International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
CLOUD, PILLAR OF
pil'-ar (matstsebhah, `ammudh; stulos): In a good many cases the Revised Version (British and American) substitutes "pillars" for the King James Version "images" (matstsebhoth, Exodus 34:13 Deuteronomy 7:5 1 Kings 14:23, etc.). In Genesis 19:26, where "pillar of salt" is given, the word is netsibh; in 1 Samuel 2:8 it is matsuq; while in most other single uses the Revised Version margin gives variant renderings, as in Judges 9:6 (mutstsabh), the Revised Version margin "garrison"; in 1 Kings 10:12 (mic`adh), the Revised Version margin " `a railing,' Hebrew `a prop' "; in 2 Kings 18:16 ('omenoth), the Revised Version margin "doorposts." The matstsebhoth were (1) memorial pillars, as in the "pillars" of Jacob at Bethel (Genesis 28:18, 22; compare Genesis 31:13; Genesis 35:14), in covenant with Laban (Genesis 31:45), at Rachel's grave (Genesis 35:20); Absalom's pillar (2 Samuel 18:18). Such pillars were legitimate (theory of a fetishistic character is not grounded); it is predicted in Isaiah 19:19 that such a pillar would be set up to Yahweh at the border of Egypt. (2) Idolatrous pillars, in Canaanitish and other heathen worships. These were to be ruthlessly broken down (the King James Version "images," see above; Exodus 23:24; Exodus 34:13 Deuteronomy 7:5, etc.; compare Leviticus 26:1). See IMAGES. The other word, `ammudh, is used of the pillar of cloud and fire (see below); of the pillars of the tabernacle and temple (see under the word); of the two pillars JACHIN AND BOAZ (which see); poetically of the "pillars" of heaven, of earth (Job 9:6; Job 26:11 Psalm 75:3; Psalm 99:7), etc. In the few instances of the word in the New Testament, the use is figurative. James, Cephas and John were reputed to be pillars" of the church at Jerusalem (Galatians 2:9); the church is "the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Timothy 3:15); he that overcomes is made "a pillar" in the temple of God (Revelation 3:12); a strong angel had feet "as pillars of fire" (Revelation 10:1).
PLAIN OF THE PILLAR
('elon mutstsbh; Codex Vaticanus reads pros te balano te heurete tes staseos tes en Sikimois; Codex Alexandrinus omits te heurete, and the second tes): With the Revised Version margin we must read "terebinth of the pillar," the place where the men of Shechem and Beth-millo made Abimelech king (Judges 9:6). This was one of the sacred trees of which there seem to have been several near Shechem. See MEONENIM, OAK OF. "The pillar" may possibly have been the great stone which Joshua set up "under the oak that was by the sanctuary of Yahweh" (Joshua 24:26).
SALT, PILLAR OF
PILLAR OF SALT
PILLAR, PLAIN OF THE
See PLAIN OF THE PILLAR.