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PTOLEMIDA

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PTOLEMIDA

City named in honor of Ptolemy Philadelphus (285-246 BC). This was the name it had in Paul’s time. It is currently called Akkõ, as before this name change.

The Crusaders gave him the name of Saint John of Acre. Its ancient name, Akkõ, means “burning sands.” The Hebrews sometimes called him Acasaph (Josh. 11:1; 12:20; 19:25).

It is located on a small promontory on the Palestinian coast, just over 40 km south of Tyre. The city faces Mount Carmel, from across the Bay of Acre.

It was assigned to the tribe of Asher, who did not occupy it (Judg. 1:31). In the time of Hosea he surrendered to Shalmaneser, king of Assyria (Ant. 9:14, 2). During the reign of Assurbanipal he suffered Assyrian harassment.

The name Ptolemais was given almost a century BC. Key city for the entrance to Galilee, seaport and terminal of the trade routes of the Decapolis and Arabia, it acquired great political importance (1 Mac. 5:15, 21, 55; 10:1; Ant. 13:12, 2 H.H.).

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It is in this city that Jonathan Maccabeus was perfidiously murdered (1 Mac. 12:48; Ant. 13:6, 2). Large numbers of Jews found refuge within its walls (Wars 2:18, 5).

A Christian community soon emerged in this city. Paul spent a day there with his brothers during his final journey to Jerusalem (Acts 21:7). Ptolemaida later became the seat of a Christian episcopate.

The Arabs restored its ancient name of Akkõ, which the French Crusaders corrupted to Acre. In the year 1191, Philip Augustus, king of France, and Richard I, king of England, conquered it.

Since 1229 it became the property of the Knights of Saint John, which is why it was frequently known as Saint John of Acre. It later fell into the hands of the Ottoman Turks. Jazzar Pacha was a notable ruler for his ferocity, earning the title of “the butcher,” and he reinforced his defenses in 1799.

That same year Napoleon attacked it, but was defeated and quickly retreated to Syria. A British fleet contributed decisively to Napoleon’s defeat by coming to Jazzar’s aid.

In 1832, Saint John of Acre was taken from the Sultan of Turkey by one of his subjects, Ibrahim Pasha, son of Mohamed Ali, governor of Egypt.

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In 1840 an Anglo-Austrian intervention returned the city to Türkiye. During the First World War, in 1917, the English took over the city, becoming part of their administration of Palestine.

Finally, in the Israeli War of Independence in 1948, Akkõ, which had been handed over by the English to the Arabs before withdrawing from Palestine, was taken by the forces of the nascent State of Israel.

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Bible Dictionary

BETHEL

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BETHEL

is the name of a Canaanite city in the ancient region of Samaria, located in the center of the land of Canaan, northwest of Ai on the road to Shechem, 30 kilometers south of Shiloh and about 16 kilometers north of Jerusalem.

Bethel is the second most mentioned city in the Bible. Some identify it with the Palestinian village of Beitin and others with the Israeli settlement of Beit El.

Bethel was the place where Abraham built his altar when he first arrived in Canaan (Genesis 12:8; Genesis 13:3). And at Bethel Jacob saw a vision of a ladder whose top touched heaven and the angels ascended and descended (Genesis 28:10-19).

For this reason Jacob was afraid, and said, “How terrible is this place! It is nothing other than the house of God, and the gate of heaven »and he called Bethel the place that was known as «Light» (Genesis 35-15).

Bethel was also a sanctuary in the days of the prophet Samuel, who judged the people there (1 Samuel 7:16; 1 Samuel 10:3). And it was the place where Deborah, the nurse of Rebekah, Isaac’s wife, was buried.

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Bethel was the birthplace of Hiel, who sought to rebuild the city of Jericho (1 Kings 16:34).

When Bethel did not yet belong to the people of Israel, Joshua had to battle against the king of Bethel and other kings and defeated them (Joshua 12-16).

When the people of Israel had taken possession of the promised land, in the division by tribes it was assigned to the Tribe of Benjamin (Joshua 18-22), but in later times it belonged to the Tribe of Judah (2 Chronicles 13:19).

It was one of the places where the Ark of the Covenant remained, a symbol of the presence of God.

In Bethel the prophet Samuel judged the people.

Then the prophet Elisha went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up the road, some boys came out of the city and mocked him, and said to him: “Go up, bald man; Come up, bald! When he looked back and saw them, he cursed them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the forest and tore to pieces forty-two boys” (2 Kings 2:23).

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After the division of the kingdom of Israel, Jeroboam I, king of Israel, had a golden calf raised at Bethel (1 Kings 21:29) which was destroyed by Josiah, king of Judah, many years later (2 Kings 23:15). .

Bethel was also a place where some of the Babylonian exiles who returned to Israel in 537 BC gathered. (Ezra 2:28).

The prophet Hosea, a century before Jeremiah, refers to Bethel by another name: “Bet-Aven” (Hosea 4:15; Hosea 5:8; Hosea 10:5-8), which means ‘House of Iniquity’, ‘House of Nothingness’, ‘House of Vanity’, ‘House of Nullity’, that is, of idols.

In Amos 7: 12-13 the priest Amaziah tells the prophet Amos that he flee to Judah and no longer prophesy in Bethel because it is the king’s sanctuary, and the head of the kingdom.

The prophet Jeremiah states that “the house of Israel was ashamed of Bethel” (Jeremiah 48:13), because of their idolatry and, specifically, the worship of the golden calf.

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Bible Dictionary

PUTEOLI

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PUTEOLI

(lat.: “small fountains”).
Two days after arriving in Rhegium, the ship carrying Paul arrived at Puteoli, which was then an important maritime city.

The apostle found Christians there, and enjoyed their hospitality (Acts 28:13).

It was located on the northern coast of the Gulf of Naples, near the site of present-day Pouzzoles.

The entire surrounding region is volcanic, and the Solfatare crater rises behind the city.

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Bible Dictionary

PUT (Nation)

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PUT

Name of a nation related to the Egyptians and neighbors of their country (Gen. 10:6).

Put is mentioned with Egypt and other African countries, especially Libya (Nah. 3:9) and Lud (Ez. 27:10; Is. 66:19 in the LXX. Put appears between Cush and Lud in Jer. 46:9; Ez. 30:5).

In the LXX he is translated as Libyans in Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Josephus also identifies it with Libya (Ant. 1:6, 2), but in Nah. 3.9 is distinguished from the Libyans.

Current opinion is divided between Somalia, Eastern Arabia and Southern Arabia (Perfume Coast).

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Bible Dictionary

PURPLE

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PURPLE

A coloring substance that is extracted from various species of mollusks. The ancient Tyrians used two types of them: the “Murex trunculus”, from which the bluish purple was extracted, and the “Murex brandaris”, which gave the red.

The ink of its coloring matter varies in color depending on the region in which it is fished.

Piles of murex shells, artificially opened, have been discovered in Minet el-Beida, port of ancient Ugarit (Ras Shamra), which gives evidence of the great antiquity of the use of this purple dye (see UGARIT).

Due to its high price, only the rich and magistrates wore purple (Est. 8:15, cf. the exaltation of Mordecai, v. 2, Pr. 31:22; Dan. 5:7; 1 Mac. 10 :20, 62, 64; 2 Mac. 4:38; cf. v 31; Luke 16:19; Rev. 17:4).

The rulers adorned themselves in purple, even those of Midian (Judg. 8:26). Jesus was mocked with a purple robe (Mark 15:17).

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Great use had been made of purple-dyed fabrics for the Tabernacle (Ex. 25:4; 26:1, 31, 36) and for the high priest’s vestments (Ex. 28:5, 6, 15, 33; 39: 29). The Jews gave symbolic value to purple (Wars 5:5, 4).

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Bible Dictionary

PURIM

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PURIM

(Heb., plural of “luck”).
Haman cast lots to determine a day of good omen for the destruction of the Jews.

As Haman’s designs were undone, the liberation of the Jews was marked by an annual festival (Est. 3:7; 9:24-32) on the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar.

This festival is not mentioned by name in the NT, although there are exegetes who assume that it is the one referred to in Jn. 5:1.

This festival continues to be celebrated within Judaism: the book of Esther is read, and curses are pronounced on Haman and his wife, blessings are pronounced on Mordecai and the eunuch Harbonah (Est. 1:10; 7: 9).

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PURIFICATION, PURITY

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PURIFICATION, PURITY

In the Mosaic Law four ways to purify oneself from contamination were indicated:

(a) Purification of contamination contracted by touching a dead person (Num. 19; cf. Num. 5:2, 3),

(b) Purification from impurity due to bodily emissions (Lev. 15; cf. Num. 5:2, 3).

(c) Purification of the woman in labor (Lev. 12:1-8; Luke 2:21-24).

(d) Purification of the leper (Lev. 14).

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To this, the scribes and Pharisees added many other purifications, such as washing hands before eating, washing vessels and dishes, showing great zeal in these things, while inside they were full of extortion and iniquity (Mark 7: 2-8).

In Christianity the necessary purification extends:

to the heart (Acts 15:9; James 4:8),
to the soul (1 Pet. 1:22), and
to the conscience through the blood of Christ (Heb. 9:14).

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