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Eshcol Bunch; brave. (1.) A young Amoritish chief who joined Abraham in the recovery of Lot from the hands of Chedorlaomer (Gen 14:13, Gen 14:24). (2.) A valley in which the spies obtained a fine cluster of grapes (Num 13:23, Num 13:24; "the brook Eshcol," A.V.; "the valley of Eshcol," R.V.), which they took back with them to the camp of Israel as a specimen of the fruits of the Promised Land. On their way back they explored the route which led into the south (the Negeb) by the western edge of the mountains at Telilat el-'Anab , i.e., "grape-mounds", near Beersheba. "In one of these extensive valleys, perhaps in Wady Hanein, where miles of grape-mounds even now meet the eye, they cut the gigantic clusters of grapes, and gathered the pomegranates and figs, to show how goodly was the land which the Lord had promised for their inheritance." Palmer's Desert of the Exodus.

Eshean A place in the mountains of Judah (Jos 15:52), supposed to be the ruin es-Simia, near Dumah, south of Hebron.

Eshtaol Narrow pass or recess, a town (Jos 15:33) in the low country, the She-phelah of Judah. It was allotted to the tribe of Dan (Jos 19:41), and was one of their strongholds. Here Samson spent his boyhood, and first began to show his mighty strength; and here he was buried in the burying-place of Manoah his father (Jdg 13:25; Jdg 16:31; Jdg 18:2, Jdg 18:8, Jdg 18:11, Jdg 18:12). It is identified with the modern Yeshua, on a hill 2 miles east of Zorah. Others, however, identify it with Kustul, east of Kirjath-jearim.

Eshtemoa Obedience, a town in the mountains of Judah (Jos 21:14; Ch1 6:57), which was allotted, with the land round it, to the priests. It was frequented by David and his followers during their wanderings; and he sent presents of the spoil of the Amalekites to his friends there (Sa1 30:28). It is identified with es-Semua, a village about 31/2 miles east of Socoh, and 7 or 8 miles south of Hebron, around which there are ancient remains of the ruined city. It is the centre of the "south country" or Negeb. It is also called "Eshtemoh" (Jos 15:50).

Espouse (Sa2 3:14), to betroth. The espousal was a ceremony of betrothing, a formal agreement between the parties then coming under obligation for the purpose of marriage. Espousals are in the East frequently contracted years before the marriage is celebrated. It is referred to as figuratively illustrating the relations between God and his people (Jer 2:2; Mat 1:18; Co2 11:2). (See BETROTH.)

Essenes A Jewish mystical sect somewhat resembling the Pharisees. They affected great purity. They originated about 100 B.C., and disappeared from history after the destruction of Jerusalem. They are not directly mentioned in Scripture, although they may be referred to in Mat 19:11, Mat 19:12, Col 2:8, Col 2:18, Col 2:23.

Esther The queen of Ahasuerus, and heroine of the book that bears her name. She was a Jewess named Hadassah (the myrtle), but when she entered the royal harem she received the name by which she henceforth became known (Est 2:7). It is a Syro-Arabian modification of the Persian word satarah, which means a star. She was the daughter of Abihail, a Benjamite. Her family did not avail themselves of the permission granted by Cyrus to the exiles to return to Jerusalem; and she resided with her cousin Mordecai, who held some office in the household of the Persian king at "Shushan in the palace." Ahasuerus having divorced Vashti, chose Esther to be his wife. Soon after this he gave Haman the Agagite, his prime minister, power and authority to kill and extirpate all the Jews throughout the Persian empire. By the interposition of Esther this terrible catastrophe was averted. Haman was hanged on the gallows he had intended for Mordecai (Est 7:1); and the Jews established an annual feast, the feast of Purim (q.v.), in memory of their wonderful deliverance. This took place about fifty-two years after the Return, the year of the great battles of Plataea and Mycale (479 B.C.). Esther appears in the Bible as a "woman of deep piety, faith, courage, patriotism, and caution, combined with resolution; a dutiful daughter to her adopted father, docile and obedient to his counsels, and anxious to share the king's favour with him for the good of the Jewish people. There must have been a singular grace and charm in her aspect and manners, since 'she obtained favour in the sight of all them that looked upon her' (Est 2:15). That she was raised up as an instrument in the hand of God to avert the destruction of the Jewish people, and to afford them protection and forward their wealth and peace in their captivity, is also manifest from the Scripture account."

Esther, Book of The authorship of this book is unknown. It must have been obviously written after the death of Ahasuerus (the Xerxes of the Greeks), which took place 465 B.C.. The minute and particular account also given of many historical details makes it probable that the writer was contemporary with Mordecai and Esther. Hence we may conclude that the book was written probably about 444-434 B.C., and that the author was one of the Jews of the dispersion. This book is more purely historical than any other book of Scripture; and it has this remarkable peculiarity that the name of God does not occur in it from first to last in any form. It has, however, been well observed that "though the name of God be not in it, his finger is." The book wonderfully exhibits the providential government of God.

Etam Eyrie. (1.) A village of the tribe of Simeon (Ch1 4:32). Into some cleft ("top," A.V.,; R.V., "cleft") of a rock here Samson retired after his slaughter of the Philistines (Jdg 15:8, Jdg 15:11). It was a natural stronghold. It has been identified with Beit'Atab , west of Bethlehem, near Zorah and Eshtaol. On the crest of a rocky knoll, under the village, is a long tunnel, which may be the "cleft" in which Samson hid. (2.) A city of Judah, fortified by Rehoboam (Ch2 11:6). It was near Bethlehem and Tekoah, and some distance apparently to the north of (1). It seems to have been in the district called Nephtoah (or Netophah), where were the sources of the water from which Solomon's gardens and pleasure-grounds and pools, as well as Bethlehem and the temple, were supplied. It is now 'Ain'Atan , at the head of the Wady Urtas, a fountain sending forth a copious supply of pure water.

Eternal Life This expression occurs in the Old Testament only in Dan 12:2 (R.V., "everlasting life"). It occurs frequently in the New Testament (Mat 7:14; Mat 18:8, Mat 18:9; Luk 10:28; compare Luk 18:18). It comprises the whole future of the redeemed (Luk 16:9), and is opposed to "eternal punishment" (Mat 19:29; Mat 25:46). It is the final reward and glory into which the children of God enter (Ti1 6:12, Ti1 6:19; Rom 6:22; Gal 6:8; Ti1 1:16; Rom 5:21); their Sabbath of rest (Heb 4:9; compare Heb 12:22). The newness of life which the believer derives from Christ (Rom 6:4) is the very essence of salvation, and hence the life of glory or the eternal life must also be theirs (Rom 6:8; Ti2 2:11, Ti2 2:12; Rom 5:17, Rom 5:21; Rom 8:30; Eph 2:5, Eph 2:6). It is the "gift of God in Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom 6:23). The life the faithful have here on earth (Joh 3:36; Joh 5:24; Joh 6:47, Joh 6:53) is inseparably connected with the eternal life beyond, the endless life of the future, the happy future of the saints in heaven (Mat 19:16, Mat 19:29; Mat 25:46).