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Pomegranate I.e., "grained apple" (pomum granatum), Heb. rimmon . Common in Egypt (Num 20:5) and Palestine (Num 13:23; Deu 8:8). The Romans called it Punicum malum, i.e., Carthaginian apple, because they received it from Carthage. It belongs to the myrtle family of trees. The withering of the pomegranate tree is mentioned among the judgments of God (Joe 1:12). It is frequently mentioned in the Song of Solomon (Sol 4:3, Sol 4:13, etc.). The skirt of the high priest's blue robe and ephod was adorned with the representation of pomegranates, alternating with golden bells (Exo 28:33, Exo 28:34), as also were the "chapiters upon the two pillars" (Kg1 7:20) which "stood before the house."

Pommels (Ch2 4:12, Ch2 4:13), or bowls (Kg1 7:41), were balls or "rounded knobs" on the top of the chapiters (q.v.).

Pontius Pilate See PILATE.

Pontus A province of Asia Minor, stretching along the southern coast of the Euxine Sea, corresponding nearly to the modern province of Trebizond. In the time of the apostles it was a Roman province. Strangers from this province were at Jerusalem at Pentecost (Act 2:9), and to "strangers scattered throughout Pontus," among others, Peter addresses his first epistle (Pe1 1:1). It was evidently the resort of many Jews of the Dispersion. Aquila was a native of Pontus (Act 18:2).

Pool A pond, or reservoir, for holding water (Heb. berekhah ; modern Arabic, birket ), an artificial cistern or tank. Mention is made of the pool of Gibeon (Sa2 2:13); the pool of Hebron (Sa2 4:12); the upper pool at Jerusalem (Kg2 18:17; Kg2 20:20); the pool of Samaria (Kg1 22:38); the king's pool (Neh 2:14); the pool of Siloah (Neh 3:15; Ecc 2:6); the fishpools of Heshbon (Sol 7:4); the "lower pool," and the "old pool" (Isa 22:9, Isa 22:11). The "pool of Bethesda" (Joh 5:2, Joh 5:4, Joh 5:7) and the "pool of Siloam" (Joh 9:7, Joh 9:11) are also mentioned. Isaiah (Isa 35:7) says, "The parched ground shall become a pool." This is rendered in the Revised Version "glowing sand," etc. (marg., "the mirage," etc.). The Arabs call the mirage "serab," plainly the same as the Hebrew word sarab, here rendered "parched ground." "The mirage shall become a pool", i.e., the mock-lake of the burning desert shall become a real lake, "the pledge of refreshment and joy." The "pools" spoken of in Isa 14:23 are the marshes caused by the ruin of the canals of the Euphrates in the neighbourhood of Babylon. The cisterns or pools of the Holy City are for the most part excavations beneath the surface. Such are the vast cisterns in the temple hill that have recently been discovered by the engineers of the Palestine Exploration Fund. These underground caverns are about thirty-five in number, and are capable of storing about ten million gallons of water. They are connected with one another by passages and tunnels.

Pools of Solomon The name given to three large open cisterns at Etam, at the head of the Wady Urtas, having an average length of 400 feet by 220 in breadth, and 20 to 30 in depth. These pools derive their chief supply of water from a spring called "the sealed fountain," about 200 yards to the north-west of the upper pool, to which it is conveyed by a large subterranean passage. They are 150 feet distant from each other, and each pool is 20 feet lower than that above it, the conduits being so arranged that the lowest, which is the largest and finest of the three, is filled first, and then in succession the others. It has been estimated that these pools cover in all a space of about 7 acres, and are capable of containing three million gallons of water. They were, as is generally supposed, constructed in the days of Solomon. They are probably referred to in Ecc 2:6. On the fourth day after his victory over the Ammonites, etc., in the wilderness of Tekoa, Jehoshaphat assembled his army in the valley of Berachah ("blessing"), and there blessed the Lord. Berachah has been identified with the modern Bereikut, some 5 miles south of Wady Urtas, and hence the "valley of Berachah" may be this valley of pools, for the word means both "blessing" and "pools;" and it has been supposed, therefore, that this victory was celebrated beside Solomon's pools (Ch2 20:26). These pools were primarily designed to supply Jerusalem with water. From the lower pool an aqueduct has been traced conveying the water through Bethlehem and across the valley of Gihon, and along the west slope of the Tyropoeon valley, till it finds its way into the great cisterns underneath the temple hill. The water, however, from the pools reaches now only to Bethlehem. The aqueduct beyond this has been destroyed.

Poor The Mosaic legislation regarding the poor is specially important. (1.) They had the right of gleaning the fields (Lev 19:9, Lev 19:10; Deu 24:19, Deu 24:21). (2.) In the sabbatical year they were to have their share of the produce of the fields and the vineyards (Exo 23:11; Lev 25:6). (3.) In the year of jubilee they recovered their property (Lev 25:25). (4.) Usury was forbidden, and the pledged raiment was to be returned before the sun went down (Exo 22:25; Deu 24:10). The rich were to be generous to the poor (Deu 15:7). (5.) In the sabbatical and jubilee years the bond-servant was to go free (Deu 15:12; Lev 25:39, Lev 25:47). (6.) Certain portions from the tithes were assigned to the poor (Deu 14:28, Deu 14:29; Deu 26:12, Deu 26:13). (7.) They shared in the feasts (Deu 16:11, Deu 16:14; Neh 8:10). (8.) Wages were to be paid at the close of each day (Lev 19:13). In the New Testament (Luk 3:11; Luk 14:13; Act 6:1; Gal 2:10; Jam 2:15, Jam 2:16) we have similar injunctions given with reference to the poor. Begging was not common under the Old Testament, while it was so in the New Testament times (Luk 16:20, Luk 16:21, etc.). But begging in the case of those who are able to work is forbidden, and all such are enjoined to "work with their own hands" as a Christian duty (Th1 4:11; Th2 3:7; Eph 4:28). This word is used figuratively in Mat 5:3; Luk 6:20; Co2 8:9; Rev 3:17.

Poplar Heb. libneh , "white", (Gen 30:37; Hos 4:13), in all probability the storax tree (Styrax officinalis) or white poplar, distinguished by its white blossoms and pale leaves. It is common in the Anti-Libanus. Other species of the poplar are found in Palestine, such as the white poplar (P. alba) of our own country, the black poplar (P. nigra), and the aspen (P. tremula). (See WILLOW.)

Porch, Solomon's A colonnade on the east of the temple, so called from a tradition that it was a relic of Solomon's temple left standing after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. (Compare Kg1 7:6.) The word "porch" is in the New Testament the rendering of three different Greek words: (1.) Stoa , meaning a portico or veranda (Joh 5:2; Joh 10:23; Act 3:11; Act 5:12). (2.) Pulon , a gateway (Mat 26:71). (3.) Proaulion , the entrance to the inner court (Mar 14:68).

Porcius Festus See FESTUS.