Desert (1.) Heb. midbar , "pasture-ground;" an open tract for pasturage; a common (Joe 2:22). The "backside of the desert" (Exo 3:1) is the west of the desert, the region behind a man, as the east is the region in front. The same Hebrew word is rendered "wilderness," and is used of the country lying between Egypt and Palestine (Gen 21:14, Gen 21:21; Exo 4:27; Exo 19:2; Jos 1:4), the wilderness of the wanderings. It was a grazing tract, where the flocks and herds of the Israelites found pasturage during the whole of their journey to the Promised Land. The same Hebrew word is used also to denote the wilderness of Arabia, which in winter and early spring supplies good pasturage to the flocks of the nomad tribes than roam over it (Kg1 9:18). The wilderness of Judah is the mountainous region along the western shore of the Dead Sea, where David fed his father's flocks (Sa1 17:28; Sa1 26:2). Thus in both of these instances the word denotes a country without settled inhabitants and without streams of water, but having good pasturage for cattle; a country of wandering tribes, as distinguished from that of a settled people (Isa 35:1; Isa 50:2; Jer 4:11). Such, also is the meaning of the word "wilderness" in Mat 3:3; Mat 15:33; Luk 15:4. (2.) The translation of the Hebrew Aribah' , "an arid tract" (Isa 35:1, Isa 35:6; Isa 40:3; Isa 41:19; Isa 51:3, etc.). The name Arabah is specially applied to the deep valley of the Jordan (the Ghor of the Arabs), which extends from the lake of Tiberias to the Elanitic gulf. While midbar denotes properly a pastoral region, arabah denotes a wilderness. It is also translated "plains;" as "the plains of Jericho" (Jos 5:10; Kg2 25:5), "the plains of Moab" (Num 22:1; Deu 34:1, Deu 34:8), "the plains of the wilderness" (Sa2 17:16). (3.) In the Revised Version of Num 21:20 the Hebrew word jeshimon is properly rendered "desert," meaning the waste tracts on both shores of the Dead Sea. This word is also rendered "desert" in Psa 78:40; Psa 106:14; Isa 43:19, Isa 43:20. It denotes a greater extent of uncultivated country than the other words so rendered. It is especially applied to the desert of the peninsula of Arabia (Num 21:20; Num 23:28), the most terrible of all the deserts with which the Israelites were acquainted. It is called "the desert" in Exo 23:31; Deu 11:24. (See JESHIMON.) (4.) A dry place; hence a desolation (Psa 9:6), desolate (Lev 26:34); the rendering of the Hebrew word horbah' . It is rendered "desert" only in Psa 102:6, Isa 48:21, and Eze 13:4, where it means the wilderness of Sinai. (5.) This word is the symbol of the Jewish church when they had forsaken God (Isa 40:3). Nations destitute of the knowledge of God are called a "wilderness" (Isa 32:15, midbar). It is a symbol of temptation, solitude, and persecution (Isa 27:10, midbar; Isa 33:9, arabah).
Desire of All Nations (Hag 2:7), usually interpreted as a title of the Messiah. The Revised Version, however, more correctly renders "the desirable things of all nations;" i.e., the choicest treasures of the Gentiles shall be consecrated to the Lord.
Desolation, Abomination of (Mat 24:15; Mar 13:14; comp Luk 21:20), is interpreted of the eagles, the standards of the Roman army, which were an abomination to the Jews. These standards, rising over the site of the temple, were a sign that the holy place had fallen under the idolatrous Romans. The references are to Dan 9:27. (See ABOMINATION.)
Destroyer (Exo 12:23), the agent employed in the killing of the first-born; the destroying angel or messenger of God. (Compare Kg2 19:35; Sa2 24:15, Sa2 24:16; Psa 78:49; Act 12:23.)
Destruction In Job 26:6, Job 28:22 (Heb. abaddon ) is sheol, the realm of the dead.
Destruction, City of (Isa 19:18; Heb. Ir-ha-Heres , "city of overthrow," because of the evidence it would present of the overthrow of heathenism), the ideal title of On or Heliopolis (q.v.).
Deuteronomy In all the Hebrew manuscripts the Pentateuch (q.v.) forms one roll or volume divided into larger and smaller sections called parshioth and sedarim. It is not easy to say when it was divided into five books. This was probably first done by the Greek translators of the book, whom the Vulgate follows. The fifth of these books was called by the Greeks Deuteronomion, i.e., the second law, hence our name Deuteronomy, or a second statement of the laws already promulgated. The Jews designated the book by the two first Hebrew words that occur, 'Elle haddabharim , i.e., "These are the words." They divided it into eleven parshioth. In the English Bible it contains thirty-four chapters. It consists chiefly of three discourses delivered by Moses a short time before his death. They were spoken to all Israel in the plains of Moab, in the eleventh month of the last year of their wanderings. The first discourse (Deut. 1-4:40) recapitulates the chief events of the last forty years in the wilderness, with earnest exhortations to obedience to the divine ordinances, and warnings against the danger of forsaking the God of their fathers. The second discourse (Deut. 5 - 26:19) is in effect the body of the whole book. The first address is introductory to it. It contains practically a recapitulation of the law already given by God at Mount Sinai, together with many admonitions and injunctions as to the course of conduct they were to follow when they were settled in Canaan. The concluding discourse (Deut. 27 - 30) relates almost wholly to the solemn sanctions of the law, the blessings to the obedient, and the curse that would fall on the rebellious. He solemnly adjures them to adhere faithfully to the covenant God had made with them, and so secure for themselves and their posterity the promised blessings. These addresses to the people are followed by what may be called three appendices, namely (1.) a song which God had commanded Moses to write (Deut. 32:1-47); (2.) the blessings he pronounced on the separate tribes (Deut. 33); and (3.) the story of his death (Deu 32:48) and burial (Deu 34:1), written by some other hand, probably that of Joshua. These farewell addresses of Moses to the tribes of Israel he had so long led in the wilderness "glow in each line with the emotions of a great leader recounting to his contemporaries the marvelous story of their common experience. The enthusiasm they kindle, even to-day, though obscured by translation, reveals their matchless adaptation to the circumstances under which they were first spoken. Confidence for the future is evoked by remembrance of the past. The same God who had done mighty works for the tribes since the Exodus would cover their head in the day of battle with the nations of Palestine, soon to be invaded. Their great lawgiver stands before us, vigorous in his hoary age, stern in his abhorrence of evil, earnest in his zeal for God, but mellowed in all relations to earth by his nearness to heaven. The commanding wisdom of his enactments, the dignity of his position as the founder of the nation and the first of prophets, enforce his utterances. But he touches our deepest emotions by the human tenderness that breathes in all his words. Standing on the verge of life, he speaks as a father giving his parting counsels to those he loves; willing to depart and be with God he has served so well, but fondly lengthening out his last farewell to the dear ones of earth. No book can compare with Deuteronomy in its mingled sublimity and tenderness." Geikie, Hours, etc. The whole style and method of this book, its tone and its peculiarities of conception and expression, show that it must have come from one hand. That the author was none other than Moses is established by the following considerations: (1.) The uniform tradition both of the Jewish and the Christian Church down to recent times. (2.) The book professes to have been written by Moses (Deu 1:1; Deu 29:1; Deu 31:1, Deu 31:9, etc.), and was obviously intended to be accepted as his work. (3.) The incontrovertible testimony of our Lord and his apostles (Mat 19:7, Mat 19:8; Mar 10:3, Mar 10:4; Joh 5:46, Joh 5:47; Act 3:22; Act 7:37; Rom 10:19) establishes the same conclusion. (4.) The frequent references to it in the later books of the canon (Jos 8:31; Kg1 2:9; Kg2 14:6; Ch2 23:18; Ch2 25:4; Ch2 34:14; Ezr 3:2; Ezr 7:6; Neh 8:1; Dan 9:11, Dan 9:13) prove its antiquity; and (5.) the archaisms found in it are in harmony with the age in which Moses lived. (6.) Its style and allusions are also strikingly consistent with the circumstances and position of Moses and of the people at that time. This body of positive evidence cannot be set aside by the conjectures and reasonings of modern critics, who contended that the book was somewhat like a forgery, introduced among the Jews some seven or eight centuries after the Exodus.
Devil (Gr. diabolos ), a slanderer, the arch-enemy of man's spiritual interest (Job 1:6; Rev 2:10; Zac 3:1). He is called also "the accuser of the brethren" (Rev 12:10). In Lev 17:7 the word "devil" is the translation of the Hebrew sair, meaning a "goat" or "satyr" (Isa 13:21; Isa 34:14), alluding to the wood-daemons, the objects of idolatrous worship among the heathen. In Deu 32:17 and Psa 106:37 it is the translation of Hebrew shed, meaning lord, and idol, regarded by the Jews as a "demon," as the word is rendered in the Revised Version. In the narratives of the Gospels regarding the "casting out of devils" a different Greek word ( daimon ) is used. In the time of our Lord there were frequent cases of demoniacal possession (Mat 12:25; Mark 5:1-20; Luk 4:35; Luk 10:18, etc.).
Dew "There is no dew properly so called in Palestine, for there is no moisture in the hot summer air to be chilled into dew-drops by the coldness of the night. From May till October rain is unknown, the sun shining with unclouded brightness day after day. The heat becomes intense, the ground hard, and vegetation would perish but for the moist west winds that come each night from the sea. The bright skies cause the heat of the day to radiate very quickly into space, so that the nights are as cold as the day is the reverse, a peculiarity of climate from which poor Jacob suffered thousands of years ago (Gen 31:40). To this coldness of the night air the indispensable watering of all plant-life is due. The winds, loaded with moisture, are robbed of it as they pass over the land, the cold air condensing it into drops of water, which fall in a gracious rain of mist on every thirsty blade. In the morning the fog thus created rests like a sea over the plains, and far up the sides of the hills, which raise their heads above it like so many islands. At sunrise, however, the scene speedily changes. By the kindling light the mist is transformed into vast snow-white clouds, which presently break into separate masses and rise up the mountain-sides, to disappear in the blue above, dissipated by the increasing heat. These are 'the morning clouds and the early dew that go away' of which Hosea (Hos 6:4; Hos 13:3) speaks so touchingly" (Geikie's The Holy Land, etc., i., p. 72). Dew is a source of great fertility (Gen 27:28; Deu 33:13; Zac 8:12), and its withdrawal is regarded as a curse from God (Sa2 1:21; Kg1 17:1). It is the symbol of a multitude (Sa2 17:12; Psa 110:3); and from its refreshing influence it is an emblem of brotherly love and harmony (Psa 133:3), and of rich spiritual blessings (Hos 14:5).
Diadem The tiara of a king (Eze 21:26; Isa 28:5; Isa 62:3); the turban (Job 29:14). In the New Testament a careful distinction is drawn between the diadem as a badge of royalty (Rev 12:3; Rev 13:1; Rev 19:12) and the crown as a mark of distinction in private life. It is not known what the ancient Jewish "diadem" was. It was the mark of Oriental sovereigns. (See CROWN.)