Sacred Texts  Bible  Index 

Debtor Various regulations as to the relation between debtor and creditor are laid down in the Scriptures. (1.) The debtor was to deliver up as a pledge to the creditor what he could most easily dispense with (Deu 24:10, Deu 24:11). (2.) A mill, or millstone, or upper garment, when given as a pledge, could not be kept over night (Exo 22:26, Exo 22:27). (3.) A debt could not be exacted during the Sabbatic year (Deu 15:1). For other laws bearing on this relation see Lev 25:14, Lev 25:32, Lev 25:39; Mat 18:25, Mat 18:34. (4.) A surety was liable in the same way as the original debtor (Pro 11:15; Pro 17:18).

Decalogue The name given by the Greek fathers to the ten commandments; "the ten words," as the original is more literally rendered (Exo 20:3). These commandments were at first written on two stone slabs (Exo 31:18), which were broken by Moses throwing them down on the ground (Exo 32:19). They were written by God a second time (Exo 34:1). The decalogue is alluded to in the New Testament five times (Mat 5:17, Mat 5:18, Mat 5:19; Mar 10:19; Luk 18:20; Rom 7:7, Rom 7:8; Rom 13:9; Ti1 1:9, Ti1 1:10). These commandments have been divided since the days of Origen the Greek father, as they stand in the Confession of all the Reformed Churches except the Lutheran. The division adopted by Luther, and which has ever since been received in the Lutheran Church, makes the first two commandments one, and the third the second, and so on to the last, which is divided into two. "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house" being ranked as ninth, and "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife," etc., the tenth. (See COMMANDMENTS.

Decapolis Ten cities = deka, ten, and polis, a city, a district on the east and south-east of the Sea of Galilee containing "ten cities," which were chiefly inhabited by Greeks. It included a portion of Bashan and Gilead, and is mentioned three times in the New Testament (Mat 4:25; Mar 5:20; Mar 7:31). These cities were Scythopolis, i.e., "city of the Scythians", (ancient Bethshean, the only one of the ten cities on the west of Jordan), Hippos, Gadara, Pella (to which the Christians fled just before the destruction of Jerusalem), Philadelphia (ancient Rabbath-ammon), Gerasa, Dion, Canatha, Raphana, and Damascus. When the Romans conquered Syria (B.C. 65) they rebuilt, and endowed with certain privileges, these "ten cities," and the province connected with them they called "Decapolis." See map, of the District of Decapolis

Decision, Valley of A name given to the valley of Jehoshaphat (q.v.) as the vale of the sentence. The scene of Jehovah's signal inflictions on Zion's enemies (Joe 3:14; marg., "valley of concision or threshing").

Decrees of God The decrees of God are his eternal, unchangeable, holy, wise, and sovereign purpose, comprehending at once all things that ever were or will be in their causes, conditions, successions, and relations, and determining their certain futurition. The several contents of this one eternal purpose are, because of the limitation of our faculties, necessarily conceived of by us in partial aspects, and in logical relations, and are therefore styled Decrees." The decree being the act of an infinite, absolute, eternal, unchangeable, and sovereign Person, comprehending a plan including all his works of all kinds, great and small, from the beginning of creation to an unending eternity; ends as well as means, causes as well as effects, conditions and instrumentalities as well as the events which depend upon them, must be incomprehensible by the finite intellect of man. The decrees are eternal (Act 15:18; Eph 1:4; Th2 2:13), unchangeable (Psa 33:11; Isa 46:9), and comprehend all things that come to pass (Eph 1:11; Mat 10:29, Mat 10:30; Eph 2:10; Act 2:23; Act 4:27, Act 4:28; Psa 17:13, Psa 17:14). The decrees of God are (1.) efficacious, as they respect those events he has determined to bring about by his own immediate agency; or (2.) permissive, as they respect those events he has determined that free agents shall be permitted by him to effect. This doctrine ought to produce in our minds "humility, in view of the infinite greatness and sovereignty of God, and of the dependence of man; confidence and implicit reliance upon wisdom, righteousness, goodness, and immutability of God's purpose."

Dedan Low ground. (1.) A son of Raamah (Gen 10:7). His descendants are mentioned in Isa 21:13, and Eze 27:15. They probably settled among the sons of Cush, on the north-west coast of the Persian Gulf. (2.) A son of Jokshan, Abraham's son by Keturah (Ch1 1:32). His descendants settled on the Syrian borders about the territory of Edom. They probably led a pastoral life.

Dedanim The descendants of Dedan, the son of Raamah. They are mentioned in Isa 21:13 as sending out "traveling companies" which lodged "in the forest of Arabia." They are enumerated also by Ezekiel (Eze 27:20) among the merchants who supplied Tyre with precious things.

Dedication, Feast of the (Joh 10:22, Joh 10:42),i.e., the feast of the renewing. It was instituted 164 B.C. to commemorate the purging of the temple after its pollution by Antiochus Epiphanes (167 B.C.), and the rebuilding of the altar after the Syrian invaders had been driven out by Judas Maccabaeus. It lasted for eight days, beginning on the 25th of the month Chisleu (December), which was often a period of heavy rains (Ezr 10:9, Ezr 10:13). It was an occasion of much rejoicing and festivity. But there were other dedications of the temple. (1.) That of Solomon's temple (Kg1 8:2; Ch2 5:3); (2.) the dedication in the days of Hezekiah (2 Chr. 29); and (3.) the dedication of the temple after the Captivity (Ezr 6:16).

Deep Used to denote (1.) the grave or the abyss (Rom 10:7; Luk 8:31); (2.) the deepest part of the sea (Psa 69:15); (3.) the chaos mentioned in Gen 1:2; (4.) the bottomless pit, hell (Rev 9:1, Rev 9:2; Rev 11:7; Rev 20:13).

Degrees, Song of Song of steps, a title given to each of these fifteen psalms, Ps. 120-134 inclusive. The probable origin of this name is the circumstance that these psalms came to be snug by the people on the ascents or goings up to Jerusalem to attend the three great festivals (Deu 16:16). They were well fitted for being sung by the way from their peculiar form, and from the sentiments they express. "They are characterized by brevity, by a key-word, by epanaphora [i.e., repetition], and by their epigrammatic style...More than half of them are cheerful, and all of them hopeful." They are sometimes called "Pilgrim Songs." Four of them were written by David, one (Psa 127:1) by Solomon, and the rest are anonymous.