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NAVE: Pillar
EBD: Pillar
Pile | Pileha | Pilgrimage | Pilha | Pill | Pillar | Pillar of Cloud and Fire | Pillar Of Salt | Pillar, Plain Of The | Pillars Of The Earth | Pilled


Pillar [EBD]

used to support a building (Judg. 16:26, 29); as a trophy or memorial (Gen. 28:18; 35:20; Ex. 24:4; 1 Sam. 15:12, A.V., "place," more correctly "monument," or "trophy of victory," as in 2 Sam. 18:18); of fire, by which the Divine Presence was manifested (Ex. 13:2). The "plain of the pillar" in Judg. 9:6 ought to be, as in the Revised Version, the "oak of the pillar", i.e., of the monument or stone set up by Joshua (24:26).

Pillar [NAVE]

Of Solomon's temple, 1 Kin. 7:13-22; 2 Kin. 25:17.
Broken and carried to Babylon, 2 Kin. 25:13; Jer. 52:17, 20, 21.
Of Solomon's palaces, 1 Kin. 7:6.
Used to mark roads, Jer. 31:21.
Pillar of salt, Lot's wife turned to, Gen. 19:26; Luke 17:32.
Monuments erected to commemorate events: By Jacob, his vision of angels, Gen. 28:18, with Gen. 31:13; 35:14; his covenant with Laban, Gen. 31:45; at Rachel's grave, Gen. 35:20.
by Moses, the covenant between Jehovah and Israel, Ex. 24:4; by Joshua, the passing over Jordan, Josh. 4:1-9, with Deut. 27:2-6; Josh. 8:30; at Shechem, Josh. 24:25-27, with Judg. 9:6; by Samuel, the defeat of the Philistines, 1 Sam. 7:12; by Absalom, to keep his name in remembrance, 2 Sam. 18:18.
As a boundary, Josh. 15:6, with Josh. 18:17; a place mark, 1 Sam. 20:19; a landmark, 2 Sam. 20:8; 1 Kin. 1:9.
Prophecy of one in Egypt, Isa. 19:19.
Monuments of idolatry, to be destroyed, Deut. 12:3.
See: Cloud, Pillar of.
Rev. 3:12.


The notion of a pillar is of a shaft or isolated pile either supporting or not supporting a roof. But perhaps the earliest application of the pillar was the votive or monumental, This in early times consisted of nothing but a single stone or pile of stones. (Genesis 28:18; 31:40) etc. The stone Ezel, (1 Samuel 20:19) was probably a terminal stone or a way-mark. The "place" set up by Saul (1 Samuel 15:12) is explained by St, Jerome to be a trophy. So also Jacob set up a pillar over Rachel?s grave. (Genesis 36:20) The monolithic tombs and obelisks of Petra are instances of similar usage. Lastly, the figurative use of the term "pillar," in reference to the cloud and fire accompanying the Israelites on their march or as in (Solomon 3:6) and Reve 10:1 Is plainly derived from the notion of an isolated column not supporting a roof.


PILLAR - pil'-ar (matstsebhah, `ammudh; stulos): In a good many cases the Revised Version (British and American) substitutes "pillars" for the King James Version "images" (matstsebhoth, Ex 34:13; Dt 7:5; 1 Ki 14:23, etc.). In Gen 19:26, where "pillar of salt" is given, the word is netsibh; in 1 Sam 2:8 it is matsuq; while in most other single uses the Revised Version margin gives variant renderings, as in Jdg 9:6 (mutstsabh), the Revised Version margin "garrison"; in 1 Ki 10:12 (mic`adh), the Revised Version margin "`a railing,' Hebrew `a prop'"; in 2 Ki 18:16 ('omenoth), the Revised Version margin "doorposts." The matstsebhoth were (1) memorial pillars, as in the "pillars" of Jacob at Bethel (Gen 28:18,22; compare 31:13; 35:14), in covenant with Laban (Gen 31:45 ff), at Rachel's grave (Gen 35:20); Absalom's pillar (2 Sam 18:18). Such pillars were legitimate (theory of a fetishistic character is not grounded); it is predicted in Isa 19:19 that such a pillar would be set up to Yahweh at the border of Egypt. (2) Idolatrous pillars, in Canaanitish and other heathen worships. These were to be ruthlessly broken down (the King James Version "images," see above; Ex 23:24; 34:13; Dt 7:5, etc.; compare Lev 26:1). See IMAGES. The other word, `ammudh, is used of the pillar of cloud and fire (see below); of the pillars of the tabernacle and temple (see under the word); of the two pillars JACHIN AND BOAZ (which see); poetically of the "pillars" of heaven, of earth (Job 9:6; 26:11; Ps 75:3; 99:7), etc. In the few instances of the word in the New Testament, the use is figurative. James, Cephas and John were reputed to be pillars" of the church at Jerusalem (Gal 2:9); the church is "the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Tim 3:15); he that overcomes is made "a pillar" in the temple of God (Rev 3:12); a strong angel had feet "as pillars of fire" (Rev 10:1).

Pillar of Cloud and Fire:

The visible manifestation of the divine presence in the journeyings of Israel at the time of the Exodus. Yahweh, it is narrated, went before the people "by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead them the way, and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light ..... The pillar of cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night, departed not from before the people" (Ex 13:21,22; compare 14:19,24; Nu 14:14). When the congregation was at rest, the cloud abode over the tabernacle (Ex 40:36; Nu 9:17; 14:14). When Yahweh wished to communicate His will to Moses, the pillar descended to the door of the Tent of Meeting (Ex 33:9-11; Nu 12:5; Dt 31:15). These descriptions are not to be rationalistically explained; what is depicted is a true theophany. Criticism has sought to establish discrepancies between the allusions to the cloud in the JE and the P parts of the narrative, but these are not made out without straining; e.g. it is not the case that JE alone represents Yahweh as speaking with Moses in the cloud at the door of the tabernacle. The same representation is found in Ex 29:42,43, ascribed to Pillar. An acute discussion of the alleged discrepancies may be seen in H.M. Wiener, Essays in Pentateuchal Criticism, 82 ff.

James Orr

Also see definition of "Pillar" in Word Study

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