7 occurrences in 7 dictionaries

Reference: Israel


Who prevails with God, a name given to Jacob, after having wrestled with the Angel-Jehovah at Penuel. Ge 32:1-2,28,30; Ho 12:3. See JACOB. By the name Israel is sometimes understood all the posterity of Israel, the seed of Jacob, 1Co 10:18; sometimes all true believers, his spiritual seed, Ro 9:6; and sometimes the kingdom of Israel, or the ten tribes, as distinct from the kingdom of Judah.

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the name conferred on Jacob after the great prayer-struggle at Peniel (Ge 32:28), because "as a prince he had power with God and prevailed." (See Jacob.) This is the common name given to Jacob's descendants. The whole people of the twelve tribes are called "Israelites," the "children of Israel" (Jos 3:17; 7:25; Jg 8:27; Jer 3:21), and the "house of Israel" (Ex 16:31; 40:38).

This name Israel is sometimes used emphatically for the true Israel (Ps 73:1; Isa 45:17; 49:3; Joh 1:47; Ro 9:6; 11:26).

After the death of Saul the ten tribes arrogated to themselves this name, as if they were the whole nation (2Sa 2:9-10,17/type/juliasmith'>17,28; 3:10,17/type/juliasmith'>17; 19:40-43), and the kings of the ten tribes were called "kings of Israel," while the kings of the two tribes were called "kings of Judah."

After the Exile the name Israel was assumed as designating the entire nation.

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("soldier of" or "contender with God".)

1. The name given by the angel of Jehovah to Jacob, after by wrestling he had prevailed and won the blessing (Ge 32:26-28), "for thou hast contended with God and with men, and hast prevailed" (Ho 12:4). Sarah and Sur mean also "to be a prince". KJV combines both meanings: "as a prince hast thou power with God and with men," etc.

2. The name of the nation, including the whole 12 tribes.

3. The northern kingdom, including the majority of the whole nation, namely, ten tribes; or else all except Judah, Benjamin, Levi, Dan, and Simeon (1Sa 11:8; 2Sa 20:1; 1Ki 12:16). In 1Ki 11:13,31-32 Jeroboam was appointed by God to have ten tribes, Solomon's seed one; but two were left for David's line when Ahijah gave ten out of the 12 pieces of his garment to Jeroboam. The numbers therefore must be understood in a symbolical rather than in a strictly arithmetical sense. Ten expresses completeness and totality in contrast with one, "the tribe of Judah only" (1Ki 12:20); but "Benjamin" is included also (1 Kings 21; 2Ch 11:3,23). Levi was not counted in the political classification, it mainly joined Judah. Ephraim and Manasseh were counted as two.

Judah included also Simeon, which was so far S. and surrounded by Judah's territory (Jos 19:1-9) that it could not have well formed part of the northern kingdom. Moreover several cities of Dan were included in "Judah," namely, Ziklag, which Achish gave David, Zorea, and Ajalon (2Ch 11:10; 28:18). These counterbalanced the loss to Judah of the northern part of Benjamin, including Bethel, Ramah, and Jericho, which fell to "Israel" (1Ki 12:29; 15:17,21; 16:34). Thus only nine tribes, and not all these, wholly remained to the northern kingdom. The sea coast was in the hands of Israel from Accho to Japho, S. of this the Philistines held the coast. It is estimated Judah's extent was somewhat less than Northumberland, Durham, and Westmoreland; Israel's as large as Yorkshire, Lancashire, and Cumberland; and Israel's population in 957 B.C. 3,500,000 (2Ch 13:3).

The division was appointed by God as the chastisement of the house of David for the idolatries imported by Solomon's wives. The spreading of the contagion to the whole mass of the people was thus mercifully guarded against. Jeroboam's continued tenure of the throne was made dependent on his loyalty to God. Rehoboam's attempt to reduce the revolting tribes was divinely forbidden. Jeroboam recognized the general obligation of the law while, he violated its details. (See JEROBOAM.) His innovation was in the place of worship (Bethel and Dan instead of Jerusalem), and in the persons by whom it was to be performed (priests taken from the masses instead of from Levi), also in the time of the feast of tabernacles (the eighth instead of the seventh month). In the symbols, the calves, he followed Aaron's pattern at Sinai, which he himself had been familiarized to in Egypt; at the same time recognizing the reality of God's deliverance of Israel out of Egypt in saying like Aaron, "Behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of Egypt," (1Ki 12:28; Ex 32:4,8).

His own miraculous punishment (1 Kings 13), the death of his son, the overthrow of the three royal dynasties, Jeroboam's, Baasha's, and Ahab's; as foretold by the prophets (Isaiah 8, Isaiah 9, Isaiah 28; Hosea; and Amos), the permanent removal of Israel by Assyria, all attested God's abhorrence of idolatry. The wise design of God in appointing the separation between Israel and Judah appears in its effect on Judah. It became her political interest to adhere to the Mosaic law. This was the ground of confidence to Abijah in battle with Jeroboam (2Ch 13:9-11). The Levites being cast out of office by Jeroboam left their suburbs and came to Judah. Rehoboam's chastisement for forsaking God's law, Judah also making high places, images, and groves (2Ki 14:22-23; 2Ch 12:1, etc.), had a salutary effect on Ass and Jehoshaphat in succession.

Excepting the period of apostasy resulting in the first instance from Jehoshaphat's unfortunate alliance with Ahab's family, a majority of Judah's kings were observers of the law, whereas there was not one king faithful to Jehovah in Israel's line of kings. Shechem, the original place of meeting of the nation under Joshua (Jos 24:1), was the first capital (1Ki 12:25); then Tirzah, famed for its loveliness (Song 6:4; 17/type/juliasmith'>1Ki 14:17; 15:33; 16:8,17,23). Omri chose Samaria for its beauty, fertility, and commanding position (24); after a three years' siege it fell before the Assyrian king. Jezreel was the residence of some kings. Shiloh in Ephraim was the original seat of the sanctuary (Jg 21:19; Jos 18:1) before it was removed to Jerusalem. The removal was a source of jealousy to Ephraim, to obviate which the Maschil (instruction) of Asaph (Psalm 78) was written (see Ps 78:60,67-69).

Jealousy and pride, which were old failings of Ephraim, the leading tribe of the N. (Jg 8:1,12), were the real moving causes of the revolt from Judah, the heavy taxation was the ostensible cause. Joshua and Caleb represented Ephraim and Judah respectively in the wilderness, and Joshua took the lead in Canaan. It galled Ephraim now to be made subordinate. Hence flowed the readiness with which they hearkened to Absalom and their jealousy of Judah at David's restoration (2Sa 19:41-43) and their revolting at the call of Sheba (2Sa 20:1). The idolatry of Solomon alienated the godly; his despotic grandeur at the cost of the people diminished his general popularity (1Ki 11:14-40). The moment that God withdrew the influence that, restrained the spirit of disunion, the disruption took place. Jeroboam adopted the calf idolatry for state policy, but it eventuated in state ruin.

God made Israel's sin her punishment. Degradation of morality followed apostasy in religion and debasement of the priesthood. God's national code of laws, still in force, and the established idolatry were in perpetual conflict. The springs of national life were thereby poisoned. Eight houses occupied the throne, revolution ushering in each successively. The kingdom's duration was 254 years, from 975 to 721 B.C. Israel's doom acted in some degree as a salutary warning to Judah, so that for more than a century (133 1/2 years) subsequently its national existence survived. The prophets, extraordinarily raised up, were the only salt in Israel to counteract her desperate corruption: Ahijah, Elijah, Micaiah, Elisha, and Jonah, the earliest of the prophets who were writers of Holy Scripture. In the time of this last prophet God gave one last long season of prosperity, the long reign of Jeroboam II, if haply His goodness would lead the nation to repentance.

This day of grace being neglected, judgment only remained. Revolts of Edom, Moab, and Ammon, the assaults of Syria under Benhadad dud Hazael, and finally Assyria, executed God's wrath against the apostate people. Pul, Tiglath Pileser, Shalmaneser, Sargon, and Esarhaddon were the instruments (2 Kings 15-17; Ezr 4:2,10; Isa 20:1). Ahijah first foretold to Jeroboam at the beginning of the kingdom, "Jehovah shall root up Israel and scatter them beyond the river" (1Ki 14:15; Am 5:27). (This table [omitted] is not available in the current version of the product.) This kingdom was sometimes also designated "Ephraim" from its leading tribe (Isa 17:3; Ho 4:17), as the southern kingdom "Judah" was so designated from the prominent tribe. Under Messiah in the last days Ephraim shall be joined to Judah; "the envy of Ephraim shall depart, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim" (Isa 11:13; Eze 37:16-22). Eze 37:4.

After the return from Babylon the nation was called "Israel," the people "Jews," by which designation they are called in Esther. The ideal name for the twelve tribes regarded as one whole even after the division (1Ki 18:30-31). The spiritual Israel, the church of the redeemed (Ro 9:6; Ga 6:16). What became of the scattered people is hard to discover. Many joined Judah, as Anna of Asher is found in Lu 2:36. The majority were "scattered abroad" with the Jews, as James addresses "the twelve tribes." The Jews in Bokhara told Jos. Wolff "when the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul, king of Assyria

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I. History

1. Sources.

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Israel Is'rael in Egypt.

The details of the history of Israel in Egypt are few. When Joseph was in power, Jacob and his whole household settled in the land: there they multiplied and became a great nation. In time a king reigned who knew not Joseph, and the people were reduced to cruel bondage. Through God's intervention and after dire judgements upon the Egyptians, the Israelites were delivered. See EGYPT and JOSEPH

A question not easily answered is, How long were the Israelites in Egypt? In Ge 15:13; Ac 7:6, the period seems to be stated as four hundred years. Ex 12:40 says "the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years;" and Ga 3:17 declares that the law was given four hundred and thirty years after the promise to Abraham. The promise to Abraham was long before Israel went into Egypt, and the law was given after they came out; so that according to this passage their sojourning in Egypt must have been much less than four hundred years. A much shorter period is implied in Ge 15:16, which says of Israel in Egypt that "in the fourth generation they shall come hither again;" and if we turn to Ex 6:16-20 we find exactly four generations, thus:

Jacob's son Levi.

Levi's son Kohath.

Kohath's son Amram.

Amram's son Moses.

Or, if we start with Levi, who entered with Jacob, there was ample time for Moses to have had a son, as he was eighty years old at the Exodus. Now if we reckon that at that time a man had his first son when he was forty years of age, there would have been ten generations in four hundred years. Further, the mother of Moses (Jochebed) was Levi's daughter, (Nu 26:59), Amram having married his own aunt. Ex 6:20. Levi lived only a hundred and thirty-seven years in all, and supposing (it can be approximately proved) that he lived in Egypt eighty-eight years, Jochebed was born during those years. If Moses was born when she was forty-seven years of age, and Moses was eighty years old at the Exodus, these sums (88 + 47 + 80 = 215 years) show that Israel may have been in Egypt about two hundred and fifteen years, and this is the period now generally supposed.

If we admit this to be the time of the occupation, we must endeavour to see how it agrees with the four hundred and thirty years of Ga 3:17.


Age of Abraham when Isaac was born 100

Abraham, when the promise was given 75


Israel when Jacob was born 60

Jacob when he stood before Pharaoh 130

Sojourn of Israel in Egypt 215


If then this be the correct period, how does it agree with Ge 15:13 and Ex 12:40? In Ge 15:13 and Ac 7:6, nothing is said about Egypt: "Thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs." This was said to Abraham, and may include the whole period from the birth of Isaac to the Exodus, which according to the above was four hundred and five years

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(the prince that prevails with God).

1. The name given,

Ge 32:28

to Jacob after his wrestling with the angel,

Ho 12:4

at Peniel. Gesenius interprets Israel "soldier of God."

2. It became the national name of the twelve tribes collectively. They are so called in

Ex 3:16

and afterward.

3. It is used in a narrower sense, excluding Judah, in

1Sa 11:8; 2Sa 20:1; 1Ki 12:16

Thenceforth it was assumed and accepted as the name of the northern kingdom.

4. After the Babylonian captivity, the returned exiles resumed the name Israel as the designation of their nation. The name Israel is also used to denote lay-men, as distinguished from priests, Levites and other ministers.

Ezr 6:16; 9:1,15; Ne 11:3


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ISRAEL, a prince of God, or prevailing, or wrestling with God. This is the name which the angel gave Jacob, after having wrestled with him all night at Mahanaim, or Peniel, Ge 32:1-2,28-30; Ho 12:4. By the name of Israel is sometimes understood the person of Jacob, sometimes the whole people of Israel, the whole race of Jacob; sometimes the kingdom of Israel, or ten tribes, distinct from the kingdom of Judah; and finally, the spiritual Israel, the true church of God.

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