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Chaldea The southern portion of Babylonia, Lower Mesopotamia, lying chiefly on the right bank of the Euphrates, but commonly used of the whole of the Mesopotamian plain. The Hebrew name is Kasdim, which is usually rendered "Chaldeans" (Jer 50:10; Jer 51:24, Jer 51:35). The country so named is a vast plain formed by the deposits of the Euphrates and the Tigris, extending to about 400 miles along the course of these rivers, and about 100 miles in average breadth. "In former days the vast plains of Babylon were nourished by a complicated system of canals and water-courses, which spread over the surface of the country like a network. The wants of a teeming population were supplied by a rich soil, not less bountiful than that on the banks of the Egyptian Nile. Like islands rising from a golden sea of waving corn stood frequent groves of palmtrees and pleasant gardens, affording to the idler or traveller their grateful and highly-valued shade. Crowds of passengers hurried along the dusty roads to and from the busy city. The land was rich in corn and wine." Recent discoveries, more especially in Babylonia, have thrown much light on the history of the Hebrew patriarchs, and have illustrated or confirmed the Biblical narrative in many points. The ancestor of the Hebrew people, Abram, was, we are told, born at "Ur of the Chaldees." "Chaldees" is a mistranslation of the Hebrew Kasdim, Kasdim being the Old Testament name of the Babylonians, while the Chaldees were a tribe who lived on the shores of the Persian Gulf, and did not become a part of the Babylonian population till the time of Hezekiah. Ur was one of the oldest and most famous of the Babylonian cities. Its site is now called Mugheir, or Mugayyar, on the western bank of the Euphrates, in Southern Babylonia. About a century before the birth of Abram it was ruled by a powerful dynasty of kings. Their conquests extended to Elam on the one side, and to the Lebanon on the other. They were followed by a dynasty of princes whose capital was Babylon, and who seem to have been of South Arabian origin. The founder of the dynasty was Sumu-abi ("Shem is my father"). But soon afterwards Babylonia fell under Elamite dominion. The kings of Babylon were compelled to acknowledge the supremacy of Elam, and a rival kingdom to that of Babylon, and governed by Elamites, sprang up at Larsa, not far from Ur, but on the opposite bank of the river. In the time of Abram the king of Larsa was Eri-Aku, the son of an Elamite prince, and Eri-Aku, as has long been recognized, is the Biblical "Arioch king of Ellasar" (Gen 14:1). The contemporaneous king of Babylon in the north, in the country termed Shinar in Scripture, was Khammu-rabi. (See BABYLON; ABRAHAM; AMRAPHEL.)

Chaldee Language Employed by the sacred writers in certain portions of the Old Testament, viz., Dan 2:4, Dan 2:28; Ezra 4:8-6:18; Ezr 7:12; Gen 31:46; Jer 10:11. It is the Aramaic dialect, as it is sometimes called, as distinguished from the Hebrew dialect. It was the language of commerce and of social intercourse in Western Asia, and after the Exile gradually came to be the popular language of Palestine. It is called "Syrian" in Kg2 18:26. Some isolated words in this language are preserved in the New Testament (Mat 5:22; Mat 6:24; Mat 16:17; Mat 27:46; Mar 3:17; Mar 5:41; Mar 7:34; Mar 14:36; Act 1:19; Co1 16:22). These are specimens of the vernacular language of Palestine at that period. The term "Hebrew" was also sometimes applied to the Chaldee because it had become the language of the Hebrews (Joh 5:2; Joh 19:20).

Chaldees Or Chaldeans, the inhabitants of the country of which Babylon was the capital. They were so called till the time of the Captivity (2 Kings 25; Isa 13:19; Isa 23:13), when, particularly in the Book of Daniel (Dan 5:30; Dan 9:1), the name began to be used with special reference to a class of learned men ranked with the magicians and astronomers. These men cultivated the ancient Cushite language of the original inhabitants of the land, for they had a "learning" and a "tongue" (Dan 1:4) of their own. The common language of the country at that time had become assimilated to the Semitic dialect, especially through the influence of the Assyrians, and was the language that was used for all civil purposes. The Chaldeans were the learned class, interesting themselves in science and religion, which consisted, like that of the ancient Arabians and Syrians, in the worship of the heavenly bodies. There are representations of this priestly class, of magi and diviners, on the walls of the Assyrian palaces.

Chamber "On the wall," which the Shunammite prepared for the prophet Elisha (Kg2 4:10), was an upper chamber over the porch through the hall toward the street. This was the "guest chamber" where entertainments were prepared (Mar 14:14). There were also "chambers within chambers" (Kg1 22:25; Kg2 9:2). To enter into a chamber is used metaphorically of prayer and communion with God (Isa 26:20). The "chambers of the south" (Job 9:9) are probably the constelations of the southern hemisphere. The "chambers of imagery", i.e., chambers painted with images, as used by Ezekiel (Eze 8:12), is an expression denoting the vision the prophet had of the abominations practised by the Jews in Jerusalem.

Chambering (Rom 13:13), wantonness, impurity.

Chamberlain A confidential servant of the king (Gen 37:36; Gen 39:1). In Rom 16:23 mention is made of "Erastus the chamberlain." Here the word denotes the treasurer of the city, or the qucestor, as the Romans styled him. He is almost the only convert from the higher ranks of whom mention is made (compare Act 17:34). Blastus, Herod's "chamberlain" (Act 12:20), was his personal attendant or valet-de-chambre. The Hebrew word saris, thus translated in Est 1:10, Est 1:15; Est 2:3, Est 2:14, Est 2:21, etc., properly means an eunuch (as in the marg.), as it is rendered in Isa 39:7; Isa 56:3.

Chameleon A species of lizard which has the faculty of changing the colour of its skin. It is ranked among the unclean animals in Lev 11:30, where the Hebrew word so translated is coah (R.V., "land crocodile"). In the same verse the Hebrew tanshemeth, rendered in Authorized Version "mole" is in Revised Version "chameleon," which is the correct rendering. This animal is very common in Egypt and in the Holy Land, especially in the Jordan valley.

Chamois Only in Deu 14:5 (Heb. zemer ), an animal of the deer or gazelle species. It bears this Hebrew name from its leaping or springing. The animal intended is probably the wild sheep (Ovis tragelephus), which is still found in Sinai and in the broken ridges of Stony Arabia. The LXX. and Vulgate render the word by camelopardus, i.e., the giraffe; but this is an animal of Central Africa, and is not at all known in Syria.

Champion (Sa1 17:4, Sa1 17:23), properly "the man between the two," denoting the position of Goliath between the two camps. Single combats of this kind at the head of armies were common in ancient times. In Sa1 17:51 this word is the rendering of a different Hebrew word, and properly denotes "a mighty man."

Chance (Luk 10:31). "It was not by chance that the priest came down by that road at that time, but by a specific arrangement and in exact fulfilment of a plan; not the plan of the priest, nor the plan of the wounded traveller, but the plan of God. By coincidence (Gr. sungkuria ) the priest came down, that is, by the conjunction of two things, in fact, which were previously constituted a pair in the providence of God. In the result they fell together according to the omniscient Designer's plan. This is the true theory of the divine government." Compare the meeting of Philip with the Ethiopian (Act 8:26, Act 8:27). There is no "chance" in God's empire. "Chance" is only another word for our want of knowledge as to the way in which one event falls in with another (Sa1 6:9; Ecc 9:11).