Revising Editor's Preface
For more than two decades The Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary has been
a bestseller. During that period, however, more background information has become available. Archaeological
excavations have been carried out on biblical sites. New books have been written to enhance our understanding
of the Bible. A further dimension was added with the publication of the New International Version of
These developments are reflected in this revision. The revision has been so thorough,
in fact, that the dictionary merits a new name: The New International Dictionary of the Bible.
There is, for example, a completely new entry on archaeology, and, where necessary, notes have been added
to the individual entries dealing with particular sites.
More emphasis has been placed on bibliography. To all the articles on biblical books are
appended some suggestions for further reading. So, too, with most of the longer articles. Some entries
call for bibliography more than others, hence the apparent anomaly that sees none attached to a sizable
entry, but, for exceptional reasons, finds one in a shorter entry.
This revision is based on the NIV, but there are frequent comparisons with the KJV. Other
versions-notably JB, NASB, NEB, and RSV-have been cited where it was considered helpful. While the spelling
of places and personal names follows NIV usage, preference is occasionally given to the KJV rendering in
order to avoid confusion or perhaps because of editorial affinity with some old and much-loved landmark.
Every reviser is in debt to the original editors and writers and lives with a nagging
feeling of presumptuousness in setting out to amend or supersede the work of bygone saints. Whey did they
say this or than? Did they know something we don't know? This haunting and not-unlikely possibility is a
healthy inhibiting factor for brandishers of blue pencils.
This is especially relevant when confronting a presentation that is put a little more
forcefully than one would expect in a dictionary of the Bible. In the following pages a reasonable amount
of idiosyncrasy has been perpetuated in certain entries; with a certain affectionate indulgence we recognize
that that was the way in which some of our elders drew attention to the importance of their topics.
A few brief explanations are called for. In articles where only minor revision has been
carried out or bibliography updated, the name of the original author has been retained. Where there has
been substantial alteration or addition, the name of the reviser also has been supplied. Where more than
two writers have been involved, the article is left unsigned, a procedure that is followed with most of
the shorter entries.
Cross-references are an editorial nightmare; too many of them make for confusion and
untidiness. We reduced them to a minimum, knowing that readers would, without prompting from us, be
enterprising enough to look up other subjects. Most of them involve related entries that are mentioned
at the end of an entry.
Dictionaries are particularly vulnerable because a writer has to say in a few words
what others expand into whole books. Contributors to dictionaries of the Bible are further at risk because
some of their subjects lend themselves to controversy. In treating them, mention may be made either of
opinions not within the Evangelical tradition or of widely divergent interpretations within that tradition.
We hope that this policy will have not adverse effect on anyone's blood pressure. It was, indeed, an
eminent physician, Sir Wilfred Grenfell, who reminded us that two men can think differently without either
The consulting editors are not to be held accountable for the finished revision. None
of them has seen all of it. All of them responded to the initial invitation to comment on what needed
to be done. Moreover, all were contributors as well as consultants, and the work has greatly benefited.
But someone had to see the work last, so for the final choice of material the revising editor alone is
In addition to article writers, a number of people worked very hard and lightened the
editorial task. Doug Buckwalter and David Lazell shared their expertise in the peculiarly demanding job
of adapting some of the omnibus articles to NIV usage. Myra Wilson cheerfully did a mass of accurate
typing and checking; Ruj Vanavisut meticulously performed a daunting load of secretarial and kindred
chores; Louan and Walter Elwell selflessly provided a second home and library facilities for a traveling
editor. For the publisher, Stan Gundry was a model of restraint in letting the editor get on with the
project unhindered but was ready to respond promptly to editorial requests.
J. D. Douglas
Preface to the First Edition
Robert A. Millikan, American Physicist and Nobel prizewinner, once said that a knowledge
of the Bible is an indispensable qualification of a well-educated man. No other single book in the history
of literature has been so widely distributed or read, or has exercised so powerful an influence upon
civilization. It is the fountainhead of Western culture, and is the sole source of spiritual life and
revelation for all Christians. For the development of Christian experience and for the propagation of
faith, a study of the Scriptures is absolutely necessary. The history, laws, prophecies, sermons and
letters which they contain provide God's estimate of man and His disclosure of Himself through the historic
process of revelation culminating in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Understanding the Bible is often difficult for the average reader because of the unfamiliar
names of persons, places, and object to which it alludes. The historical and cultural backgrounds are
alien to those of the modern day and presuppose knowledge that is not easily attainable. The function
of a Bible dictionary is to render accessible a body of information that will enable one to comprehend
the meaning of the text he is reading, and to obtain ready and complete data concerning any related subject.
Within recent years, the need for a new, up-to-date reference work has become increasingly
urgent. Fresh discoveries in archaeology, better understanding of the history and geography of the Middle
East, and the fruit of multiplied research have provided new insights and interpretations. The advance
of the graphic arts has improved greatly the effectiveness of photography, so that the artifacts and
inscriptions of the past can be reproduced vividly for public exhibition. Realizing the opportunity for
a fresh venture in this field, the Zondervan Publishing House inspired by the interest and foresight of
Mr. Peter deVisser, Director of Publications, has undertaken the task of creating a totally new dictionary,
enlisting the cooperation of sixty-five competent scholars in every field from archaeology to zoology.
The content includes more than five thousand entries, among which may be found a number of important
monographs on biblical and theological topics. In addition, the dictionary contains an extensive series
of articles on Christian doctrines.
This Pictorial Bible Dictionary is a completely new, fully illustrated one-volume
work. It is designed to provide quick access to explanatory data, both by the verbal exposition of biographical,
chronological, geographical, and historical aspects of the Bible, and by the illustrations related to them.
The pictures have been selected for their relevance to the subject matter, for their historical value,
and also with an eye to human interest.
The scope of a one-volume dictionary is necessarily limited. The articles are not intended
to be exhaustive, nor are they planned primarily for professional scholars. They are gauged for the use
of pastors, Sunday-school teachers, Bible-class leaders, and students who desire concise and accurate
information on questions raised by ordinary reading. For intensive research, a more detailed and critical
work is recommended.
Although the articles are written from a conservative viewpoint, each writer has been
free to express his own opinions and is responsible for the material that appears over his signature.
There may be minor disagreements between statements by different persons; in such instances there is
room for debate, and the contributors have liberty to differ. Uncertainty still exists in some fields,
since sufficient data are not available for final conclusions.
While the writers are indebted to many sources, no previously published work has been
incorporated in these pages. The pictures have been taken chiefly from recent photographs, and are not
old reprints. No expense has been spared to prepare the best possible aid for the Bible student.
In the matter of illustrations, special thanks are due Mr. and Mrs. G. Eric Matson of
the Matson Photo Service, Los Angeles, formerly of the American Colony in Jerusalem, for placing at our
disposal their vast and unsurpassed collection of photographs gathered in a lifetime career of professional
photography in the Bible lands. We wish herewith also to thank all organizations and individuals who have
extended their help in supplying photos and illustrations, including: the Oriental Institute of the University
of Chicago; the British Museum of London; the University Museum of Pennsylvania; the Radio Times Hulton
Picture Library of London; Dr. Edward F. Campbell, Jr., Editor of The Biblical Archaeologist; the
American Schools of Oriental Research; the University of Michigan Library; Dr. John F. Walvoord and Dr.
Merrill F. Unger of Dallas Theological Seminary; Dr. and Mrs. Henry H. Halley of Chicago; Dr. Siegfried
H. Horn of Andrews University, and others.
A complete bibliography of all sources of information would obviously be impossible.
Selected references have been appended to major articles in order to afford opportunity for further
Names of persons and places, for the most part, have been taken from the King James
Version, which is still more widely read than any other, but variants occurring in the American Standard
Version and in the Revised Standard Version have been noted. Pronunciation follows the practice of the
unabridged second edition of Webster's New International Dictionary of the English Language. All
Hebrew and Greek names, as well as other names and terms, are followed by their English pronunciations
in parenthesis. Transliterated Hebrew and Greek words appear in italics, with their meaning when it can
be identified. A list of symbols and abbreviations appears on pages xiii and xiv.
Special acknowledgments are due to Dr. Steven Barabas, Associated Editor, who collaborated
in preparing articles for publication, and who contributed many himself; to Dr. E. M. Blaiklock, Professor
Wick Broomall, Dr. Howard Z. Cleveland, the Rev. Charles Cook, Dr. Carl De Vries, the Rev. Arthur B.
Fowler, the Rev. J. P. Freeman, Dr. Guy B. Funderburk, the Rev. Clyde E. Harrington, Dr. D. Edmond Hiebert,
the Rev. John G. Johansson, the Rev. Brewter Porcella, Professor Arthur M. Ross, Dr. Emmet Russell, and
Dr. Walter Wessel, who in addition to the initialed articles published under their names, contributed
many of the unsigned articles; to Miss Verda Bloomhuff and Rev. Briggs P. Dingman, who assisted in correction
of copy and proof; and to Mrs. Carol Currie and Mrs. Alice Holmes for invaluable secretarial service.
The General Editor wishes to express his gratitude to all those scholars named in the list of contributors
who have lent their time and counsel to the production of this book.
Merrill C. Tenney