International Standard Bible EncyclopediaHIGH PLACE
(1) "High place" is the normal translation of bamah, a word that means simply "elevation" (Jeremiah 26:18 Ezekiel 36:2, etc.; compare the use in Job 9:8 of the waves of the sea. For the plural as a proper noun see BAMOTH). In the King James Version of Ezekiel 16:24, 25, 31, 39, "high places" is the translation of ramah (the Revised Version (British and American) "lofty places"), a common word (see RAMAH) of exactly the same meaning, indistinguishable from bamah in 16:16. In three of these verses of Ezekiel (16:24, 31, 39) ramah is paralleled by gabh, which again has precisely the same sense ("eminent place" in the King James Version, the English Revised Version), and the "vaulted place" of the American Standard Revised Version (English Revised Version margin) is in disregard of Hebrew parallelism. In particular, the high places are places of worship, specifically of idolatrous worship. So the title was transferred from the elevation to the sanctuary on the elevation (1 Kings 11:7; 1 Kings 14:23; compare the burning of the "high place" in 2 Kings 23:15), and so came to be used of any idolatrous shrine, whether constructed on an elevation or not (note how in 2 Kings 16:4 2 Chronicles 28:4 the "high places" are distinguished from the "hills"). So the "high places" in the cities (2 Kings 17:9 2 Chronicles 21:11 (Septuagint)) could have stood anywhere, while in Ezekiel 16:16 a portable structure seems to be in point.
(2) The use of elevations for purposes of worship is so widespread as to be almost universal, and rests, probably, on motives so primitive as to evade formal analysis. If any reason is to be assigned, the best seems to be that to dwellers in hilly country the heaven appears to rest on the ridges and the sun to go forth from them-but such reasons are certainly insufficient to explain everything. Certain it is that Israel, no less than her neighbors, found special sanctity in the hills. Not only was' Sinai the "Mount of God," but a long list can be drawn up of peaks that have a special relation to Yahweh (see MOUNT, MOUNTAIN; and for the New Testament, compare Mark 9:2 Hebrews 12:18-24, etc.). And the choice of a hilltop for the Temple was based on considerations other than convenience and visibility. (But bamah is not used of the Temple Mount.)
Archaeological research, particularly at Petra and Gezer, aided by the Old Testament notices, enables us to reconstruct these sanctuaries with tolerable fullness. The cult was not limited to the summit of the hill but took place also on the slopes, and the objects of the cult might be scattered over a considerable area. The most sacred objects were the upright stone pillars (matstsebhah), which seem to have been indispensable. (Probably the simplest "high places" were only a single upright stone.) They were regarded as the habitation of the deity, but, none the less, were usually many in number (a fact that in no way need implicate a plurality of deities). At one time they were the only altars, and even at a later period, when the altar proper was used, libations were sometimes poured on the pillars directly. The altars were of various shapes, according to their purpose (incense, whole burnt offerings, etc.), but were always accompanied by one or more pillars. Saucer-shaped depressions, into which sacrifices could be poured, are a remnant of very primitive rites (to this day in Samaria the paschal lamb is cooked in a pit). The trees of the high place, especially the "terebinths" (oaks?), were sacred, and their number could be supplemented or their absence supplied by an artificial tree or pole ('asherah, the "grove" of the King James Version). (Of course the original meaning of the pillar and asherah was not always known to the worshipper.) An amusing feature of the discoveries is that these objects were often of minute size, so that the gods could be gratified at a minimum of expense to the worshipper. Images (ephods?; the teraphim were household objects, normally) are certain, but in Palestine no remnants exist (the little Bes and Astarte figures were not idols used in worship). Other necessary features of a high place of the larger size were ample provision of water for lustral purposes, kitchens where the sacrifices could be cooked (normally by boiling), and tables for the sacrificial feasts. Normally, also, the service went on in the open air, but slight shelters were provided frequently for some of the objects. If a regular priest was attached to the high place (not always the case), his dwelling must have been a feature, unless he lived in some nearby village. Huts for those practicing incubation (sleeping in the sanctuary to obtain revelations through dreams) seem not to have been uncommon. But formal temples were very rare and "houses of the high places" in 1 Kings 12:31; 1 Kings 13:32 2 Kings 17:29, 32; 2 Kings 23:19 may refer only to the slighter structures just mentioned (see the comm.). In any case, however, the boundaries of the sanctuary were marked out, generally by a low stone wall, and ablutions and removal of the sandals were necessary before the worshipper could enter.
For the ritual, of course, there was no uniform rule. The gods of the different localities were different, and in Palestine a more or less thorough rededication of the high places to Yahweh had taken place. So the service might be anything from the orderly worship of Yahweh under so thoroughly an accredited leader as Samuel (1 Samuel 9:11-24) to the wildest orgiastic rites. That the worship at many high places was intensely licentious is certain (but it must be emphasized against the statements of many writers that there is no evidence for a specific phallic cult, and that the explorations have revealed no unmistakable phallic emblems). The gruesome cemetery for newly born infants at Gezer is only one of the proofs of the prevalence of child-sacrifice, and the evidence for human sacrifice in other forms is unfortunately only too clear.
See GEZER, and illustration on p. 1224.
(1) The opposition to the high places had many motives. When used for the worship of other gods their objectionable character is obvious, but even the worship of Yahweh in the high places was intermixed with heathen practices (Hosea 4:14, etc.). In Amos 5:21-24, etc., sacrifice in the high places is denounced because it is regarded as a substitute for righteousness in exactly the same way that sacrifice in the Temple is denounced in Jeremiah 7:21-24. Or, sacrifice in the high places may be denounced under the best of conditions, because in violation of the law of the one sanctuary (2 Chronicles 33:17, etc.).
(2) In 1 Samuel, sacrifice outside of Jerusalem is treated as an entirely normal thing, and Samuel presides in one such case (1 Samuel 9:11-24). In 1 Kings the practice of using high places is treated as legitimate before the construction of the Temple (1 Kings 3:2-4), but after that it is condemned unequivocally. The primal sin of Northern Israel was the establishment of high places (1 Kings 12:31-33; 1 Kings 13:2, 33 f), and their continuance was a chief cause of the evils that came to pass (2 Kings 17:10 f), while worship in them was a characteristic of the mongrel throng that repopulated Samaria (2 Kings 17:32). So Judah sinned in building high places (1 Kings 14:23), but the editor of Kings notes with obvious regret that even the pious kings (Asa, 1 Kings 15:14; Jehoshaphat, 22:43; Jehoash, 2 Kings 12:3; Amaziah, 14:4; Azariah, 15:4; Jotham, 15:35) did not put them away; i.e. the editor of Kings has about the point of view of Deuteronomy 12:8-11, according to which sacrifice was not to be restricted to Jerusalem until the country should be at peace, but afterward the restriction should be absolute. The practice had been of such long standing that Hezekiah's destruction of the high places (2 Kings 18:4) could be cited by Rabshakeh as an act of apostasy from Yahweh (2 Kings 18:22 2 Chronicles 32:12 Isaiah 36:7). Under Manasseh they were rebuilt, in connection with other idolatrous practices (2 Kings 21:3-9). This act determined the final punishment of the nation (21:10-15), and the root-and-branch reformation of Josiah (2 Kings 23) came too late. The attitude of the editor of Chronicles is still more condemnatory. He explains the sacrifice at Gibeon as justified by the presence of the Tabernacle (1 Chronicles 16:39; 1 Chronicles 21:29 2 Chronicles 1:3, 13), states that God-fearing northerners avoided the high places (2 Chronicles 11:16; compare 1 Kings 19:10, 14), and (against Kings) credits Asa (2 Chronicles 14:3, 5) and Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 17:6) with their removal. (This last notice is also in contradiction with 2 Chronicles 20:33, but 16:17a is probably meant to refer to the Northern Kingdom, despite 16:17b.) On the other hand, the construction of high places is added to the sins of Jehoram (2 Chronicles 21:11) and of Ahaz (2 Chronicles 28:4, 5).
(3) Among the prophets, Elijah felt the destruction of the many altars of God as a terrible grief (1 Kings 19:10, 14). Amos and Hosea each mention the high places by name only once (Amos 7:9 Hosea 10:8), but both prophets have only denunciation for the sacrificial practices of the Northern Kingdom. That, however, these sacrifices were offered in the wrong place is not said. Isaiah has nothing to say about the high places, except in 36:7, while Micah 1:5 equates the sins of Jerusalem with those of the high places (if the text is right), but promises the exaltation of Jerusalem (4:1). In the references in Jeremiah 7:31; Jeremiah 19:5; Jeremiah 32:35 Ezekiel 6:3, 1; Ezekiel 16:16; Ezekiel 20:29; Ezekiel 43:7, idolatry or abominable practices are in point (so probably in Jeremiah 17:3, while Jeremiah 48:35 and Isaiah 16:12 refer to non-Israelites).
(4) The interpretation of the above data and their historical import depend on the critical position taken as to the general history of Israel's religion.
See ISRAEL, RELIGION OF; CRITICISM; DEUTERONOMY, etc.
See , especially, IDOLATRY, and also ALTAR; ASHERAH, etc. For the archaeological literature, see PALESTINE.
Burton Scott Easton
(ha-qodhesh, Exodus 26:33, ha-hekhal, 1 Kings 6:17, etc.; he prote skene, Hebrews 9:6):
1. The Terms:
The tabernacle consisted of two divisions to which a graduated scale of holiness is attached: "The veil shall separate unto you between the holy place and the most holy" (Exodus 26:33). This distinction was never abrogated. In the Epistle to the Hebrews these divisions are called the "first" and "second" tabernacles (Hebrews 9:6 f). The term "holy place" is not indeed confined to the outer chamber of the sanctuary; in Leviticus 6:16, it is applied to "the court of the tent of meeting." But the other is its technical use. In Solomon's temple we have a different usage. The word hekhal, "temple," is not at first applied, as after, to the whole building, but is the designation specifically of the holy place, in distinction from the debhir, or "oracle" (compare 1 Kings 6:3, 5, 16, 17, 33, etc.; so in Ezekiel 41:1, 2, 4, etc.). The wider usage is later (compare 2 Kings 11:10, 11, 13, etc.).
2. Size of the Holy Place:
The size of the holy place differed at different times. The holy place of the tabernacle was 20 cubits long by 10 broad and 10 high (30 x 15 x 15 ft.); that of Solomon's temple was twice this in length and breadth-40 by 20 cubits; but it is contended by many (Bahr, etc.) that in height it was the full internal height of the building-30 cubits; the Herodian temple has the same dimensions of length and breadth, but Josephus and Middoth give largely increased, though differing, numbers for the height (see TEMPLE, HEROD'S).
3. Contents of Holy Place:
The contents of the holy place were from the beginning ordered to be these (Exodus 25:23; Exodus 30:1-10): the altar of incense, a golden candlestick (in Solomon's temple increased to ten, 1 Kings 7:49), and a table of showbread (likewise increased to ten, 2 Chronicles 4:8). For the construction, position, history and uses of these objects, see TABERNACLE; TEMPLE, and articles under the several headings. This, as shown by Josephus and by the sculptures on the Arch of Titus, continued to be the furniture of the holy place till the end.
As the outer division of the sanctuary, into which, as yet, not the people, but only their representatives in the priesthood, were admitted while yet the symbols of the people's consecrated life (prayer, light, thanksgiving) were found in it, the holy place may be said to represent the people's relation to God in the earthly life, as the holy of holies represented God's relation to the people in a perfected communion. In the Epistle to the Hebrews, the holy place is not largely dwelt on as compared with the court in which the perfect sacrifice was offered, and the holiest of all into which Christ has now entered (Christ passes "through" the tabernacle into the holiest, 9:11). It pertains, however, evidently to the earthly sphere of Christ's manifestation, even as earth is the present scene of the church's fellowship. Through earth, by the way which Christ has opened up, the believer, already in spirit, finally in fact, passes with Him into the holiest (Hebrews 10:19; compare Hebrews 9:8; see Westcott, Hebrews, 233).
W. Shaw Caldecott
(1) The "open place" of Genesis 38:14 the King James Version, in which Tamar sat, has come from a misunderstanding of the Hebrew, the translators having taken bephethach `enayim to mean "in an opening publicly," instead of "in an opening (i.e. a gate) of Enaim" (compare Proverbs 1:21 in the Hebrew). The Revised Version (British and American) has corrected; see ENAIM.
(2) In 1 Kings 22:10 parallel 2 Chronicles 18:9 the Revised Version (British and American) relates that Ahab and Jehoshaphat sat "each on his throne, arrayed in their robes, in an open place (margin "Hebrew: a threshing-floor," the King James Version "a void place") at the entrance of the gate of Samaria." The Hebrew here is awkward, and neither the Septuagint nor the Syriac seems to have read the present text in 1 Kings 22:10, the former having "in arms, at the gate of Samaria," and the latter "in many-colored garments." Consequently various attempts have been made to emend the text, of which the simplest is the omission of beghoren, "in an open place." If, however, the text is right-as is not impossible-the open place is a threshing-floor close to the gate. See the commentaries.
Burton Scott Easton
plas: Normally for maqom, Old Testament, and topos, New Testament, but in the King James Version "place" represents a great number of Hebrew and Greek words, often used with no difference in force (e.g. 2 Chronicles 35:10, 15). the Revised Version (British and American) has made few changes, but occasionally has attempted to specialize the meaning (Genesis 40:13 Job 37:8 Acts 8:32 James 3:11, etc.).
PLACE, BROAD; HIGH
See CITY, II, 3, 2; HIGH PLACE; OPEN PLACE.
TORMENT, PLACE OF
tor'-ment: A literal translation in Luke 16:28 of topos tes basanou.
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
) Any portion of space regarded as measured off or distinct from all other space, or appropriated to some definite object or use; position; ground; site; spot; rarely, unbounded space.
2. (n.) A broad way in a city; an open space; an area; a court or short part of a street open only at one end.
3. (n.) A position which is occupied and held; a dwelling; a mansion; a village, town, or city; a fortified town or post; a stronghold; a region or country.
4. (n.) Rank; degree; grade; order of priority, advancement, dignity, or importance; especially, social rank or position; condition; also, official station; occupation; calling.
5. (n.) Vacated or relinquished space; room; stead (the departure or removal of another being or thing being implied).
6. (n.) A definite position or passage of a document.
7. (n.) Ordinal relation; position in the order of proceeding; as, he said in the first place.
8. (n.) Reception; effect; -- implying the making room for.
9. (n.) Position in the heavens, as of a heavenly body; -- usually defined by its right ascension and declination, or by its latitude and longitude.
10. (n.) To assign a place to; to put in a particular spot or place, or in a certain relative position; to direct to a particular place; to fix; to settle; to locate; as, to place a book on a shelf; to place balls in tennis.
11. (n.) To put or set in a particular rank, office, or position; to surround with particular circumstances or relations in life; to appoint to certain station or condition of life; as, in whatever sphere one is placed.
12. (n.) To put out at interest; to invest; to loan; as, to place money in a bank.
13. (n.) To set; to fix; to repose; as, to place confidence in a friend.
14. (n.) To attribute; to ascribe; to set down.
Strong's Hebrew7258. rebets -- (place of) lying down, resting place, dwelling ......
rebets. 7259 >>. (place
of) lying down, resting place
, dwelling place
rebets Phonetic Spelling: (reh'-bets) Short Definition: place
. ... /hebrew/7258.htm - 6k
4769. marbets -- (place of) lying down
... << 4768, 4769. marbets. 4770 >>. (place of) lying down. Transliteration: marbets
Phonetic Spelling: (mar-bates') Short Definition: place. ...
/hebrew/4769.htm - 6k
4725. maqom -- a standing place, place
... a standing place, place. Transliteration: maqom or maqom or meqomah or meqomah
Phonetic Spelling: (maw-kome') Short Definition: place. ...
/hebrew/4725.htm - 6k
4186. moshab -- a seat, assembly, dwelling place, dwelling ...
... a seat, assembly, dwelling place, dwelling, dwellers. Transliteration: moshab or
moshab Phonetic Spelling: (mo-shawb') Short Definition: dwellings. ...
/hebrew/4186.htm - 6k
4150. moed -- appointed time, place, or meeting
... moed or moed or moadah. 4151 >>. appointed time, place, or meeting. Transliteration:
moed or moed or moadah Phonetic Spelling: (mo-ade') Short Definition: meeting ...
/hebrew/4150.htm - 7k
4349. makon -- a fixed or established place, foundation
... << 4348, 4349. makon. 4350 >>. a fixed or established place, foundation.
Transliteration: makon Phonetic Spelling: (maw-kone') Short Definition: place. ...
/hebrew/4349.htm - 6k
4496. menuchah -- resting place, rest
... << 4495, 4496. menuchah or menuchah. 4497 >>. resting place, rest. Transliteration:
menuchah or menuchah Phonetic Spelling: (men-oo-khaw') Short Definition: rest ...
/hebrew/4496.htm - 6k
4411. malon -- a lodging place, inn, khan
... << 4410, 4411. malon. 4412 >>. a lodging place, inn, khan. Transliteration:
malon Phonetic Spelling: (maw-lone') Short Definition: place. ...
/hebrew/4411.htm - 6k
4565. mistar -- a secret place, hiding place
... << 4564, 4565. mistar. 4566 >>. a secret place, hiding place. Transliteration:
mistar Phonetic Spelling: (mis-tawr') Short Definition: places. ...
/hebrew/4565.htm - 6k
4800. merchab -- a broad or roomy place
... << 4799, 4800. merchab. 4801 >>. a broad or roomy place. Transliteration: merchab
Phonetic Spelling: (mer-khawb') Short Definition: place. ...
/hebrew/4800.htm - 6k