curse — To wish that bad things happen to someone or something. God curses, or makes bad things happen, only as a punishment or not obeying him.
Dagon — A Philistine god. Recent evidence indicates that he was the grain god responsible for fertility.
Dan — One of the twelve Hebrew tribes originally placed between the Philistines and Judah. They migrated north and established the city of Dan as the northern border of Israel.
Danite — The name of a member of the tribe of Dan.
David’s City — The Jerusalem of David's time, located on a narrow strip of land (Mount Moriah), was about ten acres in size and populated by aprroximately 1,500 people. The city was naturally defended by the Kidron Valley to the east and the Tyropean Valley to the west. It was originally named Zion and received fresh water from the Spring of Gihon.
Dead Sea — An inland lake in the Great Rift Valley known as the Salt Sea; 50 miles long and 10 miles wide, the salt content is five times more concentrated than the ocean and is uninhabitable by marine life. The Essene community lived in the wilderness along the Dead Sea.
Dead Sea Scrolls — Commentaries or instruction manuals for the Essene community discovered in 1947 by the Dead Sea in caves near the ruins of Khirbet Qumran. They provide valuable insights into the beliefs of one religious community from the time of Jesus; and contain many references showing common themes, language, and beliefs with the teachings of Jesus, John the Baptist, and the early church. They help verify the most accurate texts of the Old Testament. Though these scrolls are 1,000 years older than other Hebrew manuscripts, there are few differences, and they indicate the miracle of God's protection of his Word throughout history.
Decapolis — Ten Hellenistic cities established at the time of Alexander the Great east of the Sea of Galilee and north of Perea. Later, the Roman emperor Pompey organized the cities into a league named the Decapolis, largely populated by Roman army troops. In one ancient Jewish belief, the area was populated by pagans Joshua had driven out of the Promised Land (Josh. 3) and became "off limits" to Jews who followed God's law. In the New Testament, it refers to some cities where Jesus ministered to Gentiles and demonstrated his willingness to bring his message to everyone who needed to hear his words. The 10 cities included Pella, Damascus, Philadelphia, Canatha, Dium, Scythopolis (Beth Shean), Hippus, Gadara, Raphana, and Gerasa.
Defense Tower — Scholars debate the importance of the large tower that once stood in Qumran because it was essentially a religious community of seperatists who lived in a peaceful, almost monastic existence. The Essenes did, however, believe in the Messiah's imminent arrival and that a great battle would ensue between the sons of light (themselves) and the sons of darkness (followers of evil). The tower most likely provided protection against bandits o other less "military" threats.
Demeter — Greek god of earth. Daughter of Cronus and Rhea.
demon — A powerful evil spirit that worked for Satan. Demons can sometimes control people. But Jesus has power over the demons and can make them come out of people (like he did at Susita).
dereshah — A short sermon offered by the reader of the Torah or Haftarah in the synagogue. Any adult member of the community was eligible to speak the sermon, and it was frequently quite short (Jesus spoke only a few words, Luke 4:21).
Diana — Roman god of marriage, chastity, hunting, and moonlight. Twin sister of Apollo, daughter of Zeus and Leto.
diolkos — From Greek, "to haul," road over which sailors hauled goods from one harbor to another.
Dionysus — Greek god of wine, fertility, and vegetation, god of the theater. Son of Zeus and Semele, the Theban princess.
dipteros — Temple surrounded with two rows of columns.
disciple — The Hebrew word for disciple is talmid. This word stresses the relationship between rabbi (teacher or master) and disciple (student). A talmid of Jesus' day would give up his entire life in order to be with his teacher. The disciple didn't only seek to know what the teacher knew, as is usually the case today. It was not enough just to know what the rabbi said, but the foremost goal of any talmid was to become like the rabbi and do what the rabbi did.
Dome of the Rock — The Muslim mosque built in the seventh centurion the Temple Mount. The presence of this mosque makes it impossible to excavate the Mount.
Drusilla — The daughter of Agrippa l.
Eastern Gate — Main entrance to the temple area in Jerusalem. In some traditions, it is believed to be the location of the Last Judgment. Also known as the Beautiful Gate.
Eastern Wall — Followed the original line dating from Solomon's days. The main feature in the wall, the Eastern Gate (see above), was the original eastern entrance to the Temple Mount. At one point, the walls of the temple rose more than 225 feet above the bottom of the Kidron Valley.
Eden — The place where Adam and Eve lived before the Fall (Gen. 2:8-24).
Edomites — Esau's descendents. Edom means "red" and the Edomites lived in the mountains to the east and south of the Dead Sea. Because of Edom's attacks on Judah, God promised to take revenge on the Edomites.
Egpyt, Egyptians — Land and civilization south and west of Israel that flourished along the banks of the Nile River. During the time of Moses, home to enslaved Jews. Part of the Roman Empire during the first century. Throughout the Bible, Egypt was economically dependent on the eastern civilizations of Mesopotamia (Babylon, Assyria, and Persia). Trade routes connecting Egypt to these empires ran through mountain passes of Israel. By placing his people between the Egyptians and eastern empires, God guarenteed that the whole known world would hear his message.
Ekron — One of the five Philistine city-states, it is the one closest to the Judea Mountains.
Elah Valley — Valley in the Shephelah between the coastal plain and the Judea Mountains. David fought Goliath here.
elders — Older men who were leaders of God's chosen people.
Elijah — One of the first prophets; name literally means "Yahweh is God." On Mount Carmel, Elijah confronted the pagan prophets and challenged the Israelites to stop wavering between faith in Yahweh and Baal.
En Gedi — Means "place of the spring goat." A canyon and surrounding hills filled with springs that enabled a lush oasis to flourish on the Dead Sea's barren, western shore. Here David hid from Saul and possibly wrote several psalms.
Eshtaol — Small town on the hills above the Soreq, near Samson's birthplace.
Essenes — A highly organized religious group that renounced the priestly establishment and saw themselves as God's soldiers. They strengthened their bodies, minds, and spirits for the battle they believed would usher in the new age. The Dead Sea Scrolls found at Qumran may have been their library. Some believe that John the Baptist belonged to this group, because his message was similar to that contained in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Some of the beliefs and practices of the Essenes resembled those of Jesus and the early church.
exedra — Semicircular recess usually with seats, found in Greek and Byzantine buildings.
faith — Sure belief and trust. Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of things even if you cannot see them. To have faith in Jesus means to trust him and believe what the Bible says about him.
feast — A special time of celebration and eating. In the Bible, feasts celebrated the ways God helped his people.
First Jewish Revolt — Revolt against Rome by the Jewish people that resulted in the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem in AD 70.
firstfruits — The first crops that God's people would collect from their fields and give to God. This was a sign that everything the land produced belonged to God. In the New Testament, firstfruits is the first part of a blessing that is recieved as a promise of more to come.
flaying — Cutting skin into strips and pulling it off of a livng victim. Flaying was used by the Assyrians to torture their captives.
flutes — Vertical channels cut in the sides of columns.
forum — Roman marketplace.
fresco — Design created by painting water colors onto wet plaster.
frieze — A design or series of low-relief sculptures forming an ornamental, horizontal band around a room or between the architrave and cornice of a building.
frigidarium — Cold room in Roman baths.
Galilee — The northern part of the land of Palestine. Jesus grew up in the town of Nazareth, in Galilee, and did a lot of his teaching ministry here.
Gallus — (plural- Galli) - Priests of Cybele and Attis.
Gamla — Aramic, meaning "camel," because from a distance this ridge in the Golan Heights (Gaulanitis) looks like a camel's hump. Located north and east of the Sea of Galilee. Home to nationalistic Pharisees (Zealots) who sought deliverance from Roman oppression and probably were responsible for the frequent questions to Jesus regarding the nature of his kingship and an ongoing desire to appoint him king. After a brutal battle, the city fell to Vespian in AD 67. Josephus recoreded that 9,000 people died rather than surrender to the Romans.
gan — Garden; or terraced hillside, sometimes containing a number of different fruit trees like olive, fig, and grape.
gat shemen — Olive (shemen) press (gat) From which we get the term "gethsemene."
Gath — One of the five Philistine city-states. Goliath was born here.
Gaza — One of the five Philistine city-states. Samsom was born here.
Gehenna — Valley to the west of Jerusalem that was at one time the city sewage dump and the place where Judean kings sacrificed their children. This valley, with its filth, rottenness, and burning flesh, came to symbolize hell.
Gennesaret — See Sea of Galilee.
Gentiles — Means "nations." A Gentile is any one who is not a Jew. God's plan of salvation begins with the chosen nation of Israel, and then moves to include all the nations of the earth.
gethsemane — The word gethsemane is derived from two Hebrew words: gat, which means "a place for pressing oil (or wine)", and shemanim, which means "oils." During Jesus' time, heavy stone slabs were lowered onto olives that had already been crushed in an olive crusher. The slab's weight squeezed the olive oil out of the pulp, and the oil was collected. The image of the gethsemane on the slope of the Mount of Olives where Jesus went the night before his crucifixion provides a vivid picture of his suffering. The weight of the world's sins pressed down upon him like the heavy slab of the olive crusher. His sweat, "like drops of blood falling to the ground" (Luke 22:44), flowed from him like olive oil.
Gezer — City that controlled the Via Maris trade route. It was located near the coastal plain and the Aijalon Valley.
Gilead Mountains — Mountains east of the Jordan Valley between the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee.
Goliath — Perhaps the most well-known Philistine soldier. He taunted the Israelites and ridiculed God, but fell when David threw a stone.
Gomorrah — City near the southern end of the Dead Sea that God destroyed because of its wickedness, which included oppression of the poor.
gospel — Means "good news." The gospel is the message about how Jesus defeated evil. He died and then became alive again to make us new and give us hope for the future.
Great Rift Valley — Valley east of Israel where the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea are located. Also known as the Jordan Valley.
Grotto of Pan — A cult center to the fertility god Pan at Caesarea Philippi.
gymnasium — Greek and Roman schools.
Hades — 1) The place of the dead (Matt. 16:13—20). 2) Greek god of the underworld. Brother of Zeus and Poseidon.
Hallel — A selection comprising Psalms 113-118 and 135-136 chanted during Jewish feasts.
Hallelujah — Means "Praise the LORD!" This word is made by putting together two Hebrew words: Hallelu (meaning "praise") and Yah (for the name of God "Yahweh," or "the LORD").
haluk — Outer garment.
har — Hebrew for "hill" or "mountain."
Hasmonean — Dynasty of Jewish kings belonging to the family also known as the Maccabees.
Hazor — A major city in northern Israel and one of the key cites on the Via Maris trade route. It was fortified by Solomon.
hazzan — Synagogue leader or administrator who cared for the facility and how it was used.
Hebron — Means "league." Ancient city of Judah at the southern edge of the Hebron Mountains, north of the Negev and approximately 19 miles south of Jerusalem. Abraham lived here and purchased a tomb in this area where he, his wife, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, and Leah were buried. David's capital for the first seven years of his reign. Herod built a large enlosure around the cave of Machpelah, where Abraham was buried.
heir — The person who recieves or inherits what belongs to a relative. The heir usually inherited these things when the relative died. In the Old Testament, Israel was the heir of God and recieved the Promised Land as an inheritance from God (Gen. 15). In the New Testament, God's people are also called heirs of God. They recieve the gifts of righteousness, eternal life, and the kingdom of God (Rom. 8:15—17).
Hellenism — Name for the culture and worldview of the Greeks. It was antithetically opposed to the God-centered worldview of the Jews. Hellenism makes the human being the ultimate reality. The human mind is the basis for truth, the human body is the ultimate in wisdom, and human pleasure is the ultimate goal in life. It is the ancestor of modern humanism.
Hera — Greek goddess of marriage, very jealous wife of Zeus, queen of gods.
Hermes — Greek god of trade, messenger. Son of Zeus and Maia.
Herod the Great — Decreed king of Judea by the Romans in 40 BC. Poorly accepted by the Jews because of his questionable heritage as a descendent of Esau and a native of Idumaea (Edom). Most infamous for trying to kill the infant Jesus by ordering the slaughter of all male babies under two years old in Bethlehem. Remembered for the brutality of his reign.
Herodian — Anything pertaining to Herod the Great and the Herodion period; or the political party that dominated Herod Antipas' territory and politically and economically supported Roman overlords.
Heroon — Shrine or temple dedicated to a demigod or deified hero.
Hestia — Greek goddess of the hearth and home. Sister of Zeus.
Hezekiah — King of Judah of the 7th and 8th centuries BC (2 Kings 18). When King Hezekiah learned that the dreaded Assyrian army had arrived in Israel, he recognized the threat his exposed water supply posed for Jerusalem's survival. He dug a tunnel through the ridge on which the city was built that brought water to the other side; this water tunnel helped save the city of Jerusalem from the Assyrian siege. To this day, this extraordinary accomplishment ranks as one of the engineering marvels of the ancient world.
high place — Elevated location used in the worship of gods. The God of the Bible also met his people in high places.
Hill of Moreh — Hill at the intersection of the Valley of Jezreel and the Valley of Harod. Gideon and 300 men defeated the Midianites, the desert people (bedouins), here. Also known as Mount Moreh.
Hinnom — Valley to the west of Jerusalem that was at one time the city sewage dump and the place where Judean kings sacrificed their children. This valley, with its filth, rottenness, and burning flesh, came to symbolize hell.
hippodrome — Greek, hippus ("horse") and dramas ("course"). Referred to a horse racing course or circus. Herod built hippodromes in Caesarea, Jericho, and Jerusalem, where horse races, chariot races, and Olympic-style games were held as part of his attempt to Hellenize Israel.
holy — Pure, set apart for God. God is holy. He is perfect. He does not do anything wrong. God also wants his people to be holy. One day, God will make them perfect.
Holy of Holies — Inner part of the tabernacle and/or temple where the ark of the covenant was placed. It was a symbol of God's dwelling.
Holy Place — The Priests' court; a rectangular room between the worship court and the Holy of Holies that contained the table of showbread, golden lampstand, and the altar of incense.
Holy Spirit — One of the three persons of God. In the Old Testament we see the Holy Spirit active in the creation of the world. The Spirit also filled certain people with power at special times, and worked through men to produce the Scriptures. Because Jesus died and rose to new life, the Holy Spirit now lives in all God's people. He is the One who makes them new, teaches them, and gives them freedom for a new life.
hosha na — Save (hosha) now sense of urgency (na); "save now."
Humanism — Modern worldview based on an evolutionary model that considers human beings the ultimate life form and denies the existence or relevance of God. Right and wrong are determined by human standards, not God's.
hyssop — A plant whose twigs were used in ceremonial sprinkling.
idol — Anything that is worshiped instead of the true God. In Bible times, idols were often statues of false gods made of wood, stone, or metal. Idolatry is the worship of idols.
Idumea — Another name for the city of Edom, meaning "red." Located south of the Dead Sea and west of Arabah; home of Herod the Great. Some early followers of Jesus came from Idumaea (Mark 3:8).
Immanuel — the name of the Messiah as prophesied by Isaiah, often represented in Christian exegesis as being Jesus Christ (Isa. 7:14).
impaling — Inserting a sharpened stake between the rib cage of a living victim, putting the stake into the ground so it stood erect, and leaving the victim hanging until the stake pierced a vital organ causing the victim to die. Impaling was one of the methods that the Assyrians used to torture their captives.
insula — A family household arrangement common in Capernaum and Korazin, where many rooms—residences for various family members—were built around a central courtyard.
Israel — A name meaning "he struggles with God." God gave this name to Jacob, after he fought with an angel of God. The 12 tribes of the nation of Israel are from the family of Jacob (Israel). A member of the nation of Israel is called an Israelite.
ixthus — Early Christian believers often used the "fish" symbol. This may be because Jesus called his disciples to be "fishers of men" (Matt. 4:19). Or, perhaps the Greek word for fish, ixthus, was an acrostic for Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior: i - first letter in the Greek word for "Jesus" x - first letter in the Greek word for "Christ" th - first letter in the Greek word for "God" u - first letter in the Greek word for "son" s - first letter in the Greek word for "savior"
Jericho — Oasis next to a spring in the Great Rift Valley north of the Dead Sea. First city captured by the Israelites after wandering in the desert for 40 years.
Jerusalem — Located in the Judea Mountains west of the Dead Sea on the rim of the Great Rift Valley at the edge of the Judea Wilderness. King David captured the mountain spur, and the existing town, Jebus, which became "David's City," the Israelites' religious and political center. David purchased a threshing floor, the traditional site where Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac to God, as the future site of God's Temple that Solomom eventually built (2 Chron. 3:1). God the Father sent Jesus to Jerusalem to complete his messianic work by being executed, buried, and raised on the same mountain of Abraham's attempted sacrifice and where sacrifices in the Temple were made. This created a physical link between events of Jewish history and followers of Jesus. In the Bible, "heavenly Jerusalem" symbolized God's heavenly kingdom that will come at the end of time.
Jesus — The promised Messiah, lived a remarkable life as a Jewish rabbi. Through his ministry, death, and resurrection, God fulfilled his covenant promises.