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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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Palestine, being a mountainous country, had also many rocks, which formed a part of the country's defence; for in time of danger the people retired to them, and found a refuge against any sudden irruption of the enemy. The Benjamites took shelter in the rock Rimmon, Judges 20:47 . Samson kept garrison in the rock of Etham, Judges 15:8 . David found shelter in the rocks of Maon, Engedi, &c, 1 Samuel 22:1 ; 1 Samuel 23:25 ; 1 Samuel 23:28 ; 1 Samuel 24:2-5 . Jerom says that the southern parts of Judea were full of caves under ground, and of caverns in the mountains, to which the people retired in time of danger. The Kenites dwelt in the hollow places of the rocks, Numbers 24:21 . Even at this day the villages of this country are subterraneous, or in the rocks. Josephus in several places speaks of hollow rocks, where thieves and robbers had their haunts; and travellers still find a great number of them in Palestine, and in the adjoining provinces. Toward Lebanon, the mountains are high, but covered in many places with as much earth as fits them for cultivation. Among the crags of the rocks, the beautiful and far-famed cedar waves its lofty top, and extends its powerful arms, surrounded by the fir and the oak, the fig and the vine. On the road to Jerusalem, the mountains are not so lofty nor so rugged, but become fitter for tillage. They rise again to the south-east of Mount Carmel; are covered with woods, and afford very picturesque views; but advancing toward Judea, they lose their verdure, the valleys become narrow, dry, and stony, and terminate at the Dead Sea in a pile of desolate rocks, precipices, and caverns. These vast excavations, some of which will contain fifteen hundred men, are the grottoes of Engedi, which have been a refuge to the oppressed or the discontented in all ages. Westward of Jordan and the lake Asphaltites, another chain of rocks, still loftier and more rugged, presents a yet more gloomy aspect, and announces the distant entrance of the desert, and the termination of the habitable regions.

The name of rock is also given to God, by way of metaphor, because God is the strength, the refuge, and defence of Israel, as those places were to the people who resided among them, Psalms 18:2 ; Psalms 18:31 ; Psalms 31:2-3 ; Deuteronomy 32:15 ; Deuteronomy 32:18 ; Deuteronomy 32:30-31 ; Psalms 61:2 , &c.

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Rock'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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