Fir

“The uniform rendering in the Authorized Version (marg. R.V.,” “cypress) of berosh (2 Sam. 6:5; 1 Kings 5:8, 10; 6:15, 34;” “9:11, etc.), a lofty tree (Isa. 55:13) growing on Lebanon” (37:24). Its wood was used in making musical instruments and “doors of houses, and for ceilings (2 Chr. 3:5), the decks of” “ships (Ezek. 27:5), floorings and spear-shafts (Nah. 2:3, R.V.).” “The true fir (abies) is not found in Palestine, but the pine” “tree, of which there are four species, is common.” “The precise kind of tree meant by the “green fir tree” (Hos. “14:8) is uncertain. Some regard it as the sherbin tree, a” “cypress resembling the cedar; others, the Aleppo or maritime” “pine (Pinus halepensis), which resembles the Scotch fir; while” “others think that the “stone-pine” (Pinus pinea) is probably” meant. (See PINE.)

(1.) For sacred purposes. The sacrifices were consumed by fire (Gen. 8:20). The ever-burning fire on the altar was first “kindled from heaven (Lev. 6:9, 13; 9:24), and afterwards” “rekindled at the dedication of Solomon’s temple (2 Chr. 7:1, 3).” “The expressions “fire from heaven” and “fire of the Lord” “generally denote lightning, but sometimes also the fire of the” “altar was so called (Ex. 29:18; Lev. 1:9; 2:3; 3:5, 9).” “Fire for a sacred purpose obtained otherwise than from the altar “was called “strange fire” (Lev. 10:1, 2; Num. 3:4).” “The victims slain for sin offerings were afterwards consumed byfire outside the camp (Lev. 4:12, 21; 6:30; 16:27; Heb. 13:11).” “(2.) For domestic purposes, such as baking, cooking, warmth, etc. (Jer. 36:22; Mark 14:54; John 18:18). But on Sabbath no fire for any domestic purpose was to be kindled (Ex. 35:3; Num. 15:32-36). “(3.) Punishment of death by fire was inflicted on such as were guilty of certain forms of unchastity and incest (Lev. 20:14; 21:9). The burning of captives in war was not unknown among the Jews (2 Sam. 12:31; Jer. 29:22). The bodies of infamous persons who were executed were also sometimes burned (Josh. 7:25; 2 Kings 23:16). “(4.) In war, fire was used in the destruction of cities, as “Jericho (Josh. 6:24), Ai (8:19), Hazor (11:11), Laish (Judg.” “18:27), etc. The war-chariots of the Canaanites were burnt” “(Josh. 11:6, 9, 13). The Israelites burned the images (2 Kings” “10:26; R.V., “pillars”) of the house of Baal. These objects of” “worship seem to have been of the nature of obelisks, and were” sometimes evidently made of wood. “Torches were sometimes carried by the soldiers in battle (Judg. 7:16). “(5.) Figuratively, fire is a symbol of Jehovah’s presence and “the instrument of his power (Ex. 14:19; Num. 11:1, 3; Judg.” “13:20; 1 Kings 18:38; 2 Kings 1:10, 12; 2:11; Isa. 6:4; Ezek.” “1:4; Rev. 1:14, etc.).” “God’s word is also likened unto fire (Jer. 23:29). It is referred to as an emblem of severe trials or misfortunes (Zech. “12:6; Luke 12:49; 1 Cor. 3:13, 15; 1 Pet. 1:7), and of eternal” punishment (Matt. 5:22; Mark 9:44; Rev. 14:10; 21:8). “The influence of the Holy Ghost is likened unto fire (Matt. 3:11). His descent was denoted by the appearance of tongues as of fire (Acts 2:3).

“Isa. 7:4, Amos 4:11, Zech. 3:2, denotes the burnt end of a stick” “(Heb. `ud); in Judg. 15:4, a lamp or torch, a flambeau (Heb.” “lappid); in Prov. 26:18 (comp. Eph. 6:16), burning darts or” arrows (Heb. zikkim).

“(Ex. 27:3; 38:3), one of the vessels of the temple service” “(rendered “snuff-dish” Ex. 25:38; 37:23; and “censer” Lev. 10:1;” 16:12). It was probably a metallic cinder-basin used for the “purpose of carrying live coal for burning incense, and of” carrying away the snuff in trimming the lamps.

“Used only in John 2:6; the Attic amphora, equivalent to the” “Hebrew bath (q.v.), a measure for liquids containing about 8 7/8” gallons.

“From the Vulgate firmamentum, which is used as the translation” “of the Hebrew raki’a. This word means simply “expansion.” It” denotes the space or expanse like an arch appearing immediately above us. They who rendered raki’a by firmamentum regarded it as a solid body. The language of Scripture is not scientific but “popular, and hence we read of the sun rising and setting, and” also here the use of this particular word. It is plain that it was used to denote solidity as well as expansion. It formed a division between the waters above and the waters below (Gen. 1:7). The raki’a supported the upper reservoir (Ps. 148:4). It “was the support also of the heavenly bodies (Gen. 1:14), and is” “spoken of as having “windows” and “doors” (Gen. 7:11; Isa.” 24:18; Mal. 3:10) through which the rain and snow might descend.

Sons enjoyed certain special privileges (Deut. 21:17; Gen. “25:23, 31, 34; 49:3; 1 Chr. 5:1; Heb. 12:16; Ps. 89:27). (See” BIRTHRIGHT.) “The “first-born of the poor” signifies the most miserable of the “poor (Isa. 14:30). The “church of the first-born” signifies the” church of the redeemed. “The destruction of the first-born was the last of the ten “plagues inflicted on the Egyptians (Ex. 11:1-8; 12:29, 30).” “Menephtah is probably the Pharaoh whose first-born was slain. “His son did not succeed or survive his father, but died early.” “The son’s tomb has been found at Thebes unfinished, showing it” was needed earlier than was expected. Some of the records on the “tomb are as follows: “The son whom Menephtah loves; who draws” “towards him his father’s heart, the singer, the prince of” “archers, who governed Egypt on behalf of his father. Dead.”

From the beginning the office of the priesthood in each family belonged to the eldest son. But when the extensive plan of “sacrificial worship was introduced, requiring a company of men” “to be exclusively devoted to this ministry, the primitive office” of the first-born was superseded by that of the Levites (Num. “3:11-13), and it was ordained that the first-born of man and of” unclean animals should henceforth be redeemed (18:15). “The laws concerning this redemption of the first-born of man are recorded in Ex. 13:12-15; 22:29; 34:20; Num. 3:45; 8:17; 18:16; “Lev. 12:2, 4.” “The first-born male of every clean animal was to be given up to the priest for sacrifice (Deut. 12:6; Ex. 13:12; 34:20; Num. 18:15-17). “But the first-born of unclean animals was either to be redeemed “or sold and the price given to the priest (Lev. 27:11-13, 27).” “The first-born of an ass, if not redeemed, was to be put to” death (Ex. 13:13; 34:20).

A peculiar sanctity was attached to the first-born both of man and of cattle. God claimed that the first-born males of man and “of animals should be consecrated to him, the one as a priest” “(Ex. 19:22, 24), representing the family to which he belonged,” and the other to be offered up in sacrifice (Gen. 4:4).

The first-fruits of the ground were offered unto God just as the first-born of man and animals. “The law required, (1.) That on the morrow after the Passover Sabbath a sheaf of new corn should be waved by the priest before “the altar (Lev. 23:5, 6, 10, 12; 2:12).” “(2.) That at the feast of Pentecost two loaves of leavened “bread, made from the new flour, were to be waved in like manner” “(Lev. 23:15, 17; Num. 28:26).” “(3.) The feast of Tabernacles was an acknowledgement that the fruits of the harvest were from the Lord (Ex. 23:16; 34:22). “(4.) Every individual, besides, was required to consecrate to God a portion of the first-fruits of the land (Ex. 22:29; 23:19; “34:26; Num. 15:20, 21).” “(5.) The law enjoined that no fruit was to be gathered from “newly-planted fruit-trees for the first three years, and that” the first-fruits of the fourth year were to be consecrated to the Lord (Lev. 19:23-25). Jeremiah (2:3) alludes to the “ordinance of “first-fruits,” and hence he must have been” “acquainted with the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers,” where the laws regarding it are recorded.

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