International Standard Bible EncyclopediaALEXANDER, THE GREAT
(Alexandros). 1. Parentage and Early Life:
Alexander, of Macedon, commonly called "the Great" (born 356 B.C.), was the son of Philip, king of Macedon, and of Olympias, daughter of Neoptolemos, an Epeirote king. Although Alexander is not mentioned by name in the canonical Scriptures, in Daniel he is designated by a transparent symbol (8:5, 21). In 1 Maccabees 1:1 he is expressly named as the overthrower of the Persian empire, and the founder of that of the Greeks. As with Frederick the Great, the career of Alexander would have been impossible had his father been other than he was. Philip had been for some years a hostage in Thebes: while there he had learned to appreciate the changes introduced into military discipline and tactics by Epaminondas. Partly no doubt from the family claim to Heracleid descent, deepened by contact in earlier days with Athenians like Iphicrates, and the personal influence of Epaminondas, Philip seems to have united to his admiration for Greek tactics a tincture of Hellenistic culture, and something like a reverence for Athens, the great center of this culture. In military matters his admiration led him to introduce the Theban discipline to the rough peasant levies of Macedon, and the Macedonian phalanx proved the most formidable military weapon that had yet been devised. The veneer of Greek culture which he had taken on led him, on the one hand, laying stress on his Hellenistic descent, to claim admission to the comity of Hellas, and on the other, to appoint Aristotle to be a tutor to his son. By a combination of force and fraud, favored by circumstances, Philip got himself appointed generalissimo of the Hellenistic states; and further induced them to proclaim war against the "Great King." In all this he was preparing the way for his son, so soon to be his successor.
2. His Preparation for His Career:
He was also preparing his son for his career. Alexander was, partly no doubt from being the pupil of Aristotle, yet more imbued with Greek feelings and ideas than was Preparation his father. He was early introduced into the cares of government and the practice of war. While Philip was engaged in the siege of Byzantium he sent his son to replace Antipater in the regency; during his occupancy of this post, Alexander, then only a youth of sixteen, had to undertake a campaign against the Illyrians, probably a punitive expedition. Two years later, at the decisive battle of Chaeroneia, which fixed the doom of the Greek autonomous city, Alexander commanded the feudal cavalry of Macedon, the "Companions." He not only saved his father's life, but by his timely and vehement charge materially contributed to the victory.
3. His Accession to the Hegemony of Greece:
When all his plans for the invasion of Persia were complete, and a portion of his troops was already across the Hellespont, Philip was assassinated. Having secured his succession, Alexander proceeded to Corinth, where he was confirmed in his father's position of leader of Hellas against Darius. Before he could cross into Asia he had to secure his northern frontier against possible raids of barbarian tribes. He invaded Thrace with his army and overthrew the Triballi, then crossed the Danube and inflicted a defeat on the Getae. During his absence in these but slightly known regions, the rumor spread that he had been killed, and Thebes began a movement to throw off the Macedonian yoke. On his return to Greece he wreaked terrible vengeance on Thebes, not only as promoter of this revolt, but also as the most powerful of the Greek states.
4. Campaign in Asia Minor:
Having thus secured his rear, Alexander collected his army at Pella to cross the Hellespont, that he might exact the vengeance of Greece on Persia for indignities suffered at the hands of Xerxes, who "by his strength through his riches" had stirred, up "all against the realm of Grecia" (Daniel 11:2, the King James Version). Steeped as he was in the romance of the Iliad, Alexander, when he came to the site of Troy, honored Achilles, whom he claimed as his ancestor, with games and sacrifices. This may have been the outflow of his own romantic nature, but there was also wise policy in it; the Greeks were more readily reconciled to the loss of their freedom when it was yielded up to one who revived in his own person the heroes of the Iliad. It may be noted how exactly the point of Alexander's invasion is indicated in Daniel's prophecy (Daniel 8:5). From Troy he advanced southward, and encountered the Persian forces at the Granicus. While in the conflict Alexander exhibited all the reckless bravery of a Homeric hero. He at the same time showed the skill of a consummate general. The Persian army was dispersed with great slaughter.
Before proceeding farther into Persia, by rapid marches and vigorously pressed sieges, he completed the conquest of Asia Minor. Here, too, he showed his knowledge of the sensitiveness of Asiatic peoples to omens, by visiting Gordium, and cutting the knot on which, according to legend, depended the empire of Asia.
5. Battle of Issus and March through Syria to Egypt:
What he had done in symbol he had to make a reality; he had to settle the question of supremacy in Asia by the sword. He learned that Darius had collected an immense army and was coming to meet him. Although the Persian host was estimated at a half-million men, Alexander hastened to encounter it. Rapidity of motion, as symbolized in Daniel by the "he-goat" that "came from the west. and touched not the ground" (Daniel 8:5), was Alexander's great characteristic. The two armies met in the relatively narrow plain of Issus, where the Persians lost, to a great extent, the advantage of their numbers; they were defeated with tremendous slaughter, Darius himself setting the example of flight. Alexander only pursued the defeated army far enough to break it up utterly. He began his march southward along the seacoast of Syria toward Egypt, a country that had always impressed the Greek imagination. Though most of the cities, on his march, opened their gates to the conqueror, Tyre and Gaza only yielded after a prolonged siege.
In the case of the latter of these, enraged at the delay occasioned by the resistance, and emulous of his ancestor, Alexander dragged its gallant defender Batis alive behind his chariot as Achilles had dragged the dead Hector. It ought to be noted that this episode does not appear in Arrian, usually regarded as the most authentic historian of Alexander. Josephus relates that after he had taken Gaza, Alexander went up to Jerusalem, and saw Jaddua the high priest, who showed him the prophecy of Daniel concerning him. The fact that none of the classic historians take any notice of such a detour renders the narrative doubtful: still it contains no element of improbability that the pupil of Aristotle, in the pursuit of knowledge, might, during the prosecution of the siege of Gaza, with a small company press into the hill country of Judea, at once to secure the submission of Jerusalem which occupied a threatening position in regard to his communications, and to see something of that mysterious nation who worshipped one God and had no idols.
6. Founding of Alexandria and Visit to the Shrine of Jupiter Ammon:
When he entered Egypt, the whole country submitted without a struggle. Moved at once by the fact that Pharos is mentioned in the Odyssey, and that he could best rule Egypt from the seacoast, he founded Alexandria on the strip of land opposite Pharos, which separated Lake Mareotis from the Mediterranean. The island Pharos formed a natural breakwater which made possible a spacious double harbor; the lake, communicating with the Nile, opened the way for inland navigation. As usual with Alexander, romance and policy went hand in hand. The city thus founded became the capital of the Ptolemies, and the largest city of the Hellenistic world. He spent his time visiting shrines, in the intervals of arranging for the government of the country. The most memorable event of his stay in Egypt was his expedition to the oracle or Jupiter Ammon (Amen-Ra) where he was declared the son of the god. To the Egyptians this meant no more than that he was regarded a lawful monarch, but he pretended to take this declaration as assigning to him a Divine origin like so many Homeric heroes. Henceforward, there appeared on coins Alexander's head adorned with the ram's horn of Amen-Ra. This impressed the eastern imagination so deeply that Mohammed, a thousand years after, calls him in the Quran Iskander dhu al-qarnain, "Alexander the lord of the two horns." It is impossible to believe that the writer of Daniel could, in the face of the universal attribution of the two ram's horns to Alexander, represent Persia, the power he overthrew, as a two-horned ram (Daniel 8:3, 20), unless he had written before the expedition into Egypt.
7. The Last Battle with Darius:
Having arranged the affairs of Egypt, Alexander set out for his last encounter with Darius. In vain had Darius sent to Alexander offering to share the empire with him; the "king of Javan" (Revised Version margin) "was moved with anger against him" (Daniel 8:7) and would have nothing but absolute submission. There was nothing left for Darius but to prepare for the final conflict. He collected a yet huger host than that he had had under him at Issus, and assembled it on the plain east of the Tigris. Alexander hastened to meet him. Although the plain around Gaugamela was much more suitable for the movements of the Persian troops, which consisted largely of cavalry, and gave them better opportunity of making use of their great numerical superiority to outflank the small Greek army, the result was the same as at Issus-overwhelming defeat and immense slaughter. The consequence of this victory was the submission of the greater portion of the Persian empire.
After making some arrangements for the government of the new provinces, Alexander set out in the pursuit of Darius, who had fled in the care or custody of Bessus, satrap of Bactria. Bessus, at last, to gain the favor of Alexander, or, failing that, to maintain a more successful resistance, murdered Darius. Alexander hurried on to the conquest of Bactria and Sogdiana, in the course of his expedition capturing Bessus and putting him to death. In imitation of Bacchus, he proceeded now to invade India. He conquered all before him till he reached the Sutlej; at this point his Macedonian veterans refused to follow him farther.
8. Close of His Life:
Thus compelled to give up hopes of conquests in the farther East, he returned to Babylon, which he purposed to make the supreme capital of his empire, and set himself, with all his superabundant energy, to organize his dominions, and fit Babylon for its new destiny. While engaged in this work he was seized with malaria, which, aggravated by his recklessness in eating and drinking, carried him off in his 33rd year.
9. His Influence:
Alexander is not to be estimated merely as a military conqueror. If he had been only this, he would have left no deeper impress on the world than Tamerlane or Attila. While he conquered Asia, he endeavored also to Hellenize her. He everywhere founded Greek cities that enjoyed at all events a municipal autonomy. With these, Hellenistic thought and the Hellenistic language were spread all over southwestern Asia, so that philosophers from the banks of the Euphrates taught in the schools of Athens. It was through the conquests of Alexander that Greek became the language of literature and commerce from the shores of the Mediterranean to the banks of the Tigris. It is impossible to estimate the effect of this spread of Greek on the promulgation of the gospel.
J. E. H. Thomson
grat, grat'-nes: "Great" occurs very often in Scripture. The chief words so translated are gadhol, rabh; megas, polus.
(1) In the Old Testament many other terms are employed:
(a) gadhol is used to express greatness in various senses, chiefly of magnitude, including excellence, e.g. "great lights" (Genesis 1:16); "the great city" (Genesis 10:12); "a great nation" (Genesis 12:2); "a great sight" (Exodus 3:3); "Moses was very great" (Exodus 11:3); "the great God" (Deuteronomy 10:17 Nehemiah 1:5); "great is Yahweh" (Psalm 48:1). It is sometimes translated by "mighty" (Deuteronomy 4:37; Deuteronomy 7:21, "a mighty God," the Revised Version (British and American) "great"). It is also used to designate the high priest (literally, "great," Leviticus 21:10 Zechariah 3:1, etc.); also to express the "elder" of a family, e.g. Genesis 27:1, "Esau his eldest son," the Revised Version (British and American) "elder"; probably also of great stature: "a great man among the Anakims," the Revised Version (British and American) "the greatest" (Joshua 14:15).
(b) rabh denotes, rather, quantity, number, therefore, often, "many" (Genesis 21:34, etc.; Exodus 2:23 the Revised Version (British and American), etc.); "abundant" (Exodus 34:6, the English Revised Version "plenteous"), and similar terms; thus we have "a great people" (Joshua 17:14); "His mercies are great," the Revised Version, margin "many" (2 Samuel 24:14 1 Chronicles 21:13); "Great was the company," the Revised Version (British and American) "a great host" (Psalm 68:11); "great reward" (Psalm 19:11); "Mine iniquity. is great" (Psalm 25:11); "exceedingly" (Psalm 123:3). In the Septuagint rabh is, for the most part, translated by polus. But it is used for "great" in other senses, e.g. "the great (God)" (Proverbs 26:10), the Revised Version (British and American) "as an archer," margin "master worker; Hebrew text obscure"; "a saviour, and a great one," the Revised Version (British and American) "defender," margin "or a mighty one" (Isaiah 19:20); "Great shall be the peace" (Isaiah 54:13), etc. It is sometimes translated "mighty" (Psalm 89:50, the Revised Version, margin "many"; Isaiah 63:1).
(c) Other words thus translated are kabhedh, "heavy," e.g. "so great a people," the Revised Version (British and American) "thy great people," margin "heavy" (1 Kings 3:9); me'odh, implying force, might, e.g. "with all his might" (2 Kings 23:25). 'El and 'Elohim are sometimes used to express greatness. In Psalm 36:6, we have "Thy righteousness is like the great ('El) mountains," the Revised Version (British and American) "mountains of God"; in Genesis 30:8, "with great ('Elohim) wrestlings," the Revised Version (British and American) "mighty," margin "wrestlings of God"; and in 1 Samuel 14:15 "a very great ('Elohim) trembling," the Revised Version (British and American) "exceeding great," margin "a trembling of God."
(a) Megas denotes magnitude, in its various aspects, physical, moral, etc., e.g. "great joy" (Matthew 2:10); "a great light" (Matthew 4:16); "the great King" (Matthew 5:35); "great in the kingdom" (Matthew 5:19, etc.); "Great is thy faith" (Matthew 15:28); "The greatest is charity" (love), the Revised Version, margin "greater" (1 Corinthians 13:13); "a great high priest" (Hebrews 4:14); "the great shepherd" (Hebrews 13:20); "a great voice" (Revelation 1:10); in Re megas is very frequent.
(b) Polus denotes properly number, multitude, e.g. "great multitudes" (Matthew 4:25); "a great company" (Luke 5:29, the Revised Version (British and American) "a great multitude"; frequent in the Gospels); "great possessions" (Mark 10:22). But also "great" in the sense of magnitude, e.g. "great plainness of speech," the Revised Version (British and American) "boldness" (2 Corinthians 3:12; 2 Corinthians 7:4); "a great trial of affliction," the Revised Version (British and American) "much proof" (2 Corinthians 8:2); "great love" (Ephesians 2:4).
(c) Among other terms we have telikoutos, "so great" (in degree), "so great a salvation" (Hebrews 2:3); tosoutos, "so great" (in quantity), "so great faith" (Matthew 8:10 Luke 7:9); "so great a cloud of witnesses" (Hebrews 12:1); hosos, "how great" (in quantity) (Mark 3:8; Mark 5:19 f); helikos, "how great" (in degree) (Colossians 2:1 James 3:5, "how great a matter," the Revised Version (British and American) "how much wood," margin "how great a forest"); pelikos, "how great" (in degree) (Hebrews 7:4); posos, "how great" (in quantity) (Matthew 6:23), etc.
(3) In His person and teaching, Jesus introduced into the world a new conception of greatness. It was to be found in humility and self-forgetting service: "Whosoever would become great among you shall be your minister (the Revised Version, margin "servant"); and whosoever would be first among you shall be your servant (the Revised Version, margin "(Greek) bond-servant"): even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:26-28; compare also Matthew 18:1-4; Matthew 23:11 Philippians 2:5-11).
W. L. Walker
(yanshuph; Septuagint ibis, or eibis): A member of the Palestine species of the family Strigidae. The great owl mentioned in the Bible was no doubt their largest specimen of the family, a bird fully 2 ft. in length, full feathered, with unusually large head and long ear tufts. It was a formidable and noble-appearing bird, with resounding voice. It was abundant among the ruins of temples, the tombs of Carmel, the caves of Gennesaret, and among the ruined cities of Southern Judah. It is included in the abomination lists of Leviticus 11:17 and Deuteronomy 14:16.
SEA, THE GREAT
1. Names of the Sea:
This is the name given to the Mediterranean, which formed the western boundary of Palestine (Numbers 34:6 Joshua 15:12, 47 Ezekiel 47:19; Ezekiel 48:28). It is also called "the hinder sea" (Hebrew ha-yam ha-'aharon), i.e. the western sea (Deuteronomy 11:24; Deuteronomy 34:2 Joel 2:20 Zechariah 14:8), and "the sea of the Philis" (Exodus 23:31), which, of course, applies especially to the part washing the shore of Philistia, from Jaffa southward. Generally, when the word "sea" is used, and no other is definitely indicated, the Mediterranean is intended (Genesis 49:13 Numbers 13:29, etc.). It was the largest sheet of water with which the Hebrews had any acquaintance. Its gleaming mirror, stretching away to the sunset, could be seen from many an inland height.
2. Israel and the Sea:
It bulked large in the minds of the landsmen-for Israel produced few mariners-impressing itself upon their speech, so that "seaward" was the common term for "westward" (Exodus 26:22 Joshua 5:1, etc.). Its mystery and wonder, the raging of the storm, and the sound of "sorrow on the sea," borne to their upland ears, infected them with a strange dread of its wide waters, to which the seer of Patmos gave the last Scriptural expression in his vision of the new earth, where "the sea is no more" (Revelation 21:1).
3. The Coast Line:
Along the coast lay the tribal territories assigned to Asher, Zebulun, Manasseh, Dan and Judah. Many of the cities along the shore they failed to possess, however, and much of the land. The coast line offered little facility for the making of harbors. The one seaport of which in ancient times the Hebrews seem to have made much use was Joppa-the modern Jaffa (2 Chronicles 2:16, etc.). From this place, probably, argosies of Solomon turned their prows westward. Here, at least, "ships of Tarshish" were wont to set out upon their adventurous voyages (Jonah 1:3). The ships on this sea figure in the beautiful vision of Isaiah (60:8).
See ACCO; JOPPA.
4. The Sea in the New Testament:
The boy Jesus, from the heights above Nazareth, must often have looked on the waters of the great sea, as they broke in foam on the curving shore, from the roots of Carmel to the point at Acre. Once only in His journeyings, so far as we know, did He approach the sea, namely on His ever-memorable visit to the "borders of Tyre and Sidon" (Matthew 15:21 Mark 7:24). The sea, in all its moods, was well known to the great apostle of the Gentiles. The three shipwrecks, which he suffered (2 Corinthians 11:25), were doubtless due to the power of its angry billows over the frail craft of those old days.
5. Debt of Palestine to the Sea:
The land owes much to the great sea. During the hot months of summer, a soft breeze from the water springs up at dawn, fanning all the seaward face of the Central Range. At sunset the chilled air slips down the slopes and the higher strata drift toward the uplands, charged with priceless moisture, giving rise to the refreshing dews which make the Palestinian morning so sweet.
See , further, MEDITERRANEAN SEA.
SYNAGOGUE, THE GREAT
A college or assembly of learned men, originating with Ezra, to whom Jewish tradition assigns an important share in the formation of the Old Testament Canon, and many legal enactments (see CANON OF THE OLD TESTAMENT). One of its latest members is said to have been Simon the Just (circa 200 B.C.). The oldest notice of the Great Synagogue is in the tract of the Mishna, Pirqe 'Abhoth (circa 200 A.D.); this is supplemented by an often-quoted, passage in another tract of the Mishna, Babha' Bathra' (14b), on the Canon, and by later traditions. It tells against the reliabe of these traditions that they are late, and are mixed up with much that is self-evidently unhistorical, while no corroboration is found in Ezra or Nehemiah, in the Apocrypha, or in Josephus. On this account, since the exhaustive discussion by Kuenen on the subject (Over de Mannen der Groote Synagoge), most scholars have been disposed to throw over the tradition altogether, regarding it as a distorted remembrance of the great convocation described in Nehemiah 8-10 (so W. R. Smith, Driver, etc.; compare article by Selbie in HDB in support of total rejection). This probably is an excess of skepticism. The convocation in Nehemiah has no points of resemblance to the kind of assembly recalled in this tradition; and while fantastic details may be unreal, it is difficult to believe that declarations so circumstantial and definite have no foundation at all in actual history. The direct connection with Ezra may be discounted, though possibly-indeed it is likely-somebody associated with Ezra in his undeniable labors on the Canon may have furnished the germ from which the institution in question was developed (see the careful discussion in C. H. H. Wright, Ecclesiastes 1-10, and Excursus III, "The Men of the Great Synagogue").
For the rabbinical quotations and further important details, see C. Taylor's Sayings of the Jewish Fathers, 11 and 110 f.
RIVER, THE (GREAT)
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
) Large in space; of much size; big; immense; enormous; expanded; -- opposed to small and little; as, a great house, ship, farm, plain, distance, length.
2. (superl.) Large in number; numerous; as, a great company, multitude, series, etc.
3. (superl.) Long continued; lengthened in duration; prolonged in time; as, a great while; a great interval.
4. (superl.) Superior; admirable; commanding; -- applied to thoughts, actions, and feelings.
5. (superl.) Endowed with extraordinary powers; uncommonly gifted; able to accomplish vast results; strong; powerful; mighty; noble; as, a great hero, scholar, genius, philosopher, etc.
6. (superl.) Holding a chief position; elevated: lofty: eminent; distinguished; foremost; principal; as, great men; the great seal; the great marshal, etc.
7. (superl.) Entitled to earnest consideration; weighty; important; as, a great argument, truth, or principle.
8. (superl.) Pregnant; big (with young).
9. (superl.) More than ordinary in degree; very considerable in degree; as, to use great caution; to be in great pain.
10. (superl.) Older, younger, or more remote, by single generation; -- often used before grand to indicate one degree more remote in the direct line of descent; as, great-grandfather (a grandfather's or a grandmother's father), great-grandson, etc.
11. (n.) The whole; the gross; as, a contract to build a ship by the great.
Strong's Hebrew1419. gadol -- great...
<< 1418, 1419. gadol. 1420 >>. great
. Transliteration: gadol Phonetic Spelling:
(gaw-dole') Short Definition: great
. Word Origin from ... /hebrew/1419.htm - 6k
1431. gadal -- to grow up, become great
... << 1430b, 1431. gadal. 1432 >>. to grow up, become great. Transliteration: gadal
Phonetic Spelling: (gaw-dal') Short Definition: grew. Word Origin a prim. ...
/hebrew/1431.htm - 7k
7227a. rab -- much, many, great
... << 7227, 7227a. rab. 7227b >>. much, many, great. Transliteration: rab Short
Definition: many. Word Origin from rabab Definition much ...
/hebrew/7227a.htm - 6k
7229. rab -- great
... << 7228, 7229. rab. 7230 >>. great. Transliteration: rab Phonetic Spelling: (rab)
Short Definition: great. Word Origin (Aramaic) corresponding ...
/hebrew/7229.htm - 6k
7236. rebah -- to grow great
... << 7235b, 7236. rebah. 7237 >>. to grow great. Transliteration: rebah Phonetic
Spelling: (reb-aw') Short Definition: great. Word Origin ...
/hebrew/7236.htm - 6k
7690. saggi -- great, much
... << 7689, 7690. saggi. 7691 >>. great, much. Transliteration: saggi Phonetic
Spelling: (sag-ghee') Short Definition: great. Word Origin ...
/hebrew/7690.htm - 6k
931. bohen -- thumb, great toe
... << 930, 931. bohen. 932 >>. thumb, great toe. Transliteration: bohen Phonetic
Spelling: (bo'-hen) Short Definition: toe. ... thumb, great toe. ...
/hebrew/931.htm - 6k
7235a. rabah -- to be or become much, many or great
... << 7235, 7235a. rabah. 7235b >>. to be or become much, many or great.
Transliteration: rabah Short Definition: multiply. Word Origin a prim. ...
/hebrew/7235a.htm - 6k
7689. saggi -- great
... great. Transliteration: saggi Phonetic Spelling: (sag-ghee') Short Definition: exalted.
Word Origin from saga Definition great NASB Word Usage exalted (2). ...
/hebrew/7689.htm - 6k
7260. rabrab -- very great things
... << 7259, 7260. rabrab. 7261 >>. very great things. Transliteration: rabrab Phonetic
Spelling: (rab-rab') Short Definition: great. ... very great things ...
/hebrew/7260.htm - 5k