Phebe A "deaconess of the church at Cenchrea," the port of Corinth. She was probably the bearer of Paul's epistle to the Romans. Paul commended her to the Christians at Rome; "for she hath been," says he, "a succourer of many, and of myself also" (Rom 16:1, Rom 16:2).
Phenice Properly Phoenix a palmtree (as in the R.V.), a town with a harbour on the southern side of Crete (Act 27:12), west of the Fair Havens. It is now called Lutro.
Phenicia (Act 21:2) = Phenice (Act 11:19; Act 15:3; R.V., Phoenicia), Gr. phoinix , "a palm", the land of palm-trees; a strip of land of an average breadth of about 20 miles along the shores of the Mediterranean, from the river Eleutherus in the north to the promontory of Carmel in the south, about 120 miles in length. This name is not found in the Old Testament, and in the New Testament it is mentioned only in the passages above referred to. "In the Egyptian inscriptions Phoenicia is called Keft, the inhabitants being Kefa; and since Keft-ur, or 'Greater Phoenicia,' was the name given to the delta of the Nile from the Phoenician colonies settled upon it, the Philistines who came from Caphtor or Keft-ur must have been of Phoenician origin" (Compare Deu 2:23; Jer 47:4; Amo 9:7)., Sayce's Bible and the Monuments. Phoenicia lay in the very centre of the old world, and was the natural entrepot for commerce with foreign nations. It was the "England of antiquity." "The trade routes from all Asia converged on the Phoenician coast; the centres of commerce on the Euphrates and Tigris forwarding their goods by way of Tyre to the Nile, to Arabia, and to the west; and, on the other hand, the productions of the vast regions bordering the Mediterranean passing through the Canaanite capital to the eastern world." It was "situate at the entry of the sea, a merchant of the people for many isles" (Eze 27:3, Eze 27:4). The far-reaching commercial activity of the Phoenicians, especially with Tarshish and the western world, enriched them with vast wealth, which introduced boundless luxury and developed among them a great activity in all manner of arts and manufactures. (See TYRE.) The Phoenicians were the most enterprising merchants of the old world, establishing colonies at various places, of which Carthage was the chief. They were a Canaanite branch of the race of Ham, and are frequently called Sidonians, from their principal city of Sidon. None could "skill to hew timber like unto the Sidonians" (Kg1 5:6). King Hiram rendered important service to Solomon in connection with the planning and building of the temple, casting for him all the vessels for the temple service, and the two pillars which stood in the front of the porch, and "the molten sea" (Kg1 7:21). Singular marks have been found by recent exploration on the great stones that form the substructure of the temple. These marks, both painted and engraved, have been regarded as made by the workmen in the quarries, and as probably intended to indicate the place of these stones in the building. "The Biblical account (Kg1 5:17, Kg1 5:18) is accurately descriptive of the massive masonry now existing at the southeastern angle (of the temple area), and standing on the native rock 80 feet below the present surface. The Royal Engineers found, buried deeply among the rubbish of many centuries, great stones, costly and hewed stones, forming the foundation of the sanctuary wall; while Phoenician fragments of pottery and Phoenician marks painted on the massive blocks seem to proclaim that the stones were prepared in the quarry by the cunning workmen of Hiram, the king of Tyre." (See TEMPLE.) The Phoenicians have been usually regarded as the inventors of alphabetic writing. The Egyptians expressed their thoughts by certain symbols, called "hieroglyphics", i.e., sacred carvings, so styled because used almost exclusively on sacred subjects. The recent discovery, however, of inscriptions in Southern Arabia (Yemen and Hadramaut), known as Hemyaritic, in connection with various philogical considerations, has led some to the conclusion that the Phoenician alphabet was derived from the Mineans (admitting the antiquity of the kingdom of Ma'in , Jdg 10:12; Ch2 26:7). Thus the Phoenician alphabet ceases to be the mother alphabet. Sayce thinks "it is more than possible that the Egyptians themselves were emigrants from Southern Arabia." (See MOABITE STONE.) "The Phoenicians were renowned in ancient times for the manufacture of glass, and some of the specimens of this work that have been preserved are still the wonder of mankind... In the matter of shipping, whether ship-building be thought of or traffic upon the sea, the Phoenicians surpassed all other nations." "The name Phoenicia is of uncertain origin, though it may be derived from Fenkhu, the name given in the Egyptian inscriptions to the natives of Palestine. Among the chief Phoenician cities were Tyre and Sidon, Gebal north of Beirut, Arvad or Arados and Zemar."
Phicol Great, the chief captain of the army of Abimelech, the Philistine king of Gerar. He entered into an alliance with Abraham with reference to a certain well which, from this circumstance, was called Beersheba (q.v.), "the well of the oath" (Gen 21:22, Gen 21:32; Gen 26:26).
Philadelphia Brotherly love, a city of Lydia in Asia Minor, about 25 miles south-east of Sardis. It was the seat of one of the "seven churches" (Rev 3:7). It came into the possession of the Turks in A.D. 1392. It has several times been nearly destroyed by earthquakes. It is still a town of considerable size, called Allahshehr, "the city of God."
Philemon An inhabitant of Colosse, and apparently a person of some note among the citizens (Col 4:9; Plm 1:2). He was brought to a knowledge of the gospel through the instrumentality of Paul (Plm 1:19), and held a prominent place in the Christian community for his piety and beneficence (Plm 1:4). He is called in the epistle a "fellow-labourer," and therefore probably held some office in the church at Colosse; at all events, the title denotes that he took part in the work of spreading a knowledge of the gospel.
Philemon, Epistle to Was written from Rome at the same time as the epistles to the Colossians and Ephesians, and was sent also by Onesimus. It was addressed to Philemon and the members of his family. It was written for the purpose of interceding for Onesimus (q.v.), who had deserted his master Philemon and been "unprofitable" to him. Paul had found Onesimus at Rome, and had there been instrumental in his conversion, and now he sends him back to his master with this letter. This epistle has the character of a strictly private letter, and is the only one of such epistles preserved to us. "It exhibits the apostle in a new light. He throws off as far as possible his apostolic dignity and his fatherly authority over his converts. He speaks simply as Christian to Christian. He speaks, therefore, with that peculiar grace of humility and courtesy which has, under the reign of Christianity, developed the spirit of chivalry and what is called 'the character of a gentleman,' certainly very little known in the old Greek and Roman civilization" (Dr. Barry). (See SLAVE.)
Philetus Amiable, with Hymenaeus, at Ephesus, said that the "resurrection was past already" (Ti2 2:17, Ti2 2:18). This was a Gnostic heresy held by the Nicolaitanes. (See ALEXANDER .)
Philip Lover of horses. (1.) One of the twelve apostles; a native of Bethsaida, "the city of Andrew and Peter" (Joh 1:44). He readily responded to the call of Jesus when first addressed to him (Joh 1:43), and forthwith brought Nathanael also to Jesus (Joh 1:45, Joh 1:46). He seems to have held a prominent place among the apostles (Mat 10:3; Mar 3:18; Joh 6:5; Joh 12:21, Joh 12:22; Joh 14:8, Joh 14:9; Act 1:13). Of his later life nothing is certainly known. He is said to have preached in Phrygia, and to have met his death at Hierapolis. (2.) One of the "seven" (Act 6:5), called also "the evangelist" (Act 21:8, Act 21:9). He was one of those who were "scattered abroad" by the persecution that arose on the death of Stephen. He went first to Samaria, where he laboured as an evangelist with much success (Act 8:5). While he was there he received a divine command to proceed toward the south, along the road leading from Jerusalem to Gaza. These towns were connected by two roads. The one Philip was directed to take was that which led through Hebron, and thence through a district little inhabited, and hence called "desert." As he traveled along this road he was overtaken by a chariot in which sat a man of Ethiopia, the eunuch or chief officer of Queen Candace, who was at that moment reading, probably from the Septuagint version, a portion of the prophecies of Isaiah (Isa 53:6, Isa 53:7). Philip entered into conversation with him, and expounded these verses, preaching to him the glad tidings of the Saviour. The eunuch received the message and believed, and was forthwith baptized, and then "went on his way rejoicing." Philip was instantly caught away by the Spirit after the baptism, and the eunuch saw him no more. He was next found at Azotus, whence he went forth in his evangelistic work till he came to Caesarea. He is not mentioned again for about twenty years, when he is still found at Caesarea (Act 21:8) when Paul and his companions were on the way to Jerusalem. He then finally disappears from the page of history. (3.) Mentioned only in connection with the imprisonment of John the Baptist (Mat 14:3; Mar 6:17; Luk 3:19). He was the son of Herod the Great, and the first husband of Herodias, and the father of Salome. (See HEROD PHILIP I.) (4.) The "tetrarch of Ituraea" (Luk 3:1); a son of Herod the Great, and brother of Herod Antipas. The city of Caesarea-Philippi was named partly after him (Mat 16:13; Mar 8:27). (See HEROD PHILIP II.)
Philippi (1.) Formerly Crenides, "the fountain," the capital of the province of Macedonia. It stood near the head of the Sea, about 8 miles north-west of Kavalla. It is now a ruined village, called Philibedjik. Philip of Macedonia fortified the old Thracian town of Crenides, and called it after his own name Philippi (359-336 B.C.). In the time of the Emperor Augustus this city became a Roman colony, i.e., a military settlement of Roman soldiers, there planted for the purpose of controlling the district recently conquered. It was a "miniature Rome," under the municipal law of Rome, and governed by military officers, called duumviri, who were appointed directly from Rome. Having been providentially guided thither, here Paul and his companion Silas preached the gospel and formed the first church in Europe. (See LYDIA.) This success stirred up the enmity of the people, and they were "shamefully entreated" (Acts 16:9-40; Th1 2:2). Paul and Silas at length left this city and proceeded to Amphipolis (q.v.). (2.) When Philip the tetrarch, the son of Herod, succeeded to the government of the northern portion of his kingdom, he enlarged the city of Paneas, and called it Caesarea, in honour of the emperor. But in order to distinguish it from the Caesarea on the sea coast, he added to it subsequently his own name, and called it Caesarea-Philippi (q.v.).