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Holman Bible Dictionary

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Additional Resources
• Nave's Topical Bible
• Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
• Easton's Bible Dictionary
• Fausset's Bible Dictionary
Cloud, Pillar of
• Smith's Bible Dictionary
Absaloms Pillar, or Place
Cloud, Pillar of
Pillar, Plain of the
• International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
Cloud, Pillar of
Pillar of Salt
Pillar, Plain of the
Plain of the Pillar
Salt, Pillar of
Greek - pillar, pillars
Hebrew - pillar
Hebrew - pillar
Hebrew - pillar, pillars
Hebrew - pillar, pillars
Hebrew - pillar
Hebrew - pillar
Hebrew - side pillar
Hebrew - side pillar, side pillars
Hebrew - pillar

Stone monuments (Hebrew matstsebah) or standing architectural structures (Hebrew amudim). 1. Stones set up as memorials to persons. Jacob set up a pillar on Rachel's grave as a memorial to her (Genesis 35:20). Because Absalom had no son to carry on his name, he set up a pillar and carved his name in it (2 Samuel 18:18).

2. Shrines both to the Lord and to false gods. Graven images often were pillars set up as gods. God commanded Israel to break down such “images” (Hebrew matstseboth; Exodus 23:24). The Canaanites erected pillars at their places of worship, and probably influenced Israelite practice. Archaeologists found pillars, at Gezer. Jacob set up a pillar following his dream (Genesis 28:18) and again when God spoke to him at Bethel (Genesis 35:9-15) as memorials of God's revelation. Moses set up twelve pillars to commemorate the giving of the law to the tribes of Israel (Exodus 24:4).

3. As structural supports, pillars were used extensively. The tabernacle used pillars for the veil (Exodus 26:31-32), the courts (Exodus 27:9-15), and the gate (Exodus 27:16). The Temple in Jerusalem used pillars for its support (1 Kings 7:2-3), and the porch had pillars (1 Kings 7:6). Figuratively, pillars were believed to hold up heaven (Job 26:11) and earth (1 Samuel 2:8).

4. God led Israel through the wilderness with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13:21; compare Exodus 14:19-20). These pillars were symbols of God's presence with Israel as much as signs of where they were to go.

5. Solomon's Temple had two free-standing brass pillars (1 Kings 7:15). See Jachin and Boaz.

Mike Mitchell

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'PILLAR'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".
<>. 1991.


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