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known Constantinople sweet-hoof, blatta byzantina of the “the word onyx is equivocal, signifying first a precious shops. It consists of the shells of several kinds of stone or gem, and secondly a marble called in Greek muscles, which when burned produce a scent similar to onychites, which Pliny mentions as a stone of Caramania. that of the castoreum. See Dioscorides, and the passages Antiquity gave both these stones this name, because of of Arabic authors in Bochart. Without this authority | their resemblance to the nail of the fingers. The onyx of the ancient versions, the Syriac etymology, to run in of the high priest's pectoral was no doubt the gem onyx: drops, exude, distil, would lead to the idea of a resinous the stone prepared by David was the marble onys, or and odoriferous substance of the vegetable kingdom.” rather onychus, for one would hardly think that gems of The Arabic version gives ladana, suggesting that gum | any kind were used externally in such a building, but ladanum was the drug referred to. This is the produce variegated marble may be readily admitted.” of the Cistus ladaniferus, being a secretion from the
OPHEL, SDY (2Chron. 27. 3,) was the name of a height on the eastern part of Mount Zion, which was surrounded and fortified with a wall. It is called, in Micah 4. 8, “the stronghold of the daughter of Zion." King Jotham erected several structures on the wall of Ophel. Manasseh built a wall to the west of Jerusalem, and the fountain of Gihon, beyond the city of David, from the first gate as far as Ophel. After the captivity, the Nethinims dwelt at Ophel, that they might be near for the Temple service. Probably it was about the south-east corner of Jerusalem. (2Chron. 33. 14; Nehem. 3, 26; 11. 21.)
Josephus speaks of the single wall which inclosed that part of the city skirted by precipitous valleys, as having began at the tower of Hippicus. On the west it extended (southwards) to a place called Bethso, and the gate of the Essenes; thence it kept along on the south
to a point over Siloam; and there on the east was carCistus ladaniferus.
ried along by. Solomon's Pool and Ophla (Ophel), till it
terminated at the eastern portico of the Temple. Proleaves, which is swept off by the beards of the browzing fessor Robinson remarks,“ This account is not very goats, from whence it is collected. The shrub is a definite; and whether any traces of this wall remain, is native of the Levant, the isles of the Mediterranean, and doubtful. Along the western brow of Zion, outside of Arabia.
the present city, is a narrow and higher ridge, which In Ecclesiasticus 24. 15, onycha is mentioned with may not improbably be composed of rubbish and the the other odoriferous ingredients in the holy incense, by foundations of the ancient wall. Quite at the souththe name of onyx.
west corner of Zion also, just below the brow, we found
detached ledges of rock, scarped in several places, as if ONYX, DITU shoham. (Gen. 2. 12; Exod. 25.7; they had once formed part of the foundation of the wall; 28. 9,20; 1Chron. 29. 2; Job 28. 16; Ezek. 28. 13.) and these we could trace for some distance eastward. This is some precious stone, but what, is not to be de. We were told, also, that in digging deeply for the foundatermined with certainty. Many of the old versions take tion of the new barracks, just south of the castle, many it to be the sardonyx; while the Septuagint render it in remains of walls and buildings had been discovered; but different places the beryl, sapphire, emerald, &c. Other we were too late to examine this point ourselves, the translators understand by it the flesh-coloured onyx with excavations having been already filled up. From a whitish lines, named from the Greek ovvę, the nail, to remark of Benjamin of Tudela, about A.D. 1165, it the colour of which it nearly approaches. This is a would seem that traces of some part of the ancient wall semi-pellucid stone, of a fine flinty texture, taking an of Zion were visible in his day. excellent polish, and is strictly of the flinty or siliceous “ The eastern wall probably ran along the Valley of class.
Jehoshaphat; or else, crossing the point of the narrow In Exodus 28. 9,10, a direction is given, that two ridge north-east of Siloam, swept down into that valley, onyx stones should be fastened on the ephod of the high so as to include the fountain. Then passing by Opbla priest, on which were to be graven the names of the (Ophel) it ascended and terminated at the eastern porchildren of Israel, like the engravings on a signet; six tico of the Temple. This circumstance serves to show, of the names on one stone, and six on the other. Dr. that the wall did not run along the brow of the ridge Adam Clarke remarks, “ So signets or seals were in use above the valley; for in that case it could have termiat that time, and engraving on precious stones was then nated only on the southern side of the Temple, and not an art; and this art, which was one of the most elegant upon the eastern. The third wall, too, coming from the and ornamental, was carried, in ancient times, to a very north towards the Temple, is said to terminate, not at high pitch of perfection, particularly among the ancient the Temple itself, but at this ancient wall in the valley Greeks; such a pitch of perfection as has never been of the Kidron. Hence, the place Ophel would appear rivalled, and cannot now be even well imitated. And it | to have been situated in the south of the Temple, perhaps is very likely that the Greeks themselves borrowed this extending down towards the Fountain of the Virgin. art from the ancient Hebrews, as we know it flourished It was inhabited by the Nethinim, who performed the in Egypt and Palestine long before it was known in | menial offices of the Temple, and therefore dwelt in its Greece."
vicinity. In 2Chronicles 33. 14, King Manasseh is said In 1Chronicles 29. 2, onyx stones are among the to have compassed about Ophel, and raised it up to a things prepared by David for the Temple. The author of very great height. May it not have been the case, that Scripture Illustrated observes upon this passage, that the more ancient wall on this side included only Zion,
the name of a country אופר also אופיר ,OPHIR
while this wall of Manasseh ran, as described by Jose I ORACLE, 797 dibir. (1 Kings 6. 5,19,22,23; phus, from Siloam by Solomon's Pool to the eastern side 2Chron. 3. 16.) This word refers to the most holy place of the Temple?"
in the Temple of Solomon, elsewhere termed D'
Upwop kodesh kodashim, which occupied the third part of the
inclosure of the Temple towards the west. Jerome celebrated for its abundance of gold, whither Solomon renders it oraculum oraculi sedes, from 727 diber, " to sent a fleet aided by the subjects of Hiram, king of Tyre, speak,” because the Deity thence gave his decisions and from whence they brought back gold, (1 Kings | (oracles); but the root may probably be derived from 9. 27,28; 2Chron. 8. 17,18,) almug-trees, and precious the Arabic deber, “to be behind;" hence the hinder stones, 1 Kings 10. 11; (in Kings 10. 22, where part, the western part of the Temple. The Holy of Ophir is not mentioned, it is still to be understood,) also Holies was ten cubits square. None but the highsilver, ivory, apes, and peacocks. Hence we find fre priest was permitted to enter it, and that but once a year, quently in the Bible mention made of gold from Ophir. on the great day of atonement. (Exod. 30. 10; Levit. (Job 28. 16; Psalm 45. 9; Isai. 13. 12.) In Job 22. 24, 16. 2,15,34; Heb. 9. 2-7.) The interior of the Taber7'Dix alone is used for gold of Ophir. “If it were to nacle was divided into two rooms by a curtain or veil, be supposed,” says Gesenius, “that all these were the which hung down from four pillars overlaid with gold. real produce of Ophir, then we could only look for it, | This veil was made of the richest stuff, both for matter according to Bochart, Reland, and others, in India; the and workmanship, and was adorned with figures of cheSeptuagint also appear so to have understood it, who rubim and other ornaments elaborately embroidered upon translate Ewoup, Ewbelpa, Ewolpa, which is the it. This was called the inner veil. The first room, or Egyptian name for India. However, this district is ante-chamber, was twenty cubits long by ten broad; and mentioned among other Arabian provinces, (Gen. 10. 29,) | the other was but ten cubits square. The first was and arguments preponderate in favour of that situation; called the Holy or the Sanctuary; and the small inner although, consistently with the first, the possibility chamber, the Holy of Holies, or the Most Holy, and remains, that it is mentioned only here as an Arabian sometimes the Inner Tabernacle. colony, situated out of Arabia. Its produce, besides In both the Tabernacle and the Egyptian temples, apes, jewels, (and perhaps pheasants,) might then have which present some analogies, the area was an oblong been carried thither through the medium of commerce, square, the front portion of which was oceupied by a and it is probable that they came from the eastern coast court or courts, where the worshippers attended, and of Africa. The Chaldee explains Ophir by Africa itself. where sacrifice was offered. The sacred apartments in (See also Origen, on Job 22. 24.) The ancients uni- both were at the remoter extremity, the Most Holy being formly attribute to the Arabians a rich, and even the smallest and the innermost. Into these sacred abundant supply of gold, although it is probable that chambers, both among the Hebrews and Egyptians, none gold itself has never been found there. The name el but priests were admitted. The writer of The AntiquiOpkir has even been lately traced to a city in Oman, ties of Egypt, illustrative of the Scriptures, says that formerly the centre of an extensive commerce in Arabia.” “a small edifice was erected by the side of every temple,
M. Gosselin, Drs. Prideaux and Vincent, are of opi- the entrance to which was through the adytum, or sancnion that Ophir was situated on the south-western coast tuary; so that it was, in the estimation of the people, of Arabia. There, however, the articles of trade and the holy of holies, the perfection, or crowning mystery commerce mentioned are not to be found; and it is not of the entire worship. This is termed in the hieroglyto be supposed that the Phænicians, the first navigators phic inscriptions, Ma-enunisi, “the birth-place. Like of the age, would obtain at second-hand, and an enhanced every other part of the temple, it is covered with reliefs price, from the Arabians, what they were equally able to and paintings, in which are detailed the particulars of obtain from the original markets.
the birth of the third person of the triad, to which the Not fewer than fifteen or sixteen countries have been temple is dedicated. The mother is attended by all the assigned by various commentators and critics as the site principal female divinities, and the infant god is afterof Ophir; but the most probable conjecture seems to be wards presented to the superior forms of Amoun. that of M. Huet, bishop of Avranches, who is of opinion “In the Egyptian temples,' says Clemens Alexanthat it was on the eastern coast of Africa, by the Ara- drinus, the porticos, vestibules, and groves, are conbians termed Zanguebar; that the name of Ophir was structed with great splendour, the halls are adorned with more particularly given to the small country of Sofala, numerous columns, the walls are perfectly splendid with on the same coast; that Solomon's fleet went out from rare stones, and brilliancy of colour; the sanctuary * the Red Sea, and doubling Cape Guardafui, coasted shines with gold, silver, and amber, and with a variety along Africa to Sofala, where was found in abundance of glittering stones from India or Ethiopia, and the whatever was brought to the Hebrew monarch by this | adytum is hung with curtains of gold tissue. If you voyage. The opinion of Huet is adopted by Bruce, enter the circuit of the holy place, and, hastening to who has confirmed it by various additional considera behold what is most worthy of your search, you seek the tions; the precise situation of Ophir, however, must statue of the deity; one of the priests who performs ever remain a matter of mere conjecture.
the rites there steps forward to introduce you to the object of his worship, looking upwards with a grave and
reverent face, as he chants the Pæan hymn in his native OPHRAH, 77Dy a city in the tribe of Benjamin. | tongue. But no sooner does he di
tongue. But no sooner does he draw aside a portion of (Josh. 18. 23; 1Sam. 13. 17.) In Micah 1. 10 it is the veil, as if to show a god, than you find ample reason styled 1779y"the house of Ophrah.” Eusebius for smiling at the mysterious deity. For the god you places it five miles east of Bethel, but no remains of it sought is not there; but a cat, or a crocodile, or a native now exist.
serpent, or some such animal, which is more suited to a II. A city in the territory of the eastern half of cave than a temple ; and you behold an Egyptian god the tribe of Manasseh, the abode of Gideon, whose sons in a beast, lying before you on a purple carpet.'” Were murdered in it by Abimelech. (Judges 6. 11;
* « The body of the temple, or ades, whither the profane did 8.27; 9. 5.)
not penetrate, the adytum being the most holy part of the ædes."
Sir John Gardner Wilkinson informs us that “in the of Jupiter Ammon; that of Nabarca, in the country of inner or minor sanctuary of the great Temple of Karnak, the Anariaci, near the Caspian Sea; that of Trophonins is the statue of a colossal hawk on a pedestal, though the mentioned by Herodotus; that of Chrysopolis; that of Temple was dedicated to Amun, and not to Ré.”
Claros, in Ionia; that of Amphilochus, at Mallos; that The word “oracles," in the plural form in the New of Petarea; that of Pella, in Macedonia; that of Phase Testament, denotes the revelations contained in the lides, in Cilicia; that of Sinope, in Paphlagonia; that sacred writings of which the nation of Israel were the of Orpheus' head at Lesbos, mentioned by Philostratus. depositaries. Thus Moses is said by Stephen to have But of all the oracles, the oracle of Apollo Pythius, at received the “lively oracles.” (Acts 7. 38.) These ora- Delphi, was the most celebrated. The responses of cles contained the law, both moral and ceremonial, with oracles were delivered in a variety of ways: at Delphi, all the types and promises relating to the Messiah which they interpreted and put into verse what the priesters are to be found in the writings of Moses. They also pronounced in the time of her furor. At Dodona, the contained all the intimations of the Divine mind which response was issued from the hollow of an oak; at the he was pleased to communicate by means of the suc- | cave of Trophonius, the oracle was inferred from what ceeding prophets, who prophesied before-hand of the the suppliant said before he recovered his senses. The coming and the sufferings of the Messiah, with the glory suppliants who consulted the oracles were not allowed that should follow. The Jews were a highly privileged to enter the sanctuaries where they were given; and people in many respects, but the Apostle Paul mentions great care was taken that neither the Epicureans por it as their chief advantage that “unto them were com- Christians should come near them. In several places, mitted the oracles of God.” (Rom. 3. 2.) “What the oracles were given by letters sealed up, as in that of nation," says Moses, “is there that hath statutes and Mopsus and at Mallus, in Cilicia. Oracles were frejudgments so righteous as all this law which I set before quently given by lot, the mode of doing which was thus: you this day?" (Deut. 4.8.) The 119th Psalm abounds the lots were a kind of dice, on which were engraven with praises of the lively oracles, the word of the living certain characters or words, whose explanations they God; it abounds with the warmest expressions of love were to seek on tables made for the purpose. The way to it, of delight in it, and the most fervent petitions for of using these dice for knowing futurity was different Divine illumination in the knowledge of it. Such was according to the places where they were used. In some the esteem and veneration which the faithful entertained temples the person threw them himself; in others, they for the lively oracles under the former dispensation, were dropped from a box; whence came the proverbial when they had only Moses and the prophets; how, then, | expression, “ The lot is fallen.” This playing with dice ought they to be prized by Christians, who have also was always preceded by sacrifices, and other customary Christ and his Apostles.
ceremonies. The ambiguity of the oracles in their The sense, however, in which the term “oracle” is responses, and their double meaning, contributed much most generally used, is in reference to the juggles of the to their support. heathen priests, who pretended to declare the will of the “Oracles," says Sir John Gardner Wilkinson, “ were gods when consulted according to certain forms. Some of very remote date among the Egyptians; and the infidel writers have professed to find a parallel between Greeks, as well as some other people, were indebted to the heathen oracles and the prophecies of Scripture; and them for their institution. The ancient oracle of Dodona though nothing can be more unfair or groundless than was allowed even by the priestesses themselves to have this, it may be well to point out a few of the leading been of Egyptian origin, as well as that of the Libyan points of difference.
Ammon; and the oracles of Diospolis, or Egyptian Among the heathen, the term oracle was usually taken Thebes, bore a strong resemblance to the former of those to signify an answer, generally conveyed in very dark two. The principal oracles in Egypt were of the Theban and ambiguous terms, supposed to be given by demons Jupiter, of Hercules, Apollo, Minerva, Diana, Mars, of old, either by the mouths of their idols or by those of and above all of Latona, in the city of Buto, which the their priests, to the people who consulted them. Oracle | Egyptians held in the highest veneration; but the mode is also used for the demon who gave the answer, and the of divining differing in all of them, and the power of place where it was given. Seneca defines oracles to be giving oracular answers was confined to certain deities. communications by the mouths of men of the will of the There was also an oracle of Besa, according to Ammia. gods; and Cicero simply calls them deorum oratio, the nus, in Abydus, a city of the Thebaid, where that deity 1 language of the gods. Among the pagans they were | was worshipped with long-established honours; though held in high estimation; and they were consulted on a others assign a different position to his celebrated temvariety of occasions pertaining to national enterprises ple, in the vicinity of Antinoë, which place is supposed and private life. When they made peace or war, enacted | to have usurped the site of the old town of Besa. The laws, reformed states, or changed the constitution, they had mode of obtaining answers was here, as at Heliopolis, in all these cases recourse to the oracle by public autho- through the medium of persons deputed for the purpose, rity. Also, in private life, if a man wished to marry, if | who carried the questions in writing, according to 3 he proposed to take a journey, or to engage in any busi- proper formula, and deposited them sealed in the Temple, ness of importance, he repaired to the oracle for counsel. the answers being returned in the same secret and cere, Mankind have always had a propensity to explore futu- | monious manner. Zosinius relates, that in the time of rity; and conceiving that future events were known to Constantius, some of the sealed answers, which, as their gods, who possessed the gift of prophecy, they usual, had been left in the temple, were sent to th sought information and advice from the oracles, which Emperor, and the discovery of their contents subjected in their opinion were supernatural and divine commu- many persons to imprisonment and exile; apparently i nications. Accordingly, every nation in which idolatry consequence of the oracle having been applied to respecthas subsisted, has also had its oracles by means of which ing the fate of the empire, or the success of some design imposture practised on superstition and credulity. against his life.
The principal oracles of antiquity are, that of Abæ, “Different forms were required in consulting differen mentioned by Herodotus; that of Amphiaraus, at Oropus, , oracles. At Aphaca, a town between Heliopolis a in Macedonia; that of the Branchidæ, at Didymeum ; | Byblus, where Venus had a temple, was a lake that of the camps at Lacedæmon; that of Dodona; that which those who went to consult the oracle of th
goddess threw presents, of whatever kind they chose, and be taken, and auguries examined, which, if unfavourderived omens from their sinking or swimming on the able in any particular, either precluded the inquiry for surface. If agreeable to the goddess, they sank; if not, the present, or required further lustrations, ceremonies, they floated; and Zosimus relates, that in the year pre- and sacrifices to purify the person who consulted, and ceding their ruin, the offerings of the Palmyrenes sank, | rendered him fit to receive an answer from the gods, or and the following year a contrary result predicted the to bring their wayward deities to a temper suitable to calamity which befell them.
the inquiry.” When, indeed, answers were given, the “On consulting the god at the Oasis of Ammon, it heathen oracles had no determinate scheme, and related was customary,' says Quintus Curtius, 'for the priests to detached, unconnected events; while the prophecies to carry a gilded boat, ornamented with numerous silver of Scripture respect one great scheme, and point to one pateræ hanging from both its sides, behind which followed | Person, whose family, country, character, and circuma train of matrons and virgins, singing a certain uncouth stances they announced long before He was born. The hymn, in the manner of their country, with a view to heathen oracles spoke what rulers dictated, or what propitiate the deity and induce him to return a satisfac tended to advance the interests of the priests ; precepts tory answer. The oracle of Ammon enjoyed for ages the of morality, and rules of just conduct were seldom, if highest celebrity, and was looked upon by foreigners, as ever, delivered from the cave, or from the consecrated well as Egyptians, with the most profound respect, mis tripos. The purest sentiments prevalent among the sions from all countries being sent to consult it, and learn pagans were either delivered by the philosopher (who its infallible answers; but in Strabo's time it began to had no means of enforcing them), or adorned the pages lose its former renown; the sybils of Rome, and the of the poet; while the Hebrew prophets, on the consoothsayers of Etruria, having substituted omens drawn trary, boldly reproved kings, enforced the purest mofrom the flight of birds, and the inspection of victims, rality by the most solemn sanctions, and suffered rather and warnings from heaven, for the longer process of ora- than gained by the predictions which they uttered. cular consultation; though, according to Juvenal, the They did not prophecy in compliance with the wishes or answers of Ammon continued in his time to be esteemed natural propensities of their countrymen; but opposed in the solution of difficult questions, after the cessation their prejudices by predicting the impending calamities, of the oracle at Delphi.'
the humble state of the Messiah, the rejection of the “ Oracles were resorted to on all occasions of import Jews, and the call of the Gentiles. Their prophecies ance; and sometimes messages were sent from them tended to one end; and the total cessation of them, spontaneously to those whom they intended to advise, in when that end was answered, proves that they did not the form of warnings against an approaching calamity, owe their accomplishment to chance or to imposture. or as an indication of the Divine will. Mycerinus was When no means of evasion remained, the answers censured for not having accomplished the intentions of given by the heathen oracles were usually delusive, and the gods, and received intimation of his approaching capable of quite contrary interpretations; and the most death; Sabaco retired from the kingdom in consequence celebrated of them concealed their meaning in such of the predictions and promises of an oracle; and Neco ambiguous terms, that they required another oracle to was warned not to continue the canal from the Nile to explain them. Of this ambiguity several authentic the Red Sea, lest he should expose his country to foreign instances are recorded. Thus, when Cræsus consulted invasion. Oracles were also consulted, like the magi the oracle of Delphi relative to his intended war against cians of the present day, in cases of theft; and Amasis the Persians, he was told that he would destroy a great is reported to have bestowed presents on those which he empire. This he naturally interpreted of his overfound capable of returning true answers, and remarkable coming the Persians, though the oracle was so framed for discrimination."
as to admit of an opposite meaning. Cræsus made war The ancient oracles, whether directed by evil men or against the Persians, and was ruined ; and the oracle evil spirits, spoke as they were paid or intimidated; continued to maintain its credit. The answer given to and the long-continued history of ancient times has | Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, many ages after, was of yet completely informed us of the practices by which the more doubtful interpretation, being conceived in terms priests of the false gods endeavoured to gain credit for so ambiguous that it might either be interpreted thus: their idols, and profit for themselves, by foretelling “I say that thou, son of Æacus, canst conquer the things to come. “But how did they conduct this diffi- Romans. Thou shalt go, thou shalt return, never shalt cult traffic ?" inquires Dr. Nares; “ did they make it thou perish in war;" or thus, “I say that the Romans hazardous as well as difficult, by pledging their lives on can conquer thee, son of Æacus. Thou shalt go, thou the truth of their predictions? Far otherwise : they shalt never return, thou shalt perish in war.” Pyrrhus had very different arts and plans, much more compatible | understood the oracle in the former sense; he waged an with the consciousness of being extremely liable to unsuccessful war with the Romans, and was overcome; error. In the first place, unless a direct appeal to their yet still the juggling oracle saved its credit. inspiration was made by direct inquiry, they usually These instances of deception need not surprise us, for observed a prudent silence. They uttered no spontane- at a much earlier date we see similar ambiguity in the ous propbecies. In saying nothing they exposed them- | reply of the pretended prophets in Kings 22. 5,6. selves to no detection; and when they were obliged to Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, and Ahab, king of Israel, speak, it was always with sufficient precaution. Ob- having united their forces against the Syrians, in order stacles were first thrown in the way of inquiry. By to recover Ramoth Gilead, the latter monarch“ gathered magnificent and repeated sacrifices, it was rendered ex- | the false prophets together, about four hundred men, and tremely expensive. This preliminary had a double said unto them, Shall I go against Ramoth Gilead to advantage; it lessened the number of inquirers, and at battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up, for the same time, secured abundant advantage to the the Lord shall deliver [it] into the hands of the king.” priests. These sacrifices were preceded, attended, and it is to be observed that the word "it" is not in the orifollowed by many prescribed ceremonies; the omission ginal, and that the reply of the false prophets is so artor mismanagement of any one of which was sufficient fully constructed that it might be interpreted either for to vitiate the whole proceeding. The gods were not at or against the expedition ; as thus, “The Lord will deliver all times in a humour to be consulted. Omens were to [it-Ramoth Gilead] into the king's [Ahab's] hand;"
or “ The Lord will deliver [Israel] into the king's hand," 1 ORATORIES or PROSEUCHÆ. These places of that is, into the hands of the king of Syria. Relying / worship were very common in Judæa, (and it should upon this ambiguous oracle, the monarchs of Judah and seem in retired mountains or elevated places.) in the Israel engaged the Syrians, and were utterly discomfited time of Christ; they were also numerous at Alexandria,
Whenever the oracles failed, the priests who officiated which was at that time a large and flourishing commerat them were never at a loss for subterfuges for pre cial city, inhabited by great numbers of Jews; and it serving their credit. If the event happened not to cor appears that, in heathen countries, they were erected in respond with the prophecy, it was discovered, when too sequestered retreats, commonly on the banks of rivers, late, that some indispensable ceremony or observance or on the sea-shore. The proseucha, or oratory at Phi. had been omitted ; that the gods were averse to the in lippi, where the Lord opened the heart of Lydia, that quirer; or that he had not been in a proper state for she attended unto the things which were spoken by consulting them. If an evil event took place when a Paul, was by a river side. (Acts 16. 13-15.) Josephus good one had been promised, it was the fault of the has preserved the decree of the city of Halicarnassus, inquirer. If, on the contrary, the result was more | permitting the Jews to erect oratories, part of which is favourable than the prediction, this was owing to the in the following terms: “We ordain that the Jews who intercession of the priests, to the prayers they had are willing, both men and women, may observe the saboffered, or to the rites they had performed for propi baths and perform sacred rites according to the Jewish tiating the celestial powers. But notwithstanding all law, and build proseuchæ by the sea-side, according to these and other precautions, the heathen priests suc the custom of their country; and if any man, whether ceeded very imperfectly in maintaining the credit of the magistrate or private person, give them any hindrance a oracles.
disturbance, he shall pay a fine to the city.” The wiser and more sagacious of the heathen, especi It is a question with some whether these proseuchæ ally in later times, held them in utter contempt. They or oratories were the same as the synagogues, or distinct were ridiculed by the comic poets; and the pretendedly edifices from the latter. Both Josephus and Philo, to inspired priestess was, in several instances, even popu whom may be added Juvenal, appear to have considered larly accused of being bribed to prophecy according to them as synonymous; and with them agree Grotius, the interests of a particular party. Such was the poor | Ernesti, Drs. Whitby, Doddridge, and Lardner; but success of false prophecy, even with all the aids of art, Calmet, Drs. Prideaux and Hammond, and others, hare and a systematic plan of imposture, to preserve it from distinguished between these two sorts of buildings; and detection.
have shown that though they were nearly the same, and How widely different from these pretended predic were sometimes confounded by Philo and Josephus, yet tions are the prophecies contained in the Scriptures. that there was a real differencc between them; the synaThey were delivered without solicitation, and pro gogues being in cities, while the proseuchæ were withnounced openly before the people. The events which out the walls, in sequestered spots, and, particularly in were foretold were often both complicated and remote, | heathen countries, were usually erected on the banks of depending on the arbitrary will of many, and arising | rivers, or on the sea-shore, (Acts 16. 13,) without any from a great variety of causes, which concurred to bring | covering but galleries or the shade of trees. Dr. Prithem to pass. Some of them were accomplished shortly deaux thinks the proseuchæ were of greater antiquity after they were delivered ; others had their accomplish- than the synagogues, and were formed by the Jews in ment somewhat later, but the prophets who delivered open courts, in order that those who dwelt at a distance them saw the event. Others again had a more distant from Jerusalem might offer up their private prayers in object, which exceeded the prophet's life ; but the dif- | them as they were accustomed to do in the courts of the ferent events which he foretold were so connected to- Temple or of the Tabernacle. In the synagogues, he furgether that the most distant bordered very nearly upon ther remarks, the prayers were offered up in public some others, the accomplishment of which was prepara- forms, while the proseuchæ were appropriated to private tory to the last. The fulfilment of the first prophecies devotions. served to raise an expectation of those which were dis- | Professor Jahn observes, “ The proseuchæ are undertant; and the accomplishment of the last confirmed the stood by some to be smaller synagogues, but by others first. The predictions of Isaiah furnish us with suit | are supposed to be particular places under the open sky, able illustrations of these remarks; and whoever reads where the Jews assembled for religious exercises. But the prophets with attention will readily find other Josephus calls the proseucha of Tiberius a large house examples. See PROPHECY.
which held very many persons. We infer, therefore, It is a very ancient tradition that the heathen oracles that a pooevyn is the same with TOTTOS or Olkos TMS altogether ceased upon the birth of Our Saviour, a state- Poo evxns, that is, any place of worship. They were ment substantially true. “That heathen oracles were distinguished from synagogues on the ground merely silenced about, or soon after the time of Our Saviour's that they were not buildings especially set apart to advent, may be proved," says Dr. Leland, “from express Divine worship. The Apostles preached the Gospel in testimonies not only of Christian but of profane authors. synagogues and proseuchæ, and with their disciples pero Lucan, who wrote his Pharsalia in the reign of Nero, formed in them all the religious services. When es. scarcely thirty years after our Lord's crucifixion, laments cluded, they imitated the Jews in those places where it as one of the greatest misfortunes of that age that the they were too poor to erect these buildings, and. Delphian oracle, which he represents as one of the | their religious meetings in the houses of individu choicest gifts of the gods, was become silent. Lucian Hence we not only hear of synagogues in houses in also says that when he was at Delphi, the oracle gave Talmud, but of churches in houses in the New Testa no answer, nor was the priestess inspired. Porphyry, in ment. (Rom. 16. 5; 1Cor. 16. 19; Coloss. 4. 19.) a passage cited from him by Eusebius, says, “The city “Such proseuchæ," says Riddle, “ were also the of Rome was overrun with sickness, Æsculapius and the Christian churches; and they might have received tu rest of the gods having withdrawn their converse with | appellation although found in private houses. Burtney men ; because, since Jesus began to be worshipped, no were more commonly entitled προσευκτηρια, ευκτήριο man had received any public help or benefit from the OLKOL EUKTnploi, and in Latin oratoria, that is, oratore gods." See URIM AND THUMMIM.
| or houses of prayer. In later times, these titles were