KJV Study Bible

Home | Resources | Polyglot Old Testament | Polyglot New Testament | Bible Encyclopedia | Dictionary
Go to book

[A] [B] [C] [D] [E] [F] [G] [H] [I] [J] [K] [L] [M] [N] [O] [P] [Q] [R] [S] [T] [U] [V] [W] [X] [Y] [Z]
Search Article

Edward Robinson

[1] [2] [3] [4]

Next Page >>


RAAMAH, the fourth son of Cush, who peopled a country of Arabia, whence were brought to Tyre spices, precious stones and gold. This country is thought to have been in Arabia Felix, at the entrance of the Persian gulf, Gen. x. 7 ; Ezek. xxvii. 22. The Sept. in Genesis have Regma; according to Ptolemy, a city on the Persian gulf.


RAAMSES, or Ramesses, a city built by the He- brews, during their servitude in Egypt, and which probably took its name from a king of Egypt, Gen xlvii. 11 ; Exod. i. 11. It was situated in the land of Goshen ; and appears to have been the capital of that country. It was most probably the same with Hero- opolis, situated on the great canal between the Nile and Suez, where are now the ruins of Aboukeyshid. See in Exodus, p. 400.


RAB, Rabbi, Rabbin, Rabban, or Rabbam ; a name of dignity among the Hebrews, given to mas- ters and doctors, to chiefs of classes, and to the prin- cipal officers in the court of a prince : e. g. Nebuzar- adan, general of the army of king Nebuchadnezzar, is always called Rah Tabachim, master of the execu- tioners, or guards, 2 Kings xxv. 8, 20, et passim ; . Jer. xxxix. 9, 10, d passim. Esther (i. 8.) says, that Ahasuerus appointed a Rob of his court over every table of his guests, to take care that nothing should be wanting. Daniel (i. 3.) speaks of Ashpenaz, the Rob Sarisim, that is, Rab of the eunuchs of Nebu- chadnezzar, and of the Rab of the Saganim, or chief of the governors, or peers, chap. ii. 48. This prophet was himself preferred to be chief interpreter of dreams, or Rab of the Chartumim, Dan. v. 11. It appears that the title came originally from the Chal- dees ; for before the captivity, when mention is made of Judea, we find it used only in reference to the officers of the king of Babylou. Rab, or Rabban, properly signifies master, or one who excels in any thing ; Rabbi, or Rabbani, is my master. Rabbin is the plural. Thus Rab is of greater dignity than Rabbi. There were several gradations among the Jews before the dignity of Rabbi, as among us before the degree of doctor. The head of a school was called Hacham, or wise ; he who aspired to the doctorship had the name of Bachur, or Elou; and he frequented the school of the Hacham. When further advanced he had the title of Chabar of the Rab, or master's companion, and when perfectly skilled in the knowledge of the law and traditions, he was called only Rab, or Rabin, and Morena, our master. There seems to be an allusion to something of this sort in Matt. x. 24 ; Luke vi. 40 : " Ths, uisciple is not above his master ; but it is enougn for the fin- ished disciple to be as his master," or to be his mas- ter's companion. The Hacham Rab, or master Rabbi, decided differ- ences, determined things allowed or forbidden, and judged in religious and even in civil controversies. He celebrated marriages, and declared divorces. He preached, if he had a talent for it ; and was head of the academies. He had the first seat in the assem- blies, and in the synagogues. He reprimanded the disobedient, and could even excommunicate them In the schools they sat on raised chairs, and their scholars were seated at their feet. Hence (Acts xxii- 3.) Paul is said to have studied at the feet of Rabbi Gamaliel. Philo affirms that among the Essenes, the children sat in the schools at the feet of their masters. Ambrosiaster, on the First Epistle to the Corinthians, observes, that in their schools the Rabbins sat in their chairs, the most advanced of their scholars sat by them on benches, and the juniors sat on the ground on mats. Hence the Jews are used to say to their children, by way of proverb, " Roll yourselves in the dust of your master's feet ;" instead of saying, Frequent their schools diligently, o.nd sit down at their feet. Our Saviour upbraids the Rabbins and masters of Israel with vanity, and eagerness to occupy the first places at feasts, and the head seats in the syn- agogues ; also, with their being saluted in the streets, and desiring to be called Rabbi, my master. The studies of the Rabbins are either the text of the law, or the traditions, or the Cabala ; these three objects form so many different sorts of Rabbins. Those who chiefly apply to the letter of Scripture, are called Caraites, i. e. Literalists. Those who chief- ly study the traditions and oral laws of the Talmud, are called Rabbinists. Those who give themselves to their secret and mysterious divinity, letters and num- bers, are called Cabalists, i. e. Traditionaries.


RAB-SARIS, or Rab-sares, an officer sent with Rab-shakeh and Tartan, to summon Hezekiah, 2 Kings xviii. 17 ; Jer. xxxix. 3. It signifies the chief of the eunuchs.


RAB-SHAKEH, or Rab-saces, that is, the chief butler or cup-bearer, was an officer sent by Sennache- rib, king of Assyria, to summon Hezekiah to surrender to his troops, which he did, in a very haughty and insolent manner, telling him, in Hebrew, that he ought not to put confidence, either in the king of Egypt, or in the Lord, who had ordered Senna- cherib to march against Judea, 2 Kings xviii. 17. After this Rab-shakeh returned to his master, who had quitted the siege of Lachish to meet the king of Egypt, then coming to assist Hezekiah. But in this march the destroying angel slew 185,000 of the army of Sennacherib ; and he was obliged to hasten back to Nineveh, where he was slain by his own sons, Isa. xxxvii. 36, &c. ; 2 Kings xix. 35 — 37. See Sen- nacherib.


RABBATH, or Rabbat-Ammon, or Rabbath of the children of Ammon, afterwards called Phila- delphia, by Ptolemy Philadelphus, the capital of the Ammonites, was situate in the mountains of Gilead, near the source of the Arnon, beyond Jordan. It was famous even in the time of Moses, Deut. iii. 11. When David declared war against the Ammonites, A C [ 774 ] his general, Joab, laid siege to Rabbath-Ammon, where the brave Uriah lost his life by a secret order of his prince; when the city was reduced to the last extremity, David himself went thither, that he might have the honor of taking it. From this time it be- came subject to the kings of Judah ; but the kings of Israel subsequently became masters of it, with the tribes beyond Jordan. Towards the conclusion of the kingdom of Israel, Tiglath-pileser having taken away a great part of the Israelites, the Ammonites were guilty of many cruelties against those who re- mained ; for which the prophets Jeremiah and Eze- kiel pronounced very severe prophecies against Rabbath, their capital, and against the rest of the country, which probably had their completion five years after the destruction of Jerusalem. Antiochus the Great took the city about A. M. 3786. It is now called Amman, and is about 15 miles S. E. of Szalt. Burckhardt found there extensive ruins, which he has described. (Trav. in Syria, etc. p. 357.)




RABBI, see Rab, and Doctor.


RABBITH, a city of Issachar, Josh. xix. 20.


RABBONI, a diminutive from Rabbi, (John xx. 16.) or my master. See Rab. RaU MAG, a general officer of Nebuchadnez- zar's army, at the taking of Jerusalem, Jer. xxxix. 3. A. M. 3416. It means more probably chief of the magi, a dignitary who had accompanied the king of Babylon in his campaign.


RACA, a word derived from the root ^-\,rik,vain, trifling, ivitless, brainless ; otherwise, beggarly, ivorth- less. It is thus translated by the Vulgate, in Judg. xi. 3. in the English, vain men. The word includes a strong idea of contempt. Christ says. (Matt. v. 22.) whoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be con- demned by the council, or Sanhedrim. Lightfoot assures us, that in the Jewish books, the word Raca is a term of the utmost contempt ; and that it used to be pronounced with certain gestures of indignation, as spitting, turning away the head, &c.


RACE, RUNNING." The numerous allusions in tne writings of Paul to the races and games estab- lished in Greece, require some acquaintance with the nature and laws of those institutions, to render such passages intelligible. It may therefore be proper to adduce a few remarks concerning them. The apostle says, (1 Cor. ix. 24.) "Know ye not that they who run in a race, run all, but one (only) receiveth the prize ? so run that ye may obtain; And ever)' one who striveth is temperate," &c. Also 2 Tim. ii. 5. "If a man strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned except he strive lawfully." (See also Heb. xii. 1 ; Gal. v. 7, &c.) "Such as obtained victories in any of these games, especially the Olympic, were universally honored, nay, almost adored. At their return home they rode in a triumphal chariot into the city, the walls being broken down to give them entrance ; which was done (as Plutarch is of opinion) to signify, that walls are of small use to a city that is inhabited by men of courage and ability to defend it. At Sparta they had an honorable post in the army, being stationed near the king's person. At some towns they had presents made to them by their native city, were honored with the first place at shows and games, and ever after maintained at the public charge. Cicero reports, that a victory in the Olympic games was not much less honorable than a triumph at Rome. Happy was that man esteemed, who could but obtain a single victory ; if any person merited repeated rewards, he was thought to have attained the utmost felicity of which human nature is capa- ble ; but if he came off conqueror in all the exercises, he was elevated above the condition of men, and his actions styled wonderful victories! Nor did their honors terminate in themselves, but were extended to all about them; the city that gave them birth and education was esteemed more honorable and august: happy were their relations, and thrice happy their parents. It is a remarkable story which Plutarch relates of a Spartan, who, meeting Diagoras, that had himself been crowned in the Olympic games, and seen his sons and grand-children victors, embraced him, and said, 'Now die, Diagoras; for thou canst not be a god ! ' By the laws of Solon, a hundred drachms were allowed from the public treasury to every Athenian who obtained a prize in the Isthmian games ; and five hundred drachms to such as were victors in the Olympian. Afterwards, the latter of these had their maintenance in the Prytaneum, or public hall of Athens." The ffivTadZov, Pentathlon, or Quinquertium, (five games,) consisted of the five exercises contained in this verse : d-l-ltu, Tcofttvy.thiv, dloxov, uxovxa, nU\i\v, leaping, running, throwing, darting, wrestling. Instead of darting, some mention boxing ; others speak of exercises different from those mentioned. For Pentathlon seems to have been a common name for any five sorts of exercise performed at the same time. In all of them there were some customs that deserve our observation. Dromos, Am uoc, the exer- cise of running, was in great esteem among the an- cient Grecians, insomuch, that such as prepared themselves for it, thought it worth their while to use means to burn or parch their spleen, because it was believed to be a hinderance to them, and retard them in their course. Homer tells us, that swiftness is one of the most excellent endowments a man can be blessed withal : — No greater honor e'er has been attained, Than what strong hands, or nimble feet, have gained. Indeed, all those exercises that conduced to fit meji for war, were more especially valued. Swiftness was looked upon as an excellent qualification m a warrior, both because it serves for a sudden assault and onset, and likewise for a nimble retreat; and It AC [ 775 1 therefore it is not to be wondered at, that the constant character which Homer gives of Achilles is, that he was swift of foot ; and in the Holy Scripture, David, in his poetical lamentation over those two great cap- tains, Saul and Jonathan, takes particular notice of this warlike quality of theirs: "They were swifter than eagles, stronger than lions," 2 Sam. i. 23. Those persons who designed to contend in these games were obliged to repair to the public gymna- sium, at Elis, ten months before the solemnity, where they prepared themselves by cont inual exercises. No man who had omitted to present himself in this man- ner was allowed to contend for any of the prizes; nor were the accustomed rewards of victory given to such persons, if by any means they introduced them- selves, a. a overcame their antagonists. No person who was himself a notorious criminal, or nearly related to any such, was permitted to contend ; and further, if any person were convicted of bribing his adversary, a severe fine was laid upon him. Nor were these precautions alone thought a sufficient guard against evil and dishonorable contracts and un- just practices, but the contenders were obliged to swear, that they had spent ten whole months in pre- paratory exercises ; and both they, their fathers and brethren, took a solemn oath, that they would not, by any sinister or unlawful means, endeavor to stop the fair and just proceedings of the games. (Potter's Antiq. Graec.) The rewards given in these games have been thus rendered into English by Addison, from the Greek : — Greece, in four games thy martial youth were trained, For heroes two, and two for gods ordained ; Jove bade the olive round his victor wave; Phoebus to his an apple-garland gave ; The pine Palaemon ; nor with less renown, Archemorus conferred the parsley crown. (Anc. Med. Dial. 2.) Compare with these fading vegetable crowns that immortal life which the gospel offers as a prize to the victor ; in order to understand the apostle's com- parison, 1 Cor. ix. 25 ; 1 Pet. v. 4.


RACHAL, a city of Judah, to which David sent some of the spoil taken from those enemies who had plundered Ziklag, 1 Sam. xxx. 29.


RACHEL, a daughter of Laban, and sister of Leah, was married to Jacob, by whom she had Joseph and Benjamin. She died in childbirth with the latter, whom she named Ben-oni, son of my pain; but Jacob named him Benjamin, or the son of my right hand. See Jacob. The prophet Jeremiah, (xxxi. 15.) and after him Matthew, (ii. 18.) have, as it were, revived Rachel, in the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, descended from Joseph, son of Rachel. " In Rama (or, on the high- places) was there a voice heard, lamentation and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not." This was fulfilled, when these tribes were carried into cay>tivity beyond the Euphrates ; but Matthew has accommodated the words to the lamentations of the mothers in Bethlehem, when Herod slew their children. Then Rachel, who was buried there, might "be said to renew her cries and lamenta- tions for the death of so many infant innocents, sac- rificed to his jealousy and cruelty ! It may be well to notice the objection which Mr. Levi and others have urged against- this application of the prophet's language. It is said that the lamen- tation of Rachel, referring only to the carrying away of captives to Babylon, and being connected with a promise of their return, is not of that description to justify such an application of it. The passage stands thus, Jer. xxxi. 15 : — Thus saith the Lord ; voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping ; Rachel weeping for her children, Refused to be comforted, because they were not. Thus saith the Lord ; Refrain thy voice from weeping, And thine eyes from tears : For thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord : And they shall come again from the land of th» enemy. And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, That thy children shall come again to their own border. This passage certainly closes with hopeful and grateful ideas ; so far, therefore, as the prophet apos- trophizes the tender mother of the tribes of Joseph and Benjamin, he addresses consolation to her : not so the evangelist; whose metaphorical Rachel de- plores her children hopelessly cut off, and departed for ever. To remove this seeming discrepancy, Mr. Taylor offers the following remarks, on the authority of Le Bruyn — (1.) that it is customary for mothers in the East to seek the graves of their deceased children, in order to weep over them; meaning to infer, that this being a custom in the East at present, it was the same anciently ; so that, in point of lamentation, any mourning mother might have answered the allusion of the evangelist as Ra- chel: (2.) that it is probable high places or hills, a little way out of the towns, were usually the scenes of such lamentations, anciently ; as we find by sev- eral passages in the Old Testament; and that such weepings are now maintained in the same places ; the same customs, for the most part, prevailing in modern as in ancient times : (3.) that the word Ra- mah signifies high places in general ; and that any high place, the usual scene of such maternal lamen- tation, would have answered the evangelist's purpose in reference to mourning mothers : (4.) that Rachel was buried at, or near, Ramah, (Gen. xxxv. 9 ; xlvii. 7 ; 1 Sam. x. 2.) where the Israelites were assembled to be carried into captivity ; (Jer. xl. 1.) (5.) that the same custom of women's weeping for their children was probably maintained in the evangelist's time at Ramah near Bethlehem, as Le Bruyn found at Ra- mah near Lydda ; and that Ramah being a high place fit for the purpose, and such high places being selected as scenes of maternal lamentation. From these considerations it will follow, that there is nothing forced or constrained in the reference of Matthew, to a mourning of mothers over their chil- dren, and refusing to be comforted ; since such was, as it still is, the custom of the vicinity. The allusion to this custom would be still more conspicuous, if it were, as no doubt it was, maintained at Rachel's Ra- mah ; and the apostrophe to Rachel would be still more impressive, if those mournings were exhibited in an open and high place, or spot of ground, adja- cent to her tomb, or the memorial of it. To call such mournings, mournings of Rachel, (not to say that this name might actually be given to them, by the people, in the days of Matthew, who, as he wrote in the language of the country, certainly was ac- quainted with the customs of the country, as well [ 776 1 A I ocal as general,) from the place in which they were performed, can scarcely be called a poetical license. These remarks set in a very easy light the accom- modation employed by the evangelist; who, cer- tainly, selects Rachel as a mother of the most affec- tionate character ; and instances in her, though long since dead, that grief which living mothers felt, and under which living mothers lamented. This seems to justify, also, the expression of the evangelist, " Then was fulfilled the language of Jeremiah the prophet ;" for if Rachel lamented, according to the usage of the vicinity, on account of the departure of her children into captivity ; if, when they were not slain, but only deported, she was, as it were, raised by the impulse of poesy, out of her tomb, to grieve, to lead with elevated hands, and plaintive voice, the lamentations of the weeping mothers ; surely when her children were really slain, she might well break the bonds of silence, by loud and bitter cries, ex- pressing those agonies which rent her sympathetic bosom : she might preside over the sorrows, the pub- lic sorrows, which such occasion demanded, and which, after similar privations, were expected, ac- cording to established usage. In short, if the prophet had any right to raise the dead, on account of a cir- cumstance of temporary, but not hopeless, distress, the evangelist had at least equal, not to say greater, right to employ the same metaphor, on occasion of a slaughter, neither alleviated by hope of return, nor by possibility of future restoration ; but in every sense fatal : a cruel instance of tyrannical jealousy, and of vindictive anticipation. This was a fulfilment of the allusion and intent of Jeremiah, much beyond that marked by the prophet himself ; it was a deeper completion of his words ; a more entire termination of his sentiment, founded, like his, on local custom, and, like his, supported by the daily occurrences of time and place, and by the general manners of the readers for whom his narration was intended. To conclude, we are justified by the evidence ad- duced, i«i assuming that the mothers of the infants slaughtered at Bethlehem did subsequently, and cer- tainly, visit their tombs, and lament with loud ex- clamations over the remains of their tenderly beloved offspring. Admitting this, where is the incongruity of imagining, that the mother of the adjacent tribe, Ihough interred many years ago, should be recalled from that interment, by the poetical imagination of the prophet, to officiate in the distress of her daugh- ters deprived of their children ? And if this be per- mitted to the prophet, on what principle shall it be refused to the evangelist ? It is impossible to place any dependence on the antiquity of the tomb now shown as that of Rachel, near Bethlehem. It stands within six or seven paces of the field of Ephrata ; about forty paces out of the high road. On a hill a little farther on, to the right, are ruins of a tower and houses; "They told us," says D'Arvieux, "that they were the remains of the little town of Ramah, of which Jeremiah speaks in his 'Lamentations:' and where Herod caused the innocent babes to be slain ; as also in the neighbor- hood." If this tradition be correct, and the evan- gelist's words incline to support it, then the poetical resuscitation'of Rachel has a closer alliance with the facts of the history than has been usually imagined.


RAGAU, (Luke hi. 35.) the same with Reu, which see.


RAGUEL, see Jethro.


RAM, or Battering Ram, a well known engine of war, mentioned in Ezek. iv. 2 ; xxi. 22. and used by Nebuchadnezzar at the siege of Jerusalem. RAMAH. This word signifies an eminence ; from hence are so many places in Palestine named Ramah, Ratnath, Ramatha, Ramotii, Ramathaim, and Rama- than. Sometimes the same place is called by one or other of these names indiscriminately, all signifying the same. Sometimes Rama, or Ramoth, is joined to another name, to determine the place of such city, or eminence ; and it is sometimes put simply for a high place, and signifies neither city nor village.


RAMATH-LEHI, or Ramath-lechi, the height of the jaw-bone, or the cast of the jaw-bone, the name of the place where Samson threw the jaw-bone on the ground, with which he had beaten the Philistines. Probably this is the Lehi of Judg. xv. 9. See Lehi.


RAMATHAIM, the two Ramathas; probably, because the city was divided into two parts. It was also called Zophim, because of a family of Levites 98 dwelling there, who were descended from Zoph. It was probably the same with Ramah I. and II.


RAMESSES, see Raamses.


RAMOTH, a famous city in the mountains of Gilead ; often called Ramoth-Gilead ; and sometimes Ramath-mizpeh, or the Watch-tower, Josh. xiii. 26. The Vulgate makes it two cities, Ramoth and Mas- phe. It belonged to Gad, was assigned to the Le- vites, and became one of the cities of refuge beyond Jordan, Deut. iv. 43 ; Josh. xx. 8; xxi. 38. It was famous during the reigns of the later kings of Israel, and was the occasion of several wars between these princes and the kings of Damascus, who had con- quered it, and from whom the kings of Israel en- deavored to regain it, 1 Kings xxii ; 2 Kings viii. 28, 29 ; 2 Chron. xxii. 5. Jehoram, king of Judah, was dangerously wounded at the siege of this place ; Jehu, son of Nimshi, was here anointed king of Is- rael, by a prophet sent by Elisha; (2 Kings ix.) and Ahab was killed in battle with the Syrians before it, 2 Chron. xviii. 3. Eusebius says, Ramoth was fif- teen miles from Philadelphia, east; but Jerome places it in the neighborhood of Jabbok, and, con- sequently, north of Philadelphia.


RAN, or Merrha, a people of Arabia, Baruch hi. 23.


RANSOM, a price paid to recover a person or thing, from one who detaius that person or thing in captivity. Hence prisoners of war, or slaves, are said to be ransomed, when they are liberated in ex- change for a valuable consideration. Whatever is substituted or exchanged, in compensation for the party, is his ransom ; but the word ransom is more ex- tensively taken in Scripture. A man is said to ran- som his life, (Exod. xxi. 30.) to substitute a sum of money instead of his life ; (chap. xxx. 12 ; Job xxxvi. 18 ; Ps. xlix. 7.) and some kinds of sacrifices might be regarded as ransoms, that is, as substitutes for the offerer. In like manner, Christ is said to give him- self a ransom for all; (1 Tim. ii. 6; Matt. xx. 28; Mark x. 45.) a substitute for them, bearing sufferings in their stead, undergoing that penalty which would otherwise attach to them. (See Rom. iii. 24 ; vii. 23 ; 1 Cor. i. 30 ; Ephes. i. 7 ; iv. 30 ; Heb. ix. 15.) Comp. Redeemer.


RAPHAEL, one of the seven archangels which stand continually before the throne of God, ready to perform his commands, Tobit xii. 15.


RAPHIA, a famous city on the Mediterranean, be- tween Gaza and Rhinocorura, famous for the victory of Philopator, king of Egypt, over Antiochus the Great, king of Syria, 3 Mac. i. 11.

Next Page >>

Home | Resources