not halaka (legal subject matter) is (h)aggada; technically, “the Haggada(h)” is a liturgical manual about the Exodus from Egypt in the time of Moses used in the Jewish Passover Seder.

Haggai One of the twelve prophets; a prophet who encouraged the Israelites to rebuild the temple after a return from the exile in Babylonia in the sixth century BCE (12) See also Book of the Twelve.

Halakah (adj. halakic; Hebrew for “going”—that is, how we go about our daily lives) Deals with practical guidance, rules, and expectations in Judaism; any normative Jewish law, custom, practice, or rite—or the entire complex. Halakah is law established or custom ratified by authoritative rabbinic jurists and teachers; colloquially, if something is deemed halakic, it is considered proper and normative behavior.

Ham One of the sons of Noah; he abused his father and Canaan, his son, was cursed for it. (1)

Haman The wicked opponent of Mordecai and the Jews in the book of Esther. (15)

Hananiah The Judean prophet who challenged Jeremiah over the issue of the yoke of Babylon. (11)

Hannah The wife of Elkanah and mother of Samuel; she prayed for a son; after Samuel was born, she dedicated him to God’s service at Shiloh. (8)

Hanukkah (Hebrew for “dedication”) The Jewish festival of lights that commemorates the rededication of the Jerusalem temple to more traditional modes of Jewish worship by Judah the Maccabee around 164 BCE after its desecration in the time of the Seleucid King Antiochus IV Epiphanes. (16)

Hasids (Hebrew for “pious ones”) The term may refer to Jews in various periods: (1) a group that resisted the policies of Antiochus IV Epiphanes in the second century BCE at the start of the Maccabean revolt; (2) pietists in the thirteenth century CE; (3) followers of the movement of Hasidism founded in the eighteenth century CE by Baal Shem Tov. (16)

Hasmonaean Hasmon is the family name of the Maccabees, so the Maccabaean rulers are often referred to as Hasmonaean; the Hasmoneans included the Maccabees and the high priests and kings who ruled Judea from 142 to 63 BCE.

Hazor A city in northern Canaan that resisted the Israelites but was conquered by Joshua. (6)

Hebrew The language of the Old Testament Israelites and the language in which most of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible was written.

Hebrew Bible The collection of twenty-four books written by Israelites and Jews in the first millennium BCE, mostly in the Hebrew language, with portions of Ezra and Daniel written in Aramaic. The Jewish title for the collection is Tanak (can also be spelled Tanakh), and the Christian title is Old Testament. The Hebrew Bible is the Written Torah of Judaism and the first testament of the Christian canon. (I, C)

Hebrews Another name for Israelites, usually used in reference to them before they settled in the Promised Land. (3)

Hebron A major city in Judah; the place from which David first ruled; Abraham and many other ancestors were buried here. (8)

Hellenism (Greek for “Greekish”) The civilization that spread from Greece throughout much of the ancient world from 333 (Alexander the Great) to 63 (dominance of Rome) BCE; as a result, many elements of Greek culture (names, language, philosophy, athletics, architecture, and so forth) penetrated the ancient Middle East. (16)

Hellenistic Pertaining to Greek culture as disseminated by the conquests of Alexander the Great and the rule of his successors.

Hellenization The process of enculturation into the beliefs and practices of Hellenism, which is another term for Greek culture in all its fullness. (16)

Hermeneutical triangle A conceptual representation of the three major elements that are involved in the interpretation of texts: author, referent, and reader. (I) See also Hermeneutics.

Hermeneutics (from Greek for “to interpret, translate”; hence, “science of interpretation”) Denotes the strategy of interpreting texts to enable them to be applied to circumstances contemporary with the interpreter; the term is often used with reference to the study of Jewish and Christian Scriptures.

Hexateuch The first six books of the Hebrew Bible; there may be an underlying assumption that these belong together historically. (P2)

Hezekiah (715–687) A king of Judah; he restored the temple, reinstituted proper worship, and received God’s help against the Assyrians. (10)

High priest The chief religious official in Israel; he offered the most important sacrifices to God on behalf of the people.

Hillel Often called by the title “the Elder”; probably a Babylonian, Hillel was an important sage of the early Jewish period in Palestine around the turn of the era; his teachings convey the Pharisaic ideal, through many epigrams on humility and peace (found in Sayings of the Fathers 1–2), and were fundamental in shaping the Pharisaic traditions and modes of interpretation; in rabbinic lore, Hillel is famous for a negative formulation of the “Golden Rule” (recited to a non-Jew): “What is hateful to you do not do to your fellow man. That is the whole Torah, the rest is commentary. Go and learn it”; his style of legal reasoning is continued by his disciples, known as Beit Hillel (“House/School of Hillel”), and is typically contrasted with that of Shammai (a contemporary) and his school.

Historicity The issue of the relationship of a text and the event to which it refers and whether the text accurately reflects the “happenedness” of the event. (P1)

Historiography The reconstruction of the past based on a critical examination of ancient materials.

Holiness Code Chapters 17–27 of Leviticus, which detail the laws for ensuring, protecting, and promoting holiness (sacredness, separateness). (4)

Holy/holiness To be set apart for God; to belong to God; to be pure. (4)

Holy spirit (sometimes termed the holy ghost) In the Hebrew Bible it is referred to as the spirit of God or spirit of Yhwh; in Judaism the presence of God is evidenced in the speech of the prophets and by other divine manifestations; in Christianity it is understood more generally as the active, guiding presence of God in the church and its members.

Holy War authorized by God and led by him; Old Testament holy war called for the complete slaughter of the enemy and the dedication of all spoils to God. (6) See also Divine warrior.

Hophni and Phinehas They were two sons of Eli, the high priest at Shiloh; they died in battle at Aphek-Ebenezer fighting the Philistines. (8)

Horeb The term used in the Elohist and Deuteronomist sources to designate the location where God delivered the commandments and covenant to the Israelites through Moses; apparently the equivalent of Mount Sinai. (3)

Hosea One of the twelve prophets; an eighth-century BCE Israelite prophet who exposed the people’s lack of faith in Yhwh. (10)

Hyksos Derived from Egyptian for “rulers of foreign countries,” these Semitic rulers of Egypt from 1750–1550 BCE were probably the people in control of Egypt during the sojourn of Joseph and Jacob’s descendants. (3)

Hymn A song praising God, the king, Zion, or Torah that contains a description of why the object of praise is wonderful. (13)

Iconography The expression of religious principles or doctrines using pictorial or symbolic images or icons; icons may serve as visual metaphors; a faith that favors this type of expression is called “iconic.”

Image of God Phrase deriving from Genesis 1:26–7; God created humankind in his own image. (1)

Immanuel (sometimes spelled Emmanuel) The name or title of an otherwise unidentifiable person in Isaiah’s prophecy (Chapters 7–8); means “God is with us.” (10)

Incense A component in rituals of worship; spices burned on an altar or in a censer to make a sweet-smelling smoke.

Inclusion A literary technique that begins and ends a unit of text with the same or similar words to create wholeness and literary closure. (1)

Intertestamental period The period in which early Judaism developed, between about 400 BCE (the traditional end date for the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible) and the first century CE (the composition of the Christian New Testament); the Jewish intertestamental literature includes the Apocrypha (mostly preserved in Greek) and the Pseudepigrapha (works from this period ascribed to ancient authors like Enoch, the ancestors, and Moses). (C)

Invocation The formula used at the beginning of many psalms that appeals to God and asks him to listen. (13)

Isaac The son of Abraham and Sarah who inherited the ancestral promises; he married Rebekah and was the father of Esau and Jacob. (2)

Isaiah A prophet in Jerusalem in the eighth century BCE, also called Isaiah of Jerusalem; also, the prophetic book that contains the combined words of Isaiah of Jerusalem (First Isaiah), Isaiah of the Exile (Second Isaiah), and Isaiah of the Restoration (Third Isaiah). (10)

Isaiah of Jerusalem (also called First Isaiah) The first main section of the book of Isaiah (Chapters 1–39) and the author of those chapters. (10) See Isaiah.

Isaiah of the Exile (also called Second Isaiah and Deutero-Isaiah) The second main section of the book of Isaiah, (Chapters 40–55) whose setting is the Babylonian exile. The term also designates the anonymous author of those chapters. (12)

Isaiah of the Restoration (also called Third Isaiah and Trito-Isaiah) The third main section of the book of Isaiah (Chapters 56–66), which dates to the sixth-century BCE period of the restoration of Jerusalem. The term also designates the anonymous author of those chapters. (12)

Ishmael The son of Abraham and Hagar; he was not the son of the promise; he and his mother were expelled by Sarah and Abraham. (2)

Israel A secondary name for Jacob; the name of the ten northern tribes who formed the “kingdom of Israel” (alternatives are “Ephraim” and “Samaria”), destroyed in 721 BCE; also used as the name of the twelve tribes and for the whole territory occupied by the Israelites, Canaan. Historically, Jews have continued to regard themselves as the true continuation of the ancient Israelite national–religious community. In modern times, it also refers to the political state of Israel. Christians came to consider themselves to be the “true” Israel, thus also a continuation of the ancient traditions.

Israelis Modern term designating citizens of the modern state of Israel; to be distinguished from Israelites.

Israelites (from “sons of Israel”) Primarily the inhabitants of the ancient state of Israel but also used of the Hebrews from the time of Moses to the monarchy.

J The abbreviation for the Yahwist source of the Pentateuch. (P1) See Yahwist narrative.

Jacob The second son of Isaac and Rebekah; he was the twin brother of Esau; his name was changed to Israel after he wrestled with God at the Jabbok River. He became the recipient of the ancestral promises, and his twelve sons became the ancestors of the tribes of Israel. (2)

Jacob cycle The narratives of Genesis 25:19 to 35:29 that revolve around the ancestor Jacob. (2)

Japheth One of the sons of Noah, he was blessed because with Shem he covered his father’s nakedness. (1)

Jebus The Canaanite city conquered by David and made his capital, Jerusalem. (8)

JEDP See Documentary hypothesis.

Jehoiachin (598) King of Judah for three months, he was taken captive to Babylon in the first deportation. (11)

Jehoiakim (609–598) Second to the last king of Judah. (11)

Jehovah An early and mistaken attempt to represent the special Hebrew name for the deity Yhwh; a more probable reconstruction of the divine name is Yhwh.

Jehu (843–815) King of Israel who was instrumental in engineering the demise of the house of Ahab. (9)

Jephthah A judge of Israel from the book of Judges. (7)

Jeremiah A prophet in Judah during the Babylonian crisis (late seventh and early sixth centuries BCE); he was persecuted because of his unpopular prophetic statements including a prediction of the fall of Jerusalem; also, the prophetic book containing his oracles and narratives about him. (11)

Jeremiah’s complaints See Complaints of Jeremiah.

Jericho The first city in Canaan conquered by Joshua and the Israelites. (6)

Jeroboam An administrator in Solomon’s court who rebelled and became the first king of the Northern Kingdom of Israel (922–901; he built non-Yahwistic shrines in the cities of Dan and Bethel; a king of Israel in the eighth century BCE also held this name and is sometimes referred to as Jeroboam II (786–746). (9)

Jeroboam II See Jeroboam.

Jerusalem The political and religious capital of Israel when it was united, then of the southern kingdom of Judah; David captured Jebus and made it his capital city, the City of David; Mount Zion is the ridge in Jerusalem on which the royal palace and temple were built; Jerusalem is where Jesus of Nazareth was crucified and resurrected. (8)

Jeshua Another spelling of Joshua; Jeshua was the high priest of Judea in the sixth century BCE during the time of Zerubbabel, Haggai, and Zechariah. (17)

Jesus /Joshua (“Jesus” is the Greek attempt to transliterate the Semitic name “Joshua”) The Palestinian popular figure from the first century CE whose death and resurrection as God’s Messiah/Christ became foundational for an early Jewish subgroup known as the Nazarenes from which Christianity ultimately developed as a separate religion.

Jethro Father of Zipporah and father-in-law of Moses; also called Reuel. (3)

Jews The term applied to the people of God after the Babylonian exile; it is derived from the Hebrew/Aramaic term for Judeans, yehudi. (P3) See also Judaism.

Jezebel The Phoenician wife of Ahab who promoted Baal worship in Israel and opposed Elijah the prophet. (9)

Jezreel A Israelite royal city of the Omride dynasty; the place where Jehu executed Jezebel; it became a byword for Jehu’s cruelty, and Hosea named his son Jezreel to signal God’s judgment. (9, 10)

Joab David’s military commander. (8)

Job A righteous man whom God tested by disaster and personal suffering; in the end, God restored his wealth and family. The book of Job, considered a work of wisdom literature, contains the story. (14)

Joel One of the twelve prophets; of uncertain date but perhaps fourth century BCE; a prophet who preached the Day of Yhwh and the pouring out of Yhwh’s spirit on everyone. (12) See also Book of the Twelve.

Jonah One of the twelve prophets; an eighth-century BCE Israelite prophet who was called to preach to the Assyrians in Nineveh. (10) See also Book of the Twelve.

Jonathan A son of king Saul, he had a special relationship with David; he was killed by the Philistines on Mount Gilboa. (8)

Jordan The river that flows from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea; it is the border between Canaan and Transjordan.

Joseph Son of Jacob by Rachel; brother of Benjamin; he was sold into slavery by his brothers and became a high official within the Egyptian government; his sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, became tribes within Israel. (2)

Joseph cycle The collection of stories centered on Joseph, son of Jacob, contained in Genesis 37–50. (2)

Josephus (also known as Flavius Josephus) The Jewish general and author in the latter part of the first century CE who wrote a massive history (Antiquities) of the Jews and a detailed treatment of the Jewish revolt against Rome in 66–73 CE.

Joshua Moses’ aide during the wilderness sojourn; after the death of Moses, he led the Hebrews into the Promised Land. Another figure was called Joshua (sometimes spelled Jeshua), the high priest of the Jerusalem community that rebuilt the temple. See also Jeshua and Jesus. (6, 17)

Josiah (640–609) King of Judah who reformed Judean religion and died in battle at Megiddo. (5, 11)

Josiah’s reform The religious reform of 622 BCE initiated by Josiah, king of Judah, after the Book of the Covenant was found in the Jerusalem temple; it is sometimes called the Deuteronomic reform because the book appears to have been an early form of Deuteronomy. (11)

Jubilee (from Hebrew yovel, “ram’s-horn trumpet”) Every fiftieth year was a jubilee (the year following seven times seven years, or seven weeks of years); special arrangements during this year were designed to aid the poor and dispossessed. (4)

Judah Jacob’s fourth son, he was the ancestor of the tribe of Judah; Judah became the name of the southern kingdom after the northern ten tribes separated from Judah and Benjamin. (2)

Judah the Prince (also known as Judah Hanasi) Head of the rabbinic Jewish community in Palestine around 200 CE; credited with publication of the Mishnah. (C)

Judaism From the Hebrew name of the ancestor Judah, whose name also came to designate the tribe and tribal district in which Jerusalem was located; thus, the inhabitants of Judah and members of the tribe of Judah came to be called Judahites or, in short form, Jews. The religious outlook, beliefs, and practices associated with these people came to be called Judaism and to have varying characteristics at different times and places, such as early Judaism and rabbinic Judaism. (P3)

Judas Maccabee A second-century BCE Judean who led the Jewish Maccabean revolt against the Hellenistic Seleucid occupation of Jerusalem and Judea. (16)

Judge In the period of the Judges, a person who held off Israel’s enemies—for example, Ehud, Deborah, Gideon, Jephthah, and Samson. See also Judges. (7)

Judges The period of the Judges was between the conquest and the Davidic monarchy when Israelite tribes were settling the land of Canaan; the book of Judges contains the stories of the individual judges. (7)

Kashrut See Kosher.

Ketuvim (Hebrew for “Writings”) The last of the three main divisions of the Hebrew Bible (the k of Tanak), including Psalms, Proverbs, Job, the Five Megillot or Five Scrolls (Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther), Daniel, and the Chronicler’s History (Ezra, Nehemiah, and Chronicles). (P3)

Kingdom of God The realm where God rules; the state of the world in which God’s will is fulfilled; expected to be brought into being at the end of time when the Messiah returns. (16)

Kosher (Hebrew kasher, kashrut for “proper, ritually correct”) Refers to ritually correct Jewish dietary practices; traditional Jewish dietary laws are based on biblical legislation; only land animals that chew the cud and have split hooves (sheep, beef; not pigs, camels) are permitted and must be slaughtered in a special way; further, meat products may not be eaten with milk products or immediately thereafter; of sea creatures, only those (fish) having fins and scales are permitted; fowl is considered a meat food and also has to be slaughtered in a special manner. (4)

Laban Rebekah’s brother and Jacob’s uncle who lived in Aram; Jacob became wealthy there and married his daughters, Rachel and Leah. (2)

Lament A cry of pain and grief; in the study of the Psalms, the lament, also called a complaint, is the literary type that expresses a cry of help, either of an individual or a community. (13)

Latter Prophets The technical name for the collection of prophetic writings composed of the books of the three “Major” Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel) and those of the twelve “Minor” (or shorter) Prophets, collectively called the Book of the Twelve. (P2)

Law See Commandments, Halakah, Oral Torah, Ten Commandments, Torah, and Written Torah.

Leah Daughter of Laban; the first wife of Jacob who had six sons and one daughter. (2)

Legend A general term denoting stories about heroes, usually from the distant past, whose primary intent is not historical accuracy but entertainment, illustration, and instruction; some scholars consider certain of the ancestral accounts in Genesis, some stories of Moses in Exodus, and some stories about Elijah and Elisha to be legends.

Leviathan (also Litan or Lotan) The mythological sea monster of prophetic literature and the book of Job, also attested in Ugaritic literature. (14)

Levirate marriage (from Latin levir for Hebrew yabam, “brother-in-law”) A biblical system of marriage in which the levir marries his brother’s widow (see Deuteronomy 25:5–10). This law is a central feature of the stories of Tamar (Genesis 38) and Ruth.

Levi A son of Jacob, one of the twelve tribes of Israel.

Levites Members of the tribe of Levi; the Levites took care of the tabernacle and later the temple but generally could not serve as priests; only Levites specifically from the family of Aaron could become priests. (4)

Literary criticism (sometimes called literary analysis) A critical, but not necessarily criticizing or judgmental, examination of a piece of literature that seeks to determine the type of literature it is, as well as its conventions, stylistic techniques, structure, and strategies; in older scholarship, it is called source criticism.

Liturgy (adj. liturgical) Rites of public worship, usually institutionalized in temple, synagogue, or church tradition.

Lo-ammi A child of Gomer, the wife of the prophet Hosea; the name means “not my people.” (10)

Lo-ruhamah A child of Gomer, the wife of the prophet Hosea; the name means “no mercy.” (10)

Lord (Hebrew adonay) This term (note the use of small capital letters) substitutes for God’s Hebrew personal name Yhwh in most modern translations of the Hebrew Bible. See also Yhwh.

Lord God A compound divine name; a translation of Yhwh Elohim. (1)

Lot The nephew of Abraham who accompanied him to Canaan. (2)

Lots A mechanical means of divination, functionally similar to dice or drawing straws, that was used to determine God’s decision in certain matters; used in the phrase “to cast lots.” (6)

LXX The abbreviation for the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures done in the last centuries BCE. See Septuagint.

Maccabean From the period of Judas Maccabaeus (Judas the Maccabee) and his brothers, second century BCE. (16)

Maccabean revolt The second-century BCE Jewish revolt against Antiochus IV led by the family of Mattathias, including his son Judas the Maccabee, described in 1 Maccabees.

Malachi One of the twelve prophets; of uncertain date but probably fifth century BCE, a prophet who foresaw the return of Elijah. (12) See also Book of the Twelve.

Manna (from Hebrew for “What is it?”) The food that God provided to the Hebrews while they sojourned in the wilderness for forty years. (4)

Marduk The chief god of the Babylonians and patron god of Babylon; he is the hero-god of the Enuma Elish. (1)

Masoretes/Masoretic text (Hebrew for “transmitters,” derived from Hebrew masorah, “tradition”) The Masoretes were rabbis in ninth-century CE Palestine who sought to preserve the traditional text of the Bible (hence called the Masoretic text), which is still used in contemporary synagogues and is the basis for modern translation of the Hebrew Bible. The Masoretes were scholars who encouraged Bible study and attempted to achieve uniformity by establishing rules for correcting the text in matters of spelling, grammar, and pronunciation; they introduced vowel signs, accents (pointing), and marginal notes (masorah).

Master narrative The story line of the Bible that is generally accepted within a particular religious or cultural community. (I)

Matriarchs (from Latin for “first mother”) A term used to refer to female ancestors such as Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah. (2)

Matsah (pl. matsot) Jewish unleavened bread used at Passover.

Meeting Tent (also called "tent of meeting") A simple form of the tabernacle used as the place Moses met God during the period of the wilderness sojourn. (3)

Megillot (sing. megillah; Hebrew for “scroll”) Usually refers to the biblical scroll of Esther read on the festival of Purim. (15)

Menorah The multiarmed lamp or candelabrum that was used in the tabernacle and temple; a nine-branched menorah is used at Hannukah, whereas the seven-branched one was used in the ancient temple.

Mesopotamia (from Greek for “between the rivers”) The land defined by the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, this is the location of the birth of civilization and the origin of the Israelites; the Israelites interacted with Mesopotamian people throughout their history.

Messiah (from Hebrew meshiach, “anointed one”; equivalent to Greek christos) Ancient priests and kings (and sometimes prophets) of Israel were anointed with oil; in early Judaism, the term came to mean a royal descendant of the dynasty of David and redeemer figure who would restore the united kingdom of Israel and Judah and usher in an age of peace, justice, and plenty. The messianic age was believed by some Jews to be a time of perfection of human institutions, while others believed it to be a time of radical new beginnings, a new heaven and earth after divine judgment and destruction. The title came to be applied to Jesus of Nazareth by his followers, who were soon called Christians in Greek and Latin usage. (8)

Mezuzah (pl. mezuzot; Hebrew for “doorpost”) A parchment scroll with selected Torah verses (Deuteronomy 6:4–9; 11:13–21) placed in a container and affixed to the exterior doorposts (at the right side of the entrance) of observant Jewish homes (see Deuteronomy 6:1–4) and sometimes also to interior doorposts of rooms; the word shaddai, “Almighty,” usually is inscribed on the container. (5)

Micah One of the twelve prophets; an eighth-century Judean prophet who advocated justice for all people. (10) See also Book of the Twelve.

Michal A daughter of Saul, given in marriage to David; she criticized David’s behavior, and he refused thereafter to have relations with her. (8)

Midian Territory south of Canaan, of uncertain exact location; perhaps in the Sinai Peninsula or western Arabia; Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, was a priest of Midian; the Midianites afflicted the Israelites during the time of the Judges. (3, 7)

Midianites See Midian.

Midrash (pl. midrashim; from Hebrew darash, “to inquire,” whence it comes to mean “exposition” of Scripture) The term refers to the “commentary” literature developed in classical Judaism that attempts to interpret Jewish Scriptures in a thorough manner. Literary midrash may focus either on halakah, directing the Jew to specific patterns of religious practice, or on haggadah, dealing with theological ideas, ethical teachings, popular philosophy, imaginative exposition, legend, allegory, animal fables, and so forth—that is, whatever is not halakah.

Midwife A nurse who helped with the birth of a baby; Shiphrah and Puah were Hebrew midwives who refused to cooperate in Pharaoh’s scheme to kill male children (Exodus 1).

Millennium (from Latin for “thousand”; adj. millenarian and millennial) A 1000-year period; millenarian has to do with the expected millennium, or 1000-year reign of Christ prophesied in the New Testament book of Revelation (“the Apocalypse”), a time in which the world would be brought to perfection; millenarian movements often grow up around predictions that this perfect time is about to begin. See also Apocalypse and Eschatology.

Minor Prophets See Book of the Twelve.

Miriam The sister of Moses and Aaron; she led the Israelites in worship after the crossing of the Reed Sea. (3)

Mishnah (Hebrew for “repetition, teaching”) A thematic compilation of legal material; in particular, a compilation by Rabbi Judah Hanasi (“the Prince”), of laws based ultimately on principles laid down in the Torah. Produced about 200 CE, it became the most authoritative collection of Oral Torah; the code is divided into six major units and sixty-three minor ones; the work is the authoritative legal tradition of the early sages and is the basis of the legal discussions of the Talmud. (C) See also Oral Torah.

Mitsvah (pl. mitsvot; Hebrew for “commandment, obligation”) A ritual or ethical duty or act of obedience to God’s will. See also Commandments.

Moab A territory or country located in Transjordan, to the east of the land of Israel; a frequent enemy of the Israelites.

Monarchy Any state ruled or headed by a monarch; Israel and Judah were ruled by monarchies during the period of the kingdoms. (P2)

Monolatry The worship of one god while recognizing the existence of others; some scholars describe the religion of Israel as monolatry before the time of the prophets.

Monotheism The belief that there is only one God and that no other gods even exist; it is unlikely that Israel early in its history construed reality in this way; rather, it seems that Israelites only went so far as to claim Yhwh as their God, the god of Israel, leaving the question of the existence of other gods to later theologians and prophets.

Mordecai The uncle of Esther who looked after her and urged her to do everything in her power to effect the deliverance of the Jews throughout the Persian Empire. (15)

Mosaic covenant The covenant Yhwh that mediated through Moses, including the Ten Commandments and rules for serving God, also called the Sinai covenant.

Moses The leader of the Hebrews at the time of the Exodus from Egypt (thirteenth century BCE); he led the people of Israel out of Egyptian bondage, God revealed the Torah to him on Mount Sinai. He is also described as the first Hebrew prophet; throughout Jewish history, he is the exalted man of faith and religious leader without peer. (3)

Mount Gilboa The location south of the Sea of Galilee where Saul and his sons died while fighting the Philistines. (8)

Mount The mountain in the Sinai Peninsula where God communicated with Moses and revealed the covenant and Ten Commandments. (3)

Mount Zion . See Zion.

Myth A story, theme, object, or character regarded as embodying a foundational aspect of a culture; the creation stories in Genesis 1–3 may be called myths, not in the sense that they are factually false but because they embody core beliefs of Israelite culture. (1)

Nadab and Abihu These two sons of Aaron offered “strange fire” to God, for which they both died. (4)

Nahum One of the twelve prophets; a late seventh-century BCE Judean prophet who announced the coming destruction of Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian Empire. (11) See also Book of the Twelve.

Naomi The Israelite wife of Elimelek and mother-in-law of Ruth who lived in Bethlehem of Judah. (15)

Nathan David’s court prophet who mediated the Davidic covenant and exposed David’s transgressions. (8)

Navi’ (sometimes spelled nabi; pl. nevi’im) Term for “prophet” in ancient Israel. See Nevi’im. (P2)

Nazirite A person dedicated by a strict vow to do special work for God; elements of the vow could include not cutting hair and refraining from alcohol; Samson lived under a Nazirite vow.

Nazirite vow A pledge to live under a special set of restrictions as an act of dedication to God, detailed in Numbers 6. (7)

Nebuchadrezzar (605–562; sometimes spelled Nebuchadnezzar) Monarch of the Neo-Babylonian Empire who invaded Judah and destroyed Jerusalem in 587. (11, 16)

Nehemiah The Jewish cupbearer of Artaxerxes of Persia in the fifth century BCE; appointed governor of Judea, he rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile. (17)

Nevi’im (sometimes spelled nebi’im; Hebrew for “prophets”) The second main division of the Hebrew Bible, comprising the Former and the Latter Prophets; the n of Tanak. (P2) See also Tanak.

New covenant A theme of the prophet Jeremiah based on the Mosaic covenant; God would renew the covenant with his people and write it on their hearts. (11)

New Exodus A theme of the prophet Second Isaiah based on the Exodus from Egypt led by Moses; Second Isaiah anticipated the release of Judean refugees from Babylonian exile in a new act of divine deliverance. (12)

New Testament (NT) The collection of Christian canonical writings that together with the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible constitute the Christian Bible. (C) See also Apocrypha.

Nineveh The capital city of the Assyrian Empire, located on the Tigris River. (10)

Noah Built a boat and survived the Flood with his family and representatives of the animal world; God made a covenant with him, promising never again to destroy the world with a flood. (1) See also Noahic covenant.

Noahic covenant The covenant that God made with Noah, promising that he would never again send a flood; God signaled the covenant with the rainbow; also called the Creation covenant.

NT See New Testament.

Obadiah One of the twelve prophets; a sixth-century BCE Judean prophet who condemned Edom for its cruel treatment of conquered Judah. (12) See also Book of the Twelve.

Offering Something offered to God and given as an act of worship, often animals and grains; the offering of animals made right the relationship between God and the worshipper. (4)

Old Testament (OT) The name of the Hebrew Bible used in the Christian community; it presupposes that there is a New Testament; the term testament goes back to testamentum, the Latin equivalent for the Hebrew word covenant. For most Protestant Christians, the Old Testament is identical to the Hebrew Bible; for classical Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox Christianity, the Old Testament also includes the Apocrypha. (I, C)

Omri (876–869) Founding king of an Israelite dynasty, father of Ahab, and established Samaria as the capital of the kingdom of Israel. (9)

Oracle A statement originating with God, delivered by a prophet, and directed to an audience. (P2)

OralTorah (also called oral law) In traditional Jewish pharisaic/rabbinic thought, God revealed instructions for living through both the written scriptures of the Hebrew Bible, called the Written Torah, and through a parallel process of orally transmitted traditions. These oral applications of the Torah for contemporary situations themselves later took written form in the Mishnah and other Jewish literature; the Jewish belief in both a Written and an Oral Torah is known as “the dual Torah”; critics of this approach within Judaism include the Sadducees and the Karaites. (C)

Oral tradition Material passed down through generations by word of mouth before taking fixed written form.

Original sin In classical Christian thought, the fundamental state of sinfulness and guilt, inherited from the first man Adam, that infects all of humanity but can be removed through depending on Christ. Judaism does not interpret the Creation story this way but posits two impulses, the good and the bad, that vie for the control of individuals. (1)

Orthodox (from Greek for “correct opinion/outlook,” as opposed to heterodox or heretical) The judgment that a position is “orthodox” depends on what are accepted as the operative “rules” or authorities at the time. Over the course of history, the term orthodox has come to denote the dominant surviving forms that have proved themselves to be “traditional” or “classical” or “mainstream” (for example, rabbinic Judaism; the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox Christian Churches).

OT See Old Testament.

P The abbreviation for the Priestly source of the Torah/Pentateuch. (P1) See Priestly document.

Palestine (Greek form of “Philistine,” for the seacoast population encountered by early geographers) An ancient designation for the area between Syria (to the north) and Egypt (to the south), between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River; Canaan; roughly, modern Israel combined with the West Bank territories.

Palestinian Judaism The postbiblical form of Judaism that developed in Palestine, in distinction from Hellenistic Judaism. (C)

Paraenesis (adj. paraenetic) A sermon or exhortation; Deuteronomy has a paraenetic style.

Parallelism The literary form pervasive in biblical poetry whereby the first line (the A-line) of a couplet is in some way mirrored or doubled in the second line (the B-line). (13)

Passover (Hebrew pesach) The major Jewish spring holiday (with agricultural aspects) also known as hag hamatsot, “festival of unleavened bread,” commemorating the Exodus or deliverance of the Hebrew people from Egypt (see Exodus 12–13). The festival lasts eight days, during which Jews refrain from eating all leavened foods and products. aAspecial ritual meal (called the Seder) is prepared, and a traditional narrative (called the Haggadah), supplemented by hymns and songs, marks the event. (3)

Patriarch (from Latin for “first father”) The father and ruler of a family; the head of a tribe. (2)

Patriarchs A common designation for the early founding figures of ancient Semitic tradition (before Moses) such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the twelve tribal figureheads of Israel (Judah, Benjamin, and so forth). The patriarchs and matriarchs together are called the forebears or ancestors of Israel. (2) See also Ancestors.

Pentateuch (from Greek for “five scroll jars,” it comes to mean “five books/scrolls”; adj. Pentateuchal) Refers to the first five books of the Hebrew Bible traditionally attributed to Moses that together comprise the Torah (the t of Tanak): Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy; known in Jewish tradition as Torat Mosheh, the teaching of Moses. (P1)

Pentecost (Greek for “fiftieth [day]”) A Jewish feast celebrated fifty days after Passover; marks the first fruits of the agricultural year. (4) See also Shavuot.

Personification The literary device of portraying an idea or nonhuman object as a human being. (14) See also Anthropomorphism.

Perushim (Hebrew for “Pharisees”) See Pharisees.

Pesach (Hebrew for “passover”) The festival recalling the escape from Egypt in the Exodus. (3) See Passover.

Petition A speech form used especially in biblical psalms whereby the psalmist pleads with God for help, deliverance, or forgiveness. (13)

Pharaoh Egyptian term for “great house” that became the title for a king of Egypt; it is not a king’s name. (2, 3)

Pharisees (from Hebrew perushim, “separatists”; adj. pharisaic). The name given to a group or movement in early Judaism, the origin and nature of which is unclear; many scholars identify them with the later sages and rabbis who taught the oral and written Torah. According to Josephus and the New Testament, the Pharisees believed in the immortality of souls and resurrection of the dead, in a balance between predestination and free will, in angels as active divine agents, and in authoritative oral law. In the early Christian materials, Pharisees are often depicted as leading opponents of Jesus of Nazareth and his followers and are often linked with “scribes” but distinguished from the Sadducees. (C)

Philistia Beginning in the twelfth century BCE, the territory on the southern Canaanite coastal plain where the Philistines lived. See also Palestine.

Philistines Inhabitants of Philistia; the Philistines were the most significant external threat to the Israelites during the time of the Judges and the early monarchy. (7, 8) See also Philistia.

Philo Judeus “The Jew” of Alexandria; Greek-speaking (and -writing) prolific Jewish author in the first century CE, he provides extensive evidence for Jewish thought in the Greco-Roman (Hellenistic) world outside of Palestine.

Phinehas The grandson of Aaron who violently defended the covenant (see Numbers 25); he was granted the “covenant of priesthood” by which the line of Aaron was given the privilege of the priestly office forever. Another Phinehas was a son of Eli; see Hophni. (4)

Phylactery (pl. phylacteries; Greek for “protector”) See Tefillin.

Plagues The series of divine disasters described in Exodus 5–11 that was designed to secure the release of the Hebrews out of Egypt. (3)

Potiphar The Egyptian administrator in Genesis who purchased Joseph to be his slave. (2)

Praise (Hebrew hallelujah means “Praise Yhwh!”) A speech form used extensively in the psalms whereby the psalmist extols the greatness of God. (13)

Priest (Hebrew kohen) A functionary usually associated, in antiquity, with temples and their rites; a priest offered sacrifices and prayers to God on behalf of the people. In Israel, only Aaronic Levites could be legitimate priests; in classical Christianity, the office of priest was developed in connection with the celebration of the mass and Eucharist and with celibacy as an important qualification especially in Roman Catholicism.

Priestly Code The body of legislation in the Pentateuch that comes from the Priestly source. (4)

Priestly document (P) (also called the Priestly source) A literary source used in the composition of the Torah/Pentateuch; it probably was composed in Babylonia in the sixth century BCE (P1)

Primary History The foundation story of Israel consisting of the Pentateuch and Former Prophets. (P2)

Primeval Story The account of earliest events found in Genesis 1–11. (1)

Primogeniture The state of being the firstborn or eldest child of the same parents; the right of the eldest child, especially the eldest son, to inherit the entire estate of one or both parents. This is an important theme in the Torah/Pentateuch relating to Ishmael and Isaac, Jacob and Esau, and Joseph and his brothers. (2) See also Birthright.

Profane To make a holy thing impure by treating it with disrespect or irreverence. (4)

Promised Land Phrase used with a religious and covenantal connotation that designates the territory west of the Jordan River, for the most part coextensive with Canaan and Palestine.

Prophecy A message from God that a prophet delivers to the people. (P2)

Prophesy The act of delivering a prophetic message of God to the people. (P2)

Prophet (from Greek for “to speak for, to speak forth”) Designation given to accepted spokespersons of God (or their opposites, “false prophets”); a person who speaks in the name of God. See also Navi’.

Prophetic eschatology The perspective on the goal and end of history held by Old Testament prophets. See also Apocalyptic eschatology and Eschatology.

Prophets A designation for the second main section of the Hebrew Bible, called the Nevi’im; the n of Tanak. (P2) See also Tanak.

Prostitute A person who allowed the use of his or her body for sexual relations in exchange for compensation; Israel was metaphorically compared to a prostitute when it worshiped Baal gods.

Proto-Judaism See Early Judaism.

Proverb A short, pithy saying in frequent and widespread use that expresses a basic truth or practical precept; the book of Proverbs is one of the Writings and is classified as wisdom literature. (14)

Psalter The book of the Writings that contains 150 psalms. (13)

Pseudepigrapha (adj. pseudepigraphical; from Greek pseudos, “deceit, untruth” and epigraphe, “writing, inscription”) Intertestamental apocryphal writings purporting to be by somebody (usually a famous historical or legendary figure) who is not the author such as Adam, Eve, Enoch, Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, Ezra, and so forth; the term is sometimes used generically for Deutero-canonical writings not in the Apocrypha. (P3, C) See also Intertestamental period.

Pseudonymity The practice of ascribing a work to someone, often a notable from the past, who was not the actual author. See also Pseudepigrapha.

Pul See Tiglath-Pileser III.

Purim (from Hebrew for “lots”) A Jewish festival commemorating the deliverance of Jews in Persia who were threatened with genocide, as described in the book of Esther; held in late winter (between Hannukah and Passover), on the fourteenth of Adar. (15) See also Lots and Megillot.

Qohelet (Hebrew term related to the word qahal, “gathering, congregation”; translated ekklesiastes in Greek) The Hebrew name of the book of Ecclesiastes; the term used of the purported writer of the book of Ecclesiastes. (15)

Qumran (also Khirbet Qumran, “ruins of Qumran”) The site near the northwest corner of the Dead Sea in modern Israel (West Bank) where the main bulk of the Jewish Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered beginning in 1947; the “Qumran community” that apparently produced the scrolls seems to have flourished from the third century BCE to the first century CE and is usually identified with the Jewish Essenes. (C)

Rabbis (adj. rabbinic; Hebrew for “my master”) Authorized teachers of the classical Jewish tradition after the fall of the second temple in 70 CE; traditionally, rabbis serve as the legal and spiritual guides of their congregations and communities. (C) See also Oral Torah.

Rabbinic Judaism The Judaism associated with the Pharisees that survived the Jewish revolts against Rome to become the dominant shape of Judaism. (C) See also Pharisees.

Rachel The daughter of Laban, most loved wife of Jacob, and mother of Joseph and Benjamin. (2)

Rahab The prostitute of Jericho who harbored and assisted the Israelite spies prior to the conquest of Canaan; not to be confused with the Rahab of mythic and prophetic literature that is another name for the sea monster. (6)

Ramses (sometimes spelled Rameses; 1290–1224) According to most historians, Ramses II was the king of Egypt at the time of the Hebrews’ Exodus (thirteenth century BCE). (3)

Reader The reader or audience element of the process of text interpretation. (I) Also see Hermeuentical triangle.

Rebekah (sometimes spelled Rebecca) The sister of Laban, Isaac’s wife, mother of Esau and Jacob. (2)

Redaction criticism The analysis of a book of the Hebrew Bible to determine the contribution of the editor (called the redactor) as he compiled and edited the book from older sources.

Redactor (n. redaction) A synonym for an editor of a composite work; the one responsible for choosing and combining source materials into one coherent literary work; redaction is the editorial work of the redactor. Also see Redaction criticism.

Redeem (Hebrew go’el, “redeemer”; n. redemption) To free from captivity or domination by paying a ransom; to buy back.

Red Sea See Reed Sea.

Reed Sea (Hebrew yam suf, also called the Sea of Reeds) This is the body of water the Israelites crossed on dry ground as part of the Exodus from Egypt; it is termed the Red Sea in most English versions of the Old Testament. (3)

Referent An element in the interpretation of texts; the referent is what the text refers to in the material world or in the mind of the author. (I) Also see Hermeneutical triangle.

Rehoboam (922–915) The son of Solomon who became the first king of Judah after the division of the kingdoms. (9)

Resident alien Also called a sojourner, a person who lives in a country but does not hold citizenship; the Old Testament specifies certain rights for resident aliens.

Resurrection The idea that dead persons who have found favor with God will ultimately (in eschatological times) be raised from the dead with restored bodily form. (16)

Retribution Punishment for doing wrong.

Retribution theology The outlook found in Deuteronomic and wisdom literature that a supreme being punishes wrong doers for their bad deeds. (14)

Reuel The name of Moses’ father-in-law; in some texts he is called Jethro.

Rhetorical criticism (sometimes called rhetorical analysis) The analysis of a text on the basis of its rhetorical devices; it is very similar to literary criticism.

Righteous (n. righteousness) To do what is right; to be in a right relationship with God.

Ritual Decalogue The set of ten regulations found in Exodus 34 that Moses wrote on two tablets. (3)

Rosh Hashanah (Hebrew for “beginning of the year”) Jewish New Year celebration in the fall of the year, the month of Tishri.

Rosh Hodesh (Hebrew for “beginning of a lunar month”) The New Moon Festival.

Royal grant covenant A type of covenant employed by monarchs that essentially consisted of a grant or gift to a faithful underling.

Ruth The Moabite widow who followed her mother-in-law Naomi back to Bethlehem; she married Boaz and was an ancestor of David. Also, the book by this name in the Five Scrolls. (15)

Sabbath (from Hebrew shabbat, “to cease, rest”) The seventh day of the week, a day of rest and worship; it extends from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday. It was the sign of the Mosaic covenant and became especially important as an identifier of Jewishness beginning in the Babylonian exile. (1)

Sackcloth A rough cloth, usually woven from goats’ hair; clothing made from sackcloth was worn during mourning rituals as a sign of grief and sorrow.

Sacred Applies to holy things, things set apart for God in a special way; sacred is the opposite of profane. See also Profane.

Sacrifice (v. “to offer a sacrifice”; n. “an offering given to God to atone for the sins of the people or to establish fellowship with God”) Though there are many specific types of sacrifices, typically a sacrificial animal was slaughtered and burned on an altar, and its blood was splattered on the altar. (4)

Sadducees A group of Jewish leaders, many of them priests, who ruled during the late second temple period; Sadducees supported priestly authority and rejected traditions not directly grounded in the Torah/Pentateuch, such as the concept of life after death; they ceased to exist when the temple was destroyed in 70 CE.

Saga A long prose narrative having an episodic structure developed around stereotyped themes or object; sagas abound in the primeval and ancestral collections of Genesis. (2)

Samaria Was built as the capital of Israel, the northern kingdom, in the ninth century BCE and fell in 721 BCE, after which leading members were deported. Exiles from elsewhere were settled here and mixed with the Israelites who remained; their descendants are known as Samaritans.

Samaritans Residents of the district of Samaria north of Judah and a subgroup in early Judaism. They are said to have recognized only the Torah/Pentateuch as Scripture and Mount Gerizim as the sacred center rather than Jerusalem; there was ongoing hostility between Samaritans and Judahites. Samaritan communities exist to the present.

Samson An Israelite judge and strongman who harassed Philistines during the period of the Judges. (7)

Samuel The last judge of Israel and the first prophet, he was also a priest. The son of Hannah and Elkanah, he succeeded Eli as priest and anointed first Saul and then David to be king. (8)

Sanctify (n. sanctification) To make holy. (4)

Sanhedrin (from Greek for “assembly” [of persons seated together]) A legislative and judicial body from the period of early Judaism and into rabbinic times, traditionally composed of seventy-one members. See also Synagogue and Church.

Sapiential (From Latin sapiens, “to be wise”) Containing or exhibiting wisdom; characterized by wisdom.

Sarah The wife of Abraham; first called Sarai before Genesis 17; she was barren until God enabled conception, and Isaac was born in her old age. (2)

Sarai See Sarah.

Satan (Hebrew for adversary or accuser) In the Old Testament, a member of the Divine Council who challenged God in the books of Job and Zechariah. (14)

Saul (1020–1000) The first king of Israel, he was anointed by Samuel but was later deposed because of disobedience. (8)

Scribe (sometimes called an amanuensis, the Greek term for “scribe”) A person trained in literacy who copied letters and books and sometimes trained in the legal tradition; Baruch was Jeremiah’s scribe; Ezra was a Jewish–Persian scribe.

Scriptures General designation for canonical or biblical writings.

Second Isaiah See Isaiah of the Exile.

Second The Jerusalem temple rebuilt by Zerubbabel and completed in 515 BCE that stood until it was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE; the first temple was the one built by Solomon, which stood until 587 BCE. The second temple period is the time between these two temples, which corresponds to the period of early Judaism. (12, 17)

Second Temple Judaism The early period of the formation of Judaism, sometimes also called Early Judaism. (P3)

Second Zechariah The latter portion (chapters 9-14) of the book of Zechariah datable to the Greek period. (12)

Seder (pl. sedarim; Hebrew for “order”) The traditional Jewish evening service and opening of the celebration of Passover, which includes special food symbols and narratives; the order of the service is highly regulated, and the traditional narrative is known as the Passover Haggadah.

Seleucid The dynasty of Seleucus, a general of Alexander the Great, that ruled Syria and Asia Minor after Alexander’s death. Seleucid rule in Palestine was ended by the Maccabees in the second century BCE. (16)

Semitic Pertaining to a race, language, or culture linked to the line of Shem (see Genesis 10); Semitic languages include Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic, and Akkadian.

Sennacherib (704–681) Monarch of the Neo-Assyrian empire who besieged Hezekiah’s Jerusalem in 701. (10)

Septuagint The Greek translation of the Old Testament, consisting of the books of the Hebrew Bible and some Deutero-canonical books, now know as the Apocrypha; traditionally dated to the reign of Ptolemy II (285–246); it is abbreviated LXX because it supposedly was translated by some seventy Jewish scholars. (C)

Servant of Yhwh (also called the suffering servant) The otherwise anonymous figure of the book of Isaiah (Second Isaiah) who delivered God’s people through suffering, variously identified by interpreters as Jeremiah, Zerubbabel, Israel, and Jesus of Nazareth. (12)

Servant poems A collection of four passages in Second Isaiah that refer to an anonymous figure, the Servant of Yhwh, who suffers at the hands of people yet has a redemptive role. (12) See also Servant of Yhwh and Second Isaiah.

Setting-in-life (German Sitz im Leben) Generally referring to the context of a tradition or ritual. See also Form criticism.

Shabbat (Hebrew for “rest”) See Sabbath.

Shalmaneser V (726–722) The monarch of the Neo-Assyrian Empire who laid siege to Samaria, capital of Israel, thus preparing the way for Israel’s destruction. (10)

Shalom Hebrew word for “peace, wholeness, completeness.” (5)

Shavuot (sometimes spelled shabuot; Hebrew for “weeks”; Pentecost) Observed fifty days after Passover (pesach), the day the first sheaf of grain was offered to the priest; it celebrates the harvest and the giving of the Torah; also known as Festival of First Fruits.

Shechem City in central Israel that was the capital of the tribal confederacy during the time of Joshua and the Judges. (6)

Shekel A unit of measure by weight, often used as a monetary designation.

Shem (Hebrew word for “name”) One of the three sons of Noah, he was chosen for special blessing; he was an ancestor of Abraham. (1)

Shema (Hebrew imperative, “Hear!”) Title of the Great Commandment, the fundamental, monotheistic statement of Judaism, found in Deuteronomy 6:4 (“Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One”); this statement affirms the unity of God and is recited daily in the liturgy (along with Deuteronomy 6:5–9, 11:13–21; Numbers 15:37–41; and other passages) and customarily before sleep at night. This proclamation also climaxes special liturgies (such as Yom Kippur) and is central to the confessional before death and the ritual of martyrdom. The Shema is inscribed on the mezuzah and the tefillin; in public services, it is recited in unison. (5)

Sheol The shadowy underworld to which the departed spirits of the dead go.

Sheshbazzar A prince of Judah who led the first return of Judean refugees from Babylonian exile in 538 BCE. (17)

Shiloh The city in central Israel that contained a sanctuary during the time of Eli and Samuel where the ark of the covenant was housed. (8)

Shofar A ram’s horn trumpet; in Jewish worship, a ram’s horn sounded at the Rosh Hashanah morning worship and at the conclusion of Yom Kippur, as well as other times in that period during autumn.

Sin Transgression or offense against God’s laws or wishes; more generally in Christian belief, a continuing state of estrangement from God. See also Original sin.

Sinai The desert region south of Canaan and east of Egypt.

Sinai covenant The covenant arrangement established at Mount Sinai thorugh the divine laws mediated by Moses, also called the Mosaic covenant. (3)

Sojourn A temporary stay, a brief period of residence; Israel’s wilderness sojourn in the Sinai after the Exodus lasted forty years. See also Resident alien.

Solomon (961–922) The son of David and Bathsheba who became the king of united Israel after David; he was renowned for his wisdom; he built the temple of Yhwh in Jerusalem. (9)

Son of Man A phrase found in Daniel 7 that refers to a divine authority figure who has the appearance of a human being; it is also the phrase simply meaning “fellow” used by God throughout the book of Ezekiel to refer to the prophet. (16)

Soul (Hebrew nefesh) In the Old Testament, this refers to the whole person including body, psyche, and spiritual identity.

Source analysis (also called source criticism) The analysis of the Hebrew Bible to determine its underlying literary sources. (P1) See also Documentary hypothesis.

Stanza One of the divisions of a poem, composed of two or more lines, usually characterized by a common pattern of meter, rhyme, and number of lines. (13)

Succession narrative (also called the court history of David) A narrative block of material consisting of 2 Samuel 9–20 and 1 Kings 1–2 that details the dynastic succession struggles of David’s sons. (8)

Sukkot (Hebrew for “booths, tabernacles”) A seven-day Jewish fall festival beginning on the fifteenth day of the month Tishri commemorating the sukkot where Israel lived in the wilderness after the Exodus; also known as hag ha’asiph, the Festival of Ingathering (of the harvest).

Sumer /Sumerians An ancient region in southern Mesopotamia that contained a number of cities and city-states, some of which were founded as early as 5000 BCE.

Superscription The psalm label that may contain musical directions, performance notes, historical setting, and an ascription of authorship or dedication. (13)

Suzerain A master or overlord who ruled and protected his vassal clients and to whom they owed allegiance. (5)

Suzerainty treaty (also called suzerainty covenant) A formal treaty drawn up to specify the terms of the relationship between a conquered and now client state and the dominating suzerain state. (5)

Synagogue (from Greek for “gathering”) A place for meeting together that arose after the Babylonian exile; the central institution of Jewish communal worship and study since antiquity and, by extension, a term used for the place of gathering; the structure of such buildings has changed, though in all cases the ark containing the Torah scrolls faces the ancient temple site in Jerusalem.

Syncretism (Greek for “draw together, combine”) Synthesis of variegated religious beliefs derived from more than one religion. (5)

Synonymous parallelism A type of poetic parallelism in which the notion of the first line of a couplet is repeated or seconded in the second line. (13)

Syrian–Israelite crisis (also called Syro-Ephraimite crisis) The political crisis of 734–733 BCE when Syria and Israel (also called Ephraim) attacked Jerusalem; this was the context of the Immanuel prophecy of Isaiah 7.

Tabernacle The portable tent shrine constructed at Mount Sinai that served as the residence of Yhwh in the wilderness and until the time of Solomon. (3)

Tabernacles , Festival/Feast of See Sukkot.

Talmud (Hebrew for “study, learning”) Rabbinic Judaism produced two Talmuds: the one known as “Babylonian” is the most famous in the Western world and was completed around the fifth century CE; the other, known as the “Palestinian” or “Jerusalem” Talmud, was edited perhaps in the early fourth century CE; both have as their common core the Mishnah collection of the Tannaim, to which were added commentary and discussion (Gemara) by the Amoraim (teachers) of the respective locales; gemara thus has also become a colloquial, generic term for the Talmud and its study. (C)

Tamar The daughter-in-law of Judah (Genesis 38); the daughter of David (2 Samuel 13).

Tanak (sometimes spelled Tanakh) A relatively modern name for the Hebrew Bible; the acronym is composed of the first letters of the three parts of the Hebrew Bible: the Torah (Law), the Nevi’im (Prophets), and the Ketuvim (Writings). (I)

Tanna (Hebrew for “repeater, reciter”; adj. tannaitic, pl. tannaim) A Jewish sage from the period of Hillel (around the beginning of the Common Era) to the time of the compilation of the Mishnah (200 CE), to be distinguished from later Amoraim; Tannaim were primarily scholars and teachers; the Mishnah, Tosefta, and halakic Midrashim were among their literary compositions.

Targum (Hebrew for “translation, interpretation”; pl. targumim) Generally used to designate Aramaic translations of the Hebrew Bible; the Septuagint is in a sense Greek Targums. (C)

Tefillin (Aramaic term usually translated as phylacteries) Boxlike accessories that accompany prayer, worn by Jewish adult males at the weekday morning services. The boxes have leather thongs attached and contain scriptural excerpts; one box (with four sections) is placed on the head, and the other (with one section) is placed (customarily) on the left arm, near the heart. The biblical passages emphasize the unity of God and the duty to love God and be mindful of him with “all one’s heart and mind” (for example, Exodus 13:1–10, 11–16; Deuteronomy 6:4–9, 11:13–21). See also Shema.

Tell (sometimes spelled tel) A mound that contains the ruined remains of a human settlement; each layer or level, called a stratum, represents a particular historical period.

Temple A place of worship. In the ancient world, temples were the centers of outward religious life, places at which public religious observances were normally conducted by the priestly professionals. In Israel there were many temples in various locations, but the temple in Jerusalem built by Solomon eventually became the central and only authorized place to worship Yhwh. First built by king Solomon around 950 BCE, it was destroyed by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar in 587 BCE and rebuilt about seventy years later; it was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. The site of the ancient Jewish temple is now occupied, in part, by the golden-domed Mosque of Omar. In recent times, “temple” has come to be used synonymously with synagogue in some Jewish usage.

Ten Commandments Also called the Decalogue, the “ten words” that God delivered through Moses that became the heart of the Mosaic covenant; it is found in two versions: Exodus 20:1–17 and Deuteronomy 5:1–21. See also Ethical Decalogue.

Tetragrammaton (Greek for “four-lettered [name]”) See Yhwh.

Tetrateuch The first four books of the Hebrew Bible, Genesis through Numbers; the use of this term implies that these belong together historically as a literary unit. (P1, P2)

Text A writing that is the focus of interpretation. (I) See also Hermeneutical triangle.

Textual criticism The study of the earliest texts and early translations of the Hebrew Bible to establish the form of the text that most closely approximates the original text, called the autograph; no autograph of any book of the Hebrew Bible has ever been discovered.

Thanksgiving To give thanks to God for his favors; in the study of the Psalms, this is a major literary type of psalm that thanks God for individual or corporate deliverance. (13)

Theocracy (adj. theocratic; Greek for “rule of God”) A constitution in which God is regarded as ruler or sovereign. (P2)

Theodicy (Greek for “justice of God”) A term that denotes the issue of God’s justice in relation to the problem of human suffering, used often in discussions of the book of Job relating to the attempt to justify God in the face of evil. (14)

Theophany (Greek for “appearance of God”) A manifestation or appearance of the divine—for example, when God appears in a burning bush to Moses. (2, 3)

Theophoric An element in a proper name that derives from a name for God; for example, Daniel contains the theophoric component El, which means “God.”

The satan See Satan.

Third Isaiah See Isaiah of the Restoration.

Throne-chariot The vehicle carrying Yhwh that the prophet Ezekiel saw while in Babylonia during the exile. (11)

Tiamat The female saltwater ocean goddess who fought Marduk; out of her body were created heaven and earth; the Babylonian word tiamat is related to the Hebrew word for “deep waters,” tehom, that is used in Genesis 1:2. (1)

Tiglath-Pileser III (745–727) Monarch of the Neo-Assyrian Empire at the time of Isaiah and the Syro-Ephraimite war. He is referred to as Pul in the biblical text. (10)

Toledot (sometimes spelled toledoth; Hebrew for “generations”) The ten “generations” used in Genesis as a way of structuring the history told in the book. (1, 2)

Torah (Hebrew for “teaching, instruction, direction”) In general, Torah refers to study of the whole gamut of Jewish tradition or to some aspect thereof; in its special sense, “the Torah” refers to the “five books of Moses,” the first main division of the Hebrew Bible; it is the t of Tanak. (P1) See also Pentateuch and Tanak.

Tower of Babel The tower of Genesis 11 built by humans and interpreted by God as an act of defiance. (1)

Tradition Teachings and practices that have been handed down as standard and authoritative.

Tradition criticism (sometimes called tradition analysis, tradition history, or the traditio-historical method) The analysis of the Hebrew Bible to uncover possible oral strands underlying the final form of the text; or, the study of the origins and development of a particular biblical theme—for example, the covenant relationship between Yhwh and Israel.

Transjordan The territory east of the Jordan River and west of the Arabian Desert; the Israelite tribes Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh settled there.

Treaty An agreement between two parties; the suzerain–vassal treaties of the ancient Middle East were the model for the covenant relationship God established with the Hebrews at Mount Sinai.

Tsaddiq (Hebrew for “righteous one”; sometimes spelled saddik or zaddik)  A righteous person, the ideal Israelite characterized by wisdom and piety; the spiritual leader of the modern Hasidim is the Tsaddiq, popularly known as rebbe.

Twelve prophets See Book of the Twelve.

Twelve tribes An ideal form of social and political organization that was believed to characterize early Israel before the monarchy; each tribe was traced back to an ancestor who was one of the sons of Jacob; in fact, the various lists of the tribes in the Hebrew Bible vary—some tribes vanished or were absorbed by others, and other tribes divided into distinct subunits.

Type-scene A typical conventionally structured story.

Typology A form of (usually biblical) interpretation wherein a person, event, or institution is viewed as foreshadowing a later one; for example, for Christian interpreters, Abraham’s intended sacrifice of Isaac (Genesis 22) is seen as a “type” of the sacrificial death of Christ.

United kingdom See United Monarchy.

United Monarchy (also called united kingdom) The period of Israel’s monarchy when all twelve tribes were united under one king; this period lasted through the reigns of Saul, David, and Solomon. (8, 9)

Unleavened bread (Hebrew matsah; pl. matsot) Bread baked without leaven or yeast; the festival of unleavened bread, matsot, was celebrated in connection with Passover.

Ur An ancient Sumerian and Babylonian city on the Euphrates River in southern Mesopotamia; the home of Abraham before he left for Canaan. (2)

Vassal A servant or slave; an underling who is dependent on an overlord for protection; a vassal received the use of land and military protection from a lord, and in return owed the lord loyalty, obedience, and a portion of the crops as payment. (5) See also Suzerain.

Valley of dry bones The scene from the vision of Ezekiel 37 that anticipates the restoration of Israel. (12)

Vaticinia ex eventu A Latin phrase meaning “prophecy from the results” or “prophecy after the event”; it is used in reference to prophecy that has been composed after the events it predicts.

Vow of praise A speech form found in the Psalms where the psalmist promises to credit God with deliverance once it happens. (13)

Vulgate The translation of the Bible into Latin done by the Christian scholar Jerome in the late fourth and early fifth centuries CE.

Waters of chaos The seas conceived as monsters who challenged Yhwh’s power and authority. (1) See also Chaos.

Wilderness wanderings (also called the wilderness sojourn) The forty-year period after the Exodus from Egypt when the Israelites lived in the Sinai peninsula before they entered the Promised Land.

Wisdom A comprehensive term used in reference to the distinctive wisdom literature and wisdom outlook of Israelite, Mesopotamian, and Egyptian cultures; suggests a perspective on understanding the world dominated by the use of reason, a search for order, and teaching moral behavior. (14)

Wisdom literature In the Hebrew Bible, those books of a predominantly didactic (Proverbs) or philosophical (Job, Ecclesiastes) cast; in the Apocrypha, Ecclesiasticus and the Wisdom of Solomon belong to the didactic tradition of wisdom literature. (P3, 14)

Writings The third main division of the Hebrew Bible, the ketuvim; it is the k of Tanak. (P3)

Written Torah (also called written law) See Oral Torah.

Yahweh The hypothetical pronunciation of the divine name Yhwh; by some pronounced Yahveh. (P1) Also see Yhwh.

Yahwist The author of the J narrative source in the Torah/Pentateuch that favors the use of the divine name Yhwh. (P1). Also see Yahwist narrative.

Yahwist narrative (J) (also called Yahwist source) A reconstructed literary source lying behind the Torah/Pentateuch, written around 950 BCE in Judah. (P1)

Yhwh The sacred name of God in the Hebrew Bible; also known as the tetragrammaton. Because Hebrew was written without vowels in ancient times, the four consonants Yhwh contain no clue to their original pronunciation; they are generally rendered Yhwh in contemporary scholarship. In traditional Judaism, the name is not pronounced, but Adonay (“Lord”) or something similar is substituted.Iin most English versions of the Bible, the tetragrammaton is represented by “Lord” (or less frequently, “Jehovah”). (P1) See also Tetragrammaton.

Yom Kippur (Hebrew for “Day of Atonement”) Annual day of fasting, penitence, and atonement, occurring in the fall on the tenth day of the month Tishri (just after Rosh Hashanah); the most solemn and important occasion of the Jewish religious year.

Zadok A descendant of Aaron, he was a priest at David’s court; he supported Solomon’s succession, so his descendants had rights to the chief priestly duties in the temple. (8, 11)

Zealot Someone zealous for the Torah; in particular, a member of a Jewish group, founded perhaps by Judas the Galilean in 6 CE, made up of dedicated political activists that militarily opposed Greek then Roman rule in Palestine.

Zechariah One of the twelve prophets; a prophet and priest who returned to Jerusalem after Babylonian exile and encouraged the Jews to rebuild the temple. The book of Zechariah contains postexilic visions and divine oracles. (12) See also Book of the Twelve.

Zedekiah (597–587) The last king of Judah. (11)

Zephaniah One of the twelve prophets; a seventh-century Judean prophet who proclaimed the coming Day of Yhwh. (11) See also Book of the Twelve.

Zerubbabel A member of the royal Davidic line, an heir to the throne of Judah, who led a return from Babylonian captivity in the sixth century BCE; he was appointed governor of Judea by Cyrus, king of Persia. (12, 17)

Ziggurat (from Akkadian ziqquratu, “pinnacle, mountain top”) Of Sumerian origin, a Mesopotamian pyramidal-staged temple tower of which the tower of Babel was one. (1)

Zion (also called Mount Zion) The hill on which the city of Jerusalem first stood. David’s royal palace and the temple of Yhwh were both located on Mount Zion; later, Zion was used to refer to the entire city of Jerusalem. Already in biblical times, it began to symbolize the national homeland (see, for example, Psalm 137:1–6); in this latter sense, it served as a focus for Jewish national–religious hopes of renewal over the centuries. (10)

Zion theology The ideology in Israel that affirmed the divine promises to the house of David and the invulnerability of the city of Jerusalem. (10)

Zipporah Wife of Moses; mother of Gershom; daughter of Jethro, also referred to as Reuel. (3)