Epistles The apostolic letters. The New Testament contains twenty-one in all. They are divided into two classes. (1.) Paul's Epistles, fourteen in number, including Hebrews. These are not arranged in the New Testament in the order of time as to their composition, but rather according to the rank of the cities or places to which they were sent. Who arranged them after this manner is unknown. Paul's letters were, as a rule, dictated to an amanuensis, a fact which accounts for some of their peculiarities. He authenticated them, however, by adding a few words in his own hand at the close. (See GALATIANS, EPISTLE TO.) The epistles to Timothy and Titus are styled the Pastoral Epistles. (2.) The Catholic or General Epistles, so called because they are not addressed to any particular church or city or individual, but to Christians in general, or to Christians in several countries. Of these, three are written by John, two by Peter, and one each by James and Jude. It is an interesting and instructive fact that a large portion of the New Testament is taken up with epistles. The doctrines of Christianity are thus not set forth in any formal treatise, but mainly in a collection of letters. "Christianity was the first great missionary religion. It was the first to break the bonds of race and aim at embracing all mankind. But this necessarily involved a change in the mode in which it was presented. The prophet of the Old Testament, if he had anything to communicate, either appeared in person or sent messengers to speak for him by word of mouth. The narrow limits of Palestine made direct personal communication easy. But the case was different when the Christian Church came to consist of a number of scattered parts, stretching from Mesopotamia in the east to Rome or even Spain in the far west. It was only natural that the apostle by whom the greater number of these communities had been founded should seek to communicate with them by letter."
Erastus Beloved. (1.) The "chamberlain" of the city of Corinth (Rom 16:23), and one of Paul's disciples. As treasurer of such a city he was a public officer of great dignity, and his conversion to the gospel was accordingly a proof of the wonderful success of the apostle's labours. (2.) A companion of Paul at Ephesus, who was sent by him along with Timothy into Macedonia (Act 19:22). Corinth was his usual place of abode (Ti2 4:20); but probably he may have been the same as the preceding.
Erech (LXX., "Orech"), length, or Moon-town, one of the cities of Nimrod's kingdom in the plain of Shinar (Gen 10:10); the Orchoe of the Greeks and Romans. It was probably the city of the Archevites, who were transplanted to Samaria by Asnapper (Ezr 4:9). It lay on the left bank of the Euphrates, about 120 miles south-east of Babylon, and is now represented by the mounds and ruins of Warka. It appears to have been the necropolis of the Assyrian kings, as the whole region is strewed with bricks and the remains of coffins. "Standing on the summit of the principal edifice, called the Buwarizza, a tower 200 feet square in the centre of the ruins, the beholder is struck with astonishment at the enormous accumulation of mounds and ancient relics at his feet. An irregular circle, nearly 6 miles in circumference, is defined by the traces of an earthen rampart, in some places 40 feet high."
Esaias The Greek form for Isaiah, constantly used in the Authorized Version of the New Testament (Mat 3:3; Mat 4:14), but in the Revised Version always "Isaiah."
Esarhaddon Assur has given a brother - successor of Sennacherib (Kg2 19:37; Isa 37:38). He ascended the throne about 681 B.C.. Nothing further is recorded of him in Scripture, except that he settled certain colonists in Samaria (Ezr 4:2). But from the monuments it appears that he was the most powerful of all the Assyrian monarchs. He built many temples and palaces, the most magnificent of which was the south-west palace at Nimrud, which is said to have been in its general design almost the same as Solomon's palace, only much larger (Kg1 7:1). In December 681 B.C. Sennacherib was murdered by two of his sons, who, after holding Nineveh for forty-two days, were compelled to fly to Erimenas of Ararat, or Armenia. Their brother Esarhaddon, who had been engaged in a campaign against Armenia, led his army against them. They were utterly overthrown in a battle fought April 680 B.C., near Malatiyeh, and in the following month Esarhaddon was crowned at Nineveh. He restored Babylon, conquered Egypt, and received tribute from Manasseh of Judah. He died in October 668 B.C., while on the march to suppress an Egyptian revolt, and was succeeded by his son Assur-bani-pal, whose younger brother was made viceroy of Babylonia.
Esau Hairy - Rebekah's first-born twin son (Gen 25:25). The name of Edom - "red" - was also given to him from his conduct in connection with the red lentil "pottage" for which he sold his birthright (Gen 25:30, Gen 25:31). The circumstances connected with his birth foreshadowed the enmity which afterwards subsisted between the twin brothers and the nations they founded (Gen 25:22, Gen 25:23, Gen 25:26). In process of time Jacob, following his natural bent, became a shepherd; while Esau, a "son of the desert," devoted himself to the perilous and toilsome life of a huntsman. On a certain occasion, on returning from the chase, urged by the cravings of hunger, Esau sold his birthright to his brother, Jacob, who thereby obtained the covenant blessing (Gen 27:28, Gen 27:29, Gen 27:36; Heb 12:16, Heb 12:17). He afterwards tried to regain what he had so recklessly parted with, but was defeated in his attempts through the stealth of his brother (Gen 27:4, Gen 27:34, Gen 27:38). At the age of forty years, to the great grief of his parents, he married (Gen 26:34, Gen 26:35) two Canaanitish maidens, Judith, the daughter of Beeri, and Bashemath, the daughter of Elon. When Jacob was sent away to Padan-aram, Esau tried to conciliate his parents (Gen 28:8, Gen 28:9) by marrying his cousin Mahalath, the daughter of Ishmael. This led him to cast in his lot with the Ishmaelite tribes; and driving the Horites out of Mount Seir, he settled in that region. After some thirty years' sojourn in Padan-aram Jacob returned to Canaan, and was reconciled to Esau, who went forth to meet him (Gen 33:4). Twenty years after this, Isaac their father died, when the two brothers met, probably for the last time, beside his grave (Gen 35:29). Esau now permanently left Canaan, and established himself as a powerful and wealthy chief in the land of Edom (q.v.). Long after this, when the descendants of Jacob came out of Egypt, the Edomites remembered the old quarrel between the brothers, and with fierce hatred they warred against Israel.
Eschew From old French eschever, "to flee from" (Job 1:1, Job 1:8; Job 2:3; Pe1 3:11).
Esdraelon The Greek form of the Hebrew " Jezreel ," the name of the great plain (called by the natives Merj Ibn Amer; i.e., "the meadow of the son of Amer") See map, Plain of Esdraelon which stretches across Central Palestine from the Jordan to the Mediterranean, separating the mountain ranges of Carmel and Samaria from those of Galilee, extending about 14 miles from north to south, and 9 miles from east to west. It is drained by "that ancient river" the Kishon, which flows westward to the Mediterranean. From the foot of Mount Tabor it branches out into three valleys, that on the north passing between Tabor and Little Hermon (Jdg 4:14); that on the south between Mount Gilboa and En-gannim (Kg2 9:27); while the central portion, the "valley of Jezreel" proper, runs into the Jordan valley (which is about 1,000 feet lower than Esdraelon) by Bethshean. Here Gideon gained his great victory over the Midianites (Judg. 7:1-25). Here also Barak defeated Sisera, and Saul's army was defeated by the Philistines, and king Josiah, while fighting in disguise against Necho, king of Egypt, was slain (Ch2 35:20; Kg2 23:29). This plain has been well called the "battle-field of Palestine." "It has been a chosen place for encampment in every contest carried on in this country, from the days of Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Assyrians, in the history of whose wars with Arphaxad it is mentioned as the Great Plain of Esdraelon, until the disastrous march of Napoleon Bonaparte from Egypt into Syria. Jews, Gentiles, Saracens, Crusaders, Frenchmen, Egyptians, Persians, Druses, Turks, and Arabs, warriors out of every nation which is under heaven, have pitched their tents in the plain, and have beheld the various banners of their nations wet with the dews of Tabor and Hermon" (Dr. Clark).
Esek Quarrel, a well which Isaac's herdsmen dug in the valley of Gerar, and so called because the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with them for its possession (Gen 26:20).
Eshbaal Man of Baal, the fourth son of king Saul (Ch1 8:33; Ch1 9:39). He is also called Ish-bosheth (q.v.), Sa2 2:8.