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An Exposition

[An intimate acquaintance with the Holy Scriptures is a secure haven, and an impregnable bulwark, and an immovable tower, and imperishable glory, and impenetrable armour, and unfading joy, and perpetual delight, and whatever other excellence can be uttered.]


J. Collord, Printer.


ZABII, or ZABÆANS, or ZABIANS, or SABIANS. The Sabians mentioned in Scripture were evidently a nation, or perhaps a wandering horde, such as fell upon Job’s cattle, Job i, 15; men of stature, Isa. xiv, 14; a people afar off, Joel iii, 8. But we speak here of the Zabians as a sect, probably the first corrupters of the patriarchal religion; and so called, as is believed, from tsabiim, the “hosts,” that is, of heaven; namely, the sun, moon, and stars, to whom they rendered worship; 979first immediately, and afterward through the medium of images; this particularly distinguished them from the magi, whose idolatry was confined to the solar orb, and its earthly representative, the fire. If the above derivation be right, the Zabians were originally Chaldeans, though afterward the same sect arose in Arabia. Their study of the heavenly bodies led them, not only to astronomy, but to astrology, its degenerate daughter, which was for many ages the favourite pursuit of the oriental nations.

The following account is abridged from Dr. Townley’s “Essays;”--The Zabii, or Zabians, were a sect of idolaters who flourished in the early ages of the world, considerable in their numbers, and extensive in their influence. The denomination of Zabii, given to these idolaters, appears to have been derived from the Hebrew , a host; with reference to the or, host of heaven, which they worshipped; though others have derived it from the Arabic tsaba “to apostatize,” “to turn from one religion to another;” or from , or the Arabic Tsabin, “Chaldeans,” or “inhabitants of the east.” Lactantius considers Ham, the son of Noah, as the first seceder from the true religion after the flood; and supposes Egypt, which was peopled by his descendants, to have been the country in which Zabaism, or the worship of the stars, first prevailed. That the worship of the heavenly bodies prevailed in the east at a very early period, is certain from the words of Job, who thus exculpates himself from the charge of idolatry: “If I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in brightness, and my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand; this also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge: for I should have denied the God that is above,” Job xxii, 26–28. It would appear that the idolatrous opinions of the Zabii originated with the posterity of Ham, at a very early period after the flood, in Egypt or Chaldea; but spread so rapidly and extensively, that in a very short time nearly the whole of the descendants of Noah were infected with their pestiferous sentiments and practices. Maimonides says, “This people,” that is, the Zabii, “had filled the whole world.” Their first and principal adoration was directed to the host of heaven, or the stars. They were ignicolæ, or “worshippers of fire.” The city of Ur, in Chaldea, seems to have had its name from the inhabitants being devoted to the worship of fire. They dedicated images to the sun and the other celestial orbs, supposing that, by a formal consecration of them to those luminaries, a divine virtue was infused into them, by which they acquired the faculty of understanding, and the power of conferring prophecy and other gifts upon their worshippers. These images were formed of various metals, according to the particular star to which any of them was dedicated. They also regarded certain trees as being appropriated to particular stars, and, when idolatrously dedicated, as being possessed of very singular virtues. From these opinions sprang the adoption of astrology by them, in all its various forms. They maintained the doctrine of the eternity of the world. “All the Zabii,” says Maimonides, “believe in the eternity of the world; for, according to them, the heavens are God.” Holding the eternity of the world, they easily became Pre-Adamites, affirming that Adam was not the first man. They also fabled concerning him, that he was the apostle of the moon, and the author of several works on husbandry. Of Noah, they taught, that he was a husbandman, and was imprisoned for dissenting from their opinions. They add, that Seth was another of those who forsook the worship of the moon. They held agriculture in the highest estimation, regarding it as intimately connected with the worship of the heavenly bodies. On this account, it was deemed criminal, by the major part of them, to slay or feed upon cattle. Goats were also reputed to be sacred animals, because the demons whom they worshipped were said to appear in the woods and deserts in the forms of goats or of satyrs. Of their superstitious practices, some were dangerous, as the sacrifices of lions, tigers, and other wild beasts. Certain of their rites were cruel, as the passing of their children through the fire, and branding themselves also with fire. Some of their practices were loathsome and disgustful; such as eating blood, believing it to be the food of demons, &c. Others were frivolous and tedious; as offering bats and mice to the sun, various and frequent ablutions, lustrations, &c. Some of them were obscene and beastly, as the rites practised on engrafting a tree, or to obtain rain. Many of the rites were magical. These Maimonides divides into three kinds:--“The first is that which respects plants, animals, and metals. The second consists in the limitation and determination of the times in which certain works ought to be performed. The third consists in human gestures and actions, as leaping, clapping the hands, shouting, laughing, lying down, or stretching at full length upon the ground, burning particular things, raising a smoke, and, lastly, repeating certain intelligible or unintelligible words. Some things cannot be completed without the use of all these rites.” It is generally acknowledged that some traces of Zabianism are still to be found both among the Hindoos and Chinese in the east, and the Mexicans and other nations in the south. The Guebres, or Parsees, who inhabit Persia, and are scattered through various parts of Hindostan, are the acknowledged worshippers of fire, or the supreme Deity under that symbol. “That the Persians,” says Hyde, “were formerly Sabians or Zabii, is rendered probable by Ibn Phacreddin Angjou, a Persian, who, in his book ‘Pharhangh Gjihanghiri,’ treating of the Persians descended from Shem, says in the preface, ‘Their religion, at that time, was Zabianism; but at length they became magi, and built fire temples.’ And the author of the book ‘Mu’gjizat Pharsi,’ adopts the same opinion: ‘In ancient times, the Persians were of the Zabian religion, worshipping the stars, until the time of Gushtasp, son of Lohrasp.’ For then Zoroaster 980reformed their religion.” The modern Sabians, who inhabit the country round about Mount Libanus, believe the unity of God, but pay an adoration to the stars, or the angels and intelligences which they suppose reside in them, and govern the world under the supreme Deity. They are obliged to pray three times a day, and they fast three times a year. They offer many sacrifices, but eat no part of them; and abstain from beans, garlic, and some other pulse and vegetables. They greatly respect the temple of Mecca and the pyramids of Egypt, fancying these last to be the sepulchres of Seth, and of Enoch and Sabi, his two sons, whom they look on as the first propagators of their religion. At these structures, they sacrifice a cock and a black calf, and offer up incense. Their principal pilgrimage, however, is to Haran, the supposed birth place of Abraham. Such is the account of this sect given by Sale, D’Herbelot, and Hyde.

ZACCHEUS, chief of the publicans; that is, farmer general of the revenues, Luke xix, 1, &c. This is all that is known concerning this person. See Publicans and Sycamore.

ZADOK, son of Ahitub, high priest of the Jews, of the race of Eleazar. At the death of Ahimelech, or Abiathar, he came to the pontificate, A. M. 2944. For some time there were two high priests in Israel, 2 Sam. viii, 17; xv, 24, &c; xix, 11, 12; 1 Kings i, 8, &c. After the death of David, 1 Kings ii, 35, Solomon excluded Abiathar from the high priesthood, because he espoused the party of Adonijah, and made Zadok high priest alone.

ZAMZUMMIM, or ZUZIM, a gigantic race of people, who, together with the Rephaim and Emim, men of like stature, occupied, in the time of Abraham, the country east of Jordan and the Dead Sea, where they were routed by Chedorlaomer, and from which they were afterward expelled by the Ammonites, Deut. ii, 20, 21. These, together with the Anakim, another family of giants, were all evidently of a race foreign to the original inhabitants of the countries where they were found; they were probably tribes of invading Cushites. The Vulgate and the Septuagint say, they were conquered with the Rephaim in Ashteroth-Karnaim. The Chaldee interpreters have taken Zuzim in the sense of an appellative, for stout and valiant men; and the Septuagint have rendered the word Zuzim, s, robust nations. We meet with the word Zuzim only in Gen. xiv, 5.

ZEAL. The original word, in its primary signification, means heat; such as the heat of boiling water. When it is figuratively applied to the mind, it means any warm emotion or affection. Sometimes it is taken for envy: so we render it, Acts v, 17, where we read, “The high priest, and all that were with him, were filled with envy,” pssa : although it might as well be rendered, “were filled with zeal.” Sometimes it is taken for anger and indignation; sometimes, for vehement desire. And when any of our passions are strongly moved on a religious account, whether for any thing good, or against any thing which we conceive to be evil, this we term religious zeal. But it is not all that is called religious zeal which is worthy of that name. It is not properly religious or Christian zeal, if it be not joined with charity. A fine writer (Bishop Sprat) carries the matter farther still. “It has been affirmed,” says he, “no zeal is right, which is not charitable, but is mostly so. Charity, or love, is not only one ingredient, but the chief ingredient, in its composition.” May we not go farther still May we not say, that true zeal is not mostly charitable, but wholly so that is, if we take charity, in St. Paul’s sense, for love; the love of God and our neighbour. For it is a certain truth, although little understood in the world, that Christian zeal is all love. It is nothing else. The love of God and man fills up its whole nature. Yet it is not every degree of that love to which this appellation is given. There may be some love, a small degree of it, where there is no zeal. But it is, properly, love in a higher degree. It is fervent love. True Christian zeal is no other than the flame of love. This is the nature, the inmost essence of it. Phinehas is commended for having expressed much zeal against those wicked persons that violated the law of the Lord, Num. xxv, 11, 13; and in Psalm lxix, 9, the psalmist says, “The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up;” my earnest desire to have all things duly ordered about thy worship, and my just displeasure and indignation at all abuses in it, have wasted my natural moisture and vital spirits.

ZEBOIM, one of the four cities of the Pentapolis, consumed by fire from heaven, Gen. xiv, 2; xix, 24. Eusebius and St. Jerom speak of Zeboim as of a city remaining in their time, upon the western shores of the Dead Sea. Consequently, after the time of Lot this city must have been rebuilt near the place where it had stood before. Mention is made of the valley of Zeboim, 1 Sam. xiii, 18, and of a city of the same name in the tribe of Benjamin, Neh. xi, 34.

ZEBULUN, the sixth son of Jacob and Leah, Gen. xxx, 20. He was born in Mesopotamia, about A. M. 2256. His sons were Sered, Elon, and Jahleel, Gen. xlvi, 14. Moses acquaints us with no particulars of his life; but Jacob, in his last blessing, said of Zebulun, “Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for a haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon,” Gen. xlix, 13. His portion extended along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, one end of it bordering on this sea, and the other on the sea of Tiberias, Joshua xix, 10, &c. In the last words of Moses, he joins Zebulun and Issachar together, saying, “Rejoice Zebulun, in thy going out, and Issachar in thy tents. They shall call the people unto the mountain, there shall they offer sacrifices of righteousness. For they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand,” Deut. xxxiii, 18; meaning, that these two tribes being at the greatest distance north, should come together to the temple at Jerusalem, to the holy mountain, and 981should bring with them such of the other tribes as dwelt in their way; and that being situated on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, they should apply themselves to trade and navigation, and to the melting of metals and glass, denoted by those words, “treasures hid in the sand.” The river Belus, whose sand was very fit for making glass, was in this tribe. When the tribe of Zebulun left Egypt, it had for its chief Eliab the son of Elon, and comprehended fifty-seven thousand four hundred men able to bear arms, Num. i, 9–30. In another review thirty-nine years afterward, this tribe amounted to sixty thousand five hundred men of age to bear arms, Num. xxvi, 26, 27. The tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali distinguished themselves in the war of Barak and Deborah against Sisera, the general of the armies of Jabin, Judges iv, 5, 6, 10; v, 14, 18. It is thought these tribes were the first carried into captivity beyond the Euphrates by Pul and Tiglath Pileser, kings of Assyria, 1 Chron. v, 26. They had also the advantage of hearing and seeing Jesus Christ in their country, oftener and longer than any other of the twelve tribes, Isa. ix, 1; Matthew iv, 13, 15.

ZECHARIAH, king of Israel, 2 Kings xiv, 29. He succeeded his father Jeroboam II. A. M. 3220. He reigned but six months, and was murdered.

2. Zechariah, son of Jehoiada, high priest of the Jews; probably the same as Azariah, 1 Chron. vi, 10, 11. He was put to death by the order of Joash, A. M. 3164, 2 Chron. xxiv, 20–22. Some think this is the Zacharias mentioned Matt. xxiii, 35.

3. Zechariah, the eleventh of the twelve lesser prophets, was the son of Barachiah, and the grandson of Iddo. He was born during the captivity, and came to Jerusalem when the Jews were permitted by Cyrus to return to their own country. He began to prophesy two months later than Haggai, and continued to exercise his office about two years. Like his contemporary Haggai, Zechariah begins with exhorting the Jews to proceed in the rebuilding of the temple; he promises them the aid and protection of God, and assures them of the speedy increase and prosperity of Jerusalem; he then emblematically describes the four great empires, and foretels the glory of the Christian church when Jews and Gentiles shall be united under their great High Priest and Governor, Jesus Christ, of whom Joshua the high priest, and Zerubbabel the governor, were types; he predicts many particulars relative to our Saviour and his kingdom, and to the future condition of the Jews. Many moral instructions and admonitions are interspersed throughout the work. Several learned men have been of opinion that the last six chapters were not written by Zechariah; but whoever wrote them, their inspired authority is established by their being quoted in three of the Gospels, Matt. xxvi, 31; Mark xiv, 27; John xix, 37. The style of Zechariah is so remarkably similar to that of Jeremiah, that the Jews were accustomed to observe, that the spirit of Jeremiah had passed into him. By far the greater part of this book is prosaic; but toward the conclusion there are some poetical passages which are highly ornamented. The diction is in general perspicuous, and the transitions to the different subjects are easily discerned.

ZEDEKIAH, or MATTANIAH, was the last king of Judah before the captivity of Babylon. He was the son of Josiah, and uncle to Jehoiachin his predecessor, 2 Kings xxiv, 17, 19. When Nebuchadnezzar took Jerusalem, he carried Jehoiachin to Babylon, with his wives, children, officers, and the best artificers in Judea, and put in his place his uncle Mattaniah, whose name he changed into Zedekiah, and made him promise, with an oath, that he would continue in fidelity to him, A. M. 3405, 2 Chron. xxxvi, 13; Ezek. xvii, 12, 14, 18. He was twenty-one years old when he began to reign at Jerusalem, and he reigned there eleven years. He did evil in the sight of the Lord, committing the same crimes as Jehoiakim, 2 Kings xxiv, 18–20; 2 Chron. xxxvi, 11–13; and regarded not the menaces of the Prophet Jeremiah, from the Lord; but hardened his heart. The princes of the people, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, imitated his impiety, and abandoned themselves to all the abominations of the Gentiles. In the first year of his reign, Zedekiah sent to Babylon Elasah, the son of Shaphan, and Gemariah, the son of Hilkiah, probably to carry his tribute to Nebuchadnezzar. By these messengers Jeremiah sent a letter to the captives at Babylon, Jer. xxix, 1–23. Four years afterward, either Zedekiah went thither himself, or at least he sent thither; for the Hebrew text may admit either of these interpretations, Jer. li, 59; Baruch i, 1; Jer. xxxii, 12. The chief design of this deputation was to entreat Nebuchadnezzar to return the sacred vessels of the temple, Baruch i, 8. In the ninth year of his reign, he revolted against Nebuchadnezzar, 2 Kings xxv. It was a sabbatical year, in which the people should set their slaves at liberty, according to the law, Exod. xxi, 2; Deut. xv, 1, 2, 12; Jer. xxxiv, 8–10. Then King Nebuchadnezzar marched his army against Zedekiah, and took all the fortified places of his kingdom, except Lachish, Azekah, and Jerusalem. He sat down before the last-mentioned city on the tenth day of the tenth month of the holy year, which answers to our January. Some time afterward, Pharaoh Hophrah, king of Egypt, marched to assist Zedekiah, Jer. xxxvii, 3–5, 10. Nebuchadnezzar left Jerusalem, and went to meet him, defeated him, and obliged him to return into Egypt; after which he resumed the siege of Jerusalem. In the mean while, the people of Jerusalem, as if freed from the fear of Nebuchadnezzar, retook the slaves whom they had set at liberty, which drew upon them great reproaches and threatenings from Jeremiah, xxxiv, 11, 22. During the siege Zedekiah often consulted Jeremiah, who advised him to surrender, and pronounced the greatest woes against him if he should persist in his rebellion, Jer. xxxvii, 3, 10; xxi. But this unfortunate prince had neither patience to hear, nor resolution 982to follow, good counsels. In the eleventh year of Zedekiah, on the ninth day of the fourth month, (July,) Jerusalem was taken, 2 Kings xxv, 2–4; Jer. xxxix, 2, 3; lii, 5–7. Zedekiah and his people endeavoured to escape by favour of the night; but the Chaldean troops pursuing them, they were overtaken in the plains of Jericho. He was seized and carried to Nebuchadnezzar, then at Riblah, a city of Syria. The king of Chaldea, reproaching him with his perfidy, caused all his children to be slain before his face, and his eyes to be put out; then loading him with chains of brass, he ordered him to be sent to Babylon, 2 Kings xxv, 4–7; Jer. xxxii, 4–7; lii, 4–11. Thus were accomplished two prophecies which seemed contradictory: one of Jeremiah, who said that Zedekiah should see and yet not see, Nebuchadnezzar with his eyes, Jer. xxxii, 4, 5; xxxiv, 3; and the other of Ezek. xii, 13, which intimated that he should not see Babylon, though he should die there. The year of his death is not known. Jeremiah had assured him that he should die in peace; that his body should be burned, as those of the kings of Judah usually were; and that they should mourn for him, saying, “Ah, lord!” Jer. xxxiv, 4, 5.

ZEPHANIAH was the son of Cushi, and was probably of a noble family of the tribe of Simeon. He prophesied in the reign of Josiah, about B. C. 630. He denounces the judgments of God against the idolatry and sins of his countrymen, and exhorts them to repentance; he predicts the punishment of the Philistines, Moabites, Ammonites, and Ethiopians, and foretels the destruction of Nineveh; he again inveighs against the corruptions of Jerusalem, and with his threats mixes promises of future favour and prosperity to his people; whose recall from their dispersion shall glorify the name of God throughout the world. The style of Zephaniah is poetical; but it is not distinguished by any peculiar elegance or beauty, though generally animated and impressive.

ZERUBBABEL, or ZEROBABEL, was son of Salathiel, of the royal race of David. St. Matthew, i, 12, and 1 Chron. iii, 17, 19, make Jeconiah king of Judah to be father to Salathiel; but they do not agree as to the father of Zerubbabel. The Chronicles say Pedaiah was father of Zerubbabel; but St. Matthew, St. Luke, Ezra, and Haggai, constantly make Salathiel his father. We must therefore take the name of son in the sense of grandson, and say that Salathiel having educated Zerubbabel, he was always afterward looked upon as his father. Some think that Zerubbabel had also the name of Sheshbazzar, and that he has this name in Ezra i, 8. Zerubbabel returned to Jerusalem long before the reign of Darius, son of Hystaspes. He returned at the beginning of the reign of Cyrus, A. M. 3468, fifteen years before Darius. Cyrus committed to his care the sacred vessels of the temple with which he returned to Jerusalem, Ezra i, 11. He is always named first, as being the chief of the Jews that returned to their own country, Ezra ii, 2; iii, 8; v, 2; he laid the foundations of the temple, Ezra iii, 8, 9; Zech. iv, 9, &c; and restored the worship of the Lord, and the usual sacrifices. When the Samaritans offered to assist in rebuilding the temple, Zerubbabel and the principal men of Judah refused them this honour, since Cyrus had granted his commission to the Jews only, Ezra iv, 2, 3.

ZIKLAG, a city of the Philistines, first assigned to the tribe of Judah, and afterward to that of Simeon, Joshua xv, 31; xix, 5; but it does not appear that the Philistines were ever driven out; as, when David fled into their country from Saul, Achish gave the city to him, 1 Sam. xxvii, 5, 6. It was afterward burned by the Amalekites, 1 Sam. xxx, 1. But it appears to have been rebuilt, as the author of the First Book of Samuel, when relating its being given to David, adds, that it pertained to the kings of Judah in his time.

ZION. See Sion.

ZUZIM. See Zamzummim.