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Almon Hidden one of the sacerdotal cities of Benjamin (Jos 21:18), called also Alemeth (Ch1 6:60).

Almond A native of Syria and Palestine. In form, blossoms, and fruit it resembles the peach tree. Its blossoms are of a very pale pink colour, and appear before its leaves. Its Hebrew name, shaked, signifying "wakeful, hastening," is given to it on account of its putting forth its blossoms so early, generally in February, and sometimes even in January. In Ecc 12:5, it is referred to as illustrative, probably, of the haste with which old age comes. There are others, however, who still contend for the old interpretation here. "The almond tree bears its blossoms in the midst of winter, on a naked, leafless stem, and these blossoms (reddish or flesh-colored in the beginning) seem at the time of their fall exactly like white snow-flakes. In this way the almond blossom is a very fitting symbol of old age, with its silvery hair and its wintry, dry, barren, unfruitful condition." In Jer 1:11 "I see a rod of an almond tree [shaked]... for I will hasten [shaked] my word to perform it" the word is used as an emblem of promptitude. Jacob desired his sons (Gen 43:11) to take with them into Egypt of the best fruits of the land, almonds, etc., as a present to Joseph, probably because this tree was not a native of Egypt. Aaron's rod yielded almonds (Num 17:8; Heb 9:4). Moses was directed to make certain parts of the candlestick for the ark of carved work "like unto almonds" (Exo 25:33, Exo 25:34). The Hebrew word luz, translated "hazel" in the Authorized Version (Gen 30:37), is rendered in the Revised Version "almond." It is probable that luz denotes the wild almond, while shaked denotes the cultivated variety.

Alms Not found in the Old Testament, but repeatedly in the New. The Mosaic legislation (Lev 25:35; Deu 15:7) tended to promote a spirit of charity, and to prevent the occurrence of destitution among the people. Such passages as these, Psa 41:1; Psa 112:9; Pro 14:31; Isa 10:2; Amo 2:7; Jer 5:28; Eze 22:29, would also naturally foster the same benevolent spirit. In the time of our Lord begging was common (Mar 10:46; Act 3:2). The Pharisees were very ostentatious in their almsgivings (Mat 6:2). The spirit by which the Christian ought to be actuated in this duty is set forth in Jo1 3:17. A regard to the state of the poor and needy is enjoined as a Christian duty (Luk 3:11; Luk 6:30; Mat 6:1; Act 9:36; Act 10:2, Act 10:4), a duty which was not neglected by the early Christians (Luk 14:13; Act 20:35; Gal 2:10; Rom 15:25; Co1 16:1). They cared not only for the poor among themselves, but contributed also to the necessities of those at a distance (Act 11:29; Act 24:17; Co2 9:12). Our Lord and his attendants showed an example also in this (Joh 13:29). In modern times the "poor-laws" have introduced an element which modifies considerably the form in which we may discharge this Christian duty.

Almug (Kg1 10:11, Kg1 10:12) = algum (Ch2 2:8; Ch2 9:10, Ch2 9:11), in the Hebrew occurring only in the plural almuggim (indicating that the wood was brought in planks), the name of a wood brought from Ophir to be used in the building of the temple, and for other purposes. Some suppose it to have been the white sandal-wood of India, the Santalum album of botanists, a native of the mountainous parts of the Malabar coasts. It is a fragrant wood, and is used in China for incense in idol-worship. Others, with some probability, think that it was the Indian red sandal-wood, the pterocarpus santalinus, a heavy, fine-grained wood, the Sanscrit name of which is valguka. It is found on the Coromandel coast and in Ceylon.

Aloes (Heb. 'ahalim ), a fragrant wood (Num 24:6; Psa 45:8; Pro 7:17; Sol 4:14), the Aquilaria agallochum of botanists, or, as some suppose, the costly gum or perfume extracted from the wood. It is found in China, Siam, and Northern India, and grows to the height sometimes of 120 feet. This species is of great rarity even in India. There is another and more common species, called by Indians aghil, whence Europeans have given it the name of Lignum aquile, or eagle-wood. Aloewood was used by the Egyptians for embalming dead bodies. Nicodemus brought it (pounded aloe-wood) to embalm the body of Christ (Joh 19:39); but whether this was the same as that mentioned elsewhere is uncertain. The bitter aloes of the apothecary is the dried juice of the leaves Aloe vulgaris.

Alphaeus (1.) The father of James the Less, the apostle and writer of the epistle (Mat 10:3; Mar 3:18; Luk 6:15; Act 1:13), and the husband of Mary (Joh 19:25). The Hebrew form of this name is Cleopas, or Clopas (q.v.). (2.) The father of Levi, or Matthew (Mar 2:14).

Altar (Heb. mizbe'ah , from a word meaning "to slay"), any structure of earth (Exo 20:24) or unwrought stone (Exo 20:25) on which sacrifices were offered. Altars were generally erected in conspicuous places (Gen 22:9; Eze 6:3; Kg2 23:12; Kg2 16:4; Kg2 23:8; Act 14:13). The word is used in Heb 13:10 for the sacrifice offered upon it the sacrifice Christ offered. Paul found among the many altars erected in Athens one bearing the inscription, "To the unknown God" (Act 17:23), or rather "to an [i.e., some] unknown God." The reason for this inscription cannot now be accurately determined. It afforded the apostle the occasion of proclaiming the gospel to the "men of Athens." The first altar we read of is that erected by Noah (Gen 8:20). Altars were erected by Abraham (Gen 12:7; Gen 13:4; Gen 22:9), by Isaac (Gen 26:25), by Jacob (Gen 33:20; Gen 35:1, Gen 35:3), and by Moses (Exo 17:15, "Jehovah-nissi"). In the tabernacle, and afterwards in the temple, two altars were erected. (1.) The altar of burnt offering (Exo 30:28), called also the "brasen altar" (Exo 39:39) and "the table of the Lord" (Mal 1:7). This altar, as erected in the tabernacle, is described in Exo 27:1. It was a hollow square, 5 cubits in length and in breadth, and 3 cubits in height. It was made of shittim wood, and was overlaid with plates of brass. Its corners were ornamented with "horns" (Exo 29:12; Lev 4:18). In Exo 27:3 the various utensils appertaining to the altar are enumerated. They were made of brass. (Compare Sa1 2:13, Sa1 2:14; Lev 16:12; Num 16:6, Num 16:7.) In Solomon's temple the altar was of larger dimensions (Ch2 4:1. Compare Kg1 8:22, Kg1 8:64; Kg1 9:25), and was made wholly of brass, covering a structure of stone or earth. This altar was renewed by Asa (Ch2 15:8). It was removed by Ahaz (Kg2 16:14), and "cleansed" by Hezekiah, in the latter part of whose reign it was rebuilt. It was finally broken up and carried away by the Babylonians (Jer 52:17). After the return from captivity it was re-erected (Ezr 3:3, Ezr 3:6) on the same place where it had formerly stood. (Compare 1 Macc. 4:47.) When Antiochus Epiphanes pillaged Jerusalem the altar of burnt offering was taken away. Again the altar was erected by Herod, and remained in its place till the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans (A.D. 70). The fire on the altar was not permitted to go out (Lev 6:9). In the Mosque of Omar, immediately underneath the great dome, which occupies the site of the old temple, there is a rough projection of the natural rock, of about 60 feet in its extreme length, and 50 in its greatest breadth, and in its highest part about 4 feet above the general pavement. This rock seems to have been left intact when Solomon's temple was built. It was in all probability the site of the altar of burnt offering. Underneath this rock is a cave, which may probably have been the granary of Araunah's threshing-floor (Ch1 21:22). (2.) The altar of incense (Exo 30:1), called also "the golden altar" (Exo 39:38; Num 4:11), stood in the holy place "before the vail that is by the ark of the testimony." On this altar sweet spices were continually burned with fire taken from the brazen altar. The morning and the evening services were commenced by the high priest offering incense on this altar. The burning of the incense was a type of prayer (Psa 141:2; Rev 5:8; Rev 8:3, Rev 8:4). This altar was a small movable table, made of acacia wood overlaid with gold (Exo 37:25, Exo 37:26). It was 1 cubit in length and breadth, and 2 cubits in height. In Solomon's temple the altar was similar in size, but was made of cedar-wood (Kg1 6:20; Kg1 7:48) overlaid with gold. In Eze 41:22 it is called "the altar of wood." (Compare Exo 30:1.) In the temple built after the Exile the altar was restored. Antiochus Epiphanes took it away, but it was afterwards restored by Judas Maccabaeus (1 Macc. 1:23; 4:49). Among the trophies carried away by Titus on the destruction of Jerusalem the altar of incense is not found, nor is any mention made of it in Heb. 9. It was at this altar Zacharias ministered when an angel appeared to him (Luk 1:11). It is the only altar which appears in the heavenly temple (Isa 6:6; Rev 8:3, Rev 8:4).

Altaschith Destroy not, the title of Psa 57:1, Psa 58:1, Ps. 59, and Psa 75:1. It was probably the name of some song to the melody of which these psalms were to be chanted.

Alush One of the places, the last before Rephidim, at which the Hebrews rested on their way to Sinai (Num 33:13, Num 33:14). It was probably situated on the shore of the Red Sea.

Amalek Dweller in a valley, the son of Eliphaz and grandson of Esau (Gen 36:12; Ch1 1:36); the chief of an Idumean tribe (Gen 36:16). His mother was a Horite, a tribe whose territory the descendants of Esau had seized.