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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Heb. Barzillay', בִּרְזַלִּי, of iron, i.e. strong; Sept. Βερζελλί, but in Ezra Βερζελλαϊ v, Josephus Βετζιλαῖος, Ant. 7:9, 8), the name of three men.

1. A Meholathite, father of Adriel, which latter was the second husband of Merab, Saul's daughter (2 Samuel 21:8). B.C. ante 1062.

2. A wealthy old Gileadite of Rogelim, who distinguished himself by his loyalty when David fled beyond the Jordan from his son Absalom, B.C. 1023 (see Ewald, Isr. Gesch. 3, 663 sq.). He sent in a liberal supply of provisions, beds, and other conveniences for the use of the king's followers (2 Samuel 17:27). On the king's triumphant return, Barzillai attended him as far as the Jordan, but declined, by reason of his advanced age (and probably, also, from a feeling of independence), to proceed to Jerusalem and end his days at court, merely recommending (his son) Chimham as a suitable person to receive the royal favors (2 Samuel 19:32; 2 Samuel 19:39). On his death-bed David recalled to mind this kindness, and commended Barzillai's children to the care of Solomon (1 Kings 2:7).

3. A priest who married a descendant of the preceding, and assumed the same name; his genealogy in consequence became so confused that his descendants, on the return from the captivity, were set aside as unfit for the priesthood (Ezra 2:61). B.C. ante 536.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Barzillai'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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